How to Grade Your Conferencing Provider [Practical Guide]

Once you have a service in place, shopping around for a better provider that may give you more features and better service may not sound that appealing.  It takes time and effort.

Companies count on this inertia, though, and that means you may not be getting the most of your service.  If you have an assigned account representative, he or she may call on occasion (usually at renewal time) to ask your satisfaction. But in the absence of actual complaints, the incumbent typically leaves your service as is without improvement, even if it isn’t ideally suited to you.

That’s why it’s important to take the time to grade your service providers and understand what options are available.

So how do you grade your conferencing provider?  Here are 5 quick tests of the service:

1. Are the prompts and call flow for all your users the same, or customized for each?

Conference calls are not one-size-fits-all! Calls can be shorter and more productive if the prompts are optimized for the specific type of call.

This test is pass/fail.  Different types of calls should have different call flow and prompts.

2. Dial your access number from your cell phone and enter an incorrect ID (such as 1-2-#) several (at least 3) times.

You’ll find out how your conferencing provider handles incorrect IDs. Do they disconnect your clients if they don’t happen to have the ID with them (or if the mobile tones aren’t recognized)? Or do they connect the line to an operator for assistance?

This test is also pass/fail! Your participants won’t appreciate being disconnected.

3. Try to change the announcement for when people join your call from tone to silent.

How fast and easy is it to make this change? Did you have to work through a series of menu prompts or did you get a live person?

The grade depends on the time and hassle. You should be able to make a simple change like this in 1 or 2 minutes.

4. Ask for a local number for one participant in China this evening.

International calls are becoming more and more of a business need. Your provider needs to be able to support those requests quickly.

This grade also depends on the time and hassle, plus the option being tailored to the one participant. It shouldn’t take more than 2 to 3 minutes for the conference provider to set this up, and they should be able to add the service for only the one participant (to prevent fraudulent overseas charges).

Note: Even if you don’t have international participants right now, this tells you something about your provider. Are they in tune with the common needs of businesses today?

5. Ask your conference provider, “What does my company do?”

Your conference provider should know your industry and the types of calls your company does so they can optimize the call flow and prompts for your users.

This grade is pass/fail. If they don’t have that information, your calls can’t be optimized for your needs.

Are you getting the most from your conferencing provider? These 5 simple tests will help, but for a more comprehensive evaluation, check out our free practical online guide, the Conferencing Report Card.

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