Answering Service Cost

How Much Does a Georgia Answering Service Cost?

In general, the cost of an answering service in Georgia is about $35/week, or a monthly base rate between $75-$150, with an average cost per minute of $1.39.

It’s crucial to recognize that a higher monthly base rate for an answering service doesn’t necessarily translate into a costlier package. More often than not, these higher rates encompass a larger amount of operator time within the package.

Across Georgia, the average total monthly expenditure for small businesses employing a phone answering service varies broadly, falling between $94 and $227. This extensive range largely depends on your business’s actual need for operator time. For instance, a small HVAC company that requires handling of 40 to 80 calls a month may incur an answering service cost roughly between $85 and $160 monthly. On the other hand, a large medical practice fielding anywhere from 200 to 1000 calls per month may find themselves paying somewhere between $250 to $1000 monthly.

Is A Georgia Answering Service Worth It?

Undeniably, regardless of your industry, you’re almost certain to discover that a Georgia answering service is worth every penny invested. Let’s illustrate this with a couple of real-life examples:

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HVAC Answering Service Cost:

Consider an HVAC contractor located in Augusta who was receiving roughly 80 calls a week and employing a full-time receptionist at $13 per hour for a 40-hour work week. This amounted to a weekly expenditure of $520, and unfortunately for a fledgling business, her sole duty was answering the phone. When the HVAC company opted to delegate their calls to a virtual receptionist service, those same 80 calls were managed for a mere $139. However, the real value lies beyond this. Keep in mind, the receptionist operated for a 40-hour work week, whereas the answering service was equipped to handle calls 24/7. The HVAC contractor quickly discovered many missed opportunities that came in outside of regular hours, which considerably boosted their sales. This growth not only covered the cost of the answering service but exceeded it fivefold.

In General, HVAC contractors in Georgia can expect to pay $33 – $41 a week for a reliable answering service.

Medical Answering Service Cost:

In Atlanta, a doctor with a full-time receptionist managed well within regular hours of 8 AM to 5 PM. However, due to their aggressive marketing strategies, they started receiving calls after hours. Instead of leaving messages, most callers would hang up. So, they employed a medical answering service, which ended up handling approximately 85 calls per week. Since the medical answering service was instructed to collect extensive data, the calls took a bit longer, averaging around two minutes each, resulting in a cost of around $236 per month. The real value surfaced when the call center began engaging these marketing calls with a live operator. They immediately started securing additional deals each week. These additional sales not only covered the after-hours support costs but quadrupled the return.

After-Hours Answering Service Cost:

Consider this instance involving a plumbing company. Initially, this client was skeptical about delegating their calls to an answering service. However, they were facing a pressing issue: a surge of calls over the weekend when the office was unattended, most of which were emergency plumbing needs demanding immediate attention. What the plumbing company failed to consider was that callers reaching voicemail would generally hang up and seek out another plumber to address their emergencies promptly. Consequently, the plumbing company decided to utilize the answering service for a one-week free trial.

To their surprise, just having a human being answer the phone, express empathy, and assure immediate attention to their emergency proved to be a game changer. They received about 10 calls per week, resulting in an average of five new sales valued at over $1200. The total cost for the after-hours answering service was a mere $50 a week for the plumbing company, translating into a return on investment of $1150.

The cost of an after-hours answering service, obviously is determined by the total minutes required to adequately support the business. But in general, an after-hours answering service costs between $40 – $47 a week.

Answering Service Cost Per Month

The typical monthly cost for an answering service falls between $137 and $158, primarily influenced by the actual operator time required. In many scenarios, cost control can be achieved simply by having the virtual receptionist ask only the essential questions needed to assist the caller. Often, just obtaining the caller’s name, number, and a brief message suffices. In such instances, calls usually last about a minute and cost around $1.30 per answered call. However, some calls naturally take longer. For instance, some contractors may require the answering service to schedule appointments or even handle payments. These calls can extend up to 2-3 minutes, bringing the cost to around $2.50.

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How to Save Money with Your Answering Service: Practical Tips

In today’s hyperconnected business environment, customer interaction is pivotal. After all, a client’s first point of contact with your business is often through a phone call or a message. Hence, answering services play an essential role in your business strategy. But like any tool, the efficiency of its usage will determine its cost-effectiveness. Here are some practical tips to save money with your answering service.

1. Evaluate your Needs

Before choosing an answering service, identify your business’s unique needs. Are you looking for 24/7 coverage, or do you need support during peak hours only? Do you need message-taking or more complex customer service solutions? The more accurately you can define your needs, the better you’ll be able to select the right service package, ensuring you’re not paying for unnecessary features.

2. Train Your Answering Service

Training your answering service in your business’s specifics can save money in the long run. When your answering service understands your products or services, they can handle customer inquiries more efficiently, reducing the time spent on calls. This also reduces the risk of mistakes or miscommunications, which could potentially lead to lost business.

3. Optimize Call Routing

Set up your call routing to direct calls to the most suitable party, whether it’s a department, an individual, or the answering service. This can save time and minimize the chances of miscommunication, leading to more satisfied customers and less time wasted on unnecessary calls.

4. Use Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

IVR technology enables customers to interact with your company’s phone system via voice or touch-tone dialing. They can get the information they need without speaking to a live operator, saving on per-minute or per-call fees. You can use it to handle frequently asked questions, give directions, or offer self-service options.

5. Monitor and Manage Call Volume

Keeping a close eye on your call volume can help you spot trends and plan accordingly. For example, if you notice that call volume decreases significantly during certain hours, you might consider reducing coverage during those times to save money. If there are peak hours when the call volume spikes, you can plan to have extra coverage to handle the increased demand.

6. Negotiate Pricing

Don’t accept the first price quoted by your answering service provider. Consider the number of calls you expect to receive, the complexity of those calls, and the level of expertise required. Then negotiate a price that reflects your specific needs. Some providers may be willing to offer discounts for long-term contracts or higher call volumes.

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7. Regularly Review Your Bill

Frequently review your answering service bills to ensure that you’re not being charged for any services you’re not using or calls that weren’t made. Billing errors can occur, and catching them quickly can save you money.

8. Leverage Automation

Where possible, use automated systems to handle simple queries. An online FAQ page, chatbot, or automated email response can often provide the information a customer needs without incurring the costs of a live answering service.

9. Trial Periods and Money-Back Guarantees

Many answering services offer trial periods or money-back guarantees. This gives you the chance to test the service before committing fully, allowing you to find out whether it’s a good fit for your business without risking your capital.

Answering services can be a valuable asset to your business, providing a professional point of contact for your customers and freeing up your time to focus on other areas of the business. However, like all services, it’s essential to manage them effectively to maximize their value. By following these tips, you can ensure that your answering service provides excellent customer service while remaining cost-effective.

Free Trial – No Risk, No Obligation

There are instances where prioritizing quality can bring more value than just saving a few bucks. That’s why the majority of our partners in Georgia endorse the concept of ‘sampling before purchasing’. Don’t hesitate to inquire with your sales representative about a seven-day free trial offering. Experiencing a live answering service firsthand is the most effective method to gauge whether it’s well-suited to your business needs.

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