Chat: The Philosopher’s Stone of Business

WeBC June 13, 2018

Wondering how collaboration can turn misses into hurrahs? This post uncovers a hidden productivity secret, often dispelled by business owners as frivolous and unproductive. Well, turns out, chat is pure productivity fuel.
Employees already chat on their devices or online messenger, so how can real-time chat for business boost their productivity?

Chat for business

Chat (or instant messaging) increases collaboration and communication within teams, big or small. By introducing this real-time utility to the employee toolkit, many Canadian companies see a direct impact on performance. By staying connected, employees save time, problem-solve faster, and get more done in a day.
Businesses that embrace instant messaging see remarkable improvements in productivity. Employees who adopt business instant messaging hit more deadlines and get more work done than those who rely on email communications.
Per SoftwareAdvice.com, chat can make a big employee impact:
– 75 percent reduction in call and email volume
– 66 percent improvement in resolution of quick questions
– 21 percent moderate/significant productivity increase
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Teamwork is crucial in today’s knowledge economy. But how can you get your employees on the same page if you can’t even get them in the same room? “4 secrets to a connected workplace” can help. (Requires registration) Link here.

Six chat adoption tips

If the above statistics impress you, you’re ready to introduce this technology to your team. By following these best practices, you can improve the adoption rate of this productivity tool in your company:

  1. Explain why
  2. Make chat universal
  3. Consider compliance
  4. Avoid standalone solutions
  5. Respect boundaries
  6. Email still has a place

1) Explain why
First of all, employees want to understand the benefit of new technology. So, communicate and promote the importance of raising the collaboration bar within the company. Tell them that your goal is to stimulate better information-sharing and more teamwork.
2) Make it universal
Avoid having employees use personal accounts. Instead, prescribe business chat company-wide. By using one real-time solution, your employees will learn how to integrate this new tool into existing production processes faster.
3) Consider compliance
Compliance standards (e.g. HIPPA, DPAS, FISMA, FERPA, etc) governing email and other secure data may also apply to real-time communication utilities. Ensure the solution you choose meets your organization/industry’s regulatory standards.
4) Avoid standalone solutions
When choosing a utility, explore how well the program integrates with other tools and systems, like email, VOIP, and video conferencing. Also, keep in mind that consumer-grade utilities often lack the security businesses need and want.
5) Respect boundaries
Getting instant answers isn’t always possible or feasible from a time management perspective. IM apps allow users to set their availability and make it visible to everyone. This way, employees can always ask someone who’s available to help.
6) Email still has a place
Establish clear protocols for communications. Help your team understand when to use email versus chat and other technologies/platforms. Show examples of the types of content best handled via chat, email, SharePoint, OneDrive, etc.
Not sure yet?
Take chat for a test run with an upcoming project. Challenge the team to use chat to deliver the project on time. Once complete, invite the team to describe their experience executing a project from start to finish during a lunch and learn.
A valuable tool for company-wide collaboration, business chat keeps employees engaged, collaborating, and delivering projects on time and on budget.
This article is part of a series written by Microsoft in partnership with Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada.

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