Since ancient times, we have invented various forms of communication, from smoke signals and messengers to the telephone and email; the way we interact with each other has constantly been evolving. However, over the past decades, technology has changed the methods which we used to communicate. The most significant advancement came when we invented the telegraph, which created the way for the telephone. Today, digital techniques have supplanted other communication methods, especially in businesses, and mobile phones and emails are the primary ways of communicating. When we reflect on how communication has evolved over the years, we cannot deny that technology is part of our daily lives. It has affected how we interact, work, and entertain ourselves.
Following the extensive use of technology, businesses have embraced digital communication methods, which seem beneficial. This article provides an overview of how technology impacts communication with clients and how you can take advantage of these inventions.
How has Technology changed Communication?
The effects of technology on communication never ends. As we develop technological innovations, new communication trends emerge and become the new norm. For example, artificial intelligence and machine learning will continue to impact how we share information significantly. For example, currently, Chatbots facilitate more than 25000 conversations every month. Besides, 75% of all businesses have automated many of their processes, including communications. Many of them have automated messages, emails, and social media engagement. Furthermore, companies have adopted video conferencing technology. According to recent statistics, 60% of Americans use video chat platforms for work or social purposes, and 38% of the 60% had never used video chats previously.
Impacts of Technology On Human Interactions
Technology is more than the abstract concept of advanced systems and tools for automation of various tasks and convenience. It determines how we behave, evolve, grow and develop, both in our personal lives and our relationships with others. Over the past decades, technology has made the world a global village, affecting how we interact with each other. The development of mobile devices, including computers, smartphones, portable gaming devices, and the internet, has dramatically changed how we interact because technology has optimized communication systems through networking and telecommunications. Mobile devices have brought a cutting-edge change to human interaction because of the innate nature of always staying connected to the virtual world through the devices we easily carry around.
The widespread availability of devices with internet connectivity has made it possible for us to stay in close contact with our loved ones regardless of the physical distance. Various inventions, such as VOIP, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, WhatsApp, etc., enhance our capabilities to use the internet as a global communication platform. As a result, businesses can now reach their current and prospective clients easily using messaging apps, social media platforms, and VOIP. Additionally, the increased adoption of social media has enabled people to connect, learn, meet, and grow as a team through digital channels. In the business world, technology has enabled companies to track conversations, provide excellent customer service, collect customer insights, and enhance the customer experience.
While technology and communication are inseparable, the effects of technology on human interaction are not all positive. Although technology has helped bridge an international gap by uniting us, we often part with those who are physically near us because we cannot separate ourselves from our mobile gadgets. As a result, technology has created a considerable virtual distance, which has made us replace human-to-human interactions with human-to-machine interactions. Besides, technology has hindered us from building relationships with our clients, making our brands faceless units.
How has Technology altered Communication?
Technology has changed communication in the following ways:
1. Traditional vs. modern media
Every day, we embrace new technology and invent new forms of advertising and media. However, media advertising looks different than it was previously. For instance, we used to collect information through newspapers or television, and thus, businesses had only these two channels to promote their operations to the target audience. Today, we receive business news from various mediums, including YouTube, social media platforms, news websites, podcasts, and blogs.
2. Traditional vs. digital marketing
Technology has also changed marketing dramatically. Our businesses can no longer depend on traditional marketing to drive sales and generate revenue. This new trend has led to several marketing industry advancements, including native advertising, retargeting ads, automation of CRM (customer relationship management), and big data. Unlike before, businesses have adopted SMS marketing, email marketing, Google ads, sticky ads, YouTube ads, etc., to reach their current and prospective clients.
3. Public relations
Although social media has broadened a company’s accessibility, public relations have become relatively challenging. Public relations managers have to be diligent in the manner in which communication takes place in the organization. Previously, organizational leaders trusted organizational communication to a PR representative. Today, social media and the internet have exposed everyone, especially businesses and celebrities, to the public. We can take videos, pictures, and screenshots of everything and post them online for everyone to see at any time. Besides, we can air our opinions and freely discuss people and organizations, making businesses vulnerable to negative sentiments. Due to the relationship between technology and communication, PR managers must devise new ways to overcome these internet challenges. They should learn how to communicate with their target audience to attract and maintain customers.
4. Communication technology devises
The growing increase of technological gadgets implies that everyone in an organization has a mobile phone or a computer. This possession means workers can use their devices in the workplace to enhance their performance or work remotely, especially during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. Although this practice can increase employee productivity, it poses risks for data breaches and data security. Thus, IT professionals and executives need to evaluate how employees might use sensitive organizational data and implement new strategies to manage personal devices to avoid unauthorized use or potential hazards.
5. Workplace communication
Teamwork and collaboration among employees have become increased due to the increased availability of digital communication tools. The use of video calls and SaaS programs has improved collaboration. Workplace technology has enhanced not only communication but also efficiency, motivation, and productivity.
How has Technology Positively Impacted Communication?
Technology has affected communication in the following positive ways:
1. Multiple contact methods
Technology has offered several methods of communication. Social media, videos, emails, blogs, and other online forums provide ways to communicate and interact with others. Unlike before, we can reach other people using several platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
2. Faster communication
Technology facilitates efficient communication and ensures everyone is within our reach. Mobile technology allows us to get and keep contact information on our mobile devices. As a result, we can reach out to other people anywhere, any time. Technology has improved companies’ ability to reach their clients through emails and share many business information with customers on social media. Additionally, managers in the field can quickly determine how the employees are carrying out business operations within a short time from the offsite location.
3. Variety of communication tools
In the past few years, it was not easy to communicate and translate information into other languages. Today, we can manipulate one behavior into several streams. For example, we can easily convert a video into a text and then translate it to other languages using Google translator and other tools. Now, we do not want to tire our minds to think and compare. Instead, we want to read and comprehend quickly. Technology is providing personalized communication and solutions.
4. Communication log
Technology has enabled us to keep and maintain communication logs. We can easily track emails and texts to confirm what we discussed in a previous communication. Additionally, we can record phone conversations and access them in digital formats via customer retention and management software. Technology has enabled us to review and keep legal records of our communications quickly.
5. Mobile workers
Technology has changed employees into a mobile labor force. Unlike before, employees can work from home or anywhere away from the office and collaborate with others through mobile phones, video conferencing, and internet resources. This connectivity creates productive and happier employees with considerable flexibility in work hours and location. Remote workers can now access forms, data, and company information in the same manner as in-office workers.
How has Technology Negatively Impacted Communication?
Technology has had the following negative effects on communication:
1. Inability to build relationships
Technology has eliminated the need for face-to-face interactions and reduced the number of telephone communication we hold. Texting seems much more manageable than making a phone call. Though this efficiency is beneficial, we are losing a specific value that chit-chat brings. We build relationships when we know our clients and discover opportunities to serve them more effectively and efficiently via personalized interactions.
2. Informal communication
Traditional written communication via methods such as letters seems more professional in tone and format. However, texting and email demonstrate a low standard of professionalism. This correspondence can result in problems, especially when a client feels addressed informally. Informal communications ruin an organization’s reputation. For example, if a worker addresses a client in an email, “Hey John,” the client may perceive this salutation as too casual and unprofessional. If we use improper grammar and slang in the body of an email, our clients might delete it before reading to the end. Thus, it is essential to keep our level of business communication professional.
How to Utilize Technology to Impact Communication Positively?
We can implement technology in the following ways to streamline communications and improve interactions:
1. Gather customer feedback from social media
Social media analytics can help you collect consumer feedback, manage your online image, offer competitive customer service, and obtain consumer insights. 56% of marketers use social information to reach their target clients, but they do not frequently use it in other valuable ways. Only 39% use this data to build customer relationships, and 30% use this information to evaluate trends. This usage offers you an excellent opportunity to acquire a competitive edge; you can use technological tools to observe brand mentions and track clients’ feedback. Explain to your consumers how you intend to use this information to make them more comfortable to share their opinions about your brand.
2. Provide instant 24/7 communication
Ensure you address your customer’s concerns about your brand immediately. Clients want a quick response every time they engage with a brand. Allow a customer-service bot to handle inquiries that your clients make frequently. This way, your customers will get the assistance they need all the time and receive answers immediately.
3. Automate communications
Automation places small and medium-sized companies on an even playground with big organizations. If you do not have adequate time and resources to communicate with your clients directly, automated communications can help you. Automation increases productivity by 20%. You can automate your social media and email communications to offer valuable and timely responses to clients’ queries, complaints, or issues.
4. Record communications
While it is difficult to track all your interactions with your clients, the adoption of CRM enables you to keep track of all interactions you make with your clients. It allows you to save essential information for each customer, monitor sales, keep records, etc., on a single platform.
5. Improve self-service
Today, your clients can place orders through their devices and even try them through augmented reality. Thus, it is not a must you interact with your clients on a personal level. Many customers opt for self-service tools like apps or websites when they need something from you. Therefore, ensure you clients can access the information they need independently.
Although technology has adverse effects on communication, it can enable you to communicate efficiently and effectively with clients. Technology can also help you reinforce customer relationships by sharing information on time, allowing your business to grow.