Can Video Conferencing Replace Face to Face BusinessWith the recent advancements in software and security, more and more businesses are adopting video conferencing as an important part of their business communication framework. But will video conferencing ever truly replace the handshake? Are there certain business deals or industry issues that should not be handled via video conferencing? Can people build relationships—and trust—without having a meal together, or signing a deal in person? These are viable questions that companies need to consider, and we are going to delve into them below.

Video Conferencing – The Preferred Collaboration Solution for Modern Businesses

A feeling of skepticism has existed from the very beginning when it comes to the use of video conferencing. However, video conferencing has become more and more popular in the recent years. This is mainly because it offers an “almost real life” alternative to the face-to-face meeting, which often requires time consuming and costly travel.

Many professionals who currently engage in video conferencing will tell you that 10 minutes into a conference call, you forget the fact that you are not in the same the room as the person you are meeting with. Provided you have good network connectivity, of course. Good connectivity is what makes video conferencing a great collaboration tool, especially for short meetings.

Today, most businesses are installing video conferencing equipment, to bring their meeting spaces up to date, and attempt to reduce expenses on domestic and international trips, savings that can run into the millions of dollars annually. In addition to financial advantages, these companies can also boast of having better global accessibility as well as improved workforce productivity, two more benefits of having a robust video conferencing system set up.

According to Wainhouse Research’s 2014 study, the number of video conferencing as a service (VCaaS) solutions available is dramatically increasing. This study further mentions that “one-third of the services covered in this matrix did not exist 15 months ago, and many of them are based on technology platforms that were not available until 2013.”

Why Face-to-Face Meetings wont lose their Relevance

We cannot disregard the importance of traditional face-to-face business meetings. While it is true we are living in a technology driven society where we need to work on the move, coordinating global meetings gets challenging when working across different geographies and time zones. Sometimes, it’s simply easier and more efficient to have everyone in one place, say once a year.

It is essential, however, to consider that business relationships, just like any other relationship, are not born from technology, rather they are supported by technology. Although video conferencing offers what may equate to a form of in-person communication, it is only a semblance. Many argue that near-robotic sales professionals, who work alone using AV and other technologies for their selling communications, are often at the risk of becoming lazy. Their relationship-building skills might also become rusty, unlike others who opt for regular, personal face-to-face interactions.

While there is some truth to such arguments, recent studies suggest there has been a rise in customer loyalty, response rates, and sales through visual conversation. Besides, to generalize that all remote workers are lazy would be insulting, especially since so many of them model exceptional efficiency and dedication. Often, remote working professionals feel more productive and connected due to the ease of use of this modern technology.

There is no denying that face-to-face meetings can form lasting relationships as well as motivate prospects, but you can achieve similar outcomes with the use of audio/visual technology. There are examples of successful businesses, both large and small, integrating video-conferencing with unified communication platforms, as well as introducing mobile video-conferencing solutions. After all that’s how millennials prefer to communicate and collaborate. Keeping this in mind, businesses should still be careful not to lose the human, face-to-face element of customer interaction entirely.

How does your company use video conferencing to help enrich the collaboration and relationships you are building? Can you think of a time when video conferencing made all the difference in your transaction? We would love to hear your stories about the way you are using video conferencing to improve your business!

Photo Credit: Spanish Virtually via Compfight cc