How to Pick an Affordable Answering Service for Your Business



Did you know that the right answering service can actually earn your small business money? I’m Kelsey Johnson from https://smith.ai, and in this video I go over how to pick an affordable answering service for your business.

Yes, answering services will add to your business’s overhead, but not nearly as much as hiring, training, and offering benefits to a full-time in-house member of staff.

This video assumes you’re already sold on answering services — and you’re now looking for an affordable one for your business.

Price:
* Get rid of any answering services that don’t publish prices on their website. They won’t be the most affordable.
* Figure out how many calls and minutes of calls you have on an average month (sorry, it takes math).
* How many of these were spam?

Now look at each service and compare:
* Plans and plan quotas: How much will you need to pay for your monthly calls? What’s the closest plan to your usage, and how much would you lose if you don’t reach it?
* Overage: Most call answering service plans are based on usage: For example 300 minutes/month or 50 calls/month. You’ll want to know the price per call or minute over your expected amount
* Contracts: Will you be locked into a large contract? What happens if you want to switch services mid-contract?
* Free trials and money-back guarantees: Can you try out the service for free before you buy? Do you have to put up your credit card first?
* Setup fees: In addition to monthly services, how much does it initially cost to set up the service? What does this setup entail? Will the answering service help with integrations, script writing, or creating instructions?
* Hidden fees: Are there additional fees that you need to consider when budgeting for the service? Do they require that you use certain phone systems or other software?

Don’t forget that the price printed on a website doesn’t always tell the whole story, so do your research first.

Once you have a general estimate of costs, it’s time to start thinking about services. Beware the cheapest services — your answering service should take on as much as possible for your business, consistently and professionally.

Identify must-have services. For example:
*Bilingual services.
* 24/7 answering.
* Integration with your existing software (CRM, scheduling, etc.)

Other tasks answering services can take off your plate (reducing your workload):
* Scheduling.
* Payments.
* Lead qualification and intake.
* Call reporting on an app or dashboard.
* Other: E.g. call notifications via text message, add-on services such as web chat or text messaging, social media management, multiple transfer destinations, collect call payments, HIPPA compliance, etc.

Once you’ve determined what your must-haves are, you’ve likely put together a short list of answering service providers you want to try out. Make sure you check reviews and do a quick gut check on each of them by calling the company’s number itself, and then dive in.

Start a free trial with the most affordable service on your list. Within the free trial period, you should be able to gauge whether your answering service can truly provide the services you need at the level of excellence you’re looking for.

Smith.ai’s virtual receptionists can qualify, schedule, and intake new leads, accept payments, log communications in your systems, and make outgoing calls. We have a call reporting dashboard, Spanish-speaking receptionists, one-click call and email follow up options, conflict checks, and much more. To learn more about our services and features, and to get started, head to https://smith.ai.

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