Smith.ai Raises Receptionist Wages to $15/Hour to Support Remote Workers

Maddy Martin

The coronavirus pandemic forever changed the way we work, from simple logistics, like where we do our jobs, to deeper questions, like what we ultimately want to get out of our work lives. 

The shift to remote work in the past 18 months has worked out better than expected for both employers and employees. 

For employers, work output is higher than it’s been in ages. And for employees, the benefits are clear: Remote work provides more control over worker health and safety, more choice about where to reside, more time, and more money. In a single year, Upwork estimates that workers saved on average 9 days and $4,300 otherwise spent on commuting.

Not surprisingly, half of workers don’t want to return to jobs that don’t offer remote work options. In many cases, they prefer to take a fully remote job than accept a pay raise at a brick-and-mortar office.

The good news is, remote work and great pay can coexist. They do for Smith.ai’s receptionists.

A remote-first company, Smith.ai has leveraged work-from-home receptionists since its inception in 2015 as a 24/7 virtual receptionist service for small and medium-sized businesses. 

Smith.ai has worked hard over the years to provide our fully remote team of receptionists with the opportunity to work from anywhere and love your work. Now, we’re taking another big step to continue to attract the very best talent — we recently raised the base starting rate to $15/hour for every receptionist in the U.S. 

While numerous companies have raised their minimum wage ahead of federal guidelines, Smith.ai is one of just a few companies doing so for remote workers across the U.S. 

We are incredibly proud to invest in our receptionists in this way, and we’re seeing record numbers of job applications and referrals as a result. 

What this means for our team and prospective employees

This change benefits all receptionists on the Smith.ai team, and we hope it offers a new path for others in the workforce who are looking for better, more flexible opportunities, including parents juggling homeschooling and work, partners of military members who move often, or those living in areas with less access to jobs. 

Here’s what C.V. on our customer success team told us this raise means to her, and how she feels about her job at Smith.ai: “It was amazing! It was nice to see the company "step up." I don't think I can go back to work in an office again. It's really great for young families. Smith.ai makes work fun, while giving you opportunities to grow as a team member.”

What’s more, Smith.ai has always provided a workplace that is supportive of individuals with limited mobility and other physical and mental challenges that make it tough, or even impossible, to go to an office for work. Operating a distributed workforce also means being an accessible employer, and by increasing our wages we hope we can alleviate some of the additional costs these physical and mental challenges incur on workers, when they find a supportive place with Smith.ai.

What this means for our clients

Unlike many companies instituting pay increases, we have not passed this cost on to our clients. We understand one of the reasons business owners choose to hire Smith.ai is to keep costs down and efficiency high. 

We remain committed to providing a high-value service and we’re mindful our value is only fulfilled when we provide 24/7/365 coverage of our clients’ calls, chats, texts, and social messages. For our current clients, that means hundreds of receptionists on duty each week.

With our new starting wage, we won’t just be fully staffed, we’ll be able to attract and retain the best possible talent for each available seat, drawing out the most exceptional receptionists from every corner of the continent. 

Group manager Brittany Van Ostran, one of these exceptional team members, says, “Smith.ai has had an astounding impact on my career. I started as a part-time receptionist, and then progressed through training, agent operations, client success, and senior manager roles. Now as the group manager, I oversee all client accounts. I am very thankful for the opportunity that Smith.ai has provided to me professionally and also personally. At work, I get to mentor rising leaders in our company, and at home, I get to show my daughters what it looks like to be a strong female leader in the workplace.”

Brittany’s career trajectory is just one of many examples of opportunities to grow with us. Our focus on internal growth is a big part of what’s created the happy, tenured team we have today.

And that’s exactly what small business owners need right now: a stable, high-quality team they can trust with their business communications, while they face the myriad other challenges of running a business in a topsy-turvy economy. 

“Smith.ai’s remote, distributed workforce is literally our clients’ secret to success — they tell us our receptionists have been their key to client happiness, their solution to growing pains, and the best decision they have made all year,” says Aaron Lee, Smith.ai’s co-founder and CEO. “It’s very simple. We answer their phone calls, web chats, SMS, and Facebook messages 24/7 while they focus on larger business objectives. We bring resilience and speed to their business, helping them compete with bigger competitors.”

What happens next?

If you feel Smith.ai is a place you’d like to call your “work home,” consider applying for a receptionist position. Here’s our online application.

If you feel Smith.ai aligns with your values and needs as a business owner, or you’d like to partner with Smith.ai to bring our services to your clientele, please email us at hello@smith.ai so we can start a conversation.

Maddy Martin

Maddy Martin is Smith.ai's head of growth and education. Over the last decade, Maddy has built her expertise and reputation in small-business communications, lead conversion, email marketing, partnerships, and SEO.

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