It’s doubtful Jarkko "WiZ" Oikarinen intended to provide the 2011 business world with a fast, cost effective, real-time communication tool when he developed the first Internet Relay Chat (IRC) server in 1988. But chat has rapidly emerged as a highly effective means of communicating with prospects and customers and is increasingly being used by businesses of all sizes around the world. Traditionally, chat has been a popular means of communicating with personal acquaintances or coworkers, but over the past several years it’s been adopted by businesses as an effective business communication tool. Today you’ll find businesses using chat to do everything from communicate with prospects, customers, partners and vendors; answer product questions; quote and close new business; and provide remote technical chat support. Chat is enabling companies across diverse industries to conduct real-time business while significantly reducing costs, improving operational efficiency and increasing revenue and customer satisfaction.