How Much Does an Answering Service Cost?
Calculate The Average Price Here
Find out how much an answering service will cost your business. Use the form to the right (to be contacted by up to 6 call center for quotes, or see the table below.
The chart is based on national phone answering service and inbound customer service pricing averages ranging from 25 agent minutes to 1000 minutes. Discounts may be much greater for usage exceeding 1,000 minutes. For information on high volume pricing please answering the questions to right and someone from qualified call centers will contact with their pricing.
Additionally, we have provided insight and buying advice that you’ll need to know before choosing an answering service or call center solution.
Chart of Answering Service Price Range by Minutes and Calls
(note: these are estimated monthly averages. Pricing varies by call center)
Calculate the Cost of Call Center Services
The costs of call center services are impacted by so many factors that there is really no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much call center services should cost. While this may be a complex issue however, it is possible to learn about how pricing in the call center industry works. By understanding the ways that fees are assessed and billing set up at most call centers, you can start to predict either a general range of the costs you may face, or understand how to temper your expectations or service requests to land within a predetermined budget range for your call center services.
Things to Think About
Before you can understand a reasonable price for call center services, these are some of the factors to keep in mind throughout the process. Any of these can affect how much you end up paying, and shifting your expectations or requirements in any of these categories could help lower your costs if that is a factor in selecting your provider.
- What hours do you need your call center to be available?
- How fast do you need response times to be?
- How complex is the work you need workers to do after taking a message?
- How many calls do you need your service to handle?
These questions are important because they provide you with two things. First, they allow you to define clearly what your needs are in a call centre. Secondly, they allow you to have a set of questions that you can ask a prospective call center in order to find out if they would be a good fit, and how their pricing will fit within your needs.
Range of Call Center Pricing
There are two models that are encountered most often in the call center industry. The first option that is employed by many companies is per-minute billing. In this model, a computer tracks the time that the callers work on each call that comes in for your business, and billing is based on the total number of minutes accrued in the month. The other model is based on a per-call basis. In this case, a call is assessed at a flat fee regardless of length. This model is less common because it allows for increased variability in the amount of time the call center needs to spend on each call.
When it comes to the range of prices that you might see in the per-minute pricing model, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Prices below $.70/minute indicate a company that has almost assuredly cut corners somewhere. Essentially zero legitimate companies are able to offer reliable, high-quality answering services at this price point.
- Prices just above $.70 typically represent the very lowest priced bargain companies available. There are a few companies that come in at this price point, but they usually are only able to do so for companies that are using a massive amount of minutes per month and obtaining a high-value bulk discount. Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, so always do your due diligence when it comes to a company in this price range.
- Over $.80 and Under $1.00 is the typical range of pricing seen in the industry. If you’re using more than 500 minutes a month, you should expect to see something in the lower end of that range, while users with lower volumes will be paying a higher per-minute rate.
- $.90 and up is a normal per-minute rate to pay if you are a small business that is using a high-quality answering service without the benefit of a bulk or volume discount. Even going as high as a $1.10 per minute can still be considered excellent value for an answering service it provides all the services and functions that you need.
Small Businesses vs Corporation – Call Center Billing Practices
A primary consideration when it comes to the costs of call center services is that small businesses and large corporations are operating in very different environments and have very different needs for these types of services. As such, there are call services that are much better suited to working with small business clients, and those which are better geared towards large, national clients.
Small businesses may find answering services provided by other small businesses that can offer excellent answering services at the lower end of the pricing spectrum. However, this may come with the drawback of a limit on the amount of modern technology integration that is incorporated into the service. However, if a bare-bones answering service is all that is required, small businesses can often find better rates by partnering with other small companies, as long as they can tolerate the possible lack of more advanced features.
Calculating Answering Service Call Volumes
Calculating the volume of calls that you expect your answering service to field, coupled with the information above regarding base rates, should help you start to draw a conclusion about how much your call center services should cost.
Figure what your average call volume per-week is that you expect to be fielded by your answering service. When calculating the amount you expect to pay monthly, always err on the high side. Events such as a sale or other promotion may cause a spike in your call volume that you don’t want to be unprepared for.
How is Time Calculated?
This is another important factor in the ultimate cost of your answering service. Not every answering service calculates your call time in real time (although some do). Other answering services instead may round up your calls to the nearest minute, 20 seconds, 6 seconds, or any other increment. When researching a potential call center, be sure to ask how they calculate the time you will be billed for if they bill on a per-minute basis.
Is Answering Service Pricing Everything?
Remember that price is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to selecting your call centre. The level of service the company can provide, the technology they use to integrate with your business, and the customer service they provide to your callers are all factors that are at least as important, and in many cases, more important, than the bottom dollar. Obviously however, pricing remains a consideration, and the best way to get an accurate assessment of potential cost is to contact a prospective call center and ask them to quote you directly based on your business model.