It’s Your Rollout, End User: Take Collaboration into Your Own Hands

working day in office

By Brad Dupee

In Overcoming Resistance: 3 Critical Components of a Successful Tech Tool Rollout, we talked about how to manage a rollout from an IT decision-maker’s (ITDM) perspective. But what if you’re not part of the IT department? Don’t worry — we’ve got a strategy for you, too.

 ITDMs are discovering that the bring-your-own-application (BYOA) trend has reshaped how adoption happens. In a recent Frost & Sullivan survey of 300 IT employees and 300 line-of-business managers, 80 percent of respondents were found to use software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications not approved by IT.

FreeConferenceCall.com For Business™, for example, has users in nearly every Fortune 500 company. The takeaway? End users are increasingly driving digital tool uptake because they understand what works for them. As Tim Banting, principal analyst for collaboration and communications at Current Analysis, explains, “People need something that’s easy to use and fits with their work style and their work flow.” So if you find a tool that fits your organization and your business needs, share it with colleagues and pass it up the chain.

ITDMs are bound by proving value and ROI. Irwin Lazar, vice president and service director at Nemertes Research, confirms, “The single biggest factor that people are struggling with is demonstrating the value of the investment.” With cloud-based technology services that use a SaaS model, however, entry costs are often negligible and installation straightforward. Moving ahead no longer requires the IT department’s stamp of approval.

Today’s business reality, then, is that enterprise IT buyers can come from any department. Particularly with a low-cost platform like FreeConferenceCall.com For Business, waiting for budget approvals and compatibility testing has been replaced by a “check it out and see what happens” approach. If it doesn’t work, either revert to the old system or keep up the search.

If you are unfamiliar with what FreeConferenceCall.com For Business offers, we invite you to find out, whether you’re an ITDM or an employee with a need for better collaboration. Create an account and connect with 1 to 1,000 attendees using HD audio, video and screen sharing.

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Freeconferencecall.com Clinches the Gold Stevie in Telecommunications for Best Customer Support at 2016 American Business Awards

2016 Gold Stevie

It might not be Olympic Gold. But at FreeConferenceCall.com, the highest caliber of recognition is the business equivalent of being up on that podium, eyes shining and hand pressed to the heart. In other words, FreeConferenceCall.com is thrilled to have won a Gold Stevie® Award in the Customer Service Department of the Year in Telecom at The 14th Annual American Business AwardsTM.

The company stood out from a pool of thousands of applicants to win the highly coveted award. “The judges were extremely impressed with the quality of entries we received this year.” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards.

As one of the event judges relayed, “FreeConferenceCall.com has a lot to be proud of — especially for its diligent focus on customer excellence. I ranked them a ten, as it is extraordinary to provide strong customer support for a FREE product.”

The FreeConferenceCall.com Customer Care department is tasked with answering incoming calls, responding to voicemails, replying to emails and resolving any trouble tickets. This strong commitment to each customer began when the company first started and founder and CEO David Erickson answered every customer call himself for the first 918 days.  

“I could not be more proud of our Customer Care team for winning Gold for the Best Customer Support in Telecommunications at the Stevie Awards this year. The department epitomizes our core value – putting customers first,” said Erickson. “We are honored to be recognized in an area for which our passion runs deep at FreeConferenceCall.com and to stand amongst such a world-class collection of award-winning companies.”

This marks the second Stevie awarded to FreeConferenceCall.com in 2016. Earlier this year, Nella Marov, Customer Care manager, won a Gold Stevie for Customer Service Leader of the Year.

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Overcoming Resistance: 3 Critical Components of a Successful Tech Tool Rollout

old way new way arrow

By Brad Dupee

Imagine you’re an IT decision-maker (ITDM) and are ready to implement a new Unified Communications (UC) tool. Maybe it’s exactly what your team needs to increase productivity, streamline operations or improve processes. Even if you’ve grasped the benefits and stepped confidently into the role of product champion, that new tool still needs to be adopted company-wide in order to make the impact you envision.

A recent Wainhouse Research study shows that ITDMs identify the following priorities (in order of importance) when selecting an enterprise conferencing solution:

  1. Security
  2. Costs
  3. Mobility
  4. Quality

Despite their best efforts, however, IT professionals often complain that employees never use the UC tools they are given. So, what factors stand in the way of adoption? The usual suspects — time, money and resources — spring to mind; but, perhaps the biggest challenge emerges from internal resistance to effort, risk and change within an organization.

Working through resistance requires each team member to go through the same discovery process you have. But, there is good news. You can help guide your team members to the technological Promised Land by ensuring three critical components are in place: awareness, education and a vendor that’s willing and able to push adoption forward.

Step 1: Create Awareness

Let’s keep in mind that the ultimate goal is change — and people don’t always like change. Your task will be even more difficult if the tool you’re introducing equates to a shift in working culture. The odds are certainly stacked against you, with one ISPI study suggesting that a daunting 81 percent of culture change initiatives fail.

So, if most employees ignored that helpful email announcement from the IT department, maybe it’s time to get creative. Get the word out with a notice posted in the bathroom or perhaps leverage the leadership of some noisy product champions. Spark some initiative by offering a $5 gift card for the fastest signup or enable a company-wide conversation using your new platform.

Step 2: Make Education Meaningful 

Adoption is also contingent on how well employees understand the new tool and believe in its relevance. So before simply setting up the whole team with a product demo, consider components that might prove particularly useful for the individual or specific department. Think beyond listing features and focus on functionality — operational aspects or challenges the tool addresses.

Also, expect a drop-off in enthusiasm following the initial rollout and first end user training session. Just counter that drop-off by being proactive. Identify users who are not accessing the tool and provide them with additional forms of online support. 

Step 3: Pick a Vendor That Can Do It All

Yes, a vendor can successfully drive the adoption of its solution within a client organization. So what do you need to look for? First, a vendor should be comfortable working directly with as many users as possible. Your IT department shouldn’t find their time monopolized by troubleshooting. Instead, direct channels of communication need to be opened in order to empower your end users to contact the vendor directly for support.

Ultimately, your vendor should be a real partner. At FreeConferenceCall.com For Business™, managers are on staff to facilitate service rollouts to enterprises. In a recent rollout within a Fortune 500 company, for example, the enterprise project manager collaborated with the customer to create personalized training materials and use cases that are accessible through the company’s intranet and other information sharing platforms. The PM also developed a direct link to the FreeConferenceCall.com For Business Customer Care team for employees. Those customer service conversations are a gold mine of information, uncovering hidden challenges and providing additional opportunities to increase adoption.

Remember how you were proactive and identified certain end users in the last step? You should be able to pass that information along to your vendor’s customer support team. They can then contact end users directly and offer assistance.

Hopefully these steps will help you successfully complete the rollout the way you planned. Do you have a creative strategy for capturing employee attention, or a particularly impactful training tip? We’d love to hear your tips and comments, so please share below!

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Tales From the Front Line: Lessons From Your Trusted Customer Care Rep

Dialing phone

 

By Kelly Kincaid, Customer Care Representative, FreeConferenceCall.com

At FreeConferenceCall.com, we get a lot of calls into Customer Care about capacity. When we tell customers they can screen share, audio or video conference with up to 1,000 participants, they are usually shocked. We understand the incredulous guffaws. For most conference users, it’s hard to imagine how to manage such a large meeting.

Party of Two?

On the other end of the spectrum, customers are also surprised to realize that there is value in conferencing with just one person. In a recent Wainhouse research report, IT decision-makers reported that more than 50% of daily business calls terminate on a conferencing bridge — and that includes a percentage of two-party calls that require the flexibility a bridge has to offer.

So, what does a conferencing bridge have to offer? And why should someone trade in a phone call for conferencing and collaboration?

Here are five reasons conference calls make more sense:

1. No more phone tag.

Always missing the person you need to talk to? Connect on a conference bridge instead so you can put an end to all the back and forth. It’s much easier to have a virtual meeting room than play a game of phone tag. Using the conference bridge qualifies the call and offers commitment from all parties.

2. Get your point across effectively.

A call limits you to one medium for communication. Leverage the power of visual information with an online meeting. You’ll have the means to screen share, use collaboration tools or add web and video features to drive your point home. According to Wharton Research Center, there is an astounding 400% retention rate for a presentation when video is used.

3. Reviewing was never so easy.

You never know when you might need to refer back to those points you agreed on. Conferencing lets you record an online meeting or a call and provides you multiple options for playback and sharing.

4. Add more people without hassle.

Need quick input from a third party or forgot to include a co-worker from another branch? Just send an instant invite and get them in on the action.

5. The facts, and nothing but.

Sometimes you need to demonstrate a meeting occurred — the basic facts like who was on the call and how long it lasted. No problem. As soon as your meeting concludes, you’ll receive a Call Detail Report direct to your inbox.

So go ahead and upgrade your next direct dial audio call to an HD audio conference. Whether you need to connect with one participant or 1,000, FreeConferenceCall.com is here for you.

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Ready to Rock Your AV World at InfoComm 2016

Las Vegas Sign

From June 8-10, FreeConferenceCall.com For Business™ will be in Las Vegas at InfoComm 2016, the largest show in the U.S. for commercial AV solutions and the locus of cutting-edge audiovisual technology trends and products. We’ll be rubbing elbows with other industry thought leaders as well as 40,000 AV-industry peers from 108+ countries.

And we won’t stop there. FreeConferenceCall.com President, Bob Wise, will join two panels this year. First, Wise will moderate Mobility and Unified Communications – Now It Gets Personal on Wednesday, June 8, 10:30am – noon. Attendees will learn about the growth of personal and mobile collaboration tools and get a glimpse of where the trends are headed. Panelists will dive deep into the current and future state of desktop and mobile devices and take a look at the impact on organizations and the way forward for users.

Wise will also be a panelist on UC as a Service – Has the Cloud Changed Our Sweet Spot?, taking place Wednesday, June 8, 3:30 – 4:30. Panelists will explore the current state of Collaboration as a Service (CaaS) offerings and consumption models, as well as how to optimally leverage cloud services and differentiate cloud from managed services. It will be a discussion that’s aimed at breaking down CaaS pros and cons.

Sound pretty good? Well, we still aren’t done. You can also find us in the Exhibit Hall showcasing the FreeConferenceCall.com For Business transformative conferencing and collaboration solutions for the enterprise.

Stop by Booth N2616 and check out how FreeConferenceCall.com For Business is facilitating innovation by revolutionizing how teams connect and saving customers up to 80% on business conferencing.

Stop by our booth and we’ll show you how our low, flat-rate pricing model can work for your company. You can also get a demo of our HD audio conferencing and Online Meetings with screen sharing and video conferencing. Our services give you a minimal risk, maximum return solution that boasts G2 Crowd’s highest overall user satisfaction score and award-winning customer care.

We can’t wait to see you there!

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Take the Sting Out of Conference Calling

Good communication with a client

By Jennifer Zeidler, VP of Marketing & Communication, FreeConferenceCall.com

According to an article published today in CIO.com, the user experience for conferencing “is getting better all the time.”  As long-time user of FreeConferenceCall.com, CIO.com highlights the company as an “awesome” solution for audio conferencing and Online Meetings with screen sharing and video.

Conference calls are a big part of work life today…Because we spend so much time in meetings, we want conference-calling systems that that launch quickly and work flawlessly so we can get the information we need and move on to other pressing matters…The good news is that the leading conference call services are full of features that take the sting out of group calls and online meetings. 

CIO said it uses FreeConferenceCall.com not only to save on cost, but for “its ease of use and familiarity.”

The high-quality, reliable free service – with users in more than 800,000 businesses worldwide – now accommodates up to 1,000 participants for HD audio and video conferences.

And, if you are interested in unique co-branded managed services for businesses, check out FreeConferenceCall.com For Business or inbox me to learn more.

We’ll show you how to save up to 80% on your conferencing spend – and find out what “awesome” is all about.

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Think Outside the Card: How to Celebrate Mother’s Day With FreeConferenceCall.Com

family conference call

With Mother’s day just around the corner, we thought we’d share some easy tips for a unique way to celebrate. Chocolate, flowers and homemade cards are always a great gift for mom. But, why not think outside the card this year by getting the entire family together on a conference call for your mom or grandma.

If your family is spread out across the states or out of the country, mom or grandma would appreciate everyone getting together – virutally. Make this Mother’s Day a family affair by connecting the entire family, across the miles, with HD audio and video conferencing from FreeConferenceCall.com. It is not only on trend, it’s also very sentimental.

Conference calling is the perfect way to get everyone together for one simple and touching phone call to mom or grandma for free.

Your mom or grandma will surely appreciate having the entire family together — and hearing everyone’s voices together – a rarity in today’s busy and bustling world. Whether the kids or grandchildren are off to college or living far away, conferencing is the next best thing to being there.

Here’s how it works:

  1. After logging into your account, invite your family via email, using the invite form. The email will then notify your family of the date and time of the conference call and provide your Dial-In Number and Access Code.
  2. At the scheduled time, everyone calls the Dial-In Number and enters the Access Code followed by the pound (#) sign.
  3. If you are the host, you will be required to enter the Host PIN followed by the pound sign.

And, if you prefer to video conference, you can use your account to connect face-to-face with your loved ones across the miles.

All of us at FreeConferenceCall.com want to wish moms everywhere a Happy Mother’s Day!

P.S. We’d love to see how you connect with your  mom on Monther’s Day. Send us a picture of your conference call by posting it on your social media channels and using the hashtag #SheDeservesACall

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Get Smart About Conferencing Bills: 14 “Little” Fees That Really Add Up

man paying bills

By Bob Wise, President, FreeConferenceCall.com

From its innovative (and humble) beginnings back in 2001, FreeConferenceCall.com has surged to become the fifth largest conferencing provider globally by minute volume. That level of growth wasn’t achieved by passing off costs to customers, but rather by providing high-quality solutions that are responsive, flexible and cost-effective—paired with a service that’s completely transparent.

When I joined FreeConferenceCall.com as its president, the company had already built a strong base of trust with more than 5 million users, 800,000 businesses and users from nearly every Fortune 500 company. With that in place, one of my first moves was to evaluate how to best leverage our secure platform and services. We created FreeConferenceCall.com For Business™ with solutions designed for larger enterprises that offer managed services, co-branding opportunities and most importantly, a huge cost savings.

As it turns out, saving businesses on their conferencing spend was remarkably straightforward. Need proof? Get your business conferencing invoices and prepare yourself for a shock. That sky-high number probably includes costly toll-free dial-in access plus more extra service fees than you can count on two hands. Don’t you think it’s time to re-evaluate your conferencing spend and start getting smarter about what you pay to collaborate?

Stop Paying Unnecessary, Additional Fees

Now take a moment to examine the fine print on your conferencing bill. Look at the bottom for additional fees and see how fast they add up. Chances are, you and your employees aren’t using all of the expensive add-ons.

Somewhere among all the line items for actual usage, you’ll probably find charges for any number of things, including:

  • Conference minimums (both number of participants and call duration)
  • Summary reports
  • International access
  • Professional services
  • End-user support
  • Admin portals
  • Licensing fees for features that aren’t used
  • Recording line and set-up
  • Archive playback
  • File storage
  • Telecom surcharges
  • Mailed or paper invoices
  • Bridging fees
  • Service charges

A fixed monthly cost is much more practical and cost-effective. That is what drives our mission at FreeConferenceCall.com For Business. We are disrupting the enterprise conferencing market by offering audio conferencing with online meetings, including screen sharing and video conferencing for up to 1,000 participants per account, plus managed services, customizations, unified billing and analytics — all for a low, fixed monthly cost. We’ve always stayed true to our mission: collaborative communication should be affordable and efficient. We earn our customers’ trust and loyalty by not charging for any of those extra fees. 

Critical Features and Lower Costs: You Can Have It All

Are you ok with wasting money on all of these extras that, in many cases, don’t bring value to your users, but pad the wallet of your provider? What new IT projects could you fund if you were able to shift thousands of dollars from your current conferencing expense? After more than 20 years, conferencing technology has evolved to the point that businesses no longer have to choose between critical features and lower costs.

In a recent Wainhouse Research study, 51 percent of IT decision makers affirmed they would consider moving to a new service if the cost were 50 percent less than their current provider; 48 percent said “Maybe” but the new service would need to be equal to or better than the current service. We understand that collaborative communication has to deliver on quality and efficiency and are providing just that with an innovative pricing model that will save you more than 50 percent.

Ready to say good-bye to the status quo? Download this free white paper to learn how companies are drastically reducing their conferencing costs without sacrificing quality or features. Then talk to us today about how we can help you. Contact our team at business@freeconferencecall.com or 844-800-4000.

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Attending Interop? Here’s How to Leave a Hero

Welcome to Las Vegas

By Brad Dupee

FreeConferenceCall.com For Business™ is excited to be part of this year’s dynamic Interop Conference in Las Vegas from May 2-6. We’ll be participating in five days of world-class education, cutting edge speakers, informative sessions and unlimited networking opportunities.

Stop by Booth #255

Of course, we’re also heading to the Interop Conference to connect with IT professionals. At the Interop Expo, we’ll showcase the innovative business conferencing and collaboration solutions you’ve been waiting for. So stop by Booth #255 and check out how FreeConferenceCall.com For Business is revolutionizing how your teams connect.

High-Quality Services at Lower Costs

Even better, we’re doing it all for less than our competitors. When you visit our booth, we’ll show you how our high-quality, low-cost HD audio conferencing and online meetings with screen sharing and video conferencing can save your business up to 80% on conferencing.

And because we don’t tack on fine print and hidden fees, you can head home with a minimal risk, maximum return solution that boasts G2 Crowd’s highest overall user satisfaction score and award-winning customer service.

In short, we’ll make you a hero. See you at Interop!

 

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Connect Without Access Codes

Man looking at One Number Text

The days of remembering long access codes to enter a conference call are finally over!

We are thrilled to introduce One Number by FreeConferenceCall.com. Joining a conference call is now easier than ever.  We created this service so that no access codes are needed to host or join. Plus, the host will receive text notifications the minute the first caller joins the conference.  

Don’t wait. Buy it today! Purchase One Number in the app store for $3.95/month and grant pin-free access to the conference for you and your participants.

AppStore

Log in to your account to purchase One Number today.

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