Your Business with Instant Messaging
and more businesses are realizing that significant benefits can be
achieved by making instant messaging one of the tools that is readily
available to prospects and clients.
Instant messaging allows your personnel to communicate with
prospects and clients one on one directly, quickly, easily and in a
all about helping your customers do what they want to do.
It’s a powerful tool that builds customer loyalty very
quickly. People are
searching for people that they can communicate with that have similar
interests and needs. When
they find a match, they become intensely interested.
Instant messaging delivers access and answers so quickly that
it helps people feel that they’ve come to the right place.
essence of IM is simple: a
question is asked and an answer is provided.
Instant messaging is quiet – there’s no need to talk.
So you can do it when you are places that aren’t conducive to
people speaking out loud, but where it is still OK to type, like in
the lobby of a building, or a meeting room or a library.
can keep the answers simple and focus like a laser on what the person
is seeking. You eliminate
the chitchat. When used
properly, the “real time presence” significantly enhances user
satisfaction as businesses can serve client needs more efficiently.
It’s an excellent way to just cut to the chase and allow
people to communicate with personnel, employees, colleagues,
management, team members, collaborators, vendors, or teaming partners.
rules for etiquette are the same as with any other email or Internet
use in the business setting. Keep
it short, provide clear answers and information, and don’t reveal
personal information. It’s
not private. As with
email, businesses have to guard against confidential data being
divested. Even with these
manageable risks, there are significant advantages that companies can
provide if they deploy IM processes and procedures wisely,
particularly in the arena of customer service.
you have a company web site you can enhance the value of a users
experience in real time. This
controlled access to company personnel and expertise can be a decided
competitive advantage. Instant
messaging can enhance business services and employee productivity in
lots of areas where prospects and clients and employees have
questions. Here’s a
quick list of ways businesses are making use of instant messaging:
Contact a sales person – two
way conversations that save on long distance and no receptionist is
Contact a technical
representative – two way conversations to address technical issues,
like troubleshooting, repairs, or FAQ’s.
Ask an expert – create and
maintain a site where people can always send a question to an expert
to get a reply and advice.
Host chats and conferences –
can set up for public, or identified work groups or teams.
Public chat rooms dedicated to
special topics – establish their own character and personality.
Private chat rooms dedicated
to special topics.
Create customized buddy lists
with pre-qualified types of people, and hold team meetings for
specific purposes, on a predetermined schedule.
Solicit feedback and questions
actively to ascertain what people really want and how they feel about
certain issues in real time.
Providing answers to marketing
questions with people and the technology can enhance user
People can IM from anywhere
with portable devices such as laptops, Palm Pilots, and
Blackberry’s, and in a wireless world, this allows you interact on
the fly in airports, restaurants, and other locations where voice
intrusiveness of a phone call isn’t appropriate.
IM is evolving fast and
Instant Video messaging and conferencing is coming to a computer near
has advanced so that you can now save your IM conversations.
This makes it easy to maintain a record of your all your
exchanges. You can then
refer to them later or utilize the conversations to create additional
marketing materials. You
can then build a library of IM FAQ’s which can be readily used in IM
conversations in the future to save time and repeat typing.
control and get with it. Instant
messaging is a new way to enhance business productivity and
are many new IM services out there that are all easy to use and
relatively inexpensive. AOL,
Yahoo, MSN, Google all have popular consumer IM services available.
Enterprise business IM technology, with more business
related features, is also available from many companies, such as
field is also getting more sophisticated.
There are new specialized and ever evolving software programs,
such as ActiveBuddy, or SmarterChild, that will help you dish out
advertising information to create unique branding programs.
These programs, are called ‘buddy agents’ and use the IM
environment to deliver prewritten messages in response to natural
language queries. These
programs are more than a little interesting for marketing execs who
want to leverage automated technologies to enhance the one on one
interactivity between the customer or prospect and their brand.
Gary Onks has written a special report titled “Is Your Business Ready
for Instant Messaging?”
the author for permission to republish or reuse this article.]