Conference call providers have the technology to support large conference calling sessions with thousands of participants. With that technology, conference call providers offer businesses hassle-free conference calling and collaboration. In turn, businesses can save money on travel costs and increase productivity. They also offer various value-added features that make outsourcing conferencing services a cost-effective solution for businesses.
Our short guide will prepare you to compare conference call providers on cost, integration & collaboration, and ease of use.
The first thing you should figure out before selecting your conference call provider: how much do you want to spend?
There are three factors that will affect your decision:
- How often you want to hold conference calls.
- How long the conference calls will be.
- How many participants you expect per call.
From there, conference call providers have two payment methods.
Pay only for the minutes your use. If you plan to have only a few meetings a month, this is the best option for you.
Most conference call providers charge between 3 and 18 cents per minute. The call-in numbers they provide are usually toll-free, so there are no long distance charges.
Unlimited Monthly Plan:
Unlimited, reservation-less conference calling for a fixed monthly fee. If you have regular team meetings from remote locations, this is the right option for you.
Conference call providers have different unlimited packages to suit different user and participant requirements. We try to list similar plans to give you a basis for comparison.
Integration and Collaboration
The purpose of a conference call is to make collaboration easier. This is the age of 'real-time' interaction and collaboration.
Most conference call providers offer audio, video, and web conferencing. Select the plan based around how you and your company collaborate best or how you need to collaborate.
Video conferencing is your best bet. It is more expensive.
- Training and lectures:
Probably web conferencing. Typically works well with one-way conferencing.
- Split the difference:
Audio conferencing is good middle ground for collaborative meetings and one-way training. Can be the most economical conferencing option.
Ease of use
What use is technology if no one can use it? Conference call providers understand how important time is for businesses. Don't waste 30 minutes trying to start an Earnings Report conference - again.
Conference call providers should offer some of the following services to make your conference call easier:
- Online Tutorial:
Conference call providers usually offer free, public-access tutorials on their website. So you can investigate how their service works before you try.
- Moderator Controls:
The conference moderator can access an online control panel that lists participants. You can mute, expel, or invite people with a click.
- Star Commands:
Conference call providers assign star commands (something like *69 with a traditional phone) for functions like muting, ‘locking’ the conference, or 'raising a hand '.
- 24/7 Support:
Exceptionally important. Pick a conference call provider that will always be there when you need them. You shouldn't have to postpone your meeting because of technical difficulties with the conference call provider's system.
- Operator Assistance:
An operator will facilitate your meeting and make sure everything goes smoothly. The operator schedules the meeting, greets each attendee, handles the Q&A session, and makes your meeting generally worry-free. You may need to pay extra for this service.