21 Tips and Ways to Choose Best Conference Call Services
Communication is the key for any business. This is the reason it is important for an organization to setup a reliable form of communication, within and outside of it. As a result, many service providers have come up that promise to offer stable and reliable conference calling systems. However, before you choose one for your business, it is important to consider your requirements first and be realistic about your expectations.
Here are 21 important tips to pick best conference call services as per your budget and needs.
1. Size of business: The most important aspect of choosing any service provider is recognizing your business needs first. A small business owner who carries one-to-one interaction with its stakeholder may not require an elaborate system. However, an organization that requires large number of participants would need a professional setup. Many service providers will allow you to add as many as 200 participants to the call. You may be allowed to add more for a certain fee.
2. Type of participants: for a business owner, it is important to consider the skill sets of his participants before enlisting a service. In any case, the conference services should be easy to use for your participants and they should be able to join/exit with ease.
3. Customer care support: Your service provider should have a robust support system in place, given the 24/7 nature of businesses today. You should be able to connect with customer care support in case of any problems during or before/after the call.
4. Reputation: Never work with a company that does not have a proven track record. Their inefficiency can cost you your business. It is not worth risking it. This is why it is important to carry out a comprehensive due-diligence before taking things further.
5. Check their background: ask for list of previous customers and validate their claims of being the best in business. Don't just believe in their promises of good service, perform your own checks.
6. Ask for referrals: if you are not sure which companies to contact for reliable services, ask your business partners and colleagues for recommendation. That could be a good starting point.
7. Joining procedure: You must understand how your participants will join the call. Will they have a local number to dial in, a web conferencing setup or VoIP. Some services have local and international numbers, based on their customers' requirements. If your customers come from a certain geographical location, then it is best to ask for local numbers to avoid long distance charge.
8. Toll-free Numbers: If you operate outside your country more, then it is important to check if the conferencing service has a provision for toll free numbers. This way your participants will not be required to pay expensive call charges. Some providers may offer toll-free numbers to their clients for free. This is why it is important to check beforehand.
9. Moderator Control: Access to moderator panel gives you greater control over the call. Sometimes it is available for a small fee. The ability to control the call experience can make a huge difference to your business and its success.
10. Tools available: Businesses today have global presence. If you have a team that is located in different parts of the world, then you need a system that can do the backend work for you automatically. Setting up meeting instructions with reminder emails based on local time zone can be a very important tool. Check what tools you have available in your package that can enhance your conference experience.
11. Call recordings: Most services will give you the ability to record the conference call and also create backup files for your records. This feature is often made available upon request. So if your business requires call recordings, it will be a good idea to check.
12. Call Quality: what good is a conference service that does not offer crystal clear sound quality? This is why you need to ensure that your dirt cheap service provider is not skimping off on quality systems to give you discounted services.
13. Budget: It is important to have realistic expectations from your service provider. While many companies offer great packages for starters, but as your business grows you will need to pay more to match the scale. Having a reliable service provider backing your communication system doesn't come cheap. At the same time, you must know what you can afford so that you can look for services in that bracket.
14. Package costs: Additional costs can quickly add up and bump up your monthly bills to great levels. Your service provider should be able to justify each and every cost they have billed to you and the pricing must be transparent, without any scope for hidden charges.
15. Customization: If you need specialized greetings or calendar invites, then you need to check with your service provider if they provide these additional features. These things may appear small but can make a huge difference to the quality of your business.
16. Flexibility: Your business will not stay the same forever. The plan offered by your service provider should be flexible to accommodate changes along the way.
17. Easy setup: The best services are the ones that require no additional equipment. Conferencing services these days can make do with your existing phone lines, mobile device or computer systems. These services can be setup quickly and require no extra skill sets to operate the systems.
18. Additional Features: The features provided by your conferencing service can have a huge impact on your call quality and the way people view your business. Common features such as instant messaging, scheduling tools, file sharing, polling options etc. can be vital to your business. Check if they are provided and can be included in your package for a reasonable price.
19. Free Trial: before you sign the dotted line, your service provider should have no problems in offering you a free trial. Once you have narrowed your choices, it becomes easier to pick the one that meets your needs completely.
20. Add-ons: Does your service provider also offer web-conferencing? If so, check if they have add-on services that can make your calls more effective to their clients.
21. Contract Details: before you sign a long term contract, always read the details and the fine print carefully. Check all the terms and conditions, fees and applicable charges etc. Only sign if you are fully convinced by what is being offered.