Skype and Facebook have just rolled out a new “Video Chat” feature that enables people to see and interact with their friends in real-time while they are in Facebook. This feature is great for business because it enables buyers to get to know, like and trust sellers much faster and easier than ever before. I can think of several instances where my business and my client’s business could have been greatly enhanced with this ability to quickly and easily connect “eyeball to eyeball.”
Relationship Building – By using Facebook’s video chat to interact easily and seamlessly with prospective clients “eyeball to eyeball,” a business person can dramatically increase the speed with which a potential client can cross the ever present, completely invisible “KLT (Know-Like-Trust) Bridge.”
When people can “look you in the eye” – even over a computer screen, they are more likely to develop a relationship with you that is stronger than a phone call, email, or Facebook post. This is true whether the initial relationship was developed IRL – In Real Life – or virtually. It is especially true for the millions of people who are doing the majority of their business over the internet.
Simplicity – Until now, it has been a bit cumbersome – some would say difficult – to schedule a video chat with other people. The way that Facebook has integrated this feature into the regular Online Chat and Messaging features that people are already comfortable using, makes this incredibly simple.
For example, I work with people all over the world. Most of these people I’ve never “seen” face to face. Although I’ve used Skype video for many years, I am usually met with resistance when I suggest someone install it on their computer so that we can “meet face-to-face.” After trying to walk a few people through it, I realized it was just easier to connect over the phone.
That obstacle – downloading an application that seems scary, intimidating and difficult – just disappeared today thanks to this new venture between Skype and Facebook. Although the Facebook application does require the downloading of software, it seems less intimidating and more user friendly than other alternatives. Plus, because so many people will be using it, it will be almost impossible to ignore.
Accessibility – With Facebook’s 750+ million users, Skype’s video chat feature will now be easily accessible by everyone – young and old. Just think about how much easier it will be for a merchant in Kansas City to talk to a factory owner in Hong Kong about a product he wants built.
I can see many brick and mortar businesses benefiting from this as well. Let’s consider a little shop that sells a special handbag. A potential customer from thousands of miles away might be more likely to initiate a chat to discuss price, styles, and shipping versus getting on a website and trying to figure it all out. For some strange reason, people like to do business with people. Imagine that!
Let’s take this a step further. What if an up and coming designer could have an easy video chat with a potential customer? How cool would it be for someone to be able to say – “Yes, it’s a great bag. I got to meet the designer on Facebook. She showed lots of different styles. It was awesome. I gave her my credit card right over Facebook and I had it the next day!” If a customer talks directly to a buyer like that, price no longer matters.
The ability for people who already do most of their sales online will dramatically benefit from this as well. By taking a couple of moments to directly connect with potential customers via Facebook video chat powered by Skype, consultants, trainers, and sales people all over the globe should be able to “seal the deal” faster and easier than ever.
The only downside I see is that I am going to have to start wearing make-up on a regular basis again. And fixing my hair. Argh. Working from home just lost a couple of it’s many benefits. However, I think that the ability to connect directly with people will pay enormous benefits – personally and professionally.
The world just got smaller. And friendlier. And a lot more connected. Thanks Skype. Thanks Facebook.
Gotta run and put on some makeup. It’s time to “meet” some of my “old” friends – people I’ve been communicating regularly with for years. I can’t wait!
How To Use It: Of course, both parties must have a webcam. (If you don’t have one, you can get a great one for less than $50 at Amazon. The one I recommend is this HD model from Logitec http://ow.ly/5y1vy – affiliate link).
There are two ways to use access this feature – via Online Chat and directly via a Personal Profile. With Online Chat, set your Facebook Chat status to “online”. Then initiate a Facebook video chat right from the Chat box. Or, go to your friend’s Personal Profile. If they are online, a “call” button will appear at the top right of their Profile Page. If your friend does not answer, you can leave a video message. Your recorded video message will be waiting in your friend’s Inbox the next time they check their messages. This article from Mashable explains more: http://mashable.com/2011/07/06/facebook-skype-video-chat-pics/
Go directly to Facebook’s page to get started: www.fb.com/videocalling
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Filed Under: Facebook