Google Hangout makes it easy to talk to prospective clients, regular customers, and employees. In today’s world, many customers and colleagues are not in the same city, much less country! Plus many people enjoy the work-at-home freedoms that technology affords you today, so tools like video chat and desktop sharing are becoming more popular. Google Hangout (technically it is Google+ Hangouts, but you’ll frequently hear people drop the “s” and the “plus”), is available to anyone with a Google Plus profile. It is a powerful, free tool letting you video chat with up to 10 accounts, unlike most other video chat software like Skype that limits you to two participants for a free account with signup. Plus, you can hangout from any internet-enabled device!
5 Tips for Small Business to
Use Google Hangout to Work from Home or Office
Google Hangouts is not new, but small business owners continue to learn to use it to their advantage. Here are some tips to help you reap some serious benefits from this free, yet robust, tool.
Customer Service Mano-a-Mano
Mano a mano means hand to hand in Spanish. When it comes to customer service, lending a hand is better than just showing a face! Many people hire or shop small businesses because of their personal service. So amp up that competitive advantage by solving inevitable customer problems through face-to-face (ok, I had to say it) video chats. Have you ever had a problem and had to wade through “press 2 for this” and “press 4 for that”? Or worse, had to enter a ticket via a form and even after several days of waiting and 3 or 4 volleys of clarifications, you still don’t have an answer. Did you think, “All of this could be avoided if I could just talk to someone!”? So how amazed would your customer be if you set up a meeting with them to hangout? The ability to see body language is a powerful tool, plus you increase customer retention through increasing trust.
If you continually get the same questions from customers, you may have a frequently-asked questions (FAQ) section on your website. Especially with YouTube providing such a wealth of search-related traffic, there is no better time to convert those FAQs into videos. The video below is an example of a business sharing how “real” they are and engaging customers. You used to have to be a technical wizard to produce a podcast or webcast, but no more! Now you can record a Google Hangout on Air session in which you demo the answer to customer questions and the hangout is published to your Google+ profile. You can also put it on YouTube or embed directly into your website. The flexibility of Google Hangouts is that you can share your desktop as well as the video.
Promotion of your Expertise and Business
You can use Google Hangouts to demonstrate something of interest to customers. Like if you own an accounting or tax preparation business, you could host a series of live demonstrations of ways to get organized for tax time or financial statements. To capture your audience offer a discount to attendees or entry into a drawing for free services. You can follow-up with your attendees to get feedback and to see how you might serve their business needs. Remember that if you use Hangouts on Air, you can post it to YouTube or your website for attract future visitors.
Collaboration for Work-at-Home or Teams in Multiple Locations
Small business owners frequently outsource functions so they can run their core business rather than doing things others do better or administrative others can do more cheaply. Need to meet with the accountant to go over some tax information? Hangout to save the time and expense of driving to another location just to collaborate. Have a virtual assistant in a different city or country? Again, hangout to clarify details to reduce errors and misunderstandings. Perhaps your small business is a work-at-home business and sometimes you just need a little inspiration,, then start a hangout for small businesses like yours. See the weekly hangouts that Jason Matthews started by visiting his Google+ profile and looking for his hangouts. Not only is it great inspiration, but also, superb networking!
Spend less time and money by using with Google Hangouts to conduct interviews. Especially if you are hiring non-local talent, or if you have team members who should participate but are not local, your small business bottom line will benefit. Even if you feel a real in-person interview is necessary before you hire, you can use Google Hangout sessions to conduct initial interviews or discuss an applicants’ performance among your interview team members.
Bonus tip: Especially with your employees, use the special effects to add a little fun. make yourself a dog, cat, princess, or use any of the fun little masks and hats. Note that the video and voice quality can suffer when the effects are being used, but it can be a fun way to start a meeting.
Are you using Google Hangout for your Small Business?
Why not? Taking advantage of this free tool helps you increase employee collaboration, develop engaging video content for your website, build a reputation for customer service, and save time and money. Use these video tutorials on how to use Hangout and give it a try! Whether you work from home or an office, it is one small business advantage you cannot afford to miss. Have questions? Post a comment below or join me on Google+! Connect with me.