With more than 32.5 million U.S. small businesses (defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration as organizations with fewer than 500 employees), these companies are a mighty force — and they’re ready to bounce back from the challenges of the pandemic. A January 2022 survey by Morning Consult, commissioned by Zoom, reveals that many small businesses are looking to increase productivity and expand their capabilities as top goals in 2022.
However, these goals are also their top challenges. When asked, “How challenging do you envision each of the following being at your organization in the next year?”, 7 in 10 small business decision-makers said increasing productivity would be very or somewhat challenging, and 2 out of 3 said expanding capabilities would be very or somewhat challenging.
Eighty-one percent of survey respondents agreed that audio-video communications platforms are needed to accelerate growth. With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide to help small business owners use the Zoom platform to help manage their time and resources effectively and efficiently. Whether your company is new and in growth mode, or ready to go to the next level, check out a few highlights below, and access the full guide for even more tips.
Dialing into phone communications
According to the survey, many small business respondents rely heavily on phone communications. When asked, “How often are phone systems used at your organization?” 76% of respondents said they use phones daily to communicate.
When asked, “Does your organization use hard phones, softphones, or both to conduct business-related calls?” only 17% of survey respondents reported using a softphone versus 49% who used a mobile phone or 33% who used a hard phone.
Using a softphone, however, might be a good fit for your company. Here are some tips for using a cloud-based softphone like Zoom Phone that may help enhance customer service and encourage productivity:
- Set up call queues to help lessen response times. Divide and conquer customer inquiries by setting up call queues to route calls to a designated group of users, such as a sales or support team, so the first person available can answer the phone.
- Use a softphone to answer calls on different company devices. By taking advantage of a softphone’s flexibility, small businesses can make and receive calls on a mobile phone, a laptop, tablet, or any other company device connected to the internet.
- Elevate a business call to a meeting. Employees may be on a phone call and want to draw a quick sketch or pull up a document to review with the other people on the phone. Within the Zoom platform, employees can easily go from a phone call to a video meeting when the situation requires, helping enable a more productive conversation.
Sending the right message with chat
Small businesses surveyed reported that their employees rely on email as frequently as phone communications, especially for connecting internally with colleagues. Over 80% of respondents reported using email every day for internal communication. Fifty-two percent reported using chat and messaging platforms daily to communicate internally.
An advantage of chat communications is that they often allow team members to connect in real time, which can help enhance productivity.
Employees who do use chat functionality can use Zoom Chat to:
- Create chat channels for different groups and projects. Set up chat channels for different departments as well as cross-functional projects as they come up. This allows employees to tailor messages and communicate relevant information to specific team members.
- Screenshot, annotate, and share images. Employees can share files and images in chat channels for quick collaboration. Need to get the point across visually? Use the Zoom desktop client to take screenshots, add annotations, and share them directly in chat.
Growing your business in a hybrid world
Sixty-four percent of the small businesses in Zoom’s survey were conducting business both in-person and online. It’s safe to say that communication platforms are playing an important role in how hybrid teams operate. A modern communications platform may help increase productivity, expand capabilities, and highlight employee engagement.
Check out our small business guide for ideas on how to use Zoom to help build and enhance company culture, engage with customers, and enable a hybrid workforce.
1. Morning Consult surveyed 500 decision-makers of small- and medium-sized businesses in the United States from January 14-January 24, 2022. The audience was defined as those at organizations with 11-500 employees at the VP level and above. The data was unweighted, and Morning Consult used quotas to approximate the composition of the audience. The margin of error for this study is +/ 4 percentage points.
2. “Which of the following are the top goals for your organization in the next year? Please select up to three.” 67% said increasing productivity, 46% said expanding capabilities.
3. 20% said increasing productivity would be “very challenging” and 50% said increasing productivity would be “somewhat challenging.”
4. 17% said expanding capabilities would be “very challenging” and 47% said expanding capabilities would be “somewhat challenging.”
5. “How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements? My company needs audio/video communication platforms to accelerate growth.” 51% said “strongly agree,” 30% said “somewhat agree.”
6. “Phone systems” includes land- and cloud-based networks.
7. “How often are each of the following modes of communication used to communicate internally at your organization?” Email: 82% said “daily.” Phone: 82% said “daily.” Chat/messaging platforms: 58% said “daily.”
8. “Which of the following best describes how your business operates?” 64% said “Both online and in-person.”