As Isla Fisher is to Amy Adams and that guy from the Facebook movie is to Michael Cera, so is Back Office Betties to Ruby Receptionists. We tried Back Office Betties for two weeks to figure out whether its more-flexible pricing gets you service on par with Ruby Receptionists, the best virtual receptionist we have tried to date.
What Back Office Betties Offers
Back Office Betties works like most answering services; you get a number to forward your calls to, and Betties’s receptionists answer with your greeting. Betties uses the same number whenever it calls you, so you know when your receptionist is calling.
According to the website, each client gets a small team of no more than five receptionists. In theory this allows Betties receptionists to get to know you, your clients, and your business better than a room full of people answering for hundreds of different companies.
Betties also offers appointment scheduling. You can set aside certain times, allow your receptionists to add appointments to your Google calendar according to your instructions, or set up a web form on your own appointment software that they will use to schedule for you.
You can also update your whereabouts with Betties by using its website. For example, you could tell your team that you will be in court all day and to hold all calls. Or you could let them know you are not returning to the office until Wednesday so callers shouldn’t expect a call back until then. You can also update your whereabouts with specific instructions. For example “If anyone calls tell them I am in a meeting. If Judge Jones’s chambers calls put them right to my cell phone.” Unlike Ruby, Betties does not have any mobile apps, but there is a mobile website where you can update your status.
Back Office Betties answers from 8am–8pm eastern.
Instead of the monthly plans Ruby offers, Betties charges by the minute based on how many minutes you used. If you use 100 minutes or less, you pay $1.99 per minute (with a $49.99 monthly minimum). From 101-350 minutes you pay $1.79 per minute, and more than 350 minutes costs you $1.59 per minute.
In contrast, Ruby’s pricing is more like a cell-phone plan. If you go over the minutes in your plan, you pay per minute for the extra receptionist time. If you don’t use all of your minutes they disappear; there are no rollover minutes.
Doing the math for our firm, Back Office Betties would be about $25 cheaper per month. We currently pay Ruby $819 per month for its largest plan, but we regularly go over the allotted 500 minutes by about 100 minutes, which results in a bill of about $979 per month. The same number of minutes using Back Office Betties would cost $954.
But if you have found yourself stuck between two Ruby plans you may have more significant savings. For example, let’s say you use 400 minutes per month. With Ruby you would either pay $819 for the larger, 500-minute plan or pay $817 using the middle plan, which allots 200 minutes and charges $2.04/minute for overages. With Back Office Betties the same minutes would cost $636. Almost $200 in savings is almost certainly worth it, despite the less-impressive service.
Back Office Betties did not come out of the gate swinging. I asked them to send me all the instructions for setting up on my work email, and they used my personal email. Then the Betties setup form on the website would not let me submit my information. Luckily, I was able to reach our account representative very quickly, and she got us set up right away.
On the first call I got through Back Office Betties, my client complimented the answering service. She had called that morning when we had Ruby still active and did not notice a difference. She just said that both people who answered were extremely friendly and apologetic about my unavailability. Throughout the trial we did not get any negative comments from our clients about the service.
All of our complaints with the service were on our end. To their credit, Back Office Betties did fix some things as we mentioned them. Our first issue was that all of the emails come from the same address with the same subject line. That means the messages were threaded together, so on the first day I saw just one message in my inbox. I did not realize there were actually four messages within the thread. Betties fixed this after I let them know about the problem.
However, the messages were still sparse. On several occasions I asked the receptionist to take a specific message from the caller, but the message I received would be more like “he is calling about his case.” Also, if the caller did not provide a number we would not get a number. Ruby at least includes the caller ID information in the message.
The receptionists working for Betties were extremely friendly. They even sent us some baked goods as a welcome package. But at times they were too familiar. After only a few days they stopped saying “hi this is Michelle from Betties” and started saying just “hi this is Michelle.” It usually took me a second or two to figure out who was calling if I was using a headset and could not the contact information on my phone.
Finally, there is no call transfer beep with Betties. This was actually the biggest annoyance with the service. There is no indication that a call has been successfully transferred unless you hear the person breathing on the other line. I contacted them about this and they are considering adding it. Ruby has this feature, and I didn’t even know I would miss it until I no longer had it.
If you care about the friendliness of your virtual receptionist you will be in good hands with Back Office Betties. But if you are coming from a more robust service like Ruby Receptionists, the transition may not be worth the potential savings. Overall, Back Office Betties feels like a newer company trying to play catch-up with Ruby.
If you are coming from a service like Ruby Receptionists, Back Office Betties may not be worth the potential savings. Overall, it feels like a newer company trying to play catch-up with Ruby.
Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)
Back Office Betties, reviewed by Josh Camson on .