If companies aren’t up front about their prices, they might have something to hide. After all, when you’re considering whether to use a service or make a purchase you only really need to know two things – 1. Does it meet/exceed my needs? and 2. How much does it cost? Telephone answering cost should be a simple and straightforward calculation. However there are lots of providers out there who over-complicate things and bury costs in the small print. As with airlines, the headline rates can seem amazing – so you can fly to Spain for £10.00, but if you want to sit down that’s £95.00 and if you want to bring some luggage that’s £85.00 and if you want to use the toilet it’s £15.00 and if you want to breathe etc. So here’s what you need to know.
Set up fees
There may be no set up fees at all. Or you can expect nominal set up fees around £50.00 to cover the allocation of a line, the provision of a number and testing etc. In addition, there may be team training costs. If you’re after a straightforward reception-style telephone answering service, then an experienced team is not going to need much training to follow simple instructions. If you want a front-line service then team training is essential – that makes sense. You want people to be able to handle enquiries and assist callers. That takes the strain off people within your own organisation. Team training costs will vary accordingly.
These typically start from around £50.00 and generally include a specific number of calls. Any additional calls are charged separately, you can expect to pay between £1.00 and £3.00 per call for extra calls. So you need to work out how many calls you’re likely to receive. That may vary of course, especially if you have a seasonal business. Monthly packages are available that will outline the amount of inclusive calls together with any extras on call forwarding and messages. Most telephone answering providers offer a free trial, so it’s always a good idea to take advantage of that to estimate how many calls you’re likely to receive on a monthly basis.
Price per call/price per minute/price per message
Price per call is the norm and more widely available than price per minute and price per message. From a commercial point of view price per minute is potentially better for the telephone answering provider. It means that the longer they talk the more money they make. Price per message is more unusual but it is out there and is generally more expensive because it will avoid unwelcome calls that the telephone answering provider has to absorb. Charges on a price per call basis are less contentious. Therefore it’s a much easier calculation for the provider and for the client.
Call Diversion costs
Your telephone answering provider will give you a telephone number so you can divert your calls. This number is your dedicated line to enable the team to answer your calls in your own company name. When you transfer your incoming calls to this number you pay your phone provider, eg BT, TalkTalk, Vodafone, for the duration of the transferred call. Costs will vary according to different providers, so contact your own provider for details of their charges.
Call Transfer costs
You may want your telephone answering team to transfer the calls to certain people within your organisation. This is a cost that the telephone answering provider has to pay to their own telecoms provider or it’s a cost they have to absorb. If they don’t absorb the cost then make sure you are aware of the rates for transferring calls to landlines, mobiles UK and International if that applies. These costs can be price per second or rounded up to the next minute. It’s amazing how these costs mount up, so make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises.
There might be charges dependent on how you want to receive your messages, which is usually by email or SMS. The telephone answering provider will be charged by an SMS provider but whether they charge that cost to you will vary. Again it’s worth checking.
Wrap up costs
You may get charges for calls and get separate charges for wrap up. When the call ends, some telephone answering providers keep the virtual receptionist out of the call group. This is to allow them time to type the message in a detail before it’s sent to you. This is a quality control measure, so it is a justifiable cost. You don’t want to receive rushed and inaccurate messages. Just make sure you know what charges are applied.
Most telephone answering providers will be fine with just 30 days notice. However if you are a key client that requires a dedicated team and have detailed and specific call instructions, then it is reasonable to expect there maybe some penalty for termination. Or there maybe a longer notice period.
Taking all of these potential cost areas into consideration is overwhelming for the prospective client. Here at Professional Call Minders we like to keep things incredibly simple. There are no set up fees, no message or call transfer costs, no wrap up fees and no tie-ins. Plus we have a calculator so you can see your monthly costs in an instant based on your estimated number of calls, check it out https://www.professionalcallminders.co.uk/quick-quote/ Nothing confusing, nothing complicated, you can see exactly how much you will be charged. Plus it’s worth checking out the T&Cs of a potential telephone answering provider just to examine the small print, here’s a link to ours https://www.professionalcallminders.co.uk/tcs/telephone-answering-tcs/