March 1, 2018

Smith.ai vs. Conversational: Live Answering Service Comparison

You know it's time to enlist the help of a live answering service when phone calls are blocking your ability to get work done each day. There are many services offering live, remote receptionists, and it can be hard to know which service is right for you. Today, we compare Smith.ai to Conversational receptionists.

Setup fees, trials & contracts

Smith.ai

  • No setup fee
  • No contracts
  • 30-day/10-call free trial (whichever comes first)

Conversational

  • No setup fee
  • No contracts
  • 30-day free trial

Discussion: Both Smith.ai and Conversational offer a 30-day free trial, and neither service requires a contract nor setup fees. You can sign up for a monthly plan without worrying about an annual commitment. 

Monthly plans

Here are the various monthly plans that Smith.ai and Conversational offer:

Smith.ai

  • $60 for 10 live receptionist calls and 1 live transfer number
  • $150 for 30 live receptionist calls and 2 live transfer numbers
  • $450 for 100 live receptionist calls and 5 live transfer numbers
  • Custom plans available

Conversational

  • $159 for 100 minutes
  • $309 for 200 minutes
  • $449 for 300 minutes

Discussion: Smith.ai offers a much lower rate for their starting plan, which means an affordable entry point for small businesses and independent professionals who are just starting off with their first virtual receptionist service. Smith.ai plans are per-call, not per-minute like Conversational, which means more predictable billing each month. Are you running a marketing campaign? Per-call pricing also allows for easier math when calculating the new client acquisition costs: You know how many calls you paid for in total and how many were lead calls that converted into new business. 

Overage costs

Smith.ai

  • $6/call on the $60/month plan
  • $5/call on the $150/month plan
  • $4.50/call on the $400/month plan

Conversational

  • $1.50 per additional minute

Discussion: Consider that an average business call is five minutes, according to Invoca call intelligence research. This means that for $150, Smith.ai can handle 30 five-minute calls, but Conversational can handle only 20 for approximately the same cost ($159)! It would cost you an additional $600 for Conversational to take those 80 extra five-minute calls. 

If you opt for the larger plans, which come in at nearly the same cost for both Smith.ai and Conversational, Smith.ai can deliver 100 five-minute calls, whereas Conversational would be limited to 60. Only if your callers are on and off the phone in three minutes or less does Conversational compete on price per call. 

Features

Smith.ai and Conversational both offer the following features:

  • Live call transfers
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Custom call handling procedures
  • Outbound calls

 

Smith.ai offers the following additional features:

  • Calls handled Monday through Friday, 9AM to 9PM EST
  • Lead qualification & lead intake form completion
  • Payment collection
  • Integration with helpdesk ticketing software programs
  • Ability to map client history to the incoming number so clients receive personalized attention
  • Daily call summary reports
  • No charge for spam calls or wrong numbers
  • U.S.-based receptionists
  • Spanish-speaking receptionists

 

Conversational offers the following additional features:

  • Calls handled Monday through Friday, 7AM to 8PM EST
  • U.S.- and Canada-based virtual receptionists

Discussion: Smith.ai offers many more features than Conversational, but one stands out from the rest: lead intake and qualification. Our receptionists can ask questions on your behalf to qualify potential leads (for example: Are they in the right service area? Are they willing to pay your fees? Do their needs align with the services you offer?). And the receptionists can also take down that information in your lead intake forms, so information is passed directly into your CRM (no copy-and-paste grunt work or typing errors). If we schedule an appointment with a new client, you'll have all their information handy for your call or meeting. (Note that some Smith.ai add-on services incur extra fees, which are listed on our Pricing page.)

Smith.ai also makes it incredibly easy to update your status in real-time to change your call handling procedures. Heading into a meeting for two hours? Just text us (no need to fiddle with an app) and we won't attempt any live transfers during that time. 

Summary

Smith.ai offers many more services than Conversational, at much more affordable rates for small businesses. At Smith.ai, we not only book appointments and take messages from your clients, but we also work to generate and collect qualified leads for you. In addition, we send you daily call summaries, so you can track your calls and review your leads at your leisure after a busy day.

Our virtual receptionists at Smith.ai are trained to be knowledgeable about your business, so they don’t have to rely on scripts. Every receptionist comes to Smith.ai with customer service and/or hospitality experience, well versed in proper American business phone etiquette and customs. Your callers receive the personalized attention that an in-house receptionist would bring, but at a fraction of the cost.

Smith.ai client testimonial

Don't just take our word for it! Here’s what a satisfied customer had to say about Smith.ai virtual receptionists:

“All of my clients were super impressed at the professional way they answered the phone. Always kind and polite. Highly recommended.”

- Kaylen Echols, Legacy Roofing

Learn more about Smith.ai

To learn more about our virtual receptionist services, give us a call at (650) 727-6484 Monday through Friday between 6 AM and 6 PM PST. You can also email us 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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