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Service Updates

Phone Conference Call Services for Every Need and Budget

Author: Lee Simonson

If you are looking for a high quality phone conference call service that will help you save money and improve communications at the same time, we have several plans available:

Flat / Fixed Rate Conferencing offers you unlimited 24 hour access.  You can talk as along as you want, anytime you want, and you only pay one flat fee per month.  No long term contract and no set up fee.

Pay As You Go Conference Calling is just that -- you only pay for what you use, no more and no less.  We offer both toll free and non-toll free service and are proud to offer some of the lowest rates in the industry.  Reliable and available on demand -- no reservations necessary.

Toll Free Supersaver is perfect for larger users who have a good idea of how many conference minutes they use every month.  You get a discounted rate and the plan is structured like a typical cell phone where you buy a certain number of minutes every month.  Again, no long term contract and you can adjust it every month as your plans change.

Operator Managed Conference Calls provide the highest level of professionalism.  We can call out to your conference participants and place them into the conference for you.  We can also offer you professional Q&A services and other moderator functions to enable you to focus on your message.

Local Meet Me Conference Call Service is brand new!  This new service offers local number access in over 84 United States cities -- perfect for churches, local organizations and other firms that need a conference bridge for local callers.  Give us a call at 877-254-2424 and we'll tell you all about it.  The per-minute rates are also exceptionally low!

 

 

How to Fix Bad or Poor Quality Conference Calls -- Some Common Issues and Remedies

Author: Lee Simonson

 

Looking for some solutions for poor quality conference calls? Here are several easy fixes to remedy bad quality conference calls.
 
1)  The biggest culprit these days involves VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone connections.  If you are using an Internet provider to give you phone service, that could be the problem.  Here's the fix:  Ask your Internet provider to boost your QoS (Quality of Service) setting to allocate additional bandwidth to your phones.  While digital and analog technologies are completely different, the higher the bandwidth setting on your phones, the better they will be able to match the quality of your landlines and cell phone connections.  However, please remember that it will be a long time before VOIP connections will be able to provide you the same quality as an old-fashioned fiber-optic landline connection.  VOIP service is less costly, but with telecommunications, you get what you pay for.
 
2)  Having a hard time getting into the conference because your passcodes aren't accepted?  That usually happens for two reasons.  First, you are inputting your passcode on a speaker phone.  Or again, you are on a low bandwidth VOIP connection.  The conference bridge is unable to detect the slightly different DTMF (tones) that it normally hears from a landline phone.  Increasing your bandwidth and boosting your QoS settings usually resolves the issue.
 
3)  If you are experiencing echoes in your call, makes sure that you eliminate "feedback" by having each caller in a separate room or location.  Another issue could be using a conference speaker phone that "hears" itself from another nearby phone.  99% of the time, echoes or weird noises are not the fault of the conference bridge.  The problem is with the signals the conference bridge is receiving from those who are calling in.
 
4)  Are you hearing static?  It could happen when your lines get physically wet after a rain storm.  Or it could be a loose phone cord somewhere or an issue with a cordless phone.  Believe it or not, there was situation where a squirrel has started chewing through some outside phone lines and caused considerable static.  A call to your phone service provider might be necessary to check your lines.
 
5)  There are times when a conference participant will have a bad cell phone connection.  They could be in a bad reception area, or get cut off if traveling through a deadzone.   A conference bridge will only pass along what it hears, and if there is a bad connection, a moderator can "mute" the call so that it doesn't contaminate the entire conference.  The highest quality can be achieved when all your hosts, or moderators, use landlines and then the conference is placed in "lecture mode."  That will instantly silence all of your participants and any background noise that they are inadvertently passing along to the whole conference.  Your hosts will be able to converse while your participants listen.  Of course, you can toggle out of lecture mode anytime you want to enable everyone in the conference to participate in the discussion. 
 
At 24Conference.com, we continue to strive to provide you the highest quality conference calls available.  We use the latest technology and are constantly upgrading and improving our systems to bring you reliable, steady and dependable service.  If you are having conference quality problems, give us a call at 877-254-2424 and we'll do our best to help you.  You have nothing to lose by trying us out, and maybe you'll discover what a conference call SHOULD sound like.

How to Keep Your Conference Calls Confidential and Secure

Author: Lee Simonson

Here are the top ways we try to help our clients keep their conference calls confidential:

1)  We use long 7-digit passcodes followed by the # sign.  7-digit codes are much harder to hack than traditional 4-6 digit codes.

2)  While you can use the same passcodes over and over again, it's not a bad idea to change them every now and then.  We are happy to give you new codes on request at no charge.  (We provide you a host/moderator passcode, and a separate guest/conferee passcode, and send you reports on the usage of all the passcodes in your account.)

3)  Be careful giving access to your host/moderator passcodes.  If you think there has been a breach of security, just give us a call at Customer Service at 888-239-3969.

4)  The best way to keep a conference call confidential is to not have any passcodes at all.  By using our top-of-the-line operator service, we can call each of your participants directly and put them into the conference.  It is virtually impossible for an outsider to gain access to that private call, because the only people who can enter are the people we call.

Maintaining a confidential and secure environment has more to do with common sense than anything else.  Chances are you know the people you can trust with your passcodes.  Be careful and vigilant with the others.

Audio Conference Services from 24Conference.com

Author: Lee Simonson

Audio conferencing services are becoming a valuable tool in the business and non-profit world because they bring convenience and cost savings to users. Audio conferences are also known as voice or phone conferences. They differ from web or video conferences because they transmit only sound.

 
While audio conference calls can take on many forms, including web-based VOIP (voice of Internet protocol), the vast majority of audio conferences take place over the phone, either with regular analog or cell phones. In fact, many of the conference bridges in use today are having a difficult time accepting incoming calls from VOIP connections because of the different technology used to transmit voice signals.
 
There are several options available to organizations interested in using audio conferencing to save time and money. The first option, of course, is to go and buy your own conference bridge. Unless you are a very large company, this option doesn't have too many advantages. Second, you can buy the service and leave the maintenance headaches to someone else. This is by far, the most popular alternative.
 
Audio conference service providers have a variety of programs available for almost any application or budget. Everything from unlimited flat rate service to the more professional operator assisted calls are services that are offered. 
 
There are pros and cons for each service and you'll have to decide which service works best for you. For example, unlimited flat rate service is extremely cost effective since there are no limits on usage and you can talk as long as you want, anytime you want. However, it is not toll free and participants have to dial a long distance number to access the conference bridge. While that used to be an issue several years ago, nowadays, most organizations have free long distance (or nearly free) and the long distance call is not an issue. While you have unlimited usage with flat or fixed rate conferencing, the downside is that you pay for it during the months you may not use it at all.
 
On the other hand, occasional conference users may prefer the pay-as-you-go conference plans that bill you for minutes used, no more or less. For toll free convenience, you will pay a bit more than you would for non-toll free pay-as-you-go service.
 
Top of the line service is the operator conference call, where professional conference operators either call out to the participants or greet conferees on the phone and place them manually into an audio conference call, introducing each caller to those participants who are already in the conference.
 
There are other forms of audio conferencing as well, including events where there may be several hundred people on the call at once. During those calls, the moderators or leaders of the calls can mute all the participants so only the leaders can be heard. That is called "lecture mode" and is the only feasible way to conduct a conference call of that size because of the noise generated by so many callers.
 
Audio conference plans and services are growing in importance as companies realize how much time and money they can save by avoiding meeting and travel costs. Managers are finding the best alternative in moving a project forward is to just sit at their desk, get on the phone and talk to all the players at the same time.
 
For more information about the various audio conference services, click here: http://www.24conference.com/flatrateteleconference

How Does a Sub-Conference Work?

Author: Lee Simonson

Conducting a "sub-conference" is a little known feature that enables you to have a smaller group meet privately within a larger audio conference.

 
For example, say you have 20 people on your conference call.  And say that 5 of those people are part of a committee that needs to discuss an issue privately, away from the main conference call.  The people on that 5-person committee can press *93 and will be immediately taken out of the main conference and placed in a separate and private conference -- or "sub-conference."
 
There are several things you should know about sub-conferences:
 
1)  If you want to keep your sub-conference private, you'll need to make sure ahead of time that only those who are invited to participate in the sub-conference know about the *93 code they press.  Otherwise, everyone in your conference can press it and get into the private sub-conference.  So make arrangements ahead of time, and when the time comes, you can announce something like, "Will everyone who is part of the special committee, please press the passcode we have previously given you to enter the sub-conference."
 
2)  When sub-conference participants want to exit the sub conference and rejoin the main conference, they just need to press *93 again to be placed back in the main conference.
 
3)  This feature is only available on our larger Spectel conference bridge, so when you order, please make sure you mention this feature so we can provide you the correct bridge.
 
4)  A sub-conference ends when the last participant exits the sub-conference.
 
There is no additional fees or costs associated with having this feature, and if having a sub-conference is something that can help your discussions and collaborative efforts, then by all means, be sure to take advantage of this technology.
 

Free Downloadable Conference Call Recordings Now Available

Author: Lee Simonson

We now offer free downloadable conference call recordings.  With this feature, you can record your conference at will, and then download your recordings and use them anyway you want -- you can post them to your website, forward them to your colleagues, customers or prospects, or just save your recordings to your harddrive for later use, possibly to burn to CDs.

 
Better yet, the service feature is free and comes bundled with the conference plan you choose.  You can get toll free, non-toll free, per minute, pay-as-you-go conferencing, or you can get the unlimited flat rate conferencing plan -- whatever suits your particular needs.  They all come with free downloadable conference recordings.
 
How do you initiate your conference recording?  It's easy.  As soon as you are ready to start recording, you simply press *2 on your phone keypad.  Then follow the prompts.  When you want to stop recording, you just press *2 again, and the system will stop recording.  (Look at it as "toggling" back and forth.)  Then, when you want to access your recording to listen or download, you simply go online to our Digital Podium platform (we'll send you the link) and then put in your host passcode.  Then you just "Click to Download" and you're all set.
 
Conference recordings are becoming more important, especially in the small business and non-profit sectors.  Many consulting and/or educational businesses use recordings on their websites to provide examples of their services and enable prospects to better understand what type of service or product they are considering.  So recordings can be used not only to provide valuable information, but to also generate sales and revenues.
 
Again, this is a free service and comes bundled with the conference plan you choose.  (It is not available on the local access or the pre-paid Supersaver toll free plans.)  If you have any questions, please give us a call at 877-254-2424 and we'll walk you through the process.  When you choose Pay As You Go, or Flat Rate conference services, you can select the feature option on the Sign Up Now order pages.  We're proud to be able to provide you the latest cutting edge conference technology that will help your business or organization suceed.
 

Conference Calling Without Entering Passcodes or PIN Codes

Author: Lee Simonson

 

It's not always necessary to enter a passcode to get into a conference call.  In fact, our Direct Dial service allows you and your participants immediate access to the conference bridge without the need to enter passcodes.  Nothing can be more convenient and your conference guests don't have to remember the codes.  They just dial the number and you're in!
 
Direct Dial conferencing is billed at our everyday-low rates, plus a $30 per month fee to provide you with your own unique dial-in number.  So for example, you can get unlimited usage with our Direct Dial flat rate service for 10 lines for $19 per month.  If you want to include Drect Dial with that, the cost would be an additional $30 per month.  In summary, for $49 per month you can get a conference bridge service that will give you unlimited usage for 10 people with no passwords or passcodes required.
 
Want a toll free number for everyone?  No problem!  Our pay-as-you-go toll free rate is just 7.9 cents per minute, per person, and you can enjoy the same Direct Dial, no passcode required, service anytime 24/7.
 
Give us a call and let us help you design a program that best suits your conferencing needs.  Chances are, we can not only improve the quality of your service, but save you time and money as well.

Conference Call Service Without a Contract

Author: Lee Simonson

 

You don't need a long term contract to obtain conference calling services.  In fact, you can get the best conferencing services on a pay-as-you-go basis, or just month to month.
 
For some strange reason we've never been able to figure out why large corporations in particular prefer to have contracts with their vendors.  They say one reason is to lock in prices and to avoid increases.  Another reason is to hold the vendor's feet to the fire when it comes to service standards.
 
However, there is another whole side to the equation.  Vendors love contracts because it locks out the competition and provides the vendors the ability to forecast revenue.
 
Overall, contracts benefit the vendors much more than they will ever benefit you, the customer.  Fact is, rates usuallly go down during the term of normal contract and customers are locking themselves into higher rates, not lower rates.  And if you have to get an agreement to receive expected levels of service from a vendor, you may want to think about getting a new vendor.  Suppliers who strive for excellence don't have to be held accountable.  Rather, they take pride in exceeding their customers' expectations.  They underpromise and overdeliver.
 
There are government agencies that prefer annual contracts because it is something they can budget for and can pay once.  Our unlimited usage flat rate conferencing plans are an ideal way to achieve that objective without worrying about sporadic conference call usage.  Since there is no timing of conference calls, and users can talk and use the system as much as they like, this is very condusive to an annual contract.
 
However, annual contracts are more the exception than rule.  Yes, they can be easily achieved, but are far from necessary.  If you are looking for a conference service without tying yourself into a long term contract, give us a call, or take a look at each of our services across the top of the page and let us know how we can best accommodate your conferencing needs.  We stand ready to custom make a program that serves your needs and budget.  
 

Conference Service: Telephone Conference Call Service Rates and Plans

Author: Lee Simonson

 

Using a professional telephone conference call service is not only more convenient, but it is far less costly than attempting to install special conferencing hardware and software.
 
Conference service over the telephone, also known as audio teleconferencing, can be easily obtained with a variety of rates and plans, serving a wide range of business and non-profit needs and budgets.
 
When you outsource your conference service, you avoid any set-up, maintenace and overhead costs and, in addition, you are able to begin conferencing immedately.  95% of all conferencing is outsourced in the United States because the service is convenient and inexpensive.
 
There are several conference service plans to choose from.  Here is a quick review and rundown of the most popular conference services.  For more details you can click on the links below, or you can find the various services on the left hand sidebar or top of the page navigation links.
 
Pay Per Use Conference Service:  This is also known as "pay as you go" conferencing, and provides you 24/7 access.  There is no need to make reservations.  Once you get your call-in number and passcodes, you can use it anytime.  Your credit card is charged only after you use the service.  There is no monthly minimum, so if you don't use it, there is no charge.  A perfect conference solution for occasional users.
 
Per Minute Conference Service:  90% of the conferencing in the United States is done on a per-minute basis.  Minutes are calculated by the number of callers times the number of minutes (i.e. 10 callers on the conference for 10 minutes = 100 minutes.)  You are charged after the call and are only billed for the time you use, no more or less.  You have your choice of a toll free dial number, or a regular long distance number (slightly cheaper.)  
 
Supersaver 800 Conference Service: (pre-paid bundled):  This discounted service, with a toll free dial in number, provides discounted rates and is modeled after your cell phone plan.  You pre-pay for a certain number of minutes each month.  This is a very popular service for businesses and organizations that have predictable usage and know how many conference minutes they generally use every month.  There is no long term contract, and this service goes month to month.  So, if you wanted to purchase a large number of discounted minutes one month, and not the next, that can be easily arranged.
 
Operator Conference Call Service:  Full service conference, including professional operators who call out to each of your parties and place them in the conference.  You can also have an operator on the conference itself to manage Question & Answer sessions or coordinate the muting and lecture modes.  This is the preferred choice for legal and deposition conference calls, or investor relation calls or high-profile or important calls where you are looking to provide top level service.  An ideal solution for landing that big contract.
 
Flat/FIxed Rate Conference Service (pre-paid unlimited use):  Fixed Rate conferencing is ideal for heavy users because you get unlimited usage.  You can conference anytime you want, for as long as you want.  Everyone dials a long distance access number (we have a New York City 212 access number and others in the Mid-West) to get into the conference call.
 
Video Conference Service:  As technology advances, costs for video conferencing have come down substantially.  In fact, the expensive conference rooms with large video screens and television cameras are a thing of the past.  The operative words are "desktop conferencing" where you and your participants use small webcams (cost about $25-50) and can view each other in high quality transmissions.  There are some free services like Yahoo and Skype that offer video conferencing for one-on-one exchanges.  However, for larger calls you'll need an outsourced video conference service.  This also gives you features that will share powerpoint presentations, slide shows, documents, and participants can also see your desktop, so they can follow again and see whatever is on your computer screen.
 

Houston Conference Call Service Provider and Number

Author: Lee Simonson

 

Our conference call service provides Houston callers with a local access number: 832-280-0991.  Now your colleagues and clients can call into the conference bridge without the need or expense of dialing a toll free or long distance number.
 
Houston teleconferencers can enjoy the convenience of local access while providing participants a professoinal level of service with the highest quality conference technology on the market today.  You can even tell your Houston associates, prospects or clients that you have "your own" conference bridge -- because, in effect, your account gives you access rights defined by your exclusive passcodes.  So, just like a timeshare, you can have your own Houston conference service.
 
However, unlike a timeshare, there are NO upfront costs or set up fees.  You can get access to the Houston bridge for free, and then, you are only billed for what you use, when you use it.  It is a pay-as-you-go conference service for the very low rate of 5.9 cents per minute, per person -- far less than you would normally pay for phone conferencing.
 
Moreover, there are no long term commitments or contracts or complicated terms of service.  In fact, if you stop using the service, you never hear from us again.  Nothing has ever been more convenient or "customer friendly" and you also have complete access to real customer service representatives -- yes, live people who answer the phone and can help you immediately.
 
Telephone conferencing has become a staple in business and non-profits who are looking to shave meeting and travel costs.  And it's evolving and getting better all the time.  That's why if you are looking for the best Houston phone conferencing service -- a reliable and cheap conferencing solution -- we can help you get started today.
 
You learn more about this service on our Pay as You Go conferencing page here. If you order, just put in the comment box on the order page, "Sign me up for the 832 area code access number."