As the world returns to something approaching normal, the attitude of ‘we’re all in this together’ is giving way to an expectation of professionalism, believes Emma, an account director at a global advertising group.
“We were presenting a campaign to a super-important new client, with lots of people joining via video from different countries,” says Emma. “For various reasons, the client/agency relationship had got off to a rocky start, so we knew we had to really wow them. About 10 minutes into the call, just as we’d done the introductions, the meeting cut out. At first, we thought it was just an internet issue, but then we realised none of us in the UK could connect into the meeting. Whereas the clients in the US were still online and wondering what was going on.”
“After some frantic calls to IT, they told us the problem was with the meeting platform itself, and they didn’t know how long it would be out of action. The client was understanding, up to a point, but it still took at least a week to get everyone back together to re-run the meeting. This ended up creating lots of added pressure for the agency to deliver the campaign to a tight deadline.”
For legal counsel Jenny, who is often the key participant in meetings within her logistics company, the growing frequency of video meeting outages are frustrating, and waste everyone’s time.
“If me or someone in my team can’t join a call because the service isn’t working for them, there’s no point the call going ahead, which means lots of people need to reschedule, expensive people’s time gest wated, and most important of all, a critical question remains unresolved. We’ve had to delay onboarding a big client in the past. Some last-minute minute T&Cs had to get sorted via email, which takes much more time compared to getting everyone together on a video conference.”
For marketing director Nick, not being able to join a video conference could become the virtual equivalent of not turning up at a client’s office for a face-to-face meeting. And conversely, the ability to work around technical glitches and failover quickly to another services – the video conferencing equivalent of keep calm and carry on – could become a competitive advantage. “Business is full of risks” says Nick, “the smart thing is how you manage them so there’s little or no impact on you and your customers. If I worked with a supplier whose video conferencing was persistently unreliable, I’d start to ask what they were doing about it.”
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