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How Long Should an Answering Service Call Be?

When shopping for an answering service, finding out how long an average answering service call should be is great, as long as you are getting good info.

Image of a call center agent handling an answering service call of an average duration

We are  often asked, What is the average duration of a call handled by an answering service?

Well, it depends. There are different call durations for different kinds of calls. But there are still some pretty safe answers to this question.

But first, why do so many people ask this question about answering service call length?

The reason that many  folks who are shopping for an answering service ask this question is that they are inherently suspicious of the answering services they are shopping for. Lots of shoppers  are convinced that agents  are trained to sit on the phones for excessive periods of time, dragging out conversations in order to rack up service bills (thankfully, this is a very rare occurrence in the industry). So they ask the call duration question, which is a very good thing to find out about, provided you are getting accurate information.

Here’s a quick breakdown of answering service call durations:

  • Most basic answering service calls (name, number and a message) will take about a minute and a half to process.
  • Appointment scheduling calls can take about 3 to 5 minutes to complete.
  • However most answering service calls should be under 2 minutes overall.

If your sales person tells you that call durations are under a minute, then you have a problem. No quality answering service agent can properly confirm all of the details in a name, number, message call that quickly. You must give operators sufficient time to be accurate.

So be wary of salesmen who quote you extremely low call times as they are either just telling you what you want to hear to get your business, or their performance levels could be lacking. Either way, that’s not an answering service you want to sign up with.

Now that you know how long answering service calls should be, you can still ask a salesman just to see what their response. That will give you a hint at what kind of company you are dealing with.

If you get a realistic answer, then you can multiply that by  approximately how many calls you expect the answering service to handle for you on a monthly basis. That should give you a general idea of how many minutes you’ll want to purchase from your chosen answering service provider.

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About Brian Gabriel

As the Call Center Manager for Sound Telecom, Brian is responsible for overseeing the daily operations and long term success of the company while managing a variety of inbound customer support programs. He also has a hand in taking care of the Solaxis services division. Prior to joining Sound Telecom, Mr. Gabriel held management positions with several prominent Internet Services companies including and Brian started his career in advertising and sales before moving to Washington State. He joined AEI Music in 1995 and supervised their international customer service department and technical support call centers. Brian received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish languages from San Diego State University. Brian teaches adult education at his church and actively supports Christian ministries.