An auto attendant phone system greets and routes inbound calls to prespecified extensions, phones, or voicemail boxes automatically. We looked at a range of automated phone systems and narrowed it down to six, then evaluated the price, features, and customer support to learn what stood out and which is the best overall.
Top 6 Auto Attendant Phone Systems 2019
Phone Answering System
(Best Overall) Companies needing an auto attendant and a leading VoIP business phone system
Business owners seeking an auto attendant and business phone number on their personal phone
Call centers wanting an auto attendant phone system to support high call volumes
Organizations wanting an auto attendant with customizable la carte business phone service plans
Business owners needing a vanity phone number system with auto attendant phone capabilities
Businesses that make and receive international calls and want an auto attendant system
How We Evaluated Auto Attendant Phone Systems
An auto attendant is a standard feature typically included with most business phone service packages. The best automated phone answering systems should be easy to use and include options like greetings, voicemail, and call forwarding. It should also be affordable and backed by reliable customer support.
Therefore, we evaluated the top automated answering services based on:
- Price: We compared each provider’s pricing tiers and packages.
- Features: We evaluated the variety of features included with each solution, such as customized greetings and hold music.
- Ease of use: We assessed how easy each auto attendant was to set up and use.
- Customer support: We evaluated each provider’s online and live customer support.
We recommend Nextiva as the best overall auto attendant phone system, for its balance of features and price. Along with an automated phone system, Nextiva offers different service plans to meet your budget and exceptional customer support.
Best Overall Auto Attendant Phone System: Nextiva
Nextiva is a leading voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) phone provider featuring an automated phone system as well as unlimited calling and mobile apps. Also, Nextiva offers competitively priced service plans from $35/user, per month, best-in-class customer support, and a robust set of features like conferencing and unlimited calls, making it the best overall auto attendant phone service for the money.
Prices for Nextiva’s service plans for solopreneurs and small teams are competitively priced at $35 to $55/user, per month, for teams of one to four. Nextiva also offers plans as low as $20/user, per month. However, those are designed for teams of 100 or more and require a prepaid yearly agreement.
Nextiva Tiered Plans
Pricing for Small Teams
From $35/user per month
From $38/user per month
From $55/user per month
Professionally Recorded Auto Attendant Greetings
The Basic plan starts at $35/user, per month, for one to four users but can go as low as $20 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 as well as guaranteed 24/7 uptime and 100% in-house customer service.
Unlike Pro or Enterprise, this plan doesn’t provide access to the mobile app or provide you with a professionally recorded greeting for your callers. It’s also missing short message service (SMS) and messaging offered in Vonage’s first-level package. This plan is best if you’re looking for a top-rated VoIP provider with an automated phone system to answer your calls, route your callers, and take messages.
The Pro plan has everything in the Basic tier as well as access to the conference bridge for conference calling and the mobile app for easier management of your system. Unlike the Basic level, Pro allows you to have one professional recorded greeting for your automated phone system menu. It also doesn’t offer two local or toll-free phone numbers like Phone.com’s midlevel plan.
For businesses with one to four users, the plan costs $38/user, per month, but the price drops as low as $25 per user if your business has more than 100 employees. This makes 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.
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, allowing you to connect your calls with any number. For businesses with one to four users, the plan costs $55/user, per month, but drops as low as $30 for businesses with more than 100 employees.
Unlike the Pro plan, Enterprise includes three professional recorded greetings along with access to call recording. This is the ideal plan for businesses who want to completely customize their automated phone system 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 transparent for monthly billing accounts like what is offered by Grasshopper or Phone.com.
What Users Think About Nextiva
Majority of customers are happy with Nextiva’s level of customer service and how easy it is to set up the service. Customers are also satisfied with the reliability of the platform. For a more in-depth look at what customers think, visit our Nextiva user reviews page.
Where to Find Nextiva
Businesses wanting an affordable automated phone system with the best combination of standard features and reliable customer support should check out Nextiva. The company offers a 30-day free trial of its product when you contact the sales team. Visit Nextiva’s website today for details.
Best Virtual Phone Number System With an Auto Attendant: Grasshopper
Grasshopper is a virtual phone system starting at $29/user, per month, and features an auto attendant that can route incoming calls to extensions. Additionally, it allows users to switch between a personal and business number on a mobile phone and display a business number when making outgoing calls. Grasshopper is best for solopreneurs and small business owners looking for a business line on their mobile or personal phone.
Grasshopper offers three well-priced service plans, which all include the automated phone system and the full suite of features. The Solo plan costs $29 per month, which is less than a comprehensive VoIP phone system. The Partner plan runs $49 per month, and the Small Business plan costs $89 per month.
Each plan provides a certain amount of phone numbers and extensions:
- $29 per month: One phone number and three extensions
- $49 per month: Three phone numbers and six extensions
- $89 per month: Five phone numbers and unlimited extensions
Grasshopper offers a surprising number of features, making it our top pick as a virtual phone system. With just your mobile phone, you can forward 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.
Grasshopper presents your callers with an automated welcome. You can then customize 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 Phone.com and Nextiva, voicemail transcription is available with all plans.
Call Forwarding & 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 automated phone system. This is a terrific way to keep your employees connected and receive calls through your business number.
Grasshopper offers call blasting for an additional $10 per month. 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. Grasshopper also offers an integrated fax service so users can receive faxes which are converted to PDF documents and delivered by email.
What Grasshopper Is Missing
Unlike Nextiva and Phone.com that offer full business phone systems, Grasshopper works as a call forwarding system. That means it lacks features like call recording, integrations with productivity programs like Microsoft Office or Gmail, and the ability to send faxes.
What Users 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 more detailed customer reviews, visit our Grasshopper user reviews page.
Where to Find Grasshopper
Business owners and solopreneurs that want an automated phone system and a virtual business phone number for their personal mobile phone or landline should consider Grasshopper. Call the sales team or visit the company website today to try Grasshopper with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Best Auto Attendant Phone System for High Call Volumes: RingCentral
RingCentral is a leading business VoIP provider featuring an auto attendant, internet faxing, call forwarding, and flexible pricing without a contract starting at $29.99/user, per month. Its volume discounts, generous toll-free minutes and advanced integrations make it best for larger businesses and call centers needing 50 or more lines or those needing a multilevel auto attendant and robust business phone system.
RingCentral’s pricing is structured into four different plans ranging from $19.99 to $49.99, which is on par with other voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) systems with similar business phone features. 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 Features
$19.99/user per month
$24.99/user per month
$34.99/user per month
$49.99/user per month
Multi-Level Auto Attendant
Automatic Call Recording
The Essentials package, which supports up to 20 users, includes an automated phone system, 100 toll-free minutes, unlimited calls, SMS, and voicemail-to-email. The price starts at $19.99/user, per month. However, since it’s limited to 20 users or fewer, 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 service plans offered by RingCentral and Nextiva, a volume discount isn’t offered at this level. So, the Essentials package is best for businesses with a small team that needs a simple VoIP calling system.
The Standard package has everything in the Essentials package as well as 1,000 toll-free minutes for $24.99/user, per month, 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.
This level also adds internet fax and a multilevel auto attendant with several call routing features, including the ability to direct calls to multiple locations or external phone numbers. The volume discount makes it the best for businesses with larger teams that also want the benefits of a multilevel auto attendant.
Premium is RingCentral’s most popular package and includes everything in the Standard package and 2,500 toll-free minutes for $34.99/user, per month. Additional features include video meetings for up to 100 people, automated call recording, and integration with Salesforce and other customer relationship management (CRM) programs.
Unlike RingCentral’s lower-tier plans, the Premium plan provides integration with sales and productivity tools like Salesforce and Zendesk. However, it is a bit more expensive than other solutions on our list. This is the best automated phone system plan for businesses with a larger team that heavily use sales and productivity tools and need support for regular conference calls.
Ultimate is RingCentral’s most expensive package at $49.99/user, per month, 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 is the best auto attendant choice for you. Although it’s one of the most expensive service plans on our list, 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 complicated for a small business in the very early stages. If you need a simple solution, consider Grasshopper, our best virtual phone system.
What Users 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, visit our RingCentral user reviews page.
Where to Find RingCentral
Call centers and business owners that want an auto attendant bundled with a robust VoIP system that supports high call volumes should consider RingCentral. The company offers a free trial of its product and 15-day, money-back guarantee when you purchase an account. Visit RingCentral’s website today for details.
Best Auto Attendant Phone System for a la Carte Plans: Vonage
Vonage is a VoIP provider with plans starting at $19.99 and includes an auto attendant phone system, video conferencing, voicemail-to-email and call forwarding capabilities. While it offers tiered pricing, you can choose options from an a la carte menu of add-ons to customize your service plan’s features for each user, making it the best choice if you need the flexibility to modify your plan’s features and price based on individual user needs.
Like other solutions on our list, Vonage’s pricing is structured into three different competitive 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.
Add-on features include:
- Conference bridge: $14.99 per month
- Paperless fax: $14.99 per month
- Visual voicemail: $4.99 per month, per extension
Vonage Tiered Features
Multi-Level Auto Attendant
On-Demand Call Recording
The Mobile plan is Vonage’s starter package. It includes an auto attendant, unlimited calls and SMS messaging, as well as mobile apps to give users a choice of communicating through a mobile device or desktop. For one to four users, the cost is $19.99 per month. However, if you have five to 19 users, the cost is 17.99 per month, and you’ll pay only $14.99 per month if you have between 20 and 99 users.
This level is missing support for video conferencing, chat, or file sharing like the Premium or Advanced plan. It also lacks a free local and toll-free phone number offered by Nextiva’s first-level price plan. This plan is a good choice for remote teams and any business that doesn’t need a desk phone.
The Premium plan offers the same automated phone system and mobility options as the Mobile plan, along 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.
Although this level doesn’t offer faxing as Nextiva’s midlevel service plan does, this is a good choice for traditional office environments that make calls, hold video 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, which is a clear advantage over the Mobile plan.
The Advanced plan features Vonage’s Orange-Glove Setup, which provides a dedicated team of experts that guides you through the setup process. 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, this level doesn’t offer conferencing for additional users and retains the 100 attendee limit included in the Premium plan.
What Vonage Is Missing
Vonage offers many different ways to get help on its system, including a knowledge base, email, chat, and phone. However, the lack of 24/7 phone 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 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. with limited emergency support available on the weekends.
What Users 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 that come standard with other providers has led people to leave negative feedback about the provider. For a more in-depth look at what customers think about Vonage, visit our Vonage user reviews page.
Where to Get Vonage
Companies that need an auto attendant phone system and customizable business phone service plans with add-on options should try 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 penalty. Start your free trial by visiting the Vonage website.
Best Vanity Phone Number Provider With an Auto Attendant: Phone.com
Phone.com is a VoIP and vanity phone number provider featuring an auto attendant as part of its lower-cost service plans. It offers customized toll-free and local numbers as well as business phone system features like call forwarding and on-hold music. With plans as low as $12.99 per month, Phone.com best for businesses wanting a customized, vanity phone number (like 1-800-FLOWERS) as well as an economical answering solution.
Phone.com offers three pay-per-minute plans with pricing that starts at $12.99 per month, which is significantly lower than phone systems with unlimited minutes. The midlevel plan is $19.99 per month and the premium tier is $39.99 per month. All plans include an auto attendant, monthly minutes, SMS messaging, and unlimited user extensions.
For unlimited calling, the prices are:
- Base: $29.99 with one local or toll-free number
- Plus: $37.99 with two local or toll-free numbers
- Pro: $59.99 with three local or toll-free numbers
Phone.com includes a set of standard call features with all of its price packages, including an automated phone system, call forwarding, hold music, and caller ID, making it our top pick as a vanity phone number provider. For an additional price, premium features such as call recording and integration with CRMs like Salesforce can be added to your service.
Users can customize greetings with Phone.com, recording your own welcome messages and menu options for your callers. Greetings can contain important information about your company like business hours and address or walk callers through a menu of call routing options to connect to the person they’re trying to reach quickly.
The voicemail-to-email feature automatically transcribes voicemails and sends them to you via email or text message. Unlike providers like Nextiva, Phone.com takes this feature even further with the optional add-on of 25 cents per voicemail for human transcription. A real, live person will transcribe your messages.
Call Forwarding & Extensions
Call forwarding comes standard with Phone.com so that 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 adding additional phone lines. Similar to Grasshopper, this gives you a cost-effective way of having multiple users within your business receive calls on your primary phone number.
Phone.com has built-in support for faxing, so you can send and receive faxes with your automated phone system. High-definition audio conferencing is also available, along with group SMS to send and receive text messages over any local Phone.com number.
What Phone.com Is Missing
A potential drawback to Phone.com is the additional cost for features like call recording and analytics that come standard with our best automated phone system providers like Nextiva and RingCentral. Unlike 8×8, Phone.com also doesn’t include unlimited international calling.
What Users Think About Phone.com
Businesses that use Phone.com are pleased with the affordability of the service as the flexible calling plans allow them to add features as needed. Those who provide negative reviews are disappointed with the quality of customer support, long wait times, and delayed responses. For a more in-depth look at customer comments, visit our Phone.com user reviews page.
Where to Find Phone.com
Business owners wanting a vanity phone number that’s easy for customers to remember as well as auto attendant capabilities should consider 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. Phone.com offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee for their Base plan. Head to Phone.com to learn more.
Best Auto Attendant Phone System for International Calling: 8×8
8×8 is a low-cost VoIP provider that offers auto attendant capabilities as low as $28/user, per month, along with a complete phone system. What sets 8×8 apart is its international calling capabilities, which includes unlimited calling to 14 to 47 different countries based on the plan you select. This is best if your small business has many customers or vendors outside of the United States.
8×8’s pricing is broken down into three different affordable calling plans. The X2 for $28/user, per month, the X3 for $38/user, per month, and the X5 for $60/user, per month. All plans include an auto attendant and unlimited calling to several countries based on the plan you select.
8×8 Tiered Features
|Unlimited Calling Countries|
|Phone Number & Virtual Extension|
|Mobile & Desktop Apps|
|Interactive Voice Response|
Contact Center & Supervisor Analytics
The X2 package features an automated phone system and all standard calling features, provides unlimited calling in 14 countries and 1 GB of media storage for $28/user, per month. Additional features include audio and video conferencing for up to 100 participants, unlimited faxing and SMS texting.
This level lacks advanced analytics offered in the next tier and voicemail-to-email transcription featured with Nextiva’s basic plan. However, 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 X3 package includes everything in the X2 package, plus unlimited calling to 32 countries. Pricing starts at $38/user, per month, and includes 5GB of media storage. This tier also offers an operator switchboard also helps a growing business supplement the automated phone system and achieve a more professional appearance.
This tier is missing the advanced analytics offered at the premium level and integration with businesses apps provided by other providers. However, it’s a good choice for businesses with a global workforce that needs to keep communications synchronized.
The X5 package costs $60/user, per month. It includes all of the features in the X3 package, plus unlimited calling for 46 countries and 10GB of media storage. Where this package truly shines is with the addition of the interactive voice response (IVR) phone answering system that allows callers to progress through the phone system using voice prompts or keypad presses.
Advanced contact center, service quality, and supervisor analytics as well as tools for monitoring agent, live calls round out this plan. This makes it the ideal package for a business with an international reach that wants more in-depth insight into agent performance and a broader global calling range.
What 8×8 Is Missing
8×8’s auto attendant doesn’t inform callers of estimated wait time will be or what number caller they are on the list, a missing feature that may be important to businesses with a high call volume. 8×8 also lacks 24/7 live chat or customer service, which is offered by our best auto attendant phone system provider, Nextiva.
What Users Think of 8×8
Businesses that use 8×8 report they are satisfied with the cost of the service and customer support. However, users say they are unhappy with the reliability of the service. For a more in-depth summary of customer feedback, visit our 8×8 user reviews page.
Where to Find 8×8
Companies that make and receive a lot of international calls and want an automated phone system with unlimited calling plans outside the U.S. should take a look at 8×8. Call a solutions specialist at the company’s toll-free number to sign up for an account or request a customized quote through 8×8’s website.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is an auto attendant?
Auto attendants answer incoming calls, play a short greeting, then route callers to prespecified phones, extensions, or voicemail boxes automatically. Basic auto attendants include features like prerecorded messages and a small collection of hold music options. Multilevel auto attendants offer more complex features like IVR, customizable greetings, and routing to multiple phone numbers.
In addition to creating rules for incoming call routing, most automated phone systems also allow users to write and record their greetings and upload them via the user dashboard. For those who don’t want that extra step, Nextiva features professionally recorded greetings with its midrange and premium service plans, and Grasshopper offers the service as a $75 add-on.
What are the benefits of an automated phone system?
Automated phone systems have numerous benefits. They improve the customer experience by quickly directing calls to the right person to assist them, decrease hold time, and reduce the number of times a caller is transferred throughout the system. They are also helpful in a business environment by freeing up the time workers spend answering and transferring calls. Some companies even save money by eliminating the need for a receptionist.
Who should have an auto attendant?
Auto attendants are right for nearly every type of business. Solopreneurs, consultants, and freelancers rely on them to handle calls when they can’t answer personally. Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) use them to automatically provide frequently requested information to callers such as location or hours of operation. Because automated phone systems can greet and route a large volume of calls easily, they’re an excellent tool for call centers and large companies.
Auto attendant phone systems were once only available to businesses who could afford more sophisticated and costly business phone systems. Now, automated phone systems are much more affordable, and you can choose from a wide variety of providers to better match your business’ needs. They offer a range of features like voicemail-to-text, custom greetings, and call forwarding.
Businesses that want an automated phone system with the best balance of phone system features, pricing, and customer support should check out Nextiva. Along with the auto attendant, it offers service plans that will be within your budget, call routing, voicemail-to-email, faxing and all the features most small businesses need to stay competitive. Visit Nextiva’s website today.