read this important information before choosing a ‘free’ conference call service!
Conference calls are used in business for convenience and cost saving. By avoiding travel to meetings, conferencing should increase productivity whilst eliminating unnecessary travel costs.
Most businesses start by using conference calls sporadically. Not knowing what their usage might be, many companies are drawn to advertisements of ‘Free Conference Calls’ or ‘No Hassle, No Contract’ conferencing companies such as PowWowNow. They are characterised by a quick set-up with no minimum usage, but the true cost of conferencing is somewhat hidden in the marketing messages of convenience and ‘no bills’. Once conferencing becomes an essential tool to help the growth of the business, the truth about the ‘cheap’ and ‘free’ conference call services starts to unravel.
The Truth About Free Conference Calls.
- Call Charges - Conference call companies can claim the service is free as their call charges appear on your telephone network provider bill, you will not receive a separate bill from the conference call provider.
- Billing - Each participant will pay for their own part of the call which will appear as an access charge and a service charge on their mobile or landline bill.
- Access Charge - The access charge will be a per minute cost that your phone provider charges you in order to dial an 084 number (at the very least 10p but in many cases it can be more than 50p).
- Service Charge - The service charge is also a per minute charge that is paid directly from your network provider back to the conference call provider. At the very least, it is 5.7p per minute for a UK call.
The Dangers of ‘Free’ Conference Calls.
- Transparency - Whilst you are not paying for your participants share of the conference call, unless you have informed your participant that they are responsible for their own portion of the conference call, they may well get a nasty shock when they discover charges on their personal phone bills. This can be highly unprofessional if the participant is a client and can often sour a relationship.
- Cost Tracking - Keeping track of company-wide conferencing costs becomes a painful task as bills are often dispersed amongst a variety of landline and mobile phone providers, both professional and personal bills. This means conferencing costs can quickly spiral out of control but go unnoticed until in-depth analysis takes place.
If you are concerned about your conference call costs:
Understand how you are charged, who is using conferencing within the business and how often it is being used. Our Guide to Understanding Conference Call Costs might help.
If you want to compare conference call providers you will find our 10 point checklist helpful in choosing the right conference call service for your business.
Concerned about your professional image on a conference call? Our good to know series provides interesting insight on how to improve your participants experience when joining one of your conference calls.