Wasted conference calls cost British business £26 billion

Tue, February 6th, 2018

Conference calls are generally viewed as a useful telecoms tool

Conference calls are generally viewed as a useful telecoms tool for doing business, however, the time staff are wasting on these calls is leaching more than £26 billion from UK companies and business systems annually.

Research conducted by a firm that specialises in remote meetings and business systems looked at conference call behaviour and practices by surveying hundreds of professionals . The research aimed to achieve an understanding of how comfortable people are with business systems for conducting conference calls, the benefits seen from using this type of telecoms system for communication, and the attitudes of professional business people towards participating in conference calls.

This study revealed a number of key findings. A significant result was that conference call participants on average waste at least 15 minutes on each call just to get started, or being distracted as the call progresses. This wasted time is very costly, representing more than £26 billion annually. This cost is not diminishing either and it has actually increased by nearly 50 percent since 2015, when the value of time wasted during conference calls was £14 billion.

Despite many advances in telecoms and technology, most participants in conference calls still use the traditional dial-in method to access calls, even if they have other forms of technology available, such as video or web conferencing facilities. At least 60 percent of business people, and nearly 70 percent in big corporations, still rely on dialling in to take part in conference calls.

Another finding was that many business people have yet to happily adopt video conferencing. Just over 10 percent of call participants feel the same level of comfort using video technology as they do just using audio systems. It was deemed too complex by the vast number of respondents. Only around half of those surveyed felt that video conferencing technology was a useful tool in daily business communications.

It appears that conference calls could also represent a major compromise in corporate security. Although 70 percent of those surveyed reported that sensitive and confidential information was often discussed during conference calls, more than 50 percent of respondents said that they did not always know exactly who was listening in, or who was supposed to be taking part.

While there are all kinds of call handling systems available for conference calls, many business people do not have the inclination or the time to learn how to use these call handling systems. During calls with clients or partners, they tend to stick to methods they know, rather than risk making mistakes with new types of call handling systems.

Even though dial-in conference calls may be more familiar, the results they yield are not the best available and have a negative impact on productivity and cost businesses billions in wasted time. Smart businesses should consider upgrading to new systems for handling conference calls that offer a better user experience that is straightforward to use and easy to operate.

Nearly two-thirds of conference calls still take place on fixed business landlines, with around 20 percent using their mobile phones. It is expected that in the future, the use of business landlines will decrease as more mobile telephony is used.

For more information contact Alex Phillips at alex@prstelecom.co.uk or on 07948 237 655

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