Understanding the Fees Charged By Answering Services
Like many other types of businesses, answering services charge a number of different supplemental fees. Some of these are acceptable, while others are the kind of fees that you need to keep an eye on to make sure that your bottom line isn’t being ruined by the continual accumulation of small charges. Here we discuss what to expect from answering service prices and fees charged.
- Wrap Time
Wrap time is definitely one of the fees that should throw up a red flag if you’re looking to hire an answering service. If you hire a customer support or sales based call center, this type of fee is typical, as it accounts for the follow up time the agent has to spend processing information after each call. However, this time should be very minimal at an answering service, which is why you should not be paying for wrap time.
- Start-up Fees
Don’t balk at hiring an answering service if you see that they charge some sort of setup or activation fee. You’ll find that this is fairly common across the industry, as it does take time and resources to set up an answering service for a new client. This covers training new agents and getting them up to speed on the new scripts. This isn’t all that expensive, and usually ranges between $50-$100. If you need an especially complicated service from your call answering company, then it may be higher. A good firm should be willing to provide you an advance quote.
- Fees for On-Hold
This is another warning sign that you’re dealing with a company that is going to find a way to milk every extra penny out of you. A great answering service should never tack on “on-hold” or similar fees to your bill. The amount of time a customer is on hold is due to the staffing and procedures in place at the answering service, not due to anything originating at your company. That means you should never have to pay for it.
- Direct Inward Dialing or Line Fees
In most cases, you shouldn’t have to pay a fee in order to have a call forwarding number assigned to your account. Instead, most companies roll the amount of money that this costs into the basic cost of their services. There is one exception to this rule though, which is when you need to utilize more than one call forwarding number. Typically this is used in more complex call-routing situations, and the additional lines usually cost a few dollars apiece.
- Fees that are Rounded Up
Due to the exact measures of call-times at an answering service, call centers will round up to the closest second or three second interval when assessing your bill. Some might even go as high as six, which is at the outside margin of acceptable rounding. However, run away fast if you see a company that rounds up to the nearest minute. With per-minute billing, this can inflate your bill incredibly fast. You should also look out for minimum call time charges that are too high.
The bottom line here is that you always want to do your homework into the fees an answering service charges before you sign up for their service. Doing so will help keep your company in the black while also taking advantage of the great convenience these types of companies can provide you.
Author: Michael Cynar
Michael Cynar has over 30 years of executive call center and answering service experience. He is a successful business owner and lead generation expert and shares tips to help other entrepreneurs build and grow their business through leads generation and lead capture solutions. His mission is to share carefully guarded marketing tips that will help small-medium business compete on a smaller budget.