I Researched the Best AI Answering Services. I Think You Should Know About Them. The Best AI Answering Services that I found in my research. I pared it down for you.

By Hammad Syed in Agents

June 14, 2024 7 min read
I Researched the Best AI Answering Services. I Think You Should Know About Them.

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As an ever curious and self-proclaimed technologist with a passion for AI and customer service, I’ve done my research on the best AI-powered answering services. Not just for mere curiosity; I had to, while I was working with the team at PlayHT to develop our own, state-of-the-art AI answering service that would disrupt the industry.

So, I thought I’d document my journey on who I researched and what I think are some of the best AI answering services out there – but also make a case for why I think Play.ai is truly a game changer in this space.

These systems are transforming the way small businesses handle phone calls, manage customer interactions, and streamline workflows. If you’re a business owner looking to enhance your customer experience without breaking the bank, here’s a breakdown of the best AI answering services that could be game-changers for your business.

AI-Powered Phone Answering Services

One of the biggest challenges for small businesses is managing phone calls, especially during peak times or after hours. AI-powered phone answering services come to the rescue by offering real-time call handling, ensuring that no call goes unanswered. These services use advanced artificial intelligence to answer calls, book appointments, and even provide answers to FAQs, all while maintaining a natural and engaging conversation with the caller.

What Features Make Great AI Answering Services

  1. Automation and Efficiency: With AI, the phone answering service can handle a high call volume efficiently. Whether it’s routing calls to the appropriate department, managing call forwarding, or providing instant responses, automation ensures that the workflow is streamlined.
  2. 24/7 Availability: AI answering systems work round the clock. This is crucial for businesses that operate in different time zones or have after-hours customer interactions. It ensures that customer satisfaction remains high, even when your team is off the clock.
  3. Cost-Effective: Employing a full-time receptionist can be costly. AI answering services offer a cost-effective alternative, reducing overhead while maintaining high levels of customer support.
  4. Bilingual Support: Many AI answering services offer bilingual capabilities, which is a significant advantage for businesses catering to diverse customer bases. This feature helps in providing a more inclusive customer experience.
  5. Integration with CRM: Integrating with customer relationship management (CRM) systems allows for seamless data flow. This integration ensures that all customer interactions are recorded and accessible, providing valuable insights for follow-up and improving customer satisfaction.
  6. Real-Time Interaction: Advanced natural language processing (NLP) enables AI systems to interact with callers in real-time, offering a user-friendly experience that mimics speaking with a real person.

Here’s the Best AI Answering Services

Remember, this was before we built Play.ai. This was my list. Obviously (slightly biased opinion) is that Play.AI is the best option now that it is live and evolving quickly.


Play.AI is revolutionizing customer interactions with its cutting-edge conversational AI answering service, featuring smart agents that handle tasks with remarkable human-like precision. These intelligent agents excel in managing bookings, whether it’s making, editing, or canceling appointments, all while seamlessly integrating into your existing workflows.

What sets Play.AI apart is its ability to be interrupted mid-conversation, just like a real person, ensuring that interactions remain natural and responsive. This level of sophistication in AI technology makes Play.AI the best choice for businesses seeking to enhance their customer experience with advanced, actionable, and adaptable solutions.

Play.AI is clearly the winner in my book, as an AI answering service. The conversational AI is indistinguishable from humans and the AI Agents can handle transactional calls; book, change, edit appointments, and more.


Smith.ai is renowned for its virtual receptionist services. It combines AI with real agents to provide a hybrid solution that ensures a personal touch. Smith.ai can answer calls, book appointments, and integrate with various CRM systems. Its pricing is flexible, making it ideal for startups and small teams.

Ruby Receptionists

Ruby offers a live answering service with AI enhancements. It’s perfect for businesses that need a mix of AI automation and human interaction. Ruby’s virtual assistants can handle after-hours calls, follow-up on leads, and provide excellent customer support.


Conversational specializes in AI voice assistants that can manage both inbound and outbound calls. Their system is particularly useful for businesses in real estate and healthcare, where scheduling appointments and handling customer questions are frequent tasks.


AnswerConnect offers a comprehensive AI call answering service that includes call forwarding, voicemail management, and real-time transcription. Their mobile app ensures business owners can stay connected and manage calls from anywhere.

Enhancing Customer Experience with AI

AI answering services aren’t just about answering calls; they’re about enhancing the overall customer experience. By providing immediate responses and efficient call handling, these services reduce missed calls and ensure that customer queries are addressed promptly. This leads to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Use Cases

  1. Healthcare: Automating appointment scheduling and follow-ups.
  2. Real Estate: Managing inquiries and booking property viewings.
  3. Home Services: Handling service requests and dispatching teams.
  4. Small Teams and Startups: Offering professional call answering without the need for full-time staff.

Incorporating an AI-powered answering service into your business phone system can significantly improve your customer interactions and operational efficiency. Whether you’re handling a high call volume or need to ensure no calls are missed after hours, these services offer a robust solution tailored to your business needs. With features like call routing, live chat support, and integration with CRM systems, AI answering services are a smart investment for modern businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve.

Here’s a comparison table of the best AI answering services

Feature / ServiceSmith.aiRuby ReceptionistsConversationalAnswerConnect
PricingFrom $140/month for 20 callsFrom $349/month for 100 minutesFrom $269/month for 100 minutesFrom $239/month for 100 minutes
24/7 AvailabilityYesYesYesYes
Live ReceptionistsYes (Hybrid AI and human agents)YesYesYes
Appointment BookingYesYesYesYes
CRM IntegrationYesYesYesYes
Call ForwardingYesYesYesYes
Voicemail ManagementYesYesYesYes
Bilingual SupportYes (Spanish/English)Yes (Spanish/English)Yes (Spanish/English)Yes (Spanish/English)
Mobile AppYesYesYesYes
Real-Time TranscriptionYesNoYesYes
Call RoutingYesYesYesYes
Outbound CallsYesYesYesYes
Virtual ReceptionistYesYesYesYes
IVR (Interactive Voice Response)YesNoYesYes
Real-Time InteractionYesYesYesYes
Natural Language ProcessingYesYesYesYes
Human-Like InteractionsYes (Hybrid)YesYesYes
Custom WorkflowsYesYesYesYes
IndustriesBroad (Including Healthcare, Legal, Real Estate)Broad (Including Healthcare, Legal, Real Estate)Broad (Including Real Estate, Healthcare)Broad (Including Real Estate, Healthcare)
Additional NotesAI and human hybrid for personalized serviceFocus on human receptionists, high-touch serviceStrong in managing both inbound and outbound callsComprehensive call management solutions

PlayAI answering service is truly built on intelligent AI receptionists that can have intelligent conversations like a human would. They can listen, understand, learn, and speak in a conversational manner. PlayAI is also competitively priced and you can even launch a full featured agent for free. This is what makes PlayAI the best answering service compared to the others listed here.

Is there an AI answering service?

Yes, there are AI phone answering services that use advanced technology like chatbots and IVR to manage incoming calls, provide information, and even handle tasks such as booking appointments. Check out the best AI answering service.

What is the best virtual assistant phone answering service?

Smith.ai is widely regarded as one of the best virtual assistant phone answering services, offering a blend of AI and human agents to efficiently handle phone calls and provide top-notch customer support for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

However, Play.ai is strictly AI which means it’s much cheaper, but cost isn’t everything. The AI agents are the best in the industry. They are smart, they converse, they listen, and learn and can transfer to your front desk if needed.

How much does a phone answering service cost?

The cost of a phone answering service varies, with prices typically starting around $140 per month for basic plans, and can go higher depending on the number of calls, features like SMS/text message integration, and service provider offerings.

Do answering services still exist?

Yes, answering services still exist and are evolving with technology; many modern services now incorporate AI and virtual receptionists to enhance efficiency and customer experience in handling incoming calls.

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Hammad Syed

Hammad Syed

Hammad Syed holds a Bachelor of Engineering - BE, Electrical, Electronics and Communications and is one of the leading voices in the AI voice revolution. He is the co-founder and CEO of PlayHT, now known as PlayAI.

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