Web Conference services
Communication makes the world go round but in our global economy routine communication is becoming harder than ever. Teams are no longer restricted to a single office and customers are oftentimes outside of your geographic area.
Conference call, or web conferencing services ensure distance is a non-issue and make it possible to communicate whenever and wherever you’d like.
An audio or video conferencing system lets you host online meetings that maintain relationships and enhance communication whether you’re in the same city or halfway around the world.
The beauty of online meetings is that you can communicate with a single teammate or a group of customers for training, consulting, or simple check-ins.
The conferencing market is almost as old as the internet and new services are springing up every day. That means there are countless options to choose from which can make the process daunting.
You’ll soon have a better understanding of what conference call services are, the key features, and benefits you can gain from using it.
Recommended web conference service providers
These are some of the most recommended web conferencing service providers on the market:
What are web conferencing services?
Web conferencing services allow you to hold live online meetings, conferences, training, presentations, and more. Typically, participants of the meeting can connect via their phone or over the internet using their computer microphone. A defining part of web conferencing is the ability to hold one-on-one meetings or one-to-many meetings as well as video conferencing. If, at the very least, the solution doesn’t support that then it’s not true conferencing service.
Video conferencing, as well as audio conferencing, have evolved beyond a way to talk to prospects and your teammates in a different city. With improved internet speeds and audio/video quality, it’s a way to onboard users, offer customer support, and host marketing related events. With so much riding on your online meetings, it’s crucial you choose the right service.
How to select a web conferencing service
There are three main factors to take into consideration when choosing a solution:
Ease of use
It doesn’t matter how good a service is if you can’t figure it out. Take ease of use into consideration before you even evaluate the features. If not, you’ll spend a lot of time vetting an online video conference tool only to find out it’s difficult to use.
If you can’t sign up for a free trial then search for reviews of the products and see what past customers have to say.
It may seem like features are an obvious consideration, but we’re not referring to the general features.
Every business has a specific way of doing things and you probably don’t want to change that because you signed up for a new piece of software.
Before you go hunting for a new conference call service, write down all the features you want that are nonnegotiable. If the products you shortlist meet your requirements then you can dig deeper into whether or not it’ll be good for your organization.
This cannot be ignored. What is your budget and does the solution fall within that range? I don’t mean just the software itself. It’s necessary to consider the costs of switching, equipment, and maintenance.
Microsoft has a piece of web meeting hardware designed for business users. While it’s a good product, it costs tens of thousands of dollars. Conversely, RingCentral offers all the online video conference capabilities you need for the low price of fee.
Benefits of online meetings
Some of the benefits of web conferencing are obvious while others only become noticeable after you’ve started. Here are a few benefits businesses get when they choose to make the switch.
Save on travel expenses
Though business travel is still an integral part of building relationships and closing deals, it’s no longer necessary for every interaction.
Companies used to be housed in a single building and you could walk down the hall to meet your teammates.
Now, everything is further apart. Partners are on the other side of town, customers are on the other side of the globe, and staff are in different cities.
The cost of traveling to meet everyone is restrictive. Conference video calls can achieve the same outcome more efficiently because you save on travel and can communicate with multiple people at once.
Better communication with customers and prospects
Believe it or not, an online meeting can be more productive than a face to face meeting. You’re able to share files, your screen, walk people through interactive presentations and more.
A virtual room will fit more people than in an office conference room. You also get the benefits of one to one communication but with dozens or hundreds of people.
At the same time, you’re able to deliver personal customer support or a sales pitch demo to a single person. Together, you create a better experience for everyone involved.
Integrations with other apps
One of my favorite benefits of best-in-class conferencing software is a wide range of integrations to help you focus and get more done.
For example, when you set up a time for a web meeting, you’re able to automatically sync it to your calendar. Both you and your participants will get reminders.
For large-scale marketing conference video calls, it’s likely that some people will register but fail to show up. You can integrate with your email marketing service to follow up with them after the meeting.
Features and types of video conferencing solutions
In addition to the features peculiar to your business, there are a few essential features video conferencing solutions should bring to the table. First, the types of conferencing software based on use case:
- Basic online meetings
- Large scale webinars
- Project collaboration
- Media sharing
- Remote access
- Customer support
They’re classified based on use case because it’ll help you understand which features the software develops and which ones it ignores. Be sure to understand the focus of any solution before you sign up. Now, on to the features.
Screen sharing is an important aspect of video conferencing solutions because it enables you to deliver presentations, tutorials, or customer support.
Screen sharing functionality should come with different views. For example, you may want to share your entire screen or just a portion of it with participants. If you have a presentation, a gallery view may be better. What about your face, do you want to keep it visible or only show your screen?
It’s important to take all of this into consideration.
Chatting & exchanging files
This feature is especially useful when a single person is presenting to multiple people. The participants can ask questions or exchange ideas without interrupting the presenter. At the same time, it can be a way for the host to solicit feedback.
Files such as reports, information requested, or anything else can be exchanged via the chat function and allow for smoother meetings.
Recording in common video formats
This is incredibly important to watch out for. Many web conferencing solutions allow you to record your meetings and export them.
The only problem is that it creates the file in a proprietary format that only works with the software. Converting it to a common video format can be troublesome and takes away from the usefulness of the recording feature.
Double check to make sure you can export it to common video formats and save yourself a lot of headache.
Web Conference services are an important part of modern businesses. They make it possible to communicate with people within and outside your organization.
The benefits are clear.
Choosing the right solution, because of the options available, can be a daunting task. This article has gone through some of the important features and considerations before you choose your web conferencing service.