I spoke to someone the other day about why they might need instant messaging in their company and his response was that he thought it was something that children use to chat to each other! Whilst that might be true, there are huge business benefits to using instant messaging.
If you run a business with more than a couple of people or if you’re not in the same office, just imagine how much time is spent sending each other emails. Have a look at some email chains and they seem to go on for ever and copy in almost everyone from the company. The longer the discussion goes on for, the more people get copied in and the less chance you have of keeping up with the discussion.
Email is such a slow and clunky way of having a discussion, especially if each message includes a welcome and a long signature (why do they still mention thinking before printing emails in 2020?). You should also bear in mind that emails may be going outside the business so there’s little control over who sees what.
What about instant messaging then?
Instant messaging is much more like having a conversation with people whereas email is more like sending them a letter (or a postcard as they are fairly insecure!). If you’ve used any of the social media messaging platforms then you’ll know how it works. You can set up different rooms which users can subscribe to. You can send messages to a room or individual users. You can chat privately or in view of everyone in the room.
Access is either via a secure website, a desktop app or a mobile app. Users are notified almost instantly of a new message if they want to be and they can configure how they are notified. In this way you can choose whether you want to be disturbed or not when you’re busy without missing important messages. Users can even see who is online and who is busy so they don’t waste time waiting for responses.
Some systems can be linked to your website so that you can offer an instant chat service to site visitors. You’ve probably seen these pop up on some websites offering to chat to you and answer your questions in real time. That’s instant messaging.
Let’s imagine you run a busy company with several offices around a building and 100 staff. Some of your staff are on the road a lot and some are in and out of their office. Some users are not always available as they are tied up in meetings but they are still at their desk.
Customers call in on a central number and calls are answered by different people who may need to transfer calls or even take messages. Customers also get in touch using your website.
Until we installed an instant messaging system, everybody used (and misused) email. Hundreds of emails a day were sent all over the building with everyone copying everyone else to make sure they saw how busy they were.
We installed a cloud based instant messaging platform which is dedicated to your business so it’s nice and secure. Each member of staff has a login and access to certain rooms depending on where they work and their seniority in the company. Users have a desktop messaging app on their PCs and a mobile app on their phones. It’s now possible to see whether someone is at their desk as the desktop app shows you as away after a set time.
We setup a number of chat rooms including a management room, a sales team room and a general chat room for all sorts of non specific chit chat. A special room is linked to your website so that customers can chat to your sales team with any enquiries.
If a phone call comes in and the caller asks for a specific person it’s easy for the user to see if the person wanted is at his desk and available and they can even send a quick private message to say they have a call and does he want it. Once the call is transferred the recipient might switch his messenger status to “busy” so he doesn’t get disturbed any more.
When you have something to discuss it’s simple to post a message in a discussion room and ask for comments. Specific users who may be interested can be sent a notification to make sure they are aware of the discussion. Those users who are not at their desk can join in, if the want to, using the mobile app.
If a potential customer gets in touch using the website chat, the discussion can be connected to your top salesman who is in a motorway service station and using the mobile app on his phone.
What if I want one?
Hopefully you’re beginning to see the potential for an instant messaging system and how it can help productivity. Automatic notifications can be built into the system. For example you might want to let people know when a special event happens, such as a sale over a certain size or even a doorbell is pressed. Whatever you want to let your staff know about, an instant messaging system may be the answer.
As our systems are dedicated to your business, the security is high as nobody can access the system without a user name and password. We can host the system in our data centres, set it up and back up the data as well. If you want to know more about how an instant messaging system might help your business then please get in touch.