A live answering service ensures there’s always someone to take your calls, note messages and concerns, or route to appropriate persons. When choosing an answering service for small business, consider the affordability and availability of key features, such as bilingual agents, custom scripts, and 24/7/365 call answering. In this guide, we will outline the seven best answering services for a small business so you can improve the efficiency of your business communications.
- VoiceNation: Best overall answering service
- Ruby Receptionist: Best for message-taking services
- Map Communications: Best for affordability
- Go Answer: Best for legal receptionist services
- Abby Connect: Best for artificial intelligence (AI) tools
- Davinci Virtual: Best for administrative support
- AnswerConnect: Best for high call and chat volumes
Best Answering Service Compared
VoiceNation: Best Overall Answering Service
*Subscribe to VoiceNation with Live Answering and Live Chat, and receive a 20% discount off the monthly chat subscription.
For companies needing a live answering platform, VoiceNation is a great all-in-one solution because all plans come fully loaded with features like bilingual operators, local and toll-free calling, reporting, and an online dashboard. All users get the same features and only vary in allocated monthly minutes. Plans come with robust features like instant activation, call transfer, simple order processing, custom call scripting, and local or toll-free numbers.
VoiceNation allows you to take your business further by providing customers with 24/7/365 support via live answering and live chat solutions. The provider’s trained operators answer your calls without holiday or after-hours fees, emphasizing to your clients that you are reliable. Get insights on how your answering service is performing, from call trends to caller locations, by checking the logs and data in VoiceNation’s detailed reports.
While VoiceNation offers generous subscription inclusions, it’s limited to message-taking and appointment scheduling. Try Davinci if you’re looking for a provider offering advanced calling and administrative assistance. Receptionists can help manage calendars, schedule deliveries, and take orders. Premium plan subscribers can access virtual receptionists trained to handle complex call flows and questions about your business.
- Bilingual operators: Make your callers comfortable by letting them converse with agents in their native language. VoiceNation offers Spanish-speaking representatives for free with its live answering service.
- Call forwarding: All plans come with free call transfers, allowing you to decide which calls you take and which will be transferred to employees.
- Custom call scripts: Create tailored scripts that ensure your messaging and tone are consistent across the board. Custom scripts also ensure you collect and provide all the necessary information using a well-crafted spiel.
Ruby Receptionist: Best for Message-taking Services
*Save 20% on chat when you opt for its bundled receptionist and chat plans.
Ruby Receptionist is a live answering solution with virtual receptionists and managed website chat offering excellent message-taking services. All messages are sent immediately to you via email and/or text, but they’re also stored in the Member Services Area. This is useful if you accidentally delete a message or are looking for one from a few months ago. Messages on the Member Services Homepage can be filtered and sorted by company or time frame.
Messages received append the caller ID name and number to all messages and come with a timestamp in your local time zone. While it offers bilingual receptionists and custom call routing, its comprehensive plans are more expensive than other providers on the list. MAP Communications’ pay-as-you-go plan is an excellent option for companies with low call volume looking for a simple service that will answer your calls and handle basic questions.
Ruby Receptionist Features
- Robust mobile app: Get real-time notifications and stay on top of your answering system using the Ruby app. Use your phone to update your status, check messages, access call records, and set up your caller ID.
- Flexible call forwarding: Determine who answers what calls when with flexible call forwarding. Answer only the calls you prioritize or choose to send all or select calls to Ruby.
- Robocall filtering: Ruby automatically filters robocall voicemail. This means virtual receptionists don’t answer the calls or charge your business.
Map Communications: Best for Affordability
When it comes to budget-friendly pricing, MAP Communications is on the top of this list thanks to its pay-as-you-go option, where users are only charged for their service usage. Its entry-level per-minute plan starts at just $47 monthly with a budget-friendly $1.37 per additional minute. All plans, whether pay-as-you-go or with inclusive minutes, include HIPAA compliance, a toll-free or local number, and 24/7 coverage, including all major holidays.
While MAP Communications offers account activation within 24 hours and bilingual call center services, its answering service app has limited functionality. Users need to use the client web portal to make account and settings changes. For a powerful mobile app, check out Ruby, which lets you make settings adjustments and shows updated activities on its app.
Map Communications Features
- Security compliance: All MAP Communication plans are HIPAA-compliant and certified by Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST). This emphasizes MAP Communications’ rigorous standards for handling high-risk data.
- Live call transfer: Professional receptionists screen all your calls and provide information or take messages as necessary. Depending on your preference, they also facilitate cold and warm call transfers to specific persons or departments.
- Custom scripts: Scripting ensures receptionists follow predefined talking points to ensure a consistent interaction with all your customers, regardless of who answers the phone.
Go Answer: Best for Legal Receptionist Services
*There is a one-time setup fee of $75 associated with virtual receptionist and web chat services.
Go Answer is our top pick for businesses looking for an answering service for small business with expert virtual legal receptionists. Its comprehensive legal intake service includes client screening, data gathering, appointment scheduling, and data input into your customer relationship management (CRM) solution and calendar. It provides 24/7 bilingual answering services useful for mass tort and class action lawsuits cases.
While Go Answer offers round-the-clock support for virtual receptionists and web chat services, it’s limited to inbound customer interactions and basic message-taking. Davinci is a better fit if you’re looking for an answering service that includes customer interaction and administrative support. Davinci’s services are not limited to live answering and chat services. It also provides virtual office, incorporation, and administrative support.
Go Answer Features
- 24/7 live virtual receptionist: Never miss a call with Go Answer’s virtual receptionists, who are available round-the-clock. If you’re a retail business that can’t keep up with your peak season call volumes, having 24/7 receptionists helps with basic message-taking and live call transfer.
- Free custom scripting: Customize your call scripts and workflow to meet your operational needs. Provide consistent messaging and information to clients using Go Answer’s custom scripts.
- Free CRM integration: Go Answer seamlessly integrates with your existing business tools, such as calendars and CRM software, so information is loaded directly into your system.
Abby Connect: Best for AI Tools
*Save up to $70 per month when you opt for a bundled plan.
Abby Connect offers human receptionist services supported by artificial intelligence (AI) technology, equipping human receptionists with automation tools that improve consistency, service quality, and efficiency. Virtual receptionists route calls and communicate with callers using features like call summaries and transcripts to enhance productivity and call management. Use AI-generated call transcripts to get a play-by-play of calls and AI-powered call summaries to get an error-free call synopsis.
Abby Intelligence helps you optimize your account, ensure consistent messaging, and provide analytics and call insights. Still, for businesses looking for a straightforward, pay-as-you-go plan, Abby Connect only offers inclusive minutes and chat plans. Give MAP Communications a try. It costs $47 per month, and additional minutes are $1.37 per minute.
Abby Connect Features
- Custom call transfer tunes: Choose what your customers hear while their call is being transferred.
- AbbyGO app: This powerful app gives you more control over your account even when you’re on the go. You can track minute usage, look at call trends, set call availability, and submit receptionist feedback from your phone.
- Live chat: Besides call answering, Abby Connect offers live chat services with features like post-chat survey, scheduling assistance, and multi-language support.
Davinci Virtual: Best for Administrative Support
*The initial term for Davinci Virtual communication solutions is one month and requires a 30-day written notice. For location services, the initial contract term is six months.
Davinci Virtual offers extensive services beyond live chat and answering, including virtual office and meeting spaces. It’s ideal for solopreneurs and small teams looking for cost-effective business services like mail receipt and forwarding, professional business addresses, and meeting space rentals. Virtual office support allows businesses to keep overhead expenses and staffing low while gaining access to essential services as needed.
Other live receptionist offerings include handling complex call flows and appointment scheduling, but it’s best when these services are available 24/7/365. Unfortunately, Davinci’s live receptionist team only answers calls between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, it does offer complimentary 24/7 automated support. For a 24-hour solution, consider VoiceNation. It also provides the fastest new account activation.
Davinci Virtual Features
- Proactive live chat: Create and automatically send visitors a welcome message when they land on your webpage. It ensures customer engagement and gives a great first impression.
- Unlimited long-distance calling services: Your phone service comes with unmetered long-distance minutes within the U.S. and Canada. This lets you efficiently handle customer questions, close business deals, and coordinate with team members in other locations.
- Voicemail management: Add your hold music, transfer messages, and introductions onto your virtual voicemail management system. It comes with voicemail-to-email, but you can add the voicemail-to-text service and save time by reading your messages at your convenience.
AnswerConnect: Best for High Call & Chat Volumes
*All plans, except the Growth plan, have a one-time $49.99 setup fee. There are no charges for the first 30 interactions under 30 seconds per billing cycle.
AnswerConnect is our best live answering service for small business with high-volume call traffic because of its large volume plans. Its base plan comes with a generous 200 minutes, and you can upgrade to 500 and further up to a maximum of 100,000 minutes, making it an excellent platform for businesses of all sizes. All live answer plans have business features like appointment setting, 24/7/365 support, and custom scripting.
All AnswerConnect’s plans include live chat support, while other providers like Ruby charge an additional fee. However, it charges for services like bilingual support and HIPAA compliance, which is free with other providers. If you’re looking for straightforward billing, check out MAP Communications. Unlike AnswerConnect, all MAP Communications plans have bilingual support and are fully HIPAA and HITRUST-compliant.
- Calendar management: Make it easier for customers to book with your team and get instant updates about new appointments in real time. Receptionists can add new appointments directly to your schedule, and AnswerConnect offers this service free of charge.
- Client web access: All clients receive access to a client portal upon signing up. This one-stop shop dashboard outlines all interactions, personalizes your account, and stores all your data.
- Teleport video: Connect and collaborate with customers and colleagues or host webinars with Teleport. Host free video calls for up to 50 people with features like screen sharing, video call lock, and virtual backgrounds.
How We Evaluated the Best Answering Service
Adding answering services for small business operations is a cost-effective way to enhance your customer support services and improve operational efficiency. Leading solutions offer affordable per-minute rates, 24/7 answering support, bundled chat services, and multi-language support. To evaluate the best answering service for small business, we compared different providers and ranked the best live receptionist providers that balance pricing with functionality.
Learn how we evaluated the best answering service for small business by clicking on the tabs below:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A live answering service is an efficient and cost-effective way to deliver top-quality customer service and elevate your business’ credibility. If you’re looking for the best answering service for small business, we recommend VoiceNation. All plans have bilingual operators, custom call scripting, and instant activation. A monthly subscription starts at $65 and begins using the service immediately, thanks to instant activation. Sign up for its seven-day free trial now.