Contact Communications is our pick as the best pay-as-you-go answering service because of its low monthly rates and seven-day, no-obligation free trial. Contact Communications is a great choice for small businesses that want to outsource their phone management for a reasonable price.
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Pricing for Contact Communications is very straightforward. You pay a base monthly fee depending on the level of service you desire. Then, at the end of the month, you pay additional fees for the number of minutes used. Below is a breakdown of Contact Communications' pricing structure.
- 24-hour live answering: $40 per month ($33.50 with annual prepay)
- 16-hour live answering: $35 per month ($29.16 with annual prepay)
- 8-hour live answering: $30 per month ($25 with annual prepay)
- 24-hour automated greeting: $25 per month ($19.99 with annual prepay)
- Less than 500 minutes per month: 79 cents per minute
- 500 to 1,000 minutes per month: 73 cents per minute
- More than 1,000 minutes per month: 60 cents per minute
For all pricing levels, Contact Communications offers add-on features, including:
- Email messages: Free, including encrypted email that complies with HIPAA
- Text-to-cell: $5 per month per cell phone
- Voicemail: $5 per month
- Call patching: $1 per patch charge, plus per-minute usage
- Faxing: Per-minute usage charge
- E-fax: $9.95 per month
- Appointment scheduling: $10 per month
The per-minute rates are among the lowest in our review; however, Contact Communications bills in 30-second increments after the first minute. That means the company rounds up calls to the nearest 30 seconds. For example, a call that lasts 1 minute and 1 second would be billed as 1.5 minutes. Many answering services bill incrementally, but 30 seconds is one of the higher increments we found in our review. This could significantly inflate usage charges, especially for companies with high call volume. Although Contact Communications' per-minute usage rate is highly competitive at face value, the total minutes you'll be billed for will be higher than what you actually use.
As a result, we recommend Contact Communications only for very low-volume businesses that would benefit from a pay-as-you-go option. Many other pay-as-you-go plans we assessed charge similar base fees and usage rates of more than $1 per minute. For businesses that would take advantage of these plans, Contact Communications remains the more cost-effective option. However, for small businesses with a higher call volume, it might be wise to consider another company that doesn't bill in 30-second increments.
Contact Communications is a month-to-month service that doesn't require any long-term contracts. The only time you'd be locked in is if you choose a semiannual or annual prepaid plan. Contact Communications charges a one-time $30 setup fee. If you need Contact Communications to assist your customers with their online orders, the company requires at least one week of setup time so its agents are familiar with your online store and products.
Features and Services
For a cost-effective answering service, Contact Communications can answer incoming calls to your business and take messages, and it can perform some advanced functions, too, like appointment setting and technical support. It offers useful add-on features for modest monthly charges on top of the base fee and usage rate. HIPAA-compliant service is available for businesses dealing with sensitive communications.
- Live answering: Every answering service's primary offering is live answering by trained agents who can handle incoming phone calls as an extension of your business. Contact Communications' agents answer phones with client-provided scripts and adhere to your company's brand messaging.
- Message taking: Contact Communications' agents can take down caller names, contact information, their reason for calling, and then pass on the message immediately via email or text to points of contact in your company.
- Order taking: A more advanced service, order taking can reduce cart abandonment rates and improve customer satisfaction. Contact Communications' agents can help callers navigate your e-commerce shop and answer questions about your products with information you've provided.
- Appointment scheduling: Agents can set new appointments and meetings on a shared calendar, which updates in real time. You'll receive notifications via email or text when a new appointment is set.
- Technical support: Contact Communications can offer Tier 1 technical support to help callers troubleshoot your products or software. Any advanced issues that require your attention are transferred to the relevant point of contact at your company.
- FAQs: You can provide a list of your customers' frequently asked questions and their answers to help agents manage basic customer service calls without forwarding them to your company.
Contact Communications Pros
Contact Communications is a great choice for businesses with a very low call volume that want to stop worrying about managing the phones without spending a great deal of money. However, for businesses with higher call volumes, a more comprehensive service with a monthly package of minutes might be a more cost-effective option.
Contact Communications Cons
The biggest drawback of Contact Communications is that it bills in 30-second increments. Incremental billing is common in the answering service and call center industry, but 30 seconds is one of the highest increments we came across in our review. Incremental billing can artificially inflate the total minutes used on an account, which adds up as more calls come in. Considering this, we only recommend Contact Communications for very small businesses with a limited call volume, or businesses that only want to outsource overflow calls. Businesses with a significant call volume should instead consider a service that offers monthly packages of minutes they are likely to use and a lower per-second incremental billing period or second-to-second billing.
Contact Communications is also a somewhat limited answering service. While it offers all the core features we looked for, some useful additional services are absent. For example, Contact Communications does not offer a client portal for on-demand access to your account information or a mobile application. Client portals often include detailed reports and options to customize scripts, which can be useful when you're working with an answering service.
Our customer service experience with Contact Communications was very positive. We spoke with two representatives, both of whom were pleasant, forthcoming and knowledgeable. Each explained the 30-second incremental billing policy and what it meant for charges on the account, despite that being a pain point for the company. They also answered all our questions about pricing, fees, onboarding and available services with ease. We explained early in our calls that we were not yet ready to make any purchasing decisions and were merely considering several different companies; still, both representatives spent significant time with us and patiently answered our questions. Each representative followed up shortly after the call with additional materials and a basic proposal.
Ready to choose a call center service? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:
- Choosing a Call Center Service: A Buyer's Guide
- Best Call Center Services of 2020
- Best Overall Call Center Service
- Best Inbound Call Center Service
- Best Outbound Call Center Service
- Best Call Center Services for Low-Volume Businesses
- Best Answering Service Overall
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