There are certain things you know your small business can’t live without, those givens like the right work space, computers and ways to communicate with the outside world. 

Without the basics, you don’t really have a business, after all. But one of the most important elements many small- to medium-sized businesses is missing is a specialist to answer the telephone.

There’s a lot more to phone-based customer service than simply being able to say “Hello” in a pleasing voice. Telephone operators and customer service agents are expected to be clever, well prepared to answer any sort of question they might be asked and efficient. If you don’t have an employee with the right skillset working for you right now, you can partner with an answering service to find the skills your company needs.

Here are four reasons to give it a try:

  1. Extending your availability for customers. Customers expect that many businesses will be available to them around the clock, so they often call for information when it’s convenient for them.If you’re only answering the phone when you’re at work, this leaves something like 16 hours a day of unmanned phone time. Many customers won’t be content to simply leave a message and wait around for a return call for a simple question and callers with an emergency need the reassurance that someone will be there for them. Having an answering service in place for after-hours calls gives both of you some peace of mind and the ability to connect any time.
  1. Creating a backup plan when your phone line gets busy. Have you ever run a really successful marketing campaign that lit the phones on fire? Then you know exactly how important it is to capture each one of those leads and how hard it can be to do that in reality. An answering service can be configured to take your overflow calls, those calls that come through when you already have the line tied up, to ensure that you never miss an opportunity to connect with a lead.
  1. Helping you save money. When you’re a small business, there’s plenty that’s still growing, including your budget. Dedicated phone employees can be costly, especially when you don’t have enough other work for them to do to justify their salary and benefits. Luckily, an answering service can give you all the benefits of hiring highly qualified telephone staff at a fraction of the price since you only pay for the time you use.
  1. Making more money. Believe it or not, good telephone service directly affects your bottom line. Not only will callers keep calling and even drop by your retail location when the service is great, American Express’s 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer revealed that over two thirds of your customers are willing to spend up to 14 percent more with you if you provide excellent customer service. Building up your existing customer base is much cheaper than finding new customers, especially when all it takes is partnering with telephone professionals.

As a small business, you’re always going to be looking for opportunities to increase your customer base in the most cost efficient way. If you don’t already have a relationship with an answering service company, it’s high time you formed one. High quality telephone customer service offers one of the easiest ways to grow your business for the long-term, no matter what sector you’re in.