An auto attendant phone system is a prerecorded voice that serves as your business’ virtual receptionist. We looked at the most popular business phone systems that include an auto attendant feature and narrowed it down to six. We compared pricing, standard features like voicemail to text transcription and ease of use to arrive at the best auto attendant phone system.
Top 6 Auto Attendant Phone Systems 2018
|Nextiva||(Best Overall) Businesses that want an auto attendant and business phone system from our recommended VoIP provider|
|Grasshopper||Business owners that want an auto attendant and business phone line on their personal phone|
|RingCentral||Businesses that want auto attendant bundled with a robust VoIP system to support high call volumes|
|Vonage||Those who want an auto attendant with business phone features customizable for each user|
|Phone.com||Business owners looking for a vanity phone number system with auto attendant capabilities|
|8x8||Businesses that make and receive international calls and want an auto attendant system.|
How We Evaluated Auto Attendant Phone Systems
An auto attendant, called virtual receptionist by some providers, is an automated phone system that is typically a standard feature included with most business phone service packages. We looked at a range of companies that provide voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP), virtual phone and traditional phone systems to identify the best auto attendant systems across a broad range of categories to find phone systems that best fit your business.
The specific criteria we used to evaluate the best systems include:
- Auto attendant functionality: An automated phone system that provides your callers with greetings and a menu to filter their call to the right person or department
- Customized greetings: What options will you have for customizing the greetings of your auto attendant
- Voicemail to text/email: When your auto attendant routes calls to voicemail, this is how are those messages delivered to you
- Call forwarding and extensions: How much flexibility will you have to use your auto attendant to route calls to your cell, home or any other number
- Pricing, number of tiers and additional features: How much does the service cost, are multiple price plans available and what other features are included with the auto attendant service
Based on the criteria we selected, we recommend Nextiva as the best auto attendant phone system. Nextiva, also our best business phone system, offers the best balance of features and price. Along with the auto attendant, it provides different packages that will meet your needs within your budget and exceptional customer support to help you when you need it.
Best Auto Attendant Phone System: Nextiva
Nextiva is our top recommended VoIP phone provider and is a business phone system best known for its solid, out of the box combination of price, features and customer support. All three tiers offer auto attendant, giving businesses of all sizes an option that works for them. With competitively priced plans, Nextiva is the best auto attendant phone system for the small business that wants an auto attendant with a complete phone system from our best-rated business phone provider.
The price plans for Nextiva are broken down into three simple plans. The Office Pro starts at $34.95, Office Pro Plus starts at $37.95 and Office Enterprise starts at $44.95. All plans offer volume discounts and include the auto attendant feature and a few other phone system features.
Nextiva Tiered Plans
|Professionally Recorded Auto Attendant Greetings|
|Unlimited Calls & SMS|
The Office Pro starts at $34.95 per user per month for one to four users but can go as low as $17.95 with the volume discount if you have more than 100 users. The plan comes with the auto attendant feature for answering calls, unlimited calling, voicemail to email, virtual faxing and on-hold music.
Unlike the Pro Plus or Enterprise, this plan doesn’t provide access to the mobile app or provide you with a professionally recorded greeting for your callers. So, this plan is best if you’re looking for a basic VoIP system with an auto attendant system to answer your calls, route your callers and take messages.
Office Pro Plus
The Office Pro Plus plan has everything in the Office Pro Plan as well as access to the conference bridge for conference calling and the mobile app for easier management of your system. Unlike the Pro Plan, the Plus allows you to have one professional recorded greeting for your auto attendant menu.
For businesses with one to four users, the plan costs $37.95 per user, and the price drops as low as $20.95 per user if your business has more than 100 employees, making this the best auto attendant plan if you’re looking to add a more personal touch to your greetings, and an easy, integrated way to hold conference calls with your team.
Office Enterprise Plan
The most expensive option is the Office Enterprise Plan. It includes everything in the Office Pro plan along with access to call recording and Nextiva Anywhere, which allows you to connect your calls with any number. For businesses with one to four users, the plan costs $44.95 and goes as low as $27.95 for businesses with more than 100 employees.
Unlike the Pro Plus plan, the Enterprise includes with three professional recorded greetings. Along with access to call recording, this is the ideal plan for businesses who want to completely customize their auto attendant for their business and leverage the strength of Nextiva’s complete platform.
What Nextiva Is Missing
Nextiva’s pricing, while competitive and affordable, can be a bit confusing at first. Although a contract isn’t required to use the service and the auto attendant feature, the prices shown on the website are for businesses with 100 or more employees that also commit to a three-year contract. We feel the pricing should be made more clear for monthly billing accounts.
What People Think about Nextiva
Majority of customers are happy with the level of customer service and how easy it is to set up the service. Customers are also happy with the reliability of the platform and for a more in-depth summary of user reviews, see our user reviews of Nextiva.
Where to get Nextiva
Nextiva offers a 30-day free trial for you to try the service, and signing up takes just a few moments. You can begin the process by using the button below.
Best Virtual Phone System with an Auto Attendant: Grasshopper
Grasshopper is our top recommended virtual phone system, which allows you to switch between your personal and business number on your cellphone easily with no equipment needed. You can present a main business number to customers with an auto attendant to filter their incoming calls to your extensions. This makes Grasshopper the best choice if you need a virtual business phone number on your cellphone that includes auto attendant functionality.
Grasshopper is offered in three different plans, which all include the auto attendant and the full suite of features. The solo plan costs $29 per month, the partner plan costs $49 per month and the small business plan costs $89 per month. There is a $25 activation fee and no per-user-per-month charges.
Each plan provides a certain amount of numbers and extensions:
- $29 per month for one number and three extensions
- $49 per month for three numbers and six extensions
- $89 per month for five numbers and unlimited extensions
Grasshopper offers a surprising amount of features for being a virtual phone system. With just your mobile phone, you can filter calls with the auto attendant, customize your greetings, configure your business hours, initiate conference calls and even get a toll free number to present yourself more professionally.
The specific features of Grasshopper include:
Grasshopper presents your callers with an automated welcome. You can then customize the greetings for your different extensions, or the greetings your callers will hear if they call outside of your regular business hours. You can also choose to have a professional recording created for a fee of $75 through Grasshopper’s voice studio.
Voicemail to Text/Email
Every voicemail you receive is automatically transcribed. Grasshopper provides notifications and details about the message through an email message and the mobile app. Allowing you to sort through recorded voicemails easily and prioritize the most relevant messages for your business. Unlike the best auto attendant phone system, Nevtiva, voicemail transcription is available with all plans.
Call Forwarding and Extensions
You’ll get a varying number of extensions depending on the service plan you select. Through Grasshopper’s web portal, you can configure your cellphone, home phone or employees’ phones as extensions to receive calls that are forwarded by the auto attendant. This is a terrific way to keep your employees connected and receive calls through your business number.
Grasshopper has an additional feature called Call Blasting. If you have multiple forwarding numbers on an extension, you can choose to have all those numbers ring simultaneously to reduce wait times for your callers. There is also an integrated fax service, and you can receive faxes which are converted to PDF documents and delivered to you by email.
What Grasshopper is Missing
Grasshopper essentially works as a call forwarding system, unlike our best auto attendant phone system provider Nextiva that offers a full business phone system. It would have been nice to see features like call recording or perhaps even integrations with productivity programs like Microsoft Office or Gmail. Also missing is the ability to send faxes. While receiving faxes is a nice additional feature, being able to send would have been a nice addition to Grasshopper’s feature set.
What People Think About Grasshopper
Businesses love the simplicity of Grasshopper and how well it works with existing devices. In a world where convenience is extremely valuable, those who use Grasshopper appreciate the lack of equipment needed to set up and how straightforward the pricing options are structured. For a more detailed review, see our user reviews of Grasshopper.
Where to get Grasshopper
If entrepreneurs are still hesitant about signing up, they can always fall back on Grasshopper’s 30-day money back guarantee. Getting started with Grasshopper can be done easily through its website by clicking the link below.
Best Auto Attendant Phone System for High Call Volumes: RingCentral
RingCentral is a VoIP phone provider that is roughly comparable to our best VoIP provider, Nextiva but has four total tiers known for being robust out of the box. Along with the auto attendant, RingCentral offers internet faxing, call forwarding, cloud-based private brand exchange (PBX) and flexible pricing without a contract. Its volume discounts and four tiers make it best for larger businesses that need 50 or more lines or that need a more robust business phone system than Nextiva.
RingCentral’s pricing is structured into four different plans. Ranging from $29.99 to $59.99 with no annual contract required. All plans contain the auto attendant feature and also offer a 15-day trial for you to try the service with no cost to you.
RingCentral Tiered Pricing
|Multilevel Auto Attendant|
|Automatic Call Recording|
This is the starter package, which includes the auto attendant, supports up to 10 phone lines, 100 toll-free minutes, unlimited calls, SMS and voicemail to email. The price starts at $29.99 per month per user and is only available if your business has 10 or fewer employees. If you gain additional employees and expand, you’ll have to upgrade to the Standard package.
Along with all the features listed above, you’ll also get video conferencing for up to four people and access to the mobile app. Unlike the other plans offered by RingCentral or even the plans offered by our best auto attendant phone system provider Nextiva, a volume discount isn’t offered at this level. So, this is best for businesses with a small team that needs a simple calling system.
The Standard package has everything in the essentials package as well as 1,000 toll-free minutes for $34.99 per month per user with no limit to the number of lines you can have. If your business has more than 100 users, the price drops to $32.99 per month and $29.99 per month if you have more than 1,000 users.
Unlike the essentials plan, the standard supports unlimited users with internet faxing and reports. The volume discount makes it the best for businesses with larger teams that still want simplicity with the benefits of faxing and the professional appearance of having a multilevel attendant.
This is RingCentral’s most popular package that has everything in the standard package with 2,500 toll-free minutes for $44.99 per month per user. Other additional features include video meetings for up to 100 people, automated call recording, integration with Salesforce and other customer relationship management (CRM) programs and also voicemail to text transcription.
Unlike any of the previous plans, the Premium plan provides integration with sales and productivity tools like Salesforce and Zendesk. This is the best auto attendant plan for businesses with a larger team that heavily use sales and productivity tools and need support for regular conference calls.
This is RingCentral’s most expensive package at $59.99 per month per user and contains everything in the premium package. Although there aren’t any new features at this level, the Ultimate plan supports video meetings for up to 200 people, twice the amount of the premium plan, and it provides 10,000 toll-free minutes.
If your business has a large team and relies heavily on video conferencing, this would be the best auto attendant choice for you. The large number of toll-free minutes supports high call volumes and is ideal if you run a call center or provide a lot of phone support to customers.
What RingCentral Is Missing
This option certainly isn’t for the solopreneur or startups. All the features, such as Salesforce integration, automatic call recording, call logs and reporting, custom app development and deployment and others might be a little too complex for a small business in the very early stages. If you need a simple solution, consider Grasshopper, our best virtual phone system.
What People Think About RingCentral
Businesses that use RingCentral feel would agree that it is an excellent cloud phone system for business. Getting to try the system before purchasing with RingCentral’s 15-day trial period is also a favorite among business owners as they shopped for a business phone system. For a more in-depth summary of user feedback, see our user reviews of RingCentral.
Where to Get RingCentral
Signing up for RingCentral is easy and only takes three simple steps: entering contact and payment information, choosing a phone number, and selecting users. The 15-day free trial gives you time to try the system with your business. Learn more about how RingCentral would be a good fit for you by clicking the button below.
Best Auto Attendant Phone System for Customizable Plans: Vonage
Vonage is a VoIP provider that offers an auto attendant phone system, video conferencing, voicemail to email and call forwarding capabilities. You can customize your plan’s features for each user, and the starting price is less than providers like RingCentral. This is the best choice if you need the flexibility to modify your plan’s features and price for each individual user.
Vonage’s pricing is structured into three different plans that range from $19.99 to $39.99 with a 14-day free trial to try the service. All plans provide access to the auto attendant feature, and a volume discount is available depending on the number of users you have in each plan.
Vonage Tiered Features
|Multilevel Auto Attendant|
|On-demand Call Recording|
The Mobile plan is Vonage’s starter package. The auto attendant and all of Vonage’s 40-plus features are included with this plan, and you can use it to communicate through your mobile device and desktop. For one to four users, the cost is $19.99 per month. If you have five to 19 users, the cost is 17.99 per month. $14.99 per month if you have between 20 and 99 users.
This plan is a good choice for remote teams and any business that doesn’t need a desk phone. The downside to this plan is that there is no support for video conferencing, chat or file sharing, like the Premium or Advanced plan. So, if you have a small, but mobile team and video conferencing capabilities, you’ll need to upgrade to the Premium plan.
The Premium plan offers the same auto attendant and mobility options as the Mobile plan, with the benefit of conferencing, chat and file sharing for up to 100 users. For one to four users, the cost is $29.99 per month. If you have five to 19 users, the cost will be $27.99 per month, $24.99 per month if you have between 20 and 99 users.
This is the best auto attendant plan for more traditional office environments that make calls, conferences and need file sharing capabilities to work together as a team. If your team also relies heavily on a CRM to keep track of all activities, this plan offers integration with Salesforce, Zoho and many other popular CRMs, a clear advantage over the Mobile plan.
Unlike the Mobile or Premium plan, the Advanced plan features what Vonage calls Orange-Glove Setup, which provides a dedicated team of experts that will guide you through the setup. For one to four users, the cost is $39.99 per month. If you have five to 19 users, the cost will be $37.99 per month, and the cost is $34.99 per month if you have between 20 and 99 users.
This is the ideal plan for businesses that need to leverage all the standard features that Vonage has to offer or those that might need regular hands-on assistance from Vonage. However, a drawback to this plan is that it doesn’t offer conferencing for any more users and retains the 100 attendee limit that we see in the Premium plan.
What Vonage Is Missing
Vonage offers many different ways to get help on the system. A knowledge base, email, chat and phone. However, the lack of 24/7 support is a drawback as this is offered by our best auto attendant phone system provider Nextiva and others. Vonage’s customer support staff are only available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with limited emergency support available on the weekends.
What People Think About Vonage
Those who used Vonage were mostly satisfied with the call quality and flexible plans. However, long wait times for customer support, and the added cost for some add-ons and features that come standard with other providers has led others using the system to leave negative feedback about the provider. For a more in-depth summary of user reviews, check out our user reviews of Vonage.
Where to get Vonage
Calling Vonage’s sales department or completing the signup form on the website will get you started quickly. Vonage also offers a 14-day free trial, and you can cancel at any time without penalties. Start your free trial by clicking the button below.
Best Vanity Phone Number Provider with an Auto Attendant: Phone.com
Phone.com is another VoIP provider and also our best vanity phone number system. It stands apart with its offering of customized toll-free and local numbers that include auto attendant and business phone system features. This makes Phone.com best for a business that wants an economical way to have an auto attendant with a customized, vanity phone number.
Phone.com offers three plans — base, plus and pro — with prices ranging from $12.99 per month to $34.99 per month. All plans provide the auto attendant, and once you’ve selected your calling level, you can add additional features like voicemail to text, call recording and all the features you’ll need in addition to the auto attendant.
For unlimited calling, the prices are:
- Base: $22.99 with one local or toll-free number
- Plus: $24.99 with two local or toll-free numbers
- Pro: $27.99 with three local or toll-free numbers
Phone.com includes many standard call features with all of its price packages. Auto attendant, call forwarding, on-hold music and incoming and outgoing caller ID to name a few. For an additional price, premium features such as call recording, adapters to integrate your existing phones with the service integration with CRMs like Salesforce can be added to your service.
You can customize your greetings with Phone.com, recording your own welcome messages and menu options for your callers. For an additional cost of $79, you can sound even more professional by having its experienced voice-over write the script and record the welcome messages, prompts and on-hold messages.
Voicemail to Email
The voicemail to email feature is available as a premium add-on with Phone.com. For $1.50 per month per extension, the voicemails can be automatically transcribed and sent to you via email or text message. Phone.com takes this feature even further with the optional add-on of human transcription, a feature not available with our best auto attendant phone system, where for $0.25 per voicemail, your messages will be transcribed by a real, live person.
Call Forwarding and Extensions
Call forwarding comes standard with Phone.com, and you can forward calls to your home, mobile phone or another number easily. You can also create separate incoming call extensions for departments or employees without needing to add additional phone lines. Similar to Grasshopper, this gives you a cost-effective way of having multiple users within your business receive calls on your main phone number.
Phone.com has built-in support for faxing. So you can send and receive faxes with your auto attendant phone system. Video conferencing is another feature, along with group short message service (SMS), where using the softphone app allow you to send group text messages to all your users.
What Phone.com Is Missing
While you can reach support agents through live chat, phone and email easily, Phone.com does not provide 24/7 support. Another drawback to Phone.com is the additional cost for voicemail to email or other features like call recording and analytics that come standard with our best auto attendant phone system and other phone system providers.
What People Think About Phone.com
Businesses that use Phone.com were genuinely pleased with the affordability of the service as the flexible calling plans allow them to add features as needed. Those who provided negative reviews were disappointed with the quality of customer support, long wait times and delayed responses. For a more in-depth summary of user feedback, see our user reviews of Phone.com.
Where to Get Phone.com
You can sign up for Phone.com by either calling its toll-free sales and support line or the signup button on its website. The sign-up process takes only a few minutes, and your account is ready to use once billing information has been entered. Phone.com also offers a 30-day money back guarantee for their Base plan.
Best Auto Attendant Phone System for International Calling: 8×8
8×8 is another VoIP provider that provides auto attendant capabilities together with a complete phone system. What sets 8×8 apart is its international calling capabilities, which include 14 to 46 different countries based on the plan you select. This is best if your small business has a lot of customers outside of the United States.
8×8’s pricing is broken down into three different calling plans. The X2 for $25 per user per month, the X5 for $35 per user per month and the X8 for $55 per user per month. All plans include the auto attendant and unlimited calling to a number of countries based on the plan you select.
8×8 Tiered Pricing
|Unlimited Calling Countries|
|Phone Number & Virtual Extension|
|Mobile & Desktop Apps|
|Virtual Office Supervisor|
|Call Quality Reporting|
|Inbound Contact Center|
|Outbound Contact Center|
The X2 package features the auto attendant and all standard calling features, provides unlimited calling in 14 countries and 1GB of media storage for $25 per user, per month. Other features include audio and video conferencing for up to five participants, unlimited faxing and an unlimited number of phone lines. Compared to the other packages, this is the base package with limited storage.
This would be a great option for smaller companies who are just beginning to expand globally. It is a cost-conscious choice that includes the most necessary features without breaking the bank. If the company is looking to expand team communication across borders, this option will get the job done.
The X5 package includes everything in the X2 package plus unlimited calling in more countries. This package starts at $35 per user per month and includes an additional 4GB of media storage. Unlike the X2, with this package, you can get an operator switchboard and call recording added to your service for an additional $10 per user, per month.
This is the best auto attendant package for an international business with a global workforce that needs to be able to keep all communications synchronized. The additional feature of the operator switchboard also helps a growing business supplement the auto attendant and achieve a more professional appearance.
The X8 package costs $55 per user, per month. It includes all of the features in the X5 packages, plus unlimited calling for 46 countries and up to 50 participants in a conference call. Where this package truly shines is with the addition of virtual contact center features, which is not available with the X2 or X5 packages.
Reporting and three months of call recording storage are also available with this plan. Making this is the ideal package for a business with an international reach that needs a contact center to be able to service all countries in which it does business.
What 8×8 Is Missing
An item that would be frustrating for callers with 8×8 is that when your callers are placed into the call queue, 8×8’s auto attendant won’t inform them of how long their estimated wait time will be or what number caller they are on the list. If you have a business with a high call volume, this might be important to your customers. Another feature that we found missing was the lack of 24/7 live chat or customer service, which is offered by our best auto attendant phone system provider.
What People Think of 8×8
Businesses that use 8×8 Virtual Office are incredibly satisfied with the cost of the service and the 24/7 customer support, which is more than most other providers offer. However, disappointed users were unhappy with the reliability of the service. For a more in-depth summary of 8×8’s user feedback, check out our user reviews of 8×8.
Where to get 8×8
Getting started with 8×8 is easy. A call to its toll-free number puts a business in touch with its friendly solutions specialists, or you can sign up for 8×8 by requesting a customized quote through the website.
The Bottom Line
Auto attendants were once only available to businesses who could afford more sophisticated and costly business phone systems. Now, the systems are much more affordable, and you can choose from a wide variety of providers to better match your business’ needs. After evaluating the best parts of each provider on our list, we recommend Nextiva as the best auto attendant phone system for your business.
Nextiva, also our best VoIP provider, offers the best balance of features, pricing and customer support. Along with the auto attendant, it offers pricing plans that will be within your budget, call routing voicemail to email, faxing and all the features you would need for your business.