How to Host On Demand Conference Calls
How to Host On Demand Conference Calls
Many telephone conference calling services require scheduling the conference in advance, but it’s often necessary to communicate with a group on a moments notice. Fortunately, our reservation-less telephone conferencing plans allow you to hold conference calls on demand. Below are a few tips for gathering your attendees and holding a group audio call.
This type of phone conference is known as an ad hoc conference call. It is made for a specific purpose, but without advanced planning. For example, if a natural disaster is threatening to disrupt your business, you may need to hold an ad hoc conference call to discuss the logistics of securing your business, evacuating employees, or managing supply chain disruptions. It’s not something you planned for, and you might no even have a conference calling service provider.
Fortunately, our pay-as-you-go USA, Canada, and global conference calling plans are easy to activate and begin using, even on short notice - and there’s no long-term commitment required. All the bells and whistles you’ve come to expect from professional teleconferencing are included, and the call quality is exceptional. Our rates are among the lowest you will find.
To get started, choose and activate a plan if you haven’t already. The countries of your participants will guide you in choosing the most appropriate plan. You will be given access numbers and a conference PIN that you can share with the people who will be joining your conference call. Local, toll free, and international access numbers are available for countries around the world, making it easy for your international participants to call in.
Because this is a last minute conference call, you’ll need to get the word out to the people you’d like to include on the call, letting them know that you’ve initiated a conference call.
There are several approaches:
● Send an email
● Send a text message
● Call participants directly
● Use the included Outlook Plugin
Our moderator dial-out feature allows you to call individuals and patch them into your conference call. This works great for on demand conference calls, but can become time-consuming and tedious if you have more than a few attendees to call. Our live operators can take this task on for you upon request. If you must hold a larger conference call with dozens of attendees, our live event conferencing is a better choice.
As your call gets underway, you may find it necessary to bring in a few more participants. Again, you could use the moderator dial-out option to patch them in or request operator assistance. As a free option, you can also use the included Connect App to join the call without dialing any access numbers. Use your smartphone, PC or MAC.
The most challenging part of holding a conference call on short notice is getting the word out to potential attendees. Using a blend of email including the option to use an Outlook plugin, text messages, dial-out, and operator assistance are available 24/7, but once your attendees receive word, joining the call is easy.
If you're anticipating needing to hold planned or unplanned conference calls, it makes sense to sign up for one of our pay-as-you-go conferencing plans. The technology will be in place and ready when you need it, and you pay only for the time you use. You can get your account activated now.
Create a Winning International Sales Strategy
Catering to an international clientele often requires extensive travel or setting up shop overseas, an expensive endeavor. Whether you intend to manage sales in person or remotely, setting up a local phone presence should be a top priority.
Here’s how global virtual phone numbers and international conference calling services can play an important role in your international sales strategy.
Consider this: International customers and prospects generally won’t call your direct phone number. Even when not concerned about costs, a foreign phone number acts as a barrier between you and your international customers and prospects. It also sends subtle signals such as: your company is far away and unapproachable; your company is not serious about serving their country; and there’s never a convenient time to call because of time differences.
Are those the signals you want to send? Probably not. Fortunately, global virtual phone numbers send a different set of signals while simultaneously ensuring that your incoming calls are immediately forwarded to the destination phone of your choice - anywhere in the world.
Because global virtual phone numbers conform to the existing phone numbering conventions and customs of the designated country, they don’t look foreign at all. In fact, your business will look as though it has an office in a city within the target country. You can also get toll free global virtual phone numbers for the target country.
Either way, you’ve just created a local presence in the country. Your global virtual number counteracts those negative signals by:
-Making your company appear closer to home and easy to reach. As far as your prospects and customers are concerned, they’re calling a local or toll free number. They don’t need to figure out how to get an international operator or dial any international codes, nor do they need to worry about the costs they might incur by calling you.
-Showing that you have invested in building your business within that country. By having a local phone presence, you are serious about being of service.
-Taking time zone considerations out of the equation. While you may need to configure your time of day routing options to best serve your international customers, your international customers don’t need to worry about it. They simply dial your global virtual phone number whenever they need to reach you. The system will then forward them to the appropriate call center or voice mail based on your preferences and settings.
Virtual global phone numbers are an inexpensive way to create a local phone presence, and they are easy to set up and change as needed. In fact, with our month-to-month global virtual phone number plans, you can set up a local presence practically anywhere in the world in a matter of minutes. Global virtual numbers are a great way to test the waters as well as set up shop for the long term.
Another important part of an international sales strategy involves group audio conferencing. For example, you can use international conference calls to pitch your ideas and proposals to a committee, management team, or group of decision makers without having to fly your sales team out each time. Likewise, global audio calls can be used for negotiations, strategic planning sessions, product training, and collaboration.
However, once again, the phone number you give your international customers and prospects should be either local to them or toll free for all of the same reasons outlined earlier. Providing international access numbers is also a professional, service-oriented gesture - and it’s easy with our international conference calling plans.
Like our global virtual phone numbers, there are no contracts with our international conferencing service. Simply pay as you use the service. Our rates are highly competitive.
One of the most important aspects of both of these international phone services is call quality. All global virtual phone calls and international conference calls are routed over modern PSTN fiber optic networks for reliable, high quality audio. Whether pitching a product or sealing the deal, you’ll be able to hear one another as if you were in the same room and not half a world away.
Do you know who's attending your conference calls?
Do you know who's attending your conference calls?
You should, but it's not unheard of for uninvited attendees to find their way in.
Name Announce Feature
One way to make it more difficult for someone to infiltrate you conference call meeting is to enable the ‘name announce’ feature. The option will prompt the attendee to say their name before they can enter the call. And their name would then be broadcast to everyone on the call. This is not 100% foolproof but would help mitigate someone intent on intruding on your call. Hopefully someone in your regular calls would be able to match up the voice with the name.
Use the online Live Meeting Viewer
If the call is sensitive and you know the phone numbers of your participants, you can use the caller ID list of the online call viewer that’s included with our plans. This enables the host of the call to see who is actually on the call, in real time. Any unknown caller ID’s could be easily spotted and terminated from the call quickly. The residual of this is that you would know the caller ID of whomever tried to enter your call.
For example, if you have a recurring conference call in the same virtual conference room with the same access and PIN numbers each week, it's conceivable that an attendee who's no longer welcome (such as a terminated employee now working for a competitor) could listen in. Use these steps to secure your conference calls.
Determine the Confidentiality Level of Your Conference
What will you be discussing? The confidentiality level of the call can serve as a baseline for how much security you should implement. For instance, if you're merely coordinating a tailgate party for the staff, your call won't need to be nearly as secure as a call discussing an upcoming merger.
Use Session-specific Access Numbers and PINs
The best way to secure a call is to use a session-specific access number and PIN. Since these won't be reused, you don't have to worry about participants listening in on future conference calls - because they won't have access to future calls. At the very least, you'll want to change access numbers and PINs whenever someone leaves the company.
Review Participant Lists Frequently
If you host recurring conference calls, make sure to review your participant lists frequently. Do these same participants still need to attend the conference call? Have any left the company? Have any of their roles changed? As you pare down the list, make sure to change access and PIN numbers.
Use the service options in the Web Interface, Roll Call Feature, or Online Conference Call Viewing Tool
Most teleconferencing service providers offer some sort of a Web interface, roll call feature, or online conference call viewer where you can quickly see a list of all attendees currently on the call. Refer to it before and throughout the call to ensure that you know exactly who's listening in. If a caller joins the conference call mid-meeting, you should hear a chime or an announcement alerting you to the new attendee. Pay attention and find out who just joined the call.
Review Your Call Summary Reports
If your provider generates a call summary report, refer to that after the call. If you used the online conference call viewer or other roll call feature during the call, the call summary's results shouldn't come as a surprise. However, if you were so involved in the call that you didn't have a chance to fully pay attention to the roll call, the call summary report will provide you with a complete list of all attendees.
Use the Conference Lock Feature
Once everyone is on the call and attendance has been verified, use the conference lock feature to lock anyone else out. Once the call is locked, no one else can join the call, even if they have the correct access number and PIN. Knowing that you regularly lock your calls will also help to encourage participants to be on time for future conference calls.
Use the Operator to Manually Connect Participants
Another option for securing conference calls is to give the operator a list of participants and have the operator manually connect them to the call. This can be time-consuming, but it ensures that only those who you've authorized to join the call will be allowed to enter it. Some conference calling service providers have an automated dial out tool you can use to preprogram dial out.
Use Moderator Dial Out, Especially for Guests
The moderator dial out option is a great way to bring participants into the call. This is similar to the operator dial out, except the moderator of the call initiates the dial out. If you have a few guests, using moderator dial out is a good way to connect them without having to reveal your call's access number or PIN.
Don't Hold Back-to-Back Conference Calls in the Same Conference Call Room
Did you know that if you use the same conference call room for two meetings in a row, it's possible for participants of either meeting to listen in to the other meeting? For example, if a participant from the first meeting doesn't hang up, that participant will still be present for the second meeting. Likewise, if a participant from the second call dials in a few minutes early, which is common, he or she will be joined to your current conference call. Again, pay attention to your roll call or live conference call viewer so that you know at any given time who's listening in.
If you must host back-to-back conference calls, use different conference rooms for each call.
Secure Your Conference Recordings
The ability to record and share your conference calls adds convenience, but may also pose a security concern if your conference call was highly confidential in nature. If you'll be recording the conference call, carefully consider who you share the recording with - if you share it all.
If you do share the recording, consider hosting the recording on a password-protected site, preferably one with a history tracking feature, so that only those with appropriate credentials can access the recording. You should also consider restricting downloads of the recording as well as making the recording available for a specific time only.
End the Call When the Moderator Exits
If your conference calling plan supports it, enable the option for ending the call when the moderator of the call hangs up. Once the moderator hangs up, all other attendees will automatically be disconnected from the call.
Just as you'd restrict access and find out who's physically present at a face-to-face meeting before you begin discussing confidential matters, the same is true of holding conference calls. Though you may not be able to lock the door or visually see each attendee in a teleconference room, modern conference call services include useful tools that allow you to limit access to the conference call and display who's in attendance.
Convert More International Sales
Convert More International Sales Leads with These Two International Phone Services
Investing in international sales leads without investing in proper follow up is generally considered a waste of time and money. While you may have a reliable electronic follow-up system in place and use outbound calls judiciously, many of your sales leads will want to call you directly. Below are two international phone services that allow for this, helping you to convert more leads into customers.
1. Global Virtual Phone Numbers
A global virtual phone number is a local or toll free number for a given country that is NOT tied to a particular phone or region. In fact, you can set up the virtual phone number to ring to any phone in the world. Meanwhile, that phone number looks and acts like any other domestic or toll free number for that particular country. Thus, callers in that country will not incur international toll charges when calling your business.
For non-toll free virtual numbers, they may incur local tolls just as they would when dialing local numbers in their countries.
By getting a global virtual phone number, you can publish it on your website and immediately create a local presence for that country. International visitors to your website can now easily reach you via telephone.
Likewise, you’ll want to add your international virtual phone number to your email marketing and telemarketing campaigns so that your international sales leads have a convenient means of calling you back.
Our global virtual phone numbers are offered on a month-to-month basis in “buckets” of minutes. They come loaded with advanced features and are routed over fiber optic PSTN telecommunications networks for exceptional reliability and sound quality.
2. International Conference Calls
While one-on-one phone calls with international prospects are a tried-and-true communications method, there will be times when a group audio call becomes necessary. One of the biggest problems when international prospects are involved is providing access to the conference call.
Fortunately, that problem is solved with our pay-as-you-go international conferencing service since international access numbers, including toll free access numbers, for countries around the globe are provided. You can even start the international conference call and then manually join your prospects into the call using the dial-out function if desired.
Now you can hold multi-party negotiations, sales presentations, questions and answers sessions, workshops, and other collaborative conference calls with your sales team and prospects located around the world.
Audio conference calls remain one of the best communications methods when participants are in separate locations. Not only do conference calls take place in real time, allowing for back-and-forth discussions, they are inexpensive and require no special equipment or software. Everyone simply dials a phone number and enters a PIN number. Our advanced PSTN fiber optic telephone networks deliver crisp, high quality audio and are extremely reliable.
These two international phone services provide you with two different, but complementary, ways to follow up with your international sales leads. Most importantly, they remove obstacles that could otherwise prevent conversion.
Both are available from us without a contract.
Increase Global Business
A Telecommunications Approach to Increase International Business
Entering an international market is a major step for any business and you definitely want your new venture to be a success. Whether you’re just starting out or want to increase your company’s international sales, this two-pronged telecommunications approach can make a positive difference in how your business is perceived by prospects and customers.
Establish a Local Presence with a Virtual Phone Number
First, you’ll need to create a local presence in the targeted country. While your website may have a contact form along with your main office’s telephone numbers, how will your international prospects call you?
Your main toll free number won’t work outside of your country or region, so that will only frustrate these callers. In theory, your international prospects could call your direct phone number, but that means dealing with international country and exit codes and incurring international toll charges which could be cost-prohibitive.
With an international virtual phone number, you avoid both of these obstacles. Equally important, the virtual phone number gives your business an instantaneous local presence within that country. You can get city-specific virtual phone numbers, such as in Paris, Sydney, London, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires, or you could get a toll free virtual number for a specific country.
Depending on the type of customers you are looking to attract, it may make sense to get both a city-specific number and a toll free virtual phone number for your targeted country.
Use your global virtual phone numbers on your website, business cards, and other international marketing materials you use. Let your international prospects know that they can readily reach you simply by calling the local or toll free number.
In fact, our global virtual phone numbers have a variety of features that ensure that all of your incoming international calls reach you in the most efficient manner possible. For instance, you can set up sequential or simultaneous ringing so that these calls ring to your main office and mobile phone numbers.
Use Local or Toll Free Conference Calling Services to Further Negotiations
Once you’ve established a phone presence in a given country and sales leads have been created, it’s time to take your international communications to the next level with international conference calls. This is especially useful for furthering negotiations and for sales presentations with multiple partners and decisions makers involved.
With our international conference calling plans, you’ll be able to give your prospects a local or toll free conferencing access number for joining the call at no cost. For example, if your prospects are located in Barcelona, Spain, they’d dial a Barcelona phone number in order to access the call - even if you’ve initiated the global conference call in another part of the world.
Giving your prospects a convenient way to contact your office internationally or participate in group conference calls at no cost makes your company extremely easy to do business with. It also shows both your professionalism and your willingness to go the extra mile for your customers, both of which can contribute to increased international sales.