If your international conference calling doesn’t suck don’t read this. Pat yourself on the back and go about your business. Or, you might just want to download our free International Conference Calling Evaluation Guide, just to double check and see if there’s something you might be missing.
But if you’ve had issues with being able to connect with participants in other countries, call quality or sub-standard service, read on.
When it comes to international conference calling there are plenty of horror stories floating around. One memorable story involved a very important conference call a big company had with a much sought-after potential client.
Imagine this. The one client you want more than anything as a feather in your corporate hat is all set to dial in from London to your very important conference call. You are waiting patiently (but ready!) on the other end. Then you wait some more.
Soon your patience is turning to panic, as you realize your potential client can’t get through. The client eventually ended up calling from a different location and was told by the international conference calling provider that the access numbers aren’t guaranteed to work from all locations. Really?
You wait. Meanwhile your prospect endures twenty minutes of trying to email you to get a proper call in number. Your credibility is instantly blown. And then it hits you: the client will associate a failure to connect with your business, not with your provider.
And you realize, your international conferencing service sucks.
Another sucky story? Imagine someone calling into your conference from a cell phone while in an airport or caught in heavy traffic. The background noise is horrendous – everyone hears it and there’s no easy way to know who it is or mute it. Then they keep dropping, and their name is announced into the call every time upon re-entry. So much for being in control and having crystal clear conversations.
Let’s face it. When it comes to international conference calling, there are so many challenges and variables (language, time zones, unpredictable environments, disparate systems etc.) that can cause your conference service to go awry – and downright suck.
It makes you wonder…is this as good as it gets?
Let’s look at 5 warning signs your international conference calling service sucks (and what to do about it):
1. You have just one carrier for each country
Sometimes participants from other countries are blocked by carriers and are unable to connect with your conference call. Not good. And it’s even worse for people using mobile devices, like the example shown earlier.
The question you want to ask is, how many carriers are available in each country you need service in? We recommend a minimum of 5 carriers with a different access number for each one. This alone can make a huge difference to ensure your service doesn’t suck.
2. Your participants can’t get into conference from a mobile phone
If your participants are mobile (and who isn’t these days?) they can be hampered from joining an international call because not all numbers are mobile-enabled. And, let’s face it, that’s gonna suck.
What you need is to be able to provide a service for people to join a call in the manner most convenient for them. We suggest a minimum of 3-5 access numbers with a balanced distribution of local and toll-free. Now we’re talking!
3. You can’t dial out to participants (they can only dial in)
There are times when, as the host, you’ll want to be able to call participants directly to get them into conference. It could be a last-minute inclusion, or when the participant doesn’t know in advance where exactly they’ll be and what number to dial from that country location.
The question to ask your international conference call provider is: “Can the host dial out to every international country without the assistance of an operator?” If not, sooner or later you’re going to miss out on having all participants in conference. And that just sucks.
4. You can’t tell which participant is interfering with everyone’s ability to hear
Recall the above story of the mobile participant in a noisy airport or disruptive environment. Quite often the person who’s the source of the disruption doesn’t even know what’s going on or that they’re making the conference miserable for everyone else. What’s worse, the other participants don’t hear you, the host. All they hear are the sounds of a call that sucks, big time!
To rectify this situation you need the means of knowing where the noise is coming from and the ability to bring the issue to the participants attention or to mute the line. Will your provider be able to give the monitoring and control you need to silence this kind of ruckus and keep your calls clear and highly productive? Ask them.
5. You can’t contact the operator without interrupting the call
Last, but not least in our list of 5 is the recognition that sometimes you as the host need operator assistance. Many systems require you to press a series of keys from your phone’s keypad. But this removes you from the call in order to speak with an operator. What’s happening on the call in the meantime? Are people disengaging, going off on tangents, worse still are they disconnecting thinking you’re not coming back?
How much better would it be to chat with an operator without call interruption? The key question to ask an international conference call service provider is: “Do you allow hosts to chat directly with an operator while staying on the call?” If they don’t, it may be time to look for one that does.
But wait there’s more
The good news is by understanding the above warning signs that your international conferencing may suck, you can take positive steps to turn things around. On the flip side, there are some additional signals and capabilities you need to consider.
We have in fact identified 13 critical capabilities you need in a conference call provider to ensure your international calls are just as good, if not better than your domestic conference calls.
The bottom line is I’d love to tell you that producing great international conferencing is easy. I’d love to give you the list of shortcuts, and tell you anyone can do it.
But I can’t, because producing great international conferencing is different, and it takes a lot of work to do it right.
The next step for you is to learn more about what goes into it to make it work great.
Download our free International Conference Calling Evaluation Guide (with all 13 capabilities) today.
By following this guide, you will be able to readily, and thoroughly evaluate your current service provider, or know what to look for in a new one.
In reality, your participants will associate your calls’ success or failure with your business, not with your provider. You owe it to them (and to yourself) to not just provide a level of service that doesn’t suck, but excels in every way, and in every country.