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MIT 840

would receive from a normal phone call, and allowing meetings to be held more regularly than trips can be planned. Alexander (2008) points out that video conferencing promotes greater communication in the following ways: you can see non-verbal signals that you do not get through a normal phone; you can present more information, for instance with slide shows; demos and training can be done through video conferencing; and staff in different geographical areas can benefit. The magnificent thing about video conferencing is that you can use technologies such as VoIP and OSS, so you will pay next to nothing for your communication. Thus the SME does not need to invest in expensive equipment – it can use platforms such as Skype and Gtalk. Using these technologies can save the small business travelling expenses. Extension mobility. “Wireless and mobile technologies increase efficiency and productivity by extending the footprint of your office, delivering information and applications to your employees when and where they need it” (Alexander, 2008:3). This enables one to work remotely with a “virtual office”. The benefit to the SME is a saving on rental space, and, if a job requires staff to be on site at the client’s premises, the faster deployment of work to staff while they are on the road. This can be done through the use of IP networks, VoIP tools, the cellphone as a tool, and web-based solutions. Once again the cost of these solutions is cheap compared with normal telephone or travelling costs. Customer relationship management (CRM). According to Alexander (2008), CRM technologies are designed to help the business, in this case the SME, have a better understanding of its clients. CRM is often described as having a 360 degree view of the customers, meaning knowledge of all the touch points (communication) that the customer makes with the business and the ability to analyse them to gain a better understanding of the customer’s future needs. For example,

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