Q: How does a conference call service work?
A: Conference call services give businesses the ability to host calls with multiple people, regardless of where they are located, at one time. While most modern business communication systems already include conferencing services, you can also sign up for a separate conference calling service in addition to your existing phone system. With these add-on services, you are typically provided a local or toll-free phone number you and attendees call to access the conference line. Each caller is then prompted for a host or participant access code. Depending on how you set up the service, participants are either placed immediately in the meeting room or put on hold until the meeting's host starts the call.
There are two separate types of conference call services: reservationless and operator-assisted. Reservationless, as the name suggests, are calls that do not require previous scheduling and are most often used for everyday communication. Operator-assisted calls are generally used for more formal meetings, such as an investor call, and can support thousands of callers at a time, with a dedicated operator who helps run the call.
Q: Can I use Google Hangouts for conference calls?
A: Yes, Google Hangouts offers conference call services. To start a conference call in Google Hangouts, start a new conversation, then click New Group, and enter the names or phone numbers of the people you wish to add, then click Video Call or Message.
Q: How do you set up a conference call?
A: The process of setting up a conference call will vary depending on the service you use and which type of call – reservationless or operator-assisted – you are making. The basic steps are to schedule the call, invite participants, and send the information participants will need to join the call, such as time, date, and link or phone number. You can read more about how to set up a conference call and read our tips for having a successful conference call.
Q: What is a dial-in conference call?
A: A dial-in conference call allows multiple participants to be connected together seamlessly via a conference call bridge. Dial-in conferencing services are reservationless, meaning you do not need to schedule them ahead of time.
Q. Do conference call providers offer free trials?
Yes, some conference call providers offer 14- or 30-day free trials. There are also a number of strictly free services. With these, you might not have access to all the features and tools a paid service offers, but you will have the basic functionality to hold quality conference calls.
However, if you need a robust feature set, you should either look for a conference call service that offers a free trial or ask those that don't if they will let you test out the service for free for a week or two. Some companies might let you try the service if they know it will lead to a paid agreement in the future.
Q. How many callers can be on a conference call?
It depends on the service provider. For example, if you are using a conference bridge that is built into your business phone system, you may be limited to hosting meetings with eight or 10 people. However, most dedicated conference call services let you host reservationless meetings with at least a few hundred people. The exact number may depend on the service plan you select. With operator-assisted calls, however, you can expect to be able to host conference calls with thousands of people at one time.