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, maintenance and overhead costs and, in addition, you are able to begin conferencing immediately. 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.)
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 to get into the conference call. But don’t worry, cell phones have free long distance and most business and residential services have free long distance bundled with their local plans.
Desktop Conferencing: 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 or already built into your laptop or monitor) 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.