Everything You Need To Know—And Ask—About Billing And Answering Services

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You’ve decided it’s time to hire an answering service to help manage your business calls, but do you know the right questions to ask about how you’ll be charged? Answering services use a variety of ways to charge their clients, so understanding and comparing how call centers bill can make a big difference in which service you choose.

The four methods of billing are:

  • Flat rate
  • Pay as you go
  • Pay per call
  • Pay per minute

Flat Rate means you pay the same amount each month, no matter how many calls you have.

Pay as you go means you pay a base rate for each billing cycle for access to the services, and then you’re charged per minute for the amount of time spent on calls.

Pay per call usually means answering services offer a bundled package, such as the first 100 calls always costs a set amount and there’s an extra charge for calls over that amount.

Pay per minute is similar to pay per call packages, but you’re charged based on the total time spent on your calls each billing cycle.

Along with that information, here are the basic questions you should ask when evaluating how a live answering service will bill you:

  1. How do you charge?
  2. Do you charge for incoming or outgoing calls or both?
  3. What’s your average call time?
  4. Do you charge for paging, faxing, or texting messages, and do you charge for routing a caller to the on-call person?
  5. Do I have to sign a contract, and is it long term?
  6. If I want to cancel the service what do I have to do?

If they charge per minute, ask them to clarify what they determine a minute to be. It sounds silly, but answering services that bill this way round up by different measurements, such as 5 or 15 seconds. You should also ask what their average hold time is and if you’re charged for when your callers are on hold waiting to speak with a receptionist.

If they charge a flat rate, ask how often they increase prices and if there are additional fees for changing your schedule or on-call person, or if you need to forward your calls unexpectedly due to a staff member being out or an event.

Ideally, you want to partner with an answering service that will charge a per minute plan each month, with no hidden fees. This allows for flexibility with fluctuations in call volume, ensuring that your calls are covered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you’d like to learn more about how a live answering service can help you save time and money, contact Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. We offer flat rate month-to-month service agreements, with no hidden fees, to meet the needs of any business regardless of size, 24/7, 365 days of the year.

Customized communication solutions, appointment scheduling, and secure HIPAA/HiTech messaging saves you time and money while improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. Our excellent reputation, expert staff, and state-of-the-art technology will exceed your expectations. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.


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