Monthly billing vs. 28 day billing and group billing
We bill 12 times a year or monthly. Most of our competition bills 13 times a year or every 28 days which creates an extra month of billing. This can add $60 – $100 a year to your bill.
Make sure you understand what is counted when they say “Oh, it’s 45-55 cents a message unit.” That invariably means they charge more than one unit to process a call. We have had countless calls from potential customers who say they receive over a 1,000 calls a month… We then find out they really received 350 to 400 calls but were charged 2 to 4 message units per handled call.
When you round up in tenths of a minute (6 second increments), it adds an average of 3 seconds per timed operation performed. This is the most reasonable way to bill time. Be sure to ask how minutes are calculated; the difference between rounding up 6 seconds versus a minute is huge. Cell phone companies round up the the next full minute.
We only require 30 days notice to cancel. We don’t have any annual contracts or automatic renewal clauses, won’t sign any automatic renewal contracts with our vendors, and won’t ask our clients to sign them. We have talked to many customers who were stuck with a bad service and wanted to change but had to wait until their contract expired. In short, our customers stay with us because they want to stay.
Quality is affected by hundreds of things including operator pay, benefits, training, bonuses and environment. If you want to know about quality of personnel, look at the full and part-time employee retention. Our average full-time personnel retention is over 13 years – our two graveyard personnel have both been with the company over 16 years, and all but 3 full-time people have been here over 13 years. Our average client retention is over 11 years. All of those clients can leave at anytime with 30 days written notice – they are not bound by long contracts.
Our facilities can withstand most disasters. The equipment computer room is isolated from the rest of the building with concrete walls, a 10-ft ceiling, sound absorbent ceiling tiles and wall panels in the operator area. This removes boiler room echo and background noise, which improves operator accuracy.
The bathroom is located in the operator area directly across from lead operator, not out the door and down the hall in a commercial building. Kitchen and vending equipment is located adjacent to operator area for easy access. All this keeps our operators near their phone systems!
Remote operator stations allow us to operate independent of the rest of the building and respond to unforeseen emergencies like snow and ice storms.
The building, facilities, and emergency backup capabilities of your call center should be important to you since they affect the reliability of your services. In 2006, a severe summer storm and ice storm left several businesses without power for 3 – 7 days; we were able to keep them open for business even though their buildings were not.
A recent study by Symantec found that 57% of small to midsize businesses have no disaster recovery plan. Yet, SMBs experience an average of six outages a year, with the top reasons being cyber attacks, power failures, and natural disasters. Our office is located 600 feet from the electric substation serving Barnes West Hospital, with over 400 feet of our power feed underground. Substation feed lines are on metal transmission towers and less than one mile from a distribution station. We also have a permanent auto-transfer generator with a 1,000 gallon Propane tank. A double conversion UPS for backup of the generator is also available.