Finding the right pricing strategy for the medical answering service appropriate for your company’s circumstances is very important for your business. If the pricing is too low, you may have to compromise on the quality, and if it is too high, you may have to invest everything you earn into the flat rate phone answering service. Hence, before hiring an answering service, you should ensure that their pricing strategy works and that you can choose the right one for you.
Determine Your Preferred Pricing Model
The first step is determining which pricing model will suit your business the best. Hence, you should be careful when picking a service that meets your business needs. Determine your preferred pricing model and what benefits it includes. Since all the answering service plans may not be the same, they may not cost as much as you think. There are certain factors that influence the cost of answering services, and the main factor is your business needs. Your business may need assistance that takes a message and passes on the details or does much more than that, which is mostly the case with medical facilities. Most medical answering services offer various pricing structures. So you should be able to choose from pay-by-minute, pay-per-call,pay-per-message, pay-as-you-go, monthly fees, tiered pricing, and flat-rate phone answering service model. These charges may vary depending on the provider.
Compare The Answering Services Prices
Identify if your service pricing is competitive by comparing the prices from different providers. This is the second step in choosing the right pricing strategy. Remember that there is a difference between low-cost and affordable answering services; hence, decide which one you want to go with. Since your brand’s reputation is at stake, look for the best value you can get. You may feel like opting for the lowest-cost answering service, but it may come with loopholes that can affect you later, compromising the quality of customer service. Sacrificing quality for the cost may not be a good idea.
The lowest and low-mid quality services may include low pricing for high-call volume and simple services like message taking. The standard market range is $0.80 to $0.95, with a call volume of 500 to 5000 minutes. While other providers may also offer this normal market range for a call volume under 500 minutes. But if you want to go for specialized services requiring specialized agents or third-party software, be ready to pay up to $1.00 per minute.
Moreover, you should also consider how the service agents answer your incoming calls. Identify whether they are just answering or managing the calls, if they are well-trained and can use your practice’s software, are HIPAA compliant, etc. Also, if the pricing is too low compared to their competitors, ask them the reason for it.
Understand Their Cost Metrics
Though many service providers are transparent about the monthly reports and invoices, others may hide additional chargers in the numbers to confuse you. So to avoid this, you need to understand the various cost metrics so that you get the complete reports. Here are some critical service metrics that your provider may track:
- Check-in calls: It reflects instances where employees need to contact the answering service, get messages, receive updates or verify the information.
- Secretariat Calls: These calls are answered by live agents on your behalf. If your provider is billing you by the minute, you should verify how they calculate the time. Since some companies round up to the nearest half dollar, make sure you pay only for the time you use.
- Callouts: You should make sure that the agents call out to complete a task according to your processes. When an agent follows up with a patient, they should confirm that the hospital staff calls them back.
- Outgoing data calls: This includes text messages, faxes, emails, messages sent to pagers, and other communications other than live phone conversations.
- Patches occur when a live agent transfers the call to another person.
- Incoming data calls: The metric involves the management of incoming data, not sending text messages or other outgoing data.
- Accounts updates: This includes instances where you need to change your processes in the account.
- Non-live calls: This refers to the agents performing additional duties post-call, like sending emails.
- Client maintenance: This refers to updating information in your account for agents to use.
- Time in a voicemail: If your service charges you for clients leaving voicemails, it is time to reconsider your choices.
- Hold time: Though being charged for hold time is not a regular practice, it may happen, and hence, you should avoid such services.
Since medical answering services may have different names for these services, you should review the changes carefully. If you see any changes, request your provider to clarify them and question each line item you do not understand. Follow the above rules and get the best price for your medical answering services.