Cheap Answering Service – How Affordable is The Price in 2020?
Economical answering services range from $35/month – $175/month and can be one of the most effective ways to boost the efficiency of your business.
For businesses looking to hire an answering service without spending a lot of money up front, this guide will be of value. While there are a few ‘pay as you go’ options, base rates typically start at as little as $20 per month for a low-cost answering service if you’re dealing with a small volume of calls. Busier companies will end up paying more in total, but the higher the volume of calls you deal with, the more discounted you will find the prices on a per-call or per-minute basis.
Many factors affect how much you actually end up paying for an answering service. If you’re looking for the most affordable option, keep these points in mind while you are shopping:
- What calls need to be handled by the service, and which can be handled internally?
- What hours do you need coverage of your lines?
- What languages do you need to have available to your callers?
- What type of system do you need in place to have messages distributed to you or your team?
These are all factors that can affect price. The higher the volume, obviously, the higher the cost, so if you ensure that you only use the service in scenarios where you need it, you can control your costs quite easily. 24-hour and multi-lingual services often come at a higher price, but also allow you to reach a wider client base. Finally, more technologically advanced providers may charge higher rates, but the convenience factor of being able to manage scripts, messages and call forwarding through a simplistic electronic portal more than makes up for the costs in many cases.
What is a Phone Answering Service?
An answering service provides you with everything you need to ensure that your customers and clients always have a human point of contact at your company when they call in with concerns or questions. There are many reasons why you might not be able to answer the phone at any given time:
- All lines are busy
- Staff meetings are tying up all personnel
- Time critical tasks are being attended to
- It is after hours
…and that’s just a few of the reasons why you might find yourself in this situation. An answering service has your calls forwarded as you direct to the answering service’s agents or call center instead of to your voicemail. This means that even when you’re engaged in any of the important reasons that might prevent you from taking a call, you’re not losing the interest or the attention of your customers.
A bargain answering service will work with you to provide you with the exact package that you need to meet your needs. For instance, you may only need calls answered outside of your normal operating business hours. In that instance, a cheap answering service will ensure that you’re only paying to have calls handled during those hours – you pay for what you use in these scenarios, helping to save you money on the one hand and helping you to increase your profits via satisfied customers on the other.
What to Look for in a Low-Cost Phone Answering Service?
The first thing that you want to look for is a service that is flexible, and which will work with you as we have described above to find a plan that meets your needs exactly. What you should avoid are so-called, “bundled” or “package” services that include additional services and features that you might not really need at a purported savings. Of course, if that type of a package offers you exactly what you’re looking for, then you may have in fact stumbled upon a great deal. Just make sure that you never end up paying for a service that you don’t really need.
Next, you want to look for a company that has no or low minimum service commitments. For many companies in this industry, you pay for what you use only, but there may be a minimum threshold that you have to meet, otherwise you have to pay the amount for that many calls regardless. Make sure this is low enough that you don’t end up paying for extra services that you’re not actually utilizing.
- National Average Answering Service Cost: $0.87 per minute
- Typical Billing Increments: Minimum 15 Seconds, then in 7 second increments
- Average Cost For Holidays: A fee of $10 per National Holiday is generally charged.
- Website Interface Fees: If call center process orders on your website a fee of up to $100/month may apply.
- 24/7, Bilingual, Appointment Setting: These services are usually included at no extra cost.
Also pay attention to what types of additional fees they may charge for after-hours or holiday services. If those are the times when you plan on relying on your answering service more frequently, you should focus on this particular pricing as opposed to the more generalized prices that a company lists.
Bargain 24/7 Answering Service Companies with Discounted Prices
Best Value Per Dollar Invested:
Our team reviewed 48 answering service companies across the US and found two companies that really stood out offering the best service for your money. In this review we looked at set-up fees, cost per minute, and added services such as order processing, appointment setting, and industry specific solutions. While we suggest getting at least 4 quotes to compare, here are two the best answering service companies you should consider in your search for a value based solution:
Answer America: Answer America is a pay-as-you-go system, ensuring that you never have to pay for more than you use when hiring their service to field your calls. The minimum credit you need to purchase is industry leading, with $20 being the minimum, with only one call minimum charge being assessed per month.
From that minimum credit, you will be charged a maximum of $1 per call that the company fields for you. Of course, if you opt for a larger package because you have greater call volume coming in, you may be able to get your rates down as low as $.75 per call. The real affordability of Answer America comes in the fact that they don’t charge any monthly service fees, delivery fees, or assess any additional surcharges on top of their basic rates.
PCMSI: PCMSI is another low-cost answering service company that can provide you with some of the lowest rates in the business. Although they have a setup fee of $35, this is lower than the majority of their competitors. If you’re interested in getting a free quote for the services offered by PCMSI, you can visit their website and fill out a simple form to get an accurate quote reflective of the level of service that you would require of them.
Telephone Answering Services Don’t Need to be Expensive
As you can see, with a little careful shopping you can find a very inexpensive answering service that will meet your needs perfectly. Just take the time to do some research and to carefully identify how you see the service fitting into your current business operations, and you should be able to find an excellent fit at a reasonable price.
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