Choosing the right webcast vendor is never easy. Apart from a few larger providers, there are hundreds of companies offering webcasting services, most of them being small startup companies. Every year, many vendors get into the industry while experienced webcast providers are launching new capabilities and features at a rapid rate. Often, webcast vendors try to dazzle potential clients with industry jargon and new features. Buyers need to take control of the conversation and ask questions having the greatest impact on ensuring a successful event. Below is a look at the questions to ask webcast vendors before buying their services.
A notable question to ask is how many webcasts the vendor produces in a month. A vendor may be doing a large volume of webcasts and webinars with few staff, or is mainly in the conference calling business. This means that such a vendor cannot devote enough time and attention to a client’s webinars and webcast audience. The lower the staff to webinars ratio, and the lesser the number of simultaneous events a vendor is producing, the higher the chances of offering quality services. A client will be more confident that his/her webcast is in the capable hands of webinar production professionals who are ensuring that each detail is being attended to carefully. In addition, for those looking for marketing support, best practices and extra assistance they should ensure that their webcast provider offers these services.
Another question to ask is what the webcast pricing is inclusive of. One should not get caught off guard by hidden fees. Also, a buyer should not assume that per-minute pricing is inclusive of all the services that a client will require to build the webcasts he or she wants. It is important for the buyer to ensure that he/she knows the price to pay for each service upfront before buying.
It is important to ask about the vendor’s track record. There is a quite a number of problems likely to occur during a webcast, including issues of the network, encoding or software. Webcast vendors should have built-in procedures and systems that they can easily execute in order to mitigate risks. When a client works with such vendors, he or she will know it. Vendors who are obsessed with quality usually maintain performance records that they are willing to share.
A buyer should always ask what the vendor’s resiliency plan is. As mentioned earlier, there are many likely areas of technical failure in a webcast delivery. One should ask the vendor to explain the resiliency and backup plan in a layman’s language. Also, a buyer should ask if the vendor’s failover system, which comes into play when a problem occurs, is manual or automatic. It is worth bearing in mind that a manual system takes longer to come into play, and that in a live webcast every second counts.
A buyer should understand how he or she will be supported before, in the course of, and after the webcast is done. One should find out if support is through telephone or email, and the hours when assistance will be available. When delivering a live webcast, having immediate access to the support team is essential.