Phone conferences for global companies

In your experience, how smoothly do your phone conferences usually run? Do participants tend to join on time, does the connection normally work, and is the sound quality acceptable for the most part? Many would probably answer no to these questions, but although a lot of phone conferences come with hiccups, they can actually be a very straightforward affair.


Besides helping you cut down on travel expenses and being an efficient way to have meetings, phone conferences are also a climate-friendly way to communicate, since participants can be located anywhere in the world. Staying in touch with other offices within your corporation is made a lot easier, as are client and customer meetings with people in other countries.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at a number of pros and cons of traditional telephone companies, and alternatives to your existing solution – if you have one.

Common problems with phone conferences

To begin with, you’ll often be asked to enter a long code to join a phone conference. Perhaps you’ll get it right on the first try – but in a more likely scenario, you’ll get a digit (or five) wrong. In an international phone conference service, that code can consist of up to 42 numbers, so it’s easy to see how you might get it wrong. Once you’ve connected to the meeting, the conversation is often hindered by lagging, and a growing sense of confusion tends to follow. Sound familiar?

Another common problem is the fact that many simply aren’t aware that the possibility to have a phone conference exists in the first place! So in order to succeed, a fundamental prerequisite is confirming that everyone in the company is aware that you do have access to a phone conference solution. It is also a good idea to make sure that everybody knows how the process works – not just internally, but also any external people who need to join your conferences.

One approach is to make phone conferences available in a service or an app your organisation already use. It increases the chances that your employees will stumble upon the option, even if they weren’t previously aware of it. Besides being easy to discover, the app itself needs to be easy to understand, and allow you to get started straight away.

Are online video conferences not enough?

Having video calls online is a popular and smart way to communicate, especially outside of work. However, there are a few downsides. Firstly, mobile telephone networks are optimised for sound, which is still by far the most stable. You’ve probably been in a number of video meetings where the image kept freezing. Sure, being able to see each other is nice, but when the image keeps lagging, it results in frustration that could’ve been avoided if the conversation had been over the phone instead. Saving time and energy is often crucial in meetings!

It’s also not uncommon for conference participants to be running late. If you’ve scheduled a video call, you need to be in front of your computer in order to join the conference. Simply put, there are limitations compared to having the conference on the phone. That way, everyone can join the meeting, even if they’re not in front of their computer anymore.

5 requirements for a successful phone conference

1. That it actually happens

Essentially, the most important prerequisite for a successful phone conference is that it actually happens! It doesn’t matter what impressive features are technically available if your employees don’t know that the solution exists, or if it’s too complicated to use.

2. That it runs smoothly  

When you’ve finally managed to schedule that last-minute meeting, it all too often happens that participants don’t remember where to call to join, or where the codes to the conference are. At many large corporations, you have to call reception and order a conference code, which can lead to more time spent waiting for the code to arrive. Outdated telephone conference solutions also tend to be unnecessarily elaborate.

3. That it starts on time 

If you use older, traditional phone conference services, you run the risk of having to endure a long wait before the meeting actually starts. Even if you’ve made sure to be on time, someone else might be running late or struggling to connect to the conference.

4. That the sound is good

There can be no phone conference without sound, so making sure it works is vital. As long as it’s just the image that lags a little every now and then, a lot of your communication will still translate, but if you can’t hear what the other participants are saying, trying to understand them will be almost impossible.

5. That the network is stable (if held online)

If you’re not using the telephone network for your phone conference, it’s crucial to make sure your connection is as fast and stable as possible. If, for example, one participant joins you from aboard a train, conditions will not be ideal. Holding the phone conference through the telephone network is a better option, but online meetings can be a good alternative if you’re frequently speaking to countries where phone calls are very expensive, or calling locations where service tends to be poor.

TIP: In order to make sure that your conference will run without any hiccups, using two solutions at the same time can be a good idea. Many customers choose to have a standardised solution for phone conferences and then combine that solution with a service like Hangouts or Skype. That way, you can be sure that the sound will work, even if the image should freeze.

How is a phone conference with Dubai different to one within Sweden?

Whether you’re communicating with a customer in Dubai or one in Eskilstuna, the fundamentals of phone conferences are, of course, the same. But there are some obstacles that you need to overcome when you’re having conversations across national borders.

Time zones

This one is a given – if you’re planning to talk to someone in Shanghai, you need to keep in mind what the local time would be when you suggest a meeting.

Cultural differences

For your conversation to be successful, it is a good idea to look into whether there are any cultural differences to take into consideration. The degree of formality in the other country may differ significantly from your own. For example, find out if using surnames is the norm, or whether using just first names is seen as polite as well. Being mindful of what expressions you use is also important, as humour and slang don’t always translate.

Technical differences

Technical differences between countries become most obvious when the conference is held online. Simply put, the worse the Internet, the bigger the challenges.

You might also run into problems if the person you’re looking to talk to is behind a firewall. Usually, this type of issue occurs more frequently when communicating with larger companies with a more traditional structure. In these companies, employees may be more restricted, and both computers and phones can be blocked from making international calls or accessing certain websites.


Calling each other online is free, but if you want to ensure excellent sound quality, some costs might be involved. Some services offer international numbers at no extra cost, while others do not. Make sure you know what your supplier of choice provides.

Sound quality

Generally, the sound quality in a call to Shanghai won’t be noticeably different from that in one to Stockholm. But when you’re talking to somebody halfway around the world, minor lagging is bound to happen, and can’t be avoided no matter how you choose to make the call.

Keep this in mind when choosing a phone conference solution

Huge improvements have been made when it comes to sound quality in telephony, and the conditions for communicating across country borders is a lot better today. Since all companies are different, the particular features you need may differ, but the following are general points everyone should keep in mind.

Ease of use over flashy features 

The best solution is the simplest solution. Not only does the sound work, but your team members know exactly how to send invites to a conference, or what to do to jump into a call at the last minute. The solution for you is the one that does what you need it to

Personal licences instead of subscriptions

Instead of traditional telephony subscriptions, look for a solution that uses licences and doesn’t tie them to a particular number or a specific person. That leaves you free to move licences around as you need them, rather than having to cancel subscriptions and signing up for new ones as soon as people leave or join the company.

Personal codes

Solve the problem of easily forgotten codes by giving each user a personal code that remains the same, and a number to use when calling in to join a conference – no matter where in the world you are.

Conference locking feature 

A clever feature is the option to lock your conference once all your participants have joined. After everyone has connected to the conference, you can “lock” the meeting and protect it from any unauthorised people trying to join.

Example: what a phone conference can look like

Telavox have developed a platform that combines telephony, PBX, chat features and a phone conference solution. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the phone conference solution.


Every user has their own login, and you manage everything from the app on your computer or phone. You simply enter your conference and invite participants through email or text message. When they’re ready to join the conference, you ask them to call your number and enter your personal code. Once it’s time for you to join as well, you do so by clicking “Join”.

Lock the conference 

If you want to lock the conference once all participants have joined, just de-select the feature “Open for new participants”.

Conference costs 

For company employees making internal calls, the call is free of charge. For participants within Sweden, the cost is the same as a local call to a landline.

For participants joining from abroad, the cost is the same as to any Swedish number from their country of location. For many countries, there are local numbers available for use, which reduce the cost to that of a local call within that country.

To summarise

The phone’s not dead – on the contrary! Although video conferencing and chat features are popular and widely used, there is no denying the fact that the GSM-network still is a more reliable audio source. You receive a more stable signal and a much better overview of whether everyone you’re talking to is still connected throughout the entire conversation.

The cloud-based Telavox solution puts accessibility and user experience first. In addition to making phone conferences, you can chat with your co-workers, make direct calls, and much more. It’s straightforward, easy to use, and puts sound quality before flashy features. Plus, the phone conference solution is completely free of charge. Get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more!

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