13 Best Virtual Receptionist & Auto Attendant Services of 2022
Business owners these days are slowly realizing what a virtual receptionist and auto-attendant can do for a business.
Have you considered one for your business? Did you know that a virtual receptionist can help you appear more professional, which is very important for small businesses just establishing their presence?
A virtual receptionist not only replaces the usual receptionist but also makes your business accessible to callers around the clock. Even if they are not located within your office, they can do so much.
And if your virtual receptionist is unavailable for some reason, an auto-attendant makes sure your callers are greeted warmly and directed to the correct extension or department.
Let us look at some of the best virtual receptionist and auto-attendant services available in the market so that you can see what one can do for your business.
We’ll also help you choose the best virtual receptionist from all the options in the market.
If you’re ready, let’s begin!
What is a Virtual Receptionist?
Often confused with each other but a virtual receptionist is different from an auto-attendant.
While a virtual receptionist is a real human being attending your incoming calls, an auto-attendant is a software that greets and directs your callers.
A virtual receptionist is similar to an in-house receptionist, just that they do not work from your office and you do not directly pay them. They are employees of another company that provides you their services and you pay only what you subscribe for.
When you hire a virtual receptionist, they take care of all your incoming calls by greeting your customers with a customized greeting and transferring your calls based on your call handling rules.
Depending on the service provider you choose, your receptionist may even be able to help you with more than receiving incoming calls like appointment scheduling, event registrations, order taking, and lead capturing and qualifying.
Now let us look at some of the best virtual receptionists out there in the market.
Best Virtual Receptionists and Auto Attendant Services
Best virtual receptionist and auto-attendant services from the best business VoIP service provider.
Whether you are looking for an auto-attendant or a virtual receptionist, Grasshopper offers both. While they provide the auto-attendant feature by themselves, they have tied up with Ruby for offering virtual receptionists.
So if you are a Grasshopper user, you automatically get discounts on Ruby’s virtual receptionist. To get started, you will have to sign up on Grasshopper and get a local or toll-free number. If you already have a number, you can get it ported.
For setting up the auto-attendant service, you will have to add extensions for your employees so that they can be reached by phone. Now every time a caller calls, they can select the desired extension to get connected to their respective department.
Once the basic setup is done, you can record custom greetings that will play when a customer calls. You can either use your own voice or utilize Grasshopper’s professional voice recording service. You can also record the greeting in Grasshopper’s voice studio for a fee.
However, you will not get Grasshopper’s auto-attendant feature or virtual receptionist feature as isolated services. You will have to sign up for Grasshopper’s virtual phone system which comes with many other features for efficient business communication.
Some of the features you get as a part of the business communication suite include business texting, VoIP, call forwarding, voicemail, reporting, simultaneous call handling, call transfers, virtual fax, desktop, and mobile apps, and more.
The plans offered by Grasshopper are not just for the auto-attendant feature or for the virtual receptionist. Grasshopper plans are ideal if you are looking for business phone systems or VoIP phone systems that include a virtual receptionist feature.
Accordingly, for small businesses, the Partner plan may be ideal as it includes all important features that a business phone system must have along with the virtual receptionist and auto-attendant services.
Best affordable virtual receptionist for small businesses.
My Receptionist is one of the top-rated virtual answering services available and has helped small businesses save on the cost of customer service and has also helped them streamline their communication with customers.
As promised, their team of virtual receptionists handles your calls for you and makes sure you do not miss a single call while you focus on other important tasks. Their team of receptionists is professionally trained so you do not have to worry about a compromised business image.
To start using their services, you will be given a forwarding number. This way, you will not have to change the number that you currently use. Whenever you want your calls to be handled by My Receptionist, they get forwarded to them.
Your callers will be greeted with a professional, custom greeting and all your calls will be handled according to the instructions given.
Whether you want calls to be forwarded, sent to voicemail, appointments to be made, details of callers to be noted, you can customize call handling rules. With My Receptionist, you can even get calls transferred to the respective person at any designated number.
You can even ask them to screen calls before they get transferred so that your valuable time is not taken up by spam numbers. You can also set up custom call screening rules.
After the call, all the recorded information will then get sent to you through text, email, or via CRM depending on your settings. If your receptionists have taken an appointment on your behalf, they will also send reminders about the appointment.
This way, irrespective of when your callers call your business, even if you are not in the office, My Receptionists 24/7 virtual answering services for small businesses make sure that you do not miss a single call.
At My Receptionist, there are three plans to choose from, depending on the number of minutes of calls you want to be handled. If your requirements are more than what they offer normally, you can request higher call volume pricing.
Small businesses with moderate call volume should find the Cruising Option ideal as it allows over two hours of calling. If you cross the allowed minutes you will be charged an overage on a per-minute basis.
Best premium virtual receptionist services for high-quality call management.
If you are looking for a team of highly trained receptionists to handle your business calls, ReceptionHQ might just be what you are looking for. Getting started with them is very easy and after signing up, your team of receptionists will be ready in a few minutes.
Like all other virtual receptionist services, your callers will be greeted with a custom message.
ReceptionHQ’s receptionists are bi-lingual and support English and Spanish. They are located within the US and therefore, you can be assured that your calls are being handled locally.
You can get all your calls transferred to you, irrespective of your current location. You will be intimated about the caller so that you can decide whether you want to receive it or not. There is a very helpful customer service team to support you in case you get stuck anywhere.
ReceptionistHQ is integrated with several CRMs and workflows so that all your communication with your customers happens smoothly. As your business grows, scaling and customizing are also very easy.
If it’s your first time using a virtual receptionist service, you do not have to be worried about the technical details. ReceptionistHQ has a very user-friendly portal and also has mobile apps where you can update your call-handling rules, greetings, call transfers, and others in real-time.
You can also use ReceptionHQ’s virtual receptionist service for small businesses to do much more than just receive calls and play custom greetings.
It will help you with appointment scheduling, collect information from customers, answer FAQs, quote fees and process payments, and much more.
There are fifteen different plans that you can choose from depending on whether you want a message-focused or calling-focused virtual receptionist or a complete virtual assistant.
The MyAssistant plans are ideal for small businesses looking for a well-rounded virtual receptionist. It includes all the features that ReceptionistHQ offers under their virtual answering services.
They also offer month-to-month subscription fees at no cancellation charges and a 7-day free trial.
Best simplified, cloud-based auto-attendant service for small businesses.
At the first sight, it looks like Yodel offers both virtual receptionist services as well as auto-attendant features. But on their page, when they say virtual receptionist, they mean auto attendant.
To get started, you will first need a Yodel.io number. You can choose from seventy different country codes. Depending on those who will be operating the phone system, you will then have to invite team members and grant them permission.
If you are looking for the auto-attendant feature, using Yodel’s auto-attendant feature, you can make sure that your business is represented professionally.
Your customers will be greeted with a custom greeting that you can set. Instead of asking them to enter extensions or numbers at each step, Yodel has a voice IVR, which automatically routes callers to the respective departments.
This is possible due to their speech recognition technology. While you put your callers on hold, you will also be able to play hold music for them. Yodel lets you set custom call handling rules, so you are in complete control of how your calls are managed.
If you want them transferred, Yodel will make sure it informs you about who’s calling so that there are no surprises. It lets you set your office hours so that callers calling post office hours are informed instead of missing their calls altogether.
In case you miss a call, you can also send them a text message. Yodel supports hardware phones for calling so your forwarded calls can be sent to your current phone system and if you are out of the office, there are mobile apps that you can use to receive calls.
Yodel offers only two pricing options but it includes a 14-day free trial.
However, like most other business phone systems, you will not get the auto-attendant feature separately. It will be a part of their business phone system. So if your main priority is the auto-attendant feature, you can choose the Premium plan.
If you would prefer a complete business phone system with auto-attendant features included, the Premium Plus plan will offer all that and include many integrations as well.
Best affordable virtual receptionist service with advanced call handling features.
Posh is another US-based virtual receptionist service that provides small businesses with live virtual receptionists who speak English and Spanish. Headquartered in Virginia Beach, all their receptionists are located in the United States.
When you start using Posh, you will be given a number where all your calls will get forwarded for Posh receptionists to handle. They then take the call on your behalf and transfer the calls if you are available, take a message, or record voicemail depending on your call-handling rules.
They have a mobile app where you can update your availability to take transfers. Based on that, Posh receptionists will handle the call. After the call is over they send you the messages they have taken either through text, mail, or even send voicemail transcriptions.
Even when they send you forwarded calls, you can be assured that all calls will be forwarded to your Posh number on their app so your personal number will stay private.
Posh receptionists can also take appointments for you and they integrate with your CRM systems and calendars to update the appointments. They are even trained to capture leads and important customer information.
While not all virtual receptionists offer this service, Posh receptionists can even make outbound calls on your behalf or gather the information that you need from calls.
Not only will you be able to set custom routing for calls after work hours, but Posh receptionists are also available 24/7 all around the year and even on holidays. So you can be assured that not one of your incoming calls and appointment bookings will be missed.
Posh might seem expensive at first but keep in mind the features that it offers, it is pretty affordable. For small to medium businesses, the Elegant or Luxurious plan should be sufficient. There is also an option to pay as you use the service, i.e. the Chic plan.
If you are not sure about how many minutes of calls you will receive, you can give it a try and upgrade to another plan later. For each minute you will be charged $1.60 along with a base rate of $54.
Best virtual receptionist and auto-attendant services loaded with advanced features.
Conversational offers both virtual receptionist services and auto-attendant services. Depending on what you choose, both their offerings are loaded with features. Headquartered in North America, their team of receptionists can speak English and Spanish.
So if you choose the virtual receptionist services, a team of receptionists will be allotted to your business to handle all incoming calls. To get started, you will need to fill out a form explaining the needs of your business and preferences after which a specialist will set up the system for you.
You can either use the number allocated by Conversational or have all your incoming calls transferred to your existing business number. After that, depending on your instructions, your calls will be transferred to you accordingly.
When you are unavailable, the receptionists will either take the message for you or guide callers to voicemail. All these messages will then be sent to you via text or email. In case you receive urgent calls, Conversational’s receptionists will make sure that you are notified immediately.
Their receptionists are trained to do much more than receive calls. They will help you capture leads and valuable information from callers if that is what you need. Your receptionists will also be able to take orders for you and make appointments.
You can also use your virtual receptionists to screen calls and receive only the calls that add value to your business. At an added price of $2, you can also avail yourself of the call blocking feature.
Now, if you choose the auto-attendant service, all your customers will be greeted with a custom greeting. You can either use the voice of your employees, use the available messages or use professional services.
Using the auto-attendant feature, you will be able to attend to the callers who call post business hours and on holidays.
The IVR menu will guide your callers to their respective departments. If you have multiple locations, you can have your callers call a central number and then route calls to all offices.
The auto-attendant feature can even play a part in your marketing campaigns by informing callers about ongoing offers and promotions. You will even be able to offer multiple language options to your callers and let them choose the language they prefer for the calls.
All of the virtual receptionist plans offered by Conversational include the standard auto-attendant features. But, if you would like advanced features, you can get them for an extra $49.
Additionally, if you would like advanced features or scheduling features, each of them comes at an added cost. If you are just getting started, you can choose the Entrepreneur package that offers 100 calling minutes and then add scheduling features or features as per your needs.
Best customer-friendly virtual receptionist service for businesses of all sizes.
Whether it's a team of virtual receptionists that you are looking for or a single receptionist dedicated to your business, Moneypenny offers virtual receptionists services depending on what your business needs.
While they have helped over twenty-one thousand small businesses with receptionist services, they also offer their services to law firms, home services, finance, and real estate businesses. So if your growing business needs a virtual receptionist, Moneypenny is the way to go.
Once you sign up for their services, a receptionist or a team of receptionists will be assigned to your business depending on your requirements.
Getting started will take under 24 hours. You can choose to have all your calls handled by Moneypenny receptionists or decide which calls you want them to handle.
These receptionists work in teams. So every time you have a caller, you can be assured that your call will be answered by one of the team members.
Moneypenny receptionists are available from 8.30 am to 6.00 pm in the evening after which all your callers will be greeted with a custom message and will be directed to voicemail.
If you would like to avail of receptionist services post these hours, you will need to get in touch with the customer support team.
Some features that you get with Moneypenny receptionists are caller recognition, sales call blocking, and calendar integration. They also have a mobile app and online portal where you will be able to access call history, company details, and other information.
Moneypenny pricing differs from business to business, so you will have to request a custom quote. In the beginning, there will be a 7-day free trial to assess the needs of your business and then the custom quote will be given.
Best live answering services that specialize in lead generation.
Smith.ai is not just a virtual receptionist service but instead is a great tool that can help with lead generation and lead capture. Along with answering calls 24/7, there is a lot more that Smith.ai offers like SMS text answering, appointment scheduling, and others.
All your calls will be answered by receptionists located in different parts of North America. While they answer all your calls the way you have set your call handling rules, after every call they send a follow-up message to the callers to ensure a streamlined process.
Along with handling calls for you, taking down messages, making sure calls get transferred in time, making appointments, Smith.ai receptionists even offer 24/7 live chat facilities where they answer queries received on your page, capture leads, schedule appointments, and more.
These agents are backed by AI-technology support so they are able to handle all web queries very efficiently. There is also a real-time English to Spanish translation feature available.
For businesses looking for bilingual receptionists, Smith.ai may be a great choice due to the extensive bilingual support they offer along with real-time translation. They not only have Spanish-speaking agents but also offer Spanish call-backs to web queries.
There is even a multilingual chatbot on their site!
Smith.ai receptionists are trained to capture leads as well. Instead of passing on each and every caller information, they pass on qualified leads only depending on the criteria you set.
Another feature that makes Smith.ai a great choice for small businesses is that it integrates with a lot of tools that small businesses often use for other business functions like Hubspot, Slack, Salesforce, Agile CRM, Appointy, and others.
There are different packages for virtual receptionists and live chat. The packages are a bit more expensive than other service providers. If yours is a small business that does not receive a lot of calls, the Basic plan may suffice where you will get 60 calls included.
However, if you expect to receive many calls, you can get in touch with the sales team and request high-volume pricing.
Best customizable live answering service for small businesses.
PATLive has been around since 1990, where it started as a small hosted services company and then established itself as a virtual receptionist service provider. Over the decade, it has established its reputation as a specialist in inbound call handling.
Their live answering services are available 24/7 for 365 days and their receptionists will handle your calls the way you want them to. When you are available, PATLive receptionists will transfer the calls to you and when you are busy, they will take messages on your behalf.
Your receptionists are trained to answer the most commonly asked questions and they will also take event registrations, make appointments, and process orders on your behalf.
Along with call handling, there is also a lead capturing system in place where they follow a form-based approach to capture lead information. Through this, they make sure that only pre-qualified leads are forwarded to you.
While PATLive does have their mobile app and online portal, they also offer 3rd party integrations which make it very easy to merge the efforts of the receptionists with your other business functions.
There are integrations with CRMs like Agile, Hubspot, Podio, Freshsales; Calendar and scheduling tools like Calendly, Google Calendar, Schedulicity; eCommerce platforms like Etsy, BigCommerce, Magento, and several other tools.
There are five plans that you can choose from with PATLive. If you would like to be billed depending on your usage, the Basic plan is a good choice where you will be charged $1.95 per minute.
Otherwise, for small businesses the Standard plan is ideal with 200 minutes and all features included.
Best virtual receptionist service for improved customer relationships.
AnswerForce is a live answering service that includes live answering, virtual receptionists, after-hours answering, appointment scheduling, order taking, lead capturing, and more.
Their virtual receptionists are available 24/7 throughout the year so you will not be missing any calls or opportunities.
The receptionists are bilingual and can accommodate callers speaking English or Spanish. Your callers will be greeted with a custom message and several reviews say that AnswerForce has a team of very warm and caring receptionists.
Depending on your call handling rules, your incoming calls will then be transferred to you or they will take messages on your behalf. Your AnswerForce receptionist will also be able to schedule appointments for you and update your calendar or CRM accordingly.
They are also trained to take orders and make sure the information reaches the right department. You can also utilize your AnswerForce receptionists to capture and qualify leads depending on the criteria that you set.
An added feature that not all virtual receptionist services offer is call recording. If needed, you can also get the call recordings of all the calls that your AnswerForce receptionists attend on your behalf so you are aware at all times of the way your business is being represented.
While some answering services are available only during standard working hours, AnswerForce receptionists are available round the clock. So all your incoming calls even after business hours will be attended to and you will be notified when there are any urgent calls.
All of AnswerForce’s plans include inbound call answering, outbound calling, after-hours answering, team messaging, and other important features.
Small businesses that have moderate call volume may find the intro plan ideal where it offers 200 minutes of calling each month.
Best easy-to-use live answering service with a very responsive customer support team.
AnswerConnect is known for its ease of use and for having a very responsive customer support team that quickly solves all issues that arise. You can also customize their services depending on your business needs.
With AnswerConnect your receptionists will be available round the clock so all your calls will be attended to. Your receptionists will welcome your callers, take messages, transfer calls, give information, take orders, schedule appointments, and more.
They have a mobile app where you will be instantly notified when your receptionist makes an appointment, takes an order, or takes a message on your behalf.
When you are busy, you can simply update your availability status through the app and your AnswerConnect receptionist will handle the call for you. Once they take messages for you, you will receive them in your inbox or can even access them from the mobile app.
A great feature that AnswerConnect has is that it can recognize repeat callers and thereby answer them using their names. This ensures that your callers feel connected to your business and improves your relationship with them.
There are six plans in all offered by AnswerConnect but small businesses will find that these three plans are ideal for their requirements. While you can choose the plan priced at $269 but the $289 plan may be a better deal because of the added minutes you get for just $20 more.
Best virtual receptionist service for after-hours call handling.
AnswerHero is another live answering service that has a team of reliable and professional virtual receptionists handling calls for several small businesses across the nation.
So if you are looking for a team of bilingual receptionists that operate round the clock, AnswerHero could be a great choice. All your incoming calls will be forwarded to their number and all calls will be answered in two to three rings.
Then depending on your call handling rules, your calls will either be transferred to you or messages will be taken by the receptionists on your behalf.
Your AnswerHero receptionists are also trained to handle an overflow of calls and will make sure all your calls are attended to even beyond business hours. After each call, complete information will be sent to you with a transcription of the call.
These virtual receptionists are trained to do more than just answer calls. They will schedule appointments for you, route calls as directed, handle urgent calls as directed, and can even help you conduct phone surveys.
AnswerHero offers different pricing options where the number of minutes included in each plan is different. There are plans starting from ten minutes to two thousand. Small businesses might find that the 250-minute plan is sufficient for the number of calls they receive.
Best affordable live answering service for handling large volumes of calls.
Easybee virtual receptionist services include bilingual receptionists, small business answering services, and virtual receptionist services for law firms. So if yours is a small law firm receiving a lot of phone calls, Easybee might just be what you are looking for.
Their receptionists are available 24/7 for the whole year and are bilingual. Not only will they attend to all your queries received from incoming calls, but they will also attend your sales calls. All the information collected will then be fed into your CRM software.
Whenever there is an incoming call, Easybee receptionists make sure that they follow a proper template to capture all the information from the call and pass it on to you.
Whether you want Easybee receptionists to handle all your calls or transfer specific calls to you, call routing is done smoothly by them. They are available 24/7 so all your calls even after business hours get attended and you do not miss any opportunity.
If you would like your virtual receptionist to capture leads for you and schedule appointments with prospective customers, your Easybee virtual receptionists can do that for you. They can even answer the most commonly asked questions.
Easybee offers five plans that you can choose from depending on the number of minutes you require. They have plans for up to four hundred minutes. So if you require more, you can get in touch with the customer support team.
Ideally, the plan worth $199 is ideal for small businesses as it includes all the important features and offers 200 minutes of calling. There is also a 14-day free trial for those who would like to first test the service.
How to Choose the Best Virtual Receptionist Service?
Your receptionists will be the first point of contact for a number of prospective customers who call your business. So, you might want to make sure that you make the right choice while selecting a virtual receptionist service. Let’s look at some factors that you must look for.
1. Around the clock availability
Your customers might call your business at any time whether they want to ask something or report an issue and nothing upsets callers more than a no-reply.
If you are choosing a virtual receptionist service, choose one that is available round the clock for 365 days. Some virtual receptionist services that are available round the clock include Easybee, AnswerHero, AnswerConnect among others.
If you choose a service like Moneypenny which has standard working hours, make sure that they direct callers calling after business hours to voicemail instead of endless rings.
Choose an auto-attendant service that also informs your callers that they are calling post business hours or on a holiday and transfers the call to the given numbers or directs them to voicemail.
2. Flexibility and scalability
During some months, you might receive as low as twenty-five calls. But what happens if you are running a waterproofing business and it’s monsoon? Your incoming calls are going to skyrocket.
So choose a service that will help you accommodate larger call volumes when the demand is high and then go back to your usual plan if you don’t need large bandwidth.
Most virtual receptionist services will charge you on a monthly basis or will charge an overage for extra minutes. PATLive offers a basic plan where they charge you per minute that you use.
3. Lead capturing and appointment scheduling
The best virtual receptionist service will do much more than just receive and transfer calls. They are trained to capture and qualify leads on given criteria and even take appointments on behalf of businesses. Some like PATLive even take registrations for events.
The best small business answering services will also be able to make outbound calls when needed.
4. Third-party integrations
Make sure you choose a live answering service that offers third-party integrations with the most common tools that businesses use like CRMs, calendars, communication channels, eCommerce platforms, and others.
This ensures that your virtual receptionists can act as an extension of your business and update information as they receive it, like updating CRMs, updating eCommerce platforms with orders they receive through phone, and more.
A virtual receptionist service is meant to help you save the cost of a full-time receptionist. So choose one that fits your budget and is ideally less than what you would pay an in-house receptionist. Posh, Easybee, and MyReceptionist are some affordable options available.
Virtual Receptionist FAQ
A virtual receptionist will cost you much less than a regular in-house receptionist. Hiring virtual receptionists may cost you anywhere between $39 and $1000 depending on the service provider. Most commonly for each plan, you will get a set number of minutes of calling.
If you use minutes more than what your plan includes, you will be charged an overage price of approximately $1 per minute. Some virtual receptionist service providers like PATLive may offer a pay-as-you-go plan.
Many of the best office phone systems even have virtual receptionists included in their plans so you will not have to pay anything extra for it.
A virtual receptionist will work just the way an in-house receptionist would. As a matter of fact, your clients and customers will not even know that your calls are being attended to by someone who is not in your office.
Your virtual receptionist service provider will give you a forwarding number. You can either give out that number as your business number or use your business number and have your calls forwarded.
Then, depending on your call-handling rules, your callers will be greeted with a custom greeting and your incoming calls will either be transferred to you or your receptionist will take a message on your behalf and then relay them to you.
Virtual receptionists are professionally trained to handle incoming calls for businesses. So the benefits of a virtual receptionist are that your caller will be attended to by professional, empathetic, and responsive individuals who will help you improve customer relationships.
Another benefit of a virtual receptionist is that you will save more than half of what you would pay an in-house receptionist as you would have to take care of benefits, healthcare, bonus, and others. For a virtual receptionist, you just pay the subscription fee.
Not only will you be able to save on the cost of in-house receptionists, but you will also be able to attend to every caller even if they call simultaneously and direct them to the right department.
Your calls will be handled much faster and your business will be accessible to customers round the clock.
When a business deploys an auto-attendant service, it presents a professional image of the business and shows the brand as an established large brand even though you might be a young business.
Which Virtual Receptionist Provider Should I Pick?
Now that you know how a virtual receptionist may not only help you cut costs but also improve your customer relationships and strengthen your brand’s image, you must be at the stage where you have picked a few options from our list.
However, your final choice must be based on the individual needs of your business and what you want to hire a virtual receptionist for.
Do you want an all-in-one business phone system that comes with a virtual receptionist and auto-attendant features? Then the choice is Grasshopper.
Make sure that you carefully evaluate your choice, read some reviews, check whether it fits your budget, and also see if the service has a responsive customer support team. If the service you choose checks all the boxes, it’s safe to say that you can go ahead with it.