Choosing the right conference call service is very important. While there are many conference call options available, it is important to know what provider will best meet the needs of you and your business. There are usually several options available with conference calling that you may not need, so you will want to avoid paying for unnecessary features. Alternately, there may be some features that are missing that would serve you and your callers better.
When you sit down and analyze your needs and figure out what carriers offer conference calling options that meet those needs, you will be more satisfied with the service while most likely saving money. You never need to settle for a plan that doesn’t work to meet your specific requirements.
Figure Out Your Conference Call Usage
Before delving into a search on conference calling features, it is always important to understand the budget for making such calls first. You will need to make a rough estimate on what you think you will be spending based on the number and length of conference calls you will be making.
In order to make an informed decision, it is very important to figure out the way that you currently use conference calls along with how you will intend to use them in the near future. Will business needs change or increase? If so, you might need a plan with more features when it comes to conference calls.
Here are some good questions to ask when deciding on a conference call service:
• Do you make calls on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis?
• Do you ever make calls internationally?
• How many minutes per month do you use every month?
• How much money do you currently spend on calls each month?
You should look at your calling patterns and as well as calling costs. You can do so just by referring to the last few phone bills. If you know that you will be making more calls, then factor that into the cost. By doing so, you are better equipped to create a realistic projection of what sort of plan to go with.
Research Conference Call Options and Features
Before beginning your search for a competitive rate, be sure to do your research on the conference calling options that are available today. It is likely that your current carrier may not offer the options that you need. If this is the case, seek out the several conference calling services are offering in order to understand what options are available.
A good example would be if you need a service without lots of bells and whistles, you might not know that there are some services that offer call recordings and MP3 files of calls.
Once you know about the conference call options that are available, you should write down the ones that are important to you. In light of doing research and writing the best options down, here are a few questions that may help you organize your thoughts on conference calling.
• Will you need to be able to make conference calls at your convenience? If this is the case then a "no restrictions" feature would be important to go with.
• Will you only host conference calls once every few months? If this is the case, then you may want a plan with a “pay as you go” structure so you are not paying for what you are not using.
• Do most of your callers live in other countries? You will want to seek out a plan that will cater to participants internationally to avoid high phone bills.
Match the Features with Your Calling Needs
With some research and planning, you will be better able to understand the options that are available. You can then compare these options with the features that you actually plan to use the conference call service for.
Once you have arrived at the phase of comparing different service providers and plans, you can make use your list of conference call options that you need and then create a grid. You should list the options according to their priority. List your top five conference call services at the top of the page and go through the list of options that each one offers. Then, checkmark each feature offered by the provider that you wish to use. On the bottom of each column, write down the monthly fee for the services offered by each provider. You should also list anything other things that might affect your selection below the estimates. You might need a certain minimum coverage amount, free features, no monthly fees, etc.
Once you have gone through the pros and cons for each provider, you will be better able to compare the conference call services on the basis of the features you require most while factoring in the monthly cost.
The plan that has the lowest cost with the most features may not always be the best option if you require specific needs. In order to be sure that you are gaining everything you need from a provider, you can take part in a live call demonstration so that you can be sure that the conference call service is use friendly while having good call quality.
Keep in mind that larger phone companies will offer reliable services specifically for companies. While smaller companies can offer more flexibility and often lower monthly rates. You will have to factor in cost vs. quality along with the differing features offered by each provider. Just be wary of contracts and make sure that you understand everything that involved – including cancellation fees – before signing on.
It will not take you very long to figure out your current usage, investigate the available conference call features, or to compare the various service providers. Remember to take your time comparing the different features and benefits of the conference call service providers, using the steps mentioned above, and you will be able to choose the right conference calling service plan that meets your needs.