Audio Conferencing Companies

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Audio conference calls are the simplest, easiest way to bring people together who are separated from each other by distance and time zones. However, services vary company to company, as do their rates. To know what's best for your situation, it's good to get a handle on the basic services offered by most professional conference call providers.

Audio Conference Company Features

Some companies assign a specific phone number to participants for a finite period of time. For instance, 888-222-5555 would be assigned to users on Tuesday from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, Eastern time. Other companies need much more flexibility, and so are assigned a dedicated phone number, for all conference calls, for a contracted period of time. In this case, the above phone number would be available to users 24 hours a day, for a period of a month or more.

Systems can be fully automated, or feature operator assistance. Operator assisted calls typically cost more per minute, but are well worth the expense for conferences requiring data gathering, and complicated Q&A sessions. Operators are also crucial to direct callers who may have lost their conference access passwords, and need help being patched in to the conference.

Rates vary wildly between providers. Some companies charge by the month. Others charge simple, by the minute rates. Operator assistance and recording/archiving options cost more. Companies may charge per-conference surcharges, as well as program sign up fees, and monthly "maintenance" fees. Examine your contract carefully for hidden charges.

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