Is Free Conferencing Worth the Cost?
As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” For the most basic of conferencing needs, free conferencing services may be somewhat functional. However, they do not provide the robust, business-grade conferencing that is needed and expected from enterprise customers. Free conferences are typically used by entrepreneurs, small business owners, occasional conference callers, non-profits, etc. Free conferences do not have the advanced capabilities required for enterprise collaboration. Between customer service, security, ease of use and professional impressions for growing businesses, free conferencing just doesn’t cut it.
Entrepreneurs starting a new venture may use free conferencing services. In the beginning of a new business venture it is important to save money and grow business in the right areas. At some point in the growth process, perception and professionalism are extremely important in making long-term connections and being taken seriously. As important as collaboration is, it is necessary for a growing company to have a reliable conferencing solution that won’t leave a negative impression with potential customers, clients or partners. Choosing the correct conferencing and collaboration solutions will simplify your day-to-day interactions and leave peace-of-mind for both you and those with whom you collaborate. This way you can ensure that there will not be any unnecessary interruptions (dropped calls, voices cutting out, static, echoes, etc).
By the same token, customer service and satisfaction is key to enterprise customers. Free conferencing services don’t owe you anything. Since the service is free there is no obligation to customer satisfaction and most complaints are used as leverage to promote a non-free version of service. When your free service fails and doesn’t perform to enterprise standards who is to blame? It’s difficult to demand better quality from a service that you aren’t paying for and the more frustrated you become with the lack of quality, the more leverage your free conferencing service has to offer you their costly, business-grade solution. As a non-paying customer, the free conferencing company has no obligation to you and the quality of your conference calls until they can upgrade you to becoming a paying customer.
When it comes to security, using a free conferencing service can be a huge risk. There’s no way to know where exactly your call is being hosted, what security measures are used and very few ways to regulate who is dialing in. With a free service you can guarantee your conferences are being held on a public cloud with virtually no way of limiting outside, unwanted access. For example, having the ability to require a specific password or individual pins for each caller joining your conference is an easy, extra layer of security provided by enterprise-grade solutions to make sure only those who were invited can access the call. Additionally, free conferencing services don’t allow for a host to lock a conference once all needed participants have arrived, which is yet another layer of security that gives you peace of mind that only necessary and required individuals are listening in. In today’s widely tech savvy environment, it is more important than ever to take proper security measures and free conferencing service providers can’t compete.
Adding to these downfalls, the lack of common conferencing features take away from the overall experience of simple and convenient collaboration. Free conferencing services generally do not allow for any dial out or recording capabilities, which are extremely helpful features for most enterprise collaboration. Having a dial out feature is especially important in emergency situations when you may need to unexpectedly bring someone into a conference to help with damage control. Even with scheduled weekly meetings, dial out simplifies the process of starting a meeting by allowing the system to automatically dial out to participants in the scheduled meeting. Recording is another feature that is extremely useful for many enterprise collaborators. It can be used for basic archival purposes as well as quality assurance and a convenient way to catch up anyone who may not have been able to attend the meeting. Advanced features such as these simplify the collaboration process and allow your users to focus on collaborating, while still having the resources to go back and review important topics that were covered.
Ultimately, free conferencing services do not provide the level of quality, security, customer service or ease of use that is needed to collaborate simply and safely. Enterprise-grade solutions have an abundance of security features that allow you to make sure any sensitive information being discussed is safe and only heard by those who it’s meant for. They provide access to fully committed customer services and have easy-to-use, advanced features that allow you to collaborate to your full potential. These advantages improve professionalism and business relations by removing frustrating and unnecessary challenges brought about by relying on free conferencing solutions. Though a free price tag is hard to pass up, it is clear why free conferencing services ultimately don’t fit the bill.