For many people, conference calls are a necessary but deeply unpleasant part of life—something akin to getting a cavity filled or sitting in traffic. But what exactly makes them so mind-numbingly bad? We polled our customers on the conferencing frustrations that drove them completely insane (or at least prompted them to switch to Voxeet). Here are their top five:

 

  1. Epic PINs: Shockingly long and always impossible to locate at the exact moment you need them, PINs are the fickle gatekeepers of the conference call kingdom. It’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll accidently mistype one of the very last numbers in the sequence and have to start over.
  2. The talk-and-pause dance: You and someone else on your call start talking at the same time. You both politely stop to let the other person continue. An awkward pause ensues. You somehow both pick the exact same moment to start speaking again. Polite/awkward pause. Simultaneous talking. Pause. And so on until you basically forget what you were going to say.
  3. Mystery callers: Not knowing who’s talking can range from simply annoying (re-introducing yourself every time you speak, repeatedly having to ask, “Who just joined?” and “Is [so-and-so] still on?”) to utterly terrifying (Was that your boss or the client who just asked you to follow up with her after the call?).
  4. Dropping like flies: Oh that time-wasting, frustration-inducing phenomenon known as the dropped call. Someone is chatting away, when suddenly, abruptly, he’s just… gone. But don’t fret! He’ll definitely be back to interrupt as soon as you get your call back on track (although probably not for long).
  5. Really, really bad sound: There seems to be some sort of conspiracy in conferencing to amplify the things you don’t want to hear (side conversations around someone’s desk, ear-splitting feedback) and totally obscure any useful or important information with echo, static and spotty sound.

 

If you haven’t weighed in yet, we want to hear from you. Which of our top five most resonates with you? What else do you find frustrating about traditional conference calls?