5 Costs to consider when looking for a Telephone Answering Service
If you are currently researching Telephone Answering Services (TAS), this will be a useful aid when deciding upon which provider to choose.
1 Set Up Costs and Cancellation Fees
In order to allocate you a telephone number and set up the telephone and voicemail systems many Telephone Answering Service providers charge a set up fee. It can take many hours to set all the systems up and ensure the staff are trained and briefed on the services you offer. Some even charge fees if you cancel.
2 Costs of answering the telephone calls
There are a number of ways answering service providers charge customer,
- Per minute
- per call answer or
- per message sent to the customer
Many also offer incentives and packages based on calls or minutes per month e.g. 50 calls or 50 minutes etc.
Some answering services do not charge for sales or cold calls, but if your company tends to get a lot of cold calls, they may require you to pay for a percentage if it exceeds an agreed amount.
You should work out how your customers interact with you, do they tend to spend a long time on the phone, are there complex messages to pass on. Estimate the number of calls you expect the answering service to handle. Free trials are an excellent way to estimate the number of calls you may expect, but take into account the peak periods and quiet periods.
Once the messages have been taken the answering service will then relay that to you by email or text. Some providers will charge you for sending a text and even email.
3 Cost to divert your calls
You should consider the costs to divert your calls from your landline or mobile to the telephone answering service.
If a customer phones your number and it is diverted, YOU are then paying for the call. It is in your interest to ensure the TAS answers your calls quickly and efficiently.
One option is use the number allocated to you by the TAS as your main number, so that calls are not diverted.
4 Cost to forward on calls
If you decide to have calls patched to you or your staff, such as a Live/virtual receptionist, the Answering Service will charge you for the cost of the calls. They will have a rate for landline and also for mobiles. Always check the rate you will be charged. Also check if the calls are charged on a per second or on partial seconds.
5 Minimum call numbers and monthly management fees.
Some providers insist on a minimum spend or will charge you a management/account fee on top of the other fees. Always ask if there are any additional fees.
In conclusion, never get sucked in by the headline cost per call or per minute fee, always look at the additional fees, to establish what the true cost of each call will be. Nearly every provider will offer a free trial to establish how many calls you would expect which will enable you to have a fair idea of the costs, if you decide to give them your business. Be aware of the contracts that tie you in for a fixed time or require a months notice.
I-Support Business, does not charge for set-up, or ask for management fees.