Free Conference Call: How to Improve Collaboration With Conferencing Services

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August 3, 2021 | 6 Mins Read

a diverse team of colleagues having a free conference call in a modern office

Conference calling with friends and family can be fun. But in business, this form of communication is essential. It facilitates resolving customer problems and queries, discussing contracts with suppliers, and formulating plans and ideas among colleagues and team members. 

With the pandemic forcing many businesses to adopt remote or hybrid working, and 86% of UK workers wanting to work remotely at least once per week, the way we communicate has never been more crucial. 

Our use of technology to communicate has also increased to meet the needs of the changing workforce. When it is no longer a case of walking across the office for a chat, having the tools to keep in touch means we keep our business running. But we also don’t want increased costs. So how can free conference calls help us stay in touch and to collaborate?

Why do teams use free conference call services?

The most obvious reason to employ free conference calling services is to unite scattered teams.  These are often split over several locations, either due to remote/hybrid working or simply because the organisation has many physical locations spread over the United Kingdom and the world. 

But what are the actual benefits of free conference call services?

  • Communication

Emails or instant messaging may miss out on nuances in a conversation. Video conferencing allows for proper discussion, with the tone of voice and body language can be communicated effectively. This can transform your employees’ entire outlook on meetings.

  • Costs

Using a free conference call service means that you avoid the potential costs of bringing together people from different locations for a physical meeting. And with no need for costly software or hardware, it’s a budget-friendly option. 

  • Identity

On a free conference call, all the players can identify themselves and their roles. This can be essential when vital decisions have to be made. It also plays a big part if the call is between different companies (an organisation and its supplier or potential client, for example).

  • Spontaneity

Sometimes, an online meeting may need to be called quickly and urgently. For a physical meeting, that can mean time is lost while team members gather. With a conference call, a meeting can be called at concise notice. 

  • Attention

How many of us have ignored an email or instant message, promising to get to it later? A conference call demands your immediate attention, and you’ll typically need a good reason to ignore an invite.

Is there a free conference call app?

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Several conference call apps are 100% free, but these usually have some drawbacks. These shortcomings can include things like poor call quality, complex processes to invite or join the call, and hidden costs if you want extra features. They may be ok for smaller businesses and meetings but not for larger organisations.

For a better solution, you may want to consider an alternate service such as RingCentral Video. While you have to pay a monthly subscription fee for this unified communications platform, you get high-quality service with several benefits like toll-free phone numbers for users and thousands of free call minutes. The pricing is also very reasonable. 

Essential features of a free conference call app

If you’re considering a conference call app, there are some features you may consider essential, though these may vary according to your needs:

  • Calendar

Good calendar management (including syncing with Google) can be a critical feature. This means everyone knows when meetings are scheduled, and you can do so to fit everyone’s timetable.

  • File sharing

A great meeting doesn’t limit itself to the verbal conversation. You may need to share files such as graphs, screenshots, sales figures, etc. If an app doesn’t offer this feature, you could miss out on important info. 

Recording what happened during a conference call can be crucial. Recordings can work to confirm points made or information given and inform and improve training procedures. 

  • International dial-in

Crucial if you have global offices or want to connect with international clients or suppliers. 

  • Access

Your system should allow access from all devices, including mobile phones such as iPhones and Android devices, so you’ll never have to be tethered to a landline again. 

Access to this feature can be a significant help. You may want to communicate something with one participant in the meeting without everyone else ‘hearing’. Being able to send info or a prompt to a colleague could be a determining factor in how a meeting goes. 

  • Security/encryption

You’ll likely discuss important or sensitive data during any conference call. Knowing your conversation is encrypted end-to-end and that all data is safe can provide peace of mind. 

How Do I Set Up a Free RingCentral Conference Call?

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Setting up a conference call with RingCentral for the first time is very straightforward. If you’re the call organiser/host, there are only a few simple steps:

  • Download and install the RingCentral app. 
  • Click the ‘schedule’ button. (invites will be sent by email or text).
  • Click the ‘start button.
  • Wait for invitees to join.
  • Start the meeting (note: you can invite additional people while the meeting is live).

How Do I Join a Free Conference Call Meeting with RingCentral?

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Joining a RingCentral conference call for the first time is as easy as setting one up, but the process is slightly different depending on whether the call is audio or video-based. 

Audio

  • Dial into the call meeting number provided at the scheduled time. 
  • Input the access code you’ve been given.
  • Join the meeting and introduce yourself.

Video

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  • Use the link provided in your invite. (you may need to install the app if you haven’t already).
  • Check audio and video settings and make sure everyone can see and hear you clearly.
  • Introduce yourself!

How RingCentral Makes Free Conference Calls Easy For Everyone

If you’re hosting a conference call, you want everyone you invite to be able to access and join effortlessly. RingCentral has some amazing features that guarantee accessibility and can help enhance your online meetings. 

Audio Conference

  • Hd audio
  • You get a dedicated dial-in number for audio conferencing for easy access. 
  • Both host and users get a unique access code belonging only to them.
  • Your audio conferencing line is available 24/7. 
  • VoIP access. 
  • You can host an unlimited number of calls with up to 1,000 participants per call. 
  • Conferencing will work on any device from any location. 
  • The host/organiser has complete control of the call.

Video Conference 

  • High-quality HD video.
  • Screen sharing options: share documents, graphs, files, etc.
  • Gallery offers views of up to 25 simultaneous video streams.
  • Chat integration.
  • Compatibility with all operating systems. 
  • Calendar integration. 
  • Places spotlight on whoever’s talking.
  • Multi-point video calls.

Frequently Asked Questions 

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1. What are the types of conference call services?

There are two types of conference call services-100% free ones, which can be very basic and will have limitations on features and functionalities. Or, you can choose a unified communications solution like RingCentral, which, although charging a monthly fee, offers high-quality functions and features and thousands of free minutes.

2. How does a free conference call make money?

You’ll often find that a completely free service is a lower-tier service offered by a company that also offers paid subscriptions. However, these are not non-profit companies, and these free services usually make their money by routing non-free calls through smaller exchanges that pay them a commission. 

3. What is the limit of conference calls?

The problem with entirely free services is that they usually limit both participants and the call length. That can be as low as 10 participants and 30-40 minutes per call. With RingCentral Video, you can host up to 1,000 participants (ideal for webinars or conferences) for an unlimited duration. 

4. Can a free conference call do video?

Yes, some free call conference services do offer free video options but with the limitations already discussed.

5. What is the best free conference call service?

RingCentral Video tops the list of services according to many independent websites. While not completely free, the benefits and features it offers make it the number one choice.

6. Is a free conference call safe?

That depends on the conferencing solution you choose. You should always select a conferencing service that has been designed for business, as it is more likely to offer higher levels of security and encryption. 

RingCentral maintains a strong focus on your security and privacy. As they’re a cloud-based company, they approach the crucial issue of cybersecurity on four levels: ‘Enterprise, Cloud, Product, and Customer Trust’. With end-to-end encryption on calls and high levels of enterprise security, you can be sure your data and information are always safe.

7. How can I get a free conference call number?

Processes will vary from provider to provider. But with RingCentral, once you have set up the service, you’ll be equipped with your own VoIP number. If you’re going to host many conference calls, you can request a dedicated dial-in number for conferencing.

The Takeaway 

Man having conference call online

With an increasingly remote or hybrid workforce, conference calls take on an equally increasing role. Connecting teams across physical distances enhance communication and encourage more collaborative working despite scattered geography. 

But you have to beware of the use of the term ‘free’. It can be a misleading term, and, particularly for larger businesses, a completely free service may put limitations on what you can execute and the features to which you’ll have access. A paid service with better features may save you more in the long term, as you won’t have to add on features or use 3rd party mobile apps to get the job done. 

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