By now, we all know how useful conference calls can be, and how they can benefit your business. Given how powerful this simple communications tool is, it’s extremely popular. Plus, as we all try to do our bit to protect the planet, cutting down on commutes is a growing priority.
There are now lots of different teleconference bridges to choose from. Trying to pick from a bunch of teleconference options can become a bit tricky. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by choice, answer the questions below to find which teleconference option is the best fit for you. For those who already know they want to use free conference calls, there are still lots of teleconference options. To get you started, you can look at our round-up of the best free conference call services in the UK.
1. What is more important to you as you consider teleconference options:
a) reliability and accessibility, or b) sophisticated collaboration tools?
a) reliability and accessibility
Every teleconference is unique, and has its own set of needs. That’s why it’s so great that there are so many teleconference options! The features you’ll want will depend massively on the purpose of the call, and on its participants. If your call is for a simple debrief after an event, or a weekly update with your team, you might not need a lot of fancy tools. You might essentially just be talking, but all or some of your team want to work remotely.
If that’s the case, you just want a way to get everyone on the phone quickly and easily. You also want to be sure that you’re not wasting precious working minutes waiting for the call to connect, or dealing with it dropping out frequently.
Teleconference options focused on reliability
If that sounds like you, then reliability and accessibility are probably your priority. You want something you know you can depend on, so that if some disaster or development suddenly happens you can get your whole team together instantly to deal with it. That means you want a teleconference option which allows reservationless conference calls. You also want a service you can trust. That’s where services like Trustpilot are really helpful. Look for a conference call provider with a rating of Excellent, like WHYPAY?. If you look at our reviews, you’ll see how frequently our users mention how reliable the service is, and how easy it is to use.
Teleconference options focused on accessibility
After all, ease of use and accessibility are the other aspect we were considering. If you are a group of remote workers, or people who need to travel a lot for business, you want a simple teleconferencing service. You can’t cart around a swanky conference call phone with you everywhere you go! Make sure you consider that when looking at your teleconference options. You’ll want a conference call room which you can dial into from a mobile or a landline. Look for services which provide a dial-in number. That way, you’ll be able to call it from even the simplest telephone. Conference calls which are accessed via the web can prove trickier.Create a FREE Teleconference
b) sophisticated collaboration tools
On the other hand, you might be more interested in having specialist features. Think about the nature of your projects and how you share the workload. If you need to be able to do things like share your screen with participants, upload or even live-edit documents, or live-stream video, a simple dial-in number won’t cut it. Instead, you’ll be looking at teleconference options with more sophisticated conferencing software.
There are two main compromises if you’re opting for a higher-tech conference call. Firstly, you’ll have to pay much more for your conference calls. Of course, if you are part of a team that works entirely remotely and collaborates actively, that’s a worthwhile investment. Compared to the cost of rent, utilities, and commutes, you’re probably still going to be saving a lot of money. Besides, if sophisticated conference calls are important to you and your business, they should be high up in your budgetary considerations.
The second compromise is that more complex conference calls are less accessible. Obviously, you can’t watch a live-stream, edit a pie-chart or sketch an architectural blueprint from a phonebox, although you can access a WHYPAY? teleconference from one if you so wished. To have sophisticated collaboration tools, your callers will likely need to be on a computer, or at least a smartphone, and have a strong Internet connection.
2. Do call costs for those joining your conference by phone factor into your priorities as you browse teleconference options?
Another facet of accessibility to take into account when reviewing teleconference options is the cost. Maybe you find a conference call which doesn’t require special equipment. But if it’s going to cost callers to join your meeting, is it really accessible? Think carefully about whether you want to make participants pay to join the call. There are situations in which it might not seem inappropriate, or where it’s worthwhile for the features they might access. Sometimes it can be difficult to avoid, too. For example, international conference calls can sometimes mean people dialling from abroad do have to pay.
On the other hand, there are circumstances in which it’s unfair to expect callers to be paying for expensive teleconferences. If you’re an employer to remote staff, you probably want to be holding frequent audio meetings. Can you really ask your employees to pay to be part of the meeting?
Teleconference options that won’t cost callers
If you answer ‘yes’ to our second question, you’ll want to find a conference call provider which won’t charge participants. If you don’t mind some cost as long as it’s not exorbitant, you might look at providers which keep costs relatively low for callers. It depends on your personal preferences or budgets.
If you want to eliminate the call costs for your participants entirely, there are suitable teleconference options. Some providers allow the host to bear the burden of the cost. Essentially, you’ll be paying for a subscription or membership, or maybe just for the cost of the call. Some systems work by then letting you call the other participants. As they’re not the ones dialling, they won’t face any charges.
An even better option might be choosing a conference call bridge which uses 03 dial-in numbers, like WHYPAY?. That simply means the conference calls are accessed by calling a number which begins with 03. Not only do these conference calls tick the accessibility box we considered above, they also eliminate conference call costs for callers. Ofcom rulings state that calls to 03 numbers must be charged in the same way as standard landlines. As you probably know, calls to geographic landlines are included within bundled minutes. In other words, they don’t cost the caller a penny. As a result, neither the participants nor the host will pay to join the conference call!
Of course, many staff are using work phones provided by the company. They don’t personally have to foot the bill for business conference calls. But companies can still save a lot of money (and gain a lot of benefits) by choosing a free teleconference option like WHYPAY?.Create a FREE Teleconference
3. Do you ever have physical meetings but with some participants connecting remotely?
These days, a flexible approach seems like the best option in many areas of life. And certainly we’re seeing it grow in popularity in the business world. We’re all trying to find ways to balance work with our personal lives. Finding more adaptable ways to fit everything in is increasingly important. And with so many great communications and collaboration tools out there, there’s not such a need for all of us to work 9 ’til 5, or to be physically in the office every day.
So many of us are now in teams that embrace remote working. That’s not to say offices should be closing down all over the country. But it does mean the whole team might not need to be present at every meeting. It certainly doesn’t make sense to use time, money and harmful fuels to ask remote workers to travel specifically for meetings, either.
If you do have meetings for which not everybody is likely to be in the same place anyway, you’ll want teleconference options that make it easy for a roomful of people to hear the call. You’ll probably want to consider what the best conference call phone is for your needs. These are more specialist phones that are designed to project the callers voice more clearly and loudly than a standard speakerphone setting would. That way, as you’re all gathered in the boardroom, your remote workers or travelling professionals can still be heard. And don’t just think of those more old-fashioned spider phones you might have seen. There are lots of modern and high-tech conference call phones to choose from, even if you yourself will be travelling. You might consider Sennheiser’s portable and lightweight conference call phone, for example. Whatever your needs and routine, you’ll find there are great teleconference options for you.
4. Do you need teleconference options that will foreground your brand?
Conference calls can be a great way to connect with investors from across the country, or even the world. They’re also really useful for recruiting and interviewing employees. You might even use conference calls as part of your open day event. In fact, there are loads of scenarios in which a company will want their brand to shine through on the conference call.
If that sounds like you, you’ll want teleconference options that include custom branding for your conference calls. While you’ll have to pay for custom features, if budget is important to you there are great options at low prices. WHYPAY?’s Pro plan, which includes a whole host of custom branding options, is just £8 per month. For just £2 a week, you can guarantee your teleconferences leave a lasting impression.
You’ll get a custom dial in number beginning with 03 or 01 (which will still eliminate the call costs for callers!). You’ll also be able to upload a custom welcome greeting, to make sure the first words your callers hear are whatever you want them to be. You can choose the waiting music too. After all, music can really set the tone. While participants are waiting to join the call, you’ll be able to control their mood in whatever way feels right for the audio meeting. You can also foreground your company’s brand on the invitation and reminder emails participants will receive ahead of the teleconference. There’s no way they’ll forget who they’re meeting with!Create a FREE Teleconference
5. How much control do you need over your teleconferences?
This isn’t necessarily just about personal preference. While there are definitely some personalities which like to be in control more than others, and some people thrive as leaders, the answer to this question can also be situational. There are loads of handy moderation tools out there. The ones you want can depend on the nature of the conference call.
As with most decisions regarding teleconference options, it can help to start by thinking about your participants. Here we mean in two different senses. Firstly, think literally about who they’ll be, and how many there will be. Secondly, consider their needs and what they hope for from the call.
If you’re going to have lots of callers, many of whom might be largely there as spectators, you’ll likely want advanced muting modes. If they’ll be curious spectators – that is to say, they’ll be listening to a presentation-style meeting, but might have questions at the end (or throughout), you’ll want teleconference options with a Q&A mode. You might also consider web-based platforms that incorporate live-chat, so callers can still be muted but type questions.
Likewise, if you’re going to be teleconferencing with any people (even if it’s just one!) from outside your trusted team, security will be vital. You might want a teleconference option that provides different PINs for moderators, like WHYPAY? does. You should also consider features like participant announcements, so you know exactly who’s on the call at any given moment.
Luckily, here again you won’t need to spend a fortune to get the features you need. In fact, if you don’t want custom branded conference calls, you can opt for WHYPAY?’s even cheaper Plus package. For just £4 a month, you’ll be able to use all our advanced moderator controls.
Teleconference options for all
As you can see, teleconferencing is a simple technology in itself, but it can be adapted, extended and embellished endlessly! There are a huge amount of bonus features and more sophisticated technologies that can be incorporated into conference calls. It’s all about knowing exactly what you want from your audio meetings, and balancing those needs with your budget. To make your conference calls as efficient as possible, make sure you answer questions like the ones we’ve posed before choosing from the seemingly endless teleconference options out there. That way, you’ll know you’re getting exactly what you need, and not paying for what you don’t. You’ll also guarantee your callers are having their own expectations met, and making your audio meetings a joy for all!Create a FREE Teleconference