Free conference call services on the web may sound tempting for your business, but let us look at the pros and cons of these services. The fundamentals of these services create certain limitations that can make your business suffer.
The Basics of Free Conference Calls
Free conference call services are funded primarily through advertising. In some cases, conference calls are free only for a trial period and then must be paid for. Truly free conference call providers cannot pay for proper customer service through advertising revenue alone. This is why free conferencing is usually just a hook to get customers to sign up for a paid service.
Free Conference Call Customer Service
Consider yourself in a conferencing situation with an international client. You may experience problems with static or line noise making communication awkward. If you cannot resolve the problem quickly through customer service, only the most understanding potential clients would consider giving you a second chance later. Rescheduling because of technical issues is simply unprofessional, unacceptable and likely to cost you a client.
Unfortunately, such line noise problems are common to free conference call services. They often run on public VoIP lines that are affected by innumerable factors, in the same way that Internet transfers and cell phone calls are easily disrupted. Paid services can offer dedicated and stable lines that you can depend on to provide clear call quality at every meeting.
The Problem with Most VoIP Conference Calling Services
In traditional telephone networks, connections have a dedicated line, preventing interruptions in the line of communication. Public IP networks work differently. Information travels wherever links are available. A large file transfer can take up the bandwidth resulting in choppy signals or broken communications.
IP networks are designed with software in mind, not voice. This is why streaming content is buffered before it begins playing on your computer. The buffering allows the program to compensate for disruptions, giving a steady clear stream. This is not possible in real-time, live communications. While buffering could prevent disruption, there will always be a delay as the signal is buffered. This hampers and inhibits rapport building with the client, making it more like using a push to talk system than a two-way interface.
Paid services can offer private, dedicated IP networks that eliminate the possibility of file transfer disruptions and other problems. The advertising revenue that free services earn is simply not enough to pay for such an infrastructure.
Brad Percival is a consultant, author and conference call expert. For more information on conference calling services check out http://www.FlyConferencing.com.
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