A picture is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes, and when it comes to meetings with remote business associates, a picture can also be worth a thousand dollars. It’s often more too.
You can reduce meeting-associated travel costs by using video-chat technology to hold virtual meetings with offsite employees, instead of flying everyone to the same location.
Video collaboration increases productivity by reducing misunderstandings that often happen with audio-only calls or email communications where people can’t see each other face-to-face, make eye contact and respond to body language cues.
For companies with a geographically dispersed workforce or a high percentage of teleworking employees, video-chat applications can reinforce co-worker relationships and help everyone feel part of the team regardless of location, which engenders loyalty and improves performance.
Choosing the Right Video Chat Software
These benefits make up more than the cost of investing in video chat for business, as long as you choose the application and software best suited to your company’s needs. Here are some of the major players in video chat and what each of them brings to the table:
- Skype was the first major player in video chat and remains popular. Though Skype was originally designed for one-to-one communication, it now supports group calls and screen sharing as well. Although the audio quality and chat function remain stronger than the video application.
- Slack started as a team chat app but added voice and video calling to the desktop application about a year ago. Video chats on Slack can be initiated directly from a text chat window making it perfect for spur-of-the-moment video conferencing among team members. Up to 15 people can join a call and you can share reactions in real-time with Slack’s emoji library.
- Zoom. For group video calls scheduled in advance, Zoom could be your best bet. Install the free application and you can have a call with up to 50 people for up to 40 minutes. If you can do a paid plan, calls can include as many as 500 participants. You can also record any call and maintain topic-specific subconversations with text chats.
- GoToMeeting is one of a network of video conferencing applications that allows for meetings and broadcasting video content such as webinars. If you are holding video chats with clients or customers, the professional features of GoToMeeting make it the clear choice. These features include call recording, dial-in numbers, HD video streaming and screen sharing.
Using Video Chat to Improve Sales
While many of the benefits of video chat for business are directed at employees, customers also benefit from a company’s investment in video technology.
According to Ingram Micro Advisors, video chat has been shown to increase sales rates by up to 10 percent. The ability to view product demos and ask a sales representative questions in real-time both increases sales conversions and lowers the need for further support or troubleshooting after a purchase.
The final piece of the video-chat puzzle is making sure you have the right technology to support remote collaboration.
Once you’ve selected the video chat for business application that best meets your needs, our technology guide can help you select the right technology for your remote and local collaboration needs.