What Telepractice Platform Should I Use?
In many countries it is easy to choose a telepractice platform, especially when providing teaching or tutoring services as opposed to treating a speech or language disorder. Many English as a Foreign Language (EFL) or English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers simply connect with their students using Skype. However, when working internationally, other factors can influence your connectivity. The internet works differently in each country, and different platforms will work more efficiently depending on where your client lives.
In China, for example, the experience can be quite variable as access to the internet changes dynamically and different platforms work better or worse on a day to day basis. The most commonly used system in China, WeChat, is quite difficult to get an account on if you are not a resident of China. If you already have a WeChat account or a QQ account, you should probably try those first since virtually all of your clients will already have them.
For this reason, we recommend that you have multiple platforms installed on your computer and be willing to work with your clients by asking them which they prefer, and which works best for them.
For China, an option people often recommend is GoToMeeting because it has a Chinese version that was localized and made to work efficiently in the Chinese market. WhatsApp and Webex are other options that people have recommended as having better connectivity than other platforms. The newest option is DingTalk. Since it is a Chinese company (owned by Alibaba) it should have good connectivity in China, though since it is new it might also not be as widely used as some other options and since it is primarily used in business to boost productivity some clients may prefer not to use it. Unlike other Chinese platforms, though, it offers good English support via their website and the account appears to be far easier to get for non-citizens/non-residents of China. Finally, although the call quality has been said to be low, many people use Skype to videoconference with clients in China.
In the end it is about being fluid and flexible. To best meet your clients’ needs it is best to have multiple videoconferencing platforms downloaded and available to you. Try a variety out and ask your client what they prefer, they may even have good advice for you. Most Chinese clients are used to working with and around internet difficulties, so don’t let technological stumbling blocks hold you back. If you have difficulty you can ask your clients to try turning off their Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or to try another platform.
Note: Our primary marketing efforts are going towards brining you clients from countries where you can use any platform you want, but it is still a great idea to have back-up systems.