Using a video conferencing tool to manage outside vendor communications
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can’t do everything themselves. Business vendors are critical to SMB operations, managing various needs including IT, accounting, marketing, among many other core business requirements.
With vendors taking on such important day-to-day tasks, growing businesses need to keep in steady contact with their external partners to ensure operations run smoothly at all times. Regardless of what you contract vendors for – invoice processing, real-time cybersecurity, search engine optimization strategies, etc. – you likely need to schedule regular meetings to catch up on the latest developments and plan for the future.
Video conferencing tools are particularly useful for vendor communications, as they balance function and reliability with robust security. If you need to manage your outside vendor communications, a video conferencing tool will keep you and your third-party business partners on the same page.
Make the most of your vendor meetings
Depending on the vendor and service, SMBs may have regular standing meetings with their business partners on a weekly or monthly basis. Carving out an hour or even half an hour each week can be extremely difficult for both parties, given their hectic work schedules. Keeping each call on track and as productive as possible is key to getting the most value out of your vendor relationships.
That isn’t always easy when attendees have to deal with an unreliable connection. The latest video conferencing tools are durable and easy to use, so any stakeholder can jump into a meeting with a simple click of an icon. No more wasted time waiting for an important invitee to join the line because they are having trouble with the dial-in PIN.
A stable video conferencing tool reduces connection issues that drag down the user experience and get in the way of real-time collaboration. Leading video conferencing apps like Cisco Webex allow you to communicate with your vendors through crystal-clear high-definition video.
Screen-sharing features allow attendees to show PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets, reports, annotated documents, and anything else you want to walk through with your vendors. There’s no chance of something getting lost in translation because someone can’t see the report being discussed or is having trouble finding the right document. You can also trade presenter roles back and forth to bring in as many different perspectives and assets as you wish.
Build up your vendor relationships
Beyond those productivity benefits, a video conferencing tool also strengthens the connection between your business and your vendors. Communicating over email, instant messaging clients, or over the phone doesn’t have that same immediacy as a face-to-face meeting. While your vendors may be located hundreds or thousands of miles away, you can stay in touch with your account managers and other stakeholders through high-definition video conferencing.
Hold vendor meetings with video chat tools to speak directly with your third-party partners and see every inflection and reaction as you discuss ongoing projects and upcoming initiatives. Body language is an extremely important component to communication, and a video conferencing tool can help you retain that aspect to your vendor comms, even if they’re on the other side of the country — or the world.
Face-to-face communications build familiarity, which helps strengthen your relationships with your vendors. They’re more likely to go the extra mile when they feel like they’ve built a solid rapport with you and your employees. You’re more than just a voice on the phone, because every video conference call feels like an in-person meeting.
Loop in important stakeholders from any location
The growth of digital services means any business can benefit from vendors located virtually anywhere. You’re not limited to service providers in your immediate area any more. The downside to that opportunity is that scheduling meetings around various players in different time zones can feel like you’re banging your head against the wall.
Maintaining consistent vendor communications becomes even more challenging when your own team members are working out of different locations. Telecommuting continues to gain popularity with growing businesses, with 58% leaning on a combination of in-office staff and remote workers. Even office workers could have flexible work schedules, allowing them to work from home a set number of days each week.
You can’t be sure that your entire team will be in the office for every important vendor call. You may need to coordinate several different people spread out across the country or on different continents. Video conferencing software removes communication obstacles and allows any employee, project member, or vendor to join a meeting from their preferred location.
The Webex mobile app supports high-quality video calls that can be joined from anywhere, whether it’s a branch office, vendor headquarters, coffee shop, or home office. Everyone from your team and your vendor’s can dive into the meeting using their smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other device.
With call-recording capabilities, you can be sure that all important conversations are documented, whether you need to review what was discussed at a later time or share the recording with a key team member who was unable to join.
Protect your business with secure conferencing software
Due to the alarming increase in cybercriminal activity in recent years, every business investment needs to be viewed through the lens of data security. According to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, more than half (58%) of all data breach victims are small businesses. When you add up all the damages from a single breach – brand reputation, regulatory fees, remediation expenses, etc, the cost to recover could be enormous.
Any video conferencing tool should have the latest security measures in place to protect an organization against intrusion and unauthorized access. And at Cisco Webex, our platform has been designed from the ground up around data security best practices.
The internal Webex group conducts regular penetration testing to assess the conferencing software’s security and identify any potential vulnerabilities that need to be addressed. That commitment to robust security measures extends to the data center as well, where best-in-class access controls safeguard the Webex platform from both digital and physical threats.
Your vendor communications are in good hands with Cisco Webex, as all media streams are encrypted using the latest and most sophisticated protocols. At-rest data is protected using similar means, using one-way hashing algorithms to safely store passwords and login credentials.
You can also assign users specific roles to prevent unauthorized individuals from launching or joining meetings – either internally or with your vendors. Whatever amount of control you need over user access measures, Webex can provide it.
While all of these security measures keep unwanted individuals out of your systems, networks and applications, they do not impede the core functionality of your video conferencing tool. With Webex video conferencing, you can enjoy all of the rich features that drive productivity and provide an engaging user experience and rest easy knowing your system is properly secured. You get the best of both worlds.
Managing vendor communications doesn’t have to be a challenge – video conferencing software offers the reliability, functionality, and security you need to effortlessly keep in touch with your most important third-party business partners at all times.
Get started with a free Cisco Webex plan today.
May 11, 2021 — Vanessa Philogène
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