Online video conferencing is here to stay, if that wasn’t already obvious. Telecommuting and remote meetings are the new normal in today’s world of global business, and just about everyone has at least a free Skype account.
So while you’re almost certainly already using online video conferencing for meetings with vendors and clients across the country, and perhaps even a few remote employees, have you considered all the possible applications for the technology?
There are all sorts of interactions that benefit from seeing a face, and video conference software can help make all of them easier to arrange. It combines the convenience and simplicity of email with the personal touch only afforded by face-to-face communication.
1 – The Hiring Process
Filling a position at any size organization means interviews. Lots and lots of interviews. Online video conferencing makes the whole process easier for everyone. It removes geography as a factor, making it just as easy to interview someone across the country as across the room. Particularly for companies seeking hard-to-find skill sets, that can be an enormous advantage.
According to a study commissioned by IP phone manufacturer, Polycom, HR professionals expect video conferencing to be their preferred communications tool in 2016. Respondents overwhelmingly preferred video conferencing to every other form of communication during the hiring process, even over email. Amongst the reasons cited were reduced travel costs, a shorter hiring process, and the ability to interview candidates spread across the country or the globe.
2 – Sales Presentations
A webinar is essentially an online presentation, whether you choose to incorporate live webcam video or not. The webinar is a tried and true method for technology sales, and is slowly gaining popularity in other product and service segments. But there’s no reason that should be the case. Modern online video conferencing software integrates easily with just about any computer and camera, and offers features like sharing your desktop, VoIP or phone call-in, meeting recording, participant questions moderation and more.
It may feel a little like an infomercial, but there’s a reason infomercials are still aired every night. They work. A virtual meeting with the purchasing team at your latest prospect can be just as effective as flying out to meet in person, only without the airfare and travel expenses. You’ll even earn extra points if their team, like so many, is geographically dispersed.
3 – Training
Online video conferencing offers the best of both worlds. A video calls with a new employees is easy to set up and allows for personalized instruction without the cost and nuisance of travel. It’s even possible to set up a virtual classroom with trainees who are spread across the country, even world. With telecommuters and remote workers becoming more and more common, remote training is an excellent way to train a disparate team.
4 – Customer Service
With the rise of online chat in the world of customer service and support, adding video and screen sharing is a way to offer more effective and personalized support, enhancing the customer experience and shortening resolution time. The ability to literally show a customer exactly how to solve their problem is invaluable, whether accomplished via remote desktop sharing or live video, for physical product support, for example.
Over time, these interactions can be used to create a library of on-demand videos to solve common issues. Essentially a video FAQ page, this type of support content has been shown to keep customers more engaged and solve tech issues faster than text-based help articles.
Furthermore, face-to-face video interaction commands much of the same respect and human empathy as a physical face-to-face interaction.
5 – Collaboration
Lastly, video conferencing online is of course a mainstay of collaboration in the workplace. Face-to-face conversations are the best way for employees to meet with each other, support each other, and bounce ideas off each other. A software package that allows employees to quickly and conveniently hold short, impromptu “face-to-face” meetings may let them collaborate organically on their projects and roadblocks, more so than scheduling formal meetings.
For home and remote workers, video conferencing online is simply a necessity. Traditionally, home workers have felt less stress with not having to commute, but have suffered from feelings of isolation. Surveys and studies have repeatedly shown that human contact and the sense of working as part of a team improves productivity. Video calls provide that human contact, and are an effective tool for including home and remote workers in the office culture.