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Start-Ups: Can You Skype Yourself A Slice Of The Market?

While humans are more important than ever in our depersonalized world, most of that magic can be accomplished over a video call. Skype can help you build a business, says Camille McClane.

Although it’s hard not to trust the face of George Clooney, don’t let the message of Up In the Air fool you: while the human is more important than ever in our depersonalized, automated world, most of that magic can be accomplished through video conference calling.

And given that over a third of Skype’s current call-load is under the heading of business, this paradigm shift in client relations has already trickled down and out.

However, Skype is more than a videophone; since its inception the service has added to its tool-belt a number of functionality options that are tailor-made for entrepreneurs eager to connect with customers and spread out virtual operations in unexpected ways.

Customer Service for Today

Now that so many customer support hotlines are outsourced overseas, addressing client concerns in a personable and, in this case, face-to-face manner can make all the difference.

Unknown to many, Skype offers businesses a call button for internal site use – so you can appear even more professional and keep your personal address private at the same time.

Don’t Get Lost in Translation

Although Skype doesn’t offer an internalized tool for live translation feeds, there are a few adjunct providers that do, including the live, human-sourced Verbalizeit.

For small businesses in a region that speaks multiple languages, this one could be essential. Take a Los Angeles-based outfit like Dunkel Brothers Machinery Moving, an operation that would probably not want to fit a full-time translator into its staffing budget.

With Skype, they could easily tap into a vein of Spanish, Korean and Thai enclaves of customers that might have gotten away.

Collaborate And Listen

It’s no secret that you can use Skype for multi-user conference calls to connect with people in your virtual office, or to reach out to current or prospective clients for pitches. And many people are aware that if at least one person in the circle is signed up for Skype’s Premiere or Manager Services, these conference calls are free.

What is less known, is that Skype offers a screen sharing option that truly revolutionizes presentation potential. With this function, you can share photos and videos in real time – and Skype is powered to easily send these large files speedily, as opposed to email.  

Next Level Tutorials

There are some services that absolutely demand visual interface between client and provider, in a way that allows for a stream or real-time feedback. Especially for a very small operation – say a GMAT tutor – which eschews the need for home visits and eliminates travel expenses, this allows you to book more meetings, and cuts geographical limitations out of the picture.

Additionally, the “once removed” nature of video conferencing can actually make some users less self-conscious than flesh and blood interactions.

As with social media and any number of expanding domains for bringing people together in business, new tools and tricks are sure to unfold as Skype continues to evolve with its users.

As with other media, however, those innovations often emerge organically from the serendipities of users – so the best way to elevate Skype in business may be to jump in and start using it.