Most people know Skype as an international Internet communication service that is simple to use and extremely low cost. But, most people don't know how advantageous Skype is for business communication. Skype can be used to send large file transfers in a matter of minutes, conduct video conferences, and easily communicate with fellow employees.

Founded in 2003, Skype reported 300 million regular users in late 2013 – meaning they use the service at least once every month. As more peer-to-peer networking services emerge using social media, it is no surprise that Skype's system model has been such a success. The original founders of Skype sold the service to eBay in October 2005 for S2.6 billion. Six years later, in May 2011, Microsoft announced that it had agreed to acquire Skype for S8.5 billion (32 times Skype's operating profits), a 300 percent increase in value. It's obvious that Skype is growing, and its popularity in the professional sector is making an impact.

How Can I Use Skype for Financial Services?

Due to the wide range of features that Skype offers for personal and business communications, I've broken down the most beneficial features that can provide value and worth to your organization's operations.

Build Relationships – We all know the importance of face-to-face interaction in the business and not-for-profit world. This type of interaction helps create and nurture lasting relationships between consumers and employees alike. Skype allows you to conduct video calls and conferencing anywhere in the world. The application allows you to put a human face to your recommendations and better gauge client reactions.

Cut Costs – As I pointed out earlier, calls to other users within the Skype service are free, and so are one-to-one video calls, instant messaging, and screen sharing. International calls can be conducted at a fraction of traditional phone costs. Skype also offers low rates with services such as pay as you go, subscriptions, and premium memberships.

Increase Your Productivity – Services such as screen sharing, file transfers, video conference calling, call forwarding, customer service tools, and more can allow your firm to stay connected – internally and externally – from its own computer network. You can hold a meeting online and share a proposal, show files and designs to employees, and work with other service providers such as web developers.

Of course, Skype comes with some caveats. Since its operations are conducted on a busy Internet highway, the system can get clogged and calls can get broken up or even lost from time to time. Additionally, security and privacy can be an issue. However, the benefits of Skype tend to outweigh its possible negative impact. The social media giant Facebook has even jumped on board – you can now see your friends' latest Facebook news through Skype.

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