Calling all Operator Assisted Event Call bookers…
If you’re responsible for booking and organising high profile virtual event call services, (often referred to as operator managed calls, operator assisted calls or managed event calls), you’ll want to make sure you’re working with the right provider.
After all, your own personal reputation, as well as the people and organization you’re working for, is at stake.
We refer to these as “virtual event calls”. Other people call them amongst others!
If you already have an existing provider, it may be worth checking you’re getting the right level of features and support. These vary considerably depending on who you’re using and it’s important to benchmark your experiences with what else is available.
Based on our in-depth experience (we deliver thousands of virtual events calls every year), we’ve put together a handy ten-point guide to the ten things to consider when evaluating your existing provider or choosing a new one.
1. Track record
Check that a provider has a good track record of delivering the type of virtual event call you’re running.
For example, investor relations calls are highly specialised and require a high level of expertise and security. More so than for, say, more straightforward company announcements or all hands internal calls.
The operators will have had experience of dealing with relevant IR issues and will be prepared for things that otherwise could jeopardise the call’s success.
So, check out references and case studies. Better still, ask to speak to customers who can independently verify and give you a personal perspective on the provider.
2. Enough capacity
Some of your operator managed event calls may be relatively small in terms of attendees…maybe 100 employees or less.
Others will be at the other end of the scale with thousands potentially attending. Your provider needs to have the capacity and systems in place to deal with these and all points in between.
Again, look for evidence of successful delivery of such large conference calls.
3. Make it easy for hosts
It needs to be easy for hosts to invite guests and join calls. Integration with Outlook and other calendars makes the invitation process easy.
And when hosts join the call prior to the start, they should be held in a separate area – a bit like a virtual “green room” where they can chat and prepare, until call begins. Check these are all available.
4. A good operator
There’s one person that can make all the difference to the success of an operator assisted conference call – you guessed it – the operator!
He/she will be managing very senior people in your organization as well as VIPs from outside too. You’ll need to feel confident they can deal with testing, stressful situations involving different cultures and a variety of languages.
Here are a few things to probe:
- How experiences are they in managing my type of large conference call?
- How many calls have they managed in the last year?
- What qualifications and accreditations do they have?
- What languages can they offer me?
5. No surprises
It’s the unexpected that often de-rails a managed event call. That’s often down to poor planning and preparation up front.
Check that your provider has rigorous processes in place that tease out any point of detail that the operator will need to run a successful call – at the time of booking.
These include things like:
- Number of attendees likely to attend.
- The languages you need your operator to use on the call.
- The information you need to collect on attendees.
- Do they have the right dial in numbers so that all your international guests can easily get into the call?
- If you’re re-charging the event call costs to a client or other department, can your provider provide a billing code for easy reference?
- Can they provide a test call to run through everything in advance?
This is a real issue with virtual event calls. Horror stories include putting guests into the wrong call or having unwanted guests in your call due to slack joining processes.
It’s well worth spending time checking out a provider’s security measures so that you’re entirely comfortable with these.
Some managed event calls require a high level of security. Others less so. A choice of options for joining calls– balancing convenience with security, means that you can choose the right joining process to match your call’s security requirements.
7. Bring content to life
To get your organization’s message across effectively, presenters will want to bring your content to life. This often will involve using other media alongside the standard audio.
It’s worth checking that you can:
- Show slides
- Play videos and other recorded content
- Stream live video on the call
- Share your screen with all guests
- Share documents and applications
Close liaison between the host and the operator is crucial to controlling large remote meetings. There are a range of tools available to make sure the host and operator are always fully aware of what’s happening both before the call starts and after it has started.
Again, it makes sense to check if your provider has these vital tools, such as:
- The ability to use an inbuilt “chat” facility to exchange instant messages with your operator in real time
- A graphical representation to “view” the entire conference call and see who’s on the call at any time and be able to remove anyone who shouldn’t be there
- Control over who can be heard on the call with the ability to mute/unmute guests
Engaging with your audience during a virtual event call is vital to making sure they’re taking on board your messaging. For example, you may need to:
- Take question and answers on any aspect of your call to clarify and enhance understanding
- Run a poll on a subject with voting in real time
Not all providers offer this as standard, so it’s worth digging a bit deeper on this.
9. Accessing recordings
Not everyone will be able to attend a virtual event call live. Those people that couldn’t make the live event, may well want to listen to a recording.
Most providers will have a way of recording your call. However, there are differences in how you access that recording. It’s worth checking how easy it is for people to stream the recording or download it if that’s easier.
Other non-attendees may prefer to read a transcription of the call. Check to see if this is available from your provider and if so, how quickly it can be produced.
10. Post call evaluation
Once the call has ended, it’s important to learn from it so that the next one is even better! Ideally, this involves receiving data and information an all the guests that attended.
This should include things such as:
- Participant information e.g. name, company, location
- The time each line connected
- Duration of the call
- Number of lines connected
- Who asked a question
It also helps if a provider offers a post call de-brief with the operator and account manager to discuss all aspects of the call with a view to improving the next one.
About the author and LoopUp
More than 5,000 firms around the world trust LoopUp with their important remote meetings, from day-to-day conference calls to high profile event calls. Allison Roberson heads up Event by LoopUp in North America.
We run hundreds of calls every week to customers in the public and private sectors. Our highly skilled operators guide you every step of the way to make sure those important announcements run smoothly.