Q This paper aims to explore the electronic & non-electronic means of communication and takes up two prominent businesses Home, - HC1021 INTERPERSONAL E-COMMUNICATION Introduction and Background Communication is one of the key elements that determine the success of business organizations in today's globalized business communities. Building an efficient communication system requires the implementation of both electronic as well as non-electronic media. Media refers to a wide variety of communication methods that use various devices-- both electronic and non-electronic. Electronic media specifically refers to the electrical devices of communication, like e-mails, telephone, social media and more. On the other hand, non-electronic media of communication refers to all the non-electronic mediums of transferring messages, like face-to-face interactions, flyers, notices, etc. (Chadwick, 2017). This paper takes up two business Companies to understand the various aspects of electronic and non-electronic mediums of communication. Background of the Companies The two chosen Companies for this paper are Woolworths Supermarkets, an Australian grocery store chain and Vodafone, a British multinational telecommunications company. Founded in 1924, the Woolworths Group is one of the leading organizations in Australia, with Coles as their only biggest competitor. The Company mainly focuses on providing groceries at a retail rate but also sells additional products like household products, health products and other supplies. The Company also has an online retail shop which can be used to "click and buy" products from home. The Company currently operates across nearly 1000 stores spread all over Australia, along with its online shopping site. One the other hand, Vodafone Group is a British multinational telecommunications company that performs all across the globe and is a leading force in the current international business market (Gujarathi & Comerford, 2016). With headquarters based in London and Berkshire, the Company operates mainly in the regions of Asia, Africa, Oceania, etc. The Company is one of the leading mobile operator groups in the world. Key non-electronic communication methods and practices Non-electronic communication methods are particular communication methods that do not require electronic devices in their communication process. Non-electronic communication methods mainly comprise of face-to-face interactions, letters, notices, emails, etc. Non-electronic communication methods can also be divided into verbal communication and non-verbal communication. In the case of Woolworths, the Company uses a variety of non-electronic communication methods including face-to-face interactions like interviews, or other means of communication like letters, notices, etc. The main stakeholders of the Company in the process are customers, employees, suppliers and the general public. The key non-electronic communication methods followed by the Company are: · Notice: Official notices up on notice boards are common communication method for the Company, which needs to communicate with a large number of individuals every day. These printed notices can be addressed to either customers or the employees of the shop. Essential information regarding holidays, working hours can be put up in these notice boards. · Face-to-face: face-to-face interactions mainly involve verbal communications, where the message is being transferred directly to the receiver through spoken words or other languages. This also includes interviews which are a common method of communication held for recruiting new employees. · Training and awareness: The Company holds regular meetings and training sessions for employees that essentially communicate useful information regarding the Company and the nature of work. These meetings are important to identify the particular areas of weakness and improving the work output with the help of relevant knowledge and experience. The Vodafone Group of Companies is a major international Group of Companies and needs to communicate with a large number of audiences daily. The key non-electronic mediums of communication used by the Company are briefly discussed below: · Customer Servicing: One of the essential non-electronic communication methods used by the Vodafone company is the customer servicing provided by the employees of the organization for the customers of the same. This is an important part of communication that has the potential to influence the relationship between the company and the target consumer. · Decision-making: Decision-making is one of the most crucial functions of the Company and is mostly carried out on spot in the presence of the board of directors. This form of communication is mostly non-electronic (unless video conferencing is used) and constitutes one of the most essential communication systems. · Flyers: Flyers are important non-electronic communication mediums and is frequently used by the company to reach out to a large audience. Flyers can include relevant useful information regarding the Company's tariff changes or special offers and can be distributed amongst potential customers for awareness as well as promotional values. · Non-verbal: Another important medium of communication is non-verbal communication or communication that follows signs and signals instead of direct verbal messages. This form of communication can be used to connect with a large audience as well as the competing rival forces in the market. Implementing new offers or changing existing tariff plans to meet certain requirements can be considered significant non-electronic communication. Key electronic media and communication strategies Social media: Social media has become one of the most popular ways of profiling people through hundreds of personal data highlighted in their profiles. Woolworths has been utilizing the common practices and advantages of social media from a very long time (Deering & Zhang, 2017). Though they have failed in multiple attempts to expand their business in marketplaces without doing proper research, Woolworths still uses various strategies to promote themselves by reaching more people through social media and widening their recognition globally. Vodafone, on the other hand, has shown excellent utilization of social-media by successfully expanding across countries by properly analyzing their culture and the marketplace. They have successfully promoted themselves and quickly adapted to rising competition by providing quality service and promoting various online merchandise/enterprises. Social media is a very strong communicational tool especially for Telecom Services Company like the Vodafone. Website: After technological advancement and the widespread availability of the internet, building a website or an online representation of the self was very important to reach more people. Woolworths has an attractive and interactive website with all the information about the organization, its goals, achievements and several long term visions that highlights their organizational goals. They provide reviews and criticisms from their clients and employees. Vodafone's website shows the entire necessary information one can ask for when they are viewing the company for the first time. With attractive offers for almost every day, their website is usually busy throughout the day with heavy customer traffics. Video conferencing: Video conferencing or video calling nowadays have become of the most trusted and confidential ways of communicating with each other. Woolworths, being a domestic company in Australia, has to compose various video conferencing calls in a single day to stay connected with retail and supply chain management to keep up the qualitative service and compete efficiently with its competitors and stay ahead of them. Vodafone also uses this kind of communication systems to stay updated about their various organizational outputs and returns and to carefully and efficiently monitor them to promote more growth opportunities and compete more professionally in international standards. Video conferencing is also used in emergencies where there is a stock market fall or other threats that need immediate attention and recovery strategies. Email: Emailing has undoubtedly been the most important tool for quick communication through letters or words typed in the email. It is mainly used to communicate with the employees of an organization. Woolworths has been using this form of communication to communicate with its employees spread all over the world. Vodafone also uses this method of communication for various monitoring, servicing and promoting purposes. Customers are updated with new plans every day with the detailed processes sent to them via email from the company. Emailing is also efficient in undergoing formal or sensitive transactions or interactions. SWOT Analysis To improve the marketing strategies of both the organizations it is important to first have a thorough understanding of their marketing activities. A thorough assessment of the marketing activities, in both the Companies, indicates specific strengths and weaknesses that lead to further opportunities or threats. Learning about the particular strengths and weaknesses of an organization can be an important tool to pursue further marketing opportunities and avoiding potential threats. The specific strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the two companies' communication strategy are briefly described below: Strengths: The main strength of the communication strategies used by Woolworths and Vodafone is that they use both electronic communication mediums as well as non-electronic communication mediums, to easily reach out to a vast majority of stakeholders. The use of electronic media has set them ahead of the market with new technological advancements and the internet (Ganapathi & Panchanatham, 2016). The availability of electronic devices has made it easier for companies to reach out to their customers and employees. The use of non-electronic communication methods helps the organizations to organizations face-to-face meetings and interviews, which help them in strengthening their interpersonal bonds. Weaknesses: The main weakness of the communication strategies implemented by the chosen organizations is that they are not yet up-to-date with the technological advancements of the world. Woolworths as a leading grocery retailing shop fails to maintain its online presence and receives multiple complaints regarding poor customer servicing online (Sharma & Sinha, 2017). The online website of the Company is made for online shopping but due to ineffective online presence, most customers fail to use the application properly. In the case of Vodafone Company, the stakeholders are spread out so far wide that they constantly have issues regarding miscommunication or communication gap. Instead of a strong internet presence and significant non-electronic means of communication, the Company fails to update its customers as regularly as is required. Opportunities: The two Companies, Vodafone and Woolworths have some significant opportunities to improve their communication systems. Since both the Companies are depended on customer feedback they must strengthen their customer satisfaction initiatives. The Woolworths Company faces constant challenges regarding customer satisfaction and communication and therefore the Company needs to look after their online communication system (Shribman & Vilenski, 2018). The Vodafone Company uses employees from all over the world, as it is a multinational organization; the Company can enhance its communication systems with further non-verbal mediums to reach out to its employees equally and without misunderstanding. Threats: One of the biggest threats experienced by both organizations is the rivalry and stiff competition in the business market. Coles is the next leading supermarket after Woolworths and failing consumer satisfaction at Woolworths can shift its customers to the next available alternative in the market (Grimmer, 2018). The Vodafone Company also faces stiff threats regarding cross-cultural miscommunication as employees from different cultures, languages and backgrounds come together to work for the Company's objectives. To function smoothly in the given international market, it is necessary for the Companies to consider these threats and resolve them before they bring a downfall. Comparison of the communication practices of both the Companies Woolworths invest a lot in their social media marketing strategies and has efficient communicational goals and plans for the future. They have utilized social media platforms to their extent when it comes to promoting their organization and the work/service they provide. Though receiving many negative feedbacks when it comes to customer servicing and satisfaction, Woolworths needs to apply and implement new strategies and methods to optimize their online growth via social media. Vodafone, on the other hand, has unique persuading characteristics that make them very visible in the online world. Their rich research on the markets they operate and talented and skilful analysts make growth and development for the company very competitive and acquire professional levels of management. Woolworths has an attractive website which keeps its customers busy finding or enquiring about things and procedures all day long. But they lack in valuing every customer's complaints and the typical ignorance behaviour makes them backdated and unacceptable for some communities (Tidd & Bessant, 2018). Customers are lost when he/she feels that they are not being valued or listened to. Vodafone has a hugely interesting and uniquely interactive website which allows customers from all over the world to access information about their related issues. Vodafone has always been very open to criticism and knows how to value customers, so they win the loyalty of the customers and open more growth opportunities by letting anyone open retail stores and merchandises after going through some formal procedures and documentation. Customer servicing through non-electronic communication systems include surveys that help in collecting relevant information regarding customer needs and requirements. Both Companies use this method to retrieve essential data regarding their products and services from direct users or consumers (Rghioui & Oumnad, 2017). These surveys are important tools of communication and work as a link between the Companies and their customers. The communication practices of Vodafone Company are the far head of the communication practices of Woolworths because of their judicious implementation of communication strategies. The Woolworths Company has been functioning in the Australian business market for a long time but still has not been able to meet their customer demands and requirements. Their online presence is inefficient and they face stiff challenges regarding inefficient customer providing. On the other hand, the Vodafone Company has made significant investments for enhancing their communication systems, including electronic and non-electronic mediums. Their online presence is strong because they have customer experts employed at each customer service stations, who respond to customer queries immediately and without any ambiguity. This makes the Vodafone Company an expert in communication practices and sets them ahead of the rival forces. The judicious use and implementation of the various communication systems would help both the Companies to enhance their consumer satisfaction (Govender, 2017). Both electronic, as well as non-electronic mediums of communication, are essential in the smooth functioning of an organization. In the case of cross-cultural communication, special care has to be taken for significant awareness and training of the employees. Conclusion and Recommendation To conclude, communication is an important aspect of business organizations that hold the potential to improve business interactions at a given space and time. To avoid chaos in the organizational processes it is important to have a strong system of communication within as well as outside the organizations. The communication systems include electronic communication as well as non-electronic communication. The electronic media consists of electronic devices that help in transferring messages from one end of the world to another, for example, social media, telephone, e-mails and more. With the rapid advancement in technology and the internet, the electronic media has gained significant acceptance and access amongst the general public. On the other hand, non-electronic communication systems refer to transferring of messages without using any electrical device, that is, interviews, surveys, face-to-face interactions and more. Non-electronic communication mediums help in strengthening the interpersonal bonds within an organization and also help in retrieving relevant data regarding customers' choices and preferences. This paper has taken up the incidences of the Vodafone Company and the Woolworths Company to understand and assess their respective communication strategies to understand their particular strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The paper has aimed to provide further recommendations regarding the communication issues identified in the analysis.