We are positively obsessive about virtual meetings. We’re always trying to better understand how our customers are using the system, seeking ways to improve the user experience. We’re constantly looking for ways to add features while also making things easier.
Not long ago we introduced an enhancement to Host Dial-Out function. This new feature allows account administrators to create dashboard contact lists so meeting hosts can have quick, reliable access to a list of potential participants, with a minimum of effort.
Setting The Scene
Imagine a human resources committee that meets once a week to conduct interviews. Their meetings run long, typically several hours. Over the course of that time they conduct perhaps a dozen interviews. If this seems familiar it may be because I described it some time ago to illustrate the use of Virtual Users and Host Dial-Out.
One of their staff, acting as a conference moderator, uses the dashboard to coordinate the procession of people to be interviewed. They use a conference breakout room to dial out to the next candidate, joining them to the conference and briefing them about the coming interview, even as the interview of the prior candidate is winding down in the main conference room.
The moderator is making considerable use of many ZipDX features, including; the conference dashboard, breakout rooms, and host dial-out. Even so, they still need to keep track of the contact details for the various candidates. Given a certain amount of fluidity in the interview process, tracking this detail was thought to be burdensome.
An Initial Workflow Solution
At the time this situation came to light we offered a workflow solution that leveraged virtual users and host dial out. The candidates were added to the conference as it was being created, in a fashion that ensured that they were not called automatically, nor would they receive an email invitation.
That approach succeeded in making the live conference much easier to manage, but it did so at the cost of some additional effort to prepare for each conference.
A More Elegant Solution
Thinking beyond the immediately available options, it occurred to us that it would be handy to have access to a predefined list of contacts when using the host Dial-Out function. This would eliminate most of the tedious aspect of adding the candidates to the conference.
This is the sort of new feature that we like. It’s makes tricky things easier, while being broadly applicable to all ZipDX users. So we put our team to work and created what we now call Host Dial-Out Contact Lists.
There are two facets to Host Dial-Out Contact Lists:
Step 1: Creating a Contact List
This example describes entering a contact list directly into the ZipDX web portal. While this is appropriate for short contact lists, you may prefer to assemble the contact details offline in advance.
Contact lists must be created by an account administrator. Thereafter they become available to any other conference organizers listed in the account.
- Click on the Accounts tab
- Click on the Account Name
- Near the top of the page there are area to Manage Organizers and Admins or Contact Lists.
- Click on Contact Lists
- To create a new contact list click on Add a New Contact List or
- To edit and existing contact list click on the list name
- Enter a descriptive title
- Enter the various contact details
The Contact Format
The contacts are entered in a simple comma delimited format (CSV) that can be created in any text editor or spreadsheet.
“The Contact Name”,+1-713-555-1212,”Some notes about the contact”
“Another Contact Name”,SIP:firstname.lastname@example.org,”Some notes about this contact”
When the contact list is complete click on the SAVE button.
Once the list is saved it becomes available to any organizers associated with the account.
Step 2: Using The Contact Lists
During a live conference hosts see a set of Host Controls offered across the top of the conference dashboard. The contact lists are exposed in the Dialout menu.
- Click on Contact Lists to see the list of available contact lists.
- Click on one of the contact lists to see the contacts it contains.
- Click on any of the listed numbers to dial-out to that participant.
Sample Use Cases
Now that you know the mechanics of Host Dial-Out using the Dashboard Contact List, let’s consider how they might be used in some real-world situations.
The most basic thing to do would be to create one or more contact lists that include key staff members. Since you can have multiple contact lists you could break them down by department, region or project. You may also see value in a list containing key contacts of customers or partners.
2. The Interview Series
Harkening back to that hypothetical series of HR interviews, a contact list containing all of the candidates to be interviewed could be created. That would give the moderator one list to access as the day progressed. They would not need to track the contact details for each candidate because they’d already be in the system.
The contact lists don’t need to be saved for all time. They can be considered transient. If the contents are only useful for that one conference or project, a contact list can be modified or deleted at any time.
Contact lists are shared. The names and phone numbers that they contain are accessible to all meeting organizers associated with an account. That’s most convenient, since it makes them a shared resource, but be aware that they’re not private.
Dashboard Contact Lists are just the latest way that we’ve extended the utility of the Host Dial-Out function. How do you make use of ZipDX? Can you think of some new capability that would make your working life easier. We’re interested in making it easier for people to have great conversations.
If you have questions about any aspect of ZipDX please contact our support team at:
- Or, +1-312-348-8175,
- Or, email email@example.com.
We’re here to help you get down to business.