At Mercuri we pride ourselves on providing the simplest, most user-friendly conferencing experience possible. Recently we heard from some of our customers about a little confusion around the best way to conduct an international conference call.
Conducting a conference call with participants all over the world is not as difficult as it seems. There are some simple steps you can take before the meeting to ensure everything goes according to plan.
Most of our clients connect to their meeting via a toll-free 1–800 number. However, these numbers often do not work outside of the US and Canada. In some cases the number can be called and and connected but your local carrier’s long distance fees will still apply, defeating the purpose of a toll-free number. So what’s the best way to get around this?
Here’s the good news. Mercuri provides local and international toll-free numbers in over 100 cities and 50 different countries, which are available at numbers.mercuri.ca. Conference planners can reference this page beforehand, or include the link in their meeting invitations so participants can choose the best option for their location. For convenience these links are included in Mercuri’s Outlook Scheduling Tool and the online Self-Care utility.
International toll-free numbers work best when called from a landline, because not all mobile carriers have agreements with international providers. If the participant must use a mobile phone we recommend test calling the toll-free number in advance to ensure everyone is connected on the day.
If landlines and mobile phones are both unavailable, Skype is an acceptable last resort. We strongly recommend using a headset and microphone instead of your computer’s built-in mic. Although Skype offers a VoIP dial-out feature, you’ll have a better quality call by connecting directly to our Skype contact “mercuri.bridge1”. Mercuri also offers an HTML5-based application for connecting to conferences from your browser, which is available at mercuri.ca/phoneWidget.
So what happens if you’re trying to conference with someone in Tuvalu or Burkina Faso? Countries with poor telecommunications infrastructure rarely offer international toll-free services, and Skype may not be an option as high-speed internet is required.
In a scenario like this the best option is dialing out to the participant. Mercuri offers several solutions for automated dial-out:
- Self-dial-out is available is available at callme.mercuri.ca. Participants enter their passcode, phone number and select the country they’re located in. A dial-out can be scheduled ahead of time, so when the chairperson starts the meeting the participant will be called and connected to the conference.
- Chairpersons can use the Conference Viewer to dial-out to participants anywhere in the world. For a more detailed look at he Conference Viewer, check out this video.
- If the participant is in an area without internet access the chairperson can request that touch-tone dial-out be activated on the account.
- An operated-assisted conference can be arranged in advance. Our operators will dial-out to the participants and ensure everyone is connected to the meeting properly.
International conferencing can seem like a daunting task, bit with a little preparation and care it can be as easy as the average phone call. If you have any questions about the specifics of you international conference don’t hesitate to contact your Mercuri representative. We’re always happy to help.
And it’s a good thing I wrote that idea down, because I’ve forgotten it already.