Friday tip: make conference calls invite great again

Robot phone IIAR websiteA little tip after being on one too many calls which was needlessly hard to join today.

You’ve all been there: you’re on a mobile phone (because you’re busy wrapping the previous call on your laptop) but the number is buried in the invite body. Then it is a US number, like 0808 800 0082, that doesn’t work for anyone not based in the country. And then you need to memorise a 9 digit passcode. Nine digits, what were they thinking about?

The good news is that there’s a fix.

In the location field, just format the dial-in exactly like that: +108088000082,,112233#.

This will allow the lucky recipients of your concall invite to tap on it and join automatically the conference. Incredible, isn’t it?

In the body, add all the local dial-ins (you know, for all the same folks who don’t happen to be in the USA) using the same number. Usually a hyperlink to a PDF with numbers doesn’t work (Gartner, are you listening?) because if you’re on 3G on your smartphone, the internet connection won’t work for data… And cut&paste from PDF with fat fingers sucks.

A little more explanation about the format, which is derived from E.164:

  • the + sign is the international dial-in prefix (you see, because it’s 00 in the civilised world and 011 in the USA)
  • the leading 1 is for USA, use 33 for France, 44 for UK, 91 for India, etc.
  • then follows the number, without the leading zero (we’ll leave Italians alone for now)
  • the commas are pauses, your smartphone will wait before dialling (actually sending DTMF)
  • then follows the code without spaces or dashes (should work with it)
  • and it usually finishes with a hash # but that depends on the the teleconference provider

Voilà. Easy does it?

PS: and it helps to add local times, I always indicate time zones -you can customise this timeanddate URL to avoid goofing up (I do it all the time) between BST, CEST, etc.

PPS: it’s funny to see that Forrester gets this when sending inquiry invites, whilst Gartner still hasn’t figured out how to improve the CX on that front.

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