When you’re looking for an answering service company to handle your customer calls, schedule appointments or act as an after-hours contact for your business, there’s a lot to consider.

For many, price is the first thing they look at, but when it comes to an answering service, that’s only a very small part of the equation. Price per call or price per minute can be a misleading figure, since there’s a lot more to customer service than just nickels and dimes.

Price Versus Value

We all know what price is — it’s the cost of a thing, plain and simple — and with an answering service, you do always want to know the price up front. Unfortunately, the value that an experienced service brings to the table is much harder to define. Great customer service means callers who don’t call back again and again to get the right answer, it means leaving callers happier than they were when they picked up the phone and it means grace under pressure.

Great customer service is so important that according to the American Express 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer, your customers say they are actually willing to spend more money with companies who provide it. Over 68 percent of the people surveyed said they’d be willing to spend more money for good customer service; 74 percent have actually done so in the past. These customers spend an average of 14 percent more with companies that give them the care they crave.

Just what “excellent customer service” entails is simple. Customers surveyed wanted representatives to be able to “provide a satisfactory answer to their question” (86 percent) or be able to connect them to someone who could (78 percent). Of course, customers also value politeness and professionalism, but efficiency and the ability to handle requests without transfers rank among the highest requirements for happy callers.

Excellent Customer Service Impacts Your Bottom Line

Excellent customer service speaks for itself, but your customers will spread the word, too. Forty two percent of customers surveyed by American Express said they were more likely to try a new company when it was recommended by a family or friend. That’s good news, since as much as 93 percent of your customer base will talk about its positive experiences at least some of the time.

If those customers who are willing to spend 14 percent more money with you for your excellent customer service and those folks who heard about your customer care through a friend or family member were to show up at your business all at once, you’d have one heck of a sales day. This is why customer service matters and why the value of an answering service company can’t be merely judged in dollars alone.

Even if you dismiss not being constantly interrupted by the phone and the ability of customers to reach an emergency contact right away as services any answering service can provide, you can’t ignore the value a good one adds to your business. When you’re ready to hire your next telephone answering service, remember: a good answering service at a reasonable cost can make you significantly more money than you’ll spend by expanding your customer base and improving your reputation.