It comes as no surprise that the Internet continues to revolutionize the way business is done, especially in regards to communication. Voice and video technology have revolutionized conferencing — saving time and money. Web conferencing allows any number of people in different offices and locations to view the same screen at the same time.

Phone Conferencing
While some industries and sectors manage to stay on the cutting edge of what technology is bringing to the table, the cleaning industry has its own curve and pace of adapting tools and programs. Many virtual conferencing techniques are perfect for building service contractors, who can benefit from the ability to communicate in multiple ways with people in multiple locations.

Most BSCs have participated in some form of teleconferencing, or meeting with people in different locations over the phone. Sometimes, it’s a three-way call and other times it involves using speaker phone with larger groups of people listening in. With sales people on the road, supervisors in different buildings or cities, and — depending on the size of the company — offices spread across a service region, this kind of communication can be essential to keeping a BSC’s operations successful. BSCs can also use professional services that help to connect participants.

“For internal communications, we do a lot of conference calling so we have a service we buy an account with and you have an 800 number, pin number and everybody calls into that,” says Paul Senecal, president of United Services of America, Stamford, Conn. “Most of our people are not based in the same office so when we have meetings they’re generally by phone.”

Real-time Demonstrations
Vendors often use Web conferencing to try to sell products and services — which is great for BSCs that want a real-time demonstration, and great for vendors, who don’t need to spend extra time driving or flying to meet potential clients.

“We use that Web calling feature when we’re being sold things and it’s helpful because they can do a real-time demonstration of whatever product or software they’re trying to sell us,” Senecal says. “It’s letting us see things real-time so that we’re able to touch, feel and play with it, and see what happens.”

Being walked through a Web site or online program over the phone is confusing, says Steve Matsio, president of Business Clean Inc., St. Charles, Ill. Web conferencing makes it possible for participants to pull up the exact same screen that the demonstrator is looking at. That way, clients are able to see exactly how programs and services can work.

“The way I define Web conferencing is bridging two people together for the benefit of understanding what is on the Web. The Web is all about empowerment. Web conferencing is an empowering tool. Video is an empowering tool. And you’re going to see more and more of it, in my opinion,” Matsio says.

Anyone with a phone line and Internet connection can participate in Web conferencing, Matsio adds.

Video conferencing may be used by some of the larger BSCs, and is typically set up by a service provider. That, too, allows real time communication to happen, aided by a virtual live shot of those participating in the meeting.

Remember The Basics Technology is great for some situations, but others still require basic, in-person interaction. Senecal loves the strides technology has enabled his company to make, but thinks that some things are still best left to face-to-face meetings.

“While I think that bringing technology into a cleaning contractor environment is very healthy, it should not be used if it’s allowing you to not be in your customer’s face,” Senecal says.

Whether large or small, all BSCs have the capability to set up some type of phone or Internet conferencing — and many are finding that it, along with other technological advances, is helping to close the communication gap.