Collaboration tools help increase productivity and team building whether a team is hybrid or fully remote, allowing them to quickly support clients. The right tools can help solve bottlenecks — or even prevent them from happening in the first place.
This article will discuss five ways online collaboration tools can improve your business, plus five ways they’ll help your clients. It’ll also answer questions like “How can collaboration tools improve team communication?” and “How can collaboration tools help to improve productivity?”
- There are several types of collaboration tools, including those used for communication, cloud documentation, task management, and meetings.
- Collaboration tools make a significant difference in, and improvement to, a business’s processes, touching on areas like productivity, problem-solving, teamwork, and even data security.
- The benefits of collaboration tools also trickle down to a business’s end customers, as they experience shorter wait times, better service or product satisfaction, and faster human-to-human communication.
Types of collaborative tools
Collaborative tools and technology can be anything from video to chatbots to instant messaging to organizational options and cloud documents.
Communication tools can include instant messaging or collaborative video platforms. These usually feature the following functionalities:
- They allow for visual explanations of technical or detailed processes, which are perfect for particularly technical topics.
- They allow the customer to “follow along” and help them help themselves, giving them a feeling of agency and empowerment.
- They allow for quicker onboarding of clients. Recordings can be made available for each client to refer to later if needed, thus reducing the number of support requests.
Some of the most helpful communication tools these days are the following:
- MS Teams
Google Workspace, Google Drive, and Google Docs are three options that use the cloud. The primary advantages of using the cloud are as follows:
- It keeps everything in one place.
- Anyone with access can make edits without needing to have a copy on their own system.
- If local copies get deleted, there’ll still be a backup in the cloud.
- It makes it easier for members to see specific feedback.
- It has an intuitive interface made to look similar to Word and other word processors.
- It enables file sharing if needed.
- The range of features it offers keeps growing.
Task management tools provide a central place for team members to see their specific tasks for the day or the week.
They allow team members to “tag” other team members, which leads to better communication.
They also provide records of everything discussed in text format, which leads to better organization and a greater focus on customers’ needs.
In short, they make collaboration both faster and easier.
This is especially important in hybrid work environments, as it helps ensure that everyone on the team stays on the same page throughout a project’s duration.
Some popular task management tools include the following:
- Hubspot Task Management
Let’s talk about meetings… *people start to leave.* Now hang on, come back for a moment!
Just because you have one or several meetings doesn’t mean they’ll be three-hour gabfests where nothing gets accomplished.
As long as they’re structured correctly with clear goals and objectives, meetings can be an excellent source of problem-solving, ideation, and collaboration.
Finally, you can look at the floor plan of the space as well — which is perfect for seeing what’s already been taken or determining the amenities you’ll need ahead of time.
5 Ways collaboration tools can help your business
The best way to ensure that you’re not spending money on tools that won’t provide value is to consider how they can help your business. Here are five ways collaboration tools can do this:
1. They can boost productivity
According to Finances Online, 85% of employees would stay with their company long-term if the company adopted collaboration tools and allowed its employees to work from anywhere.
With the right tools, upper management and CEOs can do what they do best while letting their employees do the same.
2. They can help improve communication
Company morale and efficiency suffer when team members can’t communicate efficiently. This can lead to longer learning curves for new hires, slower response times to customer issues, and potential miscommunication between teams.
With collaboration tools facilitating communication, documentation, task management, and meeting scheduling, team members can communicate easier — and with the same positive effects as if they were face-to-face.
As research by Gallup shows, communication influences performance. Improved communication helps members feel more engaged at their work and more invested in the company culture — while avoiding the distractions that often come with working in an office.
Whether you’re an administrator wanting to empower the team without overwhelming them, an office manager wanting to make the best of your resources, a manager wanting to improve your team’s productivity and cohesiveness, or simply a team member wanting to be as productive as possible, OfficeRnD Hybrid has you covered with the following collaboration-boosting features:
- A weekly planner
- The ability to see desk bookings on an interactive floor plan
- Onsite meeting details, such as the time, duration, date, and a list of attendees
- The ability to add up to 15 “favorite” colleagues and send them custom invites to come to the office for the moments that matter
Whether you’re a team member or employer, you’ll always know where your favorite team members are, what’s on the schedule, meeting details, and what the week ahead looks like. This will help you and your team become — and stay — organized and able to flow through the work week that much quicker.
#3: They can help teams solve problems faster
Consider this: If one team member has an issue they can’t solve on their own, this can lead to feelings of frustration and low morale — especially if they have no easy way of contacting other team members.
Online collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams can benefit everyone, leading to increased productivity and fewer hours spent solving problems.
#4: They help improve teamwork
Many workplaces have already implemented flexible and hybrid working models. It can be difficult for businesses to foster a spirit of teamwork and camaraderie between team members if they have to rely on phone, fax, or email-only options.
Zoom allows teams to see and hear each other rather than relying on text-based chat and emails. As a result, emotions are seen and felt.
Video conferencing tools allow online meetings to be recorded, and these recordings can be referenced later.
Recently, Zoom improved their AI technology by collaborating with OpenAI to create a smart companion that summarizes chats, creates meeting agendas, and much more.
#5: They help keep data secure
Customers and employees are concerned now more than ever about their data being kept safe from online criminals, hackers, and other companies.
A study by IBM found that in 2022, the average cost of a data breach in the US was $9.44 million.
With ClickUp, Asana, and other project management software, security options such as 2-factor authentication and 256-bit site encryption are available — making proprietary company and client data more secure.
This is far safer than having physical file folders in a filing cabinet, and it also makes it easier to organize and search through data.
When judging security, it’s important to check whether the software has a clean SOC2 TYPE 2 report.
5 ways collaboration tools help your clients
1. They offer faster solutions
As customers, we’ve all felt the pain of sending in a ticket and then waiting for a reply. With instant messaging, a customer can speak to a team member right away, and the customer’s problem can be solved promptly.
Communication tools like Skype also allow for real-time collaboration so that the customer knows they’re communicating with a human.
But a chatbot has advantages that you won’t get with something like Skype. A chatbot can guide the customer to the answer to their question or point to the exact instructions they’ll need to solve their problem. And, if need be, it can even “take a message.”
2. They improve customer satisfaction
The more ways you have for customers to get in touch, the faster they can get on with their day.
If you can chat with a customer or guide their onboarding via a tool like Zoom, not only will the customer feel empowered, but they’ll also have more mental space for other issues they may be dealing with. And as a result, they may well become raving fans and repeat customers.
Customers don’t have to be tethered to a laptop or desktop; instead, they can use mobile apps for on-the-go communication.
3. Wait times are shorter
Before chatbots, customers sent in a ticket or email and then waited for a response, leading to increased stress and the feeling that their needs weren’t being addressed quickly enough.
But with the rise of chatbots, that has definitely changed. Consider the following statistics:
This means that the time a customer would typically waste on the phone just waiting for someone to answer is gone.
Whether the issue occurs at 1 p.m. or 12 a.m., the chatbot is always “on” — it doesn’t need sleep, sick days, or anything else that a human employee needs.
4. They help reduce stress
When a customer has an issue with a software or service, the mere thought of having to go through support can be stressful.
After all, the customer has to take time out of their day and hope that they can get a team member to solve their problem as quickly as possible.
And if they can’t, they may well be upset enough to consider switching to a competitor or decide they don’t need the product or service after all.
Tools such as Zoom or instant chat can help with this because, unlike traditional phone call support, there are typically no menus to navigate through or long wait times.
5. They lead to greater transparency
If a customer feels that a company isn’t being forthcoming with them on an issue, they can quickly and easily switch to a competitor.
And with options such as instant chat and ticketing systems, a customer can check the status of their request and provide additional information if needed.
This gives the customer a sense of agency and the assurance that they are involved in the problem-solving process. As a result, they’ll be more likely to feel they aren’t just a number (or worse, an annoyance!).
Why does helping clients via collaboration tools matter?
It provides a better customer experience
Tools such as instant messaging and chatbots allow for instant communication with a team member, leading to the opportunity to have issues resolved almost immediately.
Consider the following facts:
- 41% of customers prefer live chat over other forms of customer service.
- Collaboration tools such as live chat lead to reduced wait times and increased satisfaction.
Tools such as Zoom, Skype, and Loom aid in the onboarding process by letting team members get customers set up and walk them through everything. They can also provide video recordings as references for later use.
It boosts team morale
There’s nothing worse than when you’re part of a team but feel as though every problem you have at work is yours alone to solve.
This is especially true if you work remotely. Mental burnout, fatigue, and the loss of an otherwise excellent team member can result.
Tools like ClickUp and Zoom mean that you can always connect with the right person to help solve the issue at hand.
This fosters team morale and togetherness, no matter if the team is scattered across the country or around the world. Video tools also minimize confusion regarding intent.
It helps to build a more efficient company
If a company doesn’t have tools in place to help their employees do their jobs effectively and keep the more mundane things (like billing) organized, then competing in the marketplace will be tough.
Collaboration tools like Zoom are widely considered a necessity. After all, over 80% of business professionals believe meetings held face-to-face help to build client relationships and establish trust.
What are the four types of collaboration tools?
The four types of collaboration tools are as follows:
- Video (such as Zoom).
- Cloud-based documents (such as Google Workspace).
- Task management programs (such as ClickUp). These are perfect for hybrid teams that need advanced collaborative scheduling to stay on track.
- Meeting tools (such as Microsoft Teams).
What is the most common collaborative tool?
There isn’t “one tool to rule them all,” but there are multiple options you could use to create a seamless hybrid workplace experience. Depending on your company’s needs, you could use the following:
- Skype — Messaging and conferencing software
- Microsoft Teams — Meeting and communication software
- Dropbox — Cloud documentation SaaS
…to name a few!
What are the four principles for improving collaboration?
According to Forbes, the four principles for improving collaboration are as follows:
- Having a definite purpose and defining it so that everyone on the team understands it.
- Having written principles that govern how team members interact with each other.
- Bringing issues up to the entire team rather than reporting them to just one person.
- Taking time to explore each team member’s perspectives, tendencies, and way of thinking.