Why are add-ons "per-call?" Why should I pay for this on all calls?

Updated 11 months ago by Justin Maxwell

The short answer:

Per-call pricing gives you a blended average cost of that functionality, proportional to your call plan. It also scales our costs of support for that add-on proportional to supporting your business and call volume.

The long answer:

One of the many things that distinguishes Smith.ai from the competition is predictable monthly billing. With a service like CallRuby, you will pay between $3-8 per minute depending on your plan, meaning that in addition to a ~$15 call, you will then pay an additional ~$9 for the time it takes to do a calendar intake...that is, if they even support that calendar software. So you have no idea if a single call is going to cost you $3 or $24.

Our customers overwhelmingly prefer predictable, easy pricing to a "monthly mystery." They also prefer our low pricing. And to keep this low, we don't charge you for things you aren't going to use. Some customers book appointments, some don't. Some customers get 1,000 calls per month, others get 10. So a flat fee won't work, either.

A "per-call" add-on fee, however, yields a blended average of the additional costs we incur (see below) for adding capabilities (such as appointments, CRM integration, payments, or Slack notifications) for your calls. That is, if for one client we book appointments for 1 of every 3 calls, then that additional $3 (3 calls * $1 add-on) covers the cost and time for of that single call. Let's dig in to that cost because it seems to be the only thing clients don't understand.

Questions & Answers

But why don't you charge me for just the calls on which you book appointments?

Sure. Let's explore this hypothetically. For example, you'd rather pay $5 per call, and then an additional $10 for every appointment we book, for example. There are many problems with that. On the customer side, you are now getting into unpredictable pricing (which breaks our promise of predictable pricing). On the business side, it introduces risk and confusion for our team, especially if the attorney disagrees with the criteria of the booking.

Once it's built, it will work forever, right? Why do I need to keep paying for it?

Honestly? Because the price for a flat-fee would be exorbitant, and we'd need to create tiered pricing like Slack or Zendesk, where only "enterprise" customers paying for an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink package had access to it.

Recently Clio upgraded their API. Our team had to spend a week retooling our interface, followed by another three days of testing. After it was fully tested, we had to migrate our customers in batches, first one at a time, then in larger groups, to confirm the migration worked. Because from the customer side of things, everything is supposed to work smoothly. If you're a small scale customer getting 1 call per week, it's not a big deal, and that's why you only pay 1/8 of a coffee per week for that add-on. But if you have heavy call volume, there's no room for an interruption, and that migration needs to work seamlessly. All this is to say, pricing add-ons per call makes the support, development, and maintenance of those add-ons represented fairly across customers, makes the add-ons accessible to everyone, and quite honestly makes our pricing easier for the customers, with no hidden fees or tiered plans.

How do I know if it's worth it?

Easy. There are no commitments with Smith.ai. Simply track the performance and conversion on calls with these add-ons for the first month. If it is not worth the cost, you can just remove them. If you find that we our team is booking appointments, taking payments, or doing intake on most calls for you, you may find that this is actually a great deal for you: we are taking that off your plate so you are able to focus on higher order tasks. That's running a smart business.


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