When it comes to customer service, keeping your clients happy is not only important for your revenue stream; it’s your competitive advantage against the bigger players. Statistics indicate that 68 percent of customers defect because they feel treated poorly. That’s why, historically, as a small or medium business, you go the extra distance to deliver good customer care. You know that loyal customers – in addition to purchasing more often and renewing contracts — are your best marketing tool.

Increasingly, video conferencing is becoming a strategic tool to take customer service to a new level. In addition to boosting productivity and collaboration among your increasingly dispersed workforce, video conferencing enables live customer support. You also can bring together a number of people from anywhere at any time to collaborate on behalf of or with a client. For all these reasons, 45 percent of you currently are or plan to implement video conferencing as part of your move to unified communications (UC), according to our Plantronics survey of 250 small and medium businesses in the Spiceworks IT Pro Community.

Integrating video conferencing into UC  solutions eliminates the implementation challenges of the past when complex, self-contained systems required a dedicated room. Today’s UC video conferencing solutions both in the cloud and on premise have resolved the technology issues that resulted in poor quality voice and images; and you can conference from anywhere, even at home.

New UC solutions integrated with video conferencing provide flexibility for use over a range of devices. Both desktop and mobile platforms integrate multiple services so that users can, for example, track someone’s availability through presence and then send an instant message to launch an on-the-fly video conference. Users also can join a pre-planned conference all through the same familiar interface.  A Plantronics headset, such as the Voyager® PRO UC Bluetooth headset, streamlines the experience by connecting to a PC or mobile phone and managing calls between the two.

Easy as it may be to launch your video conference, you still want make sure that your call achieves the results you want. Since 80 percent of communication consists of non-verbal and visual cues, you don’t want to send mixed messages while on screen. Here are a few tips to prepare and conduct your video conference:

  • Check the background: Don’t distract the participants with a cluttered work or other distractions or movement in the background.
  • Ensure good lighting: Be sure the area is well lit and the camera angle is good on you or whatever else you are demonstrating or sharing.
  • Don’t multitask: You are on camera; wait till the call ends to check emails on your smartphone.
  • Dress for success: How you look is a focal point of your meeting. Dress as if you were meeting in person – no pajamas!
  • Try to smile:  No one wants to look at someone frowning or scowling, neither conveys “I care.”
  • Manners matter: Stick to the topic at hand and listen without interrupting.