March 30, 2018

Smith.ai vs. Clementine: Live Answering Service Comparison

Business owners should never have to worry about missing customer calls.With many options for live answering services, running a business is easier than ever before. Learn the differences in features between Smith.ai and Clementine virtual receptionists to help you make your decision.

Setup fees & trials

Smith.ai

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

Clementine

  • No setup fee
  • No contracts
  • Free two-week trial period

Discussion: Smith.ai and Clementine offer a free trial period to allow businesses to try the service before they buy. However, Smith.ai offers twice the length of a free trial period than Clementine, meaning you can better gauge your call volume and choose the plan that’s right for you. And, because we do not charge a setup fee, it’s even easier to get started with our services.

Monthly plans

Smith.ai and Clementine offer the following monthly plans:

Smith.ai

  • $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

Clementine

  • $49.99 for 40 minutes
  • $99.99 for 90 minutes
  • $149.99 for 150 minutes
  • $239.99 for 250 minutes
  • $449.99 for 500 minutes
  • $649.99 for 750 minutes
  • $849.99 for 1,000 minutes
  • Custom plans available

Discussion: At Smith.ai, we charge by the call, while Clementine charges per minute. When virtual receptionist services charge by the minute, it can often lead to less predictable billing, since the number of calls a business received per month is often steady, but the length of each call is not. At Smith.ai, we offer affordable plans with per-call pricing for more predictable billing. Smith.ai customers are never charged for spam, sales, or wrong-number calls; Clementine charges for all calls, regardless of their disposition, but they will insert a pre-call announcement in an attempt to reduce the spam calls that get through to their agents. 

Smith.ai and Clementine’s prices per call are pretty similar if your calls average around five minutes each, which is the average, according to the Invoca Call Intelligence Index. However, you can benefit from more flexibility and predictability each month with Smith.ai's per-call pricing. Call volume often doesn't vary unless you're running a marketing campaign, but call length can be highly variable, leading to variability in your monthly charges. 

Additionally, if you are running a marketing campaign, per-call pricing allows you to more easily calculate new client acquisition costs: You know the total cost of all answered calls along with the cost of lead calls that resulted in new business. 

Overage costs

Smith.ai

  • $6.00/call on the $60/month plan
  • $5.00/call on the $150/month plan
  • $4.50/call on the $400/month plan

Clementine

  • $1.00/minute for plans up to 249 minutes
  • $0.90/minute for plans of 250 to 999 minutes
  • $0.88/minute for plans of 1000 to 1499 minutes
  • $0.85/minute for plans of 1500 minutes and beyond

Discussion: It’s important to know overage costs, because at some point, you're going to get more calls in a month than you predicted. At Smith.ai, we never penalize you for not perfectly predicting your monthly call volume (after all, how can you possibly know?). If you go over your calls, you’re still paying the same amount of money per call as the rate mapped out in your monthly plan. 

Features

Smith.ai and Clementine offer the following features with their live answering services:

  • Live call transfers
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Custom call handling procedures
  • Call summary reports

 

Smith.ai has the following additional features:

  • Integration with all major calendaring and scheduling software programs
  • Integration with popular CRMs, like Clio, Lexicata, and Capsule CRM
  • Integration with helpdesk ticketing software programs
  • Client history mapping to the incoming number so clients receive personalized attention
  • Spanish-speaking virtual receptionists available
  • Messages texted to you or forwarded to a Slack channel
  • Custom greetings and after-hours voicemail
  • No charge for spam calls or wrong numbers
  • Access to all receptionists

 

Clementine offers the following additional features:

  • Online client dashboard
  • HIPAA certified virtual receptionists
  • 24/7 live answering services
  • Dedicated agents for each business

 

Discussion: Clementine gives you a team of dedicated receptionists to handle your calls. While this may initially seem appealing, it's actually not in the best interest of the business. What happens if your call volume increases or there is inevitable staff turnover? Likely, there won’t be more receptionists available to answer calls immediately, because having dedicated receptionists for a business means training time, and that creates a lag between your needs and your receptionists' ability to address them.

At Smith.ai, each of our team members is equipped to handle calls for any business. Our proprietary software brings up all relevant information as soon as a caller dials your business number, so any receptionist can answer your calls with the greeting and information they need to represent your business like an in-house receptionist would. Our software presents them with the right information at the right time. And with our large suite of CRM integrations, post-call contact information and notes are instantly transferred to your records, eliminating copy-and-paste grunt work and inevitable typos.

Moreover, Smith.ai offers outbound calling for a much more complete service. We can call back leads who completed web forms, call clients with appointment reminders, provide work status updates, and much more. Sure, a 24/7 answering service is important to have for a small segment of businesses who require it (e.g., a locksmith), but for most businesses, the ability to offload outbound calling tasks is far more valuable on a regular basis.

Summary

At Smith.ai, each of our virtual receptionists comes with a professional background in customer service and/or hospitality, so you can rest assured that your calls are not simply being handled according to a script, but instead by real people who are well acquainted with American business etiquette, norms, and customs. We take our job seriously in representing your business and your reputation. Whether we're answering calls, returning calls, qualifying leads, or collecting payments, you can count on Smith.ai receptionists to be thorough and professional. With us, your business is in good hands.

Smith.ai client testimonial

Don't just take our word for it! Read what one Smith.ai client had to say about our quality of service and professionalism.

“[I] have used smith.ai for over a year and have been very impressed. Having a live answer phone service lifted our business to a professional level and gave our customers the confidence that they were dealing with a reputable company.”

- Craig DuAlba

Learn more about Smith.ai

Smith.ai virtual receptionists are trained to learn your business and build a relationship with your customers, just like an in-house receptionist. Discuss your options with us by calling (650) 727-6484 Monday through Friday between 6 AM and 6 PM PST. 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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