Operator Assisted conference calls can be tricky to set up an execute without having the right plan in place and without knowing how to leverage the various available features to meet your goals.
Based on our 21 years’ experience, we pulled together a handy checklist with best practices for hosting a flawless operator assisted conference call.
Steps to Organize an Operator Assisted Conference Call
Step 1: Establish Your Operated Assisted Conference Call Goals and Requirements
- Set a clear agenda and communicate to the attendees. Organize meeting objectives in an outline for a clear path to follow. This way, you’ll be able to get your audience back on track and remind yourself when you’re chasing too many tangents.
- Schedule the call at ideal time. Conference calls that are too early or too late result with poor attendance or late arrivals. Try to pick a time that works with multiple time zones.
- Send a calendar invite. Creating calendar invites is easy but consider adding these extras for a more productive meeting. First, include the agenda and information about the speakers. Second, let your attendees know how they should prepare for the call. Should they brainstorm ahead of time, come with questions or read over other attachments beforehand? Third, make it easier for mobile callers by including links to apps with one-click access. Finally, don’t forget to send reminder emails the day before and an hour before the conference call.
Step 2: Operator Assisted Conference Call Feature Selection
Now that you’ve outlined your desired outcome, the next step is to determine the operator assisted conference call features that are needed.
- Entrance to your operator managed conference call – If there are international participants you can provide them a US direct dial number to call, or most conference call providers offer local international dial-in numbers. For speakers and VIP guests consider having the conference call operator dial-out to join them into the call.
- Will there be a slide presentation? – Decide if the call is just going to be audio only or if you need to include a webinar platform to share slides during the call.
- Transcription – Do you need a written record of what was said during the conference? Transcriptions are helpful for identifying sound bites and quotes for post-event press releases. Choose to transcribe the entire call or just the Q&A session. We provide several different delivery options to fit your specific needs.
- Communication Line – Have a facilitator that is not a speaker connect with an Operator outside of the main conference to convey behind-the- scenes information, orchestrate guest speakers or give timing cues. A Communication Line makes it easier to manage a large conference.
- Promotional Tape – Play a custom recording for your participants to hear while they wait for the conference to begin. A Promotional Tape sets the tone for your call and can provide participants with relevant information about the speaker or conference topic.
- Custom Script – Craft a special message for a welcome statement, Q&A session and/or closing comments. Your script is read by the Operator at the beginning of your conference. Custom Scripts offer you another way to personalize your calls.
- Online Call Access – A simple web-based interface to give you a private, real-time view of the participants on your call. You can view and re-order the names of individuals waiting to ask a question and chat with the operator behind the scenes.
- Participant Report – Collect your guests’ names, “on-the-line” times, company and up to four additional pieces of information you select are captured as they dial into your call. This list is emailed to you after the call.
- Polling – An Operator surveys all conference participants. You determine the questions prior to the conference and participants respond via their telephone keypads. Polling allows you to collect instant feedback and increases participants’ involvement in the call. You receive a report with all responses that is organized by question and participant.
- Question & Answer Session – Give your participants the opportunity to ask questions during the conference. Participants indicate that they have a question using their telephone keypad, while the Operator manages the question queue in a professional and orderly fashion.
- Recording – The conference call can be recorded for replay. An MP3 file can be provided or a hosted streaming replay.
- Approved Participant List – This is a great way to secure your call and make sure only invited guests can join. When creating your reservation indicate which participants are scheduled to be on the conference. At the time of the call, only those on the list will be joined to the conference by the operator.
Step 3: Conference Call Execution
On the day of the event, we place the call in the hands of our highly trained, specifically selected operations team. You’ll have already connected with them for a walk-through by this point, but now you’ll be communicating with them in real time as the call is assembled. In the speaker sub-conference, you’ll be able to have a conversation with the Lead Operator behind the scenes to go over the call flow and any queues you might be providing throughout. In addition, if selected, you’ll have access to a Communication Line operator throughout the call so you can communicate with them in real time. Everyone involved in every aspect of your call will have been briefed on the requirements outlined in the planning process ensuring concerns can be addressed proactively and no details are missed.
Follow these best practices for a successful operator assisted conference call execution:
- Make sure all presenters know how to mute (and umute) their own line. An operator assisted conference call mutes all attendee lines by default. However, the presenters’ lines remain open during the entire call. Having presenters mute themselves when they are not speaking will help reduce background noise during the call.
- Use a moderator and a private communications line. Managing larger conference calls while giving a presentation can be challenging. If you’re the primary presenter as well as the host for a large audience conference call, enlist the help of a facilitator. That way you have an extra set of hands to assist with any technical issues your attendees may experience while you’re in the middle of your presentation. A facilitator can join a private communications line that is connected with the operator handling the call outside of the main conference.
- Have the presenters join early. Presenters should dial-in at least 15-minutes before the start time to test their phone audio and review the call details with the operator handling the call.
- Kick-off the call with ground rules. Set expectations and guidelines for the call.
Step 4: Post Conference Call Follow-up
Now that the call has ended, we’ll provide any post-call items requested and ensure all expectations were met. We take the same team approach at this stage as in all the previous ones. Our Post-Call Services Team within 2 hours will provide any requested items such as the participant list of who dialed in, mp3 files, and confirmation that the replay (if requested) has been made available. Your personal Account Manager is available to answer any questions and provide resources for any future needs that might arise.
How to get started
Now that we’ve outlined the most important steps in the process of arranging a successful Operator Assisted conference let’s get started. Click here to schedule a consultation or give us a call at 888-858-6021.