By April 24, 2014 Read More →

How to connect with overseas clients

How to connect with overseas clientsEven the smallest home businesses now have customers abroad.

Today’s useful sponsored post from ConferenceCall.co.uk

sums up the free and affordable technology

available to connect with overseas clients.

The last few years have seen consumer and business technologies advance at an unprecedented rate. They have made the world a much smaller place and life that much easier for those of us who work from home. Especially those of us who have to deal with overseas clients on a regular basis.

And while it’s still good to go and visit those overseas clients or colleagues once in a while, it’s reassuring to know there are a range of telephone and video conference tools available. Tools that allow you to keep in touch and even hold face-to-face meetings without ever having to leave your home office.

Some of the best and most cost-effective ways to connect with overseas clients…

Conference call
Although most of us work from a PC, laptop or other mobile device, there’s still a place for the good old-fashioned telephone.

And you no longer need any specialist hardware to set up a conference call as there are a number of providers that offer free conference calling facilities that can be set up from your home phone.

ConferenceCall.co.uk is a free conference call service provider that enables you to set up a telephone conference call to anywhere in the world using a simple dial-in code and personalised PIN.

To set up a conference call:

1. Visit ConferenceCall.co.uk and click on the ‘Invite Participants’ tab to generate an email template.
You enter the time, date and subject of the conference call and enter the personalised PIN that participants need to enter to join the conference.

2. Pick the relevant dial-in codes for the countries you require – calls can be held across various countries – and delete the rest.
If the country you require is not listed there’s an worldwide dial-in number and you can also set up conference calls from a mobile.

3. Hit the button marked ‘Copy this invitation’, paste it into an email, send it to up to 50 participants, and you’re good to go.

Google Hangouts
If video conferencing is more your thing, then Google Hangouts is a cost-effective (it’s free) way to hold face-to-face video chats with up to ten people at a time and have an unlimited amount of people viewing the webchat.

Hangouts can be held on all desktop and laptop computers that have webcams, as well as all Android and Apple devices via smartphone and tablet apps.

The major downside is that in order to use Hangouts, all participants and viewers must have G+ accounts. Once you all have accounts, you can instantly set up a hangout via your G+ account or set a time and date for everyone to be online.

And because this hangs sideways to Gmail and Google Drive, you can easily share and amend documents, including presentations and spreadsheets, while the conversation is in full flow and everyone is online. As good as all being sat around the table.

Cisco webex
This works similar to Google Hangouts in that you can video conference, instant message and share and amend files via computer or mobile app, but is much more geared towards business users. The downside to this is that it also comes with a range of price plans.

It’s free to sign up to the basic package, and this allows up to three people per meeting, one host licence, standard quality video and 250MB of storage.

Ideal if you only have a small team or only need to speak to a couple of people at any one time. In truth though, Google Hangouts would most likely be fit for purpose if this is the case.

At the other end of the scale, for £49 per host, per month, there is the Premium 100 package which allows up to 100 people per meeting, nine host licences, high-definition video and up to 1GB of storage. There are also a number of price plans in-between.

What software or hardware do you use to connect with overseas clients or contacts at home? Let us know…

Posted in: Technology

2 Comments on "How to connect with overseas clients"

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  1. John H says:

    Cisco webex for me. The free account is fully functional, the only limit being the number of users after the initial 2 week trial. The ability to view and also control another persons desktop to help them through problems is a major advantage and has saved me numerous trips up and down the motorway to a client site.

    It also allows you to record a presentation so you can review it and share at a later date if required.

    The conf call number given is then an 02 code so can use my inclusive mobile phone minutes which is a bonus!

    • Thanks, John, it’s always good to hear about people’s experience in actually using the technology. Saving yourself the time, expense and hassle of visiting a client is a real winner.

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