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Answering service vs. answering machine

Yesterday, with 3 appointments on my calendar, I became slowed down by an equipment malfunction. I went to call my appointment #3 to inform her that I was about an hour behind schedule. Unfortunately, I had not written her phone number into my appointment calendar. I tried information, but they didn't have it either. So, realizing that sometimes a customer will call my business phone number when they want to reach me, I called my answering service and told them they might be getting a call from Ms. X, and to please tell her that I would be arriving about an hour behind schedule. When I did finally get to her house, she was fine, having called when I was 15 minutes late. My service gave her the info, so she was not upset. This is one argument for having a service to take your incoming calls rather than an answering machine. Plus, my answering service is available on a barter basis through the trade association to which I belong, so it doesn't cost me "real" dollars.