Defining Calls, Messages and Minutes
One of the largest challenges in evaluating answering service and call center pricing is understanding how each provider defines calls, messages and minutes. Here’s where it’s really important to read “the fine print” and understand what you’re actually being billed.
What is a minute?
While most of the world defines a minute as 60 seconds, most of the answering service industry doesn’t. Since call lengths are rarely equal to an exact number of minutes, answering services have several methods of accounting for partial minutes and most of them do not benefit the customer. Many services round up to the next minute, charge in 6 or 15 second increments, charge for ring and hold time, etc. Who wants to pay for an entire minute when a caller hangs up or a solicitor calls and takes 5-15 seconds of the operator’s time?
What is a call?
Is it an inbound call, an outbound call, an email, a chat, a text, a fax, a social media communication or the very common answer, all of the above? When considering a service that bills per call, it’s important to know what they consider “a call.”
What is a message?
Is it a complete message (caller’s name, who he or she is asking for, how do you reach them back, what it is regarding), or is it as little as “caller hung up” or “caller did not leave a message.” Most commonly, it’s any of the above.