Knowing just when to leap and when to hold back is one of the most important skills any business owner will learn, but when it comes to partnering with an answering service, it can be tricky to find that perfect jumping-off spot.

Hiring an answering service means your business is growing and expanding, but doing it too soon can represent an expense you simply don’t need; waiting too long can put your customer service efforts in jeopardy as everyone in your organization is spread too thin to give customers the attention they deserve.

The ideal timing is somewhere in between those two extremes, but exactly where is different for every business—and some companies will need an answering service seasonally at first, but not for the whole year. Regardless of the type of business you’re running, though, you’ll probably find that these three signs point pretty positively to the need to bring in some outside telephone professionals to really give your company wings:

  • You return a lot of phone calls requesting basic information. It should be easy for your customers to get basic information, instead of having to wait for a call back from someone in your company. If this is a consistent issue, hiring an answering service can speed up your callers’ access to this information, as well and improving their perception of your company as a business that really cares about customer service.You’ll save lots of time and energy, too, not having to make such an effort every morning generating a call log from your voicemail and returning call after all requesting basic information or risking those callers to your competition.
  • Your ROI on your marketing is not what you expected. When your marketing efforts aren’t returning what your expected, you may be quick to blame the media outlet for overselling and under-delivering their ability to reach your market. But, have you considered that your lack of a plan to collect those leads might actually be the issue? So many businesses think about lead generation, but not about actually converting those leads into customers that it’s a serious epidemic in the business world.

A voicemail system is not enough to guarantee a return on your marketing. Telecom research firm Telecompaper recently discovered that a full 69 percent of callers will hang up when they reach a voicemail system instead of leaving a message. If you’re only getting messages from 31 percent of your after-hours callers, how many dollars are flowing from your ads into the banks of your competition? An answering service only gets paid when they answer the phone, it’s a small price to pay to collect the other two-thirds of your after-hours leads.

  • Your reception or sales staff is overwhelmed by calls. On the other end of not getting enough calls is getting too many with not enough staff. Hiring one or two people to answer the phone full-time can be really useful for a few calls, but when your call volume becomes high and unpredictable, your team can be backed up with an overflow call service from your answering service partner to help them provide the best service possible. No more rushed calls or placing callers on hold indefinitely, just excellent customer service all the time.

Take a step back and ask yourself if it’s time to get a little extra help with your phone call volume. Business growth is always a gamble, but the help of an answering service is a small wager that can pay off hugely.