Is Answering Your Own Phone Hurting Your Business

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Incoming calls are referrals, customers, leads, partners… and sometimes the calls are solicitors, scammers, spammers, and mistakes.

When the phone rings it’s either an opportunity or a complete waste of time (and more time than you think). That’s a pretty big gamble.

You don’t want to miss those opportunities, AND your time is too precious to be squandered. But, in order to capture those opportunities, someone has to answer the phone. Who is that person? A receptionist, a busy manager wearing multiple hats, you?

If it’s you, it may actually be hurting your business more than it’s helping. An incoming call is taking you away from the work you need to do. The work you started your business to do. Here are five reasons answering your own phone is costing your business.

#1 Lost Productivity

According to research from the University of California, it takes 23 minutes or more to refocus after an interruption.

Three phone calls a day cost you the time you spend on the phone plus the time it takes to get back to work. Even if your calls are short, say only 5 minutes per call, you’re losing at least an hour and 24 minutes every day to phone calls. And that’s not counting all your other daily disruptions—the unexpected problems and interruptions, eating and bathroom breaks, emails, drop-ins, your personal interruptions… they all add up.

Suddenly an 8-hour workday turns into 4 or even 3 productive work hours.

Phone call interruptions get in the way of you making the most of your limited work hours. Your growth is restricted by your availability. Not all calls are productive, and the time spent getting back to work definitely isn’t productive it’s just wasted.

#2 Missed Calls… or Missed Work

When the phone rings you have to make a choice. Are you missing the call or are you missing the time you were planning to spend on the work at hand? You don’t always have all the details up front that would help you make an informed decision.

Who is the caller? What do they want? Are they potentially worth more than the work sitting in front of you right now? If you do answer, how will you make up for the lost work time? If you don’t answer, will they call back?

Roughly 85% of people whose calls are not answered will not call back, according to Aircall. So, the risk associated with missing a call is high.

Of course, if the work you’re doing is time-sensitive or you’re just too busy, you might have few other choices but to ignore the ringing phone. So, in the moment and with few details, you have to decide on revenue-generating work now or potentially capturing business for later. It can be a high-risk decision.

Learn more about the cost of missed calls in our free ebook!

Our guide is chock full of data, profit/loss analysis, and best practices—and it’s absolutely free.

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#3 Your Attention is Spread too Thin—and Performance is Impacted

You don’t only lose time when your phone distracts you, you lose focus. When you’re already wearing too many hats and you’re faced with frequent distractions it becomes harder to successfully solve problems.

Distractions reduce our energy and pull us out of the flow required to do complicated or sophisticated work. A task that would normally take 20 minutes now takes 40. You’re more tired than you were and, before you even recover, another call comes in and the cycle repeats.

When you’re balancing too much, your work suffers which can impact your brand reputation, your customer loyalty, your stress level, and your future revenue.

#4 Your Business Sounds Small

As a small business, you don’t have to sound small. A skilled receptionist can answer your calls and give your business a professional and established appearance. Or you can answer your calls and sound like a small business right off the bat.

When callers are greeted by a professional voice, it sets the tone and makes a lasting impression. Directly reaching a business owner can sometimes leave callers questioning the company’s level of professionalism and busyness. It might even give your larger competitors with dedicated staff to answer calls a leg up – making it appear that they have more resources and are potentially more capable (which you know isn’t true). Unfortunately, perception can be reality for prospects shopping around.

You may be a pro at your craft, but customer service expertise is a different skill set. An experienced receptionist can improve your image, make you look bigger, and save you precious time—all while making your business look better established.

#5 You’re More Expensive Than the Alternative

You’re the expert at the work you do. Your time is worth money and every second you spend at work but not handling revenue-generating work, you’re costing your business money.

For example, a full-time receptionist could cost you anywhere from $16 to $20 per hour, or around $3,000 a month. A virtual receptionist service (like Abby Connect) can be around $300 to $500 per month. Now think about the money you make per hour, per week, per month. The cost of that phone call can be anywhere from a couple dollars to a whole lot more, when considering your salary and your ability to generate and close new leads for your business.

On the other side of the spectrum, the revenue you could be generating if you weren’t on the phone may be significant. So the time you spend on the phone is both an opportunity cost and a real cost.

Your Alternative: Abby Connect

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You didn’t start a business to answer the phone. But the phone needs to be answered for your business to succeed. That’s where Abby Connect comes in.

With Abby Connect’s virtual receptionist service, you get access to a dedicated team of 5-10 expert virtual receptionists, 24/7. Our business answering service is completely customizable and we can answer all the time, after-hours only, when your receptionists are unavailable, or whenever you want them to. A fully customizable experience, you decide how they greet callers, when they forward calls and take messages, how they intake callers, and more!

More importantly, you get all the benefits of an answered phone without distraction. Receptionists will only forward the calls you want to receive while filtering out the ones you don’t. You get to work knowing your phone lines are in good hands. They’ll even schedule your appointments, saving you time and money!

See for yourself—get started today!

Written by

Anna Taylor

Anna Taylor

Anna is an accomplished marketing professional with an MBA and certification in marketing and eight years of experience in the field. More than half of that experience has been focused on customer experience and small business growth, exploring how businesses balance human and technology solutions. Above all, Anna is committed to human-first marketing and business development, ensuring that every initiative is focused on creating meaningful connections with customers and driving long-term growth.