This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
The best auto-attendant phone system efficiently distributes calls to service representatives, allows custom phone greetings, and integrates with various third-party business tools. When used right, this feature helps speed up customer service delivery, creating a streamlined call flow. Almost all voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) providers include this feature in their subscription plans, only varying in the call routing tools and monthly fees.
Based on our research, these are the top automated phone systems:
- RingCentral: Best overall for managing a high call volume
- Nextiva: Solid pick for accommodating long-distance calls
- Vonage: Ideal for tackling seasonal call volume spikes
- Dialpad: Top choice for recalibrating auto-attendant menus
- 8×8: Great for handling international calls
- Grasshopper: Best for producing professional greetings
- Phone.com: Solid pick for providing technical customer assistance
Best Auto-attendant Phone Systems at a Glance
Best Auto-attendant Phone Systems
Monthly Starting Price per User
4.75 out of 5
4.70 out of 5
4.44 out of 5
4.38 out of 5
4.28 out of 5
$31 for unlimited users
4.08 out of 5
4.06 out of 5
Take our quiz to find out which auto-attendant phone system is best for you.
Which auto-attendant phone system is right for you?
If you need a refresher on the virtual receptionist feature, refer to our comprehensive guide on auto-attendant phone systems. We discussed extensively what it is, how it works, and how it benefits businesses.
RingCentral: Best for Managing a High Call Volume
*Save up to 33% by paying annually. Volume discounts are available for 50-plus users.
RingCentral is the best overall auto-attendant phone system, providing robust call routing tools that help companies manage a high call volume. It has single-level and multi-level IVR systems, which let users set company hours, enable dial-by-name directory, and configure where incoming calls will be sent. Adding menus and assigning extensions are easy because the provider has an intuitive, visual IVR editor.
To create a more pleasant, seamless customer experience, RingCentral allows users and departments to use custom greetings for their respective extensions. The best thing about the platform is it integrates with various business tools, including customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This allows the auto-attendant system to access critical customer data and route calls to the appropriate agents and departments.
One drawback of using RingCentral, though, is its monthly subscription fee costs higher than other platforms. If affordability is a priority in your operations, explore other business phone systems like Phone.com. It has a base-level subscription plan that features the automated phone system for only $14.99 per user, monthly. Save more by choosing annual billing.
- Team Huddle: This always-on video meeting lets users jump in and out of a virtual room, replicating in-person, spontaneous conversations in the office. Use it for casual talks with colleagues or managers.
- Custom fax cover sheets: Keep fax information private and confidential by adding a cover sheet. RingCentral’s cover sheet contains a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) disclaimer, the name of the sender and recipient, the subject, and the time and date.
- Team Connect: Create a new chat group from a meeting. With this, it’s easier to reiterate agreements made in the session and ensure that all meeting participants get your post-discussion updates.
To learn more about this business phone system, check out our comprehensive RingCentral review. The guide will help you become more familiar with the platform’s features.
Nextiva: Best for Accommodating Long-distance Calls
*Save up to 22% by paying annually. Volume discounts are available for more than five users.
Nextiva is the best auto-attendant phone system for companies with a large customer base receiving long-distance calls. It offers a generous toll-free minute allowance across its subscription plans, with the maximum at 12,500 minutes a month. Choosing this provider saves more money as your virtual receptionist accepts multiple calls from a large client network.
Nextiva’s multi-level IVR has advanced functionalities, as it’s powered by conversational artificial intelligence (AI). This facilitates convenient self-service for customers. Even without human assistance, callers are able to activate their personal identification number (PIN), check order status, track shipments, and pay dues through credit cards.
While Nextiva is an excellent solution for handling long-distance calls, it doesn’t provide international phone numbers that will let you connect with an even larger audience. If you plan to expand your operations and establish a local presence in territories abroad, go for 8×8, the best auto-attendant for small businesses connecting with global customers. It offers international numbers and unlimited global calling to various countries.
- Anonymous call rejection: Prevent unknown callers like telemarketers from reaching your business and affecting agent productivity. Nextiva also offers selective call rejection, which averts calls from certain numbers or during specific times of the day.
- Call park: When other colleagues are more equipped to answer a customer concern, leave a call in a virtual parking spot and let team members retrieve it. If no agent retrieves the call within five minutes, the system automatically calls the representative who parked the call. To maximize this feature, learn more about call park.
- Nextiva Anywhere: Place and accept calls from your smartphone or home phone. Enable the answering confirmation prompt to distinguish personal and business calls.
We recommended this VoIP solution to businesses requiring a scalable phone system. Learn in our Nextiva review which kinds of companies benefit best from this platform.
Vonage: Best for Tackling Seasonal Call Volume Spikes
*Pricing includes one main local phone number.
If you get frequent spikes and dips in your call volume, look for phone systems with auto-attendant and optional VoIP features, like Vonage. Unlike other providers that offer a specific set of capabilities in subscription plans, Vonage follows an a la carte pricing model, wherein you cherry-pick the tools to be added to the phone system for a monthly fee.
In months you have a high call volume, add a call queue, a secondary line appearance, virtual extensions, and an AI-powered virtual assistant. Get a toll-free phone number for a flat monthly rate without per-minute charges. Do note, however, that some add-on capabilities come at high rates. For instance, call monitoring costs $49.99 monthly.
Before subscribing to Vonage, check its list of add-on features and see if they are indeed optional tools for your customer service operations. If not, and you need call monitoring through and through, it’s better to go for providers that include this as a standard feature. RingCentral and 8×8 are the best business phone systems with auto-attendant and call monitoring tools.
- Call rerouting: The phone system automatically diverts calls to the backup phone numbers you choose during power outages. With this, you won’t miss important calls even during emergency situations.
- Visual voicemail: Look at the list of voicemail messages and read transcriptions to know right away which you should prioritize. Vonage sends the written voicemail record to your email, along with the audio file.
- Do Not Disturb: Pause incoming phone calls temporarily to focus on important non-call-related tasks. Calls will go to voicemail when the Do Not Disturb option is on.
Our comprehensive Vonage review discusses the provider’s general and niche features. Use it as a guide before subscribing to the VoIP service.
Dialpad: Best for Recalibrating Auto-attendant Menus
*The entry-level plan’s fee is reduced from $23 to $14 when you pay annually.
Dialpad is the auto-attendant phone system small businesses must choose when they want to streamline call menus. The provider features IVR menu analytics, which offers insights into how effective your call routing system is. Here, you’ll see how many callers pressed a specific menu option, enabling you to make strategic decisions for improving menus.
For instance, if you find that no callers are choosing menu option #4, “Company Information,” it might be a good idea to strike it out completely from the IVR menu or replace it with an option that caters to more customers.
Aside from IVR menu analytics, Dialpad has AI tools providing meaningful insights to improve call activities. Its heat maps display call volume patterns, or which days of the week get more calls. This should also help you recalibrate call menus and reinforce efforts to keep the IVR containment rate high.
Dialpad doesn’t offer discounts for bulk purchases. If you’re eyeing several team members to use the auto-attendant phone systems, you’ll benefit from RingCentral, Nextiva, and Phone.com, which provide volume discounts.
- Warm transfer: Pass the call to another colleague who’s able to expertly handle a particular customer concern. Use warm transfer to check if the agent is free to take the call.
- Three-way calling: Make customer service more efficient by adding a manager or a colleague to an existing call and letting them offer additional information. Three-way calling is also beneficial if you want to hop on a quick huddle with colleagues.
- Local presence dialing: Reach out to customers using regional area codes they recognize. When a client returns the call, Dialpad automatically routes it to the specific agent who initiated the call.
Before subscribing to this VoIP solution, learn more about its pros, cons, and features in our Dialpad review. See our rating for its general and niche features, customer service, and ease of use.
8×8: Best Automated Phone System for Handling International Calls
*Save up to 23% by paying annually.
8×8 is the ideal automated attendant phone system for organizations fielding calls from overseas clients. It offers local phone numbers in over 100 countries, including Australia, China, France, Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, and Mexico, allowing clients abroad to contact you directly without incurring hefty overseas calling costs. On top of this, you’re able to configure the auto-attendant system to forward calls to an international number.
Aside from the excellent global phone support, 8×8 provides unlimited voice calling to 48 countries, including China, Israel, New Zealand, Russia, and the United Kingdom. This package is cost-efficient, especially when you frequently place calls abroad to find prospects or provide technical assistance to existing clients.
One disadvantage of using 8×8 is that while it has the usual unified communication features like team messaging and video conferencing, it lacks task management tools. In contrast, RingCentral lets you create, assign, and edit tasks while offering international phone numbers.
- Call whisper: Coach customer service representatives during an active call without the customer knowing. This gives agents a confidence boost and increases first-contact resolution. Make the most of this feature by learning more about call whisper.
- Presence detection: Know if an agent is available for a call or a meeting. 8×8 displays different statuses: Available, Do Not Disturb, Busy, On Call, Away, Invisible, and Offline. These statues are updated automatically, manually, or both.
- Team messaging with document sharing: Chat with colleagues and ask for quick updates on tasks and projects. Share relevant files, including images, PDFs, and audio recordings, of up to 100MB in size.
If you plan to adopt this platform in your business, read our extensive 8×8 review. In the guide, we recommended the solution to companies needing robust call management systems and strong data security measures.
Grasshopper: Best for Producing Professional Greetings
*Save over 10% by paying annually.
Grasshopper is a phone system with an auto-attendant worth considering when you want to create professional phone greetings. It has a Voice Studio, where you’re able to order recording services offered by expert voice actors. The studio displays the list of the names of voice talents with corresponding “Listen” buttons, letting you hear each actor’s voice.
These talents may record in different languages: English, Spanish, and French. You only have to provide the script written in the language you prefer. After submitting your voice recording order, Grasshopper sends the file via email within seven days. Aside from the Voice Studio, the provider enables users to record via phone or computer or upload audio files.
The disadvantage of using Grasshopper is that it lacks call recording capabilities. If this is a non-negotiable feature for you, choose Dialpad, a provider that offers call recording in all subscription plans, plus real-time call transcription using artificial intelligence (AI).
- Call forwarding: Divert calls automatically to another phone number when you’re unavailable to take calls. Set the date and time the calls will be forwarded to an alternate number.
- Instant response: When you miss a call from a new customer, Grasshopper sends a text message notifying them that you’re currently unavailable. The recipient can then reply with call-back details, including the date and time they’re free to talk.
- Virtual fax: A Grasshopper number serves as a virtual fax line. With this, you’re able to receive faxes, even without an actual, on-site machine. The documents go straight to your email.
Our Grasshopper review will help you decide if it’s the right VoIP provider for your communication needs. Explore its capabilities before buying a subscription.
Phone.com: Best Automated Phone System for Providing Technical Customer Assistance
*Save 15% by paying annually. Volume discounts are available for more than five users.
Offering unlimited calling minutes, Phone.com is the top auto-attendant system option when you regularly receive technical assistance requests from customers. Without worrying about exceeding monthly caps, your service representatives are able to explain issues at length and provide callers with detailed instructions on how to address problems.
The provider’s auto-attendant system is equipped with robust call routing tools, namely dial-by-name directory, business hours, and follow me. If you need a supplementary live receptionist solution to accommodate several phone calls, Phone.com offers this for an additional $90 a month.
While the provider generously offers unlimited calling minutes, it falls short on third-party integrations, with only four apps working with the phone system. If you want to connect existing business tools without using the integration platform Zapier, RingCentral is your best option. The VoIP solution integrates with over 300 business tools.
- Audio conferencing: Host large phone meetings, accommodating a maximum of 300 participants. The conference bridge uses a dedicated, password-protected number.
- Click-to-call: Add a code on your website that lets customers enter their phone numbers and request a call. Phone.com automatically places an outbound call to the number provided, connecting the service representative to the potential customer.
- International calling: The phone provider charges local rates when you dial landline numbers in Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. Establish local presence further by securing global phone numbers.
To see if this solution fits your communication needs, refer to our in-depth Phone.com review. We thoroughly evaluated the provider’s pricing, features, and ease of use.
How We Evaluated the Best Auto-attendant Phone Systems
To assess the best auto-attendant phone systems, we considered pricing, general and advanced features, ease of use, and customer support. We added our expert opinion on its value for money and popularity in the evaluation.
Learn more about the specific criteria we used in evaluating the providers by clicking on the tabs below:
15% of Overall Score
To determine the affordability of auto-attendant phone solutions, we compared the prices of its base-level and second-tier subscription plans to the prevailing fees in the market. Providers with annual and volume discounts earned more points.
25% of Overall Score
The general features we looked at were unlimited calling within the U.S. and Canada, audio and video conferencing, and uptime SLA. Since businesses need a reliable communications platform for on-the-go employees, we included mobile apps in our assessment.
20% of Overall Score
The specialized features we checked were international calling, international numbers, and IVR system. Higher points were given to providers with robust integrations.
10% of Overall Score
We evaluated ease of use by determining the expertise required to set up and operate the phone system. We also assessed if the providers have an intuitive interface.
10% of Overall Score
The variety of customer communication channels was part of our evaluation. We gave more points to providers with email, phone, and live chat support. We considered the hours these channels are active and operational.
20% of Overall Score
This includes our evaluation of the provider’s standout features, value for money, and ease of use. We checked user ratings in third-party review sites to gauge the platform’s popularity.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
No, an auto-attendant system is a feature included in a VoIP solution. To use these platforms, you must buy a subscription plan, which typically costs $10 to $50. However, you may take advantage of different phone systems’ free trials to use an auto-attendant without cost for a limited period.
No. An auto-attendant relies on the customer’s key presses following the given menu choices to route calls accurately. IVR systems are more advanced, responding to the caller’s voice and facilitating self-service, such as collecting payments or providing shipment updates.
The specific steps depend on your business phone system. If you use RingCentral, go to the platform’s “Settings” and “Phone System” and click the Auto-receptionist Panel. Here, you’ll see different configurations for your virtual receptionist, allowing you to:
- Set company hours
- Customize greetings
- Add the names of the extension users, enabling dial-by-name
- Enable or disable call recording
- Set your time zone and country code
Save the settings, then call your phone number from an external line to test out your auto-attendant.
An auto-attendant phone solution helps enhance the overall customer experience, as it directs callers to the right agents and teams, even facilitating fast, convenient self-service. Moreover, it reduces communication costs and boosts team efficiency, removing the need for live receptionists and allowing agents to focus on customer concerns immediately, not on greeting clients or transferring calls.
Among the best auto-attendant phone solutions we evaluated, RingCentral stood out for its advanced call routing, robust third-party integrations, and value-for-money subscription plans. Sign up for its 14-day free trial to see if it suits your communication needs.