With user totals estimated by many to be around 400 million by the end of 2012, if your business does not have a page on Google+ yet, it may be time to consider adding one. In addition to the search engine benefits and other perks related to having a Google+ page for your business page, Google+ also offers a valuable and unique tool – the Hangout.
Google+ Hangouts are a virtual way to chat online; think Skype, but more functional. With Hangouts, you can use your webcam and microphone to chat with up to nine other people in a dedicated space that hosts your meeting. While Hangouts can be a great resource for virtual chats and talking long distance, they also have valuable business benefits that can enhance your performance and really bring a new degree of originality to your brand.
Take your customer service to the next level. Consider bringing your customer service department to another level by allowing carefully selected customer service representatives to conduct their “service calls” via Google+ Hangout. By doing this, you’ll be bringing back an important element to customer service that a lot of call centers lack – the ability to actually see “service with a smile”. By adding a warm touch and a more human element to your customer service practices, customers will have the ability to feel heard (and seen!). You could even take the opportunity to demo products, provide instructions, and illustrate different products and techniques in real time.
Host a Q&A. Get prospective customers involved and engaged with your business and your brand by hosting a live question and answer session on Google+. Get feedback on products and services, answer questions, and allow your followers to feel appreciated and included.
Virtual Meetings. Google+ Hangouts are a great way to hold virtual meetings, and to really take them to a new level. Instead of other platforms where you can only chat with one other person, Google+ allows you to speak with up to 9 other people at the same time. And a new feature, Google+ Hangouts on Air, provides the ability to record your meeting for later playback (currently Google+ Hangouts on Air are not available to all users; however, it is believed that soon they will be). Whether you have clients in another part of the world, employees who work from home, or offices in multiple locations, Hangouts allow everyone to connect at the same time.
Document and video sharing. In your Hangout, you can share your screen with the members of your chat. You can also use a number of other helpful applications, such as YouTube video sharing and Google Docs document sharing. This comes in handy for meetings, discussions, and even has implications for instructional and educational usage.
By adding Hangouts to your business, you’ll really be showing your brand’s creativity and commitment to technology and innovation!