February 26, 2018

Smith.ai vs. ReceptionHQ: Live Answering Service Comparison

Deciding on a live answering service is an important part of establishing and growing a professional business. But, it’s often tricky to choose from the numerous service providers offering live, remote receptionists. Today, we compare Smith.ai virtual receptionists to ReceptionHQ.

Setup fee, trials & contracts


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

  • No setup fee
  • No contract


  • 7-day free trial

  • No setup fee
  • No contract

Discussion: Smith.ai allows you to try our services for up to 30 days before making a decision. ReceptionHQ only provides a 7-day free trial. Not only does seven days not necessarily allow for enough variance in call volume to properly gauge the best monthly plan, it also may not give you enough time to experience the various ways callers will be handled in different scenarios. Did you see how a new client intake was handled, how a prospective lead was qualified, and how an urgent call requiring immediate attention was live-transferred? These are all situations worthy of a preview.

Monthly plans

Smith.ai and ReceptionHQ both offer monthly plans based on your call volume:


  • $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


  • $15 for pay-as-you-go, $2.00 per call

  • $50 for 25 calls

  • $80 for 50 calls

  • $135 for 100 calls

  • $250 for 200 calls

  • Custom plans available

Discussion: Smith.ai and ReceptionHQ both charge per call, and ReceptionHQ does offer lower per-call pricing. However, the difference in services surfaces when you review what features are offered. Many of ReceptionHQ’s features are only available when you choose one of their premium plans, and even then, they don't offer many important functions, like outbound calling, appointment scheduling, CRM integration, and much more — all of which Smith.ai delivers to give you the full experience of an in-house receptionist.

Overage costs


  • $6/call on the $60/month plan

  • $5/call on the $150/month plan

  • $4.50/call on the $400/month plan


  • $2.00/call on the pay-as-you-go plan

  • $1.85/call on all plans $50/month and above

Discussion: ReceptionHQ offers cheaper per-call pricing, but keep in mind that Smith.ai never charges for spam calls, unsolicited sales calls, and wrong numbers, so the calls that are answered by Smith.ai are on average more relevant to your business and more valuable to answer.


Smith.ai and ReceptionHQ both offer the following similar features:

  • Live call transfers

  • Custom call handling procedures

  • Lead intake form completion

  • U.S.-based receptionists
  • Spanish-speaking receptionists


Smith.ai has the following additional features:

  • Appointment scheduling

  • Payment collection

  • Integration with all major calendaring and scheduling software programs

  • , like Clio, Lexicata, Capsule CRM, and more

  • Integration with helpdesk ticketing software programs

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

  • Messages texted to you or

  • Custom greetings and

  • Daily call summary reports

  • No charge for spam calls, unsolicited sales call, or wrong numbers

  • Instant SMS status updates


ReceptionHQ offers the following additional features:

  • 24/7 live call answering

  • Online client portal and mobile app to manage settings

Discussion: Although Smith.ai and ReceptionHQ offer similar features, many of ReceptionHQ’s features are only available on their premium plans, including custom script building and lead intake form completion. So, if you want any of these features, you could end up paying for a more expensive plan than you need. Smith.ai makes available all of its services to clients, regardless of their plan tier. (Keep in mind, some of these services will incur an extra fee; please review our pricing page to view add-on costs).


Take a very close look at the features ReceptionHQ does not offer, but that Smith.ai does. Any good virtual receptionist service should be able to make appointments for you and your staff, and this is a large gap in ReceptionHQ's offering. Smith.ai also offers some services that are not at all standard for the live answering services industry, most notably outbound calling, automatic blocking of spam calls and wrong numbers, and integration with helpdesk ticketing software (this allows us to triage calls and offer first-tier customer support, making sure callers get directed to the right department or person).

An answering service that isn't empowered to make informed decisions based on the directions you provide comes across as impersonal to your callers; the experience is friendly, sure, but veers towards superficial. It's often obvious that the receptionist is reading from a script. If you're looking for the experience of an in-house receptionist at a fraction of the cost, Smith.ai is the only service that can fully replace the host of services they would provide to you. We take pride in getting to know the ins and outs of every business we serve, so the experience is never scripted, but natural, leading to a far better experience for your customers.

Smith.ai client testimonial

Don't just take it from us! Here’s what a long-time client had to say about our virtual receptionists:

“I've used their services since 2015 and don't know how I could live without them now. A live person answers each call with the greeting I select, hands the call over to me with an introduction, and prepares a summary of each call sent by email… I have an IP boutique practice, so my new leads call with pretty much patent, trademark, or copyright needs. The Smith receptionists are better at classifying some lead's IP needs than the lead themselves. Smith.ai also screens out solicitors or anyone else I don't want to take calls from. It's all so customized that it feels as if I have a dedicated receptionist. The prices are super affordable, too. Highly recommended!”

- Scott Nyman, Nyman IP

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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