Answering Service Rollover Minutes
The concept of rollover minutes surfaced about 10 years ago with mobile phone carriers. At that time most plans included a certain amount of usage each month. The idea was to pick a plan that included the amount of time you expected you would typically use in an average month. This was fair: pick the plan that most closely matched your needs.
Mobile Phone Rollover Minutes
However, some people had usage that fluctuated greatly from one month to the next. If they used more time than their allotment, they paid for the excess. If they stayed under, their bill remained the same.
Then some companies introduced the idea of rollover minutes, which allowed unused time to roll over to the next month. Of course there were restrictions on how many minutes could roll over and limitations on how long they were good for, but the concept was a popular one.
Rollover Moved to Data Plans
Now we have smart phones instead of cellphones. Most plans offer unlimited talk and text, but they generally limit data. You pick a plan for how much data you expect you will typically use in an average month. If you go over, you pay for the excess. If you stay under, your bill remains the same.
Some plans allow you to roll over unused data, with certain restrictions and limitations, to your next bill. By being able to roll over unused capacity, there is less likelihood a bill will include overage fees. Consumers like this.
People Are the Difference
Given the popularity of rollover minutes on mobile phones and rollover data on smart phones, some people wonder about applying the concept to answering services. After all, it seems like the same situation: You pick a plan based on your expected usage for a typical month. If you don’t use all your allotted time one month, can’t you apply the unused portion to your next bill?
That’s a great question. Ideally, we’d like to say “Yes.” However, despite their appearances, the situations are not the same. An answering service that relies on people to serve you is not analogous to a cellphone that uses technology for a product.
Answering Service Rollover Minutes vs. Quality
The appeal of hiring a someone to answer your phone is its personalized nature. There is no automation, but real people help real callers. It’s effective. It’s convenient. It’s hard to beat. Callers like talking to a person and not attempting to interact with a machine that has trouble understanding them.
Along with historical call data, answering services use the number of subscribed minutes as a component in scheduling. Having enough people ready to answer your phones is crucial to providing your callers with great service.
Unlike the equipment at your mobile carrier, the people who work at your answering service expect a paycheck for their work. Whether they are talking to people or waiting for the phone to ring, they're paid either way.
The staff won’t roll over their expectation of a paycheck to the next month, hoping that enough calls come in so they can receive their full pay. No they expect – and deserve – to be paid for the time they are scheduled to work.
If the quality of service that your callers receive is important to you, select a call center that does not offer rollover minutes. When it comes to answering your phones, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Make sure it's a great one.
About Peter DeHaan
Peter DeHaan, is CEO of Peter DeHaan publishing which produces print media periodicals and Internet-based publications, as well as media and informational websites. In addition, and TAS Trader. Notable websites and publications include: TAS Trader, which focuses exclusively on the needs, concerns, and opportunities of the Telephone Answering Service (TAS) Industry. It is written by the TAS Industry and is for the TAS Industry. Connections Magazine, which is the premier magazine for the Teleservices Call Center Industry and is distributed to qualified readers at call centers, contact centers, teleservice agencies, telephone answering services, and telemessaging companies.