The 6 Best Answering Services for Businesses in 2023

Jim Gray, Licensed AgentNovember 30, 2022

There’s a lot at stake when it comes to answering leads. A single person can’t respond to every lead they get, but missing out on a great deal because of an unanswered phone call or clumsy follow-up is a painful feeling. Plus, in the age of the smartphone, customers expect an immediate answer to their inquiries. To avoid missing out, you may want to use an answering service—companies that handle business calls on your behalf.

What’s great about that? Besides not missing important calls, you can improve your customer service experience and increase efficiency for your business. There are plenty of services out there that offer automated or live calling, but it can be hard to nail down the right one for your business.

Luckily for you, Agent Advice has spent hundreds of hours researching the best of the best so you don’t have to. We’ve broken down our six favorite answering services into different categories based on features, price, and specialty. Here are the best answering services for your business in 2023!

The 6 Best Answering Services Your Business Should Use This Year

Best Overall: Ruby

A+
Top Features: Full package with virtual receptionists, live chat, and mobile app
Starting at $230/month

Why we chose it: When it comes to the best answering service overall, we’ve chosen Ruby Receptionist, also known as Ruby. They provide 24/7 virtual answering services and an integrated live chat tool for your website; their package also includes a mobile app to check out client conversations and automated lead capture tools. With Ruby, there’s no setup fee, and you don’t need to pay additional fees for after-hours services!

Their US-based virtual receptionists work around the clock, fully trained to provide excellent service through active listening and conflict resolution. Receptionists can answer and live transfer calls, collect caller information, and schedule appointments. Ruby does offer bilingual services with Spanish-speaking agents. They also offer custom voicemails, several hold music options, and custom after-hours call routing.

Their appointment scheduling is especially nice, as they follow your guidelines when making any appointments. They use Calendly by default but will work with your preferred scheduling tool. 

Their live chat tool can be added to your website. Visitors inquiring via chat will be connected to a representative, who will answer any questions they have—you’ll receive a full transcript of conversations. They can also capture lead information and start leads down the funnel for you. Besides that, their automated lead capture tool can be added to your website, working perfectly with live chat.

Ruby has their very own mobile app, meaning you can reference customer conversations from anywhere. You’ll have access to all messages, call records, and voicemails from here, which you can save, archive, and flag as you want. There’s also a status feature in case you don’t want calls routed as they normally would. You can even send and receive messages in the app using their provided phone number!

Besides all of those great features, Ruby also integrates seamlessly with the two most popular phone systems—Grasshopper and Nextiva—along with Clio, MyCase, and Rocket Matter. They’re also HIPAA-compliant!

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Ruby Pros
  • After-hours service at no extra cost
  • Advanced call-handling features
  • Integrates with Nextiva and Grasshopper
Ruby Cons
  • No free trial is available
  • Bilingual services are not 24/7

Most Affordable: MAP Communications

A
Top Features: Great call center services at the lowest cost
Starting at $47/month

Why we chose it: If you’re a solo agent looking for an answering service on a budget, you can’t go wrong with MAP Communications. They have one of the lowest monthly subscription rates, per-minute plans, and a 7-day free trial. Don’t let the cost fool you, though—their virtual receptionist services are excellent and bilingual for Spanish speakers! With every plan, you get a nationwide toll-free and local number, as well as a neat client portal. 

MAP Communications offers 24/7 call centers that support call management, including call routing, forwarding, overflow, and transfer. They can also assist with appointment scheduling, call screening, and even technical support. They offer English and Spanish-speaking agents, meaning you’ll be able to provide service to a larger pool of potential clients. Plus, if you’re worried about using call centers, you might be glad to hear that each one of theirs is employee-owned!

A standout feature of MAP Communications is its custom scripts. Instead of trusting that the scripts your receptionists are using hit the mark, you can customize them yourself to ensure greetings and outgoing messages mesh well with your brand. This is especially important as a realtor, where personality is key to converting leads. 

Their client portal is where you can manage all of your messages. This online dashboard archives call data and recordings for your reference. You can easily identify trends and patterns, allowing you to adjust your protocols as needed. Only those authorized have access to the portal, and even then there are different levels of permission to choose from. 

MAP Communications doesn’t seem to offer many integrations, but they do work with common scheduling platforms like Google Calendar, Calendly, and Setmore. Their services are HIPAA and PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. 

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MAP Communications Pros
  • Affordable per-minute plan
  • Flexible monthly subscription
  • Toll-free number included
MAP Communications Cons
  • No mobile application
  • No call transcription

Best Admin Assistant: Davinci Virtual

A
Top Features: Front-to-back administrative support
Starting at $50/month

Why we chose it: Davinci Virtual’s primary service is offering business addresses and meeting spaces for virtual businesses. However, they do offer an answering service, including live receptionists and live chat services, as well as a mobile app. If you’re a solo agent or small business looking for a service that provides full administrative support, Davinci Virtual is the way to go. 

Davinci Virtual provides you with a local or toll-free number and a professional receptionist to receive your calls. They offer live call answering, forwarding, screening, and routing, as well as voicemail management, online faxing, and even conference calling services for up to 99 participants! Their call routing capabilities are great, offering a simple interface to set up routing rules. Each receptionist is knowledgeable about your business and is committed to providing excellent customer service

Davinci Virtual’s standout administrative support comes with their Premium plans. With this, your receptionist will also handle several administrative tasks for you, including scheduling appointments and deliveries, outbound calling, travel planning, and more. This can be extremely valuable to solo realtors who can’t hire an administrative assistant of their own. 

Their live receptionist is available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST Monday through Friday. 

Along with live receptionist support, you’ll also have access to their live chat tool for your website. Live chat agents provide instant customer support to visitors, answering questions and starting leads down the funnel. You can customize your chat button, chat invitation, and greeting. You’ll receive chat transcripts and history via email.

Davinci Virtual offers two different mobile apps to go along with their answering service: the Davinci Virtual app and Davinci LIVE. The Davinci Virtual app is the companion to their phone system, allowing you to make calls, send texts, manage voice messages, and receive faxes. Davinci LIVE keeps you in touch with your live receptionist, allowing you to update your availability, view call activity, and get message notifications.

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Davinci Virtual Pros
  • Full virtual administrative assistant
  • Unique conference calling feature
  • Two useful mobile applications
Davinci Virtual Cons
  • No 24/7 services
  • Minimum six-month commitment

Best for Dedicated Service: Abby Connect

A-
Top Features: Dedicated receptionist team, custom transfer music
Starting at $299/month

Why we chose it: Want to seem like you have an in-house team of receptionists without actually hiring one? Abby Connect makes that possible. Abby Connect provides you with a dedicated receptionist team and account manager that know about your business and clients—all to ensure your success. You’ll also have access to their live chat tool, the Abby Connect online portal, and the Abby Go mobile app.

Each plan includes a small team of receptionists that are trained on your business, values, and clients. They’ll send you call transcripts over email, and you can activate call recordings if you wish. You’ll have extra teams depending on how available you’ll need them. Agents practice warm transfers, meaning they’ll provide you with a customer’s information and a rundown of why they’re calling before transferring them to you. One standout feature is the ability to upload your custom transfer music!

Their live chat tool can be implemented into your website, and its interface can be customized to your brand. They also provide automated pre-chat and post-chat surveys to gather relevant information and feedback. Like their receptionist service, you’ll receive an email transcript of conversations. It also integrates with SMS!

With Abby Go, you can access your dashboard, call and text for free, set statuses, and search for calls and callers. There’s the activities screen, which consolidates your communications into one spot for reference with filters. You can also rate calls and submit feedback. 

Unique to Abby Connect, you can block callers right in their portal, like a rude prospect or persistent spammer. You can also ban the IP address of website visitors who harass or waste the time of live chat agents. This is mutually beneficial; it doesn’t just increase efficiency—it puts you and your dedicated receptionists at ease. 

When it comes to integrations, Abby Connect has hundreds through Zapier. This makes it one of the few on the list that can easily integrate with popular CRMs like Salesforce or Hubspot. 

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Abby Connect Pros
  • Dedicated, knowledgeable receptionists
  • A whopping 14-day free trial
  • Tons of integrations through Zapier
Abby Connect Cons
  • 24/7 service comes with additional costs
  • No call routing function

Most Scaleable Plan: AnswerConnect

A-
Top Features: Active Response lead capture
Starting at $325/month

Why we chose it: If you’re a real estate business looking to grow, AnswerConnect might be the answering service for you. They offer answering services, inbound and outbound call center services, and live chat support. There are several scaleable plans to choose from based on the number of minutes you need, and these plans are month-to-month with no long-term contract required. 

AnswerConnect offers 24/7/365 live answering and a toll-free number you can use. Receptionists can be dedicated or shared, though dedicated is more expensive. Either way, they upload any messages they take in your preferred CRM, and set appointments in your preferred scheduling platform. You can also provide your AnswerConnect agents with FAQs and their answers. 

Their call center services include inbound and outbound calls, meaning they can capture new leads and qualify them for you, too! They’ll update your CRM directly with the information they gain, and they can even conduct market research through surveys. AnswerConnect also provides lead capture tools for your website, which they call ActiveResponse. 

A unique feature of AnswerConnect is Teleport, their very own video calling platform. It works like Zoom or Google Meets, allowing you to send out a link to a customer or a group and chat with them face-to-face. For example, once an appointment is set up with a customer by their team, you could chat with them over Teleport and showcase your personality as a realtor.

AnswerConnect offers an online portal where you can replay calls, check messages, verify contact details, view reports, and view transactions. You can also edit your scripts, call-flows, and business hours here. They also offer a mobile app version of the portal with real-time notifications. 

Just like Abby Connect, AnswerConnect is integrated with Zapier, meaning it’s integrated with thousands of other tools. These include popular CRMs like Salesforce, Zoho, and Hubspot. 

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AnswerConnect Pros
  • Inbound and outbound calls
  • Video calling platform
  • Tons of integrations with Zapier
AnswerConnect Cons
  • Relatively high rates
  • After-call work counted toward minutes

Best Live Answering Service: VoiceNation

A-
Top Features: Hit the ground running with instant activation
Starting at $59/month

Why we chose it: Do you need answering services around the clock and need them now? VoiceNation has what you’re looking for. In under 24 hours, you can get VoiceNation started with their instant account activation, including customization options. They offer live receptionists and live chat support. There’s no setup fee, and they don’t even charge for after-hours and holiday calls.

VoiceNation offers live answering through local or toll-free numbers with bilingual receptionists (English and Spanish). They’ll share property listings, take messages, and forward important calls to you—or all calls if you choose. Because they work around the clock and there are no extra fees for 24/7/365 service, VoiceNation is a great choice for those with high volumes of calls going throughout the year. 

They also have a live chat tool you can add to your website that provides customer support. You can customize how many messages they respond to through the Live Chat portal. You’ll be sent all transcripts of conversations via email. 

VoiceNation provides its app, an online dashboard with many features. First, custom scripting allows you to customize and edit your outgoing messages and greetings to your brand. You’re provided with much in terms of analytics, such as call volume, length, and location. This is helpful for minute tracking, as VoiceNation’s plans are based on time. You can also edit your agent roster, availability schedule, and company information here. 

VoiceNation integrates with Ninja Number, a private branch exchange (PBX). This means that you can add multiple extensions to your phone line that callers can choose from by pressing a number. This might make you seem a little bigger than you are, but it’s especially valuable for knowing what a caller is looking for before they start talking. There are even auto-responders you can set up for frequent questions.

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VoiceNation Pros
  • Instant activation for quick turnaround
  • No setup or after-hours service fees
  • Bilingual operators in all plans
VoiceNation Cons
  • Additional costs for mobile app calls
  • No appointment scheduling

Use the right answering service for your business

There are plenty of answering services out there with their unique features and advantages, but each one is geared for a particular kind of operation. If you’re struggling to decide which service is the best, consider how you’re handling calls now and what would supplement your current system. An answering service should complement your business!

We at Agent Advice do the research so you don’t have to! We hope this guide has given you some insight into features to look for and what kind of answering service is right for you. 

About the Author

Jim Gray got licensed in 2013 and sold 57 houses in his first year. Over the next 6 1/2 years he went on to sell 437 homes with a small team. He went on to manage the lead generation department of the 13th largest expansion team at Keller Williams and designed lead generation and conversion systems for 60 agents in 7 locations in 4 states that drove 600 home sales in a 2 year period. Jim currently does real estate team development and coaching for some of the largest real estate teams in the country. 

Last Updated: 11/30/2022

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