Automated attendants can greet and route incoming calls to pre-chosen extensions or departments without human intervention. Multilevel attendants also route calls to multiple locations or external numbers. We evaluated the best systems based on price, usability, and features.
Top 6 Auto-attendant Phone Systems for 2020
Auto-attendant Phone System
(Best Overall) Companies needing an auto-attendant with a free, professionally recorded voice greeting
Business owners looking for an automated attendant and dedicated business line for their personal phone
Call center teams wanting an auto-attendant phone system to support high call volumes
Teams looking for an auto-attendant with customizable, a la carte features
Business owners looking for a vanity phone number system with auto-attendant functionality
Companies with overseas contacts that want unlimited international calling
How We Evaluated Automated Phone Systems
Automated attendants, which are a common feature of several voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) phone systems, make it easy to greet and route callers without any of your human staff needing to pick up the phone. All auto-attendants should be easy to set up and deploy. Solutions should also be affordable enough for most small businesses to afford. We evaluated:
- Ease of use
- Call management
- Provided greetings
- Customer support
Based on the above criteria, we recommend Nextiva as the best choice for most small businesses needing an automated attendant phone system. The service is highly capable and easy to use. Additionally, premium tiers also offer a professionally recorded voice greeting for your service, which can help you stand out from your competitors.
Take our quiz to find out which business phone system with built-in auto-attendant is best for you:
Which Auto-attendant Phone System Is Right for You?
Nextiva: Best Overall Auto-attendant Phone System
What it is: Nextiva is a popular VoIP business phone system provider featuring an automated phone system as well as unlimited domestic calling and smartphone apps.
Why it’s a great auto-attendant system: Nextiva offers a robust automated attendant, which you can customize by recording messagings you script yourself. However, what sets it apart is that with the Professional and Enterprise editions, you get a free, professionally recorded greeting for your attendant. This can make your business appear more professional to your audience, which makes it our top pick for best auto-attendant service.
Free professionally recorded voice greeting
Professional recordings are locked behind more premium tiers
Mobile apps for iOS and Android
Annual plans require a 36-month agreement
Unlimited domestic calling and texting
No unlimited international calling
- Essential: $27.95 per user, per month for unlimited calling and a free local or toll-free number*
- Professional: $30.95 per user, per month with conference calling for up to four people, team messaging, and peer-to-peer video calling, plus a free, professionally recorded voice greeting*
- Enterprise: $37.95 per user, per month with voicemail transcription, voice analytics, and call recording*
*Pricing is on an annual basis for five to 19 users. Volume discounts are available as you add more users, and so are monthly plans at an additional cost.
- Professionally recorded voice greeting: You can hire the services of a professional voice-over artist at no extra cost.
- Unlimited domestic calling: Nextiva boasts free calling to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.
- Mobile app: Nextiva has a VoIP app for iOS and Android devices.
Check out our Nextiva user reviews page for more information.
Grasshopper: Best Virtual Phone System With Auto-attendant
What it is: Grasshopper is a virtual phone system, which means that it needs an existing phone line to forward calls from and comes standard with local and toll-free phone numbers that have a 1-800 prefix.
Why it’s a great auto-attendant system: Grasshopper comes with a complete auto-attendant module. However, as a virtual phone system, it comes at a fraction of the cost of Nextiva, RingCentral, and other dedicated VoIP solutions. We like Grasshopper for offering such a powerful attendant feature for business users who do not need a complete VoIP service.
Fast, easy automated attendant
Pricing for individual additional users in plans not publicly available
Local and toll-free numbers available
Virtual faxing features quite basic
No features locked behind service plans
Requires an existing phone line
- Solopreneur: $20 per month for one user*
- Partnership: $46 per month for three users*
- Small Team: $70 per month for six users*
*Pricing is on an annual basis. Buying accounts for additional users is available for an additional cost that can be priced on a per-account basis.
- Automated attendant: Like other services, Grasshopper’s auto-attendant can handle your incoming call traffic without any human intervention.
- Mobile app: Take your Grasshopper service on the go with apps for iPhones and Android devices.
- Phone numbers: Grasshopper gives you the choice between toll-free and local phone numbers.
For more details on Grasshopper and how it can benefit your team, check out our Grasshopper user reviews page.
RingCentral: Best Auto-attendant for High Call Volumes
What it is: RingCentral is a VoIP service that includes unlimited domestic calling as well as an automated attendant for your incoming calls. Pricing starts at $19.99 per user, per month for two to 19 users on an annual basis.
Why it’s a great auto-attendant system: RingCentral offers an automated attendant that can easily compete with other major players in the VoIP space. But what makes RingCentral special is its multilevel attendant capabilities. The system makes it exceptionally easy to send callers to outside lines or to ring multiple extensions at once. This makes it perfect for teams with higher call volumes or those with workers in different locations.
Multilevel automated attendant
Could be overkill for small businesses
Exceptionally easy to use
No free voiceover recording
Generous toll-free minutes
Integrations locked behind premium tiers
- Essentials: $19.99 per user, per month for up to 20 users, 100 toll-free minutes, unlimited calling, and unlimited texting*
- Standard: $24.99 per user, per month with unlimited audio conferencing, 1,000 toll-free minutes, and video meetings for up to 100 participants*
- Premium: $34.99 per user, per month with unlimited call recording, 2,500 toll-free minutes, analytics, and integrations with outside business software*
- Ultimate: $49.99 per user, per month with device status reports, 10,000 toll-free minutes, and unlimited storage*
*Pricing is on an annual basis for two to 19 users. Volume discounts are available, and so are monthly plans that come at an extra cost. In an attempt to ease some of the strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, RingCentral has temporarily made their Office Premium tier free for K-12 educators, healthcare providers, and nonprofit organizations. This provides, among other things, a free automated attendant and video conferencing for up to 100 people. You can read their COVID-19 offer page for more details.
- Multilevel auto-attendant: RingCentral’s auto-attendant sends callers to different physical locations and external numbers.
- Interactive voice response (IVR): Higher-priced tiers give you the ability to set up interactive menus that respond to voice commands in addition to auto-attendants that depend on key presses.
- Phone numbers: RingCentral matches competing systems by offering toll-free and local phones.
- Video conferencing: RingCentral offers HD video meetings for up to 200 people at once.
For more information on RingCentral, go to our RingCentral user reviews page.
Vonage: Best Auto-attendant Service With a la Carte Plans
What it is: Vonage is a VoIP system that comes with all of the calling, texting, and automated attendant functionality of its competitors. It also comes with the ability to add specific features such as toll-free numbers and call recording for an additional fee. Pricing starts at $17.99 per user, per month on an annual basis.
Why it’s a great auto-attendant system: There is no shortage of fantastic VoIP systems with automated attendants on the market today. However, most service plans for teams pay for features they may not need. While it comes standard with an auto-attendant, Vonage is remarkable for letting users add individual additional features for a monthly fee. However, you’ll need at least the Premium package to get an automated attendant. It is an attractive option for organizations that want to effectively craft a bespoke solution for their exact needs.
Standard auto-attendant in all packages
A la carte features could add up to be pricey
Video conferencing for up to 100 people
Auto-attendant only available in Mobile plan and above
Add individual features a la carte
Video calls capped at 100 attendees
- Mobile: $17.99 per user, per month with unlimited calling, mobile app, and team messaging*
- Premium: $27.99 per user, per month for video calling for up to 100 people, software integrations, and a multilevel automated attendant*
- Advanced: $37.99 per user, per month for 15 hours of on-demand call recording, visual voicemail, and company-guided setup of your system*
*Pricing is for five to 19 users. Volume discounts are available as you add more users.
- Automated attendant: The Premium and Advanced plans come with a multilevel automated attendant that can send calls to external numbers.
- Video calling: The Premium and Advanced editions offer video chat for up to 100 people at a time.
- A la carte features: Add options like call recording, toll-free numbers, and visual voicemail.
Take a look at our Vonage user reviews page for more information on Vonage.
Phone.com: Best Vanity Phone Number Provider With an Auto-attendant
What it is: Phone.com is a VoIP service as well as a vanity phone number provider that comes standard with an automated attendant. It offers plans with both unlimited minutes and pay-per-minute options with plans as low as $9.99 per month on an annual basis.
Why it’s a great auto-attendant system: All told, Phone.com’s automated attendant works almost identically to its competitors. With that said, it has one of the best modules for choosing and adopting a customized vanity number (like 1-800-FLOWERS). Therefore, it is our pick for best vanity phone number provider that also comes with a powerful, complete automated attendant.
Outdated user interface
Auto-attendant with all plans
Expensive unlimited plans
Audio and video conferencing capabilities
Pay-per-minute plans can be costly
- Base: $9.99 per month for 300 monthly minutes or $24.99 per month for unlimited calling*
- Plus: $14.99 per month for 500 monthly minutes or $32.99 per month for unlimited calling*
- Pro: $29.99 per month for 1,000 monthly minutes or $49.99 per month for unlimited calling*
*Pricing is on an annual basis. Monthly plans are available for an additional fee.
- Automated attendant: Every Phone.com plan comes with an automated attendant to pick up and receive calls with no human intervention.
- Flexible plans: The fact that Phone.com offers both limited and unlimited phone plans gives businesses a wide range of choices to meet their unique budget.
- Audiovisual conferencing: Phone.com offers audio and video conferences for up to 100 people.
Go to our Phone.com user reviews page for more details.
8×8: Best Auto-attendant Phone System for International Calling
What it is: 8×8, which starts at $12 per user, per month, is a VoIP provider that offers auto-attendant functionality.
Why it’s a great auto-attendant system: 8×8 makes it incredibly easy to set up and deploy an automated attendant. What sets 8×8 apart from the competition is that it offers unlimited calling for up to 47 countries around the world based on the plan you select. This is a perfect fit if your team has a lot of business contacts outside of the United States.
Standard basic automated attendant
Certain countries locked behind premium editions
Unlimited calling for up to 47 countries
Not as intuitive as other solutions
Advanced plans have wealth of call center features
Starter plan only has basic attendant
- 8×8 Express: $12 per user, per month with a basic auto-attendant and domestic calling
- X1: $15 per user, per month with a multilevel attendant
- X2: $25 per user, per month with unlimited calling for up to 14 countries
- X4: $45 per user, per month with unlimited calling for up to 47 countries
- Automated attendant: While the entry-level version comes with simple voice menus, the X1 and above packages offer multilevel auto-attendants.
- Call center capabilities: Advanced modules like call queuing, monitoring, and analytic reports can help you better handle all of your call traffic.
- International calling: 8×8 lets you make unlimited calls to up to 47 countries around the world. Go to our 8×8 user reviews page for more detailed information.
There was a time when automated attendants were only available to large organizations that could afford expensive telephony equipment. However, advancements in internet-based phone technology have allowed even the smallest organizations to deploy helpful, professional sounding voice menus for their calls. They also offer advanced functions like voicemail-to-text, customized greetings, and the ability to send callers to outside lines.
Nextiva is a powerful phone system that comes with an intuitive automated attendant. The fact that it offers a free professional recording with select plans can be tremendously useful to small businesses that want to project a professional, established business presence. Check out Nextiva’s website to learn more.