Be just one click away with Skype

If you thought IM (Instant Messaging) was just for teens, think again. The worst thing you can do is slip off a client’s communication radar. So just how do you reconnect? Here’s how the power of Skype keeps you just one click away from your clients, and how that helps you do business better.

You’ve seen your kids chatting with their friends via MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and other than the fleeting thought that they might be inadvertently chatting with some weirdo your own age, you don’t give it too much thought. Thing is, your kids are running rings around you when it comes to staying in touch!

We humans love to communicate; our power of speech is testimony to that. Sadly, when it comes to business, we tend to erect barriers, limiting the scope of our communications to purely business topics, leaving the personal stuff to one side. Thing is, when we do that, we neglect a genuine opportunity to becomes friends with the very people paying us the money our businesses need to survive.

Sure, not all clients want a deeper relationship, certainly not one beyond the professional relationship you already have with them. But in addition to missing out on a more personal connection, we’re also just not there for them.

Where I come from, there’s an old adage: out of sight, out of mind. And this is also a truism in some respects. Think of the number of times you’ve hit a brick wall with something and you’re struggling to figure out what to do next. Wouldn’t it be better to have people on hand to give you the help you need?

That’s why I use Skype, so I’m always just a click away for my clients.

The power of Skype for businesses

Skype (or which ever IM software you’re most comfortable with) is sort of like having a mobile phone on your computer — you can make voice calls for free through your broadband connection, as well as sending text messages and files.

I use Skype as an adjunct to my email, when a client and myself are collaborating on a project, or just thrashing out ideas, and we need to be communicating in real time. Then, if we need to send something more formal, we use email.

I can’t tell you how many times a client has sent me a chat message on Skype about something they’re struggling with and I’ve been on hand to help them out, instantly. Sometimes, I’m helping them with things not core to what I do, but I either find a way to help them myself, or I connect them with someone else who does.

Every time you help out, you build on that ephemeral yet immensely valuable business currency called trust. You also demonstrate just how valuable you can be, which is not to be underestimated.

Don’t expect every client to take you up when you ask them to install Skype, or some other IM software. But the more that do, you’ll seldom be out of sight, or far from their minds.