When you are growing a small business, every decision needs to be considered carefully – especially when it comes to spending money. You know you need to keep expenses low, without sacrificing the quality of your products/services and the customer experience.

Working with an answering service may seem like an extra expense at first, but it has multiple benefits for your small business – including saving money and increasing efficiency. When you compare the cost of a full-time on-site receptionist with a virtual answering service, the choice is obvious. An answering service provides many of the same services at a much lower price.

But most importantly – your answering service can help you lay the foundation for more sales and income down the road.

When customers call into your business for the first time – or the 50th! – they are making judgments about your level of professionalism and your ability to meet their needs. They want to know that your company has the resources, procedures and capabilities in place to deliver on what you promise.

This consistency and professionalism are hard to project if you’re the boss and you’re answering the phone. It’s also difficult if your phone calls are going straight to voicemail because you and your team simply don’t have the time to babysit the phone.

Don’t do damage to your professional image. If you’re working with either one of these scenarios, you’re doing damage to your professional image. A hurried pick-up from a busy team member or your callers constantly hearing a voicemail greeting can be like a flashing neon sign that says “We’re small and struggling!”

Hiring a virtual answering service to handle incoming calls and other phone-related needs can be a great step in the right direction for your business because it improves your professional image. Customers are greeted by a friendly live receptionist who can transfer calls, take basic lead information and more. And best of all – your callers never need to know that your receptionist is virtual.

Thanks to telecommunications technology, your off-site answering service sounds like it is coming from your front office. This projects the image that you’ve taken the time (and have the budget) to hire a live receptionist to deliver excellent customer service. Instead of getting the message that “We’re small and can’t handle the pressure,” your callers are left with the impression that you’re thriving and ready to handle the business that comes your way.

With an answering service, your customers will never need to know that you and your team run a small operation. You’ll increase your professional image, meet callers’ needs and continue to impress customers and prospects along the way.