We recently read a post in a business forum in which someone complained about being overcharged by an answering service company. Long story short, the person signed up to a pay-as-you-go 30-minute plan for a 30-day trial, priced at £28.80. After 30 days, they received an invoice for £2,300 claiming that their company had missed 781 calls totalling more than 2200 minutes, and that each additional minute costed 96p.
The deceived user’s stance was that the entire product was mis-sold to them. The service was advertised as a pay-as-you-go one and not as a 30-day rolling contract.
How does the industry suffer from unfair competitors?
We don’t know how the story will unfold but our concern is that we have already come across other stories of fraudulent answering services providers conning their users and laying unaffordable bills before them.
The problem to us, as a business, is that we are potentially losing customers to competitors with a spurious reputation who are unfair to their clients and are not clear enough about their pricing. Not to mention that such scandals devalue the whole industry we operate in. At Pocket Receptionist, we have always studied the market diligently and have put a lot of effort shaping our service and transparent pricing around solid market analysis. Alas, there are other companies who want to go the easy way and rip off those customers who have trusted them, by promoting their products at allegedly much lower prices.
And the customers, of course, are put under too much stress being obliged to pay for something they didn’t really want.
What to look out for in a telephone answering service provider?
Stories of scam offerings outrage us and we decided to come up with a few points on what to look out for when selecting a call answering service provider.
Cheaper home workers / overly cheap services
There are many individuals who can advertise themselves as virtual receptionists and offer you their services. Be careful with those, unless you find strong evidence that the person you are considering to hire, is a safe bet. Similarly, some companies could be offering their products at suspiciously low prices, considerably lower than the industry standard. The alarm in your head should go off if you identify large discrepancies in pricing between one provider and the majority of others.
Per minute billing
Charging per minute could make the caller sweat while calculating how many calls can be covered within a certain number of minutes. It also leaves room for fraudsters to stretch the length of calls and provide fake information of the minutes talked away in a month. The neater and safer option is signing up for a bundle of calls. You know what you get, you know how many calls the service covers, and the risk of finding yourself having to pay a steroid-filled charged is reduced to a minimum.
No website portal or a smartphone app
This is quite important because it helps set transparent companies apart from those seeking easy money. When selecting a call answering provider, make sure you can follow your call stats on their website, or via an app. It is an extra layer of security for you. Besides, if a company has invested in designing an app, this should convince you in their goodwill intentions and desire to make its presence on the market for the right reasons.
Business with no cash in the bank
It is not too hard to apply a credit check to a business before proceeding to establish a partnership with them, or use their service. It is simple, If the business’ records look suspicious, stay away from it.
The best advice we can give you is to do an in-depth research before you make your final decision. It pays off to dig deeper among various providers because it only works for your own business to choose the most affordable and efficient service.
Consider how they charge – whether per call, or per minute, and how developed their website is – do they have an online portal or a mobile app. Compare the prices of each service, and make an informed decision to get real value for your money.