The whole world waited in anticipation for Facebook’s “something awesome” event on Wednesday. During the event, Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook now has more than 750 million active users, there by making it the world’s leading social network, and that by some distance.
Google+ is a new kid on the block and it remains to be seen whether it can challenge Facebook’s might. None the less, the good thing is that Facebook isn’t sitting on its current laurels and instead, it’s focusing on bringing in more innovative changes to keep its pole position in tact.
To that effect, Facebook on Wednesday announced a deal with Skype which would allow users to video chat on Facebook. While most users see it as a new feature that removes the need to login to both apps, it has broader implications for business users. In this post, I walk through the new world of business-centric opportunities opened up by the deal.
Best of both worlds
Facebook is world’s leading social network and Skype is world’s most popular VoIP service. Several businesses use Facebook as a means to market their products and services and Skype as a means to talk to their customers. Businesses are increasingly exploring the option of using Facebook as a customer service tool. Till date, businesses had to resort to textual communication for all needs.
Skype integration will allow businesses to make real time calls to customers to resolve their queries. In future, it could be used as a channel to do group video chats with a select group of customers.
Whenever possible, I prefer talking to people rather than sending them a text message or an email. This is because I believe an audio/ video conversation provides an unparallel personal touch. IMO, businesses can leverage Skype’s free calling feature on Facebook to add a personal touch to their customer conversations. It’s often said that ‘seeing believes’ and with Skype video, you can finally see Facebook users before you start believing them.
Businesses no longer need to maintain separate contacts for Skype and Facebook. This helps, especially when you have thousands of contacts on each list. Video chat has been around for several years but the concept never picked up with the not-so-savvy Internet users. In contrast, Facebook thrives on simplicity. I’d expect this deal to further juice up the stagnated video conferencing industry.
Though it’s still early days, I strongly believe the Facebook-Skype deal will open up a Pandora’s Box of opportunities for business users. Whether it’s conducting video demos of their products, conducting video meetings with partners or even interviewing potential candidates, video chat on Facebook might provide to be a game changer in several ways.
What do you think of the Facebook-Skype deal?