An automated attendant is a feature that can greet callers and route them to preconfigured extensions without a human getting involved. Multilevel attendants also have the ability to route calls to external numbers. We looked at the best auto-attendant phone systems on the market and compared them based on overall cost, ease of use, and functionality.
Auto-attendant Phone System
(Best Overall) Teams looking for an auto-attendant with a free professional recorded greeting
Companies looking for an affordable automated attendant as well as a dedicated business line on their personal device
Businesses wanting a multilevel auto-attendant that can support high call volumes
Teams looking to add individual features to their auto-attendant phone system via a la carte features
Companies with low call volumes looking for an automated attendant
Businesses with multinational operations that need unlimited international calling
How We Evaluated Automated Phone Systems
Automated attendants are a common feature in both voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) and virtual phone services. Attendants should be able to pick up and route callers to their desired extension without any human intervention whatsoever. Automated phone systems should be easy to set up and deploy, even if the user is not a tech expert. Solutions should also be affordable enough for small business budgets.
The criteria we used to evaluate the auto-attendant feature of top business phone systems consisted of the following:
- Ease of use
- Call management
- Provided greetings
- Customer support
Based on the above criteria, we find that Nextiva is a fantastic option for most small businesses. While it offers most of the same core features as competing solutions, Nextiva stands out because it provides a free professionally recorded voice greeting in its premium packages. It is also a powerful and easy-to-use phone service.
Choosing an automated phone system can be a daunting task. Take our quiz:
Which Auto-attendant Phone System Is Right for You?
Nextiva: Best Overall Auto-attendant Phone System
What it is: Nextiva is a small business VoIP service that offers a complimentary automated attendant greeting recorded by a professional voice-over artist. While Nextiva does have a business phone plan for one to four users, its pricing for teams that will primarily benefit from having an auto-attendant starts at $27.95 per user, per month for five to 19 users on an annual basis.
Why it’s a great auto-attendant system: Nextiva offers many of the voice menu building options as competing solutions like RingCentral and 8×8. However, having a professional voice greeting for your automated attendant can go a long way in making your company seem more established to those who call you. It is fantastic for small businesses that want to portray the image of a respectable national enterprise.
Free professionally recorded voice greeting
Annual plans require a 36-month agreement
Unlimited domestic calling and texting
Somewhat clunky user interface
Mobile apps for iOS and Android platforms
Professional recordings locked behind premium tiers of service
- Essential: $27.95 per user, per month for unlimited calling (within the U.S. and Canada) 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. There are also plans for one to four users that start at $32.95 per user, per month.
- Professionally recorded voice greeting: If you choose the Professional or Enterprise packages, Nextiva will provide the services of a professional voice actor to effectively be the “voice” of your phone system. You can provide your own script, or start out with one of our auto-attendant script templates.
- Voice menu builder: With Nextiva’s attendant builder settings, you can set up and deploy a voice menu in a matter of minutes.
- Mobile app: Nextiva offers mobile apps for iOS and Android so you can take your work phone wherever you go on your personal device.
For more information on Nextiva and its features, go to our Nextiva user reviews page.
Grasshopper: Best Virtual Phone System With Auto-attendant
What it is: Grasshopper is a virtual phone service, which means that it needs an existing phone line to forward calls from. Pricing for the service starts at $26 per month for one number and three extensions.
Why it’s a great auto-attendant system: While VoIP services offer a great deal of functionality, they usually come at a much higher cost than virtual phone solutions. Grasshopper offers affordable pricing plans as well as an automated attendant to handle all of your incoming call traffic. It’s a perfect fit for teams that cannot afford a full-featured VoIP system but still want advanced telephony features.
Requires existing phone line
Intuitive auto-attendant builder
Lacks video conferencing and other advanced features
No features locked behind premium tiers
No unlimited international calling
- Solo: $26 per month for one number and three extensions*
- Partner: $44 per month for three numbers and six extensions*
- Small Business: $80 per month for five numbers and unlimited extensions*
*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: Grasshopper’s automated attendant can greet and route your callers to their desired extension just like its competitors.
- Mobile applications: In addition to desktop applications, Grasshopper can be used on iOS and Android devices.
- Toll-free numbers: Grasshopper gives you the option between a local number and a toll-free number with a 1-800 prefix.
For more details on Grasshopper, check out our Grasshopper user reviews page.
RingCentral: Best Auto-attendant for High Call Volumes
What it is: RingCentral, which starts at $19.99 per user, per month on an annual basis for two to 19 users, is a small business VoIP platform that offers a multilevel auto-attendant that can forward calls to outside numbers. It also comes with some call center functionality to handle high call volumes.
Why it’s a great auto-attendant system: Premium tiers of the system offer a range of call center features like call queuing, live transfer, and a multilevel automated attendant that can help your company handle large amounts of calls at once. If your office has a high call volume, RingCentral could be a perfect fit.
Multilevel automated attendant
No free professional voice greeting
Call center capabilities
Advanced features locked behind premium tiers
Smooth, modern user interface (UI)
Could be overkill for smaller teams
- 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. There are also plans for solo users starting at $29.99 per month.
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 option 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.
- Call center features: The more expensive versions of the service come with call queuing, live transfer, and other features like dial-by-name directories, designed to help businesses better manage large incoming call volumes.
- Interactive voice response (IVR): With certain packages, RingCentral offers the ability to set up interactive voice menus that respond to voice commands from callers.
- Phone numbers: Like other systems we looked at, RingCentral offers both local and toll-free numbers for customers.
For more information on RingCentral, you can check out our RingCentral user reviews page.
Vonage: Best Auto-attendant Service With a la Carte Plans
What it is: Vonage is a VoIP service that is unique in the sense that it allows customers to add individual features on an a la carte basis. Pricing starts at $17.99 per user, per month for five to 19 users.
Why it’s a great auto-attendant system: In many cases, VoIP services bundle features into different pricing packages without giving customers the choice to pick and choose features to their liking. In addition to coming standard with an automated attendant, Vonage lets you buy individual features like call recording and toll-free numbers. This flexibility could be a great value to small businesses looking to save money.
Automated attendant is standard in all packages
A la carte features could add up, making it a more expensive solution than is needed
Add individual features a la carte
Somewhat dated user interface
Supports video calling for large groups
Video conferencing has a user cap
- 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 for all plans is for five to 19 users. Volume discounts are available as you add more users. There are also plans for one to four users starting at $19.99 per user, per month.
- Auto-attendant: While all versions of the service come with an automated attendant, the Premium and Advanced versions of the system come with a multilevel attendant like RingCentral.
- Video conferencing: The more expensive versions of the service come with HD video conferencing for up to 100 people.
- A la carte options: You can add individual features, like toll-free numbers and call recording, to the system for an additional fee.
For more details, visit our Vonage user reviews page.
Phone.com: Best Automated Attendant Service for Low Call Volumes
What it is: Phone.com is a small business VoIP service that offers plans with both unlimited and limited plans starting at $9.99 per month.
Why it’s a great auto-attendant system: Other VoIP solutions only offer unlimited calling plans, which could force businesses with lower call volumes to pay for service they don’t need. Phone.com is great for any team that seeks an affordable alternative, especially since it comes standard with an automated attendant.
Strong core feature set
Pay-per-minute plans can add up in cost
Apps for mobile and desktop
Somewhat pricey unlimited plan
- Base: $9.99 per month for 300 monthly minutes*
- Plus: $14.99 per month for 500 monthly minutes*
- Pro: $29.99 per month for unlimited monthly minutes*
*Pricing is on an annual basis. Monthly plans are available for an additional fee.
- Automated attendant: Every version of Phone.com comes standard with an automated attendant to greet and route all of your callers.
- Limited minute plans: The ability to buy bundles of minutes makes Phone.com one of the more flexible options on the market.
- Video calling: Keep in touch with your remote team via HD video conferencing.
For more details on what sets Phone.com apart from the competition, check out our Phone.com user reviews page.
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 small business VoIP system that offers an auto-attendant as well as unlimited calling to nearly 50 countries around the world.
Why it’s a great auto-attendant system: Today’s leading VoIP systems offer unlimited domestic calling, which is fantastic for teams that need to stay in touch with local contacts. However, if you do business overseas, you could spend a great deal of money on per-minute rates for international calls. 8×8 is the perfect solution for offices that make frequent calls to foreign numbers.
Unlimited calls to up to 47 countries
Certain countries locked behind different plans
Standard basic auto-attendant
Somewhat clunky user interface
Advanced plans come with call center features
Multilevel plan locked behind advanced tiers
- Express: $12 per user, per month for unlimited domestic calling and a basic automated attendant
- X2: $25 per user, per month for unlimited calling for up to 14 countries, VoIP faxing, call reports, and call recording
- X4: $45 per user, per month for up to 47 countries
- Auto-attendant: The Express version of the system comes with a basic auto-attendant, while the X2 and X4 plans come with a multilevel auto-attendant like RingCentral.
- International calling: Depending on which package you choose, 8×8 comes with unlimited calling to up to 47 different countries.
- Call center functionality: Premium versions of the system come with call reports and call recording, which lend themselves well to call center environments.
For more details, you can go to our 8×8 user reviews page.
Automated attendants are common features of today’s leading internet-based phone systems. They are easy to set up and the ability to automatically greet and route callers saves your employees from having to worry about the phone every time it rings. Best of all, auto-attendants are usually standard features in many VoIP and virtual phone solutions.
We recommend Nextiva to most small business users because it is powerful, easy to use, and comes at a range of different pricing points. Additionally, its inclusion of a professionally recorded voice greeting can help small businesses sound their best when customers call. The service is among the most popular on the market, and for good reason.