Procurement 23 January 2017

How video conferencing can streamline business operation

Video conferencing
Video conferencing affords businesses a number of important benefits

Writing for Business Advice, James Berger, founder of school ICT provider Netcom 92, explains the benefits of incorporating video conferencing within a small business.

Does your business use video conferencing? If not, you aren’t alone. In fact, 75 per cent of businesses fail to harness the power of video conference calling.

Innovations like Skype have changed the way we do business. The internet of things has resulted in an immeasurable quantity of powerful communication resources just waiting to help make your life easier.

Yet, despite the options available, many business owners aren’t taking full advantage of what’s on offer, all to the detriment of their operations.

As an advanced form of web-based communication, video conferencing affords businesses a number of important benefits. These unique benefits include face-to-face meetings with multiple persons, being able to share data, collaborate on projects visually, screen-share, provide remote computer access and more.

Given the advantages of video conferencing, it comes as no surprise that the integration of such technology can have some major impacts on the way your business operates.

Recruitment

The use of the telephone interview is on the rise. Business owners often opt for this process before inviting a prospect for a formal, face-to-face interview to ensure they only move forward with serious and viable candidates.

However, telephone interviews are not the optimal method of screening prior to a formal interview. Body language, attitude, facial expressions, attentiveness and other physical aspects of communication are impossible to gauge over the phone, yet are crucial to knowing whether or not a prospect is suitable.

Video conference calling enhances this initial screening phase. Not only does it allow for you to pick up on visual cues from candidates, but data sharing means you can have a more detailed recruitment process.

For example, use this time to run prospects through their expected work goals, provide examples, and see how they react to what’s being put in front of them. This enables you to quickly get a measure of their capabilities and decide if they are worth taking any further.

Overseas assignments

If your business has international projects or branches, communication with HQ is vital. Often, this means sending teams abroad to work on assignments and report back. However, the more you can affect the outcome of the overseas assignment from back home, the lesser the need for boots on the ground.

A number of elements unique to video conferencing enable a greater level of control when it comes to overseas assignments. Aspects like data sharing, remote access to systems and face-to-face communication with teams positioned overseas allow for strong integration between colleagues found on different sides of the world.

Essentially, this gives management back home more power to effect projects taking place overseas. The better you can remotely manage a project, the fewer resources you expend on overseas assignees and travel.

Long-distance networking

Networking is immensely valuable to business. Put simply, it provides opportunities unavailable through other channels. While there is something to be said for common methods of online networking, engaging on social media and other platforms, the importance of face-to-face contact should not be underestimated.

In practice, face-to-face networking means attending conferences in person. However, travelling for networking is costly; in terms of time and money.

This leaves you with two options: expend a vast amount of resources on networking, or limit your networking capabilities. Neither sound particularly attractive. However…

Video conferencing can provide a happy solution. Enjoy the benefits of personal interaction, building that rapport only gained through proper human connection, all while reducing the use of business resources. The primary benefit of video conferencing over a standard web chat is that you can involve multiple people and share and discuss documents and files live.

Client communication

The same principles of video conference networking can also be applied to client communication.

Good communication and client relationships ensure greater retention and increased revenue. However, heading out for lunch or over to a client’s business HQ for a discussion is another area where resources are lost.

You cannot cut out client communication, so instead, utilise video conferencing. It will allow for face-to-face meetings, detailed communication, connection and data sharing, while also reducing time and costs associated with keeping customers happy.

Accessible training

Training and development of employees is important, but also expensive and time-consuming. Cutting out training is not really an option, but it can be streamlined to reduce its impact on your bottom line.

Video conferencing can solve a number of problems that occur during training:

  • Allows business owners to outsource training to worldwide destinations, enabling you to find the best training options at the lowest cost
  • Enables interactivity unattainable through pre-recorded training
  • It can, however, be recorded for those workers unable to make the training
  • Utilises visual learning techniques — the most accessible form of learning — through on-screen file sharing, presentations and screen-shares
  • Can be saved and archived for future use, instead of paying out for new training
  • It’s easily returned to for re-training if necessary

If you are looking for tips and advice on how to set up video conferencing, PC Advisor have created a detailed guide.

James Berger is owner and founder of Netcom92

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