Conference Accounts for Everyone
April 29, 2011 @ 01:04 PM | By Cody Royster

InterCall has built our business serving the communication needs of businesses of all sizes, but a good portion of our business has historically come from large organizations. This global customer base helps us continually improve our offerings so they can keep their companies moving forward.

In the last few years, as the number of small and medium sized businesses (SMB) has grown, we’ve seen a demand for conferencing services that meet the specific needs of this segment of the market. One of the most frequently asked questions that comes in to our customer service teams is about our SMB offering. So, in an effort to help get some information out there, here’s what you need to know.

Packages
When you go to our web site, you can sign up for a dedicated audio conference account or purchase the audio and web combo package. With either one, you have your own virtual meeting room that is available at any time.

Audio Conferencing Only – Start an audio conference call on-the-fly or plan ahead. Your dedicated dial-in number and conference code is always ready. You also have access to project codes for client billback or immediate operator assistance.

  • Unlimited usage at a LOW flat rate
  • Dedicated dial-in number and conference code
  • Anytime access, without reservations
  • Operator assistance

Online Meetings – Instead of just telling them what you're talking about, add web conferencing for your next meeting so they can see it. Our audio and web conferencing are tightly integrated, so you get two services in one easy-to-use online interface.

  • Schedule meetings from Outlook®
  • Access meetings with one click
  • Share presentations and applications
  • Discuss and edit documents in real-time
  • Deliver demos online
  • Send polling questions

Quality of Service
As far as quality and reliability go, these services are running from the same platforms that our enterprise audio and web conferencing services use, so you can be sure you’re getting the same uptime our Fortune 100 customers have. After all, it doesn’t matter what size business you work for, no one can afford to look unprofessional in a meeting, right?

Signing Up
Within 30 minutes of signing up, you'll receive a welcome email containing your account details. From there, you can host conference calls and/or online meetings anytime you need them.

When you do pick a plan that’s right for you, just enter a valid credit card during sign up and you're all set. Based on the package you choose, your service will bill automatically, either monthly or annually.

I hope this helps answer some questions, but you can always check out our web site or call us at 877.314.4341. We’ve also recently launched these same types of packages in Europe for SMBs based in EMEA.

And, as I mentioned, we are always open to feedback, so if you are using or evaluating these packages, please let us know what you think works or could be better.

Cody RoysterCody Royster is an Analyst Supervisor with our North America Operations team at InterCall. Having worked across the country in our operations, video, web, training, customer service, and sales department, Cody has been dedicated for the past 10 years to help promote, create, and manage InterCall’s conferencing services. He is a loving husband and enjoys photography and hosting dinner parties.

Don't Get Lost in Translation - 6 Tips for Multilingual Meetings
April 27, 2011 @ 01:01 PM | By Sarah Murphy

It can happen to anyone...

Recently one of my European co-workers came home to New England to visit family that happens to live in the same town I do. As we sat down to dinner with our husbands, she and I started to talk about work. I turned to the husbands to apologize for ‘talking shop’. Her husband gave me a puzzled look and asked, “What does it mean to ‘talk shop’?” Fortunately it was easy to explain, but we sometimes forget our slang doesn’t always translate. 

Quote1

Slang aside, even when it comes to the same language, one word can have extremely different meanings. For example, trainers in the UK are sneakers; in the US, trainers are people who instruct/educate others on products, process, procedures, etc. If two English speaking cultures can have such different meanings of a word, imagine what could happen with someone who inadvertently mistranslates a phrase or word into another language.

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Here are 6 tips on how to prevent your meeting from getting lost in translation.

1. Speak slowly and clearly.

Folks like me in the northeast region of the U.S. have a tendency to talk fast, which isn’t very helpful when those listening are trying to process English into another language.

2. Reinforce what you say with visuals.

Using an online meeting solution like InterCall Unified Meeting lets you show or share documents/PowerPoint slides from your computer. At times, it is easier to understand English when reading it vs. only hearing it.

3. Take a breath.

Don’t ramble on for 20 minutes at a stretch. Information is easier to process in smaller sections with opportunities for participants to ask questions/clarify points.

4. Allow questions to be asked via chat.

Let participants use the online chat feature to type their questions or comments to you. It is sometimes easier to write in English than to speak it.

5. Consider time zones.

Schedule meetings with people located in other regions at the start of their day. Yes this may mean a late night for you, but it makes it easier on those who have to translate English into another language.

6. Make sure to record the meeting and have it available to your participants.

With a solution like InterCall Unified Meeting, audio and web visuals are included in the synchronized recording that can be paused and rewound during playback. At no extra cost, participants can play it back as many times as they need to ensure they understand what is being communicated.

What other tips do you have for using web conferencing to help with multiple language communications?

Sarah MurphySarah Murphy is a marketing manager at InterCall. With over ten years of experience in the conferencing industry, Sarah has worked with customers and products that cover all segments of conferencing, including traditional operator attended services, video and online meeting solutions.

Have You Been Bitten by the Green Bug?
April 22, 2011 @ 03:04 PM | By Cynthia Welch

Being green is a big deal in my household. Earth day is typically filled with a few events that commemorate the day. How did I become such a tree hugger so to speak? It happened a few years ago when my husband had a stressful job that required him to commute and be away from home more than usual. This meant that household chores such as taking the garbage out fell on me. The garbage bags were heavy and the pizza boxes wouldn’t fit into the dainty garbage can I bought to match the stainless steel appliances. That’s when I had an ingenious plan to set aside the pizza boxes and recycle them.

That is when the green bug bit me. Slowly, I started putting aside everything that was cardboard, then all the plastic bottles and aluminum cans. A mountain of cardboard started to build in my laundry room but it wasn’t a burden as much as a tiny source of pride. The small impact the recycling made inspired me to want to do more. Article after article I began to understand how individuals and even corporations were creating solutions that saved resources and benefited the planet. What could I do to be a part of this movement? I thought long and hard about the many ways that I could change the planet. Recycle, check. What’s next?

At the same time, our country experienced an economic crisis comparable to one my generation had only read about in school. Gas prices were at a high and everyone was looking to save money. Individuals were car pooling to work, companies were laying off and everyone in the country was doing more with less. That’s when it hit me, InterCall can help. There isn’t a need for companies to spend on air fare, hotels and per diems. Conferencing helps people connect globally, and we do this daily.

I feel inspired at the impact InterCall makes in reducing the carbon footprint of thousands of companies worldwide. By conferencing we can reduce the use of precious resources such as gas and even trees. Not only is InterCall changing the way the world collaborates through our audio, video, web, mobile and unified communications solutions, but InterCall is a corporately responsible organization. InterCall has encouraged its employees to get involved in environmentally conscious projects in addition to social organizations such as the Fuller Project and the United Way.

Now I can say that along with my recycling I too am making a positive impact on the planet by helping people connect, collaborate and grow. Have you been bit by the green bug? Set up a meeting and start saving the planet today.

Cynthia Welch is an associate product manager for all things audio here at InterCall. Her primary focus is on the expansion of global transport and meeting the branding needs of our customers. She has been with the InterCall in this capacity for over 6 years. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter as well as traveling.

Celebrate Earth Day with Cloud-Based Unified Communications
April 22, 2011 @ 12:14 PM | By Rodney Horton

Today is Earth Day and it got me thinking about how InterCall helps companies be more earth-friendly.  We have long been the global leader in conferencing, with over 20 billion minutes of conferencing provided last year alone.  That astounding number racks up more than just savings for our customers; it reduces our customers’ carbon footprint by eliminating several TONS of emissions and other pollutants each year. Green

There’s no doubt you’ve heard this message before:  audio, video and web conferencing save you money by reducing travel which translates into a green approach for doing business. Rather than airports, taxis, highways and hotels, we’re meeting in telepresence rooms and at desktop video stations, collaborating over conferencing bridges and sharing information on streaming websites. But InterCall can help you become green in more ways than that.

Leveraging over 20 years as a provider of hosted and managed services, InterCall has been strategically building solutions and services that position us as an industry leader in Unified Communications. Our team of experts help companies to select, migrate and deploy cloud-based UC solutions in a fully hosted or hybrid environment. These solutions comprise another important way you can green your business.

So how is the cloud green?

Less Hardware

Because cloud solutions deliver applications, storage and more in a virtual environment via the internet, businesses have a reduced need for on-premise servers. From the source of materials, to their ultimate demise, production of computer hardware has a significant environmental impact. Manufacture of server parts, packaging and transport can all contribute to environmental pollution and waste.  Of course, the need for servers is not completely removed because of the cloud, but their numbers could be significantly reduced.

Less Space

Reduced hardware and servers require smaller building areas. What can you do with a little extra space on your company property? Increase your pervious surface area. Pervious surfaces keep more rain out of storm systems and filters pollutants out of run-off before it drains into rivers, streams, and water tables. Less building area also means an opportunity for more trees, which provide natural cooling of structures and a more pleasant work environment.

Less Energy

Large server rooms have high cooling requirements. Moving your server to the cloud reduces cooling costs, as well as greenhouse gas emissions coming from the cooling system. Likewise, energy bills and pollutants from energy sources are reduced. You can further reduce your carbon footprint by choosing to work with data centers that use cleaner or renewable energy.

I’m excited to be part of a company that is making a large impact on the environment. From conferencing and instant messaging, to IP telephony and more, Unified Communications solutions can have a positive environmental impact. So for all of you out there, continue to telecommute from your home. Use a conference bridge or video call to collaborate with co-workers half-way around the world. And if your company is interested in leveraging cloud-based UC solutions, be sure to reach out to us.

Happy Earth Day!

Rodney Horton imageRodney Horton is senior director of hosted services for InterCall, the business unit for UCaaS and other hosted UC and collaboration solutions. Rodney spends most of his time providing direction and support to the hosting services area of InterCall by working with internal teams and external customers to develop solutions that will enable companies to save time and money through the adoption of cloud-based UC. When he’s not working with InterCall customers on their UC strategy, Rodney enjoys spending time with his family, traveling and exercising.

Saving the Planet One Conference at a Time
April 22, 2011 @ 06:35 AM | By Jill Huselton

Here we are again—Earth Day 2011. InterCall marks this day of being green, remembering Mother Nature and saving the planet by allowing our employees to work from home instead of driving to the office, holding meetings virtually and participating in local Earth Day celebrations.

Whether or not it is April 22, we’re always encouraging people to use conferencing instead of driving across town or flying half way around the world for meetings, and as the cost of gas goes up by the minute, it is even a more compelling argument. The real question is, though, are people doing it? I would consider myself environmentally conscious. I try to only use reusable water bottles, I recycle all of my office paper and plastic shopping bags and I sort through our trash can at home to make sure our recyclables get into the green bin. I also work from home and join all my meetings virtually. With all my good intentions, I still drive my SUV and admit that even though I cringe when I fill up my gas tank, I haven’t really tried very hard to consolidate my errands or pushed off driving five hours for a weekend getaway.

So, what do you think? If reducing gas consumption and CO2 emissions aren’t enough to really make us cut back our business travel, are there a few other easier ways to put conferencing to work to make a positive environmental impact in a different way?

The most obvious is paper consumption. Instead of emailing a presentation or document to meeting participants and having them print it out to review during your audio conference call, share an electronic copy using web conferencing.

How has your business used conferencing to further your green initiatives?

Jill HuseltonJill Huselton is a senior marketing manager at InterCall. She's been in the conferencing industry for nearly 15 years, working in operations, account management and marketing, mainly based in Colorado. Before leaving the Mile-High City, she hiked a 14er, one of her top accomplishments. Now she's traded the mountains for the beach and works from a home office in North Carolina.

If Only Real Life had a Mute Button
April 20, 2011 @ 12:01 PM | By Support Squad

The other day, I found myself in a predicament where I wished I could better control the conversation around me.  I’d received a long awaited, important phone call from my veterinarian while shopping for groceries. Down the aisle, a group of  teenagers erupted in convulsed fits of laughter and inappropriate, yet entertaining banter. The interaction dragged along which then led to excited shouting and trash talking.

Remembering the days of youth when similar behavior seemed part of The Plan, I continued in my phone conversation without much concern, understanding the wild energies of youth and the difficulty in channeling them in a publicly appropriate manner.  In short, I understood.  Kids should be allowed a little fun every now and then, and those in the store weren’t hurting anyone.

At the same time, I could tell the cardiologist from the veterinary clinic was distracted and to an extent, frustrated, as they attempted to pass along important information concerning my pet’s health. At that moment, I found myself reaching for an imaginary remote control to mute the noise around me.

Alas, no control existed, but it reminded me of the convenience and control provided through InterCall’s Reservationless-Plus® audio platform which allows hosts to eliminate the obnoxious distraction and background noise that had impacted my own conversation.

If a conference call encounters this type of disturbance, moderators may manage their conference with a list of simple phone commands that allow for mute/unmute functionality, roll call, recording, as well as the ability to request assistance from an operator directly should static, echo, or other audio complications throw a monkey wrench into their call. A professional operator is available to assist on these conferences at all times, and can identify the source of any in-call challenge. Now, if only the technology can be developed to provide this functionality in the grocery store!

To access the phone commands for Reservationless-Plus®, please visit the InterCall Knowledge Base. The InterCall Knowledge Base contains numerous answers to assist with your daily conferencing needs.

Support Squad imageThe Support Squad consists of bloggers who are part of our technical support team and are dedicated to improving your experience with InterCall’s services. These experts are available 24/7 to assist you with all your conferencing and collaboration needs. Visit our Support Knowledge Base to troubleshoot your issue online or contact our live operators at 800.374.1852

Using InterCall Online to View, Print and Pay Your Invoice
April 15, 2011 @ 09:47 AM | By Cody Royster

Shuffling through hundreds of paper invoices, addressing envelopes and writing out checks can be an exhausting and tedious task. Managing your accounts and paying your bills shouldn’t be so difficult, it should be easy.

One of the most frequent questions our customer service team gets is about paying invoices. InterCall Online, our proprietary online account management tool, provides administrators with an on-demand solution to easily manage your InterCall payments.  Below, you will find step-by-step instructions to view, print and pay your invoices all in one stop. The system is designed to accept payments from both electronic checks and credit cards!

VIEW & PRINT YOUR INVOICE

When using InterCall Online, you can view previous billing account invoices in PDF format.

  1. After logging into your InterCall Online account, select View Invoices from the left-hand navigation bar.
  2. Select the appropriate filter from the Filter By drop-down list (company name, company number, account name or account number) and enter the details in the Criteria field. Note: You can search a partial company or account name by including an asterisk (*) at the end of your entry.
  3. Click Filter Search.
  4. Select the appropriate account and click on Access Invoices. *Invoices can only be accessed at the account level. Please note: If you have searched by company name or number, you may access the accounts under the company by selecting Drill Down at the bottom of the screen.
  5. You will then receive a PDF format of your bill which you can then print or you can pay online.

PAY YOUR INVOICE

Pay one or more invoices online with our enhanced pay online functionality.

  1. From the invoice view screen, you can select Pay Online in the top section of the screen.
  2.  A list of all outstanding invoices will be provided. Select one or more invoices from the list by checking the box next to the invoice(s).
  3. You can then designate the amount that should be paid for each invoice (partial payments are acceptable) and click Continue.
  4. Supply your payment information and select Continue.
  5. You will be provided a confirmation page so that your transaction can be reviewed before saving. Select Finish to complete your transaction. If modifications are needed, please select Back.

It’s that simple! For more information, you may download an administrator’s guide to reports and invoices or view this Brainshark for additional tips.

Cody RoysterCody Royster is an Analyst Supervisor with our North America Operations team at InterCall. Having worked across the country in our operations, video, web, training, customer service, and sales department, Cody has been dedicated for the past 10 years to help promote, create, and manage InterCall’s conferencing services. He is a loving husband and enjoys photography and hosting dinner parties.

Web Meetings Save Time in Face-to-Face Interactions
April 12, 2011 @ 04:38 PM | By Sara Steele

Naysayers have many arguments about the drawbacks of web meetings. In an article in Forbes magazine, John Russell, chief executive of NYLO Hotels, makes a cogent—if outdated—point. “[P]ersonal interaction... is the foundation on which business relationships are built.”

Ask anyone who spends significant amounts of time on Twitter or Facebook and they'll argue that relationships can be built almost as easily over the web. Add real-time audio and video components and a virtual meeting is just as good as quaffing mojitos together after a Vegas trade show—with no hangover.

No Time for Small Talk? 
Another article on a British technology web site noted how web meetings lack pre- and post-meeting chatter. Business associates can really get to know each other on a personal level when they take time before meetings to chat or share dinner afterward. This is often where inspiration strikes, great ideas are formed and bonds are strengthened.

These opportunities present themselves in web meetings, too. Chat functions make it easy for participants to hold sideline conversations without interrupting the presenter, and participants can easily talk or “chat” as they wait for the room to fill up. Some of a company's best ideas and partnerships can be formed in private message boxes during large web meetings.

Face-to-Face v. Faces-to-Faces
If your main goal is to form relationships, few things beat one-on-one interaction—whether in person or over the web. But even those who don't see web meetings taking the place of one-on-one rendezvous see the tremendous benefits when the dynamic changes from face-to-face to faces-to-faces.

In large groups, web meetings move quicker than in-person conferences. Side chatter does not interrupt a meeting and with a more organized structure, every participant gets a chance to have a say. There are other benefits to web meetings for large groups, too.

  • No crowded conference rooms.
  • One person speaks at a time.
  • Everyone gets a clear view of the slides, web sites or peripheral information on the screen.

This article on the psychology of teleconferencing brings up some interesting pros and cons of the technology. What are your thoughts? 

Sara SteeleSara Steele is an associate marketing manager at InterCall responsible for various corporate communication initiatives; including social media and channel marketing efforts. Sara began working with InterCall after graduating from the University of Colorado in 2006. In her free time, she enjoys running, skiing, and spending time with family and friends.

3 Creative Ways to Use Webinar Software to Promote Your Business
April 8, 2011 @ 02:25 PM | By Cambria Vaccaro

You might think of a webinar as a huge event designed to generate leads for your business. You promote your webinar for months leading up to the big day and then rely on experts in event management like the professionals at InterCall to help you organize and host the event. When it's done, you follow up on the leads in a systematic way—again, relying on pros who know best how to guide you using the advanced features of your event management software to help.

Free webinars are powerful lead generation tools, but there are other ways you can use a webinar to grow your business and promote new products and services, too.

  1. Press Conferences: Thinking of holding a press conference? In these days of cutbacks, increased workloads and reduced travel budgets, it's not easy to entice media to come to your event. But most writers, editors and bloggers can take an hour out of their day to attend a webinar from their desk. Take advantage of multimedia to make your press conference much more than a talking head. Don't forget to follow up to brainstorm feature story ideas and news segments and to line up interviews.
  2. Product Launches: Don't limit your product launch webinar just to the media—why not open it up to consumers with a free webinar showcasing your company's latest and greatest? This is especially useful for niche markets or smaller industries. Our event management software makes it easy to record and archive the presentation, too. You're not just hosting a webinar—you're creating a scalable selling tool.
  3. Company Announcements: Have a lot of employees spread across different regional branches? Have some important news to share with them all? Why not save money by hosting a webinar? You'll save on travel expenses, lost productivity and all the other unexpected expenses that come with having employees from different regions gather in a central location. Through the file-sharing and multimedia tools available in our webinar software your announcement will have as much impact as an in-person meeting—maybe more, since no one will be jet lagged.

Cam_blog Cambria Vaccaro is the Senior Director, Marketing Communications and our “Industry News” blogger.  Cambria has been in the conferencing industry for nearly fifteen years, and has seen it evolve from a traditional video bridging service to include cool web features and remote communication services.  She is an avid runner, cook, wife and mother of two gorgeous girls.

Selling to Marketing Departments? Here's Some Advice
April 6, 2011 @ 12:16 PM | By Jill Huselton

I work for a conferencing and collaboration company, so it is pretty much a given that I spend my days on web conferences. After years of conducting my day-to-day meetings this way, I take it for granted and am always surprised when someone sends me a meeting invite with only a dial-in number for just an audio call. I find myself scrolling, trying to find the web link so I don’t have to go through the hassle of picking up the phone and dialing all those codes. For those of you like me, you can probably sympathize and for those of you who think having an audio conference call is the only way to go, there’s something so much better waiting for you.

Water-bottle

Recently, our marketing team met with a vendor who was pitching us to take on a pretty in-depth project. We had reviewed their proposal and were really excited to hear (and we assumed see) what they had to say. When the time came for the meeting, which was scheduled to be a web conference, the vendor only dialed into the call from their conference room phone. Not only was it difficult to hear what they were saying because there were three people sitting at a speaker phone, but they were trying to walk us through their proposal. It was hard to follow and there was a lot of ‘Wait, which page are you on?’going around. And, I hate to admit it, I found myself checking my email, tidying up my desk and getting up to refill my water bottle.

My job obviously makes me biased towards web conferencing, but as a marketer, I have some advice to agencies who pitch their marketing services virtually. You are going to have much more success selling yourself if you do more than just talk. Not only will you have a platform to show your strengths and what you can bring to a company if you use web conferencing, but you’ll also better engage your prospects. I mean, who’s going to choose you over the competition if they can’t remember your value proposition? If you use the web, you can have them focused on the slides you are walking them through online instead of going the phone-only route and hoping they are following along on their own instead of watching the YouTube video of a baby seemlingly destroying a bar that a friend just emailed them. I’m just sayin’.

Jill HuseltonJill Huselton is a senior marketing manager at InterCall. She's been in the conferencing industry for nearly 15 years, working in operations, account management and marketing, mainly based in Colorado. Before leaving the Mile-High City, she hiked a 14er, one of her top accomplishments. Now she's traded the mountains for the beach and works from a home office in North Carolina.

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