Mobile Apps Improve Small Business Conference Calls
With mobility and conference calling playing larger roles in many small business owners' schedules, a variety of smartphone and tablet apps are making conference calling easier and more efficient by offering features such as one-click calling and scheduling.
Apps including MobileDay, Conference Me In and others improve efficiency by allowing small business owners to remain in contact with customers, prospects and team members by creating or joining conference calls easily from nearly anywhere.
One Click Calling
Although conference calls can provide a number of productivity and collaboration benefits for small businesses, the fact that many small business owners spend at least part of the day away from their workplaces means many have encountered some of the frustrations of trying to set up or join a conference call on a mobile device.
For instance, entering a dial-in number and a long passcode can be challenging on a touch screen, and the inconvenience (and potential safety issues) can increase if you're trying to dial in from a car.
In addition, transferring conference call dial-in details from your calendar app to your phone's dialing screen can be tricky, and prompt many people to write down the needed information before placing a call.
Instead, dedicated conference calling apps automatically scan your mobile device's calendar to identify conference calls and to extract the dial-in details.
Once a conference call is highlighted, users can join the call simply by pressing one button. The apps will then connect to the call and pause before automatically keying in the passcode.
The user then punches the number-sign key, records his or her name, and joins the call.
Conference calling apps can also display scheduled calls and other calendar events, and can remind users to join calls just before they start. Some apps offer additional features, such as the ability to send text or email messages directly to other meeting participants. Users can send custom messages, or choose from a selection of message templates such as "I'm running late," or "Are we still meeting?"
Smartphone conference calling apps are compatible with major conference call services, providing one-touch convenience for small business owners on the run.
If you set up conference calls routinely, smartphone apps also allow you to schedule a call and invite participants directly with your mobile device. To schedule a call, you simply have to set a time, and click on contacts stored in your handset's address book. The contacts will then receive meeting invitations, much as they would with a desktop calendar app such as Outlook or a web-based calendar. If you regularly use a conference calling service, you can enter your account details into the smartphone app, or you can use the app's features to set up a call directly.
Some apps also allow you to create groups of contacts, allowing you to save the time and effort of manually inviting people you routinely communicate with.
Several apps are offered as extensions of dedicated conference call services, while some stand-alone calling apps are available and offer a blend of free and premium services.