I’m sure at this point we are all sick of reading the words ‘Coronavirus’ and ‘COVID-19’, but this pandemic is not something we can simply ignore or pause. It affects everything, including your ability to conduct business.
You are still able to meet with clients face-to-face while practicing social distancing! There is a multitude of free services like Google+ Hangouts, Skype, Facetime (for Apple users), ooVoo, and Zoom that allow you to video chat with your customers and agents.
Here’s a breakdown of five useful platforms to get you started:
- Google+ Hangouts
Google+ Hangouts is a great option, especially if you already use Google Apps for business. You can connect with up to nine team members at once, and the service automatically integrates with your existing Google account so you don’t need to create a new account. This application is accessible from laptops and Apple and Android devices.
A cool feature is this platform allows you to share screens and use Google Docs for “real-time collaboration.” (Business.org) Another useful feature is the ability to broadcast your Hangout to a global audience and share it via a URL.
Link to get started: https://hangouts.google.com/
If either your team or clients use Mac products, consider using FaceTime chat. FaceTime is an Apple app that allows you to video chat with your team quickly and easily.
Note: The app is available for Apple devices only, including the iPad, and iPhone. You are also able to download FaceTime for Mac on your desktop.
Link to get started: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204380
Skype is one of the most reliable video chat services and was one of the firsts. It works on a range of devices and is a popular video-chat option around the world. If you need to connect with people internationally, Skype should be your chat program of choice as it is the most common. It’s installed as an app on your smartphone or a program on your computer.
Through Skype, you are able to connect with your team via Instant Message or video chat. It’s also a helpful way to cut the cost of phone calls. “Savvy business owners who make long-distance or international calls can frequently purchase a subscription to Skype for lower than average calling rate,” according to Business.org. It’s a free way to instant message and video chat between Skype accounts.
Note: The price of unlimited calling plans ranges depending on the countries you’re calling.
Link to get started: https://www.skype.com/en/
ooVoo started as a chat app that was popular with teenagers but was quickly adopted by many businesses. ooVoo works on mobile devices, laptops, and desktops as well as integrates with Facebook. You can video chat with up to 12 people at one time, share screens, and record and send messages.
Its major limitation is that many people are likely using other programs, but ooVoo can be a great option when it’s adopted as an agency-wide solution. Basic ooVoo service is free.
Note: There are ads in the free version, and a premium service enables screen share and includes more features for $2.99/month.
Link to get started: https://www.oovoo.com/
Zoom is probably the platform you are most familiar with as it is one of the most commonly utilized video chatting applications used by businesses. Zoom is a remote conferencing service that provides video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration capabilities.
You can have up to 100 participants on one video call, as well as host webinars, phone calls, and chat. Zoom works across all operating systems (PC, Mac, iOS, and Android) and has payment integrations with PayPal (Zoom Team).
Note: Zoom is free, but there is a 40-minute time limit on meetings.
Link to get started: https://zoom.us/
We want you to be as safe as possible while still being able to write business. Video chatting is an easy solution to abiding by CDC guidelines while maintaining your customer relationships. COVID-19 has made in-person interactions difficult, but these five platforms allow you to conduct business as usual from the safety and comfort of your home.