How Much Does an Answering Service Cost?

Have you ever called the phone number you see on the “Contact US” section of a website or that seen on a signpost? The friendly voice and formal introduction of the receptionist warm your heart to want to make inquiries or lay a complaint. Either way, all the preliminaries, the fine voice (mostly female voice), straightforward official tone to your requests, and injuries including other follow-ups after your calls are thanks to the diligent job of the answering service company associated with that business you contacted.

In this guide, we’ll share with you answering service pricing and every other thing you need to know about answering service.

What Are The Benefits of Answering Services to Local & Small Businesses

A telephone answering service takes calls during business hours, off-work hours, or at times of increased call demands from customers when your team needs additional help. Many businesses subscribe to answering services so that the business faces other aspects of their operations and strategies. Telephone answering services serve as live receptionists who transfer calls, take messages, and record contact information from customers or clients 24/7.

1. Provide around-the-clock customer support

Some professional services such as electricians or plumbers may be called at any time of the day to handle emergency requests from customers who might call off business hours. Answering services come to their rescue by providing telephone services during these hours so that these businesses don’t lose customers.

If there weren’t these service providers available, they may miss out on opportunities to offer support and make more income. Plus, they miss out on building upon B2C relationships. Employing call center services for this around-the-clock customer support can prove incredibly valuable in the long run for any business.

If you don’t want a physical office for your business you can consider a virtual office by finding out How Much Does A Virtual Office Cost?

2. It provides a better customer experience

We think that customer experience is the most important part of hiring efficient call center managers or answering service companies. Customer experience is everything! It can make or break your business. Imagine if all the complaints or honest inquiries made by clients or customers are not answered. How will the business fair? It will not be good for any business regardless of the quality of their product or service, marketing & branding efforts, and business strategy.

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An answering service is a perfect way to make the customer feel peace of mind with that “always-on” experience they desire. Usually, homeowners or customers may need to connect with a live receptionist to relay a problem or submit a request that automated chatbots or messaging via digital channels may not satisfactorily handle.

3. Gain more potential leads after answering inbound queries

Local businesses need a dedicated answering service to document and address all inbound queries. Addressing the numerous queries will provide your business with lead generation opportunities when done properly.

With an answering service, your business representative in this case the trained receptionist can answer all inbound prospects and save their information which could be later used to turn them into successful leads.

4. Don’t miss out on important calls and business opportunities

Each call, text, or email you miss could increase your chance of losing a potential business opportunity. As your business scales and grows successfully, the last thing you want to do is downplay the importance of answering important calls. As you grow, elements of your business will also grow maybe at a fast pace thus, the need for a call center for answering calls to meet customer expectations.

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5. Free up your time for high priority business activities

Getting support on secondary activities like call center support is a great way to free up time to focus on more core, value-add functions for your business. Hiring an answering service will free up time for you and your employees to focus on Pareto’s 20% value-added/high-priority business activities.

This tallies with the Vilfredo Pareto 80-20 principle for efficiency of work, stating that 20% of value-add activities (cause) bring about 80% of the results (effect) be it good or bad.

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How Much Does An Answering Service Cost?

The answer to that question isn’t exact because answering service plans and charges vary depending on a couple of factors. There is an existing guide to answering services plans and pricing that you must know as a business owner. This will help when comparing the prices of different telephone answering services in your area.

Here are the three most common pricing plans in the market that will help you how your company will go about billing for these services. 

1. Per-minute billing

This is one of the most common methods of billing answered calls per minute. Here, the cost of the answering service your business subscribed for will be based on the call duration (i.e., the number of minutes). In effect, that means that the longer the call duration with a customer on the phone, the higher the cost.

Most answering service providers have plans with a specific number of minutes allocations thus, additional fees are charged when the receptionist goes over the plan’s allotted minutes. Business owners can target the number of minutes live receptionists will try and tactfully limit the conversion if possible so as to know which plan will best suit their needs.

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For instance, they may predict that 2 mins per call are enough time for a balanced monthly plan required by the business.

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2. Per call billing

Per-call billing method charges your company on the basis of the total number of total calls received and handled. The main disadvantage of the per-call billing method is that your business will still need to pay for accidental inbound calls, such as customers who dial the wrong number or hang up after a few short seconds.

3. Per unit billing

Per unit billing is a method where your business is charged for every call, every text message, and every transferred call. So it is the cost per “unit” as in cost for every other call activity or form of telecommunication. This billing method tends to be a little less popular due to its ambiguity.

Please note that the factors that go into the overall cost of answering services include

  • Plan and/or billing type
  • Setup or account activation fees
  • Special holiday fees
  • Additional contract fees
  • Features and capabilities

In all, you should expect to pay around $0.65 to $1.20 per call subject to the answering service plan you purchased. That’s why, it is crucial to determine what billing method, pricing plans and phone call traffic requirements your service provider offer before subscribing.

Pricing should be one of the many factors you should consider before you finalize one. Furthermore, an efficient answering service will boost sales, branding, and most of all – a strong and blissful customer experience.

5 Best Answering Services & Thier Answering Service Cost Per Month

Answering ServicesStarting PriceKey FeaturesFree TrialOur Rating
RUBY$219 per monthGrasshopper integrations live receptionistsRuby appN/A4.40 out of 5
MAP COMMUNICATIONS$43 per monthCustom scripts online portalWarm transfers for call routing7 days4.39 out of 5
VOICE NATION$69 per monthCall analyticsMobile lead capture dedicated account manager7 days4.36 out of 5
DAVINCI$99 per monthIncluded virtual assistant with PremiumVoIP phone features unlimited e-faxingN/A4.23 out of 5
ABBY CONNECT$299 per monthMultiple integrations-fax built into the appFree call recording14 days4.06 out of 5
Visit Abby Connect

Considerations When Evaluating Answering Services

Here are a few things to consider when evaluating the answering service to subscribe to:

1. Ability to deliver 24/7 live support

The right answering service must be available 24hours of a day, 7 days a week. Since your business relies on them to answer calls and capture leads, the answering service providers must be available 24/7 and serious about managing your calls.

Some answering services will charge you extra if you want their service after 9 pm for instance. That shouldn’t be a problem in as much as their ability to deliver 24/7 live support is assured.

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2. Interest in personalizing callers’ experience

A highly professional answering service operator will take care of your business visitors/clients like it is theirs. They won’t be so hard bent on using call script templates but rather they’ll adapt to the needs of the caller, and be able to react accordingly to various situations.

Adidtionally, the create a personalized caller experience that builds trust and rappor as if they’ve just called your personal phone line.

3. Easy to use

If the answering service provider finds it difficult to make updates to phone numbers or email addresses, then that’s a red flag. If it’s hard to alter the call script or text messages, then you should look for another answering service. In addition, it should be compatible with third-party apps which enable your functional activities.

4. Price, billing system, and special features

The more expensive an answering service is, the more distance many small business owners give it. An answering service that is relatively cheap, with your preferred billing system, and high quality service is oftentimes the right pick.

What Is The Difference Between A Call Center And An Answering Service?

An answering service is a service where a third-party company is hired to take and convene messages on behalf of a business. It acts as the virtual receptionist of the business who welcomes customers, guides them, handles complaints, testimonials, and transfers some calls to business managers or executives.

On the other hand, a call center often uses formulated call scripts to answer frequently asked questions (FAQs), and handle other queries. A call center may take orders over the phone, persuade clients, or manage other telecommunication or digital communication outlets.

Conclusion

Many businesses subscribe to answering services because telephone answering services serve as live receptionists who not only take calls & messages, and record contact information but they enhance customer experience at all times 24/7. Remember that service plans vary from basic to advanced, and most providers will offer a free trial so that you can take it for a test run. No matter the size of your business, there are subscriptions suitable for almost any budget size. So go subscribe to one of the answering services for small businesses in 2022!

FAQs On Answering Services

How Will Your Answering Service Know How To Handle The Calls?

Once you’ve decided to sign up for an answering service, a call manager from the company will reach out to you to learn more about your business and understand your needs. With all tailored information gathered, there will be customized setting inputted into the program and the answering specialists will create a specific script to handle your calls, that will satisfy even the most demanding of all your clients. You can also present your own call script if you insist and instruct the call specialist or virtual receptionist on how to use it.

Can I Get A Free Trial Before Using Answering Services?

Yes, you can. All the top 5 answering services offer a free trial. You can purchase a plan according to your organization’s preferences and if 21 days later you’re still not satisfied, most firms will guarantee you your 100% money refund.

What is the answering service?

An answering service is described as a type of service that handles both inbound and outbound business calls, emails, or texts for various industries

References

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