Businesses that need phone conferencing should understand the benefits of offering toll-free conference calls. What does “toll-free conference call” mean? Can it increase meeting attendance? Does a free-to-call number increase the perceived value of the call? How does toll-free conference calling increase your company's credibility?
How Toll-Free Conference Calls Work
A toll-free conference call means the participant does not have to pay long-distance charges to join. Participants get a toll-free number and an access code. At the scheduled time of the conference call, they dial the number and enter the access code.
The organizer also uses the toll-free number to initiate and manage the call.
The toll-free number works in the United States. Sometimes the organizer wants to include callers from other countries on the toll-free conference call. In that case, additional toll-free numbers can be provided for most countries. Additionally, the organizer or a conference call service operator can dial out to international callers and bring them on the call. This is called “International Dial-Out” and the caller does not incur any long distance charges.
The organizer pays for any long-distance charges as part of the final cost of the conference service.
Increase Meeting Attendance
Maximizing the number of people on a conference call is a goal of most conference organizers. The more who join the call, the more people tuning into your message. If they are current associates, representatives, and colleagues, they will all attend the same meetings at the same time, ensuring coherence. Current customers and prospects will gain insight into the benefits of your company's offerings, and get ready to buy–or buy again. Course participants will get value from the lesson and interaction.
Barriers to joining a conference call include:
- Value of the call content versus time spent on the call
- Perceived credibility and professionalism of the business
- Cost of call in long distance and cell phone minutes
- Convenience of the time and date of the call
Toll-free conference calls tear down some of these barriers to joining a call.
The Value of the Call Content
When preparing and marketing your call, emphasize the importance of the call. What material will be covered? What are the benefits of attending? Reassure potential participants that this will be time well spent. If you require advanced sign ups, provide a time-saving, mobile-friendly signup form. Make it easy for them to connect. Contact them before the phone meetings with reminders and dial-in information.
Credibility and Professionalism
Your conference call invitation needs to include the credentials of the speakers. What are their positions? What background and education do they bring to the table? How are they qualified to present this material?
Also, your company needs to look professional. Toll-free conference calls automatically elevate your company's prestige. Your business is willing to pay for any long-distance charges, so it obviously respects customer's costs.
Do you have VIPs speaking or joining the call? Make it easy for them to connect by giving them a toll-free number! They will not have to worry about any long distance charges. And your business will appear completely professional.
Phone Call Cost
Calls from a landline may incur long-distance charges. Some potential callers may hesitate to join the call for this reason. Calling a toll-free 800-type number is free to the caller. Certain landline plans have unlimited long-distance. Others have a flat rate for a set number of minutes per month. Others pay by the minute. The last two types will appreciate a toll-free number.
Mobile phones in the United States usually incur no extra fees for a long-distance call versus a local or toll-free call. They typically may pay based on minutes used or a flat monthly rate. Some cell phone plans have unlimited minutes. Others require a flat rate for a set number of minutes per month. And some plans pay per minute used.
Calling a toll-free number from a mobile phone uses minutes. Therefore, the length of the call is more important to mobile phone users than whether it is a toll-free number. This is especially true if they have a set number of minutes or have to pay per minute. Therefore, be sure to indicate the estimated length or end time of the call in your invitation.
Mobile phone callers have the convenience of using the same toll-free number as everyone else. They will have the same experience as other callers. It is unnecessary to provide a separate toll number for cell phone callers.
International callers can be especially sensitive to the cost of joining a US-based conference call. They can potentially face a significant long-distance bill, even if the number is within their own country or region. Therefore, providing a toll-free number can be important if inviting callers from other countries. International toll free dial-in phone numbers are available for over 50 countries. For other international locations or for VIP guests, a call host or a conference operator can ‘dial out’ from the conference and connect participants to the call to make it easy. These services are an excellent way to support your overseas callers.
Convenience of Call Time
You will try to pick a time for the call when the majority of callers can connect. There will always be people who want to hear the call, but can't make it at that time. One of the huge advantages of a professional conference call service such as Conference Calls Unlimited is that you can record the call. These callers can listen to the recording by phone or computer later. Contact them afterwards with replay instructions. Offering a recording knocks down yet another barrier to connecting. You can provide a toll-free number to listen to the recording, making it that much easier.
Designing your conference call to maximize attendance improves your bottom line. Toll-free conference calls address several barriers to connecting.
At Conference Calls Unlimited, we offer both toll-free and toll dial-in conference service solutions at competitive rates designed to meet your individual and business needs. Contact us to learn more.