cutting cost

13 Simple Ways to Lower International Communication Costs

September 2, 2016   Antonio Johnson   General

With the growth of communication technology and its ease of use, companies interested in tapping into international markets can expand globally at far less cost than previous generations. There’s no doubt that businesses are looking to set up foreign offices, hold overseas meetings with clients or suppliers, or hire remote workers require effective communication in order to be successful and stay competitive. Online web chat and other solutions are able to make a significant impact dealing with these costly communication rates.

Expanding to the right markets can lead to financial success or worse, burn a hole in your financial accounts due to poor and costly communication.

Just how much damage?

Based on 400 surveyed corporations surveyed by the Holmes Report, an estimated $37 billion was lost due to employee misunderstanding or error due to poor communication. Furthermore, companies with effective communication strategies have 47% higher returns to shareholders, more engaged employees, and less employee turnover.

Efficient communication is integral to any organization and vital to the success – and scalability – of B2B and B2C companies operating internationally.

At a time when it feels like everything is going up, how does your business lower international communication costs without sacrificing productivity?

No matter your business size, here is a list of ways to cut communication costs:

1. Audit the services you pay for

The first step to cutting international communication costs is with a comprehensive audit of what it is exactly you’re paying for and actually using.

It’s the best way to determine if your money is being spent wisely and more importantly if there is any financial bleeding that needs to be stopped.

Are you still paying for tech services you don’t use? Is there a recurring bill you’ve overlooked?

Or worse, have other companies tacked on hidden fees you’re unaware of?

By taking a good and hard look at your communication expense data, you’ll gain insights into where you can better allocate resources and seek better solutions or alternatives to save money and time.

2. Host online video meetings to reduce travel expenses

Business travel is expensive.

It’s also a pain booking a trip when flight and hotel prices are always changing. Not to mention it can wear out employees who frequently travel overseas for meetings.

Aside from payroll, travel accounts for over 10% of the total budget expense at a typical organization.

Without question, the biggest area of business to cut down on communication costs is by hosting a free video call online instead of sending employees abroad.

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, technology has made significant strides in the delivery of high-definition video quality and ease of use. Online video meetings can lead to meaningful results without burning a hole your finances.

Nearly every organization across all industries can save significant amounts in expenses by implementing online video calls in their business.

3. If you must travel: Book in advance

Of course, for many businesses in various industries, there’s no escaping the need for international travel.

Sending employees (or yourself) across the country or internationally for face-to-face meetings with partners, clients, and industry colleagues will always be a part of conducting business.

Cost-conscious businesses, however, plan their trips in such a way that saves them money.

One of those ways is to purchase travel expenses early.

For example, flights and hotels can be booked in advance to lock in lower rates before you’re stuck with killer last minute price hikes.

When the average company spends $2,600 per employee on the average international travel trip, it’s a smart idea to book early.

By the end of the year, you’ll save yourself a nice chunk of change.

4. If you must travel: Set budget challenges

Setting a travel budget challenge for employees is a fun and creative way to reduce global business trip spending.

Before sending off your employees set a spending budget, challenge them to spend less, and reward customers who do.

For clarity’s sake, let’s say you set a travel spend budget of $100. If an employee only spends $50, employees can keep $25 of the remaining $50.

Encourage your international business travelers to skip business class and fly coach or stay in an Airbnb instead of a hotel.

By incentivizing your employees to be conservative about spending company money, it will save your business money in the end.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

5. Promote conservative wireless behaviors

The challenge most businesses face with international communication is managing the cost of tools that improve employee accessibility and enable them to get things done more efficiently overseas.

Unfortunately, having an online web chat or free video calling over Wi-Fi isn’t always available and your employees have no choice but to use international cellular data via a company loaner phone, repurposed old employee-owned phone, or swapping in locally registered SIM cards.

If your employees aren’t careful, he or she can rack up a shockingly high bill at the end of the month.

Dealing with international communication call costs can be painful, but spending the time to shop around for global data plans or carrier discounts/bundles based on your company’s average usage can certainly save you money.

Educating employees on cost-effective behaviors can significantly reduce spending as well.

6. Take advantage of cost-effective technology

Online web chats and video calls are a great way to get everyone in one place without the expense and time commitments of travel.

Video calling and online meeting platforms, such as Brosix, offer invaluable features, such as free screen sharing, whiteboards, and file transferring for satisfyingly productive experiences.

With a subscription-based solution, any business can plan its international communication costs more accurately, because you only pay for what you use.

With the added benefit of no hardware purchase necessary, you don’t have to worry about installation fees, on-site upgrade costs or technical maintenance charges.

7. Consider smaller office sizes

Many businesses are cutting costs by downsizing their offices, not their staff.

By slimming down your domestic and international offices and adopting a collaborative communication network that allows your employees to work remotely from home or anywhere, you can reap the savings and boost communication.

Depending on your type of business, your team could potentially be completely remote, eliminating the need for a central office altogether.

If getting rid of your office isn’t possible, consider “hot desking.”

This is the practice of grouping together employees based on their respective tasks.

For example, establishing a quite area for project members to work silently and another area for phone calls.

8. Think of your meetings as money

Time is money.

Meetings take time.

Therefore, the more meetings you have, the more money you spend.

Whether you’re hosting an online video call with international clients or holding a department meeting, by decreasing the time spent in meetings won’t just save you money, but improve productivity as well.

Additionally, companies who know the value of time take measures to limit the amount of people involved in meetings.

This helps keeps things short and to the point, reducing the chance of things drifting on.

If you have trouble keeping things on track, set a time limit and stick to it!

Also, be sure to start on time every time to prevent wasted time.

Speaking of wasting time…

9. Utilize video calls instead of email

According to McKinsey Global Institute and International Data Corp, workers typically spend 28% of their day reading and writing emails and “nearly 20 percent looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks.”

When you have multiple projects going on, there can be an incredible amount of back-and-forth communication flooding your inbox.

Forbes contributor, Murray Newlands, claims “while emails can be helpful for memos, emails are quickly becoming outdated for the kinds of decision-making and collaborative solutions that are necessary during today’s virtual global company.”

Hopping on a quick video call can reduce the noise and open up a clearer channel of communication that will make team members and departments spend less time trying to solve problems. This is critical for sales teams who need to support when communicating internationally.

Whether your employees are across the hall or across the world, “improved communication and collaboration through social technologies could raise the productivity of interaction workers by 20 to 25 percent.”

And when you save time, you save money.

10. Utilize instant messaging as a business tool

When sending a message cost money, people are typically much more sparing in their communications. It’s the reason you arrive at your desk with a ton of emails instead of a ton of hand-written letters.

The question becomes, how do you cut down the clutter?

One answer: by considering instant messaging as a business solution.

Not only does this cut down on the 28% of worker time spent reading and writing emails we mentioned earlier, but improves communication by reducing workflow interruptions while enabling decisions to be made faster.

Having one-on-one or group chatting makes exchanging information quicker and more efficient due to free screen sharing and whiteboard features.

This is perfect for reducing time and money spent on overseas freelance designers or programmers because you can make changes to projects instantly.

11. Seek secure communication networks at lower cost

End-to-end encryption is a critical component for businesses that communicate ultra-sensitive information across international borders.

A cyber attack on a business can be incredibly damaging and with effects that can take years to recover from.

According to the 2016 Cost of Data Breach Study from the Ponemon Institute and IBM, the average cost of a data breach is $4M, up 29% from 2013.

At a time when security system breaches are becoming more frequent, security measures should a top priority for global businesses, but it doesn’t have to come at an expensive premium.

Ensuring your business has a highly secure private instant messaging tool that is specially designed for business and enterprise messaging purposes can improve international communication at a lower cost without compromising efficiency.

12. Don’t overlook printing costs

If you think printing isn’t increasing your communication costs, you’d be wrong.

When office waste costs UK business £15bn, and the average office worker uses 1,584 sheets of paper per month, you can imagine the costs for US business.

Informing your employees about how much printing costs and its waste can have noticeable effects on your communication costs, especially if you’re still printing and sending documents overseas.

Set printing policies such as using black & white instead of color, switching to double-sided printing by default, previewing the print job before you press print, and if necessary, using a print management software that requires a PIN in order to collect a printing job to prevent wasted pages.

If your business is still heavily relying on paper as a means of internal and international communication, now is a great time to make the transition to digital, cost-saving services.

13. Save on training communications with recorded video

There are many ways to utilize video conferences to propel your business and boost global communication.

One major cost-effective way is using recording training videos for remote employees, especially those based overseas.

Management can record and upload videos online of best practices, protocol, or policies, so new recruits don’t have to travel to receive training like they once did in the past.

By decreasing time and money spent for training sessions, you allow your team to focus on top priority goals.
[conclusion]

Every business needs high-performance communication systems and practices in place that maximize performance. What businesses don’t need is for these infrastructures to break the bank.

When you factor in administrative, deployment, upgrade, maintenance and support, and access costs for effective international communication, it can seem out of reach.

Today, with the consistent increase of cost-effective bandwidth, reliability, and security, video technologies can help businesses of all shapes and sizes extend their global reach in a variety of way. To find out how your business can do all this with pricing that’s significantly lower than average pricing, contact Brosix today.