Providing IT support over the phone or instant messenger is challenging to say the least. Just think about the last time you tried to help your parents with a computer issue over the phone—#Frustrating. Yet, there is an easy solution. Video conferencing can make IT professionals look like rockstars.
The trick is to have the right video conferencing equipment and be properly trained. The expectation is for IT technician’s to be experts in video conferencing—provide the proper training to ensure this is indeed true.
The Right Camera
The first step is to make certain the cameras your IT team will be using are of top quality.
Chances are IT professionals will be working with customers from their cubicle. It’s easy and inexpensive to upgrade video quality by attaching a high-end webcam to the top of a computer screen. The Logitech C930e can deliver high-quality video for less than $100. The model supports H.264, and has the usual pan, tilt and zoom features.
The C930e comes with a built-in microphone, but users may prefer a gooseneck or a wearable Bluetooth option. The price range for microphones is quite large. The important considerations are audio quality and comfort.
For those IT professionals on a budget, the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 is a good choice. PC Gamer also recommends turning off the auto white balance feature.
A cluttered background is not something to ignore when setting up a video conference. Not only can it be distracting, it can interfere with the white balance. Testing out a camera with your video conferencing solution is the best way to find out what setup works well. Don’t assume the quality of live stream video will be the same as recorded video.
Finding the best camera angles is just as important as the equipment itself. Blue Jeans points out that if you’re lucky enough to be using a fancy room system, take advantage of the picture-in-picture feature to ensure you are framed correctly in the shot. This can save a lot of time.
Ideally, users should position the camera at eye level or a little higher. Users who position their laptop and webcam below eye level tend to show a less attractive angle and it also proves to be an annoying angle for viewers.
It is understandable that users will be checking their computer screens during an IT video conference. With practice, users can develop the habit of looking at the camera lens when speaking. It’s the equivalent of making eye contact when speaking to someone.
Even a super expensive camera can’t make up for bad lighting. You don’t want your video to appear grainy to viewers. A ring light might be a little much, but adding a couple of lamps definitely will help eliminate graininess and improve camera focus. This is an inexpensive way to dramatically improve the experience for the viewer.
How to Act
It might sound simple, but if you’re accustomed to working with customers on the phone while you’re doing five other things, video conferencing can be an adjustment.
In an ideal world, video conference participants would be able to work from a room free of distractions, but chances are IT professionals will be helping customers while they are sitting in an office with coworkers.
Let your coworkers know you are going to be on a video conference and should not be interrupted. Eating while instant messaging is easy to do, but is not so easy in a video conferencing. If there is food at your desk, it is best to remove it or cover it up, Sally French of The Wall Street Journal says. You don’t want viewers ogling your sandwich instead of listening to your instructions on how to reconfigure their phone system.
In the case of a (multipoint) meeting with more than one other person, it is best not to leave without telling at least one other participant. Even an IM can solve this problem. Just like on a teleconference, make good use of the mute button.
Controlling angles, lighting, camera type and IT professional behavior can make life much easier and improve performance. To head off technical issues coming from other participants in a video conference, a multiplatform solution that offers true interoperability is the way to go.
Nowadays, it’s not practical to assume everyone participating in a video conference will have the same computer software and equipment. With the Blue Jeans Network, IT professionals can make it easy for everyone to connect to a video conference whether they are using a cellphone, a Macbook or a Samsung tablet. Blue Jeans can work through an Internet browser, a mobile app and even in Slack.
The right equipment and setup can make video conferencing efficient, more enjoyable and add credibility to the work of IT professionals. In the end, it’s all about offering the best possible service to customers.
Do you have any tips for video conferencing?
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