Google+ hangout businessTechnology may have revolutionized the the traditional meeting, but that doesn’t mean it’s doing away with face-to-face communication all-together. Google Hangouts is one of the fastest growing video chat services for businesses looking to connect with their customers.

Forbes.com contributor Gene Marks recently explained why his company is ditching outdated video and webinar services in favor of Google+ Hangouts on Air.

“To me, Google+ Hangouts on Air provides the best of both worlds,” Marks wrote, citing the ability share slides in a video chat format. Webinars are just one of the ways businesses are using Google+ Hangouts.

Whether you’re a national technology company or a local small business, this easy-to-use application can connect your business with potential customers and help you run day-to-day operations.

Office Meetings

Video conferencing technology used to be far too expensive for many businesses, but Google+ Hangouts all-but eliminates the cost of video conferences. One practical use of this application is company meetings with remote employees and offices. Each employee and/or business simply needs a Google+ account and an Internet connection to use this free service. Google+ Hangouts enables users to open other Google applications during the video conference.

If you and your colleagues need to brainstorm a project, open a new Google Drive document for public viewing so each member of the team can edit the document. It’s the closest thing to being in the same room without being in the same room.

Customer Consulting Hours

One of the advantages of using Google as your primary video conferencing platform is its prominence. Google reported in June that 235 million users have active Google accounts, and any one of those users can log on to a Google+ Hangout. That opens the door for all kinds of business-customer interactions.

Say you’re a security company reaching out to small businesses. Instead of cold-calling hundreds of businesses in your area, you could host college-style office hours in which you answer common security questions and describe how your business improves small business security.

Small business owners will feel comfortable asking questions without the pressure associated with sales calls.

Digital marketing agency iAcquire posts about the the need for businesses to reach out to customers in refreshing ways. A Google+ Hangout is a good place to start. To organize a Google+ consumer round table, build a network of followers and set a date at least two weeks in advance.

Hopefully, your followers will alert their networks about your event. Even if you don’t earn any new business, these seminars can provide value to your existing customers and build your brand authority.

Customer Service

Accessible video chat technology could lead to the next shift in customer service. Google+ Hangouts enable business to respond to customer concerns in a more personal way.

Anyone who has had experienced poor customer service can relate: it’s easy to put forth the effort to solve a problem over the phone. A video feed puts a face behind the problem and instills confidence in customers.

The next time one of your customers complains through Google+ or any other social platform, respond with an offer to chat on Google+ Hangout and search for a solution.

This post was contributed by Ernesto Clavijo. Ernesto runs a small Internet marketing business in San Diego and freelances in his spare time.

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