How Cut Rate or Free Audio Conferencing Could End Up Costing You More

Cut rate or free conference call services might seem like a good idea if you are a small, mid-market or even enterprise sized business.  After all, you have to carefully watch and monitor budgets since you lack the deep pockets typically associated with the Fortune 500.  However, did you know that these so-called cut rate or “free” conferencing services are not really free? In one way or another, they will impact your business and result in costing you time, money, or both.

women audio conference headset

The “Hidden” Costs of Cut Rate or Free Audio Conferencing

First and foremost, there are numerous “hidden” costs associated with cut rate or free conferencing services. Unlike a paid audio conferencing service, which provides toll-free dial-in numbers, the dial-in numbers for cut rate or free services are based on toll dial-in numbers.

For instance, you set up a conference using a free or cut rate service and are given a local telephone number. This is great for you, but what about the other callers? If they are not local, they will have to pay either domestic toll rates or international toll rates to call into your audio conference.

Plus, any taxes, fees, and other such charges associated with the call are passed directly onto you or your callers! If they dialed in on their smartphone with an unlimited calling plan, they could still be charged these taxes and fees.

hundred-dollar bills

Do you really want your customers having to pay to join a conference call you scheduled? Not to mention, what type of message does this send to potential investors, business partners, and new clients? You really do not want to be known for being “cheap” or risk losing new business.

Second, the level and quality of service provided by cut rate and free services are subpar. It is not uncommon for there to be static on the conference lines that makes it difficult to communicate. Even if there is no static, it can be hard to hear others when they talk due to bad connections. If you cannot effectively communicate with your callers, you are not only wasting your time but also your callers’ time and money. With a paid service with business class quality, you have clear connections. Everyone can hear each other and everyone’s voice is at the same volume.

Third, free services do not offer any type of SLA (Service Level Agreement) or guarantees. If you cannot dial in, get connected, or have other such problems, you are pretty much on your own. You could try to find a support number to call, but most do not have one.  Even if you do, you will be expected to pay for any support you receive. Had you used a paid service instead, you would have 24/7 access to support professionals to resolve your problems quickly and seamlessly.

Next, if your callers want to dial in using VoIP or internet phone services, they will quickly discover they may not be able to connect to free or cut rate conferencing services. This is because free services do not support these types of phone connections and rely primarily on landline or cellular connections.

Again, with a paid service, you do not have to limit what types of phone services your callers use to join your call. They can use a landline, cellular line, VoIP, or internet phone service. Furthermore, free services charge more for added features and options.

  • Want toll-free dial-in numbers? It costs more.
  • Want a branded or generic bridge greeting, not an “ad” for a free service? It costs more.
  • Need operator assistance to call participants and add them in? It costs more.
  • Want to record the call for on-demand playback later? It costs more.

As you can see, other than providing a “free” conferencing bridge to host your call, “free” audio conferencing services are not free. The attraction for most small and medium businesses is they initially believe they are getting something for nothing. However, that old saying “you get what you pay for…” holds true.

audio conference call information

Cut Rate or Free Conference Call Services Could Damage Your Business’s Reputation

Another “hidden” cost of using cut rate or free services is how it affects your business’s reputation. Imagine you just arranged a conference call with a big company that is interested in purchasing your products. They want to discuss the potential deal in greater detail before making a formal proposal.

If you could land the contract, it would be a major boost to your earnings and revenues. You have your assistant set up the call using a cut rate or free service. You provide the client with the dial-in information for the conference.

On the day of the conference, the first thing you notice is there is a lot of static on the line. You cannot hear the client, and they cannot hear you. Everyone decides to hang up and dial back in. The next time around, there is less static.

The client informs you that their company president is on vacation in Europe but wanted to dial into the call, too. She wants to connect to the call using an internet phone service to avoid paying international long distance rates, and she cannot get connected.

women on conference call

Instead, she has to use the landline phone at her resort hotel to call in. Finally, after everyone gets connected, the static problem returns. Now you try to call an operator for support and cannot get one. Since no one can hear anyone, the client says they will reschedule later.

A few days go by, and you follow up with the client because you have not heard anything from them. The client quickly informs you they decided to go another direction.

In addition, the president of the company was on a conference call, through a paid service, with several of her firm’s business partners the following day. During this call, she told them how horrible the call was with your company.

Each of these people could now also potentially share your tragic story with their friends, who could continue to share it with their friends, and so on. As you can see, not only did you lose the business deal, but now you have also jeopardized your business’s reputation. Attracting new clients is going to be much harder because news of your mishap is spreading rapidly.

What Your Business Requires from an Audio Conference Call Service

Now that you realize using cut rate or free conferencing is costly, you need to consider what your business desires from a paid service:

  • Do you want discounts based on the amount of your usage?
  • Do you want no hidden costs?
  • Do you want no minimum monthly commitments?
  • Do you want no contracts?
  • Do you want no monthly fees?
  • Do you want no reservation requirements?
  • Do you want the option to cancel or reschedule calls without being charged a fee?
  • Do you want flexibility and scalability options as your business needs change and grow?
  • Do you want access to recording, playback, web conferencing, webcasting, and more?
  • Do you want to be able to get support and reach an operator whenever you need help?
  • Do you want the ability to connect to calls from different types of telephone services?
  • Do you want international calling support options?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, then you would not be alone. Businesses of all sizes deserve to have access to all of these types of features, options, and services to create their own customized audio conference solution.

audio conferencing

This is where BroadData Conferencing can help you. We offer all of the above, and more, based on your own specific business requirements. Plus, we can work with you to build an audio conference system reflective of your current business objectives that can be modified as your business needs change.

To learn more about our customizable audio conference solutions and services, please feel free to contact BroadData Conferencing at 877-321-2255 today!