Virtual meetings have become an indispensable part of business. Every day, more and more workers rely on virtual meetings (including video) to meet, share and collaborate with co-workers, partners and clients situated in offices and home offices around the world. Businesses leverage large-scale virtual meetings to host virtual events and online seminars for audiences scattered across the globe. Choosing the right service provider can be a difficult decision, but knowing what to look for during your search will help to narrow down your options and identify the perfect fit for your organization. Whether you’re looking for a virtual meeting platform that includes audio, video, or web conferencing, consider the following factors when evaluating potential providers:
- User Experience: A solution that’s easy and intuitive helps drive engagement and adoption; the easier a solution is to use, the more likely your employees will be to use virtual meetings. A good virtual meetings service provider offers a solution that allows your users to schedule meetings in advance, but also leaves the option to create ad-hoc meetings to enable quick collaboration on-the-fly. Whether your employees are connected via telephone, webcam or video room, or web app, it shouldn’t take them long to connect to a meeting – look for solutions that enable users to connect by dialling in via phone or VoIP and also offer the host the ability to dial-out to additional participants for added flexibility.
- Feature Sets: Just because a solution is easy to use, doesn’t mean that it can’t offer your users a variety of features and tools to help them interact with one another during a virtual meeting. A feature-rich solution should give your users the ability to manage caller lines, record sessions, view the names and number of participants (and evaluate their engagement levels), and more. Virtual meeting solutions all offer their own unique spin on team collaboration, so before you begin searching, consider the needs of your users and find a provider who can offer the features they need to make their meetings work for them. Users who need whiteboard or polling features might be best served by a more robust virtual meeting solution, while users who want to see all of the participants in a meeting will likely need a solid video-first
- Event Services and Support – One of the major advantages to selecting a hosted conferencing solution provider over traditional solutions is the unprecedented service and support you can expect. Whether your employees are conferencing during business hours, late at night, or in different time zones around the globe, having support operators available 24/7/365 gives your employees the assurance that any technical difficulties encountered during a conference can be handled immediately by experienced professionals. Additionally, if your primary need is large, hosted events and webinars, a provider with experience delivering white-glove event services will save you time by managing your registration, support, and attendees for you, allowing you to focus on your content and message. Choosing a provider who excels at support services helps to ensure that all your conferencing participants – hosts and callers alike – are guaranteed a smooth, difficulty-free call experience.
- Integration– A good virtual meeting solution works side-by-side with the existing infrastructure you’ve already invested in. Whether you’re using audio, video, or web solutions, integration with your inbox and calendar software of choice, allows your employees to schedule conferences directly from Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, or other suites. Additionally, a good conferencing solution integrates with existing hardware solutions you currently leverage, such as video rooms and webcams, phones, and headsets. Choosing a provider whose solutions mesh with your existing investments saves you time and money once implementation begins, and encourages your users engage with the new solution by introducing it through tools they are already familiar with.
- Completeness of Portfolio – Last, but certainly not least, when evaluating a virtual meeting service provider, make sure to consider all of the solutions they offer, not just the solution you need at the moment. Providers who offer audio, video, web, and event solutions will have familiarity with all available conferencing options, providing you with valuable insight into your solution usage as your relationship with the provider evolves. Perhaps you only need audio conferencing at the moment, but a year or two down the line, when you need a web conferencing solution, a provider who offers both types of solutions will be able to assist you in choosing and integrating additional conferencing and collaboration options to enhance your organization’s productivity. A fully-capable provider will stay on top of the latest trends in collaboration and will be able to offer you invaluable advice and insight, allowing you to stay productive as conferencing technologies evolve and grow.