January 21, 2019

Smith.ai vs. Answer 1: Live Answering Service Comparison

Are you missing calls and letting your leads and clients reach your voicemail? Don't miss out on new business or the opportunity to give your current clients a great experience with your brand. If you are struggling to keep up with client demand, it may be time to consider a virtual receptionist service. Discover the differences in features and pricing between Smith.ai and Answer 1 virtual receptionists.

Setup fees, contracts & trials

Smith.ai:

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

Answer 1:

  • $90 setup fee
  • No contracts
  • 21-day money-back guarantee

Discussion: Smith.ai is the better option when it comes to getting started. With us, you never have to pay a setup fee, and we also let you try our services for up to a month for free. Answer 1 does not have a free trial period, and each of their plans requires a $90 upfront activation fee.

Monthly plans

Here’s how Smith.ai's and Answer 1’s monthly plans compare:

Smith.ai:

  • $70 for 10 live receptionist calls and 1 live transfer number
  • $180 for 30 live receptionist calls and 2 live transfer numbers
  • $500 for 100 live receptionist calls and 5 live transfer numbers
  • Custom plans available

Answer 1:

  • $239 for 100 minutes
  • $399 for 200 minutes
  • $749 for 500 minutes
  • Customs plans available

Discussion: Smith.ai offers plans that are a lot more affordable for both small and large businesses, as well as customized plans to fit your individual businesses' needs. For example, an average business call is on average, five minutes long, (according to the 2015 Invoca Call Intelligence Report). With that in mind, Answer 1's 100-minute plan allows for only 20 calls; with Smith.ai, you can get 10 more of those five-minute calls for $59 less per month. Even if your calls are just three minutes each on average, that will get you 33 calls for $239 with Answer 1. 33 calls with Smith.ai would be $180 for the 30-call plan, plus $6 for each of the additional three calls, amounting to an extra cost of $18 and a total cost of $198 per month, still far less costly than Answer 1.

Moreover, Smith.ai blocks spam, sales, and wrong-number calls for free, while Answer 1 charges for all calls, including spam. This is yet another way you will save money with Smith.ai.

Overage costs

Smith.ai:

  • $7.00/call on the $70/month plan
  • $6.00/call on the $180/month plan
  • $5.00/call on the $500/month plan

Answer 1:

  • $2.39/minute on the $239/month plan
  • $1.99/minute on the $399/month plan
  • $1.49/minute on the $749/month plan

Features:

Smith.ai and Answer 1 both provide the following features:

  • Lead qualification & client intake
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Integration with popular CRMs
  • Bilingual receptionists available
  • U.S.-based receptionists
  • Custom call handling procedures
  • CRM Integration

Smith.ai has the following additional features:

  • Live call transfers
  • Payment collection
  • Integration with helpdesk ticketing software programs
  • Client history mapping to ensure callers receive personalized attention
  • Messages texted to you or your team members.
  • Instant notifications
  • Custom greetings
  • Callback on client calls
  • Outbound calls
  • Appointment reminders
  • Referrals to recommended businesses
  • Daily call summary reports
  • No charge for spam, unsolicited sales, or wrong-number calls
  • Integration with Smith.ai Virtual Receptionists.

Answer 1 offers the following additional features:

  • 24/7 live answering services
  • Industry-specific virtual receptionists
  • Mobile app and desktop portal

Discussion: Smith.ai and Answer 1 both offer a robust set of services for businesses and solo professionals, but there are a few features that don't fit neatly within bullet points. One example: When you choose Smith.ai, we give you access to our whole team of virtual receptionists. At Answer 1 your business will be assigned to a team of dedicated receptionists depending on your industry. While this initially appears to be a benefit to your customers, it is not always advantageous during busy seasons or when you start receiving more calls as your business grows. Equally, when you launch a new marketing campaign, you must allow time for new team members to be trained to handle your calls with services like Answer1. At Smith.ai, any receptionist can answer your calls (thanks to our proprietary software presenting them with key information on your business at the right time, during each call), we can scale up or even down instantly to handle your call volume.

Additionally, with Smith.ai's per-call pricing, you get a predictable bill every month that is far easier to manage and maintain operations versus per-minute pricing. For example, you can see how many calls you have paid for, how many of those were from new leads or existing clients, and the results of those calls, whether it is new clients, appointments, or simply happier customers who have sent you more referrals. 

Consider whether you really need 24/7 phone coverage, or if you could save money by opting only for Smith.ai's Monday through Friday coverage, which includes calls made between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm PST (9:00 am and 9:00 pm EST). It may be more prudent to set a custom after-hours voicemail, which Smith.ai provides, and have your receptionists return missed calls in the morning during business hours.

Summary

Nearly every business owner who is in the market for a virtual receptionist service wants to give callers the experience of an in-house receptionist at a fraction of the cost. That’s why Smith.ai and Answer 1 provide such a full range of services that support many, if not all of the receptionist functions that a business needs, like lead intake and qualification, appointment scheduling, and integration with the tools you use every day, such as your CRM and calendar. 

While there are feature-based differences that distinguish Smith.ai as a more robust service, such as outbound calling, seamless integrations and add-on features, there is also a major price difference. Smith.ai's services are cheaper on a per-call basis, and Smith.ai also offers a lower starting price, which is ideal for small businesses and solo professionals who simply want overflow call handling to avoid callers reaching voicemail. For the most advanced yet affordable solution, Smith.ai is the clear choice.

Smith.ai client testimonial

Don't just take our word for it. Read what a long-time Smith.ai customer had to say:

“I've been using them for awhile and they invaluable to my law practice. Everyone says how great my receptionists are and I'm paying a fraction of the cost of an in house receptionist.”

- Regina Edwards, Edwards Family Law

Try Smith.ai for free

The team at Smith.ai is dedicated to helping your business run smoothly, enabling you to capture more leads, and making your existing clients even happier. To learn more about our virtual receptionist services, contact us Monday through Friday from 5am – 6pm PT at (650) 727-6484, or email us at support@smith.ai. The best way to get started is with our 30-day/10-call free trial.

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