Skype continues to provide a wealth of tools for the serious businessperson who wants to build relationships. The company just released an application (app) for the Apple iPhone which runs Skype. Now, you can use your iPhone to connect with others around the world and talk for free using Skype to Skype.
Today, I had an interview with Kurt Thywissen who is the Chief Engineer and Chief Architect for Skype’s iPhone application development. In this interview (18:32 total time) he tells me how it can be used in business, some of the challenges they had and how they overcame them and what we can expect in the future.
If you use Skype and/or you use an iPhone this is one you want to hear. Download to listen on your portable MP3 player or listen here — or listen on iTunes. Whatever method is your preference, you are in for a treat.
And here’s an extra bonus. Check out this video that Skype released describing the new app:
Let me know what you think. I look forward to your comments. Just drop in your opinion below so I’ll see it and people around the world will know what you think of this.
Here’s the article that I wrote for my newspapers and magazines. You get it first here!
Making Customer Connections:
More Important Now Than Ever
By Terry L. Brock
We’re in the midst of some challenging times for business. We see it everyday in the news. Yet, in the midst of all that news, we know it is more vital than ever to make positive connections with customers to solve their problems and their pain.
Technology can help us leverage that in a achieve the goals of connecting with customers. This is Relationship Marketing at its best. Find out the needs of customers, stay connected to them and meet their needs. That is the way we get ahead in life and in business.
One technology that has emerged as a great way to connect with customers is Skype. This service has over 400 million (not a misprint) customers worldwide. Think about the potential there.
Recently Skype made a major announcement about their new application (app) for the iPhone and iPod touch. This service enables you to make Skype to Skype calls around the world from your iPhone for free. You can also call numbers in 36 countries at greatly reduced rates (depending on the country). With this app running you could make unlimited calls to numbers in the the US and Canada for $2.95 each month. For $9.95 you can make unlimited calls to landline numbers in these 36 countries. This app works on both the iPhone and the iPod touch. That way you can receive calls on the iPod touch without incurring monthly cell phone charges.
At first brush, this sounds like a great way to save money. It is. However, the savvy entrepreneurs and salespeople (aren’t we all today?) see it for something even greater.
Yes, it is nice to save money on phone calls. Saving money is very important for all of us today. However, the even greater opportunity is to invest in relationships with clients and prospects around the world at lower costs. If it costs you less to make contact, you’ll probably will make contact more often.
If you have clients in, say, the UK, and know that for $9.95 a month you can call them an unlimited number of times on their landline, you will probably make more calls and have better customer connections. This strengthens your Relationship Marketing.
You need to use a Wi-Fi connection to get the speed necessary. However, this means you can carry your iPhone to a coffee cafe, a nearby hotel or other location where you get Wi-Fi access and talk to clients for free or really cheap around the world. This opens lots of doors for the creative salesperson.
I tried Skype’s new app for my iPhone and it was a good start. The quality of the call was not as good as when I’m using my computer with a much better microphone. But then, for any connection the overall quality of sound will only be as good as the lowest technology component. The earbuds I had were fair, but not great. However, the mobility and ease of use for me was outstanding. It would be more comparable to cell phone quality than a crystal-clear normal Skype connection.
I also noticed more dropped calls on the iPhone. I was talking with a client and we lost connection three times over the course of a 1.5 hour call. I spoke with this same client using the same connection on my end and her end a couple of days before with no call interruptions. The only difference was that I was using my iPhone with the Skype app.
Based on that experience, some might quickly say, see, that just means you can’t use Skype for business. Well, I just hope that those who say that are my competitors!
Have you ever used a cell phone and the call was dropped? Of course. We all have had that experience. Does that mean you don’t use a cell phone anymore? Come on! Deal with it. The key is that you are connecting. Yes, you want the connection to be as good as possible. However, if you can increase the quality of your contacts, your Relationship Marketing, you will have a better chance of connecting that someone who avoids it.
See, that is the principle. Relationship Marketing is not always easy. It requires persistence and hanging in there over a prolonged period of time. You have to be willing to endure the inevitable setbacks (like dropped calls) to establish, build and maintain those connections.
By the way, I just had an interview with Kurt Thywissen who is the Chief Architect and Chief Engineer on Skype’s iPhone project. You can listen to this interview (you’ll love it!) at http://tinyurl.com/d2egd7. Check that out.
Relationship Marketing or what I call R-Commerce is about connecting with customers using technology, personal means, and lots of ways to meet their needs. It won’t always be easy. It won’t always be neat and tidy. However, those who persist and keep on keeping on will be able to establish profitable, mutually-beneficial relationships. This is the way it has always been and always will be.
Copyright © 2009, Terry Brock and Achievement Systems, Inc. Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses generate profitable results. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his website at www.terrybrock.com. Join the Twitter adventure with Terry through his Twitter address: TerryBrock.