You have probably noticed that customers ask many of the same questions. And those questions can be simple things, such as what hours you are open, where you are located, how to place an order, if you carry a certain product, etc. Make it easy for them to get the answers they want, and they will do business with you (instead of the place that makes it hard to learn what they want to know).
I get frustrated when I call a business outside of normal business hours and get no answer at all. I may know that they are not open at that time, but all I want to know is when they will be. A simple voice message could give me the information I need. Answering machines are inexpensive and they can provide information even when you are not available.
Using an answering machine is one way to automate the process of answering simple questions. In addition to your hours, directions to your location, and other basic information, you can direct callers to your web site to access your catalog and more detailed data.
Your web site should also include a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). List some of the things customers ask or should ask, and provide the answers in an easy to access format. Put an obvious link to the FAQ so customers can find it.
Automated information helps customers learn about you and decide to do business with you without requiring a great investment of your time or money.