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How to Choose a Conferencing Provider

An important part of any IT professional’s job is selecting effective service providers for his or her company. The selection process can sometimes be a stressful one. It may involve extensive research, assessing staff needs and comparing advantages and disadvantages of the different providers.

When it comes to audio and web conferencing, IT professionals often must decide between a large company with an out-of-the-box solution and a smaller, less reliable company that provides more customized options.

Here are some recommendations for any IT professional who is about to start searching for a new provider.

Starting point

The best place to start in selecting a conference provider is with a complete understanding of your company’s needs. Before comparing providers, have employees spend some time documenting their current conference call usage. Have departments or individuals track the minutes and type of conferencing they engage in so you can gain an accurate idea of what the needs are. Also, ask them what features would make their conferences more efficient. This can help you get a sense of what their future conferencing needs might entail. With this information in hand, comparing the various providers should become a little easier.

Flexibility

A major point to consider is flexibility.  You want a company to be flexible with their packages and billing. Some telecom companies may have a variety of packages, but little to no flexibility in combining or dropping features. You want to find a provider that will be flexible both service packages and billing options.

Customer support

Some providers offer little in the way of operator services or customer support. If this isn’t on the list of company needs, then this may not pose an issue. However, if superb customer service is a high priority it must be something the company you choose specializes in. Also, be sure to check out customer reviews of all the companies you are considering. You may learn that a sleek-looking company is actually a customer service nightmare.

Request a demo/free-trial

Ask all potential service providers for a demonstration of the conferencing service. Invite key users in your company to participate in the demonstration. An interface that seems intuitive to your tech-savvy mind may be confusing to the person who will be using it every day. Pay attention to features presented and be sure to ask if they are included in the package you are considering. Also, pay attention to the level of care and professionalism you are treated with during the demonstration. If the conferencing partner isn’t respectful and helpful during the sales process, then it’s the wrong choice.

Would you like more information on what you should be aware of when searching for a new collaboration tool? Download our free IT Buyer’s Guide to Web Conferencing.

About Lorna Love

Originally from Florida, Lorna moved to Atlanta to join the PGi team. In between trying to get used to Atlanta traffic and the crazy weather, she spends her free time playing with her dog, Mylo. Lorna enjoys writing about online collaboration tools and meeting tips.

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