In this highly wired world, about 90% of my vendor briefings take place over the phone via a web conferencing mechanism (e.g., Adobe Connect, Microsoft LiveMeeting, Cisco WebEx). These save time and are quite effective.
However, familiarity breeds contempt. Unlike a person-to-person meeting, where everyone makes sure they know where to turn up and whom to ask for, sometimes a vendor doesn't doublecheck things and sends me to a non-existent web conference or gives me a dial-in number that doesn't work. It doesn't happen a lot--maybe once a month--but when it does, it's scramble time, and the communications channels light up. I get urgent e-mails from analyst relations folks, other Burton Group analysts on the call send messages via IM ("Does the PIN number work for you? Did they cancel the briefing?"), and PR people call my cellphone assuring me, "We'll be ready to go in a moment."
I vacillate between being aggravated and being amused--I often have briefings booked back-to-back and can't afford delays. Vendors often figure they have an hour to talk--so if it takes them 15 minutes to straighten things out, they now assume they deserve an hour and fifteen minutes. Not necessarily so.
At the same time, it's kind of amusing to watch how long it takes vendors to figure out that the analysts aren't turning up for their briefing because they can't. I had a briefing yesterday that started off with a bad PIN number and a bad Adobe Connect URL. When I got to the meeting, the splash screen stated something along the lines of, "This meeting is blocked. Press the button below to request admittance." I did, and got a message about 10 seconds later saying, "Your request to join the meeting has been denied." Based on the later cellphone call I received, it took the analyst relations person about three minutes to realize, "Oops, I should have let him in."
This seems to be an equal opportunity error. Large companies make this mistake, as do small ones. So a word to the wise--if you're a vendor about to brief an analyst, doublecheck your dial-in info before you send it out and give the analyst a number to call in case of a problem. You want to be remembered for your product, not for the fact that you can't set up a web conference.