Two of the hallmark challenges that SMBs face are their hunger to grow, and their lack of funds to make that growth happen. Unless you’ve been hiding in a basement the last few years, you know what a benefit video conferencing (VC) can be to your SMB, especially in terms of time management, optimizing productivity, building better relations with customers, furthering collaboration, and minimizing expenses.
Video conferencing can help an SMB overcome each of these challenges.
One of the major ways in which video conferencing helps an SMB is with time management. Simply by logging on to your computer, you can be across town, across the country or even the world. It’s a truism that time is money. In a business environment where travel, delayed decisions and other sources of downtime mean that time is simply wasted, companies, especially SMBs, need to find a way to remain agile and reduce these losses.
What’s more is that heightened use of video facilitates telecommuting, thereby allowing workers to spend less time commuting. It gives them more choices and flexibility with their jobs. People who operate under these conditions are more likely to stay with their companies longer, as they tend to report greater satisfaction in their jobs.
Over 60% of SMB CEOs say that one thing that’s had a significant positive impact on the productivity of their employees has been video conferencing. These companies enjoy boosts in both the creativity and speed of their decision making. Employees can act faster because management can more easily interface with them, regardless of what department is interacting with which. Additionally, productivity is boosted simply because when you’re not behind the wheel of your car, stuck in traffic, you can be at your desk working on your Next Big Thing.
Building Better Relations with Customers
Audio conferencing did the trick in its day, but that day is past. Video creates a deeper insight and stronger emotional return than simple audio conferencing. Not only that, but video enables employees to show their documents and images to customers, improving support, engendering trust, and overall quality of the experience. This provides SMBs a considerable competitive edge, thereby helping increase their customer base and fundamentally, their bottom line.
In order to be fully optimized, team members have to be able to fully share skill sets particular to them, and do so easily by collaborating easily. Today’s global workspace, though, with its long distances and disparate time zones often separate workers, however. This challenge can be easily overcome with VC.
Companies spend over $110 billion a year on domestic travel, and over $30 billion internationally. Travel also plays into the time management question, as it can lead to unforeseen illnesses, delayed flights, or other conditions that can cause downtime. Video conferencing technology dramatically curtails both travel costs and and time, and still allows even more personal communications than a phone call with remote customers and employees.
Can These Challenges Be Overcome on an SMB Budget?
The short answer is yes. Design innovation and liberal use of cloud services have enabled room-based video solutions that are as easy to install and use as a TV, yet that are affordable for SMBs at the same time.
For instance, telyLabs’ telyHD video appliance was geared to be simple. Users can install and operate it easily, without the support of IT staff. It provides both video and audio conferencing, remote content sharing and local content display. It is laden with features, allows for many different kinds of collaboration, while at the same time carrying a manufacturer suggested retail price of $649.
Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.