With all the expenses of running a small business, you may be reluctant to spend more of your hard-earned revenue on phone answering services. Regardless of the promises of high returns down the road, one of your chief concerns may be how much they will cost you now, especially if your current cash flow is limited.
The short and simple answer to how much these services cost is, “It depends”. To understand how the pricing will impact your company, it’s important to know how these services actually work.
What are small business answering services?
Small business answering services are like an extension of your existing staff. The purpose of the service is to handle calls while you are away from the office or when you have too much incoming phone traffic for your staff to manage.
Emergency calls are given priority, and it equips you to meet customer needs when calls are received during the busy periods of the day or after your usual business hours. The costs for these services ultimately act as an investment to increase revenue in the future.
When you invest in them, you get access to live personnel who handle the calls that you cannot. This means that whenever someone calls your business after hours or while you’re busy, the call is rerouted to our lines where the caller will always be able to talk to a live person.
Our agents help your customers with their questions, take messages, and notify you of the call. Messages are delivered through text, email, fax, or even pager, depending on your needs.
The services come with additional tools that allow you to optimize the service for your particular requirements. You might just need someone to take messages after regular business hours, or it may be that additional features such as technical support or appointment setting will best optimize the service for higher returns.
Small business answering service pricing
The average cost per month is about $400, though some pay as little as $100. It all depends on the type of service you need, what it will entail, and the overall volume you expect.
As such, if you own a smaller business, you can expect to pay much less than the average in most cases.
One of the advantages of using a phone answering service is that it’s very scalable. So, it’s easy to adjust the service as your business needs change. This has proven to be a lifesaver for small business owners, especially those who have a younger business.
Factors Affecting Small Business Answering Service Cost
There is a great deal of variation in pricing, and that is based on many factors. Two of the most prominent factors are the volume and the type of service you choose.
Volume of calls
The more calls we handle, the more it will cost. This is largely dependent on the size of your business. For a small business with a low volume of incoming calls, the cost will be fairly low. For larger businesses, the volume will be higher and therefore more expensive.
In addition, companies whose operations are based primarily on phone work will also have a higher volume of incoming calls, meaning a higher cost for them as well. It’s very labor driven and so the cost is variable.
Type of answering service
The type of service you choose will also factor into overall cost.
If you just need someone to answer the phone and take a message, you won’t have to pay quite as much. For more involved services–such as technical support, order processing, or appointment setting services–the work involved will be a bit more intensive and come at a higher cost.
The services you choose will depend largely on your business’s individual needs. Phone answering can simply be a way to take messages in an effort to provide a great caller experience or increase office efficiency or it can act as a full extension of your staff.
Is a small business answering service worth the price?
You might ask yourself if the services you get are truly worth the price. That really depends on your business needs, but the typical answer is a resounding “yes”.
It is well worth gaining and keeping the customers who call you with questions, concerns, or requests for service. In addition, you save time and resources that you would otherwise spend on the extra staff needed to handle that incoming phone traffic.
Benefits of a Small Business Answering Service
Keep your existing customers while gaining new ones
Ultimately, every price your company pays has one goal: to increase profitability. So, there would be no point in enlisting a phone answering service if it didn’t help increase revenue in some way.
In reality, the $100 to $400 you pay each month is spent to get more returns by gaining customer loyalty and being available when people need help, whether those are new customers or ones who have been around a while.
One of the biggest complaints people have when calling a business is not being able to speak to a real person. If your customers find that you are inaccessible, they will be far less likely to do business with you, whether or not you have served them previously.
If people call and can’t get past an automated answering machine or are stuck on hold for long periods of time, it can mean lost customers and lost revenue.
A phone answering service will help you retain more of the people who call your business. Even if they still can’t get the assistance they need right away, they’ll still be more likely to stick around because they talked to a live person.
Spend less time on the phone and more time generating revenue
Another cost benefit of phone answering services is that they save you save time.
Taking phone calls takes time, so when it comes to handling extra phone traffic or calls after hours, you have one of two options: your current employees work more hours or you hire more people. These both come with their own drawbacks, which may include:
- Overworked personnel who don’t provide the quality customer service they should
- Underutilization of extra staff members during lulls in phone traffic
- Additional hiring and training costs
- Extra equipment and maintenance costs
- Higher utilities as people stay longer at the office
- More square footage to handle extra staff members
In either case, you have to pay for more hours of phone time that could be spent elsewhere. A phone answering service also allows you to avoid the risk of overworking your existing employees.
In addition to the volume of client calls that these services can handle, you can also have certain incoming calls filtered out. That means unwanted solicitations or frivolous calls don’t eat up time you should be spending helping real customers, resulting in further returns for your company.
Avoid additional costs incurred with hiring and maintaining staff
When it comes to the amount of staff you have, phone answering services save on staffing costs, including hiring and training. Also, you will need to make sure you have the hardware resources available to handle the extra traffic, which may not always be feasible for a small business.
For more involved services, you achieve deeper savings when more of the workflow is handled by an external resource, meaning you won’t have to go through the time and upfront expenses of training and managing extra staff.
Cost-efficient operation due to focused resources
In addition, since we specialize in handling phone traffic, we have already invested in the resources needed to do business as efficiently as possible. We are able to devote our resources fully to helping your customers, and that avoids the problems of underutilization of resources, ultimately streamlining costs.
This means that allowing us to handle your excess phone traffic will be more cost effective than doing it in-house. We are well equipped to handle more traffic at a lower cost than you’d have to pay if you were to maintain your own phone staff.
Implementing your small business phone answering service
In order to be truly cost-effective, the services need to be high quality. The idea is that they act as an extension of your usual staff, not as a third party. Otherwise, there is still a strong chance that you will lose customers as they come in contact with a detached external party rather than a staff member they really want to talk to.
Find out how Keener Communications acts as an extension of your staff by calling 877-527-8680.
Your small business answering service should be tailored to meet your business’s specific needs. The right services will mean an optimized return on your investment, essentially increasing productivity and revenue.
With the skilled staff and highly customizable solutions offered through Keener Communications, you can expect higher customer retention and increased ROI.
Improve customer satisfaction and increase ROI today. Get started with a free quote by clicking here or calling 877-527-8680.