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Conference Call International Utilizing Global Toll Free Access Numbers
When it comes to participating in a conference call, international participants face a few obstacles that their domestic counterparts take for granted. For starters, a US-based teleconference may occur in the middle of the night for attendees living in other parts of the world. Not only that, dialing instructions for international conference calls vary widely depending on where the attendee happens to be. In addition, long distance calling rates could be cost prohibitive. On their own, each of these obstacles may not be too difficult to overcome; however, when combined, attendees may decide that the international conference call simply isn’t worth the trouble.
Conference Calling with International Scheduling
First, identify the countries your callers will be calling from. Now, use a world time zone map to see the time zone differences. For instance, if you’re planning a 2:00 PM start time from New York and you have callers located in Hong Kong, Australia, and France, check the local times for each of those countries. Since this particular international conference call is spread around the globe, the call will take place in the middle of the night for some callers. However, you may be able to adjust the time by a few hours one way or the other and find a time that’s convenient for the majority of your attendees. When evaluating the call’s timing, also consider the number of callers affected and alternative options. It may make sense to record the call and make it available those participants who cannot attend due to scheduling conflicts.
International Dialing and Toll Free Access
The next conference call international obstacle involves international dialing. Your typical U.S. 800 number is generally easy for your U.S. attendees to dial – they’ll get through without any problems. However, this same number may not serve for international conference calls. Callers outside of the U.S. will need to dial a country specific toll free access number that corresponds to their country.
International Long Distance Rates
This brings us to the next obstacle. In the U.S., we’re accustomed to paying low long distance rates. Many U.S. consumers have unlimited long distance plans, making concerns about dialing a non-toll free number minimal. However, international callers often come from areas where rates are as high as 50 cents a minute – and more! Because of the potential costs to conference call international participants, it’s crucial to use a low-cost international conference call provider that offers toll free international access numbers.
A toll free international access number means this:
• Domestic callers dial a domestic toll free number. For example, if your teleconference originates in the U.S., your U.S. callers will dial an 800 number.
• International callers dial a toll free number that’s local to their country. For example, your Australian callers will dial an Australian toll free number.
Many countries do not offer toll free access numbers but all is not lost if the service provider also offers a “moderator dial-out” feature. Using this feature, you can dial attendees living in non-supported countries directly. This allows these callers to participate in international conference calls without having to dial directly or pay long distance.
Moderator dial-out is also useful for reducing costs to some of the more expensive countries. You may find that it’s less expensive to dial some countries directly than it is to provide toll free conference call international access. If you plan on using moderator dial-out extensively, look for a service provider that allows you to preprogram the numbers and automatically launch the dial-out service when your conference call is about to begin such as http://www.aitelephone.com
Inconvenient conference call schedules, difficult dialing instructions, and costly long distance charges are three obstacles that interfere with international conference calls. To ensure the success of your next international conference call, address each obstacle and consider offering toll free international access.
American International Telephonics offers conference calling service with support for toll free access from over 60 international countries. AIT’s global conference call service is offered on a pay-as-you-go basis with no monthly fees, contracts, minimum usage charges, or contracts. Features include MP3 recording, automated group dial out, and the highest quality international phone connections available.
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