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.
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.
It’s that easy.