If you’ve been following the Pinney Insurance Blog, you’ve seen us provide a few tips designed to save you time. From automating your e-mail marketing campaigns to text messaging your clients, we want to help you maximize every second of every minute of your day. The less time you’re wasting on typing out e-mails or calling to leave messages, the more time you’re saving to do the more important things.

Here’s another tip: Leverage instant messaging as a more efficient communication tool.

Instant messages are essentially text messages. Ok, technically text messages are essentially instant messages. Regardless, they’re beneficial to your everyday work tasks. How often do you find yourself needing a quick—or instant—answer for a question? If you e-mail, you could be waiting for hours or even days. If you call, there is no telling how long that phone call could last. The discussion can digress to the weather, last Sunday’s football games, or the upcoming holidays— who knows.

And all you needed was a nine-second answer.

IMs are much more time efficient. For instance, you can shoot us a quick question and get a quick answer back. But what if the person you’re trying to reach is not at their desk? What I’ve done is I have found an IM service compatible for desktop, laptop, cell phone, and tablet.

Best of all, it’s free.

You can easily find a variety of free services.

The Google platform is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is sign up for the service. If you’re at your desk or at home on the laptop, leave Google Plus open in a new tab. It hardly takes up any space, and it allows you to quickly send messages back and forth between one person or an entire group. Similarly, Google Chat can be installed on a desktop or laptop; It works the exact same as Google Plus. On a cell phone or tablet, you can download the app for free and use it like text messaging.

Beyond Google, I personally use Trillian.

Trillian syncs all of my technology together so I can literally start a conversation at work, continue it on the drive home (hands-free of course), and finish it at home if need be. Using Trillian, I have cut down my talk time significantly, yet I am accessible practically any time of day. Because of this, I’ve never had a better relationship with agents. Furthermore, Trillian works with other chat services such as Skype, Google, MSN, Yahoo, AIM, Facebook, and more to open up the communication. All IMs are secured and protected as well.

There are about a half dozen benefits to using instant messaging.

Get answers quicker. Stop wasting time. It’s secure. You can send them from almost anywhere. It won’t cost you anything. And you’ll be accessible 24/7. Well, check with your spouse first on that last one, but you’ll definitely be more accessible than you were before.