Choosing the right tools for your business requires a great deal of consideration and research, but we often just don’t have time to shop around and find the best business tools out there. In most cases, a business will try a service and if it works, they’ll keep it. If it causes hassle and problems, they’ll try something else. And the same might apply to conference calls. Do you find yourself using conference calls? If you don’t you probably should be conference calling more.
But there are so many different options out there in terms of conference call providers, that picking the right one for you can be difficult. To try to make your job a little easier, we’ve done a brief comparison of four of the biggest and best services out there, considering their costs, feature sets, ease of use, call qualities and security. We think WHYPAY? offers the best choice for businesses looking to minimise costs, but read on to decide for yourself.
First on the list is Uber Conference, which offers a set of free features, as well as a ‘Pro’ package for individual users and a ‘Business’ package for teams and companies. The pro package costs $10 per month, and the Business package simply adds another $10 per month for each extra user. The free features are sufficient to get by, offering unlimited conferences, no PINs for the organiser, HD quality audio and mobile apps. In terms of security, you get a pretty good deal too: Uberconference provides free call recording, allows you to see who is on the call, along with their LinkedIn and Google+ Profiles, and the ability to lock calls for extra security. A potential downside, depending on your requirements, is the fact you are only permitted up to 10 callers.
If this is an issue, though, you can upgrade to the ‘Pro’ or ‘Business’ package, which allows you up to 100 callers. You also are saved the hassle of any participant at all needing a PIN, and can even be called by Uberconference when your meeting is starting. The option is also opened up to you of using local conference numbers (as long as you’re in the US or Canada), and toll-free numbers for $10 more, as well as international access from over 40 countries. Specifically for teams and companies, the Business package also includes team management, one single bill and premium chat and email support between 5am-8pm EST.
Next is Conference Genie. Here, too, there are features in the Conference Genie Go package which you can use for free, but you have to provide your email address before you begin. The passcode you’re then given, though, is yours for life. You get a choice from a list of local, international and Skype access numbers with no contracts and no bills, and anywhere up to 30 participants. The problem is that it’s not actually completely free. Like many conference call services, it can end up costing you quite a bit. You are required to pay for the cost of your call, which is at least 4.3p per minute from landlines, and anywhere from 12.5p per minute from mobiles, plus VAT.
Shelling out a little more, you can get even more with the Conference Genie Pro package. This allows you to choose the additions that you and your business need, from a selection including: toll free and geographical numbers, video conferencing, event services, an account manager, transcript services and dial-out options. Because you design your own package, prices are not clearly laid out, depending on what you choose to use. You have to have a phone conversation with an employee who will help you plan your package and quote you a price.
Another option you might consider is Powwownow. Here too there are things you can get without paying for – although once again you pay 4.3p per minute from landlines, and 12.4p + VAT per minute from mobiles. Like with Conference Genie, you have to enter your email to generate your PIN, and then share this with your desired participants. Just as if you choose Uberconference, you get free call recording, and they also offer a screen-sharing feature free of charge. Powwownow’s biggest strength as a conference call provider is perhaps its fully-owned infrastructure which, according to the website, guarantees the quality will be as good as your landline, because almost all of the conference calls they provide use the same fibre optic cabling as landlines do. This is, of course, included in the free package.
The paid ‘Plus’ package includes many more useful features. Paying also gains you increased security, as you can receive a chairperson PIN which means nobody can dial into the audio meeting until you are in it. With the Premium package, you are allowed access to Freephone and landline numbers, by buying PAYG credit or using direct debit (starting from £10 of credit), and you can buy minute bundles starting from £25. Powwownow’s Plus package also includes over 80 international dial-in numbers and personalised welcome greetings.
A step up even further from the Plus package is Powwownow’s ‘Premium’ package. You will gain unlimited conference call PINs and instant call recording, as well as the welcome messages and choice of numbers included in the Plus package. Like with Uberconference, you have to sign up to the paid package to receive unlimited conference calls, a potential drawback for this provider.
Finally, there is WHYPAY?. Here, you don’t have to enter your email address, or indeed any other information, to create your conference call, just visit the home page and hit the Big Green Button, and you’ll receive your personal, secure access PIN and a random eight digit room number. Also without paying a penny, you get call recording functions, handy calendar attachments so you don’t forget your conference call, and the option to have WHYPAY? send out automatic email invitations including the teleconference details to your chosen participants.
No sign-up fees and UK landline call prices!
The key thing with WHYPAY? is that it is the only genuinely free conference call bridge that’s been discussed in this article. This is because it uses 03 numbers which, according to Ofcom rulings, have to be included within any bundled minutes you have available at the time. That means, as long as there are minutes left in your contract, the conference call will literally not cost you a penny. If you have unlimited minutes with your mobile contract, you can conference call all you like and not pay a penny (although do check with your provider if they put a limit on the call length of your ‘unlimited minutes’). Even if you don’t have minutes available, the calls will only ever be charged at the standard landline rate, so you won’t have any nasty surprises when you get your phone bill. What’s more, all the features are FREE with WHYPAY? – their service is 100% free to use! You get unlimited conference calls, up to 100 participants, up to 50 separate conference call rooms and absolutely no limit on the length of your virtual meetings – all services that many conference call providers will ask you to sign up and pay for.
Please note the information in this posts was up to date as of June 1 2015.