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June 24, 2013

Poor conference call facilities leave companies at risk of miscommunication

Companies put themselves at risk by not giving staff the right communication tools to do their jobs properly, a study by video conferencing service provider, UCi2i, has found.

By Duncan Macrae

The claim, based on a poll of 1,000 office employees in the UK, highlights the common problems faced with traditional audio conferencing, including service faults and poor quality.

UCi2i discovered that as many as 80% of employees have experienced miscommunication via audio conferencing in the past three months, with other uncomfortable situations currently facing staff including awkward silences (80%) and the potentially disastrous misuse of the mute function (55%).

"Rather than improve efficiencies, these results show that traditional audio-based conferencing is actually not only an outdated form of communication, but also an insufficient one. It could easily restrict your business and staff from being its most profitable and productive.

"Not only do 80% of employees experience miscommunications, but 70% actually fear these services not working at all, with a third of employees preferring to be able to see the person they’re speaking to," said Michael Grant, MD of UCi2i.

UCi2i believes these problems – with exceptions of technical faults – are down to the lack of face-to-face communications. "The majority of our communications are non-verbal and the ability to gauge people’s reactions, buy-in and keep eye contact is essential for any business relationship," added Grant.

Certainly not helping employees’ apprehensions of these services are the common delays in sound and call quality, cited again by 80% of respondents as being an issue over the last three months.

The ability to counteract these issues with more sophisticated communications technologies which enable staff to speak to whomever they want, whenever they need to, and wherever they are, through video conferencing, is rapidly gaining traction.

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"At UCi2i, we’ve seen a 357% increase in customer usage in just the last year. Why waste money on two-dimensional talking, when you can invest in three-dimensional collaboration?" said Grant.

The survey, conducted in June 2013 by Censuswide, shows an increasing desire among office works for more face-to-face communications.

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