GUI Bytes

Talk to Me Some More!

there is even more you can do to improve communication with your clients using a new generation of software that allows real-time, interactive communication

part 1

part 2

part 3


Last month I explained the need for e-mail. In short, it has become a standard communication tool for the office, like the fax and telephone before. Offices that continue to resist using e-mail will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage as those who use e-mail daily continue to shift their business to companies that have e-mail. Correction: to companies that use e-mail. 

Similarly, an Internet presence is rapidly becoming a standard way to communicate with customers. Companies that have useful websites will draw more business than those who don't.

let's get virtual!

If you are one of those who does use e-mail, and who does have a web site loaded with all of the information available, you may be feeling a bit smug. You have done what you can to increase accessibility, and that's about all there is, right?

Well, not quite. There is even more you can do to improve communication with your clients using a new generation of software that allows real-time, interactive communication. A range of interactivity exists, from verbal communication, through immediate exchange of files, and on to application sharing.

AOL users are probably already familiar with the first step in interactive communication, called chat. In a typical exchange, an architect and a supplier might type in questions and responses, both seeing all text on their own monitors. Why do this when Ma Bell offers voice communication? Cost is one reason, at least for long-distance calls. Chatting can also involve more than two people, and each participant can automatically store the complete conversation as a text file.

A whiteboard allows participants to exchange visual information. The architect might copy a part of a drawing onto the whiteboard to show the supplier a particular detail. The whiteboard allows each person to mark up the image by drawing or writing on it just as they would do if they were in the same room, marking up a drawing sheet. Again, each person is able to save a copy of the results, thus providing a record for future reference.

Combining both of these techniques enables quick transfer of information that may not be available in existing documents. Throw in a simultaneous telephone conversation, and you can quickly solve problems that now require exchanging paper documents by mail or fax. Less time, less cost.

Want to see more? Tune in again next month, when we'll look at more ways to improve communication. For those near the Twin Cities, be sure to attend the Mpls.-St. Paul Chapter's December meeting.

1999 Sheldon Wolfe, RA, CSI, CCS, CCCA, 
on the web at 
October 1999

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