Cost Effective Design is More Important than Price
When building an answering service or call center solution, cost effective design should be the focus rather than price.
As you might imagine, our phone rings in our headquarters many times throughout the day. Sometimes it is a customer calling to make an inquiry about their account. There are calls that come in asking about employment opportunities. Many of the times our phone rings we get to speak with someone calling to ask us about our answering services as a prospective client. Great! We would be lying if we said we didn't love a sales lead dialing in. But is the caller focused on cost effective design?
During those sales calls, it is inevitable that price comes up, as it probably should. I mean, we really do great work, but this just isn't how the sales situation plays out: People call us up, we tell them about our services, and they just say, "Sounds great! Sign me up and charge me whatever." I suppose as a marketer I should figure out how to make that happen...
Anyway, price is always part of the conversation since it is consistently a factor, but sometimes the first thing out of a caller's mouth is, "Hi. How much do your answering services cost?" Woah. Woah. Woah. Don't you at least want to take us to dinner first?
The point is, we are more than happy to discuss pricing, but we just hope that cost isn't the number one focus. Instead, the ideal situation is if people who call to inquire about our services are interested in working with us to set up a customized program that will help them solve the issues they face with a cost effective design that fits their budget.
So what is this cost effective design all about? Well, let me use an example to illustrate what it's not. You could sign up with a "cheap" answering service that is only going to charge you say $0.65/min. That is certainly cheap, but what you don't realize is that they round each minute up to the next whole minute AND they put you on a 4 week billing cycle rather than monthly. You are going to rack up a serious bill a lot quicker than you thought when you were quoted $0.65/min.
Ok, maybe you decide to go with an answering service that bills you by the unit instead. And that service provider is only going to charge you $0.60/unit. Only sixty cents per call? What a deal! But wait, sure you only get charge a little over half a dollar for when they answer an incoming call, but what if it is a wrong number, or the call gets disconnected? You're still getting charged, aren't you? But at such a great rate, a few wrong numbers is OK, right? So your answering service provider takes a call for you and they charge you for that one unit. But they took a message from that caller and now they have to send that message over to the right office. Well there is another unit. And then the office calls your answering service back to clarify some things. Hello, an additional unit! Starting to get the picture?
And are you even getting very good service from those cheap shops that just plopped you into a pre-structured program without fully understanding your business, your requirements, and your customers? Wouldn't it be so much better to focus on designing an efficient, custom answering service or call center program that is cost effective and could very well have you paying a lower total than if you just focused on that initial price quote?
So many people shopping for an answering service are calling around to compare prices. That's totally understandable, but perhaps a little misguided. There is legitimately a serious amount of money to be saved by those who are willing to participate in a good (free) consultation and put in the effort build a system that is set up well with cost effective design from the beginning.
Feel free to ask about price, but please take in the whole picture and consider cost effective design.