How Much Is an Answering Service?
Many people ask, “How much is an answering service?” A lot of managers wonder this because they don’t know what else to say. Instead, they’re looking for a way to initiate a meaningful discussion. If this describes you, ask instead about service quality, expected outcomes, and customer service.
But for other business owners, inquiring “How much is an answering service?” is a relevant question. They need to determine if hiring an answering service is a realistic option to consider. Or they want to make sure they have the budget for it.
How Much Is an Answering Service?
The price of an answering service hinges on three components. The first part is a recurring fee, also known as the base rate. This is to ensure that the answering service is prepared and ready to take your calls.
The second element of an answering service cost is the amount of work—usually tracked in the number of minutes—that’s included in the recurring fee. And the third factor is the cost for additional time, should you require them to do more work for you during the billing cycle.
Most answering services offer multiple rate plan options based on these three components to accommodate the various usage needs of their clients.
For example, a basic plan—ideal for a solo entrepreneur—might start at only $79, include 100 minutes of work, and charge 79¢ for additional time, if needed. This means that plans start at well under one hundred dollars.
Other plans might work well for small businesses, professional organizations, or enterprise-sized businesses, with expanded plans to cover even more usage.
The goal is to pick a plan that will cover your expected usage during the billing cycle and not exceed it. In this way, your only cost is the recurring base rate. This is easy to budget for and makes planning a snap.
This information will guide you in answering the question, how much is an answering service?
But How Much Does It Cost to Not Have an Answering Service?
There’s a corresponding question, however, which few people ever ask or at least they don’t say it aloud. Instead of asking, “How much is an answering service?” their unasked query is “How much does it cost to not have an answering service?”
That is, what’s the cost of a loss prospect or a customer who leaves? The answer to this, just as with the different tiered pricing plans, varies from one business to another.
Does a prospect buy once and then they’re done? Or do you sell a recurring service? It’s easy to discover that the revenue generated by one new prospect could easily exceed the cost of your answering service for the entire billing cycle. And what if you get one or two new customers every week? The revenue adds up, quite quickly.
Though you might have gotten some of this new business without an answering service, it would only be a fraction. A small fraction. The reality is, we live in an inpatient society. People call when they have a need. They expect an answer from a real person. If they don’t get it, they’ll call someplace else. This represents lost business. But your answering service can help you keep it.
Now look at your existing customers. What’s the lifetime value of your average customer? For many businesses, the lifetime value of a customer could exceed the cost of an answering service for an entire year. Possibly a lot more. Each customer your answering service helps you keep is like making a deposit in your bank account. And it adds up.
Customer Retention: The Crucial Role of Answering Services
We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire a new one.” This couldn’t be truer in the business world. So how can an answering service help you with customer retention?
The reality is that today’s consumers are more demanding than ever. They want immediate answers, and they want them 24/7. When they call and get put on hold or, worse, sent to voicemail, there’s a high chance they will move on to a competitor. An answering service ensures that your customers always have someone to talk to, no matter what time of day it is. By doing so, you’re significantly increasing the chances of retaining your existing customers.
Contact Us to discuss a plan that suits your customer retention needs, or Sign Up if you’re ready to take action now.
Gaining New Business: Why Answering Services are a Secret Weapon
Beyond retention, let’s address another question you might have in mind: “Can an answering service help in gaining new business?” The simple answer is, yes! Your next customer could call at any time. Whether you’re a small business owner who can’t manage multiple tasks at once or a larger enterprise dealing with high call volumes, missing a call can mean missing out on potential revenue.
Think of your answering service as your secret sales force — they catch opportunities you might otherwise miss, and they do so without the overhead costs of hiring more in-house staff.
The Importance of an Answering Service
If you are still wondering how much an answering service costs, perhaps you should also consider the cost of not having one. Every missed call is a missed opportunity — either to solve an existing customer’s issue or to gain a new customer. An answering service can not only boost your customer service but also save you money in the long run. It acts as a bridge between you and your potential as well as existing customers, ensuring that their needs are met even when you’re not available.
Features to Look For
When selecting an answering service, here are some features you should look out for:
- 24/7 Availability: Your business doesn’t stop when you leave the office; your answering service shouldn’t either.
- Custom Scripts: The ability to tailor your answering service’s script ensures that your brand voice remains consistent.
- Multilingual Support: This is essential if you have a diverse customer base.
- Call Forwarding and Routing: Advanced services will screen and route calls to the appropriate department or individual.
- Performance Analytics: Some services offer insights into call patterns, which can be invaluable for business strategy.
Cost Considerations: Beyond the Price Tag
The keyword here is “investment.” When asking how much is an answering service, consider what you are willing to invest for the peace of mind that comes with knowing your calls are being handled professionally. Cheaper isn’t always better, especially when it comes to a service that interacts directly with your customers.
Evaluating Different Providers
Before making a decision, it’s crucial to evaluate various providers based on:
- Reputation: Look for reviews and ask for references.
- Features: Does the service offer all the features you need?
- Trial Period: Some services offer a free trial period; take advantage of this to evaluate their service quality.
- Customer Support: Ensure that their customer support meets your expectations.
How to Implement the Service
Implementing an answering service is easier than you might think. Typically, it involves:
- Choosing a Plan: Based on your expected call volume and features needed.
- Onboarding: Introducing the answering service team to your business ethos, products/services, and FAQs.
- Technical Setup: Forwarding your existing line to the answering service or setting up a new one.
- Ongoing Review: Continuously review the service to make sure it meets your evolving needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Is an answering service costly?
- The cost varies based on the features and level of service you require.
- Can I customize the service?
- Most answering services allow extensive customization to fit your business needs.
- Is it a long-term commitment?
- This depends on the provider; some offer month-to-month contracts.
- How quickly can the service be set up?
- Most services can be set up in a matter of days, sometimes even hours.
Contact Us today to discuss any additional questions or concerns you may have or Sign Up now to enhance your customer service capabilities.
The Next Step
Now that you know the answer to how much is in answering service, you have the key pricing information to move forward.
The next step is to pick a plan that’s right for your operation, and then sign up for service. But if you have more questions call 800-235-9315.
It’s that easy.