Video chat is a vital business tool. It helps to personalize a commercial site, boost up sales, improve the conversion and even attract some new clients. While there are quite a few high quality video widget products out there, it’s always tempting to try and use a free tool instead. After all, nothing beats free, right?
However, there is more than one aspect you won’t be getting with free video communication software. Let’s get a closer look upon the differences between the free and the paid products, and find out when the premium packaging is truly worth it.
Free video chat: pros and cons
There are several ways to get the video chat functions completely free. Promotional deals are great for trying the product out, though certain functions may be locked. Then again, they are not permanent, so it is easy to miss a good promo entirely.
If you missed all the good promotions, there are always trial periods for new users. During the trial you can test all the functions of the main product and see how it works for your business. The downside is that the trial period is limited, just like the promotions. You’ll still need to pay to make the product a part of your business model.
Then again, there are completely free options. They don’t require payment at all, and don’t have an expiring date, so you can continue to use them free of charge for years. Here’s how it works:
Payment is never required, even if a premium version of the product exists.
All the basic functions of a videochatare present: you can set it up and personalize it on the surface level.
Up to 1 operator can be set.
Maximum call length may be predetermined, so the calls can only last for a limited time.
Certain important features like video call recording or screen sharing may be absent.
The most prominent advantage of the free software is that there are no costs to cover, so there’s no harm to trying it out. It may be a selling point for small businesses, as they don’t have plenty of resources to spare, and every cut in costs is a blessing. There are no limitations on how to use the free software as well, so you can make it work for product presentation, for dealing with complaints and even for tech support.
The problem is that as the businesses grow, their needs escalate; and that’s when free videochats start to feel lacking. The limited functionality of free chats is perfectly fine for answering short questions and getting in touch with customers. But if you need to present your services in the best way possible, or carry on a sophisticated discussion, the strict time limits just won’t do.
Paid model: pros and cons
To get started with a paid model, it is necessary to sign a contract. It is a good thing for the businesses that managed to grow out of their baby phase, as it settles the responsibilities of the service provider and guarantees a certain degree of stability. Depending on the package, you might get quite a few extra features, as well.
It is not necessary to pay for the full package if its advantages are not important for your business. By getting the bare minimum, you will still have everything you need for comprehensive work. It is also possible to go for a fully customized model that contains all the extras that you need and nothing more. Naturally, the monthly payment in this case will be counted individually.
Here is how paid model works for video chats:
Payment is a must. The frequency (one-time, monthly, once a year, etc.) depends on the provider; more often than not several options are available.
Tech support for the chat is available.
Video call recording is available.
The virtual consultant can turn on the screen sharing function for both sides to use.
The calls can last more. The typical maximum is 60 minutes. Certain providers allow increasing this limit even further; however, even an hour is overkill for most business situations.
Several operators can be set.
The software can be customized deeply.
Impersonal calls are possible.
It is possible to gather data for analytics.
Additional features may be available (active invitations, extra offers upon the main widget and more).
Enhanced functionality of the paid model helps to use video calls more efficiently. Let’s stop on the most important features that are commonly missing in the free products.
Screen sharing is the process of demonstrating your screen through the video calling software. Paid model makes it possible not only for the consultants, but for the clients as well, with no need to install any additional programs.
There are many options to make the most out of your screen sharing functions. For example:
Demonstrate the product (software, web service etc.) via video call. Live presentation is always more convincing than a recorded video or a document file. You get to showcase the strong sides of your product and answer the questions at the same time, so it is easier for your clients to form an opinion and make a decision right away.
Enhance tech support efficiency. Many people complain that they have a hard time trying to follow step-by-step instructions provided by the tech support staff. Statistics show that things get done faster when the operator can simply point at the right button instead of describing where the user can find it. Users report that they see companies that use screen sharing for tech support as more customer-friendly.
Understand the client better. “Show, not tell” works the other way around as well. If your client is confused and struggles with explanations, just ask them to show what the problem is, and respond to it accordingly.
As a rule of thumb, screen sharing usually works for personal computers, but doesn’t work for smartphones. It is a security measure that prevents accidental personal information sharing.
Recording calls is a common business practice that basically kills two birds with one stone. Not only it helps you to monitor your employees’ work, but it also protects your employees from inappropriate client behavior. It is a great measure to enhance quality of service and increase profits.
Video call recording works just as regular calls recording, but you also get the video stream out of it. Make use of the format to look at your clients’ live reactions, as well as to analyze your operators’ actions, their personal feats and charisma. This type of data is unique. It lets you to approach employees with personalized performance recommendations instead of making everyone follow the same guidelines on the surface level.
So… what to choose?
If you don’t have a video chat for website yet, it may be difficult to calculate the benefits of the paid model and choose the right package. Make use of the free opportunities to get a good look on the basic functions. Even a bare-bones video chat can boost up conversion rates when applied to a business that only had phone call and mail support before.
After you test out the basics, decide whether you want video chats in your business or not. If you found video calls helpful, think about switching to a paid model. It will help to use the function’s potential to its fullest, and increase the profits even more.