These are the best free conference call apps to use for conversations with your clients. Each of these systems are easy to use and increase your professionalism during meetings.
Business owners: just because you work remotely, doesn’t mean you don’t have any more meetings or you have to miss out on seeing the facial expressions of your clients. Talking to your clients or your team face-to-face (at least virtually!) is still very important. You can create goals, strategies, and plans together without a bunch of back-and-forth emails.
Additionally, being able to see the facial expressions of your clients can allow you to better understand if there are questions or misunderstandings that aren’t being verbalized.
Let’s look at how to set up a video conference call and the best free programs that are reliable and easy to use.
How To Set Up A Conference Call
Before we get into which apps and programs are best, let’s look at how to set one up. Scheduling and holding an online meeting can be pretty tricky, and there are a few things you should remember.
#1 Notify Everyone Ahead of Time
First, as you are planning the meeting, make sure and give everyone involved enough time to make arrangements so they can attend. Usually, this means scheduling the meeting at least 2-3 weeks ahead.
Use a program that integrates with the most popular calendar apps, that way all they have to do is click a button and the meeting is added to their calendar.
Remember to ask your clients for permission before recording the call so you and your client can reference it later, and even get transcription if needed.
#2 Make It Simple
Next, use a program that has a dial-in number, video feature, and chat capabilities. You never know what kind of technical issues people will run into and you want to be able to communicate with people in a variety of ways.
It’s also a really good idea to check with your client(s) ahead of time and make sure they know how to join the call. Often times this means they will need to download the app and set up a login or profile before the meeting. That way you aren’t spending meeting time trying to fix technical issues.
#3 The Host Should be Somewhere Quiet
This is very important. The host should lead the meeting from a quiet office or conference room. Don’t sit in a noisy coffee shop or busy street. It will be difficult for people to hear and understand what the host is saying.
Another thing that will help the host be heard clearly is wearing some kind of headphones with a built-in microphone. This cuts down on the white noise that comes through and helps everyone hear the host’s voice clearly.
#4 Send An Agenda Ahead of Time
Let people know what the meeting will entail so they can be prepared. This will also help people to follow along and keep the meeting on track.
#5 Send A Meeting Summary
Finally, at the end of the meeting, send a follow-up email that reminds everyone what was covered and what was decided. This is especially important if there were any tasks delegated at the meeting or action items that need to be completed before the next meeting.
Best Free Conference Call Programs
Now that you know how to set up an online meeting, what are the best programs to use?
Whether you need to set up a conference call on your iPhone or need something that will work from your laptop, these are the best free conference call programs out there.
Zoom conference has quickly become one of the highest-rated conferencing programs out there.
This app has a basic plan that is free to use. You can host up to 100 participants and it offers call-in, video, and chat features.
The sound quality of Zoom conference is near-perfect.
With Zoom, you just send the participants a link. They click it and join the meeting either via video or by calling in or even simply listening in to the call and utilizing the chat room option.
I like how in Zoom you can set it to default record all calls so you don’t forget to record important meetings. When you start your call, it automatically starts recording if you’ve selected this option.
Skype Conference Call
Another free option is to use Skype. It’s really simple too. You just create a group chat then click “Group call.” You can make it a video call or share your screen.
If you want to add people to the conference call and they don’t have Skype, you can add them via their phone number. This will cost you Skype credits, it’s not a free option.
Skype is owned by Microsoft, so it works really well with Microsoft Office 365 (such as Outlook calendar).
UberConference by Dialpad
This is free for up to 10 participants. If you need more, you can purchase the $15 per month plan. A really fun feature they offer is custom hold music. If people get there before the meeting starts, you can choose what music they listen to.
This is the tool that I’ve used for my business until recently. When they upgraded and included video capability, I found that sharing screens with my clients caused issues where the screens blacked out. I’ve since switched over to Zoom, but they may have fixed the issue.
When I used this for my coaching calls, I loved the recording feature. I would select to record the call (with my client’s permission) and UberConference would email a link to the audio file immediately after the call ended. This recording allows clients to re-listen as needed.
WhatsApp Conference Call
The popular chat app, WhatsApp, also has a conference call feature. And even though it’s free, it is only limited to four people. But you can use this app to chat back and forth with your clients and then have one-on-one video calls with them too, all for free.
Google Conference Call With Hangouts Meet
Another really easy-to-use interface is Google Hangouts Meet. Google Hangouts is robust, integrates with Google Calendar and the rest of the G Suite tools (such as Google Docs). There is a call-in number for anyone that doesn’t have the app or might not have the best internet.
Many people have had success utilizing this tool, but I personally am not a fan. When I tried to use Hangouts Meet for a conference call, the connection was spotty. However, perhaps you will have a different experience if you want to give it a try.
Cyberlink U Meetings
Cyberlink U Meetings offers three different ways to connect with your clients – conference calls, webinars, or group chat in a messenger. They offer browser-based meetings so your clients don’t have to download an extra app or create an account with a program.
Their basic plan is free and perfect for small businesses. You can have up to 25 people at a meeting and all meetings can only last 3o minutes.
After that, prices start at $30 per month and give you access to PerfectCam – the ability to blur the background during a video call (hiding what’s behind you) and giving you beauty filters.
Paid Video Conferencing Apps
Sometimes you really do get what you pay for. These video conferencing apps and programs all have some kind of fee. But they back it up with the best customer service and lots of amazing features. Here are the best ones out there.
For what you get, the cost of BlueJeans meetings is pretty low. You can choose between a monthly or an annual pre-paid plan. The best deal is the My-Team plan. It offers cloud meeting recording so you can go back and reference what was said later on.
But what sets BlueJeans apart from the others is the Meeting Highlights feature. During the meeting, you can tag participants, assign tasks, and create labels for important decisions – all within the meeting itself.
This is also one of the highest-quality apps, with HD video and Dolby sound.
Lifesize is a really easy-to-use program. You don’t need passcodes or confusing dial-in numbers. And the participants don’t have to download an app. It works best if you have the app, because then you can join calls easily from your phone or tablet. But you can also just use Google Chrome.
The pricing starts at just $16 per month. The larger plans are better if you think you will have more than 50 people at a meeting.
GoToMeeting is the industry standard for conference calls. It’s better for larger businesses, however. The lowest-priced plan is for 150 participants and unlimited meetings.
They offer mobile conferencing from your phone and meeting transcription and notes. They offer users a toll-free number they can call in and use as well.
I love that transcripts are included with the business plan since I sometimes pay extra to transcribe a client call or market research calls. This simple feature could save a business owner a lot of money if they are doing market research calls, getting video/audio testimonials from past clients, etc. Otherwise, you have to pay $1 per minute on Rev.com for a person to transcribe (or $0.10 per minute for automated transcription).
If you’re doing a lot of conference calls, using GoToMeeting could be the cheaper option than using a free conference call app and then having to pay for transcription for each meeting you want detailed notes. It’s worth comparing to see.
Is It Ok To Facetime With Clients?
What about using the built-in video chat apps (Facetime for iOS or Google video chat)? This can certainly work in a pinch for one-on-one meetings. However, there are quite a few things these basic apps don’t offer that any of the above apps do.
Facetime isn’t very high quality and you cannot share your screen. It also doesn’t integrate with calendar invites.
So while it might work as a last resort, try to use a conference-calling program like one of the above for your important meetings.
Can I Just Call a Client Directly?
Sometimes my clients will ask if they can just call their own clients directly through work/cell phone numbers. However, similar to Facetime, calling a client directly means you can’t share screens or record the conversation if you want to transcribe it later. A quick chat on the phone may work in a pinch, but I highly recommend sticking to one of the recordable options.
Host A Free Conference Call
Take your client calls up a notch by using a reliable and professional conference calling tool.
I hope this list helps you find something that will work for your small business or team.