Recently in Workplace Efficiency Category

Using Research and Customer Information to Maximize Business Potential

The cornerstone of any business is a loyal customer. That is why in September, our main focus has been on building strong customer relations using customer information supported by excellent service. The two simply go hand in hand. Starting in October, we will start a series, “Using Conference Calling to Define Service” building on that foundation. Conferencing can be a cost effective and simple way to facilitate this customer research and information gathering in order to provide the best in service.

Last week, we discussed the importance of excellent customer service in building loyal, repeat customers who makes referrals. Earlier in the month, we outlined ways to know your customer as well as steps to gather market intelligence. All the suggestions offered will help to serve your customer base. Ultimately, this customer knowledge can help your business reap tremendous benefits. We strongly emphasize that gathering this customer knowledge has to be a priority. It just doesn't happen! Outlined below are suggestions that will make this research a reality.

September 30, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , , , | Tags: Audio and web conferencing services, Audio conferencing, Conference call, conference call moderator, Conference calls, Conference Service Provider, Customer service, Market Research, Marketplace Trends, Two Rivers Conferencing, web conferencing, Webinars
Why excellent customer service is important

“Spontaneous service brings joy to both receiver and giver. Good customer service has to come from people who like people and enjoy being nice to them. It starts at the top.” (Neiman-Marcus)

We have all heard the phrase “The customer is always right”. The truth behind this famous slogan is recognizing that customers are the lifeline for any business. A successful company understands that excellent customer service is essential for a healthy business, creating new customers, keeping loyal customers, and developing referrals for future customers.

Why is excellent customer service important? Simply put, future business depends on it. The best in customer service can result in three positive outcomes:

September 23, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , , , | Tags: Audio and web conferencing services, Audio conferencing, Business solutions, Conference call, Conference calls, Conference Service Provider, Conferencing service, Customer Service, Customer support, Listening skills, Two Rivers Conferencing, web conferencing, Webinars
Tracking Results to Maximize Business Potential

The most successful organizations in the world are also those who apply the most rigor to reviewing results against plan and providing guidance and training to ensure plans are met. That which gets measured, gets done! Audio and web conferencing are great ways to perform these reviews with individuals and functional groups throughout your company in a way that provides uniform dissemination of information while eliminating the need for travel to accomplish these purposes. Some common areas where this could be applied include:



September 16, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , , , , , | Tags: Audio and web conferencing services, Audio conferencing, Conference call, conference call moderator, Conference calls, Conference Service Provider, Conferencing service, Meetings, performance reviews, Strategic planning, timed agendas, Two Rivers Conferencing, web conferencing, Webinars
We Build Relationships

Building a strong customer relationship is necessary for excellence in customer service. In order to build this foundation, it is essential to understand your customer's specific needs and business goals. This understanding will make the most of your customer relationships and allow you to provide them with the best service. It is equally important to know them on a friendly level, which will build trust and loyalty. This customer knowledge will guarantee a long lasting client relationship that will transition and grow as both of your businesses evolve.

Understanding how your customers are managing their business along with a knowledge of their future plans and goals will play an important role in building a strong relationship. Getting to know your client and their needs means that you need to be a step ahead of the game and know what will benefit them in the long run. This knowledge about your customer's business will help you put the right solutions in place for them, not only for the present but for the future. Knowing the direction a customer plans to take their business can make you an integral part of growing their business. This will also help to grow your business in order to maximize business potential!

September 8, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , , , | Tags: Audio and web conferencing services, Audio conferencing, Business solutions, Conference call, Conference calls, Conference Service Provider, Conferencing service, Customer Service, Customer support, Two Rivers Conferencing, web conferencing, Webinars
Gaining Market Insights to Maximize Business Potential

Gathering market information is an essential part of any business or organization - no business can work isolated from their industry, market, clients and partners. All businesses, regardless of size and type, have to continually maintain contact with their clients and business partners to keep current with relevant marketplace issues and trends.

The problem is businesses have time and resource limitations, impacting their ability (and willingness) to implement ongoing market intelligence/information programs. But businesses need to have a market intelligence program. The business environment and market factors evolve too quickly not to keep abreast with changes and trends.

September 2, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , , | Tags: Audio and web conferencing services, Audio conferencing, Conference call, conference call moderator, Conference calls, Conference Service Provider, Conferencing service, Market Intelligence, Market Research, Marketplace Trends, Meetings, timed agendas, Two Rivers Conferencing, web conferencing, Webinars
Integrating New Technologies with Audio Conferencing

Audio conferencing in various forms has been around for a long time. There are few in the business world who have not participated in an audio conference at one time or another, whether it was a toll-free reservationless call, an operator assisted event call or an audio call in conjunction with a web conference or webinar. In fact audio conferencing has been around for so long it is sometimes considered old news compared to newer technologies such as web conferencing and the various forms of video conferencing (room-based video, desktop video, mobile video, etc.). It would be easy to assume that audio conferencing is a mature technology that has had no new developments for some time as everyone's attention has turned to flashier alternatives. That assumption is wrong!

August 26, 2014 | Categories: , , , , | Tags: Audio and Web Conferencing services, Communication, Conference calls, Conference Service Provider, Conferencing, Event management, Meetings, Mobile Conferencing, Technology, Timed Agendas, Two Rivers Conferencing
Maximize Your Organization's Potential with Unified Communications

Today's workplace is global and dispersed. Businesses need seamless collaboration that merges all forms of communication including voice and data. In our global work environment, meetings are held at multiple locations and varied times. Documents need to be shared for effective management and decision-making. Calendars have to be accessed quickly so meetings can be coordinated with geographically dispersed participants. Bottom-line, communications needs to be fast, efficient and flexible while using resources in the most cost effective manner.

Enter Unified Communications (UC) which integrates communication services in a cost effective real-time way. UC unites audio and video conferencing, instant messaging, presence information, telephony, document sharing, call control and unified messaging (integrated voice mail, email and fax) all under an integrated communication service.

August 19, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , , , , | Tags: Audio Conferencing, Collaboration, Communication, Conference calls, Conferencing, Decision-making, Meetings, Video Conferencing, Web Conferencing, Workplace Productivity
Maximize Your Organization's Potential with Weekly Staff Meetings

We all cringe at the thought of sitting through yet another weekly meeting in which we hash out the events of the seven days and discuss what each team member feels is top priority moving forward. These meetings can seem mundane and tiresome as can the time spent creating an agenda leading up to them. In “The Advantage” Patrick Lencioni addresses how to eliminate the fuss and capitalize on time to ensure your dreaded weekly meeting not only serves purpose, but makes it enjoyable.

According to Lencioni “there is no more valuable activity in any organization than the regular staff meeting of a leadership team.” He has designated weekly or bi-weekly meetings for tactical purposes. These meetings are to quickly create a real-time agenda and assess top priorities. The challenge is evaluating the importance of each priority brought up by team members while eliminating topic distractions.

August 5, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , , | Tags: Audio and web conferencing services, Audio conferencing, communication, Conference call, conference call moderator, Conference calls, Conference Service Provider, Conferencing, Conferencing service, Meetings, timed agendas, Two Rivers Conferencing, web conferencing
Maximize Your Organization's Potential with Adhoc Topical Meetings

Continuing our discussion on effective meetings, Patrick Lencioni in his book “The Advantage — Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business” said, “The highpoint of being a leader in an organization is wrestling with difficult decisions and situations. Truncating those high points just doesn't make sense.” Lencioni makes a strong case for the utilization of adhoc topical meetings where management digs into the critical issues that can have a long term impact on an organization or that require significant time and energy.

According to Lencioni, managers should separate their tactical conversations from their strategic ones. Combining the tactical and strategic conversations just doesn't work and leaves both set of issues inadequately addressed. He further states that if leadership goes more than a month without a strategic meeting, something is probably wrong.

July 29, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , | Tags: Audio and web conferencing services, Audio conferencing, communication, Conference call, conference call moderator, Conference calls, Conference Service Provider, Conferencing, Conferencing service, Meetings, timed agendas, Two Rivers Conferencing, web conferencing
Maximize Your Organization's Potential with Daily Check-in Meetings

In his book “The Advantage — Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business” author Patrick Lencioni boldly states, “If someone were to offer me one single piece of evidence to evaluate the health of an organization, I would want to observe the leadership team during a meeting.” He then makes a compelling case for the use of daily check-in meetings where management teams briefly review schedules, events and issue alerts.

Lencioni advises the team get into the habit of gathering once a day, for no more than ten minutes, to clear the air about anything administrative that would be helpful to know. He further advises that there be no agendas and no resolution of issues, just an exchange of information. Two Rivers Conferencing's toll free reservationless conference services perfectly complements this healthy organization strategy!

July 22, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , , | Tags: Audio and web conferencing services, Audio conferencing, communication, Conference call, conference call moderator, Conference calls, Conference Service Provider, Conferencing, Conferencing service, Meetings, timed agendas, Two Rivers Conferencing, web conferencing
Best Practices to Improve Your Conference Calls

International business is exploding across all industries as new technology makes the world a smaller place. Although more international business opportunities exist than ever before, communicating effectively with parties in different countries can be a challenge. Different physical locations, different time zones and long travel durations combine to create strong barriers to communication. Audio and video conferencing are powerful ways for geographically distributed groups of people to collaborate effectively. They allow multiple participants to communicate as a group and create real time teamwork where it otherwise could not exist. They can also allow sharing of documents, drawings, spreadsheets and even full motion videos, which aid the communication process.

As significant as the benefits of international conferencing may be, challenges to effective communication do exist. Accents from non-native English speakers can be difficult to discern. Some words and phrases have different meanings in different countries which can lead to confusion. With that in mind here are some do's and don'ts for international audio/video conferencing:

July 15, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , , , , | Tags: Audio and web conferencing services, Audio conferencing, Conference call, conference call moderator, Conference calls, Conference Service Provider, Conferencing, Conferencing service, Meetings, timed agendas, Two Rivers Conferencing, web conferencing, Webinars
Best Practices to Improve Your Conference Calls

It is a challenge to connect professionals suspicious of sharing information with other professionals in the same industry — even though sharing expertise could benefit both parties. Conference calling technology provides an effective way to bridge this need for shared professional expertise. A real estate agent program provides a strong example of the benefits of sharing information at a distance using conference calling.

A sales representative from a large conference service provider (CSP) attended a real estate sales seminar hosted by an acknowledged industry expert on the best practices for achieving success in residential and commercial real estate. His seminars were attended by some of this country's most successful real estate agents. The sales representatives were told that surveys taken by the seminar's attendees indicated that the agents strongly valued the information obtained from the program's presentations and educational events. Surprisingly, the survey data showed attendees gave even greater value to the information shared among fellow sales agents during the many social and business networking events that occurred over the course of the three day conference seminar event.

July 8, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , , , , | Tags: Audio and web conferencing services, Audio conferencing, Conference call, Conference calls, Conference Service Provider, Conferencing, Conferencing service, Real Estate, Real Estate Sales, Two Rivers Conferencing
Best Practices to Improve Your Conference Calls

In our April 24th blog, we discussed conference call techniques for meeting managers, where we emphasized knowing your conference call provider's features and options. This will help you manage your calls more effectively. Last week's blog (June 24th) on conferencing etiquette provided guidelines for the moderators and participants. This week we want to add more ways for improving your conference calls.

We would recommend having your conference calls at a regular, recurring time. The conference call can be scheduled daily, weekly or monthly. The key, however, is to schedule the conference call at a consistent day and time. This allows your team members to plan their schedules and emphasizes the value you place on the participant's input. Having this fixed schedule shows respect and helps to maximize the success of your conference meeting for all involved.

July 1, 2014 | Categories: , , | Tags: Conference call moderator, Conference call provider, Conference calls, employee satisfaction, meetings, timed agenda, Two Rivers Conferencing
Conference Call Etiquette

Many business people have questions about the proper etiquette to use when hosting or participating in a conference call. While many have weighed in on this issue, there is no one set of definitive rules governing proper conduct of a conference event. We would like to offer the following suggestions as guidelines for consideration by anyone required to host/moderate or requested to participate on a conference call.

Guidelines for hosts / moderators:

  • Get comfortable with the fact you will be talking in front of a group and receiving no visual cues or feedback.
  • Set up the meeting in advance and communicate the dial in number, pass codes and other information. “Spring forward, fall back” is something to keep in mind for your time zone crossing colleagues. Hint: Check on the Internet or even phone a colleague in that country and ask what time it is!
  • Start the meeting absolutely on time; don't reward latecomers' bad behavior by waiting for them. Take a roll call at the start of the meeting, highlighting the missing attendees.
  • Treat the conference call as if it were a meeting. You know the routine; prepare and circulate an agenda, take notes, publish meeting minutes, and identify the date and time of the next scheduled meeting.
June 24, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , | Tags: Conference Call Moderator, Conference calls, Conference Service Provider, Conferencing, Corporate Culture, Employee Morale, Employee satisfaction, Meeting Manager, Meetings, Moderator, Participants, Timed agendas
Web Conferencing Can Close Sales

In a sales environment where representatives need to keep meetings with people in Arizona at 11am and then with others in New York 30 minutes later, webinars and web conferencing are king. On a daily basis we meet with decision makers to go over contracts, clarify customizations and demonstrate industry leading software solutions — all from our offices in Chicago.

Recently we took on a new strategy with our webinar technology and began hosting mass webinars on a regular basis. With these events we are able to:


May 27, 2014 | Categories: , , | Tags: sales, sales cycle, web conferencing, webinars
Web Conferencing for Effecient and cost-saving Customer Service

Using a web conferencing solution to aid in customer support can be very beneficial in providing high quality service to clients. Web conferencing allows customer support representatives to assist customers with tools that can make them as efficient and effective as they would be on site, thus saving travel time and costs.

With the ability to conduct interactive training and support, a customer service representative can take over the customer's desktop, share instructional documents, and even provide video clips. These web conference tools are specifically designed to allow technical support teams to diagnose and resolve customer problems online quickly and effectively.

May 20, 2014 | Categories: , , , | Tags: customer service, customer service representative, customer support, interactive training, web conference tools
Web Conferencing for Training and Education

More businesses and educational institutions are realizing the cost and time-saving benefits of using web conferencing for training and instruction. Utilizing a web solution for training or educational purposes eliminates the time and cost of travel, yet allows the entire team or class to be in one place at one time.

In the business world, web conferencing solutions have built-in collaboration tools that allow participants to share documents, chat, and take polling questions in order to gauge where everyone is at and what further processes need to be put in place. Team leaders and instructors can present Power Point presentations to employees, supply team members or trainees as well as leave them with fact sheets when the training concludes.

May 13, 2014 | Categories: , , , | Tags: CEL courses, education, instructors, training, web conferencing
Webinar

Contacting participants after the webinar is important and it should be done within 24 hours. Create follow-up emails within this time period and, if possible, personalize them (for example, one way to personalize is to include an answer to a question a participant had). You should also follow up with those who registered but did not attend. Provide what you promised: for instance, slides, a link to the event recording and any other relevant material. You can further leverage the event by providing a link to the webinar recording on your web site, embed it in your blog, and incorporate it in your social media efforts. Invite attendees to follow you on social media.

You should critique the webinar for lessons learned and identify improvement areas for future webinars. Review any attendee feedback for ways to improve. Do a post-webinar evaluation with presenters to ID what worked and what didn't.

May 6, 2014 | Categories: , , | Tags: attendee feedback, follow-up emails, post-webinar evaluation, qualified leads, social media, webinar
Best Practices

Video conferencing continues to gain currency as organizations are forced to constantly wring more efficiencies out of smaller and geographically distributed staffs. Conferencing in general is an effective alternative to travel because it eliminates cost and time lost in transit. Video conferencing provides some benefits that other types of conferencing (audio and web) do not, particularly the added intimacy and sense of expression that comes from the participants actually seeing each other onscreen.

Video conferences are an extremely effective form of communication when they are conducted well. Conversely, they can be an unintelligible mess of distraction and garbled communication if best practices are not followed. There are several forms of video conferencing available in the marketplace today including handheld and desktop device based methods as well as room-based video conferencing. The best practices below are intended for room-based video conferencing although many of them apply to the other forms as well.

Best practices are as follows:

May 1, 2014 | Categories: , , | Tags: handheld, moderator, room-based, video conferences, video conferencing
Webinar

Registration for your webinar is complete. The date for the webinar is near, and any technical surprises on the day of the event will compromise the success of your webinar. You need to understand the technical restrictions of your web conferencing platform and be trained on the software. During the content planning phase, you should have communicated any restrictions to presenters so they understand the technical requirements regarding materials they will be using. You should have enough bandwidth to avoid buffering and presentation delays. You want to maximize the audio quality, following a few simple recommendations:

  • Use a handset if possible (otherwise a headset)
  • Don't use a speaker phone
  • Be on a landline, not a mobile phone
  • Consider background noise
  • When a speaker is not presenting, mute their lines
April 29, 2014 | Categories: , , | Tags: bandwidth, post-event survey, Q & A, technical requirements, webinar

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