7 Essential Questions for Conference Call Shoppers

Everyone has been on a conference of disappointing quality, and it's no fun. Choosing between the many conference call providers is difficult, but can make a world of difference. Here are 7 essential questions to ask prospective conference call service providers to insure the quality you deserve.

How easy is it to reach a customer service operator? We have customers call our customer service number just to make sure they can reach us easily and in a few seconds. Try it with every prospective company you want to try. It's important to know that there is an operator available in short order when a problem comes up on your call.

Do you guarantee the call participant capacity? Capacity guarantees are important. You may have thought you could get 200 people in your call but can only get 50 into the call before the busy signals start hitting the fan. Some companies overbook their capacity just like an airline and sometimes participants get bumped from the “flight”.

Do I need to sign a contract? Some companies require you to sign a contract, which may add upfront costs. If the service you signed up for is not up to standard, or you find that in a few months the prices are too high, you are locked in if you signed a contract. Many providers just have a pay as you go plan that allows you to determine for yourself whether to continue or move on.

Can you handle the full range of conference calling services? It's a fair question because you may expand well beyond your current needs. You may need just an automated dial in call now but down the road you may need to add web conferencing services, streaming audio for a thousand participants, an operator assisted call, registration of callers, etc. If the company cannot expand with you then you have to go out shopping again.

Do you have live call controls? The call moderator should have the ability to mute the entire group, check for numbers, lock the call for security, and have online controls. Online controls can tell you where the calls come from and if there is disruptive noise. the moderator can then mute the offending line with a mouse click.

How about hidden fees? Sometimes companies offer a low price in their online ads but upon further inspection, there are monthly fees attached. Also look for other hidden charges like taxes that do not have to be collected.  However, if you do find that companies charge a Universal Service Fee, this is an appropriate tax as is it collected by the FCC.

What kind of benefits and features are included? do they cost extra? It's a good idea to make a list of features you need and then make inquiries with the company. The really popular ones include call and web recording, mp3 file download after the call, operator assistance if needed on automated calls, operator services included for event planning calls, and video conferencing. Make sure these services are already rolled into the price quote with no extra charges.

With today's available communication technology, there is no reason conferencing providers can't meet your needs with quality service, features and convenience while maintaining clear, fair pricing. Insuring the proper caliber of service for your dollar just takes a little time to do some research, and knowing the right questions to ask. Do you have any essential questions to add to this list? Share your tips or ask a question in the comments section below.