When it comes to virtual receptionist or answering services, there are two types: a flat rate answering service and a usage based answering service. They both have advantages and disadvantages, but one is certainly better than the other.
What is a Flat Rate Answering Service?
When you choose a flat rate service, you pay a monthly fee and they handle your calls. It doesn’t matter how short or long the call is, you are only charged the monthly fee.
What is a Usage-Based Answering Service?
With a usage-based or pay-as-you-go answering service, you actually pay for each minute of talk time. Often, you will pay for a package with a monthly fee, which includes a specific number of minutes, and then you pay for additional minutes by the minute.
Flat Rate is Cheaper
A flat rate answering service is far cheaper, but you get what you pay for. When you choose this type of answering service, they often expect call center representative so take far more calls per hour than a pay-as-you-go service will.
This leads to a lower quality of service and receptionists trying to get your customers off the phone quickly. A flat rate service doesn’t provide the same high quality of customer care because the receptionists have to handle calls quickly to make it worthwhile. Often, these services are found overseas and cause a language barrier with your customers, as well.
Usage-Based Provides Quality
When you choose a service that starts with packages of 100, 250 and 500 minutes, you get quality. They will expect you to pay for any minutes over your allotted amount by the minute, at a rate ranging from about $0.70 to $1.25 per minute.
The quality you receive from a virtual receptionist service charging by the minute is well above and beyond what you get from a flat rate answering service. They don’t care how long it takes; they want to ensure your callers are satisfied.
Which One Provides More Advantages?
When you choose a flat rate service, they will only answer the phone, take a message or transfer the call. They usually won’t take orders, schedule appointments or deal with general questions.
However, with a usage-based answering service, you get the benefit of a receptionist capable of taking orders, scheduling appointments, answering general questions and much more. This type of virtual receptionist is more like a virtual assistant than just a call answering service.
Should You Choose Flat Rate or Usage Based?
If you just want somebody to answer the phone and transfer it to you, a flat rate answering service will handle that for a very low price. However, if you want a virtual receptionist capable of handling just about every caller without the need to transfer the call to you, a usage-based service is the better choice.
It really comes down to what your company needs, but most businesses will benefit more from a usage-based virtual receptionist service than a flat rate virtual receptionist service.
Make sure you choose the right service for your company and be sure to look at more than just a services lower price.