problems with free conference call services

Free Conference Call Services Can be Very Tempting

Our customers sometimes ask if we use one specific conference call service to get the best quality conference call recording.  The answer is both yes and no.

Clearly, the quality varies between conference call services.  PGi (Premiere Global Services) has the best audio quality we’ve heard, so we became an agent and have access to all their audio and web conferencing products.  However, we’ve also used several free conference call companies, because many times our customers already have accounts with a vendor— and seem to be the most popular.

There are several problems with free conference call services, and some can effect the quality of your recording.

What are the problems with free conference call services?

  1. Many providers move the dial-in number from city to city—most likely because they are chasing the cheapest rates on their end.  I’ve also heard that they make money by routing callers to specific local exchange carriers.  This means that your “permanent” dial-in number is not so “permanent” after all.
  2. Free conference call services use toll numbers, so you and your participants will pay long distance charges for the duration of the call.
  3. Many times the call quality is poor.  Conference bridge quality can be good, or not-so-good.  Which do you think the free services are using?
  4. Just about all of them charge excessively for anything other than a simple conference call.  That means they are expecting you to upgrade when you figure out that the service is not really free (see #2 above and consider how #3 can effect the definition of your brand).
  5. A big limitation is the feature set.  Compare free conference call services to PGi’s GlobalMeet and you will see a huge difference.  For example, did you know that GlobalMeet has a web interface/control feature that gives you the ability to see a noisy phone line and mute it with a click of a button?  This feature alone can be a huge differentiator.

For those who must have the best quality—businesses that are going to re-purpose the call into a podcast, for example—we offer the complete line of PGi audio and web conferencing services, including GlobalMeet.  For those who would like to sample our recording quality, we offer a free conference call recording snippet, with no obligation.  That is, we will record your call and send you a sample of it so you can verify the quality before making a commitment.  Did I mention there is no obligation?

So there you have it, the 5 biggest problems with free conference call services.  Why did I not mention the advantages?  Well, because there is only one, and you already know what that is….  It’s free!

Have you had an experience with a free conference call company—good, bad or indifferent?  Tell us about it in the comments below.