Operator Assisted Calls Fail

The dreaded “failed” operator assisted call.  I can tell you about 99% of the time these calls go off without a hitch.  I can also tell you that nearly every failed call is result of users not being fully prepared and working to eliminate variables that could potentially cause problems.  The team at Lighthouse Conferencing always works to ensure our clients are prepared for their Operator Assisted calls.  We know these events are platforms to get our clients big ideas out to the world.  In this post I really want to impart on any readers, whether they be Lighthouse Conferencing clients, potential clients, or people who just like to read funny/interesting blogs about collaboration how import is to prepare for these calls.  I will give you a little example of a call we had an issue on and the recommendations we gave to ensure success moving forward.  As your parents used to say  “it’s not what you do when times are good, it’s how you react when times are bad” (I actually don’t know the full quote or who said it, but you get the gist of it).  And I also want to make sure people understand how willing the Lighthouse Conferencing team is to go through EVERY detail of your Operator Assisted call and provide recommendations on best practices to ensure the event runs smoothly.  

Consequences

This can be a little scary for the folks planning a call.  What happens when your CEO is about to speak and the line goes dead?  What happens when there is pretty bad feedback on the line?  What happens when the operator mispronounces your CFO’s name during an earnings call?  These are all things that I have heard happen on live and recorded operator assisted calls.  They are big deals for sure.  They can lead to unfavorable thoughts about your company.  Sometimes critical participants drop off the call because of audio quality.  I know we don’t like to think about it.

A quick story from one of our calls.  We were working with an international sales organization and they wanted to have their quarterly call with Lighthouse.  The day of the call came, and everything was reserved and ready to go.  Right when the call finished, we get two calls, one from the communications manager and the other from the assistance of the Global Sales Leader.  They were freaking out because there was a constant humming on the call when the Sales Leader was speaking.  He even stopped mid call and asked the operator “what the hell is going on with Lighthouse right now?!?!”.  Our operator followed protocol and even recommended the Sales Leader call back in on another line.  Well, he was on his cell on a train speeding through Europe and that would not be possible.  I can tell you, the taste in their mouth was not a good one after this call.  There is, however, a silver lining.  The Lighthouse Client Success team, lead by our good friend Jackson Gonda, sprang into action.  This leads us to the major component of Operator Assisted calls that sometimes gets overlooked…

How we make Operator Assisted calls work!

If you have read our blog recently, you understand that we want to focus on your big ideas.  We want to be the solution when you have an important message that needs to sent out to the world.  With that being said, we also know that in order to feel comfortable with Lighthouse Conferencing as a partner you need to understand what we do to ensure success.  Take the example above about the global sales call.  Our Client Success team was on the phone with our Operations team along with the client immediately following the call.  As we have had a long standing relationship with this client we were able to discuss a few items for future calls like this that we MUST do in order to have the highest level of success.  Operator Assisted calls need to be well oiled machines and that takes some heavy lifting up front prior to the actual live call.  So what did our team recommend for future calls to eliminate most of the potential issues?  Well we…

Recommend a Test Call

Seems like a no brainer, but we always recommend high profile Operator Assisted events start with a test call.  We include the operator who will host the actual call, the main speakers, and the parties responsible for setting up the call itself.  We run through the agenda, make sure we get all the names right, and offer guidance on how to run portions of the call like Q&A sessions.  Our global sales team did not respond to our initial request for a test call.  Those 15 minutes would have gone a long way in making sure the live call was successful.

Work to Recreate Speaker Location

We know executives, thought leaders, and high profile speakers travel.  We know it’s hard to pin them down at times.  But they have calendars too!  We like to make sure we recreate the live call as close as we can, which means we like to make sure the speakers are where they are going to be for the real call.  Now in this instance, the Global Sales Leader was not going to hop on a train for a few minutes just to test and make sure he sounded good.  We could have, however, had him join the call via his cell to test international quality.  Think about this; how different is the set up in your office versus your back patio at home?  Make sure you do your due diligence and ensure that your critical speakers are able to recreate (as close as possible) the location and environment they will be in the day of the call.

Request a Dedicated Team

Hey, we want to make sure you are comfortable with the people you are working with who manage the actual operator assisted call itself.  When calls go downhill it’s a good feeling to know the people on the back end and feel comfortable that they are going to do what they can to fix it.  With Lighthouse Conferencing we can recommend our dedicated team to you largest and most important calls.  It’s really a peace of mind solution that helps clients focus on the important content of the call.  

We all know that calls go wrong.  We all know what the consequences could be if they do go wrong.  Lighthouse Conferencing is in the business of making sure your most important operator assisted calls go as well as possible.  We have the experience in call planning and “getting things right” that clients value.  Since we have seen the impact first hand we know what is on the line.  Go ahead and leave us a note in the comments section below if you have had to deal with the fallout of a failed call or if you have any other thoughts on ways to minimize any risk out there for your “big idea” calls.     

The experts are here to help with your Operator Assisted Calls.  Let’s talk!

About Morgan Will

Morgan Will is the Director of Operations at Lighthouse Conferencing. He is passionate about improving the inner workings of companies and making sure that life is a breeze for Lighthouse clients. He is a huge University of Colorado fan (which has aged him terribly over the last few years) and once sat next to John Elway at Elway's Steakhouse! He loves the snow and mountains, trying every new restaurant he can find, and ridiculous movie quotes.

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Morgan Will is the Director of Operations at Lighthouse Conferencing. He is passionate about improving the inner workings of companies and making sure that life is a breeze for Lighthouse clients. He is a huge University of Colorado fan (which has aged him terribly over the last few years) and once sat next to John Elway at Elway's Steakhouse! He loves the snow and mountains, trying every new restaurant he can find, and ridiculous movie quotes.

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