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Call answering ... I need help

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I had an enquiry from an existing client to:

 

- answer his calls, forward the calls to his cell no and if he is not in a position to take the call, take messages (sort of call answering service)

- call existing clients to make appointments, confirm appointments and inform him via sms or e-mail about his appointments

 

First of all - this is a first for me and being from South Africa I do not have much info to help me structure a package or rate structure for the client.

 

I would like to know the following:

 

- Should I quote an iniation or set-up fee

- Should I quote a per hour rate

- How do I determine the per hour rate

- Should I quote a flat fee for a certain number of calls answered or calls made and then ask a fee per call answered or made when the client exceeds his quota

- Should the client pay for call forwarding or calls made according to the rates applicable

- What about a deposit or pre-paid amount

 

I would really appreciate your input and advice. :clown:

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In this situation it is nearly impossible to know how much time this will take in a day without first providing a trial of sorts. I would quote your hourly rate and tell him that you will provide an up to date lump sum after you are more aware of the time it will take. Remember that when you offer phone services you tie yourself down to that client.

 

I do offer phone services, but this is how I do it ... I do not allow call forwarding ... instead I call into my client's phone 2-3 times per day and check their messages. At this time I return all calls and provide an email follow up to my client. This does not tie me to my phone and provides me the flexibility I need.

 

One of my first clients I answered phones for and carried a phone everywhere I went ... this became very tricky because I would be in the middle of another project for another client and have to stop to answer his phone. I was finding I wasted a great deal of time trying to get back on track after completion of a phone call.

 

Just some food for thought as you work things out ... remember ultimately you decide since it is your business ... don't let me sway your opinion one way or another.

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I do offer phone services, but this is how I do it ... I do not allow call forwarding ... instead I call into my client's phone 2-3 times per day and check their messages. At this time I return all calls and provide an email follow up to my client. This does not tie me to my phone and provides me the flexibility I need.

 

I am presently working in the same way, where I will get the messages 2-3 times a day, call back when necessary or forward by email.

 

Pricing? I decided that is was better to just charge a flat fee per hour. Remember, you want to make things simple for yourself, and your customer... And still money for yourself!

 

Now, granted I would have made more money if I would have charged for every phone call, email and what not, but I also had to take into consideration that this customer needed this kind of help on continuous basis. i.e. The service I offered made me the 'link' to his business.

 

You have to decide...

 

Also, as an example: After taking his calls for the longest time, I now do translations for him, and take care of his WordPress website....

 

 

Best of luck!

 

Elenora

 

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Thank you Yvonne and Elenora, I think I have more clarity about the call answering service. I must admit I was a bit worried about being tied to a telephone all the time. I like your suggestions of phoning in to get his messages.

 

About the - call existing clients to make appointments, confirm appointments and inform him via sms or e-mail about his appointments, would you suggest I charge a flat fee as well or do you think I should charge per hour.

 

I thought of charging a flat fee for a number of calls made and to add an amount per call once the client exceeds his "free bundle" included in the flat fee.

 

I assume it all depends on how many appointment and follow up calls you have to make. Working on an average of 5 minutes per call one can make 12 calls per hour. My concern is that an hourly rate might work out to expensive when you do a lot of calls per day. What do you think?

 

Thanks and have a wonderful day! :)

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I charge my clients for actual time spent and use a time tracking tool ... my time is my time and it is valuable and if they want to work with me they pay for every minute I work on their file ... even when I phone in to hear that there are no new messages and it takes me a minute they are charged a minute.

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I'm in Australia and I decided to charge a package rate based on the number of calls received and that seems to be working quite well. Where a client receives more calls than what is allowed for in their package I charge an additional fee per call.

 

To do bookings and update calendars, I've decided to charge a package rate per month and then a separate charge per booking made.

 

There is no set way on how to charge for this type of service, you just need to decide what is right for you and your business.

 

Good Luck!

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