HOW MUCH DOES AN ANSWERING SERVICE COST?
On average the cost for a 24-hour answering service can range from $.80 cents a minute to $1.17 a minute or roughly $20-$45 an hour. This leaves standard prices usually staying between $25-$35 at an hourly rate, but prices will vary depending on the complexity of your business calls.
As your business grows you may notice the influx of calls and customer support also increases. Thus, creating the need for additional customer support mediums such as a business answering service.
When you are deciding if bringing on a call center to outsource calls to is right for you and your company, it is important to know the average prices of a professional answering service. It is also vitally important to know how they function and what services or packages may be available to you to make the investment worth it for your business.
WHAT DOES A PHONE ANSWERING SERVICE OFFER AND WHAT WILL IT COST?
To put it simply, a call center is a service provider that is equipped to dedicating their time to aid in managing high volumes of calls for a business as well as providing customer support.
Prices for this kind of service are typically run at a cost per minute rate but can occasionally be seen offering a cost per hour rate. The range can vary depending on call complexity, call volume, and services required.
Prices will also vary depending on if you are looking for the call center to deal with inbound calls or outbound calls. Inbound, being customers calling in and assisting them with customer support. Outbound would target mostly telemarketing or message delivery to customers and clients.
If your business is conducting 100-150 minutes a month this could cost between $90 – $225. A slightly higher call volume of nearly 250 minutes worth of customer service calls per month would range between $250- $380. On a larger scale, a company averaging 500 minutes monthly can expect to pay in the range of $450-950.
The wonderful news about this is that even small businesses have the opportunity to take advantage of a call center service without dishing out the same amount of funds as a large corporation. Because of the flexible packages that are currently offered within many call centers your company is able to take advantage of paying only for the service you need as you need it.
Some costs to take into consideration:
- While call centers most commonly charge per minute that the call is serviced, many providers will still charge for wrong numbers dialed. This means you may want to consider the extra $.50 cents to $1.00 per 30-second call that your bill may accrue monthly if your service provider received a few wrong number callers.
- While this may already be included in your 24-hour answering service providers packages it’s important to note that if your business requires a bilingual service line there may be added costs to fulfill that need
- Consider your average call duration when receiving a call for your business. If you are a tech company that has lengthy customer service calls you may want to look into the hourly packages referenced above. Whereas a company that is in need of assistance in overflow callers may want to stay towards the side of cost per minute for simple calls.
Now that we have the general prices covered for the cost of a reliable answering service I would like to point out some of the main differences between an answering service versus a call answer service. The two operate very similarly but offer different levels of assistance.
An answering service is geared towards high volume callers and usually work in a scripted environment. These call type duration typically will not extend past 1-4 minutes. You can expect an agent from an answering service to briefly gather the caller’s contact information and take a message to relay back to your company for a call back at a later time. This works for existing customers, future inquiries, scheduling, and much more. This answering service is used across dozens of industries.
Since answering services are a far less complicated call type than a call center the prices will usually be slightly cheaper. Of course, still depending on the complexity of the business the company that the service provider will be answering calls for. The answering service will usually vary between $.70 a minute to $1.20 a minute.
A call answering service is designed to handle almost any call type with varying levels of complexity. Some call answering services you may be familiar with are banks, telemarketing, emergency hotlines, subscription renewal programs, etc. Because a call center is equipped to handle many different call types their pricing may be on the higher end of the previously mentioned numbers.
With call outsourced to an inbound call center you can expect 4-5 minute call minimums but will rarely see it exceed 15 minutes. Call centers are equipped to handle very complex calls and remain with the caller until all issues are resolved or escalated which is typically the reason for the call time increase.
Once you have picked the provider that best suits your business needs it is next time to discuss what accommodations are necessary for the investment to make the most sense for your company.
Things to look for when hiring a call center:
- Bilingual services: As mentioned above, a bilingual queue may be necessary to service all potential customers comfortably and accurately.
- Call statistic: Many service providers will provide you with monthly reports for your callers being serviced. This should include how quickly calls are answered and how efficient the agent was on the phone.
- Price ranges: When your company grows and you might need a different plan to accommodate your new call volumes. Look into call center or answering services with flexible pricing that fit within the average costs listed above (typically $.80 cents to $1.17 a minute).
- Professionalism: For many callers, the agents at the call answering service will be their first impression of your company. You want your business’ image reflected in a positive light that accurately represents you.
- References: Look at call answering services and centers and what companies are currently working with and/or recommending them.
- Inbound vs outbound: You may want to find out if a service provider is equipped to handle inbound and outbound calls depending on what your company needs
Now that we know what to look for what are some of the pros to bringing on a call answer service?
Pros of hiring an answering service:
- Saves time for employees to focus on other responsibilities.
- It is actually cost-saving! It is oftentimes cheaper to bring on an answering service than it is to hire an employee to answer calls.
- Improvement on focus on telephone calls! You and your employees are busy and hard working. Multitasking your current daily roles in addition to managing high call volumes can cause high stress leading to miscommunications. By hiring on a company to handle calls you increase customer experience by allowing the customer to be helped efficiently and correctly.
- Having a call answering service provider available improves the company’s image by being more accessible and available.
- Can handle overflow calls and after-hour calls so your company will never miss a call or a potential client.
With the abundant pricing options and services available hiring a call center or answering service is as cost-effective as ever!
How to Calculate Your Own Appealing Answering Service Cost
Choosing the best answering service is crucial to your business as it keeps you, your customers, and your employees happy. Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind when looking at different services, to help you make an informed choice.
First of all, think about the level of quality. A good quality service will be one that provides good customer service, and this includes answering phones at different times of the day. If you have a large number of customers, you may find a cheaper service might not be the best for you.
Another consideration when it comes to an answering service cost is how often you use their service. Some companies offer discounts on long distance calls, while others offer deals for those who use the service more frequently. If you have a high volume of calls, you can expect your answering service to cost you more money. However, some companies have plans for long-distance calls, so keep this in mind.
Call Center Handling Skills
When looking for a good answering service cost, you may want to consider the amount of work that goes into handling customer calls. Some services charge per call, while others allow you to pay a flat rate for all your incoming calls. You may also want to take a look at the level of satisfaction that you get from using the company. If you feel comfortable with your service provider, you won’t feel the need to look elsewhere for another one.
The type of service that you choose depends largely on the type of business that you run. If you run a company that caters to a specific segment of society, you might choose a local or toll-free option. On the other hand, if you run a national company, you would probably want to get the support that comes from a nationwide service. This is especially true if you have an international operation.
Know The Pro and Cons
Answering service cost is a decision that needs to be made carefully. Remember that this decision affects your reputation among your customers and it can affect your sales. Make sure that you have researched the different options and have a clear idea of the pros and cons before making a final decision.
Finding the right company for your business can be as simple as using the Internet. Many companies will have a website where you can see their background information and see what they have to offer. You can also read reviews about certain companies and see whether or not they are reliable and professional. Once you have a firm grasp of the basics about answering service costs, you will be able to make a more informed decision.
There are many other factors that you will need to consider, but these are the main ones. When considering the cost of answering service, remember to keep in mind the quality of the service, the level of customer satisfaction, and the type of service that you are looking for. You can find a cheap solution or you can pay more, but you will have to live with the extra expense. It’s important to know what you are getting into, and once you do, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into.
Quality is extremely important, even if you are paying a low price. You need to make sure that your customer service is friendly and efficient. In addition to this, you want to make sure that you are taking full advantage of the technology available today. If you do not have access to the Internet, you will still be able to make outgoing calls using the telephone and to send newsletters and fax documents.
If you are able to handle a variety of clients and your company’s support easily, then you can get away with charging a lot less for the service. In addition to this, you will have a greater satisfaction level, because of the fact that you have a good company working for you.
Take the time to research the different types of services that are available. Once you have determined which services are right for your business, then you can go shopping. Once you have your list of choices, you can start to compare prices and then choose one that meets your requirements.