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Audio Conferencing Services

Low cost audio conferencing services for corporations, businesses and non-profits, including toll free, flat rate and operator conference calls.

Meet Me Phone Conference Calls for Business and Non-Profits

Author: Lee Simonson

 
When it comes to arranging and having a phone conference call, using a meet-me service is the most popular way to go.  Tens of thousands of businesses, large and small, along with thousands of non-profit groups, use meet-me conferencing every day to collaborate on important projects, advance sales goals and keep everyone on the same page when it comes to important topics and issues.
 
Meet-me conferencing comes in several formats and you can choose the one that best accommodates your needs and budget.  The following are listed in order of their popularity and use:
 
1)  Pay-as-you-go Meet-me (Pay per use, pay per minute conferencing):  This is also known as pay-per-minute, or pay-per-use meet-me.  This comes in several flavors -- toll free, non-toll free, and local access. (See the links at the top of this page.)  Toll free is the top of the line service, providing your guests the convenience of dialing a toll free number from anywhere in the U.S. or Canada.  Non-toll free service (dialing a regular long distance number) costs less and is an excellent choice for those who are budget conscious.  Local access provides numbers in over 50 cities in North America that enable users to dial a nearby number.  No matter where they call from, everyone is automatically tied into the same conference bridge.  So, you could have someone dial a NYC number, an Atlanta number, a San Francisco number and a Miami number -- and everyone would be connected!  A great system.
 
2)  Unlimited flat/fixed rate Meet-me:  For a low monthly rate, you can enjoy unlimited 24/7 conferencing services.  Everyone dials the access number (in most cases, it would be a long-distance number) and then keys in their passcode.  That's it!  You can conference as much as you want, as long as you want for as little as $9 per month for 5 incoming lines.  Flat rate meet-me is the ideal solution for heavy conference users, particularly for internal organizational conferences.
 
3)  Local access (dialing a local number) Meet-me:  We have local conference call-in numbers in over 50 cities across the U.S. and Canada.  All of the numbers are connected to a common conference bridge.  So, your colleagues in Chicago, San Francisco, Miami and Houston, can all call a local number and be placed in the same conference.  Pretty amazing!  Better yet, the service rates are remarkably low, at only 2.9 cents per minute, per person.
 
4)  Operator managed Meet-me:  Have an important call?  Then have our professional operators do the work for you.  They will call out to each of your participants and place them into the conference.  Your guests only have to answer the phone.  You can also get additional services, including Question and Answer moderation, collection of data from each party, and monitoring.
 
Meet-me phone conferencing services have come a long way in the past few years.  Rates are much lower and the services have been expanded with many more options.  If you are looking to add meet-me to your business arsenal, give us a call at 877-254-2424 and we can set you up in no time.  There is no set-up fee and you'll enjoy outstanding customer service.  Contact us today!
 

Alternatives to Free Conference Calling Services

Author: Lee Simonson

 
Some things don't last.  Thanks to recent court rulings and changes in government regulations, free conference calling services will soon be coming to an end.  Users will be looking for suitable alternatives.  While there are services like Skype that offer free (or close to free) conferencing for small groups, the fact remains, not everyone has a Skype account or access to a computer with speakers and a microphone.  The vast majority of business and non-profit conference users still prefer to have access to on-demand audio conference call services using their regular phones or cell phones.
 
There are several alternative and popular conference services that provide high quality, 24/7 access, that you can consider.  24Conference.com specializes in the following services:
 
Unlimited Fixed Rate Conference Calling:  For as little as $9 per month, you can get unlimited conferencing.  You keep the same call-in number and passcodes and use them over and over again, as long as you want.  This alternative will be as close as you can get to duplicating your free service.  Moreover, you'll also get the additional benefits of being able to monitor your calls online in real-time, and being able to download free recordings of your conferences.  All in all, it's a great deal for one low flat monthly rate and many former free conference users find this option the best choice.  Click on the Flat Rate link at the top of this page for more details -- you'll see you have three call-in numbers to choose from.
 
Per Minute Conference Calling:  Also known as pay-as-you-go, this service has a per minute rate and includes a toll-free access number option.  Currently (July 2013) rates range from 2.9 cents per minute, per person, to 6.9 cents, depending on your level of service and features.  For example, users of free conferencing services are accustomed to dialing a long-distance number to access their calls.  For business purposes however, you may enjoy the convenience and benefits of having a toll-free access number, especially if want to save your associates or customers the cost of a long distance call.  And you may also want recordings included in your service as well.  Click on the Pay as You Go link at the top of this page to get details.
 
Professional Operator Dial-Out Conference Call:  Instead of having everyone call into a conference number, why not have our trained operators call them?  It's our top-of-the-line product and perfect for important conferences where you need the highest level of convenience and service.  Granted, it's probably not necessary for routine calls, but if you are having an important sales call, for instance, it's the perfect way to greet people and have them placed into the conference call.  The only thing they have to do is answer the phone!  Check out the Operator Conference Call link at the top of this page to get details.  You'll impress your colleagues and partners with the highest level of attention and service.
 
Using Local Numbers for Conferencing:  There is another service that only costs 2.9 cents per minute, per user, and provides the exceptional convenience of having your conferencing guests dialing a local number.  We offer 53 local numbers across the U.S. and Canada including Washington, DC (202), New York City (646), Los Angeles (203), Chicago (312), and Houston (832).  In fact, your conference guests can each dial their respective local number and all end up in the same conference.  So your New York City guests can dial 646, while your Los Angeles guests dial 203, while conferencing.  It's much cheaper than providing a toll free number and you get the same excellent results!  Check out the Local Access link at the top of this page.
 
Yes, the days of free conferencing are almost over, but you can take advantage of superior customer service, along with reliable and dependable technology, as you continue to collaborate and conference with your friends, working associates and clients. Give us a call at 877-254-2424 so we can find the right program you're looking for.  
 

Conference Bridge Hosting: Tips on Getting Started

Author: Lee Simonson

 

The bottom line on conferencing:  You can hire a conference hosting service for far less than what it would cost you to buy and maintain your own conference bridge equipment and hardware.  Here are some rules of thumb:
 
1)  If you are small to medium size company or association (less than 500 employees/members), your best bet is to retain the services of a reliable provider (like us) to give you secured access to one of our conference bridges.
 
2)  If you are a large enterprise and do a lot of conferencing, then yes, you should look into renting or buying your own conference call hardware.  (We can help you with that, too.)  However, when you consider telecommunication line costs, staff time, and maintenance, chances are you'll find outsourcing your conferencing is still less expensive.  It boils down to how you want to use your staff resources.  More often than not, you'll want your staff and associates spending their time on your business, and not trying to manage being in the conference call business.
 
Getting started to retaining the services of an conference bridge hosting service is easy and only takes a few minutes.  For the sake of example, let's say you wanted to retain our services here at 24Conference.com.
 
Here is the process:
 
-- Decide what kind of conference service you want?  Pay as You Go, or Flat Rate Unlimited?  Toll-free access, or non-toll free access?  Reservationless (you can conference on-demand, anytime) or Operator Managed (we call your participants for you and place them into the conference call.)  You can research all the alternatives, rates and features, by checking out the links at the top of this page.
 
-- Once you decide, you can call us at 877-254-2424, or you can fill out the online order forms.  There is no set up charge and no long term contracts.  You use your service month-to-month, and we charge your credit card accordingly.
 
-- When your order is received, we will set you up, usually within 30 minutes.  You will get an email with your conference call-in number, along with a set of two passcodes -- one for the host/moderator and the other for your guests/conferees.  You'll also receive simple instructions and control functions.  You can start using your conference service immediately once you receive your email.  Just have all your guests call the access number and use their passcode when prompted.  Remember, everyone has to use the # sign after inputting their 7-digit passcode.
 
It's that simple, so don't think that conferencing is complicated or confusing.  Let us know how we can help you enjoy the benefits of phone conferencing and collaboration by using our conference bridge hosting service.
 

24-7 Conference Call Services Are Available on Demand

Author: Lee Simonson

 

On demand, 24-7 conference call service is offered by nearly all conference vendors in various formats to fit budget conscience users. With the advent of global communications, and with business contacts and associates scattered throughout the world, the availability for 24-7 access has become ubiquitous.
 
Regardless of the time of day, conference users can access conference bridges on-demand to conduct business with no need to make reservations. When you sign up for a conference service you will be provided a call-in number and passcodes to enable you to begin your conference call at any time with any number of participants. You will either dial a toll free number, or a regular local number to get into your conference. Regarding costs, you can choose to pay a per minute cost or a monthly flat rate that provides you unlimited usage.
 
24-7 phone conference calling is gaining in popularity because it is cost effective and convenient. No matter where your contacts are in the world and no matter what time zone they are in, everyone can easily pick of the phone to stay connected. Maybe it's a software development project you are advancing in India. Or a manufacturing deal in China. Your contacts can collaborate and share ideas easily over the phone.
 
Scheduling is easy and is usually done with email notices sent out to all the participants, usually a couple of days before the conference call. Reminder email notices are sent closer to the actually start time.
 
Of course, all of this contrasts with the "the olden days" when the only conferences were provided by AT&T and you need to reserve an operator's assistance ahead of time. Conferencing was expensive back then but was not available on demand. Not only that, but many places in the world were not even wired for telephones. Today, nearly every corner of the world has access to wired or wireless phone technology. That fact itself has accelerated the use of conferencing as an important and essential business toll in a world economy that never sleeps.
 
Even in the event of disaster, most conference bridge service providers have redundant systems and back up plans to transparently re-route conference traffic. As a customer, you would never know the difference if you were using another back up bridge.
 
So whether the sun is rising or setting wherever you are, rest assured that the conference bridges you use never take a break.
 
Click here to get more information on 24-7 conference call services: http://www.24conference.com/flatrateteleconference

Outsourcing Conference Call Services

Author: Lee Simonson

For businesses and organizations who want to focus on their core mission and responsibilities, and have no interest in getting into their own conference call business, outsourcing is the logical choice. There is stiff competition in the conferencing field which have caused rates to fall. Moreover, there are deals out there that can offer you unlimited conferencing for one low flat rate a month, with no long term contracts.

Phone conference call companies can easily provide outsourced services that can save you a substantial amount of money.

In fact, if you spend less than $1000 a month on telephone conferencing services, you are way ahead by using the services of a professional conference call company. If you spend more than $1000 a month, you can still save by outsourcing, but you should also look at leasing or buying your own conference equipment. It all depends on your usage, what you anticipate your needs will be in the future, and if you want to go to the expense of maintaining the hardware and software.

 
When shopping for a phone conference company, here are some of the things that should be included in your checklist:
 
1) No long term contract. Don't tie yourself into a contract unless you are absolutely sure that the conference company can offer you high quality and good customer service. Use the service for a couple of months and get a hands on experience using the system.
 
2) Good customer service. Does someone answer the phone when you call?
 
3) Testimonials are good. See if their website has comments from customers.
 
4) A variety of plans and options. Do you want toll free or non-toll free service? Do you want to pay-as-you-go with a per minute account, or use the flat/fixed rate conferencing service? Do you need professional operators on the call to help you manage the conference or to call up the participants and put them into the call for you?
 
5) No set up fee. Most conference call companies do not require you to pay an upfront cost to set up an account.
 
Overall, telephone conference call services are saving organizations a substantial amount of money and time by enabling convenient discussions among colleagues and contractors without the need for additional hardware or software. The outsourced conferencing services are easily accessed and participants can schedule meetings over the phone at anytime. Companies, large and small are realizing substantial savings in reducing travel and meeting costs.
 
Businesses and non-profits can choose from several types of phone conferencing formats and features that can fit any particular budget. The bottom line is that conference services can benefit almost any organization that needs to improve communications within and among internal and external people and groups.
 
You can get more valuable information about phone conference companies here: http://www.24conference.com

Audio Teleconferencing Services Include Pay As Go You Plans

Author: Lee Simonson

Audio teleconferencing services are proving to be extremely valuable for business organizations and non-profits that are looking to save time and money communicating with associates, customers, prospects and membership.

 
In fact, audio teleconferencing is probably the simplest, easiest and fastest way to see immediate savings in increased productivity, faster decision making, and reduced travel and meeting costs. There is no ramp up time or investment, because the savings begin the minute you pick up the phone to start a phone conference call. Best of all, you don't need any special equipment or hardware to get started.
 
Setting up an audio teleconference service can be done in a couple of minutes. There are several different kinds of audio teleconference services and you need to pick out the right one for you.
 
"Pay as you go" audio conference plans are popular because you only pay for what you get -- no more or less. They are based on a per minute rate per person. In other words, 10 people on an audio conference for 10 minutes would equal 100 minutes. If for example, your toll free conference number was charged at 9 cents per minute, your cost for 10 people on the conference for 10 minutes would be $9 (100 minutes times 9 cents.) There is usually a slight premium paid for the advantage of using a toll free service, versus a non-toll free service. But either way, pay as you go plans offer audio conference users many benefits.
 
Another alternative, if you are a heavy and consistent user of audio conferencing, is a flat rate conference service that provides unlimited usage for set amount every month. For example, you could pay $29 a month for all your conference needs, and you would pay that flat rate whether or not you actually used the service. It can be extremely cost effective, however, the only catch is that the service does not provide an 800 conference number. Everyone who has to call into the bridge uses a regular non-toll free number. (Of course, if you have free long distance bundled with your local service, or are calling from a cell phone, you would not incur any expenses.)
 
All in all, audio teleconferencing has become a valuable addition to a suite of outsourced business solutions that have revolutionized the way people do business and communicate. Add in web and video conferencing, and you have created a new virtual environment where you can not only talk to colleagues and customers, but see and interact with them as well. Technological breakthroughs continue to make the world flatter and more accessible and those businesses and organizations that use cutting edge communication tools to improve their productivity and work flow will reap the greatest rewards.
 
For more information about audio teleconferencing and pay as you go conference plans, give us a call.  We look forward to serving you.

Telephone Conference Services Recommended

Author: Lee Simonson

 

Because a conference call service is so easy to set up and use, it is becoming an increasingly popular way to enhance communications among working colleagues, salespeople and prospects, and project coordinators.
 
Telephone conference services are becoming a valued resource in improving communications and cutting expenses and are being recommended as a way to advance projects in business and organizations.
 
There are numerous phone conference call services that can be found online and while they all use the same basic technology, they compete on price and customer service. Once you sign up with a telephone conference service you will be emailed your account information. The account information will include the conference call-in number that everyone invited to the conference will call, along with a moderator (host) and participant (guests) passcode.
 
You'll need to decide if you want an account that offers unlimited usage for one flat rate a month with a non-toll free call-in number, or an account that charges per minute for a toll free number. Since most people have free long distance included on their cell phones, businesses or home phones, flat rate teleconferencing service is very popular. On the other hand, if you are using the conference bridge for sales calls with prospects, offering them a toll free number is more convenient and professional.
 
Here is a quick rundown on how it works:
 
Those calling in on the moderator passcode have access to several features. (Yes, more than one person can call in on the moderator passcode.) The most popular feature involves a "lecture mode" where everyone in the conference call is muted except for those who call in on the moderator code. This is very helpful in eliminating the distracting background noises coming from the participants, which can be anything from vacuum cleaners and fire sirens to televisions and dogs barking. You just never know where people are calling from.
 
When you set up your conference call account, you can opt for several no-cost options and preferences which include things like music on hold which delays the conference until the moderator logs in, audible beeps of participants coming in and out of the conference, and an automatic hang up feature which disconnects everyone as soon as the last moderator hangs up. 
 
Depending on the service, you can also receive at no charge, the ability to log into your conference account online and monitor the conference in real time by watching participants entering and leaving the conference. You can identify the callers by the Caller ID numbers they have which are posted on your website. It's a great way to see who is on the call and the number of callers.
 
Other feature instructions, including such controls as volume and locking the conference to prevent others from joining you, are included in your original email.
 
High level conferencing involving professional operator conference calls can also be obtained. Operators can call out to your list of participants and be placed into the conference. Operators can also coordinate question and answer sessions, introductions and monitor the call for other requested services. The service costs more but it is the premiere conferencing service and many businesses, especially law firms, utilize it for clients and associates.
 
In summary, telephone conference services are readily available and an easy fit into your business or organization. They are much more cost effective than traditional face-to-face meetings and are saving organizations of all sizes time and money.
 
You can get more information about telephone conference services here: http://www.24conference.com/flatrateteleconference
 

Audio Conference Services from 24Conference.com

Author: Lee Simonson

Audio conferencing services are becoming a valuable tool in the business and non-profit world because they bring convenience and cost savings to users. Audio conferences are also known as voice or phone conferences. They differ from web or video conferences because they transmit only sound.

 
While audio conference calls can take on many forms, including web-based VOIP (voice of Internet protocol), the vast majority of audio conferences take place over the phone, either with regular analog or cell phones. In fact, many of the conference bridges in use today are having a difficult time accepting incoming calls from VOIP connections because of the different technology used to transmit voice signals.
 
There are several options available to organizations interested in using audio conferencing to save time and money. The first option, of course, is to go and buy your own conference bridge. Unless you are a very large company, this option doesn't have too many advantages. Second, you can buy the service and leave the maintenance headaches to someone else. This is by far, the most popular alternative.
 
Audio conference service providers have a variety of programs available for almost any application or budget. Everything from unlimited flat rate service to the more professional operator assisted calls are services that are offered. 
 
There are pros and cons for each service and you'll have to decide which service works best for you. For example, unlimited flat rate service is extremely cost effective since there are no limits on usage and you can talk as long as you want, anytime you want. However, it is not toll free and participants have to dial a long distance number to access the conference bridge. While that used to be an issue several years ago, nowadays, most organizations have free long distance (or nearly free) and the long distance call is not an issue. While you have unlimited usage with flat or fixed rate conferencing, the downside is that you pay for it during the months you may not use it at all.
 
On the other hand, occasional conference users may prefer the pay-as-you-go conference plans that bill you for minutes used, no more or less. For toll free convenience, you will pay a bit more than you would for non-toll free pay-as-you-go service.
 
Top of the line service is the operator conference call, where professional conference operators either call out to the participants or greet conferees on the phone and place them manually into an audio conference call, introducing each caller to those participants who are already in the conference.
 
There are other forms of audio conferencing as well, including events where there may be several hundred people on the call at once. During those calls, the moderators or leaders of the calls can mute all the participants so only the leaders can be heard. That is called "lecture mode" and is the only feasible way to conduct a conference call of that size because of the noise generated by so many callers.
 
Audio conference plans and services are growing in importance as companies realize how much time and money they can save by avoiding meeting and travel costs. Managers are finding the best alternative in moving a project forward is to just sit at their desk, get on the phone and talk to all the players at the same time.
 
For more information about the various audio conference services, click here: http://www.24conference.com/flatrateteleconference

How to Make and Have a Conference Call

Author: Lee Simonson

 

There are many ways to make and have a conference call. How you do it depends on the purpose of the conference. For instance, is the conference for a casual family or social purpose? Or would it be for a professional or business reason?
 
For a friends and family conference, there are a number of free services that are available where you can connect over the Internet. For example, Skype, Yahoo or MeBeam.com are known for providing free desktop video conferencing capabilities. Using those services is fast, easy and very inexpensive.
 
However, if the purpose of your call is for business or non-profit work, then you may want to consider more professional services that provide privacy, functionality and reliability. There are dozens of phone and web conference service providers who would be happy to accommodate you -- each with their specialties and rates.
 
Set up is easy and there is usually no cost to set up an account. You can get a flat rate teleconference service which gives you unlimited usage, or pay as you go on a per minute basis. Pay as you go plans are great for occasional users since you only get billed for what you use, when you use it. The most important decision you need to make involves the choice between having a toll free conference number to access the conference bridge, or just a regular long distance number you can call. Obviously, toll free service is more expensive.
 
Once you sign up for your conference call account, usually online or over the phone, you will be emailed your call-in number and passcodes. You'll get one passcode for the host or moderator of the conference call, and another for the guests or participants. Everyone calls the same number, and puts in their respective codes. More than one person can call in on the moderator code. The moderator(s) will have a set of controls they can use to perform several functions, including muting all the participants so only the moderators can be heard and the background noise is eliminating.
 
The next step is to invite everyone by calling or emailing them the coordinates of the meeting -- the time, the call in number to use, and the passcodes to use. If you are having a web conference or video conference, your participants will also need the web address to log into. Please remember, conferences are like dentist appointments -- people have a tendency to forget about showing up. So, it is important to send a stream of reminders.
 
On the high end of conferencing is an operator assisted call. Participants don't do anything except answer their own phone when a professional operator calls them and places them into a conference. Very convenient, very professional, and gives a good impression, especially for business calls.
 
Also, it's a good idea to remind participants to call from a quiet place without distracting background noise, and to use the mute button when coughing or sneezing. One person's sneeze can be heard by dozens of people. Also, make sure that everyone is reminded to NOT press their Hold button if their phone automatically plays music on hold. Tell them to press Mute instead because you don't want their music to be interrupting or ruining your whole conference. Calling from a regular land line phone is also helpful, since many of today's conference bridges are challenged to merge the analog and Internet phone technologies. A bad cell phone connection can make a conference call more difficult as well.
 
Many conference services have a web control feature included for free with their service. In a situation like that, where someone has distracting noises or has accidentally starting playing music, moderators can mute them from their web controls. Otherwise, stay focused on your topic, speak slowly and clearly, and try to keep your call brief. That will insure a successful call.
 
You can learn more about how phone conference calls, or web conferencing, work by clicking here: http://www.24conference.com/flatrateteleconference
 

Conference Call Recommendations

Author: Lee Simonson

Conference call service recommendations depend on the type of quality and service you need. If you are casual user who likes to talk to friends, a free conference service would be fine. However, businesses and associations would need a more professional service that is more reliable and geared toward providing customer service.

 
If you are a business, organization or association and are looking for conference service options there are many recommendations, including these top 6:
 
1) It's always best to provide an 800 call in number for customers and prospects, so they don't have to pay long distance charges to listen to you trying to sell them something. Conference calls that take place among internal company colleagues and associates usually wouldn't need a toll free number to call, since the long distance charges they pay would be less than paying for toll free service. So, the recommendation here is to have a toll free conference service for customers and prospects, and a non-toll free service for internal company calls.
 
2) Don't buy conference bridge hardware for your company if your conferencing costs are less than $2500 per month. Instead of getting hardware, just rent the service. You'll send up way ahead. Not to mention you'll be saving a small fortune on maintenance and line charges.
 
3) If you are an occasional conference user and only conference once or twice a month, you are better off on a pay-as-you-go basis. You only get billed for what you use. On the other hand, if you are heavy user you should get the fixed or flat rate conferencing service that gives you unlimited usage for a set rate each other. There are no per minutes charges with the fixed rate service and you can talk as much as you want, anytime you want.
 
4) If you get the unlimited fixed rate service, and want to add the convenience of a toll free number, you should consider a "hybrid" approach. Get a toll free number and have it "ring to" the flat rate conference bridge. So, very simply, you can save a ton of money by having your associates call the regular toll number to get into the conference, and at the same time, have your customers or prospects use the toll free number to end up at the same place. That way, you aren't paying for toll free expenses for everyone -- you are only giving the toll free number out to the people who need it. Everyone else is using the conference service for next to nothing.
 
5) Calling into a conference bridge on a regular landline phone will improve the quality of the call, versus using a cell phone or VoIP connection. If you are having quality issues, have everyone call from a regular analog landline phone. Otherwise, if the call quality is bad, you can have the caller mute himself, or the moderator can mute all the callers, or you can get an operator to isolate the issue and just mute that one caller with a bad connection.
 
6) If a conference call is very important, and there is a lot riding on the call (i.e. big contract or deal) you are well advised to get operator assistance. The operators can call out to each party and introduce participants into the conference. This professional touch will impress your most skeptical prospects and demonstrate you are taking the discussion very seriously. Having a professional operator handle and organize your conference with the highest level of service usually pays for itself many times over.
 
There are many other conference call service recommendations that you provider would be more than happy to discuss with you. Talk to a pro to get all your options on the table. Once you see your choices you can proceed confidently knowing that the program you pick is the best one for you.
 
You can get more information about various conference call service recommendations and options here: http://www.24Conference.com