Conference Lines- Toll vs. Toll-Free?
We are a start-up bootstrapping, so every dollar is precious. We recently changed to a conference line provider that lets you use either a toll-free number or a toll number. The toll-free number costs us 3 times the amount of the toll line.
My question is, is it OK to use the toll line or does it look cheap? I am just thinking in the day of cell phones and unlimited talk plans I don't think it makes sense to incur more cost, but I don't want to tarnish our company's image by looking cheap.
I use freeconferencecall.com for all of my conference calls. No one has ever complained.
Most people today have unlimited long distance either through business, cell service or via home calling plans.
If you are concerned, you can always split test. And remember, for a tool free number, you are the one paying the bill for each person on the line.
I find that the toll lines are no big deal -- most people either use cell phones, Skype or VOIP-based phone service in the office that it doesn't make much difference.
Looking cheap is not as important as it used to be. There are so many tech-savvy savings that may be had, for those with the smarts to employ them. Businesses more and more are appreciating the savings incurred in shopping smarter and being more critical in our consumption. Use the toll line by all means. We also use the freescreensharing app along with phone lines and find it extremely useful. Only upgrade when that benefits you and your company directly. Your clients will appreciate your passing along the savings.
Does your company have conference calls all the time? Do you think It is something that EVERYONE needs access to, or just certain key individuals? If your answer is the latter you can very easily use the many free conference call platforms like Cisco WebEx and eliminate the line provider. You also have the option to create an account for much cheaper and allow certain members access. All you really need is for you and your meeting members to have a steady internet connection (which most companies out there do nowadays), and you are set.
As far as image, I know plenty of companies that use the toll lines and no one really cares. You have to make a living right? We are all big boys and girls out here in the business world and whether it be phone, fedex, ups, usps, utilities, repairs, travel, dinners, or anything else, there are always expenses incurred in the successful running of a business. Ultimately it's up to you and how you want your business to run :)
Hope this was helpful, CHEERS!
Sorry... misread the question. Can't seem to delete my answer without writing something in this space!
Being a startup, you need to base this decision on price. If it is cheaper to use the toll number please use the toll number. You speak of the company reputation or tarnish it's image. Your company's reputation or image is based on how well you service your customers and the quality of your products.
I can shut my conference line's 800 number down... which I do. Most people call in on their cellphones.
The problem comes into play regarding Canadians and others who are out of the country. Even some 800# don't work for them.
I recommend that my listeners get SKYPE's service that provides them with access to other countries phone numbers.
As to does it look cheap... no. It's more common to NOT give out 800#
Certified as a Teleclass Leader in 2000
P.S. My resources for phones is at www.ElevatingYourBusiness.com/favorites/
https://www.freeconferencecall.com/ works for me........use it every week.......flawless
Lots of large companies in South Africa (especially mobile operators) provide toll-free options as long as you phone on their network, but if I were to, for example, phone the Vodacom call centre from a Telkom line, it will not be toll free.
So - if these large companies do not give complete toll-free solutions - and people accept this based on the fact that you sometimes can be on hold for an hour on a support call - people expect to pay for support calls to their providers.
Why should it be different for small business?
I think use the free calls if you can - if I was a client of your business, I would not have been perturbed at that, unless, of course, it did not work...
Hope this helps!
If you think about the economics of making a call these days, for most people their is no difference between toll and toll free. If you call from a cell phone, you get charged minutes regardless of the type of number you call, unless you have a more up to date plan that only charges you for data and gives you unlimited minutes as part of the package. Many home land lines (at least in major metropolitan areas) are much the same; call anywhere in the US with no limits and no long distance fees. Even companies can now get similar deals; either unlimited or a huge number of minutes as part of their data plan. In short, from a cost perspective most callers will see no difference. I've used toll conference numbers for the last 8-10 years in b to b conferences and haven't gotten a complaint in at least 6 (and even at the start it extremely rare). I highly recommend saving the money.
If your startup targets customers that are global it makes sense to provide international customers access to a Toll free number. Many carriers package free calls to toll free numbers.
One of the startups I advice recently used a similar service called 'grasshopper' www.grasshopper.com which provides very cost effective toll-free service that customers can call into, and the calls ring on your cell phones. You can also have unlimited extensions
I have been using UberConference - https://www.uberconference.com/. The service is great and the customer support is awesome. It just costs $10 for the PRO version.