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In sales, conference calls are a part of life. Frequently, a customer asks to conference in a sales support engineer or another member of their company.
The subject is a particular sore spot with me because a) my office phone does not have conferencing or three way calling and b) my company does not have a particular conference bridge in house or under contract.
Yes, my company needs to upgrade the phone system (I am a big fan of Asterisk BTW). But in the meantime my options are 1) relocate to the conference room and use the big conference/speaker phone, 2) Use my cell phone (ugh) or 3) Use a conference call company.
So, here are the results of my search for a third-party conference call company I could use for daily calling.
A friend was one of the founders of ConferenceCall.com so I thought I would check them out first.
The rates posted on the website were $.19 per minute for voice conference calls. Conferencecall.com has a reward system which gives customers 1 point for each minute of conference call time. Points can be redeemed for airline miles and gift cards.
In Google, only one conference call company had a higher search page rank than Conferencecall.com, and that was freeconferencecall.com - I wonder why that is? :)
Freeconference.com offers free conference calls, only the free version does not have a toll free dial in number. Rather, users pay local tolls on the conference call.
However, for a $.10 per minute, freeconference.com has toll free dial in numbers for users.
So, although not completely free, the pricing for conference calls through freeconference.com is better.
Next, I checked out Accuconference. Accuconference has non-reservation rates of only $.09.9 per minute which a very good value.
However, Accuconference also offers a fixed monthly rate of $99.00 per month toll-free for a fixed number of participant lines. If your company holds regular conference calls with the same participants, this might be a good value for you.
I have been using Skype for some time and I noticed a thread on using Skype for conference calls. Sure enough, in the help section on Skype.com, there are instructions for making conference calls using Skype. Naturally, all of the participants need to have Skype software and Skype ID's as well.
Using Skype in my particular circumstance, is a Skype conference call requires me to have my computer available - Skype is an Internet-based software application. Because I have a laptop, a conference call would generally not be a problem. However if I am in an airport or car, then conference calling through my computer is not advantageous.
I felt like a dork when I forgot to mention Webex sooner WebEx. After all, I have used WebEx a half a million times. Sure enough, if pay-per-use conference calling is desired, Webex has it for a high conference call per minute charge of $.33 - however, that includes web presentations and not just voice conferencing. However, if money is not an object and a computer is not available of needed, one could use Webex for simple voice conference calling as well.
I recently was invited to view a customer's software platform using GoToMeeting. It was fast and easy to use. Like WebEx, GoToMeeting is both conference calling and web presentation - and for an attractive price. Only $49.00 per month for unlimited usage!
A quick afternoon of research and I have a number of good choices for conference call companies. Now I have to figure out the best way to expense it! Expense reports are a fine subject for another entry!
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