Free vs. Paid: Choosing a Conference Call Solution

Submitted by: Josh Erwin

When evaluating a new conference call solution, one of the most common questions is this: why should I pay for conference calls when there are free solutions available?

Free conference calls may seem like an attractive option, however it’s important to understand the sacrifices you’re potentially making by choosing a free provider. You may ultimately end up hindering your organization’s ability to effectively communicate and collaborate in the interest of saving on cost.

Here are some reasons why you should choose a paid conference call solution over a free one:

1) Choose a paid conference call solution if quality and reliability are important to you and your business.

If you only conduct the occasional audio conference, you may not be worried about scratchy quality and dropped calls. However, if conference calls are a core component of your organization’s communication and collaboration, you need a consistent, high-quality audio experience backed by enterprise-grade network infrastructure that only a paid audio conferencing service can provide.

The spoken word is the foundation of collaboration, and without a consistent audio experience, you simply can’t have effective meetings.

2) Choose a paid conference call solution if you’re a global organization or conduct business internationally.

One of the primary benefits of a collaboration solution like audio conferencing is it lets any business, regardless of size, expand to a global footprint. Unfortunately, free conference call services may not have the global reach, network infrastructure or support capabilities to ensure seamless audio conferencing for your globally dispersed business or your international clients.

However, paid audio conference providers have the resources and infrastructure to support bridges and audio nodes in multiple countries, can provide local dial-in numbers and can offer in-language and in-region support options.

3) Choose a paid conference call solution if you want access to support and service guarantees.

With a free solution, you’re generally left to your own devices should there be service interruptions or technical difficulties. And with no contract or Service Level Agreement (SLA), the provider is under no obligation to ensure that your conference calls work when you need them to.

On the other hand, paid conference call providers offer 24/7 in-meeting, email and live chat support in addition to other support avenues like phone, email and online customer communities.

4) Choose a paid conference call solution if you want full-featured control over your audio meetings.

Free conference call providers often offer minimal additional features, or place mission-critical collaboration features behind an optional paywall or subscription. You may be able to communicate, but any robust scheduling or meeting management features won’t be available.

Paid conference call solutions like GlobalMeet Audio provide a wealth of features, including Microsoft Outlook integration and scheduling, mobile applications, visual meeting controls on your desktop, laptop or mobile device, subconferencing support and more.

While it may be tempting to leverage a free conference call solution for your business, the additional features, network capabilities and support that come with an audio conferencing purchase more than justify the expense.