How to Handle Pricing on Your Answering Service Website
Sometimes Posting Too Much Information Can Work Against Us
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Over the years I’ve looked at hundreds of telephone answering service websites. A few are great, many are good, and some need improvement. A common page for many answering service sites covers pricing. There are different ways to handle rate information, each with their advantages and disadvantages.
Post Rates Online: Though I’ve never tracked it, I think most answering service websites post their rates and rate packages.
This has the advantage of eliminating budget-conscious tire kickers—who won’t hire you anyway—from taking up your time. It has the disadvantage of conditioning answering service clients—especially yours—to shop for price. Remember, if someone selects your service based on price, they’ll leave as soon as a better price comes along. High churn results. Therefore, I’m not in favor of this practice.
Request a Call: Another approach is to encourage people to call you for more information. You could say something like, “Contact us today for a customized package to fit your specific needs.”
The advantage of this approach is setting the expectation that you will design an answering service solution to meet the unique requirements of the prospect. The disadvantage is that you will invest time pursuing clients who merely want the cheapest service.
Complete a Form: A step up from requesting the prospect to call you is presenting them with a simple form to fill out to receive more information. Since they’re already on your website, this is an easy ask. The fewer questions you require them to fill out, the greater the chance they will complete your form.
The advantage of using a form is more requests for information then if you ask them to call. The disadvantage is even more cost-conscious prospects to weed through.
Use an Online Quoting Tool: An option I’ve only seen a few times, but which bears consideration, is an online quoting tool. Prospects enter their basic call parameters and call volume into an app on your website. Then the tool automatically provides a custom quote to best meet their expected usage. You can either display their custom quote once they enter their information or you can automatically email it to them. Obtaining their email address allows you to follow up.
The advantage of using an online quoting tool is that you can still provide rates quickly to prospects, thereby eliminating those who are shopping for the best price. This also keeps you from posting rates online. The disadvantage is the cost of setting up the quoting tool and maintaining it.
Action Step: Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each of these approaches based on what you want to accomplish, your position in the marketplace, and how your prices compare to your competitors.
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The 3 Disciplines of Strategic Thinking
By Rich Horwath
To maximize your resources and profitably grow your business, there are three disciplines of strategic thinking you can develop to ground your business in solid strategy:
Discipline 1: Acumen: One of the interesting paradoxes of strategy is that to elevate your thinking to see the big picture, you must first dive below the surface to uncover insight. A strategic insight is an idea that combines two or more pieces of information to create new value.
One of the reasons most people don’t enjoy strategic planning is because the plans don’t contain any new thinking. They repeat Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity by doing the same things and expecting different results. A key premise in business is that new growth comes from new thinking. Carve out time for you and your team to sit down and strategically think about the business, using the group’s insights to identify new approaches to the business.
What are the key insights you’ve learned about your business? How are you using them to achieve your goals?
Discipline 2: Allocation: While it’s one thing to have a neatly written strategy, the truth is that realized strategy is a result of the resource allocation decisions made by managers each day. Discussions of strategy boil down to how to allocate limited resources to maximize business potential. Where are you currently investing your resources—time, talent, budget—and are they focused on your goals and strategies?
While everyone has a to-do list, only the best managers have a not-to-do list. Great strategy is as much about what you choose not to do as about what you choose to do.
What trade-offs will you make to focus resources?
Discipline 3: Action: How often has your team developed a plan for the year, only to see that plan slip by the wayside once the fire drills begin? Fire drills come in the form of customer complaints, competitor activity, and internal issues that are urgent, but not important. The key is to let these fire drills flame out and stay committed to the plan you’ve developed by focusing on your priorities.
What are you top three to five priorities? Are you focused on them or fire drills?
Conclusion: The most important strategy element is you. By developing the three disciplines of strategic thinking, you can elevate yourself from tactical to strategic. In doing so, you’ll separate your business from your competition.
Rich Horwath has helped more than 100,000 managers develop their strategy skills through live workshops and virtual training programs. Rich is a strategy facilitator, keynote speaker, and creator of more than 200 resources on strategic thinking.
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Quotes for the Month
“No amount of belief makes something a fact.” -James Randi
“If you would be loved, love and be lovable.” -Benjamin Franklin
“Acupuncture: a jab well done.” -unknown