6 Amazing Communication Channels for Your Business in 2024
Communication is at the heart of everything we do. It is what makes us human – no other species in the (known) universe interacts in such a unique way as we do. The moment we open our eyes each morning, we need communication to get through our days.
Communication is also crucial for the way we work. And with the latest advancements in tech, we now have more communication channels to choose from than ever before – internally with our team and externally with our customers.
Today, we’ll go over some of the most commonly used communication channels in business, show you what each one can be used for, and discuss their pros and cons.
What Are Communication Channels?
A communication channel is a way to share information with other people. It is the way that information flows, whether it’s between a company and their customers or within the company internally. In the past, the only way to communicate was face-to-face.
One common approach to classifying communication channels is by dividing them into direct (face-to-face) and indirect communication. However, it’s more relevant for business purposes to categorize communication channels into:
- Internal communication (within your own company)
- External communication (with your customers and other stakeholders)
For each channel mentioned in this piece, we’ll talk about its ideal use case and whether it’s more suited for communicating internally, externally, or both.
Top 6 Communication Channels for Your Business in 2024
It’s a simple truth that not all channels fit all companies. However, it’s a good idea to explore the ones you’re not using, as they can strengthen your team communication and improve your customer experience. Whichever the case, for example implementing a few basic elements from Robert’s Rules of Order manual will help keep meetings and communication channels orderly and goal-oriented.
Before video meetings became the new hot thing, meeting your coworkers and customers face-to-face was the primary way of communication. It may feel old-fashioned by today’s standards, but it still has a central role in today’s workplace.
The reason is simple – most of our communication is non-verbal. In fact, research states that 90% of what we communicate, we don’t say. Besides our words, we also communicate with our body language, posture, and facial expressions. So, meeting someone face to face is still the best technique to fully convey your message.
There is a downside, however. In-person communication is much more expensive, regardless of where you meet. Just consider the price of the meeting room and the commute.
In other words, face-to-face communication is incredibly impactful and should be used for important decision-making, like executive-level meetings or closing a high-value deal.
However, they do come at a steep price, so if you can substitute them and achieve similar effects you can save a lot of time and money.
Pros: effective, conveys body language
Cons: expensive, takes more time, not possible if communication participants are far away
Before the pandemic, video calls were widely represented, but the pandemic made them a necessity. From children in schools to the elderly getting in touch with their families, everyone aged 9 to 99 was using Zoom and other apps to communicate through video. In fact, Zoom’s revenue increased by 326% in just one year as an effect of the pandemic.
All of a sudden, we realized that many of those in-person meetings could be done just as efficiently through video. You can still communicate using not just your voice, but also your pitch, tone of voice, facial expressions and some of your body language.
Then there is another major benefit – if you want to get in touch with your (remote) team or customers, video meetings are much cheaper compared to meeting in person. It almost sounds like the perfect communication channel.
You can use video calls internally and externally, so many remote companies employ it as their main method of communication.
Pros: cheap, effective, easy to use
Cons: does not fully replace in-person meetings (lack of body language), lack of personal interactions, requires a strong internet connection, call safety (see: zoombombing)
Telepresence vs. video conferencing: do you know the difference?
The first phone call was made almost 150 years ago, and given the pace of technology, it’s amazing that phone calls are still around as a communication channel. Make no mistake though – phone calls evolved and got better.
Long gone are the days of PSTN, where you had to grab your old-school phone to get in touch with someone and pay a big fat extra for long-distance calls. Nowadays, VoIP technology and tools like CloudTalk make it easy to call anyone in the world for cents per call.
Whether you’re calling someone in your company or a customer, VoIP tools make audio calls an experience unlike anything phones can offer. For starters, calls nowadays are based on your internet connection rather than old copper wires, making them more stable and easier to access.
This brings us to another important point – you can now make phone calls online using a wide variety of devices. Mobile phone, VoIP phone, internet browser, tablet – you can take and make calls from nearly any device that you can think of.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. VoIP allows you to add amazing features to audio calls, such as call queuing, call recording, callback, auto-dialing, and many others. When you consider the low price you pay, VoIP tools such as CloudTalk make perfect sense for customer-facing communication. Oh, and they can be used internally too.
Pros: cheap, stable, a huge number of features, easily scalable
Cons: dependent on your internet connection
Before texting apps made it big, SMS was the platform most of us used. Nowadays, SMS is not as common and you would think that it no longer has a place as a communication channel… And you would be completely wrong.
SMS is incredibly effective compared to other channels for business communication, and very few platforms can compare to it. The numbers speak for themselves.
89% of people would read an SMS message within 30 minutes of receiving it, and 34% of them would do so in under five minutes. We’re not used to getting promotional SMS messages with unwanted spam as much as we’re used to getting them in email. The reason is simple – it’s much more difficult to get ahold of someone’s phone number, and it takes more money to send an SMS.
The result? Your average customer is 134% more likely to open and read an SMS compared to an email. While SMS has its merits, the debate between MMS vs. SMS for business is becoming increasingly relevant, especially when businesses want to convey more detailed information or visual content. If you want to cut through the noise while spending a little bit more on marketing, SMS is a clear choice.
Speaking of which, SMS is much better suited for external communication with your customers. For internal use, it’s a bit clunky and expensive to be considered in this day and age.
Pros: extremely effective, great ROI
Cons: expensive compared to email, difficult to get phone numbers, potential legal issues
There are different sources online on how old email is, but most experts agree that the first email was sent sometime between 1965 and 1971. This makes email an oldtimer compared to newer platforms, such as video calls. Moreover, email has undergone some major changes throughout its history.
We love sending emails for business purposes, both to our teams and customers. In fact, 293 billion emails get sent every day throughout the world. When you zoom in on the average user, most of us will get around 100 emails per day.
There’s a reason why email is so popular. It’s incredibly cheap for everyone involved, and with the right email marketing software, it can cost cents to send hundreds of emails at once. And while the average email open rate is pretty low (just above 16%), that makes enough sense to provide a solid ROI for many businesses.
The problem with email is that thanks to its omnipresence, ease of use, and low cost it’s become overused. Sure, it will bring some results, but as seen above, SMS will make much more of an impact in comparison.
Business emails can be used externally and internally as a way to communicate. Externally, they still produce a great return on investment, so you can and should use them, but only in combination with other channels. Internally, it serves a good purpose, but you’re better off investing in messaging tools such as Slack or Microsoft Teams for a more convenient way to communicate.
Pros: cheap, easy to reach out to a large audience
Cons: not as effective as other methods of communication, harder to stand out
Whether you use a chatbot or a human agent to get in touch with your customers, live chat can be an amazing way to communicate with your target audience. Anywhere between 74% and 85% of companies use live chat to get in touch with their customers in 2024.
It’s no surprise, when you look at the statistics. Of all the communication channels, live chat has the highest satisfaction rate (73%). The reasons are many, but primarily, live chat is easy to use, and for a new generation of people used to texting as a way of communication, it’s easier and less stressful than picking up the phone.
If you want to maximize your productivity, you can use chatbots to replace live agents for some or all of the time. Chatbots can be amazingly helpful for basic tasks, and thanks to advancements in AI, they’re getting smarter by the minute. However, remember to escalate anything more complex to a live customer agent.
Naturally, live chat works much better as an external communication channel with your customers, while something like Slack will be better suited for your own team.
Pros: cheap, effective, easy to use for everyone involved
Cons: lack of a personal touch
Is there an ideal communication channel for a company in this day and age? Not really, as it depends on your customers and company goals. Each of the channels mentioned on this list has its own pros and cons and can be amazing (or horrible) for communicating with your team or customers – depending on your use case.
There is one thing that’s certain, though – the phone is not going away any time soon. If you’re ready to take your phone calls to the next level and embrace VoIP technology with all of its amazing features, sign up for 14-day free trial today.