The coronavirus has shifted business operations from bustling workplaces with many employees to isolated home offices. As a result, video conferencing solutions spanning Zoom, Microsoft teams, and Google Hangouts are experiencing massive adoption. 

Zoom predicts its 2020 revenues will increase by 200% year-over-year due to the pandemic. Similarly, Qualia’s video chat feature witnessed widespread user adoption. Just two months after the feature was released, there have been more than 2,500 internal video chat meetings logged on Qualia.

In the real estate sector, remote work is likely to persist. The value of video conferencing solutions for the real estate sector go well beyond interfacing with teammates. Video chat technology can also enable stronger relationships with partners and improve customer experiences.

Use cases for internal video conferencing: maintaining strong teams 

Remote work can be challenging; especially for real estate professionals who are used to working through complicated transactions and files face-to-face with their colleagues. 

Video chat is a helpful solution for remote collaboration. Research from Forbes and Zoom shows that 62% of executives agree that video conferencing “significantly improves the quality of communication” among employees compared to other solutions such as instant messaging or phone calls. 

Below are a few video conferencing use cases for internal team communication

  1. Welcoming a new team member remotely. Video conferencing can be used to ensure a warm welcome to a new remote team member. These face-to-face interactions are crucial for onboarding effectiveness. In addition to building strong relationships, psychological studies indicate that face-to-face interaction improves information comprehension. 
  2. Team meetings from home offices. Many businesses across the country have not yet identified a timeline for returning to the office. This means the virtual team meetings—commonplace during COVID-19— may continue for some time. Video conferencing improves these larger group meetings by maintaining the helpful visual cues of an in-person meeting. For example, participants can see when another colleague has a question (by a hand raise or other gesture) and when a team member may be confused (by a quizzical look or head shake). These cues also help guide a conversation without participants speaking over one another. 
  3. Knowledge sharing and collaboration with colleagues. Often, complicated real estate transactions can be mitigated by discussing the problems with a colleague who has completed a similar transaction type. Many video conferencing tools enable participants to share their screen with one another to talk through specific issues and physically point to areas of confusion. 

Use cases for external video conferencing: strengthening partnerships and building customer trust 

In the real estate sector, partner and customer interactions are more important than ever. The coronavirus has made a typical home purchase transaction more complicated for the many professionals involved in the process and more stressful for homebuyers. 

Qualia recently released Connect Video Chat to enable better partner and customer interactions during COVID-19 and beyond. Video conferencing can help improve coordination between stakeholders and help businesses build trust with customers who are experiencing a high degree of anxiety. 

Below are a few video conferencing use cases for external partner and customer communication

  1. Walk customers through documents with pre-closing consultations over video. A recent study found that 2 in 5 people described buying their first home as the “most stressful event” of their lives. First time homebuyers are often unfamiliar with closing documents and are overwhelmed by the large volume of documents to sign. Video conferencing enables closing agents to walk customers through the closing package and ease this anxiety with friendly, face-to-face communication. 
  2. Remote online notarization (RON). One of the most talked about use cases for video right now is RON transactions. During a RON signing, all parties will join via video conferencing on an approved platform to sign the documents that require a notary. 
  3. Engage with multiple parties simultaneously. Home purchase transactions require coordination between up to a dozen transaction stakeholders. These coordination challenges are exacerbated during situations like COVID-19. Typical processes are turned on their head to accommodate for social distancing or new protocols from regulatory bodies. Video conferencing can help transaction participants get on the same page and discuss face-to-face. 

Effective video conferencing: rules of the road

While video conferencing enables immediate, face-to-face communication, advance planning is needed to maintain a professional exterior and positive interactions. Below are a few things to consider before joining a video call with a coworker, client, or partner.

Test your camera, microphone, and connection

Before any video call, make sure you have the proper software or plugins installed to participate. Systems like Zoom and Microsoft Teams require a download of their software in order to host or join a video call. For other programs like Qualia Video Chat, the video feature is built directly into the software and requires no additional downloads. 

Make sure your camera and microphone are working properly before the call begins. You’ll also want to ensure a strong internet connection to avoid any drop offs. If possible, use an Ethernet cable rather than WiFi. 

Prepare your space

Those working from a home office will need to consider any items that may appear in the background of the video as well as the lighting. A cluttered space or distorted view of someone’s face (caused by shadows or glares) can be distracting to meeting participants. 

Additionally, participants should move to a quiet place before the meeting begins. If possible, stay indoors to reduce the risk of any uncontrollable noises such as wind, car engines, sirens, or other sounds. 

Dress as you would in the office

While it may be tempting to stay in loungewear all day when working from home, it’s important to dress as you would in the office when joining video calls. This is especially true for any meetings with partners or customers. Dressing appropriately helps build trust and gives customers and partners confidence that you are prepared and professional. 

Practice video meeting etiquette

Video conferencing can be uncomfortable at first; however, following some basic video meeting etiquette can help make a video chat run more smoothly.

  1. Mute when you’re not speaking. Too many active microphones can pick up on unintended noise and distract the entire group. 
  2. If you’re sharing a document with the group over screen sharing, be sure to send the document ahead of the meeting. Sometimes a few participants may call into a meeting without video due to bandwidth issues or other restraints. Those individuals will not have access to any images you show through a screen sharing feature. Make sure to send these documents in advance so those dialing in can follow along. 
  3. Pause between thoughts to allow other participants to jump in or contribute with questions. Some video platforms may only allow one speaker to talk at a time. The platforms often switch the active speaker to whoever is talking the most or most loudly. These features ensure participants don’t talk over one another; however, they can often lead to someone being unable to jump in with a quick thought. If you are hosting a meeting, be sure to take pauses between thoughts or ask for questions from participants throughout the call. 

Start using video chat now

The rise of video platforms like Zoom indicate that the future of work is shifting. It’s more important than ever for businesses across all industries to consider how they will keep remote teams connected and maintain high levels of customer service and positive partner interactions.

Qualia offers two tools: Qualia Video Chat and Connect Video Chat to help title & escrow businesses enhance their internal and external relationships through video features built directly into Qualia’s platform. To learn more about Qualia’s video tools, click below to schedule a time with a Qualia specialist. 

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