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how do answering services charge

How Do Answering Services Charge?

Professional Answering Service

March 19, 2024

Communication is king – and, yeah, sometimes costly.

Managing incoming calls effectively can be a significant challenge for companies of all sizes. This is where answering services come into play, offering a seamless way to ensure that calls are answered professionally. But, with a variety of pricing structures in the industry, understanding how answering services charge for their time is crucial for businesses aiming to optimize their investment.

At Focus Answering Service, we differentiate ourselves with cost-effective solutions that consistently trump mere cost considerations.

Understanding the Landscape: Common Pricing Models

Answering services typically employ several billing methods, each with its pros and cons. The most common models include:

  • Time Billing: It is most common for services to charge by the amount of time agents spend on calls working on the customer’s behalf. That is fair for all concerned.
  • Per-Call Billing: Some services charge a flat rate per call, regardless of duration. This model can be predictable and straightforward but may not always reflect the actual workload involved in managing those calls.
  • Monthly Subscriptions: A fixed monthly fee for a bundle of services, including a set number of calls or minutes, offers predictability but may include charges for unused services or overage fees if the set limits are exceeded.

Each of these models has distinct implications for how businesses budget for and value these services, making it essential to choose an option that aligns with your company’s specific needs and call patterns.

The Focus Approach

At Focus Answering Service, we understand that businesses often seek more than just a service; they’re looking for a true partner who can add real value to their operations. With that in mind, our pricing model is designed with cost-effectiveness at its core, ensuring that our clients receive quality service without overspending.

We believe in transparent pricing without hidden fees or complex structures. Our approach is to tailor our services to each business’s unique needs, ensuring you only pay for what you truly require. This philosophy extends to our belief that cost-effectiveness is more crucial than cost alone. (In other words: paying slightly more upfront can help you out big time in the long run.)

Custom Solutions That Exceed Expectations

Our service model is designed to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. On average, a Focus call:

  • Lasts 2 minutes (agent work time), encompassing call answering, detailed message taking, and dispatch.
  • Is invoiced only for incremental time used, ensuring you pay for precisely what you need.
  • Includes ‘A La Carte’ options, such as customized paging, patching, scripting, and more, allowing for a service that perfectly aligns with your business’s specific demands.

Moreover, we occasionally harness the power of automation to streamline operations, either as a front-end solution to guide your calls efficiently or behind the scenes to manage information flow—further lowering costs by optimizing the handling of your calls and data.

Our pricing structure is transparent and straightforward, based on our standard, 28-day billing periods, ensuring predictability and ease of budgeting.

Tailoring Your Coverage, Identifying Your Needs

Determining when you need help from Focus is a critical step in customizing your package. We offer flexible coverage options to ensure your calls are always managed professionally:

  • Normal Work Hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) for receptionist duties.
  • After-hours to provide emergency services and dispatch to on-call personnel.
  • Around-the-clock (24/7 coverage) for quality, uninterrupted service.

Upon engaging with our answering service, we will determine a base rate that covers agent and system time—essentially, paying for the vendor’s availability to handle your calls. This fee, akin to a telephone bill, is charged upfront.

Should your needs exceed the base package rate, charges will accrue for additional time or services. These can vary but are always communicated transparently. Moreover, customization options are available to enhance your package, including:

  • Appointment scheduling
  • Automation enhancements
  • Custom dispatching
  • Custom scripting
  • Secure text messaging and/or email services
  • Voicemail options

It’s also important to consider incidentals that may affect your monthly invoice, such as possible account maintenance fees, portal access for self-service account changes, or any additional software that might be necessary to achieve your desired outcomes.

Investing in a service that enhances your customer experience and supports your business goals is invaluable, and that’s what we strive to provide.

Prioritizing Value Over Expense

Choosing an answering service based solely on cost can be shortsighted. Low-cost options might not offer the quality or range of services your business needs, potentially leading to dissatisfied customers and missed opportunities. Instead, the focus should be on finding a service that offers the best value for money.

“Cost-effectiveness” means receiving a service that contributes to your business’s success, offering features like 24/7 availability, professional call handling, and the ability to scale as your business grows. It’s about finding a balance between affordable pricing and the benefits received, ensuring that every dollar spent enhances your business’s reputation and customer satisfaction.

As businesses navigate the complexities of managing communications, understanding how answering services charge is a good first step towards making an informed decision. By prioritizing cost-effectiveness and partnering with a service like Focus Answering Service, businesses can ensure they’re not just managing calls, but enhancing their overall customer experience and supporting their strategic goals.

If you’re exploring answering services, consider not just how much they cost, but how they can add value to your business. With Focus Answering Service, rest assured that your communications are in expert hands, allowing YOU to focus on what you do best.