The business world has changed with more entrepreneurs being location independent and employees working from home. In fact, The New York Times has reported that up to 43% of workers have worked remotely.
The world has gotten smaller, too. Customers could be across the country or around the world.
The changing world has increased the need for businesses to adopt technologies so they can stay in touch with employees and clients.
Conference calls make it easier to stay connected and be more productive.
If you’re considering a business conference call solution for your business, keep reading. You’ll learn what the different solutions are, why you need them and how to make the most of them.
Benefits of Business Conference Calls
The benefits of conference calls are numerous. The primary benefit is cost savings. Your team doesn’t have to travel to a meeting location.
Time savings is another major benefit. Let’s say you picked a central meeting location for your team to have a meeting. Let’s assume that it takes about 20 minutes for everyone to get to the meeting.
They’ll drive back to their respective locations. That’s 40 minutes out of the workday that could have been spent on an important project.
Not only that, but you won’t be stressed out from sitting in traffic and your company’s carbon footprint will be smaller, thanks to fuel savings.
A business conference call is a great way to have a problem solved quickly. If you have a sales rep that needs to talk to you for a few minutes, it may be difficult to schedule an in-person meeting.
Instead, they can book a brief conference call and have their questions and concerns addressed immediately.
That can help them be more productive employees because they’re not waiting on you for an answer.
Some employees might find it easier to resort to email or instant message. Those methods can be effective, but you have to wait for someone to respond to those messages. Email and instant message are less personal than communicating via phone or video.
Types of Business Conference Call Solutions
Conference calls are ideal for any type of business. They’re not limited to Fortune 500 multinational corporations.
For example, network marketing businesses can use conference calls for presentations and training. Conference Town has this article which covers the topic in-depth.
What kind of conference call technology is right for your business? We’ll take a look at the most common ones.
Free vs. Paid Conference Calls
Out of the conference call options, businesses will have to decide if they should go for a paid solution or a free one.
For bootstrapping companies, the free option would seem to make the most sense. After all, it’s free. These companies make money somehow, so while they appear to be free, they probably aren’t.
Some of these services are ad-supported. You may have ads running during your call. If you’re using one of these services for an important meeting or presentation, you could be creating the wrong impression for your brand.
Mobile phone carriers consider some of these call-in numbers provided by free conference call providers to be out of the plan. T-Mobile, for instance, charges 1 cent a minute for such calls.
That may not seem like a lot, but those numbers can add up quickly.
Paid conference call providers usually don’t have this issue.
If you’re an international organization, you may have to go with a paid solution, as free conference call providers don’t have an international reach.
The level of service and collaboration options tend to be more robust with paid conference call solutions, too.
Video Conference Call
Businesses are also embracing video to have a business conference call.
Video is great because it’s more personal. You can see people face to face and you can see body language and facial expressions, which makes up about 55% of communication.
The downside to video is that you and your meeting participants need to be a little tech savvy.
Plus, if someone is using an older device or has a slow internet connection, there will be a lag in the conversation.
Business Conference Call Success
No matter what technology you decide to use, it’s important to remember that it’s only as good as the person using it.
In a face to face meeting, it’s easy to keep tabs on the room to see who’s paying attention or drifting off.
On video calls, participants have the choice to turn the camera off, so you may not be able to see everything they’re doing. A study by conference call provider InterCall, attendees are doing anything but paying attention during conference calls.
Most are doing other work, some are hiking, and some are even going to the bathroom. As a business conference call organizer, your job is to keep people engaged throughout the call.
Here are a few ways you can make your conference calls run smoothly.
Have an Agenda
You must have a meeting agenda and stick with it. Nothing wastes more time than people going off on unrelated tangents.
You need to be a sergeant at arms, whose job it is to keep the meeting short, on time, and on track.
Engage the Participants
If you know that participants are likely going to drift off during a call, you must keep them engaged. Ask participants questions during the call.
You can ask for feedback on certain topics or just ask individuals for their opinions. The Socratic style of teaching and presenting will keep people on their toes.
Business Conference Calls Will Help Your Business Thrive
With employees and clients scattered all over the country and the world, businesses are embracing conference call technology to have meetings and make informed decisions.
There are numerous technologies from voice to video that can help businesses thrive.
Like any tool, its usefulness will depend on the user. That’s why it’s important to have an agenda and be clear about the outcomes you want to have from the conference call.
That will make sure you get the most from a business conference call.
Do you want other tips to help your business and employees thrive? Check out our blog posts about business management.