How Much does an Answering Service Cost?
It’s hard to put a price on the convenience of having your business phone lines answered by personal assistants (PAs). What is clear, however, is that frustrated prospects and customers that can’t reliably reach you are less likely to do business with you. The amount of business revenues lost as a consequence can be significant, as can the damage to your reputation.
With so many benefits to hiring an answering service, you’ll want to have a look at the prices, packages, and of course, the quality of prospective answering service providers before committing.
Below are some considerations regarding the cost of answering services:
Average Answering Service Costs
In the UK, call answering service providers tend to charge either a flat rate or on a per-call basis. Prices vary widely, with some providers claiming to provide answering services for around £5.99 per month and others charging upwards of £200. Obviously, there is likely a wide gap in the quality of service you can expect to receive at either end of the spectrum.
Even at the lower end of many reputable answering service bundles, £200 may seem like a lot of money for simply answering phone calls! Bear in mind that happy customers are more likely to be repeat customers, and answering services can help you achieve this and boost your sales over the long term.
While PAs must meet high standards – they play a hands-on role in dealing with customer enquiries and relaying relevant information to you – for small and large businesses alike, an answering service with quality PAs is still a more cost-effective solution.
Average Receptionist Salaries
The average hourly wage of a full-time receptionist in the UK is just over £11, or approximately £21,500 per annum. This represents a monthly salary of over £1,750 plus on costs, a figure far higher than what you’d pay for a PA from a reputable telephone answering service.
Don’t neglect the time and resources you’ll have to devote to advertising, interviewing, shortlisting applicants, and creating onboarding documents and contracts for prospective receptionists, either. Some figures place the cost of hiring at over £3,200 per employee. Of course, your mileage may vary, but it should be abundantly clear how much you stand to save by opting for an answering service.
Bundles and Additional Features
Telephone answering service providers work hard to entice businesses to choose them and will often offer bundled packages that include features such as:
- Number of answering service talk minutes per month;
- No charges for telemarketing or scam calls;
- Message dispatching and relaying.
Naturally, you’ll benefit most from a package that contains features you’ll use. More importantly, however, is the quality and reputation of the answering service. Premium services that have higher standards for their PAs translate to better representation of your company to customers. Better yet, they’ll appear to callers to be one of your employees with their superior industry knowledge and professionality.
Understanding the Quality of Service you will receive
Telephone answering service providers can promise the world and on their websites, they will undoubtedly put their best foot forward but can they justify all those power phrases.
Read below some questions that may help you understand the reality of the service you are getting:
- Do they charge for telemarketing or scam calls? – Paying for some low-end answering services can increase your costs and then just pass on the headache.
- What % of calls will they answer in 3 rings or 9 secs? – When you transfer your calls you need to understand that they are being answered quickly and not just ringing and ringing until someone is free. Many large and seemingly reputable companies miss a high % of calls and don’t have the right resource to answer all the calls.
- Can you judge their quality and listen back to the call recordings of the PAs handling the calls for you? – When you outsource this is particularly important for you and at the end of the day it’s your business so instant access to judge the quality is key.
- Having listened to the call how responsive are they to feedback? – A telephone answering service provider needs to be seen as a partner to your business, so being able to say well done for the good calls or provide development feedback to make things better moving forward is key.
- How well trained are the PAs that will answer your calls and will they be trained on your business and what you need from the call? – These are the people you’re trusting your business with so looking out for a good reputation and quality managed business is key
- Do they provide good customer testimonials and do they have customers you can speak with? It – Often available online or via Google and Trustpilot reviews sites, why not see what customers think.
- Do they provide a free trial where you can judge the service and ensure the service meets the above questions? – This is the biggest opportunity for you to really see whether a call answering service provider really can deliver for you.