My husband travels. Usually he’s only gone for a day or two, but the last few times it’s been for at least 2 weeks. We miss him when he’s away for so long, but we’ve found a solution that’s a real improvement over a telephone call. It’s called Skype and it’s a software application that allows you to chat over the Internet using voice, video, instant messaging and texting. The best part? It’s free.
You may be thinking: What a nice little glimpse into your personal life, but what has that got to do with my business? Well, by using Skype for my personal use I’ve learned what a valuable tool it can be for my business.
Here are the top 5 ways Skype can benefit your business:
- Save Money – Skype enables you to reduce your calling costs by offering free Skype-to-Skype phone calls, one-to-one video calls, instant messaging and screen sharing (more on that later). Skype’s long distance rates are extremely competitive too, even less than buying a phone card.
- Save Time – Rather than spend your time (and money) travelling, you can meet face-to-face on Skype instead, for free. It’s perfect for those of us offering virtual services, such as coaching, consulting or professional organizing.
- Freedom in how you Communicate – Skype is versatile and flexible. You can use it from your desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. You can use your voice, face or written words to communicate with clients and colleagues. You can also use Skype to call a mobile phone or landline (and the person you’re calling doesn’t have to be on Skype).
- Collaborate with your Team – Like most entrepreneurs, most of us don’t have “staff”. We tend to outsource parts of our business and our team may be scattered across the globe. Skype brings everyone together and makes it easy to feel like you’re in the same room. Its group conference calling feature (also free) is perfect for team meetings. You can also share your screen with others, which is great for brainstorming. File sharing is easy too. Just a few clicks and you’re done.
- Strengthen Client Relationships – Skype enables you to get up close and personal with your clients. It’s a powerful tool to build and maintain your business relationships.
True, there are a variety of video chatting options out there. Google Voice and Video Chat, Yahoo! Messenger, Facetime to name a few. However, if you and the person you want to chat with are not using the same email provider or computer platform (Mac or PC) then the video chatting software won’t work. Skype is software that is independent. That means anyone can install it, no matter what computer they’re using or email provider they’re signed up with.
Video chatting is quickly becoming maintstream in how we communicate, personally and professionally. But, just like any type of technology, I encourage you to dabble. Try it out with friends and family first. You’ll soon see how many ways you can integrate this useful and cost effective tool into your business.
Have you used video chatting in your business? I’d be interested in knowing how it’s made a difference in how you communicate with your clients and colleagues. Share your comments below.