When choosing to hire an answering service, it can be tricky to understand how much their services will actually cost you. Many answering services or call centers charge based on the time they spend working for your business, but it’s important to understand the details of how they bill you.
If an answering service bills based on the amount of time they spend working on your behalf, they will charge you either by the number of minutes or by the number of calls they handle. This may seem intuitive, but it’s not always as straightforward as it seems.
Per-call pricing depends entirely on how the answering service defines a call, so here are some questions to ask:
- Is a wrong number or a hang-up considered a call?
- Are texts, emails, or faxes counted as calls?
- Is it considered an extra call when they need to notify you of an urgent call?
- What’s the charge for other services, like CRM management or appointment scheduling?
Per-minute pricing also can have many variables, so if the answering service is billing based on time you should ask:
- Is any call considered to be a minute, even if it only lasts 10 seconds?
- Are you charged for the time callers are on hold? If so, what’s their average hold time?
- Are texts, emails, or faxes also counted by minutes?
- If they offer pricing based on monthly bundles of time, like 100-150 minutes for example, what happens if you go over the bundle you’ve signed up for? What happens if you’re under that monthly time bundle?
- How do they charge for other services, like CRM management or appointment scheduling?
- Are holidays or weekends billed at “overtime” rates?
In addition, some answering services or call centers will charge based on a flat rate, meaning you pay the same amount each month regardless of how many calls you have. Although this may sound predictable, it’s not the best option since many answering services that bill based on a flat rate often increase prices or charge additional fees for changing your schedule 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 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.
With state-of-the-art facilities in Columbus and LaGrange, Georgia, Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. has an 82% referral rate among local businesses and provides live answering services that exceed your expectations. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.