Business Network Virtual Communication Tools
Since ages, the Business community heavily relied on face to face communication for building Business relationships. Face to face communications formed the basis for trust in a relationship. An individual’s appearance or the physical appearance of a Business mattered a lot and the face to face interaction established the norms for judging the reputation and trust. In face to face communications, language, culture, religion and understanding were the main barriers.
With the advent of technological advances in the field of internet and the World Wide Web, face to face communication is no longer a mandatory aspect to build relationships and expand a Business. Even language, culture or religion is no more a barrier for building Business Networks on the internet.
The internet provides several tools and methods for virtual communications enabling the small Businesses to venture into the global market. This article brings out the important tools that aid in virtual communication for Businesses and individuals.
The first and foremost step for a Business to enter the internet is to host a website. The Website can be epitomized as the toll which enables in creating a web presence for the small Businesses. The website acts as a vital communication portal for the Business on the internet.
The website provides communication facilities in both directions, internal as well as external. The website also helps in sharing information as well as gathering vital information for analyzing the Business performance. The websites depend on certain features and factors so as to enable them in being effectively used for overall Business growth. These important factors are discussed below.
Professional Look: A professional look and feel of the website will provide the same effects as face to face communications. Well built websites will give the professionalism displayed by the Business. Websites also depict the trust, reliability, reputation and how much interest the Business displays in its core Business domain.
Sharing Business Knowledge: The website also acts as the portal through which the visitors gain an insight into the Businesses knowledge and expertise in the Business domain. Short articles, technological innovations, certifications and vital achievements of a Business can be portrayed in the websites. This information is instrumental in helping to prove the reputation and capabilities of the Business to the outside world.
Search Capabilities: This is the most sought out feature of a website. A typical website may contain products and information in the order of thousands. For the visitors looking for a specific information or product, browsing though thousands of web pages to locate their requirement is a painstaking process. The search capability provides an easy way to quickly get what information they need.
Business Portfolio: A detailed portfolio of the Business on the website highlighting its expertise in the core Business domain is mandatory for clearly stating the interest which the Business has in the domain. The portfolio should also bring out the Business goal, objectives, and vision with future plans of the Business. This helps in creating alliances and referrals through the internet.
Product and Services: The website should bring out the products and services offered by the Business. The details should highlight the advantages and key features of the product and services. Also special discounts and offers should be provided to promote products and services.
Shopping Carts: The shopping carts enable the visitors to purchase products and services online. This is the latest trend in e-commerce. Shopping carts remove the requirement of investing in setting up Business showrooms and warehouses. Online payment facilities enable managing the financial transactions online.
Customer Service: The Business websites should also provide customer service to the visitors through their website. Both pre-sale and post-sale support can be included in the websites. Customer service availability is the key factor in attracting customers to the website and Business.
Customer Feedback: A continuous feedback about products and services offered by the customers is very vital in deciding the customer requirements and designing and developing future products and services. The websites should provide tools and methods to help customers rate the products and services offered by the Business.
Continuous Change: With the highly fluctuating market trends and variation in customer requirements, a continuous updating and up gradation of the website with the latest information and products is vital for the website to be effective.
Instant Communication Tools
Instant messaging is a new trend which is considered better and more preferred among the internet community. Many providers such as Yahoo Messenger, Gmail Messenger, AOL online messenger offer instant messaging services free of cost.
New features such as sharing documents, images and digital media have also been introduced. The key advantages of instant messaging are listed below.
a. Automatic indication of online availability
b. Multi user conference capabilities
c. Recording and archiving the conversation for future reference
d. Capability of using internet telephony though VOIP services. Here the computer becomes the telephone as well.
e. Capability to avail Web Conference and Web meetings by using the videophone and web camera features of instant messaging.
f. Online education and customer support with step by step instructions and feedback facilities.
The email lists provide an easy way to grow the Business Network. A Business can either participate in an email list or set up its own email lists though the websites. The visitors who subscribe to the newsletters and latest product information can register their email with the Business websites.
Being free of charge, it is likely that thousands of subscribers joining such mailing list. These subscribers can also become potential customers later. This is the easiest form of advertising on the internet.
The Business achievements, new products and features and other innovations and offers are sent though email to each of the subscribers regularly. The subscribers may also forward these emails further to their contacts earning valuable referrals and further customers.
Web Software Tools
The internet also enables features for automated software tools to aid in doing Business online. Software specially developed for the internet and aiding the different Business needs are available at low cost or some are even free.
Software for Human Resource management, Business financials, ERP, CRM and supply chain management are very vital in automating the Business processes on the internet virtual environment.