Its more and more common these days with all the electronic gadgets that companies and small business people have, like Realtors, that they now rely on technology instead of people to answer their telephones. Why? Ask them and they will tell you that it works better, they can be found 24/7, it is a great lead capturing technique, etc. But the real reason: They don't want to spend the money hiring someone!
But do you really save money or is it cutting off your nose to spite your face? Let me tell you about my friend the roofing company owner. I hired him to do a roof on a bank owned property because his prices are good, and he does good work. So I called on Monday to get an update on the job. I got an answering machine, with the standard press 1, press 2, etc. on it. So none of the choices I wanted were listed so I held, and then it clicked, beeped, more silence, then ringing again while the machine must have tried to find him. About a minute later (seems long when you are on hold) another voicemail came on and I left a message. On Wednesday they called me back, saying they were sorry but they found my message on their machine. Wednesday.
So here is the Business 101 question: Had I been a customer seeking a new roof, would I have left a message or just went to the next company I found on the internet or phone book? In the off chance that I would leave a message, would I have still needed a roof estimate 2 days later or would I have found a roofer? So is the $10 an hour they pay the receptionist that they saved better than the new roof they may have installed?
Bottom line: How much money does it cost you to not have your telephone answered, no matter what your business is, if you are selling something or providing a service. If you have a listing, do you think they will leave a message or call the next person on the list? If you have a vacant rental ti fill will they leave a message or if you call back 2 days later will they say they found something?