Between traditional and mobile phones, email, text and social media, there’s no shortage of ways to stay connected in your business. In today’s tech-forward world, it’s the norm to offer a multitude of ways to keep in touch – including instant messaging. While IM might have once been considered the consumer’s purview, it’s gained ground in business settings, and for good reason. It’s a great way to keep in touch with employees, partners and customers alike, whether they sit across the hall or across the globe.
We’ve come up with five ways that Skype IM can help you work smarter (while you save money – instant messaging is free!).
1. You can move fast.
When it comes to a quick response, instant messaging is without comparison. You can see immediately when someone contacts you if you have Skype open, making responding to spur-of-the-moment questions fast and easy. You can also get answers quickly. Perhaps you’re on a call with a vendor and need additional information from a colleague, or you’d like to check someone’s availability for an upcoming meeting. With IM, you can get the information you need and move on. The immediate nature of IM creates the feeling of being right there, especially ideal for businesses with remote employees or those that operate virtually. But rest assured, if you’re away and someone messages you, the message will be there when you return.
2. You can collaborate better with groups.
It’s easy to conduct group chats in real time via Skype IM, and even keep the conversation going long-term with various people who work together. Need to chat regularly with a particular project team, or communicate more effectively with a group of remote workers? Create a Skype chat and use IM to ask and answer questions, share ideas, drop in links to articles, talk through issues or hold a silent brainstorm. Many of our business users maintain several different chats – internal teams like marketing, accounting or engineering; project teams; client teams or even customer groups. Not only can people participate in real time, an ongoing chat provides an opportunity for those in disparate time zones to join the conversation when they’re in the office. IM also provides a handy log: you can search conversation history with the CTRL-F key function. Tip: Name your chats so you can find them easily (ie: Acme Marketing Team).
3. You can take it on the go.
Chances are you’re not stationary, and neither is Skype. IM is not limited to your desktop or laptop. You can reach out and respond to people from your mobile phone or tablet, so you’re really available whenever (and wherever) you want to be.
4. You can send and receive files.
Being able to quickly receive files or send them to others is a feature many businesses tell us they rely on every day. From documents to presentations to photos, sharing information of any size with colleagues — individually or in a group — is only a drag and drop away, whether you’re chatting or on a voice call. So, if you’re having a weekly meeting with your marketing team and need to take a look at some new materials, your designer can drop the files in and you’ll have them right away. Of course, you can also share your screen with Skype, but for the times you need to have a document in your hands (or get one into someone else’s), IM can make it happen.
5. You can protect your time.
Having instant messaging doesn’t mean you have to let it interrupt your business when you need to focus on something else. Set your Skype status to Do Not Disturb when you’re tied up. Your contacts can see that you’re online but you aren’t free to chat. You will still receive messages, but you won’t be alerted with pop-ups or sound – particularly helpful if you’re on a voice call, sharing your screen, busy in a group chat, or deep in thought and want to avoid distractions.
What ways are you using Skype instant messaging to streamline communication in your business? Tell us in the comment section below.