I grew up on a farm in Western Colorado. Like my brothers, and sisters, I went away to college and never moved back home. (Farming is really hard work, in case you didn't know.) Now we're scattered all over the country and world (one brother lives in Germany). We all keep in touch, though, mostly by e-mail. Sometimes we have e-mail conversations that last for weeks on a particularly hot topic such as should my dad shell out the money for a new hay baler to replace the old one that keeps breaking down.
Three years ago, we had a health-related crisis in my family that lasted for several months. Everything is fine now, but at the time, we had a lot of issues to discuss, decisions to make, and emotional support to provide. E-mail was indispensable for this, but there were times when we all just needed to be able to talk together.
My wife suggested using ReadyTalk's Audio Conferencing. After all, Dan King, ReadyTalk's CEO, is a good friend of mine and since my wife and I are ReadyTalk investors, he had set up a guest account for us several months earlier and urged us to try it out.
Still, I didn't feel right about using our ReadyTalk account for personal business like this. So I sent an e-mail to Dan explaining our family situation. He said feel free to use ReadyTalk, including the web conferencing if we wanted. After a couple of family conference calls, I asked him again, just to make sure. This was his actual reply:
"Hearing that our conferencing service is useful for getting your family together periodically is great. Regarding your request to use ReadyTalk for family conference calls: QUIT ASKING ME IF IT'S ALL RIGHT TO USE READYTALK. YOU'RE AN INVESTOR IN OUR BUSINESS FOR GOODNESS SAKE. I WANT YOU TO USE THE BLOODY SERVICE. There I feel better."
I've never asked permission since.
Now, even though things are back to normal, my family still does a monthly conference call. We've started recording the calls so those who can't participate in a call can listen to it later, if they want. The audio conferencing is easy to use, we've never had any technical problems, and the sound quality is excellent, even for my brother in Germany. The only problem is we're not always all that interesting.
My point here is that you don't have to be a business to benefit from audio conferencing. You can use it to stay in touch with friends and family, crisis or no crisis. And now that audio conferencing services are mainstream, it probably doesn't cost as much as you think.
My other point is that it's no accident that ReadyTalk takes care of their people and their customers. It all comes from the top.
[tags]Customer Service, Audio Conferencing[/tags]