Do Answering Services Purposely Make Calls Take Longer?


Ever been curious if answering services stay on the line longer to inflate the duration of a call? It’s a fair thing to wonder. So how long should each call take to process for an answering service?

Image of a woman on the phone with an answering service that is dragging out the call

Many people have called a business and reached their answering service. Sometimes it may feel like they keep you on the line longer than is necessary. On the other hand, as a business who uses an answering service, the thought has probably crossed your mind at one point or another as you wonder if they drag out calls so they can charge you more. So do answering services purposely make calls take longer?

The truth is that there have been cases where answering services who charge by the minute have been caught purposely making calls take longer so that they are able to bill their customers more. That’s a super shady business practice and there is no room for that kind of activity in a good outsourcing partnership. While it’s unfortunate that corrupt operations like that have pulled those kind of stunts, (which often makes people skeptical of all answering services), there is good news.

Yes, there have been a handful of answering services that drag out call durations, but fortunately those kinds of operations don’t stay in business for long. Inflating call times is a stupid thing for an answering service to do, because it’s so easy to get caught. As long as businesses know how long a typical call should take their answering service to process and about how many calls they expect their service to handle, then they should have no problem catching anyone dumb enough to pull a stunt like that.

So how long should it take for an answering service to process a call? Well, that totally depends how complex your calls are and how much information you’re looking for the answering service to gather. Typically, a basic name/number/message call will last about a minute. Calls that involve scheduling an appointment or some other type of extra feature offered by your service might take from 3-5 minutes to finish. Just remember that answering services have to make sure they are accurate with the information they collect, so they will typically confirm a few pieces given to them by the caller.

You know best how many calls you should be getting. Quality answering services also have all your call data accessible to you through a secure online portal so you can review your account information and call figures whenever you wish.

Companies who use answering services should keep a close eye on their bill and usage data to ensure they aren’t being taken advantage of. It rarely happens these days, but if you suspect your answering service is keeping callers on the line in order to jack up your invoice, then don’t be afraid to place a few test calls posing as one of your callers to see how they handle things.

If you’re a caller who reaches an answering service and you feel like they are keeping you on the line too long, odds are that they are just being thorough so they can get an accurate message to the right person. If it happens more than once and you really feel like your calls are being dragged out much longer than necessary, you might want to let the business they are answering for know so they can address the issue.

Even though it is rare for an answering service to purposely make calls take longer, the best way to make sure you partner with a live support provider who would never do such a thing is to pick one who has been in business for a good while. Answering services that have been providing companies with quality service for 20 plus years usually have a solid reputation you can trust.

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