Abby Virtual Receptionists vs. Automated Phone Answering Services

If you want to make sure you’re not losing your callers at voicemail, but you don’t have the time to answer the phone yourself, you’re going to need an answering solution. But there are a lot of options out there—automated phone answering services, virtual receptionist services, and hybrid options. 

So, what’s best for you?  

First, you need to understand your own needs. What kind of coverage are you looking for? What experience are you hoping to offer? What features do you need? Once you know what you need, you need to understand the options available.  

What is an automated phone answering system? 

An automated phone answering system is an interactive system that uses phone trees and A.I. to interact with callers without a live agent on the line. With advancements in A.I. technology, automation options have expanded and gotten a lot more sophisticated. There are two broad types of systems. 

Basic automated answering services 

  • Answers incoming phone calls 
  • Runs a pre-recorded message 
  • Transfers callers to voicemail or provides pre-recorded information 

More advanced automated answering services 

  • Answers incoming phone calls 
  • Runs a pre-recorded message 
  • Does intake, collecting caller information 
  • Runs advanced phone trees to direct callers 
  • Forwards callers to an agent in the correct department or transfers to voicemail 

No matter the features, the fundamental difference between automated answering systems and virtual receptionists is that the former involves calls being answered by a robot, not a person.

What is Abby Connect?  

At Abby Connect we got our start as a traditional virtual receptionist service—with real, live receptionists working out of our Vegas offices. Since then, our service has evolved. We’re a human-first receptionist service utilizing A.I. technology on the back end to make our human receptionists well, superhuman. At Abby Connect, your phone is answered by a real human and your experience is fully customizable.

Different virtual receptionist services offer different features. At Abby, our clients get: 

  • 100% live call answering from receptionists out of our Vegas offices 
  • A dedicated team of 5-10 receptionists who know your business 
  • Excellent customer service 
  • Fully customizable call-handling 
  • Message taking and warm transfer 
  • Appointment schedule 
  • A.I.-rich features to ensure efficiency and accuracy
  • And more 

At Abby, our services are human-driven, human-centered, and technology-assisted. 

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What’s the Difference? 

Human vs. Robot 

The most obvious difference between an automated phone answering service and Abby is, naturally, human versus robot. An automated service uses A.I. as the face of your company. At Abby, real people are answering your phones.  

Robots are cheaper and can direct your callers to where you need them to go but they only have pre-set options, they can’t react to your callers’ needs. It’ll only offer what you program, so you can’t provide your callers with a tailored experience. A virtual receptionist service, like Abby, on the other hand, is able to respond to your callers’ needs directly. While trained receptionists will follow scripts or templates as needed, they are also able to respond directly to customer needs in a way a root never can.  

Live vs. Recorded 

An automated phone answering system is pre-recorded, simply following the phone tree you’ve created. An inefficient system—one that is too simple or too complex—can cause frustration for your callers. To use an automated answering system effectively, you need to understand all your callers’ potential needs and compensate for them. This can require a lot of front-end work. 

A virtual receptionist service, like Abby, provides real-time answering. All calls are answered live, so your callers know they are actually reaching your business. At Abby, we take this one step further and provide what we call Abby Human Intelligence. Instead of having to spend a lot of time attempting to map your callers’ needs up front, you get fast, accurate feedback from your receptionists. As we answer your calls and get to know your business, we provide proactive optimization recommendations so you can continuously improve your call-handling experience.  

First Impression vs. No Impression 

A real first impression requires human interaction. While an automated phone answering service will ensure calls are answered and can direct callers to where they need to go, they don’t provide a real impression of your business. A robot can provide, at best, a neutral impression. At worst, getting trapped in a phone tree can cause frustration.  

A human can respond, show empathy, and assist callers. Essentially, a human service is built to provide customer service. It’s not just getting callers where they need to go—it’s building loyalty by ensuring callers are happy, helped, and heard.  

Abby Connect vs. Automated Phone Answering 

So, in summary: 

An automated phone answering service provides basic call answering, routing, and message taking but doesn’t really address customer service. The price point for these automated services is much lower than a real-human virtual receptionist service.  

Abby provides a human-first service, backed by technology. Your customers get excellent customer service with responsive call-handling. You get a dedicated receptionist team, A.I. enhancements that ensure accuracy and efficiency, and an extensive feature set that includes answering, transferring, message taking, appointment scheduling, and more.  

If all you need is something basic, an automated answering service could work for you. If you’re looking for something more—if you want to turn your phone into a revenue-generating machine—Abby can help.  

Learn more about Abby Connect 

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Written by

Anna Taylor

Anna Taylor

Anna is an accomplished marketing professional with an MBA and certification in marketing and eight years of experience in the field. More than half of that experience has been focused on customer experience and small business growth, exploring how businesses balance human and technology solutions. Above all, Anna is committed to human-first marketing and business development, ensuring that every initiative is focused on creating meaningful connections with customers and driving long-term growth.