When it comes to business, you’ve always got to watch the bottom line.

That’s why it’s important to consider your overall costs – and savings – when you decide to use a new service or product to help you get business done. For example, when you realize you need more phone coverage than you and your current team can provide, you might start looking at an answering service as an option.

Is an answering service affordable and also cost-effective? However, before you sign up for an answering service contract, you’ll need to know if it’s truly a cost-effective way to get the phone coverage that you need. And the answer to that question is a bit complex because there are several ways to look at the cost of an answering service.

What are you missing if you don’t use an answering service? There’s the monthly or quarterly cost of the service to consider, but there’s also the potential income you could be missing out on if you don’t use an answering service.

Here’s what to keep in mind when you evaluate answering service cost-effectiveness:

  1. How much is it going to cost my business for us to keep answering the phones on our own?

    Your first option for phone coverage is to try to continue to do it yourself. You and your staff could stop what you are doing and answer incoming calls. But how much is that costing your current clients? What are you not doing if you are doing the phones? It’s estimated that it takes people at least 10 minutes to get refocused on the task at hand after an interruption. Multiply that by dozens of times per day and you begin to see how much it’s costing your staff – and your current customers – for you to continue to answer the phones.

  1. How much will it cost to hire a full-time, on-site receptionist and/or other employee to answer phones?

    The first option many small businesses try is to look to a full-time, on-site secretary for phone answering needs. The only problem is that many growing businesses don’t have the budget to employ someone full time. An on-site secretary not only requires a salary, but also benefits and other extras to make it worthwhile to work there. Can you really sink those costs into a new employee when you’re carefully watching your bottom line?

  1. How much business will I lose out on if I let calls go to voicemail?

    No one likes to reach automated messages unless it’s absolutely necessary. If all of your calls go to voicemail, your callers are going to get frustrated fast and find another company to take care of their needs. With each missed call, you’re losing out on business that could boost your reputation and your bottom line.

If you’re considering an answering service for your business, you need to look at the true costs involved. Hiring a professional answering service isn’t free, but it can be seen as an asset rather than a liability for your company. The low monthly cost of an answering service can help you focus on delivering for current clients, and build a valuable foundation for future business at the same time.