5 Questions to Ask When
Choosing a Conferencing Provider
You’ve decided that your business needs a conferencing provider. You’re sick of the headaches and hassles that come along with dropped calls, frozen screens, and obnoxious static and echoes. And, when effective communication is so critical to your success, you know it’s time that you find a provider who will help streamline things for you, your colleagues, and your customers.
But, now what? How can you go about actually finding a conferencing provider who fits the bill and will be a great complement to your business? It’s not as overwhelming as you might think—as long as you know what questions to ask prospective providers. Here are five things you should be sure to get answers to when deciding which conferencing provider is best for you.
Finding the best conferencing provider all begins with finding one who can check all of the boxes on your “must-haves” list.
But, before you can determine whether or not a provider is able to meet your needs, you first need to know what they are.
Before you begin talking to prospective providers, sit down with your team or any necessary decision makers and jot down exactly what you’re looking for in a conferencing provider. Things you’ll want to sort out include:
- What features you need: Ask your users what functionality is critical. Do you need to be able to use the solution to record? For security concerns, do you need to control who joins conferences?
- What difficulties you have: Were there shortcomings with your past solution? Could your users’ current process be improved?
- What your budget is: It’s important to have a number in mind, so that you can not only find the best provider, but also one that you can actually afford.
With those things sorted out, you can then share your needs with the prospective provider you’re speaking with. Is there anything you need that the service can’t provide? And, if so, is that something that you’re willing to compromise on?
As much as you want a solid conferencing provider, you also don’t want it to completely blow your company’s budget.
This is why it’s important to talk with the potential provider about the pricing structure of their service.
Be forewarned, some solutions can be a little sneaky about this. So, when an initial price is shared with you, be sure to ask a few follow- up questions. A few points you’ll want to clarify include:
- What exactly is included in that cost?
- Are there setup fees?
- Will the price change if we increase our number of users?
- Are there certain service features that are priced separately?
- Should we expect a price increase within the next year?
Asking specific questions like these will help you to cut through any sales pitches and get an exact cost for the service you’re looking for—which is undeniably important when making your final decision.
You want your conferencing service to be effective. But, ideally, you also want it to be easy to use. When joining a web conference, not everybody you’re going to be communicating with is a computer whiz, and you want to ensure that the service is as user-friendly as possible.
One thing you’ll want to be sure to ask is whether or not users will need to download specific software in order to use the service to communicate with you. For some, that’s not a big deal. But, for others, it can involve a bit of a hassle. If you’re planning to conference with different people on a daily or weekly basis, for example, requiring all of them to install software before your chat could complicate things for you. If the service does require a software install, follow up by asking how simple that process is. Ideally, the provider will have some sort of automated process in place to prompt the user to download the software ahead of your call.
Finally, you can also ask that potential provider how easy it is to use, navigate, and troubleshoot if necessary. How do they help your users get comfortable – do they offer training and is it included?
Even if the service offers incredible ease of use, sometimes technical hiccups still occur. In those cases, you want to feel confident that you can get in touch with a support person promptly—rather than waiting on hold with that obnoxious elevator music blaring into your ear for over an hour.
This is why you should be sure to ask about the provider’s customer support procedures. Is there someone specific that you call? Will you have a dedicated Account Manager? Is their customer service internal, or do they outsource it to a call center? On average, how long does it take to get in touch with a customer service representative?
Making sure to touch on that stuff right from the get-go will help you choose a provider that offers the level of service you need, while saving you any nasty surprises (or headaches!) down the line.
When it comes to conferencing providers, you know that you have options at your fingertips. So, to wrap things up, ask the provider to share their strengths.
What do they think they bring to the table that other providers are lacking? What do they think differentiates them from the other services that are out there?
While the answer to this question probably won’t be your deciding factor, it can help to sway you if you’re feeling torn between two different providers.
Choosing a conferencing and collaboration partner you can trust is no easy feat. You need someone you can rely on. A company that isn’t going to let you down, especially when it’s your reputation on the line. Ask these questions, and you’re sure to narrow down your options and ultimately land on a provider that’s best for you.