If you want to stay in business, communication with your customers is key.

They need to know that you’re there for them regardless of the reason they’re calling, texting or dropping in on your social media. Unfortunately, many businesses find that their workers are pulled in too many directions, so communication ends up taking a back seat to filling orders, answering phone questions and taking care of other duties. This is where an answering service can make a huge difference in how smoothly your business runs.

A telephone answering service provides a slew of other benefits, too, including:

Improving caller satisfaction. People hate waiting in phone queues, getting sent to voicemail or even being greeted by a computerized voice. You can improve your customer service by improving your customers’ satisfaction level from the start. An answering service is the front line in the battle of public opinion — it’s amazing what a friendly voice on the other end of the phone can do for your business.

Answering common questions. You’re busy running your business, when someone calls to get the hours of your shop or to find out what your web address is, it can eat up your valuable and limited time. By providing a call answering service with the answers to basic questions, you can cut down the calls you have to pick up personally and focus on those things you do best.

Saving money on labor. Some businesses have parts of their days when the phone just won’t stop ringing and other times when the lines are completely dead. Even so, they may hire one or more employees just to handle the calls that might come in. Instead of spending money on salaries and overhead, hiring an answering service allows you to pay per call, cutting your costs dramatically.

Providing disaster services. No one plans to be knocked out of communication by a storm, lightening strike or major disaster, but they happen all the time. For many businesses, being unreachable means hemorrhaging customers to the competition — and that’s the last thing you need. Even an answering service you don’t use frequently can be employed for disaster services and will be the friendly voice on the other end of the phone when your business lines are down.

Making emergency connections. Some types of businesses routinely have to manage after-hours calls. It can be very stressful to constantly have to worry that someone will call during dinner or while you’re at the movies with your family, even more so when your customers are in the habit of calling for things that can wait until the morning. With an answering service, you can outline the procedure for emergency calls and choose which ones get routed to you. Routine after-hours calls can be handled by the answering service and you can finally get some down time.

Answering services are perfect solutions for most businesses. From catching the occasional call during busy times and handling after-hours calls to turning into your full-time live receptionists, answering services can provide valuable services at the fraction of the cost of a dedicated employee.