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5 Ways Choosing a Cheap Answering Service Costs Businesses More

Opting for a cheap answering service is often tempting, but assessing long term costs and the poor performance you will encounter that can damage your brand should make you reconsider.

Image of a businessman holding money close to his chest as he doesn't want to spend much money on an answering service

It is easy to understand that cost is always an important factor in any business decision. You’re responsible for staying within a budget for your company or department and all of your spending decisions have an impact on the bottom line. So, when it comes to answering services, why not just shop around for the lowest number on the market and choose a cheap answering service?

A cheap answering service may be tempting, but more often than not, it will end up costing you far more in the long run.

When you decide that an answering service is a good choice for your company, you have already made the decision to improve efficiency and provide better customer service. Excellent start.  However, many businesses often focus solely on price and try to find the lowest cost provider out there rather than looking for a cost effective answering service that has a solid reputation, uses professional training programs, utilizes a host of advanced technology with a stable infrastructure, and is actually a good fit for your company. Cost alone should never be the only factor by which value is measured. In fact, the cheapest answering service option will usually end up costing your company more in the big picture and this is why…

Imagine that you are looking to lose a few pounds. But instead of deciding to consistently exercise and eat healthy food in appropriate portions, you opt for the latest miracle diet that promises instant results. Quick fix? It sure is, but are those results going to last? Don’t count on it.

Choosing a cheap answering service might be great in the beginning. A delightful sales associate sells you on an account that is too good to be true, and might even offer you some discounts without your prodding. You pay your activation/account setup fee. And just like that, you hit the ground running with your cheap answering service as they take calls from your customers.

Sounds pretty decent, right? Unfortunately, this is about the time you will notice the problems beginning to pile up.

It all starts with negative feedback from your customers. You know, the people you are trying to please?

  • “The man who answered the phone was very rude.”
  • “I have tried calling several times, but it is hard to get through and it takes forever for my call to be answered.”
  • “I keep getting put on hold!”
  • “Is your receptionist new? The lady didn’t seem to know what was going on and had a hard time getting me through to you.”
  • “Whoever you have answering your phones is impossible to understand and I’m pretty sure they couldn’t understand me either.”

These are just examples of the typical feedback you are more than likely to get after your cheap answering service kicks in. But the thing about this feedback that you are hearing is that it is generally only coming from your existing clients.

So what about those first time callers? Is that really the original impression you want to give potential customers? Don’t be surprised when they simply decide to take their business elsewhere.

After the caller complaints begin to mount, you decide you must address the issue and get some things straightened out with your cheap answering service. But shockingly, they are very difficult to get a hold of. You can’t get through, or you can’t get on the phone with the right person, or they aren’t very responsive. Is this really what your callers have to deal with? And wasn’t this cheap answering service supposed to be saving you time?

That delightful sales person you originally spoke with is now busy targeting their next victim, so when you finally get through to someone, they are completely unfamiliar with your account. So they are going to have to get back to you. But they don’t. And your callers suffer through more terrible, (but cheap), service. Inevitably, your customers begin to shop around for another company to do business with that actually delivers superior customer service.

Now you must spend more of your time attempting to call your cheap answering service again so you can do what you should have done the first time around. The decision to bail out, cut your losses, and go with an established, trustworthy provider of great, professional answering services is the right choice to make. Hopefully, you don’t get caught up in any contract termination fees.

Finally, it is time to dig through the rubble left by the cheap answering service as you try to repair the damage they did to your company’s brand and reputation.

So, what are five ways choosing a cheap answering service will cost you more?

1.     Potential customers take their business elsewhere as you miss out on sales leads
2.     Your current clients abandon you based on the poor customer service
3.     You paid unnecessary account activation and contract termination fees
4.     It is a complete waste of your time to set up, deal with, and cancel
5.     Your company branding and reputation end up damaged

In the end, you will have paid far more than what you would have invested if you had only chosen the right answering service from the start. Do yourself and your company a favor, and always opt for a reputable answering service that is going to develop a customized plan to answer your calls in a professional, friendly and courteous manner.

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About Andrew Tillery

Born and raised in Oregon, Andrew has now put down roots in Seattle, because he refuses to call anywhere but the Pacific Northwest home. After graduating from Portland State University with a double major in Marketing and Advertising, he spent some time learning Spanish and experiencing all that South America has to offer. It was while he was south of the equator that he uncovered an interest in writing that he strives to develop whenever the opportunity is presented. When Andrew isn't taking care of business at the office, he is throwing fuel on his fiery passions for sports and the outdoors.