Choosing the best conference call service is an important step in assuring your business and organizational communications are reliable and cost effective. Because teleconferencing has become an important office stable, there are several questions you should ask when it comes to researching, analyzing and selecting your conference provider. Here is a check list of questions you should be asking potential vendors as you narrow down your search.
Here are the Top 10 criteria you need to ask when deciding which phone conference call service is best for you:
1) Does a live person answer the phone when you call the business?
2) Does the business offer live on-demand customer service?
3) Does it include customer testimonials on its website?
4) Does the conference service provide both toll-free and non-toll-free options?
5) Does it provide pay-as-you-go plans in addition to fixed/flat-rate services?
6) Does it provide live operators to help manage the conferences for important meetings?
7) Does it offer free recording capabilities?
8) Does it include high security with a 7-digit passcode?
9) Does the company offer a video conferencing option?
10) Does the company ask you to share your private contact list, such as your Facebook account information or LinkedIn contacts? (If the answer is yes, then run!)
Some of these questions may not be relevant to you. You can decide how much weight you give each question.
And if you are casual conference user, you can even consider the idea of using a free conferencing service. But beware, some phone carriers block calls to those free services or charge extra fees when you use them. For example, T-Mobile charges a penny per minute for participants who call into a free conference calling service, which means the service isn’t actually “free” at all. Therefore, if you are a business or a nonprofit organization, you’re much better off with a reliable service that allows all callers to get through without being blocked.
Here at 24Conference, we make no bones about it — we believe we’re the best conference service out there. The following will explain why:
Why 24Conference is a Stand-Out Provider
With a 20-year track record providing conferencing services to corporations, businesses, professional offices, non-profits, and even families, 24Conference offers a wide range of teleconference services to those who want to use audio phone conferencing technology to collaborate and share information with others.
Most of the time, you can save substantial resources by outsourcing your conferencing. Generally speaking, it is less expensive to outsource teleconferencing services than it would be to install your own conference bridge hardware, software, and phone lines.
Unless you are an extremely heavy user with in-house staff to maintain a system of your own design, it is much more prudent to outsource. Even in-house systems have become less popular as organizations opt to direct their budgets to core business priorities. This allows them to spend their time and money on the aspects of their business that matter most.
Choosing a Conference Call Plan
Each paid service has its advantages. Regardless of which plan you choose, note that with us, you don’t need a reservation to host a conference and your lines can be accessed 24/7. You get to enjoy an unlimited number of conferences and corresponding dial-in passcodes; you can even host more than one conference at once!
On the right side of this webpage, you’ll see a number of different teleconferencing service options that you can choose from. We have everything from pay-as-you-go to unlimited flat/fixed-rate plans. We also offer top-of-the-line operator-managed conference calls and legal conference call services.
Per-minute costs and rates for conference calls can vary widely depending on what sort of conference call service you currently have. Below are a few of the options you have to choose from. When picking one of our plans, it’s important to think about what your organization’s unique needs are, and we’re happy to help you navigate your options!
Unlimited Usage with Flat-Fixed Monthly Rate
One of the most popular services is unlimited conferencing at a fixed monthly rate. This low-cost option is offered on a month-to-month basis with no long-term contract, and with it, you can talk whenever you want for as long as you want. Because the price is fixed, you’re practically unlimited!
So, what’s the catch? It’s important to note that with a fixed-rate plan, you’re still charged a monthly flat fee even if you don’t use it. However, if your company has a great need for conferencing, this service can save you a small fortune compared to other plans!
Another difference between this plan and other options is that it does not offer a toll-free number to participants; rather, they dial a regular long-distance number to access the conference bridge.
Yet, considering that most people and businesses have long distance costs bundled with their local services (or make calls via cell phones, which include free long distance calls to begin with), you can see why many organizations, businesses, and nonprofit groups have substantially cut their conferencing expenses simply by converting to a fixed-rate service.
Pay-As-You-Go Conference Call
Otherwise known as “pay-per-use teleconferencing,” a pay-as-you-go phone conference calling service is one of the most popular plans used by businesses and nonprofits for communication and collaboration! This service is simple, straightforward, and can be less expensive for businesses with fewer conferencing needs.
With this plan, you only pay for the conferencing services you actually use, and you only pay for them after you’ve already used them. You can calculate an estimate of your costs by multiplying your per-minute rate by the total number of conference minutes you think you’ll be using (for example: 10 people tuning in to a conference call for 10 minutes equals 100 total “conference minutes”).
Pay-as-you-go rates vary depending on which service you use, and using a toll-free number will cost more than using a non-toll-free number.
Still not sure if pay-as-you-go is the right plan for you? Consider these reasons why pay-per-use conferencing may be just right for your needs:
1) There are no setup fees.
2) You can host your first conference call on the same day you set up the service.
3) There are no monthly minimums.
4) Because there are no long-term contracts, you won’t be penalized should you decide at any time to opt out of the service.
5) You are only billed for the time that you use when you use it!
6) You are only billed after your call.
7) You have a choice between toll-free and non-toll-free access, and we’re happy to chat with you about the difference and get you set up with the option that makes the most sense for you.
8) You get free features and options such as music-on-hold and auto hang up.
9) You don’t need to make a reservation to get service: you can use your service on-demand, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
10) You don’t need to purchase any hardware or software.
If reliability is important to your organization, a pay-per-use phone conferencing plan is absolutely worth considering. There are many other plans and formats available to you, but you truly can’t go wrong with this one — pay-per-use programs are a staple in the communication services of both big and small companies alike. The value of this program is unsurpassed!
Conference Calling with Local Number
The most inexpensive service is called Local Access (aka Local Meet Me). This service enables participants to dial a local number if located in major cities. So, if you are in the New York City area, you’ll dial a New York City phone number to tune in to the call, whereas your colleagues in Chicago or Los Angeles will dial a phone number for their respective cities. Regardless of where you each dial-in from, you’ll all still end up speaking on the same conference bridge.
Even those who don’t live in major cities can still enjoy the low-cost option of Local Access conferencing. If you are a professional organization, we highly recommend choosing the most reliable, safest option: a paid conference service with a variety of conferencing plans to choose from!
Operator Managed Conference Call
The most professional service is, of course, the operator-managed conference call service. This is a wonderful option for important calls when you need the expertise of a professionally-trained operator to call each of your participants and hand-place them into the conference bridge.
Corporations opt for this service all the time, especially for calls regarding critical or delicate topics such as investor-relation calls, calls to the media, or company-wide crisis updates.
Regardless of why you’d like an operator to assist your conference call, rest assured that our operators are well-trained and equipped to manage your call for you.
We also offer an international overseas conference call service, legal conference call service, web and video call services, and a 365 Lync service, as well.
With 24Conference, there’s a plan for every budget and purpose. If you’re still having trouble deciding, give us a call at 877-254-2424 or send us a message and we’ll get you set up with the most cost-effective plan to meet your particular needs. We look forward to working with you!