Skype may be the boring family car of the video conferencing world, but old reliable still has a few tricks–free ones at that–that can make a big difference to how you run your small business. The platform has been around so long most of us think of it as a default service without the flair of newcomers like GoToMeeting or WebEx.
But it’s still one of the most popular services out there, and one of the few that can function effectively for free. So here are some features you may not realize Skype can offer you. They’ll save you time and money and help you function professionally without shelling out for a fancier subscription service.
Recording Live Skype Calls
The reason you probably didn’t know you could record a Skype call is that Skype doesn’t actually support the feature in its app. You have to turn to a third party app to get the job done. There are general screen recording apps that will work by capturing your entire screen–Active Presenter is a quality, free option–but you’re better off with the dozen or so apps that Skype itself has endorsed and that record only what goes on inside your chat windows.
I can recommend Evaer as a solid option that’ll record audio and visuals. It is free–not always the case with these types of apps–and has the flexibility to record both ends of a conversation or just one, and to mix and match combinations of sound and images between calls, so you can record a single speaker and the visual reactions of other callers, if you want to get fancy.
It can be useful for reviewing and sharing calls, record keeping, and training, and it means you don’t have to switch to a lesser-known service, like BlueJeans, although you will have to store all your video files on your own cloud storage or desktop.
Sending Files with Skype
If you have recorded a video you need a client or colleague to see, you’re actually better off sending it via Skype rather than email. That’s because Skype doesn’t have a specific size limit on file sharing, although it’s hardly a rapid service so you might run out of patience waiting for anything larger than 2GB to arrive.
However long it takes, though, that’s a huge capacity. Gmail, for instance, limits attachments to 25MB. That means you can send 80 times as much information at one time via Skype as you can by Gmail. And you can send it through your chat screen both inside and outside a live call.
A two-minute MP4 video weighs in at around 150MB, Photoshop files can easily reach twice that size, and even a PowerPoint presentation can push 80MB.
If you don’t want to pay for a Cloud-based file transferring system, you don’t have to–just use Skype. It’s free!
Video Voicemail Through Skype
You can also put Skype to work in your absence. It has a decent free voicemail and call forwarding function to help you take care of video calls you’re unable to keep up with.
You set it all up in your settings tab and you obviously don’t need to be online to make use of it. It’s something you’ve probably already got set up on your phone, but it you want to embrace a video calling-only office, at least you have the option.
Of course, there are far more exciting services available as well.
Skype Translator and Anonymous Calling
We’ve written before about Skype’s ambitious, and not fully optimized, translation service. It operates in real-time over chat or video call, and while it is not perfect (yet), it does offer the chance to break the language barrier, which could really help out a small business.
The barrierless feeling continues with Skype’s new anonymous calling. Now you can stage a call with someone who isn’t signed up to Skype, or, perhaps more importantly for an online business, someone who doesn’t want to share their username. You just post your contact details online and let the customer call in for a disposable, no commitment necessary video chat.
Skype Chat Bots
Finally, you can continue the ultra-modern vibe going by making use of Skype’s chat bot service for automated calling and searching. You could leave customer interaction to the bots by making your own AI minions, or use existing ones to act as a go-between to start a person-to-person video chat or help out during one.
So take another look inside that Skype icon we all have on our desktop or smartphone, because there are free treasures available that’ll make things a little smoother–and even a little more modern–around the office.
Image Source: Flickr CC User Matthew