February 23, 2018

Smith.ai vs. AnswerForce: Live Answering Service Comparison

Don’t stress over choosing the right live answering service. We’ll help you make the best decision for your business and your customers. Today, we compare Smith.ai to AnswerForce virtual receptionists.

Setup fees & trials


  • No setup fee

  • 30-day/10-call free trial (whichever comes first)


  • $99 setup for the $109/month plan (minimum 90-day commitment)

  • $99 setup for the $229/month plan

  • Free setup for the $249 plan

Discussion: Smith.ai offers a free trial period and free setup for every plan. AnswerForce only offers free setup for the premium plan, without the option of a free trial period. Although AnswerForce offers a 30-day prorated money-back guarantee, there’s no option to try before you buy.

Monthly plans

Here’s an overview of Smith.ai and AnswerForce’s monthly plans.


  • $60 for 10 live receptionist calls and 1 live transfer number

  • $150 for 30 calls and 2 live transfer numbers

  • $450 for 100 calls and 5 live transfer numbers

  • Custom plans available


  • $109 for 90 minutes and standard features

  • $229 for 180 minutes and premium features

  • $249 for 270 minutes and premium features

Discussion: Both Smith.ai and AnswerForce offer pay-per-usage plans. However, AnswerForce charges by the minute and only offers their premium features for the more expensive plans. Smith.ai charges per call, leading to much more preditable costs each month. Also, the basic Smith.ai plan is priced at a level that's affordable for small businesses and independent professionals.

Overage costs


  • $6/call on the $60/month plan

  • $5/call on the $150/month plan

  • $4.50/call on the $400/month plan


  • $1.40 for each additional minute

  • $1.30 per minute

  • $1.25 per minute

Discussion: According to Invoca research, the average business call is around five minutes. Even for $6 per call from Smith.ai, you’re actually paying less (about $1.20 per minute) for overages than what AnswerForce charges, and that's comparing Smith.ai's most expensive overage charge with AnswerForce's least expensive overage charge. Smith.ai only gets cheaper as you advance to larger call-volume plans.


Smith.ai and AnswerForce offer the following similar features:

  • Live call transfers

  • Lead capture

  • Custom call handling scripts

  • Call history reports

  • Integration with popular CRMs and calendaring software

  • Appointment scheduling


Smith.ai offers the following additional features:

  • Payment collection

  • Integration with helpdesk ticketing software programs

  • Ability to map client history to the incoming number to give clients personalized attention

  • Messages texted to you or

  • Custom greetings and

  • U.S.-based receptionists

  • No charge for spam calls or wrong numbers


AnswerForce offers the following additional features, some of which are only available on their premium plans:

  • 24/7 live call answering

  • Live web chat

  • eCommerce order taking

  • Web landing page creation

Discussion: To get certain features from AnswerForce, you must pay more each month. Smith.ai delivers a far more personalized experience because we map the client call history to each incoming number, giving our receptionists the ability to understand who the caller is as soon as they get on the line. Smith.ai also offers outbound calls, so follow-ups with existing clients, appointment reminders, and more are taken off your plate.


Smith.ai virtual receptionists are trained to understand your business, not read pre-approved lines off a script. They're U.S.-based professionals with experience in customer service and hospitality; they're friendly, helpful, and thorough. If what you're looking for is a scripted call-center experience for your customers, AnswerForce can provide that, but Smith.ai is the best option if you prefer to give your customers the sense of an in-house receptionist working alongside you and your staff. Smith.ai behaves as a true extension of your business, not just a third-party service for hire.

Smith.ai client testimonial

Don't just take it from us! Smith.ai clients appreciate our quality of service and solutions for small businesses, and here's just one example:

“Amazing service especially for new small business owners providing a breath of fresh air in direct contrast of having artificial intelligence taking over creating such as disconnection without customers. Smith has been great as it allows calls to be filtered before they are transferred to me. Especially love that spam is not charged and eliminates the ever persistent telemarketers. Also just want to say that how appreciative I am for the discreteness of the staff and what a wonderful job these people that have been doing while answering the calls. HIGHLY recommend.”

- Ernest Santos, Driving Fitness Evaluations

Learn more about Smith.ai

Smith.ai virtual receptionists are trained to learn your business and build a relationship with your customers. Discuss your options with us by calling (650) 727-6484 Monday through Friday between 5am – 6pm PT. You can also reach us by email at support@smith.ai. Signing up for our 30-day/10-call free trial is a great way to get started.

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