Whether you’re running a clinic, e-commerce business, or law firm, quality customer service demands efficiently dealing with a truckload of incoming phone calls. It can require considerable effort when handling that in-house, thus straining your team. Thankfully, many businesses now leverage virtual receptionist services to ensure customer satisfaction at all times.
Virtual receptionist services help businesses handle incoming customer inquiries, appointment scheduling, process orders, and lots more so the company can focus on the more essential aspects of their operation. Virtual receptionist services are also referred to as answering services.
We have carried out extensive research and, from our findings, selected the best virtual receptionist service providers as listed below:
- Answering Legal
- Ruby Receptionists
- Abby Connect
- Davinci Virtual Office Solutions
- POSH Virtual Receptionist
- Unity Communications
- Answer Connect
But before reviewing them, let’s consider how a virtual receptionist service can be a great addition to your business.
What do virtual receptionists do?
A virtual receptionist can serve just like a regular receptionist in your company who sits at the entrance, answering visitors’ queries, taking phone calls, booking appointments, and discharging other inbound services. However, the benefits of utilizing virtual receptionist services go far beyond that.
Many businesses today are remote, for example, e-commerce stores. Customers from around the globe might have questions about your services and pricing and want to call you. If their queries come at odd hours in your location, you may be unable to take those business calls and emails immediately. Small businesses may also be unable to hire several in-house customer service representatives.
The best virtual receptionist service providers typically operate 24/7, so they can take incoming calls outside your business hours. Small businesses may also find them more affordable than hiring in-house staff. In addition, an excellent virtual receptionist service will usually have bilingual receptionists catering to non-native English speakers.
For a lawyer whose time is divided between being in court and client meetings, their law firm stands so much to gain by hiring an answering service.
What makes a good virtual receptionist service
Aside from offering inbound services, top virtual receptionist services may also provide the following features:
- Outbound calling
- Scheduling appointments
- Call scripting
- Call recording
- Order processing
- Transferring calls
- Web chat
- Mobile app
- Reports and analytics based on data collected from the call.
We highlight the best virtual assistant services below. Remember to choose based on what works best for your needs.
The best virtual receptionist and answering services
Smith.ai is one of the best answering services for small businesses, offering AI-powered solutions for phone answering, following up with leads, appointment scheduling, and a host of other features. Spread throughout North America, the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai specialize in lead nurturing to convert prospects who contact you.
Smith.ai’s expertise typically lies with solopreneurs, boutique law firms, and other SMEs. Their fair pricing also makes them favorable among small businesses.
The artificial intelligence used by Smith.ai make their services pretty much advanced and automated, and they have become a household name among business owners due to their tech solutions.
- 24/7 virtual receptionist service
- Live calls
- Website chat
- AI chatbots
- SMS Message taking
- Appointment scheduling
- Sending follow-up emails to prospects
- Blocking spam and sales calls
- Payment processing
- CRM integration that automatically logs in calls, chats, payments, and appointments into your database
- Screening potential clients based on your criteria
- You can set up call priorities so that calls from specific numbers are handled specially
- Sales funnel performance tracker
- Google Analytics and Tag Manager integration
Smith.ai pricing is based on a pay-per-call model.
- Standard plans range from $210/month-$750/month (30-150 calls, respectively).
- Custom plans are available if you wish to get more flexible.
- Free trial for up to 14 days.
- You only pay for calls that are real leads. I.e., zero charges for spam, sales calls, and wrong numbers.
Nexa is another excellent and popular virtual receptionist service that serves businesses of all sizes, especially insurance companies, home services, and the legal industry. One of their core distinguishing features is the tech infrastructure they boast of, which they claim promises more than 99.98% uptime. Notably, many users seem to be impressed.
Based in Phoenix, Nexa offers several virtual receptionist services, from traditional answering services and appointment scheduling to lead qualification and basic IT support. Even when their tech solutions may be beyond your needs, you may realize how beneficial it is to have tech-savvy hands supporting your growth.
Nexa is known to train its virtual receptionists by industry to enable them to deliver professional customer service and exceptional experience while allowing clients to focus on business growth.
- Taking Phone calls
- Live chat/text messaging/email communication options.
- Lead qualification
- Scheduling appointments
- Outbound calls for sales and marketing campaigns
- 24/7 live answering service by bilingual agents
- Detailed reports from calls
- A mobile app where the business owner may check data and insights based on calls.
- Comes with native integration with top CRMs
- Zapier integration, making it possible to connect with a plethora of other software programs
- Basic IT support
- Nexa has a free trial with 50 voice minutes.
- Pricing ranges from $200-$900/month (i.e., 100-500 call minutes).
- You pay $90 for one-time registration.
- If you desire CRM, IT support, and calendar scheduling in addition to answering service, contact Nexa.
As the name suggests, Answering Legal is focused on the legal industry, offering some of the best virtual receptionist services to law firms. Answering Legal’s virtual receptionists may be the right guys for you if your law firm receives a high daily call volume. Their primary focus is answering customer calls and messages and rerouting them to your law office.
Answering Legal is exclusive to law firms, so if your business has nothing to do with the legal industry, this answering service shouldn’t be on your radar.
The most outstanding feature about Answering Legal is their advanced call forwarding. You can set it so that the call comes through to you at first but would then be forwarded to the virtual receptionist when you fail to pick up. This gives you the flexibility of answering phone calls that are most important to you when you’re available.
- The virtual receptionist company offers call answering and call routing to law firms.
- Advanced call forwarding
- Scheduling consultations
- Taking messages
- Outbound calls to follow up on leads or remind clients of consultations
- $250 for 100 call minutes.
- $398 for 200 call minutes cost $398.
- Get a custom quote according to your desired number of minutes.
- Free trial for 10 days.
- No commitments, zero setup fees.
Ruby, also called Ruby Receptionists, is a well-known live answering service that offers call routing, automated lead capture, live website chat, and several other advanced features.
One outstanding capability of their call center services is the call whisper, a feature that allows you to listen to a call between your virtual receptionist and a caller. You can communicate with the receptionist without the caller knowing. This can help ensure top-rated customer service as the virtual receptionist always has support.
Although Ruby offers 24/7 services, the bilingual receptionists only work during business hours.
- Conventional answering services
- Voice call support (call whisper)
- Appointment management
- Call routing to personal phone or another team member
- Automated lead capture tool that collects data from website visitors and prospects
- Live chat
- Outbound calls for marketing campaigns
- A mobile app that keeps you in sync with your virtual receptionists
- 24/7 call answering services
- Call Ruby 50: $219/month for 50 virtual receptionist minutes
- Call Ruby 100: $349/month for 100 minutes
- Call Ruby 200: $629/month for 200 receptionist minutes
- Call Ruby 500: $1,499/month
Based in Las Vegas, Abby Connect offers call center services to small businesses looking to have a dedicated team of virtual receptionists. When you subscribe, you are instantly allocated a team of five to seven dedicated receptionists to answer your calls and messages.
The benefit here is that you’ll have a team that becomes highly knowledgeable about your business and clients, enabling them to create better customer experiences.
Abby Connect does a phenomenal job at call answering by allowing you to upload your own caller tunes to reflect your brand identity. In short, Abby Connect’s call answering services focus on creating more personal experiences between businesses and their customers.
Although Abby Connect is one of the best call center services, it’s not the most affordable for small businesses, especially when you need 24-hour answering services. It also doesn’t offer a call routing function.
- The Abby Go mobile app allows you to stay updated with your virtual receptionists. However, the app is limited to text messaging.
- A call block feature to prevent sales and spam calls.
- Your virtual receptionist will provide you with basic info about your caller before transferring the call to you.
- Get answering services during business hours or pay extra for 24/7 coverage.
- Bilingual receptionists.
- Trained and dedicated virtual receptionists who also schedule appointments.
- Abby Connect’s call center services offer different plans:
- 100 receptionist minutes at $299 per month
- 200 receptionist minutes at $549 per month
- 500 receptionist minutes at $1,199 per month
- Each plan comes with a free 14-day trial, the longest you’ll find in the market.
As the name suggests, Davinci Virtual Office Solutions is a company providing everything you expect from a modern business, from virtual office spaces to virtual receptionists. This is one call answering service to try if you’re looking for a virtual assistant to handle day-to-day admin tasks. That’s because when you subscribe to Davinci’s premium plan, you’re given access to dedicated virtual assistants who also manage travel arrangements, schedule appointments, data entry, etc.
However, you can stick with the business plan if all your need is answering services.
Davinci offers no free trial and no 24/7 call answering service. The virtual receptionists only answer calls Monday through Friday from 8 am to 8 pm. Not the best if you’re looking for off-business hours coverage.
- Mobile app to stay updated on calls and messages on the go
- Virtual assistants schedule appointments, assist customers, and make outbound calls, among other back-office outsourcing duties. Exclusive to premium users
- Advanced call routing
- Hold conference calls with up to 99 participants.
- You can request a Global virtual office address in any location
- On-demand physical office space to set up meetings if you are a remote small business
- Business 50: $129/month for 50 receptionist minutes
- Business 100: $239/month for 10 receptionist minutes
- Premium 50: $249/month for 50 receptionist minutes
- Premium 100: $319/month for 100 receptionist minutes
POSH Virtual Receptionists is one of the most suitable virtual receptionist services for small businesses as it offers round-the-clock answering services at very affordable prices. Although the prices are a fraction of other top virtual receptionist services, they don’t compromise on quality.
Also, there are different pricing plans according to your business needs and size, so there’s something for everyone.
Simply forward your calls to POSH Virtual Receptionists without changing your business phone number, and you’ll have all your calls answered by friendly agents. Their specialty isn’t limited as they touch multiple industries ranging from law firms and healthcare to marketing and real estate.
- 24/7 call center services
- Integrations with other popular business tools like Calendly, Zoho, and Hubspot.
- Outbound calling to remind clients of appointments
- A mobile up to always keep you in sync with your virtual receptionists
- Get message notifications on the app
- Customized call scripting
- Chic: $54/month
- Vogue: $94/month for 50 receptionist minutes.
- Elegant: $154/month for 100 receptionist minutes.
- Luxurious: $284/month for 200 receptionist minutes.
- Lavish: $684/month for 500 receptionist minutes.
Unity Communications is among our list of best virtual receptionist services for its ability to take up several admin tasks, especially those specific to eCommerce businesses. Such duties include order processing, fulfillment, managing refunds and return, bookkeeping, and call answering services. In short, they are a complete back office outsourcing company.
Unity Communications may be your best bet if you seek financial services like outsourcing accounting and call answering.
- Wide range of non-voice BPO and back office outsourcing
- Offering refund management, order processing, and data entry services, Unity management is well-equipped for e-commerce businesses.
- Contact the team for a quote.
PATLive offers friendly virtual receptionists who work 24/7 to give your customers outstanding first impressions. They answer inbound calls on your behalf, take messages, schedule appointments, and perform everything you’d expect from the best virtual receptionist service companies.
In addition to answering services, PATLive handles duties like lead generation, order processing, and event registration.
Whether you need help with call center services or back office outsourcing, you will find PATLive a reliable solution.
- 24/7 answering services
- A mobile app serves as an interface between you and your virtual receptionist.
- Get up to 10 business phone numbers
- Order processing
- Get Spanish virtual assistants at an extra cost of $20
- Basic: $59/month at $2.25 per minute.
- Starter: $199/month for 75 receptionist minutes.
- Standard: $349/month for 200 receptionist minutes.
- Pro: $799/month for 600 receptionist minutes.
- Pro+: $1,279/month for 1000 receptionist minutes.
AnswerConnect is a call center services provider with US-based virtual receptionists all working remotely to cut costs on commuting, office space, and infrastructure.
With customized call scripts and call routing, you can instantly ensure your most valuable customers get in touch with you. In addition, their virtual receptionists are known for their friendliness and patience.
In short, AnswerConnect offers best-in-class answering services on which you can always rely.
- Remote virtual receptionists save time and cost while facilitating flexibility.
- Top-tier mobile app to organize communications with prospects and clients.
- Round-the-clock call answering service, live chat support, lead collection, appointment scheduling, etc.
- AnswerConnect integrates seamlessly with top project management and CRM tools like Zoho and Salesforce.
- You can contact the support team easily via a toll-free number or conversation bubble on the website.
- A free demo is available. Simply fill out a form with your basic information on the website and choose a plan to access it.
- Contact customer support to get a quote.
Virtual Receptionist Services Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a virtual receptionist service?
A virtual receptionist offers call center services, including call answering, appointment scheduling, and other inbound services. In addition, they can handle an extensive range of admin tasks, depending on the plan you subscribe to.
Virtual receptionist services are also called answering services, live answering services, call center services, or virtual answering services.
Note that an answering service may be handled by bots and auto attendant programs. On the other hand, a live virtual receptionist is a real human and, therefore, will be more effective in delivering personalized experiences to callers.
What to look out for in a virtual receptionist service
All businesses are different, and so are their needs. Therefore, you should always look for a virtual receptionist service that works best for your business needs. You might want to consider the following:
- Specialization. While having a virtual receptionist specialized in your industry is not always mandatory, it may help foster frequent and proactive communication as the receptionist can anticipate common client queries and offer assistance proactively. Proactive communication can help boost your customer experience.
- Live answering services. Some services use bots or digital recordings to reply to customers. This is often more affordable. However, having a real virtual receptionist is more desirable when a personal human feel is a priority.
- Access to auto attendant. Access to the auto attendant ensures you can update, add, and remove names from your company directory without waiting for a third party. This is important because confusion may arise when the directory is disorganized and outdated.
- Answer time. A good answering service should answer phone calls quickly. Customers wouldn’t be satisfied when they’re made to wait a long time, and they may just switch to your more responsive competitor for their needs.
- Bilingual service. Having bilingual receptionists is important if your business caters to an international audience.
- Working hours. Answering services with a 24/7 operation would be best when you receive a significant call volume during off-business hours.
- Cost. One reason for utilizing call center services is to save cost while boosting business efficiency. As a small business owner, you might want to consider your budget, revenue, and the cost of the virtual answering service before making the splurge.
What is the difference between live answering and virtual receptionists?
Live answering services and virtual receptionists are more alike. Live answering is a broad category that includes virtual receptionist services. However, virtual receptionists can be more flexible, handling a more comprehensive range of tasks. With live answering services, phone operators answer phone calls in your brand name and respond to customers according to scripts. Live answering services will be a good fit if it’s just about phone answering and you want to ensure your phone calls get answered. On the other hand, if you need someone who can resolve simple queries or tasks on their own, then virtual receptionist services would be a better choice.
What is the best answering service for a small business?
Small business owners are typically knee-deep in activity, as they spend all their time running admin duties alongside a limited staff. A virtual receptionist like Davinci Virtual, offering comprehensive back office outsourcing and answering services, would be ideal for helping take up more responsibilities. That might prove more cost-effective than hiring virtual assistants separately after subscribing to a call answering service.
Consider your current call volume, admin needs, and answering service cost to determine the cost-benefit.
How does a virtual receptionist work?
A virtual receptionist works by answering calls and other inbound services on behalf of a company as per the company’s requirements. They may also set up a script to give callers the same welcome and first impression. In addition, some call center services help with marketing campaigns, especially when working with a marketing firm.
Although call center services will require some information from the company, they must do extensive research on their product/service to assist callers in the best way possible.
What benefits do virtual receptionists offer?
Here are some benefits you stand to gain from subscribing to a virtual answering service:
- By handling inbound services on your behalf, virtual receptionists can help free up time so your in-house team can become more productive at your core business operations.
- Call center services offer trained receptionists, meaning you can create great first impressions on your callers. Not just any random, exhausted employee would be taking your business calls.
- Call center services can help improve sales through outbound calling and marketing campaigns.
- 24/7 answering services mean your customers never have to wait until your business resumes daily.
- By subscribing to call center services, customer queries can be resolved without bothering you or your team.
- Call recordings, reports, and analytics can help with quality assurance.
What does an answering service cost?
The cost of answering services varies, and most providers offer multiple plans, with the more expensive packages sporting more advanced features. Packages can range between $50 to about $3,000 monthly.
Note that the seemingly most affordable option may not always serve all your needs. Of course, you may desire more than just basic answering services, like reporting and outbound calling. So ensure you compare prices alongside features when choosing an answering service. Also, look out for hidden fees.
Answering service may charge by:
- Pay by the minute
- Monthly fees
- Tiered pricing
Types of virtual receptionists
Virtual receptionists and answering services operate in several ways:
These involve handling incoming calls, messages, and other inbound services.
In addition to inbound services, some call center services send follow-up emails, assist with marketing campaigns, and remind customers of scheduled meetings.
Customers interact with a chatbot or auto attendant in this type of answering service. In that case, customers may be unable to get help with non-predetermined issues.
Live answering service
Here, real humans interact with customers rather than bots.
Scripted call center
Scripted call center services rely on written scripts. For example, you may provide a sales script or customer service best practices for the agents to follow.
Industry-specific call center services
Some call centers are specialized and only cater to certain industries. A good example of an industry-specific virtual assistant company is Answering Legal, which serves law firms.
Back-office outsourcing companies offer extensive assistance with voice and non-voice-related tasks. This may include bookkeeping, data entry, scheduling consultations, and answering phones.
Virtual receptionist services provide a brilliant opportunity for businesses to connect with new and existing customers personally, maintaining a professional image and creating outstanding impressions. Whether you’re a startup, boutique law firm, or e-commerce store, you stand so much to gain.
However, remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. While some services may be too expensive for your budget, some can be overkill. So when subscribing to a virtual receptionist service, consider all the features and only request those you need. You don’t want to pay for what won’t benefit your business.
Fortunately, some call center services will gladly offer a custom quote based on your needs.
We hope you enjoyed this article. If so, you might enjoy these resources:
- 5 Main Features of Virtual Office Your Business Needs
- Virtual Assistant Services in the Philippines
- Top Virtual Assistant Companies in India
- What Services Does a Virtual Assistant Offer?
- Why You Need a Virtual Address for LLC? And How to Get One?
- 13 Virtual Office Benefits for Startups and Small Business