Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Small Business Using Web Conferencing for Effective Corporate Communications


In 2005, Russell Carter realized that his small cleaning business had outgrown the shoestring methods of doing corporate communication; phone calls, snail mail, fax, and physical visitations. With recent expansion into three new states, he had to also grow his corporate communications plans as well. After doing some research, he decided to implement web conferencing technology to help productivity, communications, and fiscal responsibility.

There were a number of communication pains that he wanted to solve. First, travel expenses were soaring, with his management staff constantly driving hundreds of miles per week for new business and current customer relations. New business pitches required presentations to effectively seal the deal. Desktop sharing for joint document editing and product demonstrations were only possible with everyone huddled around the same machine. Current customers demanded regular status meetings to discuss operations and finance.

Management meetings were done through a set of conference calls, which gave no face time whatsoever, and made voting and polling almost impossible. Most shared files resided in email, making them impossible for others to discover without asking around. Many of those files were finance or personnel related and required extra security. Long distance bills were piling up, as were conference call fees. Russell prided himself on providing customers with the absolute best quality services at the lowest quality prices, and these inefficiencies were starting to eat into his bottom line badly.

After a week of research, they ended up selecting VIA3 from Viack due to price, and their relative depth of features for the small to medium business. They purchased a few seats for Russell, his operations manager, and his area managers to use. The impact was significant, and immediate, with 95% reductions in travel and telephony costs. There was also a significant improvement in productivity and time savings, allowing everyone to start working normal hours for the first time in two years. The new business pitches were now done with colorful presentations shown over the internet, rather than in-person.

Any new customer with an internet connection could be invited to a meeting or presentation whether they had VIA3 already or not. Anyone’s desktop could now be shown remotely to anyone else for training, editing, and demonstration purposes. Employees could stay in touch with the built-in instant messaging and presence detection. Everyone could share ideas on the common virtual whiteboard. Secure files could now be shared in the document workspaces safely due to the built-in security. Status meetings with customers and employees could now be held on VIA3, with full audio and video conferencing, as well as voting and polling functionality.
Face to face was now a virtual face to face experience. Long distance bills were reduced by 84%, with most employees using the VOIP built-in to meetings to communicate. Snail mail was no longer needed, and faxing was also reduced dramatically.

All of these web conferencing efficiencies and savings meant that Russell could continue offering the best quality service at the best quality price. The difference now was the margins, time and productivity improvements. Russell became a large company in appearance, using corporate communication tools sized for his business.