Keeping In Touch With A Conference Call
According to a freedom of information act response obtained by Sky News, MOD personnel call Directory Enquiries some 186 times per day, resulting in a total cost of £277,000 in the period since the last election. DWP staff also make use of the enquiries service, albeit with a more modest 97,265 calls made within the same period compared with the MOD total of 158,640.
Responding to the figures a MOD spokesman confirmed that the number of calls to enquiry services had fallen by 75% over the last four years. He went on to say that the department was working hard to further reduce the use of expensive directory enquiry services.
The MOD spokesman explained that “Calls to Directory Enquiries from the majority of the 260,000 MoD fixed phone lines are banned but some staff working in isolated locations, who do not have access to a military phone network or internet, are able to call Directory Enquiries to obtain contact details.” This can be a dilemma which faces organisations other than government departments. Whilst the use of telephones may be strictly controlled within the office, it is not always a simple matter to place such strictures on those working from outlying offices or from home or mobile. When time is of the essence it is human nature to use the simplest route to resolve a dilemma, even if that comes at a cost.
Take conference calls for example. When businesses are spread across the country, or even the globe, conference calls can be a valuable way of keeping in touch. But whilst some businesses virtually live out their lives in conference calling, others still reject the conference call as a valuable tool of modern business. Perhaps that is down to a perception of cost, perhaps to a memory of the dim and distant past when conference calls involved time and hassle as one group huddled around a microphone whilst a tinny and indistinct voice issued from the speakers. Whatever the reason, conference calls have grown up and nowadays can be a cost effective and efficient way of meeting and of disseminating information.
Whilst public access conference calls are perfect for up to 50 people within the UK, more fragmented organisations prefer to use private access calls which can accommodate up to 500 people including those calling from overseas. Calls can be recorded and the call leader can switch participants between listeners and speakers as required.
The conference call may not stop isolated individuals from resorting to directory enquiries from time to time but it can speed up development, keep people in touch and smooth the pathways of business.