Call Conferencing System

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A conference call is a telephone call in which the calling party wishes to have more than one called party listen in to the audio portion of the call. The conference calls may be designed to allow the called party to participate during the call, or the call may be set up so that the called party merely listens into the call and cannot speak. It is often referred to as an ATC (Audio Tele-Conference).

Conference calls can be designed so that the calling party calls the other participants and adds them to the call; however, participants are usually able to call into the conference call themselves by dialing into a special telephone number that connects to a “conference bridge”, (a specialized type of equipment that links telephone lines).

Companies commonly use a specialized service provider who maintains the conference bridge, or who provides the phone numbers and PIN codes that participants dial to access the meeting or conference call.

Usage for Business

Businesses use conference calls daily to meet with remote parties, both internally and outside of their company. Common applications are client meetings or sales presentations, project meetings and updates, regular team meetings, training classes and communication to employees who work in different locations. Conference calling is viewed as a primary means of cutting travel costs and allowing workers to be more productive by not having to go out-of-office for meetings.

Conference calls are increasingly used in conjunction with web conferences, where presentations or documents are shared via the internet. This allows people on the call to view content such as corporate reports, sales figures and company data presented by one of the participants. The main benefit is that the presenter of the document can give clear explanations about details within the document, while others simultaneously view the presentation.

Business conference calls are usually hosted or operator-assisted, the quality (extreme reliability) and feature set of the telephone conferencing platform is what differs free from business conference calls. Billing is usually never a problem as most business conferencing call providers have flexible billing options. When you measure it from minute to minute, it would always be more advisable to go for business conference calling than settle with cheap and unreliable free ones.

Conference calls are also beginning to cross over into the world of podcasting and social networking, which in turn fosters new kinds of interaction patterns. Live streaming or broadcasting of conference calls allows a larger audience access to the call without dialing in to a bridge. In addition, organizers of conference calls can publish a dial-in number alongside the audio stream, creating potential for audience members to dial in if and when they wish to interact.

Party Line

Conference calls, can also be used for entertainment or social purposes, such as the party line or a group call. Such entertainment-based conference calls are used to provide a break from boredom as well as a way to socialize with others. People call in to a specified telephone number and are connected to conversations with other callers. This serves as a way to talk to and perhaps, subsequently, meet new people.

Flat Rate Conferencing

Flat rate services are now being offered which enable conference call users to have unlimited access to a conference bridge at a fixed monthly cost. Because telecommunication carriers offer free long distance bundled with local service, this alternative is gaining widespread popularity for budget conscious businesses and non-profits.

Prepaid Conference Calls

Prepaid conference call services allow businesses and individuals to purchase conferencing services online, and conduct conference calls on a pay-as-you-go basis. Typically, a conference call PIN and its associated calling instructions are displayed immediately online after being purchased and/or sent via email. Generally, prepaid conference call services are used with a landline telephone, mobile phone, or computer, and there is no need to buy additional expensive telecommunications hardware or add/switch long distance service. Some services allow you to start or join a conference call from virtually any country worldwide—with appropriate telephone access.

Free Conference Calling

Free conferencing is different from traditional conference calling where the organizer of the conference call pays either a flat rate fee or per minute charge or a mixture of both. It has no organizer fees and allows for multiple people to meet for the price of their long distance connections. Companies that provide free conference call services are usually compensated through revenue sharing arrangements, receiving a share of the termination fee the phone company receives for connecting the call. It is “free” of organizer fees, including the conference call in the price of a regular call.

Premium Conferencing

Here participants dial in on a premium-rate number typically beginning with the prefix ‘09’, the conference being hosted by anyone that adds value to the call in order to justify the premium rate element: this could be a celebrity, a sports personality, astrologer, lawyer, or expert in any given field. That person then receives the majority of the accrued revenue. Premium conferencing can also be used for charitable fundraisers.

Common Causes of Poor Conference Calls

There are several common causes of poor quality conference calls:

  • People simply not showing up.
  • Lack of familiarity with behaviour and protocol.
  • Lack of familiarity with equipment and technology.
  • Background noise and disturbances.
  • Poor coordination by call-initiator.
  • Lack of moderator

Each of these causes requires a different kind of corrective action. However, there is usually one primary root cause; for example, people may not be showing up because the technology does not work, or the technology may not work because people are not familiar with it.

Technology problems tend to fall into two kinds: lack of bandwidth and poor equipment. Again, it is worth checking which of these apply in the case of technology problems.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 28th, 2011 at 7:59 am and is filed under Call Center Solutions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

15 Responses to “Call Conferencing System”

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  8. Last Says:

    Web crnneoefcing is very big in a lot of industries now and it is a very effective tool. In the company I work for the main goal when holding a web conference meeting is to treat it as if the people you are meeting with are right there in the room with you. So yes, your point about being on time is crucial. And if you wouldn’t wear something to a person to person meeting don’t wear it to a conference call either. I know it sounds crazy, but it is true, how you dress comes across in your voice on the phone. If you dress casual your speech is more casual as well and you are more laid back, but if you are wearing business attire then your whole demeanor changes. Thank you for your advice I hope my points make sence.

  9. Marcus Says:

    While this is a good article for tips on live web cefeornncing meetings, I feel what is lacking on the internet is an article that covers good etiquette for all those gurus who promote training webinars using software that automates the sending of email invitations, webinar reminders, and all the other functions that go along with a so called live webinar. I describe webinars in this way because most webinars give you the appearance of a being live conference. In most cases, the trainer records the screen cast of only one actual live webinar and uses the recording to continue to promote the training course as a live webinar. Some trainers are more deceptive than others, but there are certain things they should be more transparent about and that is the sort of etiquette I think should be cited in an article.

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