Top 5 Answering Service Companies And How Much They Cost
These answering service companies take great care with your calls. Choose one of these call center solutions if you want the very best services and prices for your business.
Do you and your employees feel deluged by phone calls? Are fielding questions, handling complaints, taking orders, or scheduling appointments becoming a serious burden? Or, perhaps you need someone to handle these functions after hours?
Then, it may be time to consider hiring one of the many answering service companies out there. Yes, you’ve got voicemail. But it’s simply not good enough when it comes to handling customer needs.
About 80 percent of today’s callers don’t even bother to leave a message. If your company is relying on voicemail to make up the difference for lack of answering staff, you’re losing more business than you can imagine.
But how much does a telephone answering service cost? And how do you find the best service for your current needs?
We’ve got you covered. Read on for a breakdown of the five best answering service companies on the market and how much each one charges.
Answering Service Companies 101
But before we dive into a closer look at the best answering services out there, let’s go over what these companies can do for your business.
From receptionists to customer service representatives to salespeople, an answering service provides you with an off-site team of phone professionals.
They provide basic services such as handling after-hours message-taking to more complex tasks such as scheduling appointments, offering customer service support, and even handling cold calls for lead generation.
Services charge in one of two ways:
- Number of minutes per month
- Discrete block volume of calls per month
You’ll also have the chance to select a standardized plan or create a customized one based on your company’s needs.
Most answering services offer five standard plans. These very basic plans don’t offer specific services and are not suitable for every company.
For organizations with a heavy call volume and specific needs, purchasing a customized plan makes more sense. This gives you the leeway to negotiate a lower price per minute while still having more complex service needs met.
What You’ll Pay for an Answering Service
Prices vary from $0.64 to $1.12 per call, depending on the type of service that you need.
For example, medical answering services cost on average $0.71 to $1.38 per call. Because they may deal with sensitive information, they must comply with HIPAA.
An answering service for an attorney generally costs about $0.68 to $1.02 per call. Like the medical industry, these services must maintain a high level of confidentiality. They also require a basic understanding of legal jargon.
Bilingual answering services come in around $0.65 to $0.87 per call. They require employees with high proficiency in a second language.
Finally, 24-hour services cost around $0.69 to $1.09 per call. Because of the nature of having around-the-clock phone answering, expect to pay a premium for this service.
Despite the costs above, expenses associated with an answering service come in at a fraction of what you’d pay for in-office staff. Yet, they still provide you with professional service, ensuring your customer’s enjoy a satisfactory experience.
They also ensure that you won’t lose all-important customer communications because of voicemail.
Now that you have a better understanding of what these services can do for your company and how they charge, let’s take a look at the top five.
1. Specialty Answering Service (SAS)
When it comes to finding the best answering service for your business, look for a company that offers both flexibility and scalability. SAS does just that. As a result, it sits at the top of the list for the best telephone answering service.
Plans start at $31 per month, which calculates into about $1.19 per minute. From there, you can increase incrementally up to 10,000 minutes at $7,749 per month. Beyond that, additional minutes cost $0.79.
For each plan, expect to pay a $50 setup fee. But you won’t see extra charges for weekends, holidays, or line fees. What’s more, you can add additional services depending on your company’s unique needs.
These include sub-accounts for $10 each per month, patching for $0.10 per minute, voicemail for $0.15 per minute, and IVR for $0.15 per minute. All around, SAS represents an excellent service offering a wide selection of options.
2. Answer America
Answer America offers a variety of plans with the flexibility to pay as you go by purchasing credits. They start with a $30 credit plan. With this plan, calls cost $1.20 each.
Plans increase incrementally from there up to $750. At this price, calls cost $0.90 each because companies who opt for this service level receive the equivalent of $1,000 in credit.
Included in the plan is 24-hour answering, text messaging, and email messaging. There are no monthly fees and prank calls and wrong numbers are always free.
AnswerConnect offers six different plans. They range from $149 to $1,349 per month. No matter which of their plans you select, calls are billed in one-minute increments and any calls less than 30 seconds long prove free.
All plans require a $49.99 setup fee. When you select the basic plan, calls costs $1.49 each. As the price of each plan increases, the per-call rate decreases to $0.99 per minute.
Services included with AnswerConnect’s various plans include appointment setting, message taking, and email and SMS messaging.
4. Responsive Answering Service (RAS)
RAS specializes in answering services for various industries. They offer message delivery, dispatching, appointment scheduling, registration services, call screening, a 24/7 answering service, and virtual receptionists.
Plans start at $99 per month, which covers approximately 80 calls. As you opt for more services, rates increase.
5. MAP Communications
The services provided by MAP Communications start at $39 per month. MAP Communications has a number of plans that offer deeper discounts according to volume. What we like about this company is that even on the basic plan you get access to all of their robust solutions. So, the small business owner is treated like the fortune 500 company. They offer customizable plans to suit your company’s specific needs including:
- Appointment scheduling
- Call overflow
- Order Processing
- Fully Custom Scripting
- IVR Solutions (press 1 for billing..etc)
- Dedicated agents
- Bilingual answering
- 24-hour answering
All plans include disaster recovery backup and a dedicated help desk. Answering Service represents an affordable service for businesses who seek customizable plans or have special needs.
Finding the Right Answering Service for Your Company
Are you ready to get the flood of phone calls your business receives each month under control? Then, now’s the perfect time to invest in a business answering service.
The five answering service companies above are great places to start and offer a variety of phone support plans. But the list of great companies doesn’t stop there.
Check out our 2019 review of the 20 best phone answering services before you make a final decision about which provider to use.