Picking conference call services for business use can be a daunting challenge, particularly for those who have never used conference call services for business usage in the past several years. The conference call game has changed with technology and increased competition meaning that more conference call services for business users are becoming available and they are much less expensive than they once were. While not every consumer will need every conference call feature, it is prudent to investigate the features available and determine for yourself which features and functions would be beneficial to you and your company.
One nice feature that many conference call services for business users implement is roll call control. Many conference call systems announce the entrance of new participants by a beep or other notification tone. While this is sufficient for many users, it can be difficult to keep up with the participants without having to stop the meeting and ask who joined (if the new participant did not immediately introduce him or herself). Some teleconference systems require entering participants to state their name before they can enter the conference call. Upon entry, the conference call system will play the recording of their name to announce their presence. On some systems, this feature can be suspended to hold playing the recordings until the moderator enters a code, at which time all new entrance recordings will be played. This allows the organizer to continue the meeting flow and only check the roll when it is convenient.
One problem that some people experience with conference call services for business is that they are unable to confer amongst small groups without the entire meeting audience being able to listen. While in a face to face meeting it would be possible to discuss something in the hall or via written messages, such things are not possible in a traditional conference call. Fortunately, newer conference call services for business users have a feature called sub-conferencing. Sub-conferencing allows meeting participants to remain on the main conference while having a mini conference call amongst themselves. The other participants in the call can not hear what is said during the sub-conference. When the sub conference is finished, the participants can return to the main conference call after having discussed their issues.
One of the biggest problems that many business professionals experience is incomplete recall of all the topics that were discussed during a meeting, whether in person or via a conference call. Many newer conference call services for business users feature the ability to completely record the entire conference call. This recording serves as a permanent record of all that was discussed and can be an invaluable resource for users who are unable to remember exact details of the meetings and can also be useful if a dispute should arise between participants regarding what was or was not said during the conference call.
One real problem with conference call meetings is that it is not possible to signal via eye contact, a raised hand, or other non-verbal cue that a participant has a question. The only way to ask a question had been to simply blurt out the question and possibly interrupt the speaker. Newer conference call services for business users allow users to signal when they have a question by punching in certain key combinations. This allows the moderator to monitor the number of users with questions, thereby allowing him or her to direct questions to set question and answer periods.
Some conference call services for business users feature options that allow meeting participants to vote electronically. This can be great during meetings where decisions must be reached via a majority consensus. The moderator poses a question to the audience and they are able to vote via their touch tone phone. The results are stored on the teleconference system and can either be accessed immediately or stored for later digestion. Depending on system and setup, the votes can either be traceable to the participant or completely anonymous.
Perhaps the greatest addition to conference call services for business users is the web video conference. The internet has made it possible to send video and other digital content at prices that were unimaginable only a decade ago. Many web conference services allow the moderator or other users to share the contents of their personal computer with other meeting participants. The user can display presentations, documents, graphs, and other media with all other participants in the conference call.
There are a number of great new features associated with conference call services for business users that were not available a few years ago. The ability to do automated participant announcements, electronic polling, sub-conferencing, web video conferencing, and many other features have allowed conference calls to assume a central role in the success or failure of most large companies.