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IM in the workplace

Business instant messaging (IM) is a quick, effective form of communication. A good way to get answers to simple queries, it’s faster than email and less intrusive than using the phone.

How business instant messaging works

Business instant messaging enables two or more people to communicate in an online chat on their computers. You type your message and hit send – moments later, the message appears on the recipient’s screen.

The simplicity and immediacy of instant messaging is very attractive. It can be useful in all sorts of situations:

  • Get a quick answer from a colleague who’s working in another part of your office or based in a different location.
  • Handle customer queries efficiently. Via instant messaging, a member of staff can answer questions from three or four customers at once.
  • Use IM statuses (available, busy, away, etc), to immediately see who’s free to deal with a problem.

Most business instant messaging takes the form of short typed messages. However, some IM systems allow you to send audio (so you can talk as if you’re on the phone), video (if you have a suitable webcam) and files to each other.

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