4 Common Causes of Communication Breakdown in Deskless Industries

When Communication Fails

Communication is crucial for getting all leaders, departments, and employees on the same page and working together toward a shared goal. Breakdowns in communication can knock things off track and prevent the company from reaching its full potential. When a company’s teams are dispersed across different offices and geographic regions, with a large number of employees working alone in the field, communication becomes even more critical. Understanding the common causes of a communication breakdown can help companies proactively avoid it.

4 Causes of Communication Breakdown

1. You’re Using the Wrong Mode

Different modes of communication are required for different types of interactions. The topic and the goal behind the message should be considered so the best medium is used to communicate. Essentially, match the urgency and complexity of the message with the type of communication mode.

Let’s take an example – if a company needs to share urgent or really important information with its employees, Amber alert-style Broadcasts would be much more effective than email, which often goes unread for days. If a field service tech needs to send a quick status update, a text message will suffice, but if they need to troubleshoot a complex issue, a phone call or even video call may be necessary.

Additionally, you must consider the recipient of the message. Do they work at a desk or are they on the go? Email may work for desk workers, but using email to update deskless workers who are out in the field or spread across a few buildings, such as at a hotel property, isn’t ideal.

communication breakdown
Use the right mode to stop a communication breakdown.

Vivint Smart Home, a smart home device installation company, found out through a company survey that although they constantly kept their teams informed, communication came back as the number one issue.

The problem was, the company was using email to communicate with field service technicians, but the technicians didn’t open or even read email. They use mobile phones rather than computers at work and generally get their information through calling, texting and accessing docs on their mobile device.

After realizing that they were using the wrong mode or channel to reach these employees, Vivint looked for a mobile-first solution that could effectively connect desk workers with field teams. After deploying Zinc’s All Mode Communication Platform, communication quickly dropped to the bottom of the complaints list.

2. You’re Sending Irrelevant Information

Workplace communication needs to be targeted for it to be effective. When employees receive a bunch of information that doesn’t apply, they simply tune out. This is a big problem when that information is necessary for employees to effectively complete the task at hand. According to The Service Council, field service techs really dislike any paperwork and want to move to mobile (51%). More importantly, they really dislike time wasted looking for information (26%).

This is where a central admin capability allows you to send information to the right people in a one-to-many fashion. The ability to structure the organization into designated groups, whether by department, region or team, means you can target messages to those who need to know. This is even truer when you can create custom Ad Hoc groups such as projects or issues that come up that concern a specific mix of people – essentially enabling you to “cut to the chase” and avoid information “noise” or overload.

3. Communication Failure Up and Down the Chain

Front-line employees are the foundation of any company and when they don’t have an easy way to communicate with all levels of management, it takes a toll both on them and the business. If employees have no way to share their concerns about common problems, or they do share but nobody is listening, it creates frustrated, disengaged employees who are likely to quit.

On top of this, when there’s a communication breakdown between the front line and management, there’s no way to accurately improve business operations. The employees who are out working with customers every day have invaluable insights that senior management needs to hear and leverage to continuously improve the business. Using these insights is what separates industry top performers.

4. Peer to Peer Communication Failure

Just as it’s important for communication to easily flow up and down, it must also flow horizontally across teams. Unfortunately, many companies with deskless workers overlook this necessity and fail to provide a secure platform for workplace communication.

This results in employees finding their own ways to communicate with each other, usually through texting or consumer apps like WhatsApp and FB Messenger. This is alarming on multiple levels:

  • Employees can only share knowledge and get help from coworkers whose numbers they know
  • IT has no administrative control
  • Sensitive business information is shared on unsecured platforms
  • If an employee leaves the company, their conversations move with them
  • It is impossible to track communication company-wide for analytics

Providing a solution for peer to peer communication means that employees can get the answers needed to do a good job and companies can ensure that all communication data is owned and secured by the company.

Create a Clear Communication Strategy and Inform Everyone About It

While business communication can be tricky, prioritizing it has big payoffs. In fact, effective communication is a leading indicator of a company’s financial performance.

Now that you know four common reasons for a communication breakdown while on the job, it’s time to start connecting your deskless workers with each other and their office counterparts.