If you have a business with branches located in different regions, you might be looking for an affordable and effective solution for everyone to collaborate. Getting everyone in one room to discuss new ideas and convey your company’s new plans can be quite a task when your branches are located in different cities, states, and countries. Conference calls are an affordable solution to this problem. All of your employees can collaborate in one place using a conference call service despite being thousands of miles apart. Let’s talk in detail about the conference call solutions available today.
Why Conference Call Solutions Exist
These solutions exist because there was a dire need for companies to be able to talk to their employees in the format of a meeting since forever. To keep your strategies aligned and your employees on the same page, you have to arrange conferences. When internet came, there was hope that this problem would get solved. Today, having hundreds of people talking online or on the phone is not a problem at all. They can all participate in a conference and feel like they are sitting in a room. It saves tremendous amount of time and money for the large multi-national companies.
Common Features of Conference Call Solutions
When you start looking for the conference call services, you will find many today. Some of the features are common among all of these services. First, you will notice that they all allow you to have video conference. Audio conference is not enough anymore and is considered outdated. Today, you have to be able to see the people you are talking to and they should be able to see you as you give a presentation. The participants are able to see the presenter on the screens of their devices, which further introduces another feature common in these services.
Today, almost all of the conference call solutions are compatible with desktop and portable devices. You can have your participants join the conference regardless of which device they are holding. They can join the conference using their tablets, smartphones, laptops, and computers. In fact, they can be there using a telephone line as well. Usually, they are required to click on a link to join the conference. However, they can also join by calling a dial-in number. Moreover, a call back feature is also common wherein the person will receive a call and answering to it makes them a part of the ongoing conference.
You have to know here that some conference call solutions are downloadable while others are not. The ones that you don’t have to download are web-based solutions. They might and might not have an application for mobile users.
Most of these solutions allow you to share your files with the attendees. If the files are in the most popular formats like PDF, JPEG, etc. you can even view them in real time as the conference continues. In addition to that, you can annotate and give real-time presentations on the screen. You can also share the screen of your device and choose to show the entire screen or just a part of it. All of these features combine to create an excellent collaborative environment.
Pricing of Conference Call Solutions
Of course, one of the most important concerns for any company is the cost of the solution. Pricing can be quite volatile depending on the type of solution you choose. There are dozens of conference call solutions out there and despite the tough competition, the differences in prices are huge. What you have to know, however, is the fact that most of their pricing depends on the number of people that can join the conference. For example, the pricing for a package that allows 100 attendees will be less than the package that allows 500 attendees. As surprising as it may sound, some conference call solutions are available for free.
However, you will receive very limited options with the free versions, but even the basic package is alright for some small businesses. Conference recording, marketing features, debranding, etc. are some of the features whose presence can add to the price too. You are charged a monthly price for subscribing to the services. In most cases, you will get a discount if you subscribe for a year.
Before Starting a Conference Call
There are certain things that you have to know before starting a conference call. Yes, there are many conference call solutions, but even the best features cannot do much if you don’t know how to set up a conference. First, you want to tell everyone the exact time and date of the conference. Secondly, you have to ensure that you send the invitation to everyone. The best conference call solutions will let you send emails. Another important thing is to check all the options on the software to know which option does what.
You don’t want to hit a wrong button during the conference and end it with a blunder. It is best that you rehearse the conference beforehand. You should also write down your agenda and all other particulars of the conference. There has to be a specific time during which you have to complete the conference. If your conference is more than an hour, your participants might lose interest. Not even the best conference call solutions can do anything when your attendee is not interested in listening to you anymore. Yes, one thing you can do to keep them interested in long conferences is by letting them speak and give their input.
It is important that you look into conference call solutions that are compatible with all the different types of devices that exist today. Not all of your attendees will be okay with the idea of sitting in front of a computer for an hour to attend the conference. If they want to join using their phone, they should be able to do it. Most importantly, it should be easy for them to join the conference. The best conference call solutions out there have the most intuitive smartphone applications that allow the users to join the conference with a single tap. Some don’t even require them to enter any PINs.