For better or worse, the digital revolution has brought countless ways to communicate in our personal and professional lives. This includes innumerable web conferencing solutions that allow us to work from anywhere and collaborate with our coworkers with ease.
Meetings are such a core component of our daily work lives, it’s no wonder there are so many tools to choose from. But the question is, how do you pick one? While freemium options are alluring, they may end up costing more than you think in the long run.
How to know when “free” really comes at a cost
Most free solutions – like Google Hangouts or Skype for Business for example – work well when you just need to send an instant message or hop on a quick video call with a coworker. These types of solutions offer easy-to-use features like messaging, voice and video calls.
Communication problems solved, right?
Cheap communication across vast distances is easier than ever, but your business needs are usually more complicated. What happens when you have a variety of use cases? What happens when your business grows? These simple solutions start costing you money and wasting resources.
Let’s look at some numbers. Inc.com reports that there are 36-56 million meetings in the U.S. per day, and that because of inefficient meetings, companies lose $70-283 billion in lost productivity. Now you’re probably never going to have perfectly efficient meetings — we are just human after all! But your communication technology should not be the problem.
Here’s how to tell when that free solution is really costing you money: Think about how much it costs if your meetings start late or run long because you’re battling with technology. (Harvard Business Review actually has a calculator that estimates the cost of a meeting in terms of time, number of people, and their salaries.) Or think about the cost of making a bad impression during an online meeting with a potential client due to poor audio or video. Think about the time your IT department could spend on support tickets. In fact, IT managers say more than 25% of support issues are due to malfunctioning communication tools. Nothing kills work momentum faster than fighting with your technology stack.
Figuring out what you need from your meeting solution
When you’re in the market for a meeting solution, don’t make the price tag your top consideration. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Will meetings be easy to join — for internal and external participants?
- Is the video reliable without lag time?
- Does the solution include audio or is that an additional cost?
- Does it meet your security requirements?
- Are there conference room solutions?
- Does the solution come with training and ongoing technical support?
- Are there features or integrations that would improve collaboration and efficiency?
Your answers to these questions will give you a good idea if a meeting solution really meets your needs and will have a positive ROI.
Free meeting solutions have their place; they are great for quick chats or one-on-one meetings. But when the stakes get higher and the needs more complex, the cost of a meeting solution purpose-built for frictionless collaboration may actually end up being cheaper than that free solution.
If you’re ready for an upgrade, we can help. Visit GoToMeeting.com for more information.