Conference Calling Video now on YouTube
Here are some common question asked via YouTube:
What is the cost of you conference call services??
Our pricing depends upon which conference plan you choose. We offer affordable state-of-the-art conference calling services and are competitively priced, while remaining high quality, using the best technology in the teleconference services industry.
i'm curious what "fully redundant conference bridges" means?
Our conference bridges are set up, so if there is ever a technical issue on a conference bridge, your call or webinar is also duplicated on another conference bridge. What this means to you is no interruption to your conference service.
I have been burnt by extremely poor customer service from other conference call companies... How do I know you won't be the same?
We take great pride in our customer service. Our clients are treated with respect and appreciation, and our services have earned us an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. You could simply call us to see for yourself :-)
If you have any questions about our conferencing services please feel free to give us a call and our customer services agents will be happy to assist you.
Have a great day!
8 tips for Conference Calling
Conference calling has become an essential business ingredient. We have a wide range of phone conferencing and web conferencing services to suit all your communication needs. These days, all kinds of institutions use conference call services including different universities and government agencies around the world. Feel free to check out our rates, packages and testimonials from our clients. Below is a quick list of tips for a more efficient and effective conference call.
1) Make sure that you are prepared and ready to speak to a group of people who you can't see and they can't see you.
2) Speak clearly into your phone and try to find a place that is quiet and undisturbed.
3) Be sure to know how to operate your mute button while you speak (and don't speak) on the conference call.
4) It's always good to write an email to all the conference call participants that clearly communicates the dial in numbers, passwords and any other necessary info. If people are located in different timezones be sure to set the time to one location (like PDT for US Pacific Time) and then everyone will know what time that is in their specific location.
5) Always start the call punctually and definitely don't wait for latecomers'. It can be a good technique to do a role call and note who are the people missing from the teleconference.
6) Before the call there should always be a clear list of agenda points so that everyone is on the same page.
7) Another nice technique to break the ice to have everyone introduce themselves to the call.
8) End the call formally with a big thank you to everyone for their time and attention.
Conference Calls Unlimited Philanthropic Donations
At Conference Calls Unlimited our philanthropic donations for the first quarter of 2008 will go to our first major philanthropic project, the Points Aux Chenes school in Louisiana.
You may recall the school, located on the bayou, was devastated by Hurriccane Katrina. Our previous donations directly assisted the school facility itself, however our current donations will target more personal needs for the children and their families. The effect that Katrina had on the economy of this community which was already at poverty level, seems endless. Basics such as shoes, socks, underwear, coats, jackets, plastic mattress covers etc are in short supply, so this is where we will direct our attention.
If you would like to add to our donations or if you would like to make direct donations, please contact Customer Service at 877-227-0611, ext 3.
March 5, 2008 | Permalink
Here are our Ipod winners for January and February.
Alliance of Independent Music Merchants
The Alliance of Independent Music Merchants is an alliance of leading musical instrument retailers and manufacturers whose mission is to help develop and grow the music industry. Their focus is quality products, educational programs and exceptional customer service. To find out more about them visit their web site at www.musicmerchants.com.
The mission of Prevent Inc is to implement their trademarked safe patient handling program, "Get A Lift". Since 1996, the "Get A Lift" Program has proven its success in more that 600 healthcare organizations by reducing caregiver/patient handling injuries by more than 80%. Professional Nurses provide healthcare organizations with the resources, training and support to permanently replace the need for manual lifting, transferring and repositioning with patient/resident handling devices. To find our more visit their website at www.getalift.com.
March 5, 2008 | Permalink
Support Our Customer Partners
When you're looking for business solutions providers, we have a growing list of partners with special prices for our customers. These business solutions partners include:
* SubscriberMail. They're an award-winning email service provider with the tools to help you create and send targeted email campaigns that drive results. They also provide phenomenal, inspiring customer service. We use them. They've helped us tremendously with personalized attention to our needs.
Here's the link to our earlier announcement of our partnership with SubscriberMail.
* NewHire. NewHire offers a powerful, affordable, online hiring candidate management software. You'll be able to attract the right talented candidates, get answers to your most important questions - before you interview and keep track of your candidates with their easy-to-use online solution.
We've never used their product. However, we've spoken with many of their customer references including those they sent us and those customers of theirs we contacted on our own. The reviews were all consistently stellar.
Here's the link to our earlier announcement of our partnership with NewHire.
* PeerSight Online. Peersight Online offers a peer-to-peer mentoring service for C-level executives, directors and entrepreneurs. Their plan's really simple: bring 8 ambitious entrepreneurs together regularly. Help them, help each other focus, execute and grow their businesses very fast. BTW, leaders that join a peer board grow their businesses 2x to 3x faster than their peers who don't attend such a board of their peers.
Their approach is time-efficient, cost-efficient. They use online resources, conference calls, coaches and the power of peer members to help each other grow. Disclaimer: They incorporate our conference calling solutions into their service. But that only means greater savings to you with no need to travel. And greater time to meet and learn and help each other grow.
We've used them with great success.
Here's the link to our earlier announcement of our partnership with PeerSight Online.
* FreshBooks. FreshBooks is an online invoicing and time tracking service that saves you time and makes your professional.
Appearances are everything. But I'd add this: by making it easy to track your time and generate an invoice they help keep your cash flows in the positive. A professional looking invoice only encourages prompt payment. And an invoice that's easy to generate with accurate and current time tracked is one that's sent out regularly.
This is the perfect service for teams, freelancers, small service-providers like PR firms and Architects, IT consultants and Design Studios, Pool Cleaners and PC Techs, Journalists and Lawyers... They're doing something right. 300,000 new users have joined the company since June 2004. It could be their devotion to their customers.
Here's the link to our earlier announcement of our partnership with FreshBooks.
These are but 4 such partners whose services we've made available for our customers. We have 3 more lined up to announce in the coming months. Please contact me if you'd like to discuss putting your service in front of our customers with special pricing.
Staying in Touch with Your Customers: FreshBooks Style
FreshBooks is an online invoicing and time tracking service that saves you time and makes you look professional .
FreshBooks is also a role-model for any company who wants to generate high net promoter scores, from generating customer evangelists. With their blog, their regular visits to customers in different cities, and the Mesh event they help organize and sponsor, these guys talk/talk and walk/walk. And now they've taken their game to a new level: they're going on the road. They're renting a RV in Florida and driving to Texas. Along the way they'll be stopping to see customers and sharing the whole story online at their ROADBURN site.
Disclaimer: They're a customer. I'm a guest author once a month on their blog writing about customer service. FreshBooks is one of our value-add partners for you with a special offer of savings for you, our customers, for their service.
An Email Provider That Drives Results
We have a solution for your email campaigns. And it comes with a generous savings for those of you who are customers with Conference Calls Unlimited.
The solution is SUBSCRIBERMAIL. They delivered this email to you. We've used them to deliver our newsletters for several years now. Here's why:
EASY-TO-USE TOOLS: They have the all the online tools we need to quickly and easily design newsletters to fit our needs, as well as accurately target our customers with specific messages.
USEFUL REPORTS: Their reports help us gauge which emails are of interest to you and which aren't. The reports are easy to understand and prepared in formats that are easy to use.
OUTSTANDING DELIVERY: Ever wonder if anyone is even getting your emails? Independent auditor reports show that SubscriberMail has one of the highest delivery ratings in the industry.
FANTASTIC SUPPORT: SubscriberMail's staff really sets them apart. We find them to be smart, responsive, creative, and accountable. We love them. You will, too - you'll get personalized one-on-one training and have a dedicated team to support you.
All of this means that your critical messages will be created efficiently, get delivered accurately and in a timely manner, and you'll communicate more effectively to build your brand image and strengthen customer relationships.
That's been our experience. And it's been the experience of many others - SubscriberMail was recently named to Inc. magazine's list of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. Industry Experts have good things to say about SubscriberMail, as well.
Here comes the sweet part.
SUBSCRIBERMAIL has partnered with us to offer an exclusive plan that will maximize your savings. Sign up with SubscriberMail right away and they will waive fees for their standard initial setup. That's a savings of up to $900. You'll save half when you start and the other half after 12 months as a credit to your account.
As a customer with Conference Calls Unlimited, you'll save money if you act now. But more importantly, you'll have what I believe to be the best email solution available - easy to use, award-winning service and personalized training, plus dedicated account support. And all the while you'll see better open rates and response rates as well as an enhanced brand image for your company.
What's not to like? I urge you to act now and save up to $900!
Contact SubscriberMail for a personalized demo of their services, or call 866-622-2600.
Be sure to mention that you're a Conference Calls Unlimited customer to save $900!
You can start learning more about email marketing immediately, thanks to SubscriberMail's extensive library of research and recommendations on email marketing, available at no cost. Two of their most popular reports show you:
United Fashion of Texas owns and manages over 80 stores in the Southwest, offering their customers quality fashion merchandise at the best possible price in a friendly, attractive atmosphere. The core customers for Melrose are fashion conscious young Hispanic women. The success of their stores is attributed to their focus on the local needs and tastes of the Hispanic customer along with the quick reaction to the changing needs and desires of their customers.
Corridor Consulting specializes in helping companies manage and share critical information to fundamentally improve their business. Corridor is a systems integration and consulting company focused on the implementation of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Systems. Their consultants have successfully implemented over 300 systems for clients in banking, government, healthcare, insurance, retail, and manufacturing.
These are the recipients of our monthly iPod gift for November and December.
A Random Act Of Kindness
If you have ever listened to the Customer Service Mavens’ podcasts which are posted on our Website, www.conferencecallsunlimited.com, you would know that we thoroughly enjoy interacting with our many and varied customers. And, you would know that that statement is “for real”.
One of the best things about being in the telecommunications business is that our clientele is extremely varied. We provide service to individuals and to huge corporations and to companies everywhere in between. Each and every company is unique in its business. There is one common denominator, however, and that is longevity.
We recently decided to send “Random Acts of Kindness” gifts to customers each month. This month we are celebrating the loyalty of customers who have been with us since 2001 and the company that was chosen is the Gottesman Company.
The Gottesman Company acts as Independent Business Transaction Intermediaries serving both Buyers and Sellers, specializing in the Mergers & Acquisitions of businesses in the mid-market arena, nationally and internationally. Business Transfers, Selling of Businesses, while acting as Finders - all fall within their province. They also work with Cooperating Intermediaries and
Investment Bankers nationwide as well as in Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
Next month the recipient of the “Random Act of Kindness” could be a one person consulting company, a charitable organization or a prayer group.
Hurricane Katrina and Pointes-aux-Chenes: Lest We Forget
Lest we forget….
Conference Calls Unlimited’s first major philanthropic project was the Points Aux Chenes school in Montegut, Louisiana. We first wrote about it over 2 years ago in the first months of the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita aftermath. (Is it possible that all of that occurred two years ago?!)
The school, located on the bayou, was devastated by those two hurricanes.
We heard about the need of this school when we checked in with one of our long time customers in the area after the hurricane, to offer assistance. He declined assistance for himself but informed us that he knew of a school that sustained a great deal of damage due to its location. Our CEO immediately spearheaded a donation program for the school.
We re-routed funds which we normally allocated to sending “thank you” flower bouquets to new customers to purchase desks, chairs and other equipment for the school. We sent word of this project out to our customers and received additional funds for the project.
Happily, the school is up and running, but lest we forget the untold and very long term damage caused by Katrina, we wanted to share some excerpts from a recent update from the school’s principal, Dawn LaFont.
“We are still open- busy with 157 children. We have 52 children who are homeless or living with other families. So with a third of the students living with about 20% of the remaining population so about 45% of our children are still up set! We have more domestic issues than ever! I think the stress of it all is getting to everyone. Levees have been built- we haven’t had any storms so you would think people would get settled, but housing sky rocketed after Katrina and Rita. Even middle class families are finding it difficult to pay the cost of repairs, new housing or renting. Building codes added additional burdens on people who had begun to repair their homes and insurance companies dropped them or increased their insurance to an unaffordable price. Road Home dollars are still not coming as they should have and so people are told to write appeals… difficult to do if you are not educated.
Our school is beautiful- everyone tells us how wonderful it feels to be here! I really want to make their day- everyday! There are so many unfixable things… I am striving to hang on to this part of their world as a safe, warm, loving environment. The magnetic boards, chairs, plastic drawers are holding up beautifully. We have had to raise our furniture a couple of times and it was much easier than before. In a matter of two hours with everyone working we were picked up and covered!!! “
How fortunate the children are to have such a caring principal. We are humbled by her stamina and shocked to know how unsettled the victims of Hurricane Katrina still are. It certainly is cause to count your own blessings.
- Theresa Chatelle, Customer Service Manager.
December 21, 2007 | Permalink
Customer Philanthropy: Battered Women's Justice Project
This month our corporate philanthropy supports the Battered Women's Justice Project. Located in Minneapolis, the Battered Women's Justice Project provides resources for advocates, battered women, legal and justice system personnel.
This organization provides a number of different resources for those attempting to address this growing problem of violence against women. These resources include:
This is a resource you wish didn't need support. The growing problem of violence against women is one that's only solved with greater resources, support, education, accountability, understanding, compassion. For too long, it's existed in the shadows of our community, whispered about but never acknowledged. The result is a problem more widespread than we realized and too often addressed on the basis of misunderstanding, prejudice and bias, outdated paternalistic attitudes, a blame the victim mentality and if all that isn't enough...there aren't enough resources for those willing to provide a solution.
Can you help? The Battered Women's Justice Project is worthy group making a great difference with this problem. We'll contribute $50.00 for every referral and $50.00 for every new customer we receive during the month of December.
New Value-Add Partner: NewHire
Finding and retaining qualified people is a never-ending challenge for every organization. We've struggled to fortunately find great people dedicated to making our customers happy and our business run continue to grow.
We're confident you face the same challenge in your organization.
So I was pleased when Steve MacGill, CEO at Peersight Online, told us about Chuck Smith and his company, NewHire and their solutions for a cost-effective means to quickly find, screen and retain the best people for your organization.
After a few months of review and meeting with Chuck Smith, we think Steve's right. NewHire provides a solution for the number one challenge of every organization: finding and retaining talented people.
Steve MacGill and I aren't the only ones who rave about NewHire. Here's what one of their references said:
It’s not often that a business relationship produces value beyond expectations, but I had to write you to express my appreciation for the consistently excellent results we have achieved with NewHire…
And that was just one such testimonial!
I've never found such glowing testimonials for a service-provider before. The testimonials came in personal calls promptly delivered in response to my queries. They were from C-level executives and hiring-managers who called to tell me how NewHire had solved so many hiring challenges, done it promptly, saved them money, and how willing NewHire, from their CEO to their receptionist worked with them to find a solution for THEIR needs.
NewHire's Elements program insures you can find qualified candidates faster and with less cost. It uses their NewHire's Candidate Management Software to compile all the candidate responses into a single database you can screen, sort, filter, track...from anywhere, when it's most convenient for you. You'll be able to quickly find the most qualified candidates and THEN you schedule interviews with these candidates.
Makes sense doesn't it? ( Where was this program when we needed it? )
And with NewHire, quickly finding qualified candidates is the result of a simple, 4-step, process. It's built around their personal consultation with you to:
1) Create and Refine Your Job Description
2) Customize a Pre-Employment Questionnaire
3) Write Your Job Advertisement to Attract the Right Candidates
4) Develop & Implement a Media Placement Plan
Personal consultation to deliver a personal solution. It's what the best companies deliver. NewHire's one of the best.
And NewHire's agreed to a 10% discount for our customers who choose their NewHire Elements program.
Here's how to get started:
2) Take their tour;
3) Read their Case Studies;
4) Then sign up for NewHire Elements' (with a 10% discount for being our customer)
a. Online at http://www.new-hire.com/nheccu.asp
b. On the phone: 877-923-0054 (If you hate filling out forms.)
5) Be sure to tell them you're our customer!
November 26, 2007 | Permalink
Lessons Learned from Podcasting
Brian Carroll, CEO of InTouch Incorporated, offers his Lessons Learned from Podcasting. It's a good article published by MarketingProfs. I like that he didn't delve into the esoterics of podcasting's technology. Instead he chose to the role podcast can play in providing customers or prospects or employees with:
... different information, in different ways, at different times during their buying process. The choices they'll make will depend on their role, their exact need, and the timeframe for solving that need.
One of the reasons podcasts are important is that they engage an audience or prospective customer in a way that other offerings may not. And if you have potential customers who are already listening to podcasts, why would you want to leave that offering out of your mix?
Exactly. Why would you?
His first tip to keep in mind is:
Know what you want to say and have a point of view.
So true. Podcasts are powerful addition to your plans to share your message...IF...you have something unique and interesting to share.
And his second is:
Be ready and willing to learn by trial and error, since podcasting is a relatively nascent medium.
And if you're willing to learn this medium then you're half-way home.
We can't help with the first point.
We can help with the 2nd point using our podcast service. You provide the passion; we'll provide the podcast. We can take your unique content and quickly turn it into a podcast for you, without your ever having to learn the podcast technology itself. Besides, what's the best use of your time: learning XML coding to create a podcast or providing your unique content for the podcast? We think the latter. If you agree, and you want to start podcasting, give us a call: 877-227-0611, ext. 3.
Your Feedback is Wanted for Our New Website
It's time for a new website.
You read, see, many websites during your day. that makes you an expert.
Would you take a minute and look at our new website's home page? It's a draft. There are some typos we'll fix.
And if you have another minute, would you share your thoughts and ideas and questions and confusions...whatever... in the comments field?
Each month we give away an iPod to one of our favorite customers. We're announcing the winners here for both September and October. Both of these customers have been with us a long time and who we thoroughly enjoy working with over the days and weeks and years. Enjoy!
Founded in 1986, Payroll 1 provides payroll services to small and medium-sized companies. Their clients submit payroll information to their dedicated payroll specialists, receive pay statements and payroll reports either electronically or on paper. Additional services they provide are tax filing, check signing and stuffing, internet access to reports and pay statements, and internet payroll processing solutions.
Wachter is a leading national provider of infrastructure services, communications equipment, and technical support. Wachter services the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Wachter Corporation's services include on-site wired and wireless network infrastructure, telephony and structured cabling, design, installation, and electrical services.
FreshBooks: A new value-added partner for you
We’ve found one more value-added partner that may help your organization grow.
It’s FreshBooks (www.freshbooks.com). It’s a simple-to-use, FAST-to-use, way to track your time and invoice your clients.
And as a customer of Conference Calls Unlimited you’ll save 25% off the already low price of FreshBooks. (You can use it for free for 30 days, too!)
FreshBooks is perfect for teams, freelancers, attorneys and accountants, designers and consultants, service providers of all services. It’s perfect for those whose skills are best spent providing a service, not preparing an invoice.
And you know without an invoice…you don’t get paid.
Get paid faster with invoices you can create faster, that look sharper and that enhance your organization’s image. Collect payment faster with online credit cards, e-checks and Pay-Pal.
Oh. Did we mention it generates all the reports a good accountant could ever want? And you can import or export your data with FreshBooks.
Oh. Yes. It costs 25% less if you’re a customer of Conference Calls Unlimited.
Here’s how to enjoy this benefit:
2) Sign up for their free trial. ( The free trial last forever for up to 3 users.)
3) Tell them you’re a customer of Conference Calls Unlimited.
And start getting paid faster, with less headaches and with less expense.
Thanks for being our customer.
And we’ll be offering more of these value-added partnerships that offer services and resources to help your organization to grow. It’s our way of saying “Thanks for being our customer”.
Tips and Strategies to Improve Email Open Rate
Our friends at SubscriberMail shared this useful content in a recent newsletter. With their permission, we share it with you.
A short preface on open rates
Like Conference Calling, email marketing has many tricks and tips to be successful. Open rates have been falling in the email industry recently. This trend is not necessarily reflective of fewer people actually opening emails. The general decline is due to the fact that many of the new email clients that people are using have images turned off as the default, and also because some users prefer to have images turned off. In order for an "open" to be accurately tabulated by an email marketing service provider, an image - usually one pixel and transparent - needs to be displayed. The calling of this image from the service provider's web server indicates that the email has been opened. If the image is not downloaded from the server, it will not be counted as an "open," even though the recipient can still see and read all of the text-based content.
This being said, it is still important that email marketers take steps to optimize their open rates. Counted or not, opens are what drive your program's overall success.
Optimizing the From Name
With spam and phishing scams ever more prevalent in the inbox, making sure your recipients can clearly identify the sender of your email is increasingly important. Don't try to personalize the from name with a salesperson's name that your recipients may not recognize. Don't use a product brand name that someone outside of your company may not be familiar with. State your organization's name simply: ABC Company. Recipients should be able to clearly and quickly identify and recognize your company from your from name.
Testing subject lines
Never underestimate the importance of a compelling, well-constructed and effective subject line. If you can increase your open rate from 17 percent to 20 percent with a simple subject line test, that's an almost 18 percent improvement (not 3 percent!). If your list isn't big enough or you don't have the resources to do a true random split test (those of you using SubscriberMail can do this with our built-in split list feature), recurring A/B split tests will show patterns that will dictate what makes a subject line successful for you. (For more information on email testing, see our white paper. For help on creating winning subject lines, see our previous article.)
Maximizing the preview pane
While a passing glance through the preview pane may technically be counted as an "open" in your email reports, if your recipients never look any further, that glance isn't going to lead to a click-through. Optimize this area with text that compels readers to open the email to read more. Better yet, place your key call to action in this area to drive immediate click-throughs. As always, be aware of how your email will render in the preview pane if images are disabled, and design accordingly. (For more information on how to maximize email design, see our white paper.)
Checking content for Spam triggers
It goes without saying that if your email is delivered to a junk mail folder due to triggers that flag your message as Spam, it's much less likely to be opened than a message delivered to the inbox. While spam filters have customizable settings that are beyond an email marketer's control, making sure your message falls within the default values of popular Spam filters will be effective in the majority of instances. (For help on how to avoid being labeled "Spam," see our previous article.)
Keeping a squeaky clean list
A list in need of cleansing can not only drag your open rates down, it can also in worst-case scenarios hurt your delivery. An email sender's reputation is a critical factor in whether your email is delivered to the inbox, bulked, or bounced. Repeatedly sending to dead email addresses will negatively impact your sender reputation. SubscriberMail automatically removes these email addresses from your list and blocks them from re-import so you don't accidentally resend to them. We also closely monitor the sender reputation and overall delivery of our IP addresses.
Periodically cleansing your list of recipients who no longer take action on your messages is also a good idea. You may wish to employ a win-back strategy to first try to save these addresses or try to reach them in a different way, such as direct mail.
We are frequently asked what industry averages are but we don't like to quote these because open rates will vary among organizations. It's important not to focus on reaching "industry average" open rates, but rather to evaluate your own open rates in the context of your own email initiatives. Employing these strategies in your email marketing efforts can help drive your open rates, whatever they are currently, and more important by extension improve your other metrics as well.
Customer in the News: The Hunger Project
The Hunger Project offers a Double Your Money donation opportunity. It's to celebrate their thirtieth anniversary and the leadership of Joan Holmes during this time. And it's help them expand their strategies for the sustainable end of hunger.
Joan Holmes has identified leadership as one of the missing key elements in creating a solution for the sustainable end of hunger. And your donations now will be matched with a similar amount by a small group of Hunger Project investors. Commit by October 14 and pay by December 31st. And your donation is matched.
Double your money, double your impact, double the solutions you can provide with your generosity.
Double it. Double it.
Customer in the News: SubscriberMails Joins Inc 5000
We've happily, very happily, used the services of SubscriberMail, an award-winning provider of email marketing services and technology. They've done wonderful work with us delivering our email newsletter and special offers to you over the past few years. They're attention to our needs as a customer has been, well, inspiring. Regularly I hear testimonials from our staff about their staff.
So it was a delight to hear that they're getting more and more recognition and reward for their award-winning service and customer-evangelist creating attention to our needs.
SubscriberMail was ranked number 596 on Inc magazine's INC 5000, a list of the top 5000 fastest growing companies in America. And SubscriberMail is one of the 20 fastest growing companies in Illinois.
And the way they communicated this announcement, their ranking on INC 5000 was, as you'd expect, in an email note to their customers saying SubscriberMail couldn't have done this without you. During the time we have focused on the email marketing space, we have been blessed with absolutely fantastic customers who have accounted for this growth, and a group of remarkable, dedicated team members....
Their CEO and Founder, Jordan Ayan, is what an ideal CEO should be: focused, organized, great listener, kind, patient, driven, family-oriented, funny, innovative, creative. I consider him a friend. We're his customer. We're delighted for them.
Congrats, you guys! And we hope to see you there in '08, '09 at the latest.
Disclaimer: SubscriberMail uses our conferencing solutions. You should, too.
Leaders: Where and to Whom Do You Turn for Help
If you're the leader of an organization you've probably asked yourself that question. The old saying It's lonely at the top rings so true for so many organization leaders. Where and to whom do you turn to for advice, for counsel, for perspective, for SOLUTIONS, or just for camarderie?
Fortunately, you're a customer of ours. We've found a solution that will end executive isolation. And it's with one of our customers.
Peersight Online offers a peer advisory board for entrepreneurs, majority owners and C-level executives where you can meet with your peers and share challenges, solutions, ideas, support and accountability with each other and in a confidential, non-competitive setting.
Peersight Online allows you to meet your executive peers from the comfort of your office using our conference calling services, once every 3 weeks and for 2 hours.
I have used Peersight Online for the past 6 months. It's been invaluable. The opportunity to offer solutions to other leaders who face similar challenges, to hear their ideas and feedback on my challenges and to gain from their wisdom and knowledge as we plan for our longterm success has been invaluable.
And as a customer of Conference Calls Unlimited, you can try it risk free for 30 days. Just go to PeerSight Online, fill out the application, enter your account number as a Conference Calls Unlimited customer where you're asked for a referral code. Andrew or Steve MacGill, founders of PeerSight Online, will interview you to insure it's a good fit, you and PeerSight. They'll work to insure you join a peer advisory board where you can contribute and gain the most.
Where and to whom do you turn as a leader for help? Peersight Online .
PS. Oh, there's no financial benefit for Conference Calls Unlimited. Peersight Online does donate $100 to The Hunger Project when our customers join. However, we do benefit from helping others, businesses and leaders, be successful. How? We derive great pleasure from being able to help.
August Philanthropy: Rural Development Initiatives
Rural Development Initiatives is our customer philanthropy project this month.
RDI, Rural Development Initiatives, speaks to our heart for its work. According to its website,
Rural Development Initiatives is dedicated to helping rural communities and the organizations that serve them to thrive by providing a variety of award-winning services which enable them to develop sound plans, strengthen community leadership, and build appropriate skills and structure for implementation that result in increased community vitality.
RDI's services are focused on finding the needed capacity within a community that are needed to drive it revitalization projects forward. They do it by increasing the skills and knowledge of community's citizens, helping enhance collaborative community leadership and applying best tools for the the community's revitalization.
Visioning and Planning, Project Assistance, Organizational Development, Facilitation and Mediation are just some of the areas where RDI can help a rural community bring their vision to fruition.
They also offer a tremendous set of Resources and Links.
Supporting our customers engaged in philanthropy is just our way of Saying "Thank-You" by Helping Others which we started last year. You can read the list of customer projects we support this year in the post Corporate Philanthropy - 2007.
Donate, participate, educate. Get involved. Give a little something back to your community, to those who need a little help.
You've seen tens of 'em, maybe hundreds or for the unlucky few...thousands. How many great ones have you seen?
Graphic images: They best convey emotion. Almost every slide uses powerful graphic images.
Font sizes: Varied from slide to side. Big enough to read without distracting you from the image.
Text: The author's kept the text and the content with each slide simple. It's an easy setup then for him to add his personality, emotion, power, passion.
Also from Matt, is a funny, spot-on video of How NOT to Make a PowerPoint.
As a result we have a 2-step plan for a better PowerPoint presentation:
Step 1) Look at Matt's powerpoint presentation. Emulate his approach with graphics and text and images.
Step 2) Look at How NOT to Make a PowerPoint. Make sure you avoid EVERY one of these errors.
There. Pretty simple. Put those 2 steps together and you can't lose.
Oh. Practice, practice, practice.
And that includes practicing with your web conference service. Make sure you practice your presentation, handling the slides, as you would with our web conference services. We'll even help you practice. Practice makes perfect with Web Conferences.
Free The Slaves President on ABC's Primetime Tuesday
Kevin Bales, President of Free The Slaves, will appear on ABC's Primetime Tuesday at 10:00 PM Eastern. His appearance is part of their segment detailing the story of a 9-year old Egyptian girl, sold into slavery and shipped to California from Cairo, Egypt. There, in sunny California she worked as a a family's maid without pay...She was 9 years old!
This isn't an anomaly, an aberration, an exception to the rule. Modern day slavery continues to exist. According to the website of Free The Slaves, there are 27 million slaves worldwide...TODAY.
You can help end this misery by sharing this story, donating to Free The Slaves and/or calling your US Congressional representative to ask them to co-sponsor HR 2522 which creates a commission to study how best to end worldwide slavery.
Free The Slaves was one of the first groups we supported as part of our Corporate Philanthropy project. We announced that last year. We're proud to help spread their message and bring attention to their work to end worldwide human slavery.
Small Business Resource of the Month
This site features over 19,000 training videos covering topics like blogging, podcasting, and web design. In addition, you can find basic office application training as well as more advanced technical training covering things like MySql and PHP. You can watch the videos or purchase DVD and book versions as well.
The videos are created by expert trainers and authors from around the world. At $25 per month for a basic membership, this is a steal!
Bit Literacy: A solution for "Information and Email Overload"
I've found a pleasant, productive, easy-to implement solution for "Information and Email Overload" and I want to share it with you, our customers and friends. It's contained in a book, authored by Mark Hurst, titled Bit Literacy. And it's worked so well for me that:
1) We bought a copy for everyone here in the company;
2) We'll buy a copy for the first 10 customers who follow the instructions at the end of this post.
Now, let me share with you my pain from "Information and Email Overload" and the impact on this pain as I read Bit Literacy.
My email inbox on April 23rd recently carried 2500+ emails. (Before Christmas that number was over 5000.) Some of them I've read...
It's not merely a number. It's 2500 bits that slow the performance of my Outlook. It's 2500 bits that need to be checked when I'm told it was closed inappropriately. It's 2500 bits I look at that, need to be sorted, add to my frustration, distract me...make me much less efficient.
I don't think I'm alone. I'm willing to bet that many of our customers face the same if not bigger problem. From Bit Literacy:
Bits are heavy...Appearing in large numbers as they often do, bits weigh people down, mentally and emotionally, with incessant calls for attention and engagement.
Bits are appearing everywhere today, and people are feeling the strain.
The global economy is full of overloaded workers who are more weighed down, less productive, and ultimately less happy as human beings because of too many bits, and no solution for dealing with them. From CEOs to schoolteachers, designers to doctors, students to retirees, millions of people around the globe have an immediate need to solve their bit overload.
But, as of May 4, 2007 and through July 16, that number in my inbox is...15. I've not completed Bit Literacy. But following the advice of Mark Hurst, its author, I've reduced the number of emails in my inbox from 2500+ to under 15.
That makes me happier, more focused, less distracted, more productive and that translates throughout my day into better interactions with everyone in the company and outside the company.
And we'll help you achieve the same Bit Literacy with your emails. Leave a comment in this post. In the comment field include your account number as a customer with Conference Calls Unlimited. We'll use that to confirm your order and mailing location. We'll deliver a free copy to your mailing location on file.
We'll gather your comments and feedback over the next weeks. And based on that feedback we'll decide to expand that offer for more customers...or not.
Here are the instructions again:
1) Add a comment
2) Include your account number as a customer with Conference Calls Unlimited.
3) I'll call and confirm your contact and mailing information with you before we order your book.
4) One book per customer.
5) Towards the end of June, if I haven't heard from you, I'll call you to get your feedback.
6) We'll share your comments in a separate post (with your prior permission). Good or bad. This is the greatest book ...ever! Or what a waste of time. We'll share 'em, again only with your prior permission.
Customer Service Podcast
A Day in the Life is a twice-weekly podcast series created Theresa Chatelle and Cindy Whitney, our Customer Service Mavens. They'll share their rubber-meets-the-road, or phone line-meets-the-conference-bridge, tips you can use to gain more value from your conference calls and real-life stories from serving our customers' needs.
You can hear Theresa and Cindy several different ways:
* Subscribe to the podcast with your RSS Reader. Here's how:
1) Right click the graphic below:
2) Choose 'copy shortcut'
3) Paste the feed into your rss reader.
From there you'll receive the feeds with each new recording added to this podcast series. And you can manage the recording files on to your desktop for later listening, listen to them in streaming mode immediately or add them to your MP3 player of choice.
* Subscribe to the podcast with your iTunes. Here's how:
1) Right click this link.
2) Choose 'copy shortcut'.
3) Enter it into iTunes' search function.
4) Follow its steps to subscribe.
* Subscribe to the blog Conference Call Best Practices with your RSS reader:
1) Right click any of the feed icons within the right margin in the Subscribe to Conference Call Best Practices.
2) Choose 'copy shortcut'.
3) Paste the feed into your rss reader.
* Subscribe to the blog Conference Call Best Practices by email. Visit the blog and enter your email in the field on the right in the section called Subscribe to Conference Call Best Practices. With each new post you'll receive an email with the content to the post and a link to the blog.
With each new recorded conversation in A Day in the Life we'll create a post that includes a link to the MP3 recording so you can download for later listening or listen in streaming mode.
Get to know Theresa and Cindy, our Customer Service Mavens, as they share their day and tips to help you make your conference calls more productive.
July's Customer Winner: Analysts in Media
Analysts in Media, Inc. is our monthly winner for July. They'll receive an engraved iPod Shuffle in the mail shortly.
According to their website, Analysts in Media, Inc, headquartered in Manhattan, NY, is a leading global provider of high quality, comprehensive information resource for the professional and enthusiast markets. They are changing the world of media by providing leading U.S. organizations of all sizes and across all major industry verticals the opportunity to encourage a meaningful dialog with premier research firms to not only address business and technology challenges, but forecasts industry trends.
New Customer Benefit
We’re pleased to announce our partnership with PeerSightOnline. PeersightOnline offers an innovative affordable approach to traditional Peer Advisory Boards for your organization’s leaders.
We’ve used it with great success! And that’s why we brought this resource and the chance to judge for yourself, as our customer, with a complimentary month.
First, what’s a Peer Advisory Board?
A Peer Advisory Board is a group of your peers offering advice and counsel. For business, Peer Advisory Boards usually consist of C-Level executives (Chief Executive, Chief Financial, Chief Operating…Officer) who meet regularly to share with each their solutions and insights gained from their experience. The purpose being to bring renewed focus, improved execution and sustainable growth to their businesses.
Thousands of small business executives in all parts of the world use Peer Advisory Board services. And rightfully so with just these 2 reasons: 1) 90% of their members would recommend it to others. 2) Industry standards indicate that for the past 5+ years businesses that have joined a board have grown at a rate of 2 to 3 times faster than before they joined. (I don’t know about you. But I’d like to see our business grow 2-3 times faster. )
What’s unique about PeerSightOnline?
PeersightOnline offers a Peer Advisory Board benefit to entrepreneurs, majority owners and C-Level executives in a format that best fits the busy, time-pressed, schedules they may face. Using online resources, audio, and soon web, conference services, PeerSightOnline can provide the same benefits but at far less cost and a more convenient schedule.
Peer insight and review has proven itself as an invaluable tool to build sustainable, profitable and growing businesses and organizations. The value from regularly scheduled meetings with C-level peers in a variety of industries comes from the wisdom and experience shared in a confidential setting to address challenges and obstacles common in business today.
What’s in it for you as our customer?
Our partnership offers you, our customers, a complimentary month of PeerSightOnline’s innovative and effective approach to Peer Advisory Boards. This complimentary month will allow you to judge for yourself the effectiveness of PeerSightOnline in creating sustainable growth and profitability for small business.
But the true benefit we hope you experience is an affordable resource to help sustain your growth. Executive isolation is one of the biggest challenges of leading an organization. The setting of PeerSightOnline’s advisory boards provides a confidential setting where peer executives can share challenges and solutions, wisdom and experience, to help each other face similar challenges. The common challenge for all businesses is sustainable growth.
How does it work?
It’s simple. There’s an online application process that’s described below.
There’s a 3-month minimum commitment. This will allow you to judge the benefits over several Board meetings with your peers. Meetings are held by conference call every 3 weeks. There are personal coaching sessions and quarterly (or more) presentations from leading business experts. There are online tools and content for members. Click here for details of PeerSight Online's program.
And all you have to do is participate. Bring your unique knowledge and expertise to share in an open, confidential setting with your peers facing many of the same challenges you face. You learn; they learn. They grow; you grow.
Can anyone join?
Membership benefits are best found with CEO, President or majority Owners of businesses with at least $500,000 annual revenues and 3 employees who can make the commitment to meet by phone every 3 weeks for 2 hours. Members come from companies of this size to those with over $20 million in revenue and dozens of employees.
Board members bring a full range of business expertise from marketing to operations, finance to IT. The leaders at PeerSightOnline will make sure you join a board that allows you the greatest benefit from participation as a problem-solver and with members whose backgrounds offer diverse knowledge, expertise and solutions.
How to Join:
It’s very easy to join PeersightOnline. And it’s very easy for you, as our customer, to receive the added month of complimentary service with PeerSightOnline. Here are the easy steps:
2) Apply Online: http://peersightonline.com/apply.aspx
NOTE: Part 2 of the Online Application asks for Referral Code. Make sure you enter your 6-digit Account Number with Conference Calls Unlimited. We’ll be notified when you apply with only your account number and company name and contact information.
3) Interview. You’ll be asked to schedule a time for an interview with PeerSightOnline’s executives. The purpose of this is to insure the greatest fit between you and the members of your Peer Advisory Board.
4) Your Story. We’d love to hear your stories of success with PeerSightOnline’s Peer Advisory Boards. With Steve and Andrew MacGill, the founders of PeerSightOnline, we plan to interview you at a later date and with your permission share your story with our customers.
Your success drives ours. We’re confident you’ll experience the same benefits for your company from membership with PeerSightOnline that we’ve experienced. Success isn’t guaranteed. But this resource adds to those resources you use now to drive your organization’s success. That’s why we wanted to make it available to you.
As an enthusiastic customer of PeerSightOnline, I’d be happy to answer your questions.
Thanks for being our customers.
Conference Calls Unlimited
877-227-0611, ext. 12
June Customer Winner: Pearson Education
Pearson Education is our customer winner for June of an iPod Shuffle.
According to their website, Pearson Education is the global leader in educational publishing, providing scientifically research-based print and digital programs to help students learn at their own pace, in their own way. They offer the most comprehensive range of educational programs, in all subjects, for every age and level of student, from pre Kindergarten through high school through higher education and on into professional life.
Enjoy. Thanks for being our customer.
The Iowa Association of Business & Industry was established in 1903 to be the voice of Iowa business. Their goal is to foster a favorable business, economic, governmental and social climate within the State of Iowa so that our citizens have the opportunity to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.
The Phelon Group is the first consultancy that has established itself as a major force in defining and implementing Customer Leverage – a distinct methodology that helps leading enterprise technology companies build and sustain powerful reference programs. They help their clients evolve their reference program activities from tactical programs with limited impact to strategic customer relationships that represent a major corporate asset in the drive for growth.
Amazon Gift Certificate Winners
Messick & Weber P.C. provides services to credit unions and credit union service organizations (“CUSOs”) nationwide. Their attorneys provide services to hundreds of credit unions and CUSOs. They serve as General Counsel to the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations (“NACUSO”) They are also the liaison for NACUSO to the regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over the services provided by CUSOs and credit unions, including the National Credit Union Administration (“NCUA”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).
Independent Medical Co-op
Independent Medical Co-op is the premier Co-Op for medical supply distributors who are a driving force in the physician, hospital, nursing home, home health, EMS, industrial and other related markets. Their goal is to continue to be the most productive Co-Op in the industry providing exceptional value for member distributors and manufacturers of medical products and the medical community.