The best conference call services offer businesses reliable communication solutions to ensure they operate effectively.
I'm sure you'll agree: as a business owner, you're always looking for new ways to increase efficiency and work smarter. You want your web conferencing service to enable your business to create and share projects in real-time with no loss in quality while protecting your personally identifiable information.
Not all service providers and equipment are created equally so it's important to do your research. Fortunately, there are plenty of web conference solutions that offer the features you're looking for, like dedicated dial-in numbers and web conference bridge functionality.
In this guide, we're going to define a conference call service and examine the different kinds available. From there, we'll share our top picks and finally discuss the benefits and uses of conference calling services.
The Best Conference Call Services
- Calls: Unlimited
- Max Callers: 15-50
- Trial Period: 14 Days
- Monthly Price: $19-49
- 14 day risk free trial
- Simple and user-friendly
- Wide range of resources including articles, training videos, and tutorials
- Excellent audio quality
- Several advanced interactive features
- No automated invite feature
You can look forward to excellent audio quality with ConferenceCalling.com, which means that you can enjoy a clear meeting with few audio interruptions. There are many other features that come with the service, such as call recording, interactive features, the ability to create custom greetings, around the clock meeting scheduling and file sharing. You can also benefit from web controls and a range of excellent reporting tools.
You can be sure that ConferenceCalling.com is accessible from all 50 states and Canada, as well as 60 countries worldwide. A personalized greeting may be created that removes the ConferenceCall.com's branding and allows the business owner to insert their own unique and personalized greeting message for all participants to hear. This greeting allows the callers to recognize that they have arrived at the correct place each time they call the Toll-Free number.
Your brand matters to ConferenceCalling.com and they want to give you complete control of the conference. They will help you create a script and even provide you with some samples that serve as a good model for you to use.
- High-quality audio and video facilities
- Advanced interactive features
- File sharing, record, and replay features
- Presenter control is easy to switch
- No operator assistance
Offering access to high-quality audio and video conferencing facilities, WebEx is a popular choice for businesses that want to be able to save time and increase convenience when it comes to holding meetings and conferences. This service comes with a host of advanced interactive features, which makes it ideal for a wide variety of businesses.
There is no operator assistance available with this conference calling service. However, the ease of use means that you should not encounter any issues, as this is a very user-friendly system. Some of the features that you can benefit from when you choose this service to include file sharing facilities, around the clock conference scheduling, the ability to easily switch presenter controls, call recording and replay features, video conferencing for up to seven people, and a whiteboard feature.
If you need to contact customer support you can select from a variety of options, including email, phone, and live chat facilities. The software also comes with a range of tools and resources such as training videos and informational articles. This service has scored an impressive 4/5 from PC Mag and 7.2/10 from the G2 Crowd.
- Calls: Unlimited
- Max Callers: 10-25
- Trial Period: None
- Monthly Price: $19-39
- Record and replay
- Automated invite feature
- File sharing
- Lacks advanced features the competitor's offer
InterCall's web-based conferencing provides audio and video services, working in conjunction with Adobe Connect, Cisco WebEx, Microsoft LiveMeeting, Microsoft Lync, Unified Meeting 5 and Google Hangouts. Adobe endorses Intercall as a virtual conference partner for their advanced audio.
InterCall offers a range of video conferencing solutions, depending on your needs and preferences. Unified Meeting 5 plans include a pay-per-use option at 17c per minute per attendee for a maximum of 125 participants. Monthly options start from $25 for up to ten attendees and $39 for up to 25.
All of these offer a free mobile apps download, VOIP, a dedicated dial-in number, Outlook integration and online collaboration. A toll-free dial-in number is included in the pay-per-minute price and is an optional extra for the monthly plans.
The social media integration feature allows you to view the Facebook profile of the presenter or other attendees. There's also a whiteboard feature – common to many other web conferencing platforms. Attendees also have the option to annotate the screen or slides, however, there's no save feature for this so you'll need to remember to take a screenshot to capture this information.
InterCall provides a reliable and solid service that will suit the needs of many businesses looking for increased ease and convenience. In terms of consumer reviews, the service has scored 3.8/5 from Indeed.com as well as earning an excellent A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
- Calls: Unlimited
- Max Callers: 10-100
- Trial Period: 30 Days
- Monthly Price: $19-49
GoToMeeting Conference Call
- Excellent for iPad users
- A range of valuable business features
- Affordable prices
- Reliable service
- Lacks advanced features the competitor's offer
- Recording does not yet work for Macs
One provider that offers the convenience and ease of web conferencing is GoToMeeting, from parent company Citrix. It's a great option for smaller scale offices that are looking for a straightforward online meeting platform. Starting a meeting takes only one click and GoToMeeting has many great features including screen sharing, keyboard/mouse control, VoIP and drawing tools.
GoToMeeting can be used on a range of devices, including Mac, PC, Chromebook, Linux and mobile devices, however, Apple aficionados beware; consumers report that drawing tools and recording feature aren't available for Mac users.
One aspect to consider, however, is that while the program can host up to 25 people, only six webcams can be used at any one time, meaning up to 19 voices competing to be as fully involved in the meeting as the six who can be seen.
While the features that come with this service are not as comprehensive as some of its rivals, it does offer great value for the money and a range of valuable features that could prove ideal for many businesses. This service is designed for relatively modest sized meetings with a maximum of 25 people. One of the great features that this service offers is the ability to change who is hosting the meeting just by clicking a button.
- Calls: Unlimited
- Max Callers: 100-500
- Trial Period: 30 Days
- Monthly Price: $30-45
- Customizable screen to reflect the theme or colors of your business
- An ideal service for medium sized enterprises
- Utilizes Google Translate
- Whiteboard feature
- Unable to archive meetings
ClickMeeting is web-based software requiring no installation. In short, it's a customizable conferencing facility ideally suited to medium-sized enterprises. ClickMeeting's mobile apps for Apple, Android, and BlackBerry devices put the entire meeting, literally, in the palm of your hand. With a full range of conferencing tools available to mobile users, it's even possible to host a meeting away from the office.
Schedule a new meeting, chat with fellow participants and record your discussions with a single click. More advanced features like screen sharing, video conferencing and virtual whiteboards are also available to even mobile users. It's rare to see a web conferencing app that's as wide-ranging as this, so if you or your associates travel a lot, this is definitely one to consider.
ClickMeeting is very user-friendly and customizable. It has features like the ability to translate a meeting transcript into one of over fifty languages. This is invaluable when you are meeting with contractors and employees from all over the world and having to overcome the language barrier.
The only downside is that while you can host an unlimited number of meetings, only 25 attendees can log into a given meeting. For some businesses, this might be more than enough, but for larger organizations you might need to consider an alternative.
Key Considerations When Choosing a Conference Call Service
To ensure you can make an informed decision about the conference call provider you choose for your business, you should research and consider several important factors. These are just some of the questions you should be asking when it becomes time to find a conference call company.
If you use audio video conference call services, you will want everything to work flawlessly. If not, you may have unreliable service on one or both ends. The last thing you want is to have an important client suddenly hear a dial tone when they should be hearing your custom hold music.
1. How often and how many people will use it?
The number of meeting participants is a major factor in pricing, so the business will need to determine the largest amount of people that will be on any one phone conference. Once the number of participants has been determined, the choices in systems can be narrowed down because some conference bridges can only accommodate up to a specific amount of members at any one time.
2. What kind of features are available?
The best phone conference service will offer several features that are easy-to-use, reliable, and efficient. Some of these features include:
- Toll free conference calls
- Long distance and nternational conference calling
- Screen share functionality
- Webinar services
- Conference recording software
- Personalized greetings
- Custom hold music
- Interactive web interface
Determine what features your company will need to operate efficiently and find the conference solution that fits those needs. Choose the system that has the necessary and flexible work tools your company needs, and make plans to reevaluate your needs periodically.
3. How is customer support?
When conducting an interactive conference call with several participants, many of whom can be anywhere in the world, there is bound to be a technical hiccup from time to time. An unexpected system breakdown can reduce your day's intended productivity and throw your schedule off.
If the conference provider offers speedy support, quick troubleshooting response times and the ability to get you up and running quickly, that could be a major deciding factor in deciding which system to use. You also want to inquire about the training and support available for new users of the system.
Training typically offers access to documentation and manuals on how to use the video conference or phone conference service.
Whether you have problems accessing your accounts or information or you can't set up a call, you can expect the best conference call providers to offer great customer support. All conference call providers offer phone, email, and chat support 7 days a week. You will be able to get help from trained professionals who can walk you through the problem, no matter how big or small the problem is.
But, don't worry, while technical support is available all the time, most modern conference call systems are user-friendly and don't require much tweaking.
4. What's the cost of the conference call service?
The benefits should be quantified and should justify the cost of the system. For example, does productivity increase, and by how much? Many systems have a free trial period that will allow you test the service out and determine within a few weeks if it would be helpful to your business.
If you're looking into conference call services, you may be concerned with the cost of equipment. Most web-based conference calling services are free, but you may need to buy special equipment if you want to host a conference call over a telephone.
Plenty of well-run companies use their own conference call equipment such as routers, phones, and other electronics. But, if you run a small operation or don't want to spend a lot of money upfront, you can rent the equipment. If you plan to use conference call services for the long haul, you'll save money by buying the equipment. Whereas if you rent, you may be able to use higher-end equipment for a lower price in the short-term.
Types of Conference Call Services
Conference calls are phone calls which allow more than one individual to listen in. Businesses frequently use conference call services to communicate with multiple parties more easily. Certain services allow customers to call into a meeting using a telephone number and unique password which ensures a level of security and confidentiality.
The internet has also become a popular place for a business to utilize free conference call services. Other services such as computer desktop share capability, webinars, and the ability to collaboratively work on presentations and documents may also be available.
Conference call services can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Here is a brief look at how they might appear:
- Audio Conferences: Purely voice-to-voice communication. Can happen over the telephone line or a computer. You can expect this service to be free or at a low price.
- Online Conference Calls: Often combining audio with online-based features like desktop share. Some services offer face-to-face communication with a webcam.
- Webinars: When you need to speak to a large audience at once online, consider the best web conferencing software.
The Benefits of Using a Conference Call Service
Teleconferencing services make it easier and faster to interact with talented workers or business partners no matter where in the world they are. They are starting to become required tools for any business who wants to grow beyond their local city or state. Let's explore what and how the best web conferencing software technology can do this.
- Compatibility: Most of the top paid conference calling services are compatible with both Windows and Mac computers. Make sure a service is compatible with your devices before buying.
- Convenience: Conference calls are a great alternative to in-person meetings. They can be instantaneous from the comfort of your computer.
- Distance: Whether it's across town or across the country, conference calls make long distance communication easy.
- Size: Don't be constrained by small conference rooms. Most conference call services allow up to a few dozen meeting participants.
- Privacy: Most conference providers, even free conference call services, provide protection for your personally identifiable information. You also want to make sure your credit card information is protected in case you're using a conference provider with an access charge.
If you are doing a sales call or have a potential client, or current one for that matter, on the telephone line, you will want things to go well. If you set everything up correctly, which is not hard, you will have a smooth call with your clients. All conference call services are created with the end-user in mind, so they can talk to you with ease, even if you are not a large corporation. By providing a toll free phone number and other pertinent information, you can set up your conference call with your client, and you can have an error-free experience.
The best conference call services offer the ability to host audio video webinars with audiences up to 300 people. These services often include real-time surveys, poll questions, and Outlook integration.
Most of the best web conferencing services secure your video and audio conference with a 128-bit encryption. This level of encryption is the industry standard but some add extra security with a more robust 256-bit encryption.
International Conference Calls
You may also need to communicate internationally with remote business partners, clients or associates. Services that allow you to make international conference calls are important for companies with a global presence.
All providers let you record your calls, that way you can revisit them later on. You should not run afoul of state laws, however, and always inform the other party that you are recording the call.
Depending on your service provider, you will have multiple options to record the call. You can record from the phone itself by pressing a button or a combination of buttons. Some even let you log in to your account via a web portal, where you can start recording. Finally, if you do a screen share meeting, you can record the call this visually and audibly. All options are user-friendly, and if you have any issues recording, your provider can assist you.
If you use a web-based service, you will want all your attendees to be able to talk to each other, with ease. Otherwise, you can lose clients and frustrate everyone. All major conference call services are supported when you use Web-based systems. These include Mac, Windows and even sometimes major Linux distributions.
Whether you use internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or Safari, you can connect, record and interact with others. If you need to contact tech support, providers offer solid support so you can set up your calls and ensure that they go smoothly.
Conference Call Service Pricing
|Company||Max Callers||Monthly Price|
The Best Free Conference Call Service
With some research, it's also possible to find the best free conference services. In fact, if you are looking to just include a few participants you may be able to simply use your regular phone. Some services even allow you to screen share and use other more advanced features. However, if call quality and reliability are a concern, a paid service is much more dependable. The size of your phone conference is also a factor.
Even the best free web conferencing services usually limit the number of participants you are able to have a call at the same time, while some paid services allow you to include up to 300 participants call into your conference call number at the same time.
It's also important to consider what you want to do on a call. If you want to use a desktop sharing function to show participants what you are looking at to walk them through a program or powerpoint, a paid service is necessary.
Paid services also typically offer conference call iPhone and Android apps that allow you to call into meetings and participate in video chats from your phone. These apps typically offer more interactivity than simply dialing into the conference call number.
Online Meetings for Large Groups
With teleconferencing services, you can arrange meetings with a group of people who can all tap into the conference call using a specified telephone number and passcode, without having to enter any personal information. This technology makes life far easier for business users as it means that you can arrange meetings without even having to leave the comfort of your desk.
Some companies are specially equipped for webinar services. They may offer the ability to include large groups of participants and even break into separate sections by splitting the call into two separate rooms. This is ideal for creating a seamless webinar, while still being able to deliver a full seminar experience.
If you have the full range of features from the best screen sharing software and online conferencing, you can bolster your business's meeting productivity. With many teleconference services, you can create a virtual meeting by screen sharing, providing feedback with one touch of a button, sharing and making real-time modifications to documents, and more. This improves communication tremendously and improves efficiency even though attendees are not physically in the same room.
How I Found the Best Conference Call Providers
We evaluated more than 20 different conference call services offered throughout the United States. To determine how we ranked the best conference call services, we looked at accessibility, user-friendliness, interactive features, customer and technical support, and cost.
From those points we considered the greatest combination of features to be the value of the product. The conference call services reviewed offer a wide range of features suited for a number of different businesses both large and small. The best conference call service earned its place because it went above and beyond the competition. That doesn't mean that the others on this list are inferior; they may meet your company's needs perfectly well. Check out the websites for details of each service.
The value of call conferencing and video conferencing facilities for businesses these days cannot be underestimated. You need flexible work functions, protection for your credit card and other personal information, and reliability that won't leave your meeting participants listening to a dial tone. Fortunately there are plenty of options to match the needs of your business with the right conference calling technology.
Whether it's across town or across the country, conference calls make long-distance communication easy
If you want to explore more online solutions for your business, take a look at your options for switching to the best VoIP phone system. Voice over Internet Protocol is often a cost-effective alternative to landlines.
You can also take a look at our review of the best online backup. This can automate the process of backing up documents so you never lose an important file again.