Even with the rise of Internet marketing and social media, people still do business over the phone.

No matter what type of business you’re in, giving good phone service to incoming callers is essential. If you’re too busy to keep up with incoming callers yourself, and if you want to spend your employees’ resources on what they were hired to do, then an answering service could be right for you.

Many types of businesses can use answering services, including:

Medical offices – Healthcare providers, clinics and solo practices need to have the phones covered 24/7 by professionals. Patients calling in with medical emergencies or needing to make appointments don’t want to reach a voicemail line or deal with ongoing ringing. A medical answering service can help be sure that calls are answered in a timely, and HIPAA-compliant, way.

Lawyers and attorneys – Law firms and solo practices need time to focus on the legal issues at hand – and not on ringing phones. Legal virtual receptionists from an answering service can help with incoming calls so that the legal team can get its job done. Answering service receptionists can be trained to screen incoming callers and handle their legal questions with empathy and professionalism.

Real estate professionals – Real estate involves a lot of communication between buyers, sellers and agents. However, answering every single incoming call isn’t practical (or possible) for agents. With an answering service, real estate professionals can have a virtual receptionist screen calls and determine whether they are basic inquiries for services or more urgent situations, such as a buyer in the middle of escrow that needs to reach someone right away.

Home repair professionals – Plumbers, electricians, HVAC repair services, and handymen all have incoming calls – but they are rarely in a position to properly take them. Since so much of these professionals’ work takes place outside of the office, it makes sense to have an answering service handle calls. While the repair people are working, a virtual receptionist can set new appointments, handle basic inquires and transfer any emergency calls to professionals in the field.

Small businesses – For solo entrepreneurs and small businesses, time is money. They can’t afford to spend time answering the phone when they have important work to do to grow their businesses. Answering services may seem like an extra expense for a small business on a tight budget – but it’s an essential one. With a professional virtual receptionist, solo entrepreneurs and small business owners can focus on what really matters and leave the call screening to someone else.