5 Tips to Cut Answering Service Costs
Saving hundreds of dollars on your telephone answering service may be easier than you think and can be done in minutes. Tens of thousands of businesses across the United States employ call centers to answer there phones and deliver messages when they are not available to field customer calls themselves. Most of these entrepreneurs are already saving money because the cost for a remote receptionist is far less costly then a full time employee with health insurance and other benefits. Though just one weeks salary can often times offset two or three months of service there are several tips that could reduce the cost of answering services by a few hundred dollars a year.
Tip # 1: Return every call within 2 hours. When consumers reach out to a business and leave a message with the office they naturally assume that their call will be returned within an hour or two. The natural human response when no call has been returned is to call back and make sure the message was delivered and then to leave it again, thus now you have paid for the same message twice, or maybe more, depending on how critical the matter was and how many times the client called your office. When possible the solution is to stop every couple of hours and return your calls or have someone do it for you. Just by simply acknowledging that you are aware of the callers needs and advising them when to expect your next call or time of service will almost always stop further calls.
Tip # 2 Get a flat rate that allows minutes of service just beneath what you expect to use. Most call centers offer multiple programs that allow a preset amount of minutes and then you pay a higher rate once you go over the allocated amount. Many people make the mistake of buying way more minutes then they actually need and would save money by purchasing a program with less allocated minutes and paying a higher rate on the overage time. The best way to make this determination is by getting your hands on your last three bills and doing the math to see if you would fair out better on a smaller package.
Tip # 3 Don’t sign up for call patching (a/k/a call transfer) service if you’re missing most of the calls. In most cases a service charges a set rate per minute if you need call patching and a lower rate if you only need your messages taken and delivered by email or text. The problem is that on most patch service plans you pay a higher rate on all calls that come in, even if they’re not intended to be transferred. If you find that you are not able to take a high percentage of patch calls then strongly consider a standard messaging service. What’s most important is that a live human greeted your customer and assured them that their call would be returned and their needs would be promptly satisfied.
Tip # 4 Most phone answering services allow their customers to fully customize the callers experience by creating call scripts that guide the conversation and ask specific questions to capture important data. The problem is that a lot of this information could have likely been captured on the return call as opposed to paying a high premium for a long Q & A. For example, if your service is asking callers how did they hear about you and then requesting an email address then that call would run about one minute longer, and when you multiply that times a couple hundred calls a month you end up spending a lot of unnecessary money.
Tip # 5 Set your call script up to detect and stop solicitors from calling. Telephone solicitors will call you over and over again and they will not stop until you personally answer the phone. They generally will not leave a message in hopes that you might pick up the phone on one of their next calls. It’s a great idea to have your service tell all solicitors to take your number off their list and to send any requests that they might have in writing. You may be surprised to learn that this one tip may reduce your total phone answering service bill by as much as 35%.
Finally, if your service provider records calls consider asking for 15 – 20 recordings and carefully listen to each call to learn if there is any wasted time and then carve out that dialog. Using these tips may save you a ton of money and your clients experience will be much better.