Call center phone systems help call and contact centers answer, route, and manage phone calls. Features include unlimited domestic calling and interactive voice response systems. We looked at a variety of call center phone systems and compared them by price, features, and ease of use to determine the top six, including a best overall.
Top 6 Best Call Center Phone Systems for 2019
|Call Center Software|
|Freshcaller||(Best overall) Call centers wanting a solution with reporting, metrics, and excellent customer support|
|Nextiva Call Center||Call centers desiring a solution with add-on features for customizable service plans|
|Talkdesk||Healthcare contact centers requiring HIPAA-compliant call center software|
|Aircall||Call centers that want a phone system with collaboration tools like shared contacts|
|Zendesk Talk||Small teams needing a free call center phone system solution|
|Jive||Companies with customers outside the U.S. needing free international calling to 52 countries|
How We Evaluated Call Center Software
The best call center software offers voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) calling, tools for routing calls, integration with customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, workforce management tools, and detailed call analytics. Call center phone systems should be affordable, with service plans to suit a range of budgets and be backed by reliable customer support.
Therefore, we evaluated call center software based on:
- Price: Each solution’s pricing tiers and packages were evaluated.
- Ease of use: We assessed how easy each call center phone service is to set up and use.
- Call quality: Online customer reviews of each provider’s call sound and quality were evaluated to see how well each service performed on VoIP and PBX phone systems.
- CRM integration: We noted whether each provider offered integration tools for CRM platforms for managing customer relationships.
- Analytics and reporting: Each solution’s analytics and reporting tools were assessed.
- Interactive voice response (IVR): We evaluated whether the call center software included an IVR and, if so, what features it included.
- Training and coaching: Call monitor, whisper, barge, and other agent training and coaching tools were reviewed.
- Hardware and equipment: We reviewed each solution to see if it required any additional hardware and to ensure they work with most standard call center phones.
- Customer support: We assessed the types of online and live customer service support each provider offers.
Best Overall Call Center Phone System for Small Businesses: Freshcaller
Freshcaller is a VoIP call center phone system with features that include call queues, call recording, and advanced call metrics. Service plans range from free to a competitively priced $40 per user, per month, making it right for businesses and teams wanting a call center phone system with advanced metrics, reporting tools, and excellent customer service.
Freshcaller offers three service plans. Sprout is free, Blossom costs $25 per user, per month, and Garden is $49 per user, per month. All plans include per-minute call rates that start at 16 cents. Local phone numbers are $1 per month and toll-free numbers are $2 per month.
Freshcaller Tiered Features
|Basic Call Queues|
|Call Forward to Mobile Phone|
|Buy Local/Toll-free Numbers|
|Advanced Call Queues|
|Business Hours Call Routing|
|Non-business Hours Routing|
|Advanced Call Metrics|
|Custom Call Center Reports|
Freshcaller’s free Spout plan supports an unlimited number of users and includes basic call queues and number porting. It also offers the option to buy local or toll-free numbers starting at $1 per month, as well as ringtone customization and call forwarding to mobile phones. With its limited number of features at this level, the Sprout plan is best for solopreneurs, freelancers, and consultants who want a budget-friendly virtual number with pay-as-you-go calling.
This level doesn’t include features like blind transfer and call masking, which keep the agent’s phone number private, as offered by the next tier. It also lacks voicemail and inbound caller ID as offered with Zendesk Talk’s free plan. However, Freshcaller allows unlimited phone number purchases, while Zendesk Talk’s free plan limits phone numbers to one purchase per customer. This makes it a better choice for companies wanting a local and toll-free number.
Freshcaller’s Blossom plan adds advanced call queues, call routing during business hours, voicemail, and call masking to protect an agent’s phone number. It also includes session initiated protocol connections (SIP connections) for forwarding calls to the softphone app or external standard phone. The Blossom tier is best for call centers wanting more granular control over call queues and for organizations needing call recording for training and recordkeeping purposes.
This tier doesn’t include conference calling or the advanced call metrics that come with the upper-level plan. It also doesn’t feature a free auto-attendant greeting as offered by Nextiva’s call center software. However, at $25 per month, this tier is half the cost of Nextiva’s lowest-level paid plan.
Freshcaller’s Garden plan adds non-business hours call routing, warm transfer (allows agents to speak to each other before completing the transfer), and custom call center reports that include detailed data on queue time, hold time, talk time, and more. The Garden tier also features call barging, allowing managers to drop in on live calls, conference calling, and call monitoring tools to increase agent productivity and manage calls remotely.
This plan is the right choice for organizations that want a complete call center system. Freshcaller’s Garden Plan isn’t HIPAA-compliant like Talkdesk, and doesn’t offer unlimited international calling like Jive. However, at $49 per month, its pricing is on par with other solutions on our list that don’t offer a complete VoIP business phone service with a comprehensive call center package.
What Freshcaller Is Missing
Freshcaller does not include a power dialer for automatically dialing long lists of phone numbers instead of dialing them manually. Businesses wanting call center phone system features like a power dialer to increase call center efficiency should consider Talkdesk instead.
What Users Think About Freshcaller
Reviews of Freshcaller are generally favorable. Customers say the platform is easy to use and the call center system easily manages the needs of a busy call center environment. However, some users say the Freshcaller dashboard can be somewhat cluttered.
Where to Find Freshcaller
Sales teams and contact centers wanting the best call center software combined with a complete VoIP phone center package should give Freshcaller a try. The company offers a 14-day free trial for customers that want to try all its features. Visit Freshcaller to learn more.
Best Call Center Phone System for Custom Service Plans: Nextiva Call Center
Nextiva Call Center is call center software backed by Nextiva’s top-rated VoIP business phone system. It features call management tools, supervisory controls, and advanced routing tools for $50 per month. Nextiva Call Center is a good match for call centers wanting a menu of a la carte features so businesses can create customizable service plans.
Nextiva Call Center Pricing
Nextiva Call Center is $50 per month for unlimited call queues with no setup fees. It includes intelligent call distribution, call recording, and queue management. Add-on features are available for an additional cost for customers who want to customize plans to meet the unique needs of their business.
Add-on features include:
- CRM integration: From $2 per user, per month
- Instant messaging: $3
- Conference bridge: From $19.95
- Agent dashboard: $29.95
Nextiva Call Center Features
Nextiva Call Center includes a variety of features for inbound call management and routing, such as an intelligent call distributor. It also includes voicemail-to-email and a dedicated onboarding service to assist with system setup.
Additional Nextiva Call Center features include:
Call & Queue Management
Nextiva Call Center includes one free professionally recorded auto-attendant greeting, as well as custom music and an estimated wait time message for queued callers. An intelligent call distributor routes calls to agents based on ability, but admins can also choose to have calls routed by call priority or based on the agent’s skill level. Talkdesk also offers intelligent call routing but it doesn’t include priority-based routing.
Real-time agent management lets managers monitor agent activity and resolution times as well as reroute calls or move agents to other queues for more efficient call handling. Supervisors can also record calls on-demand or as needed for quality and training purposes. Jive also offers call recording, though its features aren’t as robust.
Interactive Voice Response
Nextiva Call Center features interactive voice response (IVR) that prompts callers to respond by voice to the automated message to route their call to the correct agent. Unlike Talkdesk, which includes an IVR with its service plan, this feature is an add-on to Nextiva’s plan for an additional cost. Contact Nextiva to request a price quote.
Coaching & Training
In addition to call recording for training purposes, Nextiva Call Center features a barge mode that creates an instant three-way call between the supervisor, caller, and agent. This mode can be used to assist agents with calls during training. This coaching and training feature is offered by all the call center software solutions on our list.
Analytics & Reporting
Nextiva Call Center offers real-time reports organized by queue, agent, call center, or time period. Analytics are also available for resolution times, tracked call data, and more. Unlike Talkdesk, Nextiva Call Center doesn’t collect voice analytics and data from callers.
What Nextiva Call Center Is Missing
Nextiva Call Center doesn’t offer non-business hour call routing for managing inbound calls when the call center is closed unless customers purchase an enterprise-level service plan for $100 per month. Companies needing this feature would be better served by Freshcaller.
What Users Think About Nextiva Call Center
Online reviews of Nextiva Call Center are positive overall. Customers like that the system is easy to use and say it routes calls very well without missteps. However, some users report frustration that the IVR isn’t included in the cost of the basic service plan, as most other call center solutions offer.
Best HIPAA-compliant Call Center Phone System: Talkdesk
Talkdesk is call center phone software with a power dialer and call recording with pricing from around $45 per month. Protected call recordings ensure compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) storage and privacy regulations, making Talkdesk suited for businesses in the healthcare industry, where sensitive patient data may be captured and stored.
Talkdesk doesn’t include pricing information on its website, but our research indicates it is around $45 per month for up to 10 users and about $65 per month for up to 100 users. Be sure to contact Talkdesk directly for the most current pricing information.
Talkdesk Tiered Features
|Interactive Voice Response (IVR)|
|Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)|
|Unlimited Call Recording|
|Business App Integrations|
|Reporting & Analytics|
|Dedicated Account Manager|
Talkdesk’s Professional plan includes interactive voice response, an automatic call distributor, unlimited call recording, a power dialer, and conference calling. This tier also includes integration with several popular business apps, including Salesforce, Zendesk, and Slack. With its integrated HIPAA compliance, the Professional level is best for healthcare industry teams that rely on customer relationship management and help desk apps for improved productivity.
This plan doesn’t include advanced reporting or a dedicated account manager like the next tier. It also lacks a text messaging feature or add-on as offered by Nextiva. However, this is the only HIPAA-compliant call center software on our list.
Talkdesk’s Enterprise plan adds advanced reporting tools that include agent productivity data and voice analytics that listen for keywords and caller emotion. This tier also includes a dedicated account manager to assist with system setup and ongoing maintenance. The Enterprise level is right for managers who want deeper insight into call center productivity and businesses that need a hand managing their call center software.
This tier is more expensive than other call center phone system service plans on our list, but it does offer a wider range of features than some of the pared-down solutions. As previously noted, Talkdesk’s HIPAA compliance may be worth the higher price tag for some organizations.
What Talkdesk Is Missing
Talkdesk doesn’t include SMS text messaging with either of its service plans. Zendesk Talk offers inbound and outbound SMS with notifications and triggers for automated text notifications with all its paid plans. Therefore, Zendesk Talk is a better choice for call centers needing an SMS component with their call center software.
What Users Think About Talkdesk
Online customer reviews of Talkdesk are favorable, with users emphasizing that the business app integrations are numerous and useful. However, some customers say that while the reporting tools are robust, they are cumbersome to set up.
Best Call Center Phone System for Collaboration: Aircall
Aircall is a call center phone system with collaboration tools like shared contacts and shared call inbox for increased team productivity. It also includes unlimited inbound calling, smart queueing, and live call monitoring with plans from $30 per user, per month. Aircall is the right choice for teams that work together to resolve customer calls.
Aircall’s Essentials tier is $30 per user, per month and includes unlimited inbound calls as well as business app integration. The Professional plan is $50 per user, per month and includes call monitoring and a power dialer. Companies needing additional features like custom analytics and onboarding assistance can contact Aircall for a custom quote.
Aircall Tiered Features
|Free Local or Toll-free Number|
|Unlimited Inbound Calls (toll-free excluded)|
|Business App Integration|
|Interactive Voice Response|
|Shared Call Inbox|
|Dedicated Account Manager|
Aircall’s Essentials plan includes unlimited inbound calls and a free local or toll-free number. Collaboration tools include shared contacts and a shared call inbox as well as the ability for agents to assign calls to one another and include a pop-up message with call details. This plan is best for businesses that need a call center phone system with productivity tools that teams can use to work together to resolve customer calls.
This tier doesn’t include call monitoring or a power dialer like the next level. It’s also missing an automatic call distributor as offered by Talkdesk’s entry-level plan. However, at $30 per user, per month, Aircall Essentials features a robust set of collaboration tools that other similarly priced plans do not.
Aircall’s Professional plan adds call monitoring so supervisors can listen in on active calls to evaluate an agent’s performance. Like Talkdesk, this level also includes a power dialer that enables users to compile a list of phone numbers and dial through them in a single click. The Professional tier is a good choice for outbound call centers that want an efficient and fast way to make a high volume of outbound calls.
This level doesn’t include unlimited outbound calls, custom analytics, or custom onboarding. However, those features can be added to the Professional service plan by contacting Aircall’s sales team for a custom quote. This tier’s $50 pricing is about the same as Talkdesk’s estimated pricing that also includes a power dialer but not a free local or toll-free phone number.
What Aircall Is Missing
Aircall doesn’t offer a barge feature that connects the caller, agent, and supervisor in a three-way conference call. Barge is a useful training and resolution tool so businesses wanting that feature should check out Talkdesk or Nextiva Call Center instead.
What Users Think About Aircall
Online user reviews of Aircall are generally good. Research indicates the system is easy to use and has excellent customer service. However, there are also reviews that mention call quality can be laggy or choppy at times.
Best Free Call Center Phone System: Zendesk Talk
Zendesk Talk is a call center phone system with a free plan that includes voicemail, call recording, and call forwarding. Affordable paid plans from $19 feature prerecorded greetings and an IVR. Zendesk Talk is the best free call center phone center option for businesses with no room in the budget for a paid service plan.
Zendesk Talk Pricing
Zendesk Talk has a free plan and two paid plans. The Team plan is well-priced at $19 per user, per month, and the Professional tier is $49 per user, per month. Inbound call minutes for all service plans begin at 4 cents per minute and outbound calls from 2 cents per minute.
Zendesk Talk Tiered Features
|Phone Numbers For Purchase|
|Call History Reports|
|Voicemail & Voicemail Transcription|
|SMS Text Messaging|
|Interactive Voice Response|
Zendesk Talk’s free plan supports unlimited users and includes the option to buy one local phone number for $1 or one toll-free number for $2. This tier also includes voicemail and voicemail transcription, call recording, and call history reports. Zendesk Talk’s free tier is right for companies needing free call center software that easily scales up to paid plans as the business grows and its needs change.
This level doesn’t include SMS text messaging or the call monitoring tools the upper tiers offer. It also doesn’t offer ringtone customization like Freshcaller’s free plan. However, it does include call recording and voicemail, whereas Freshcaller’s free tier does not.
Zendesk Talk’s Team tier adds SMS text messaging, call hold, and allows customers to purchase multiple phone numbers. It also features warm transfer so agents can speak briefly and privately to one another while transferring a call. Priced at $19 per user, per month, this level is on par with Jive’s price plan and a good choice for sales teams that want to add SMS messaging as an additional customer communication channel.
The Team plan doesn’t include call monitoring or real-time analytics found in Zendesk Talk’s upper-level tier. It also lacks Jive’s integration with business apps like Salesforce and Zoho. However, unlike Jive, this tier includes SMS for the same price as Jive’s service plan.
Zendesk Talk’s Professional level adds interactive voice response and real-time analytics. It also features call monitoring tools such as listen-in and barge. This tier is the right choice for call center managers who want to evaluate agent and team productivity from several angles, including analytical data and by dropping in on calls.
Priced at $50 per user, per month, the Professional tier doesn’t offer as many collaboration tools as Aircall’s similarly priced top-level plan, nor does it include a free phone number. However, each number purchased through Zendesk Talk is $1 for local and $2 for toll-free, whereas Aircall charges $6 for each additional phone number.
What Zendesk Talk Is Missing
Zendesk Talk doesn’t offer customers a dedicated account manager with any of its service plans. Companies that don’t have an on-site IT specialist to manage its call center software, or business owners who want a call center phone system with dedicated support, should consider Nextiva Call Center or Talkdesk instead.
What Users Think About Zendesk Talk
Online reviews of Zendesk Talk are mixed. Customers say the reporting and call recording features are reliable and work as advertised. However, some users report issues with call quality and say customer service is unreliable.
Best Call Center Phone System for International Calling: Jive
Jive is a call center phone system that offers unlimited free calling to 52 countries. It also features unlimited domestic calling and queue management, with plans starting at $19.95 monthly. Jive is a great option for businesses that have international callers or team members, and companies that expect to expand outside the U.S.
Jive offers five monthly plans ranging in price from $19.95 to $29.95 depending on the number of users, with annual contracts available for additional cost savings. Phone numbers are an additional 50 cents per month. All plans include unlimited domestic calling, free international calling, call recording, conference calling, and custom greetings.
How Jive’s pricing tiers break down based on number of users:
- $29.95: One to four users
- $25.95: Five to nine users
- $23.95: 10 to 24 users
- $21.95: 25 to 49 users
- $19.95: 50 and more users
In addition to free calling to 52 countries and unlimited domestic calling, Jive also features mobile apps, call recording, and call reports. Jive also offers tools for call center management, including advanced ring strategies, custom queue hold music, agent log in and log out, and precall announcements.
Jive features include:
Call & Queue Management
Jive’s service plan includes custom hold music and wait-time announcements, similar to Nextiva Call Center. It also features customizable advanced ring strategies that allow users to ring several phones simultaneously, roll over to another phone line, and more. Jive’s call management tools also include call forwarding, call hold, call park, and caller ID.
With Jive, supervisors can record calls and also use presence monitoring to learn which agents are on calls and which agents are idle. A supervisor dashboard gives managers real-time information on agent activity, queue health, and a variety of key statistics. Nextiva Call Center also offers dashboards, but they don’t contain quite as much information.
Interactive Voice Response
Unlike Talkdesk and Nextiva Call Center, Jive doesn’t offer interactive voice response as part of the call center features included in the phone system. However, similar to Nextiva, Jive does feature customizable automatic call distribution for distributing calls equitably among agents.
Coaching & Training
Jive features a number of coaching and training tools, including call recording and call barge, as do most of the other solutions on our list. However, Jive also offers some unique coaching tools like call spy, which allows managers to listen in on calls without the agent’s or customer’s knowledge, and call whisper to coach agents on calls without the customer knowing.
Analytics & Reporting
Jive’s call center software includes individual call logs that include data on call dates, times, duration, agent, and more. It also offers call analytics with details on inbound and outbound calls that help managers identify call patterns for locations or specific extensions.
What Jive Is Missing
Jive lacks customer relationship management tools to allow agents to make notes on calls or integration with existing CRM platforms. Businesses wanting a solution with CRM integration should check out options like Zendesk Talk.
What Users Think About Jive
Our readers give Jive good reviews on average with a rating of 3 out of 5 stars. Users say the customer support is reliable and like that all the provider’s features are available with each service plan. However, some customers say they wish the service offered SMS text messaging. Read more customer reviews on our Jive user review page.
Call center phone systems and software can range from basic to comprehensive, but they all help your business deliver better service and utilize your resources more efficiently. From HIPAA compliance to free international calling, there are call center software solutions to suit every type of business.
Companies that want the best call center phone system with a great set of features for an affordable price should use Freshcaller. Visit Freshcaller’s website to learn more and to sign up for a 14-day free trial.