I’ve been writing this week about the top productivity tools that an online service-based business needs to be more streamlined and efficient. I’m teaching you how to let your technology do the hard work, freeing you up to do what only you can do.

Step One: Client Bookings & Applications can be read here.

Step Two: Client Calls

When you set up client calls, you also need a way to record them. Some clients will love live video calls, and others don’t want to be caught dead on camera (at least, at the start of your relationship! After they’ve built up confidence, it’s often a different story).

If you do group coaching or small VIP groups, a platform that allows multiple participants on a video or audio call is a must.

Before you set up your system, familiarize yourself with a few simple basics about successful client calls.

  • Never record a client’s call without permission to do so. Put in writing in your intake form that calls will be recorded unless otherwise requested, and make it a requirement of your intake form that the client checks a radio box to provide consent and acknowledge reading this condition.
  • Always determine your ideal client’s most comfortable and effective learning style before deciding whether to focus on a video-based client call or audio-based.
  • Block off ten to fifteen minutes before and after the call, to prepare and to make notes
  • Make sure you have a drink of water on hand and that you have set it up not to be disturbed (mobile off, if you’re connecting through your laptop and Skype; dog put outside; windows and doors closed; etc.).
  • Never depend on your computer’s internal sound system. Use a noise-cancelling headset and microphone or desk microphone. Check for echo, if you use the latter, and test your equipment and system before the call
  • Send your client an email letting them know essential details such as whether or not you will initiate the call, the correct number to call (if they are calling in), what to expect and an alternate phone number in case your preferred system happens to be down.

Let’s take a look at three common call recording tools.

Skype

Skype | EntreLeverage | April Sullivan | Online Business Manager | Virtual Assistant

Skype can be as simple or as sophisticated a tool as you like. Its greatest advantage is that most of your clients will already be familiar with Skype, and may have their own Skype ID.

Do spell out in advance whether or not this is to be a video call or audio only. (Skype allows both). Tell them explicitly which icon to press for their chosen mode.

Skype | EntreLeverage | April Sullivan | Online Business Manager | Virtual Assistant

With Skype, you can:

  • Use either video or audio-only calls
  • Do group video calls on mobile, tablet or computer
  • Do instant messaging
  • Use Skype’s Screen Share feature

What about recording calls with Skype?

It’s important to realize that Skype doesn’t have native recording built in. Most people use Pamela for Skype recording software in conjunction. If you have any problems with Pamela, there are other options, which you will find in the Skype Help Section.

Some people find using Skype and Pamela daunting but remember you can always use Skype for simple calls that you don’t want to record. Plus, once you have Pamela set up, tested and working, you will find it worth any initial conflicts and learning curves.

Both Pamela and Skype are free—but you can also upgrade to the business versions for more robust features.

Instant Teleseminar

Instant Teleseminar | EntreLeverage | April Sullivan | Online Business Manager | Virtual Assistant

InstantTeleseminar is a pay-as-you-go service with no long-term contracts—though you do have to pay one dollar (to cut down on fraud, they state) for a twenty-one-day trial. You can use it for client calls, group coaching calls or webinars.

With InstantTeleseminar, recording is automatic. You don’t need to set anything up or jump through hoops. Your recordings are available immediately after the call is complete in not one, but two, formats:

  • An .MP3 file
  • A .WAV file (higher quality, but uncompressed)

You have the option of streaming live with InstantTeleseminar, plus the ability for your caller or callers to submit questions to be dealt with when you are ready.

Unlike some providers, InstantTeleseminar also provides bridge lines, which are special phone numbers and PIN codes that your audience or callers dial to access the meeting.

InstantTeleseminar is wonderfully adaptable to different needs. For example, if you teach a class via InstantTeleseminar and want to turn it into an on-demand webinar, you can automate it.

Plans start at $47 per month (up to twenty call participants, 100 webcast participants, and local dial in for the U.S. only). All plans included unlimited recordings.

Biggest benefit? InstantTeleseminar’s simplicity. Before deciding whether or not it’s the client call and recording tool for your, be sure to check out their wonderfully clear and enlightening video tour.

Zoom

Our third option is Zoom, which is my favorite. It’s also rapidly becoming a favorite tool in the online coaching world. This video and web conferencing service allows for cross-platform messaging, file sharing, and video, voice and screen sharing. It even allows you to “take over” another screen remotely. This really came in handy one day when my client was having a hard time adding me as an admin to her Facebook group. Since we were already screen sharing, I was able to “take over” and show her the exact steps.

One of its biggest draws is its high-quality HD video. One of its drawbacks is that not all clients can make it work on their computers, so make sure you provide instructions for those who need to upgrade their browsers.

One thing you do need to be aware of: Zoom automatically starts up with your webcam, and your participants’ webcams enabled unless you remember to start the meeting without video. Do your clients a favor, and warn them about this so they can at least paste a sticky-note over their webcams, if desired.

Other benefits that regular users cite: Call stability and easy login interface for users.

Features include:

  • Integrated scheduling with calendar and email software (including Acuity)
  • Recording
  • Screen share
  • Either one-on-one or larger group video conferencing
  • Audio calls

In addition, with Zoom, you can embed rich media such as images or video right into your presentation; cue a PowerPoint presentation or slideshow and use annotations.

Best of all, this high-quality video conferencing tool does offer a robust free account—with the limitation of a forty-minute max on meetings. (If you want more than that, you will have to upgrade to their Pro Plan at $14.99 USD per month, or to their Business Plan at $19.99 USD.

No matter what particular call recording or webinar software you decided to use, do make sure it has these basic features:

  • Call muting
  • Q&A input chat box
  • Pre-event question submission

(You’ll find that many of the free call recording options lack these features, or saddle participants with telephone long distance costs, so be sure to check out any platform you are considering thoroughly, to make sure it has the features you—and your clients—need and want.

Step Three: Project & File Management

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