The norm for a business is having a receptionist or even multiple employees who have the task of answering the phones. Times are changing. This practice of having people on- site answering phones could actually be costing your business valuable resources. Money, time, and employee happiness are all factors that could be affected by having your calls answered on-site. Money
A business probably doesn't think twice when hiring a receptionist because they don't know any other way to have their phones answered. When hiring a receptionist, this could be very costly for the business. A business can spend $2000 or more a month when having an on-site receptionist (that doesn't even include benefits).
If a business doesn't have a designated person answering calls this task can fall on the staff. This is very counterproductive. The time that the employees spend answering phones, even if it adds up to an hour a day, is the time that they can spend on their work that makes the business more efficient.
Most job descriptions are not going to include that the employee has to answer calls. This could be a deal breaker for a person applying for a job. The person might not even apply if they see they would have to answer some calls. Now imagine the employee getting the job and they now have to answer phones. That employee is going to be very unsatisfied with the position, and most likely won't be motivated to produce quality work for the business.
Even an employee who has been in the business for years probably dreads having to answer calls because it takes so much time out of their busy day.
How to Fix It
Having an answering service is the key to saving these resources. A customer service professional who is trained to answer calls can replace a receptionist or employees answering phones. An answering service is going to save costs on what you would spend on a receptionist, and provide better customer service to your customers. Time will be saved as well because your employees won't be taking time out of their day to answer phone calls when a customer service professional can direct those calls. Finally, your employees will be overall happier because they are not going to be spending time answering calls. Happy employees = a successful, efficient business.