Call Answering: In House or Outsource

Call Answering: In House or Outsource

Calls On Call offers a great service for growing businesses that you are aware of.  But at what point do you move to hire your own office staff? To answer that, we need to do some math and look at some priorities of your business.

The short version:

Outsourcing most things is generally better, more affordable and you end up with a better product or service.  That is why we all share things like roads, doctors, accountants, plumbers and insurance. Any one company hiring an exclusive on any of those would typically be cost prohibitive and lead to a worse result.

Ironically, almost all of our clients are themselves outsourced by their clients.  So they understand this.

Cost

Calls On Call charges anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on how much you use us.  The few hundred dollar clients should obviously never consider hiring a fulltime replacement for Calls On Call, since no one can, or will, work for a few dollars per hour.

But once you get to paying a service of any kind more than a few hundred dollars, you may start wondering, what are your options.

A typical office employee goes for anywhere from $10-20 per hour as a base wage.  We must start our employees at $13.50 and raise them quickly to keep them. That is typical in our area and even more expensive in many other places.  Presuming an employee needs a place to sit, some equipment to use (computer, vehicle, tools, software, phone, etc.) and that employee needs to be hired, fired, met with and trained, there is an additional expense, as any employer is aware.  In addition, employees cost money in terms of taxes, insurance, benefits, vacation, etc.

So we typically assign a burden rate of 50% to the hourly rate of any employee.  Some industries have that higher, rarely is it much lower. Not if all of the expenses are actually accounted for.

That puts our one $13.50 employee at a minimum cost of $3483 per month.

Let’s also remember that each employee introduces HR and legal issues and liability.  Some of which are tough to put a dollar figure on.

Availability

That one employee will not be around to answer every call you have.  That is just the way things work. No one can be on two phones at once.  Not in any productive manner, at least. So you’ll either need back-up, which means more employees, or you’ll need to outsource your backup, which dampens any claim of efficiency improvements.

Employees don’t typically live to work for you, despite what they may tell you.  Why should they? So they’ll want vacation time, sick time and personal time. Guess what happens to that potential customer calling you when your office people are on vacation?

How do you feel when you call a service to get something done and the call is not answered?

Perception

We like to find potential clients by poking around at reviews potential customers have left for our potential clients.  Many people get frustrated calling service after service and not getting an answer. So they’ll leave a review that states that they never did work with the company because that company never answered their phone.  How many bad reviews does it take for a business owner to realize they have a problem? What is the negative value of each of those reviews?

Some business owners never learn, or care.  They are doing well-enough and the general perception of their business by anyone but their clients is of little concern.  That, in our opinion, is an extremely short-sighted approach.  

We like to go with the opinion that all calls are important, all calls cost us money to come in and therefore all calls deserve to be answered.  What good is all of your marketing if the call to action is to leave a message?

Smooth Operator

This one is arguably the most important.  I love to see business owners have the people, systems and operations in place to allow them to get things done in an efficient and practically interruption free manner.  

Most businesses do not work that way.  They react instead of prepare.  

When you have your calls and office tasks outsourced, you have a smooth operation.  You have less headache, less interruption and more profit. According to my research, those are all good things.

Of course, I am clearly biased.Though keep in mind that Calls On Call was created by me as a solution to a problem my first business was having.  So I know what issues businesses face and what challenges clients of these businesses have. I’ve been and continue to be on both sides of the transaction.  We can all agree that people just want to be heard and they want their problems solved. Isn’t that what we all do for our clients?

James Kademan is the owner of Calls On Call Extraordinary Answering Service in Madison, Wisconsin as well as the author of The BOLD Business Book. When he isn’t improving the communication of business owners, he is busy guiding entrepreneurs to success in business and beyond. He blogs successfully to the world at www.drawincustomers.com. If you are considering hiring a receptionist or outsourcing your call answering, take a moment to call James at (608)210-3110.

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