Are you taking a "one size fits all" approach to your conference call plan? As with many technologies
and services, conference call options are plentiful with each option serving a particular need. However, you may
be paying for options that you don't need or missing out on those that would serve you and your callers well. By
carefully analyzing your needs and identifying the carriers that offer conference call options that meet those
needs, you'll be much happier with your service - and you may even save money!
Analyzing Your Current Conference Call Usage
Before you can make an informed decision, it's important to understand how you currently use conference calls as
well as how you intend on using them in the near future. For example, do you hold weekly calls? Do you make international
calls? How many minutes per month do you currently use? How much money do you spend each month? Examine your calling
patterns and costs by looking at the last few bills. If you anticipate increasing your usage, try to come up with
a realistic projection and factor that in when shopping for service.
Researching Conference Call Options
Before you start shopping for a competitive rate based on your usage estimates, research today's conference calling
options. Your current carrier may not offer all of the possible options, so look at the offerings of several conference
calling services to get an idea about what options are available. For example, if you are using a no-frills service,
you may not know that some services offer call recordings and MP3 files of your calls.
As you learn about the conference call options available, write down the ones that are important to you. For example,
do you want to be able to make a conference call at your convenience? If so, a "no reservations" feature
would be important. If you only host conference calls once every few months, you may want a pay as you go plan.
If your callers live in countries around the globe, you'll want a plan that serves participants internationally.
Matching a Conference Call Service's Features with Your Needs
Once you understand the features that are available along with how you intend to use the conference call service,
start comparing service providers and plans. Use your list of must-have conference call options and create a grid.
List the options in the order of highest priority. Along the top, list the top five conference calling services
that you are considering and go through the list of options one by one. Place a checkmark for each option offered
by the provider. At the bottom of the column, write down the provider's monthly fee for the services offered. Write
down anything else that may affect your decision below the estimate such as "$50 monthly minimum" or
"no monthly fees, free MP3 session recordings, attendance reporting, international toll free access numbers,
online leader control panel, etc."
Once you've done this for each provider, you'll be able to compare conference call services based on the features
that you need the most and the total estimated monthly cost.
While it seems like the obvious choice should be the plan with the lowest cost and the most features (and it may
be), you should participate in a live call demonstration to be sure that the conference call service is easy to
use and that the call quality is good.
It doesn't take long to analyze your current usage, learn about available conference call options, and compare
service providers. Take the time to do these steps and you're sure to find the right conference calling service
plan for your needs.
With a huge selection of conference
call carriers and plans, there's no reason why you should settle for a conference calling plan that doesn't
work for you. Learn about different conference call options and choose a plan that offers the options and value
that you really need.
AIT offers several notable conference call options and plans including toll free conference calls, international conference calls, flat rate unlimited conference calling plans, toll free "buckets" of minutes, MP3
call recording, pay as you go plans, and superior call quality.