Communicating with clients is a critical part of any aspect of business and is vital to ensuring increased sales and excellent customer service. However, what do you do if you and your client are not based in the same geographical region? Fortunately, technology has the answer.
We now have ways where we can routinely and easily communicate face to face with people all over the world. Teleconferencing has enabled business to excel between companies with relative ease. There are different types of teleconferencing, but arguably, anything other than videoconferencing is outdated.
What Is Videoconferencing
Both teleconferencing and videoconferencing require active participation by the users.
Videoconferencing is a newer, more modern version of teleconferencing. Although there is, some overlap between the two, videoconferencing allows participants to see each other. Teleconference is a more general term that involves several people holding a conference in different places.
There will be technology of some sort involved but it could be a simple phone system. In contrast, videoconferencing is more specific and involves the use of video and sound within the conferences. In videoconferencing, virtual meeting rooms can replace board and conference rooms.
Yes, you can talk face to face with a client or customer in Japan, while you are in New York. You can meet with your board while in your home office and they are scattered all over the US or abroad. You can share documents, your desktop, and various presentation media without ever needing to get on a plane or print a graph.
Videoconferencing Versus Teleconferencing
- The advantage of teleconferencing is that it requires relatively little technology in comparison to videoconferencing. Videoconferencing requires some kind of webcam, microphone, computer software and other technology. This can make it a more costly and impractical option for some, especially small businesses. However, the advantages of videoconferencing far outweigh this need for technology. Once the appropriate items have been purchased, there is little ongoing cost.
- Videoconferencing allows you to see the person you are talking to; research has continually shown the importance of body language and other non-verbal cues. These are simply not available with teleconferencing.
- Often in business, clients want to see your face and look you in the eye. This has been and still remains one of the cornerstones in closing deals and the art and science of customer relations. Video allows you to do this and not just be a voice on the other end of a phone, which can increase your bottom line and build stronger relationships with potential and existing clients.
- Videoconferencing can allow you to pick up on the subtle cues within a conference that can provide vital information. This type of conferencing is the closest you can get to actually being in the same room as each other. With the advent of online services such as ClickMeeting, videoconferencing has become much more accessible to everyone.
- Videoconferencing can increase productivity and efficiency within a limited budget. Compared to the travel cost in money and time, a highly effective tool should be employed by all businesses. With regular teleconferencing, there is still a place for traditional face-to-face meetings; this therefore does not reduce costs that much as you is still paying for travel costs and time. In contrast, videoconferencing minimizes costs as well as increasing productivity.
- If there is a crisis or problem that needs solving relatively quickly, everyone involved can log in and have an impromptu meeting. Without videoconferencing, you would be reliant on either traditional teleconferencing or spending a considerable amount of time and money on travel.
- As videoconferencing uses more technology than simple teleconferencing, it enables documents to be available to all members of the conference. Documents can be sent, viewed, and discussed simultaneously by all members of the conference. Again, productivity is hugely increased and staff members become much more efficient at their job. For businesses, this means increased sales and reduced costs on staff time and travel. This transmission of documents via electronic methods can be a much more secure method than traditional meetings or using a fax machine. Online software and emails contain built in security features that ensure only those intended to view the documents actually do. Compared to the risks involved with relying on people to transport documents, this is a much more secure and preferable way to share documents.
So should you focus on videoconferencing? The answer is a resounding yes. Once you have purchased the initial equipment there are only benefits that will increase you profit.