Points to Consider Before Choosing a Conferencing Provider
Thanks to technology, making a business conference call is easier than ever. Reservationless conference call services have seen a dramatic increase in popularity. The on-demand, ready conference style system allows individuals to set up conference calls on a moment’s notice. There is no need to contact an operator or make a reservation. Don’t hop on the first conference calling plan just yet. Consider a few items before choosing a conferencing provider.
- Pricing – Some conference call providers offer a per minute pricing plan. Users are charged a per minute amount for toll and toll-free calls for each participant. A per minute plan, often structured as a pay-as-you-go system, can be handy for those who will be using the services irregularly. Typically, the customer’s credit card is charged either at the end of the day or at the end of the billing cycle. The business or company is charged only for minutes they use and call breakdowns make for simple accounting and billing.
Monthly plans and flat rate plans are ideal for those who make a large volume of calls. Some plans allow for unlimited conference calling for a select number of participants. This flat rate is set at a fixed price for all calls. Monthly plans allot the customer a certain number of minutes that can be used during a monthly billing cycle with no extra charges. A flat rate plan tends to come out to a lower cost per minute. It can be applied to a toll or toll-free conferencing plan. The majority of these plans are billed as a monthly recurring fee.
- Toll or Toll-Free – Before an individual sets up a conference line, they should consider who they will be conferencing with. If they intend to include international users, they want to choose a plan that will not cost their participants exorbitant long distance fees. A quality conference call service will offer low rates for outbound calls and international access. They will also want to ensure that they have a choice between toll and toll-free service. With a toll service, participants will be charged by their long distance provider for the duration of the call. An international toll-free service is helpful for international participants. The person calling into the conference line will not have to pay, regardless of where they are located. For international clients or employees, this can be beneficial as most businesses do not want them to incur costs. This is a case where a little forethought can reduce business costs.
- Billing – Certain conferencing companies include hidden fees and unexpected recurring charges. To settle on the best provider, make sure there are no minimum usage charges, wordy contracts, or other hidden fees. Otherwise the billing statement will result in a headache. A contract-free service with a call-by-call breakdown on the billing statement, reduces stress and puts the accounting department at ease.
Another factor to consider is monthly billing versus immediate billing. A pay-as-you-go service tends to be billed immediately. In contrast, a monthly bill is sent at the end of each billing period. Again, call-by-call details can be provided. The credit card used to register will usually be charged automatically. Companies with the most convenient plans, e-mail customers the details of their bill on a monthly basis to reduce paperwork and the hassle of manually paying bills.
- Features – Not all providers are created equal. A top-notch company will allow the customer to make a business conference call, while also having the ability to mute participants, record the call, dial out to participants, and choose custom options for situations like corporate call events.
- Ease of Use – Finally, a conference call system should be user-friendly. Executing conference calls shouldn’t require reservations. It’s best to have the ability to start using the system quickly without having the need for outside equipment or a lengthy set-up process. Customer service and operators that are readily available can handle any issues. Avoid technicians and drawn out set-up processes by choosing a conferencing provider that sends the information immediately and allows calls to be made right away.
By keeping these considerations in mind, businesses can save money and time and boost productivity with the right conference call provider. Always read the fine print and ask questions before agreeing to a plan. A reputable company will be easily accessible and able to provide answers and help the customer develop a plan suited to their needs.