This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
The best call center systems for small businesses offer a range of call management features at an affordable price. Its collaboration features and essential call management solutions, such as skills-based routing and auto-attendants, equip companies with the tools needed to provide excellent customer service. We evaluated dozens of systems to identify the top six call center phone systems offering solutions to improve agent performance while boosting customer satisfaction.
- Freshdesk: Best overall call center phone system with robust call monitoring features
- 8×8 Contact Center: Excellent phone service for handling sensitive client information
- CloudTalk: Ideal call center system for businesses with an international presence
- RingCentral Contact Center: Best for its call routing automation
- Nextiva Contact Center: Best for its cost-effective collaboration and conferencing capabilities
- Talkdesk: Top call center phone system for service reliability
Best Call Center Phone Systems Compared
Call Center Phone Systems
Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) Features
Agent Management Features
Free or $18 per agent
4.5 out of 5
$85 per user
4.42 out of 5
$25 per user
4.41 out of 5
4.39 out of 5
4.38 out of 5
$75 per user
4.27 out of 5
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Freshdesk: Best Overall Call Center Phone System
*Discounts are available when you opt for annual billing.
Freshdesk (formerly Freshcaller) is our best overall call center phone system because of its extensive call and agent monitoring features and free version service. It boasts a range of curated reports that include information about agent performance, top customer analysis, and ticket lifecycle reports. This puts Freshdesk at the top of our list of best customer service software.
Equip yourself with the tools you need to coach and give actionable feedback to your agents and stakeholders using team dashboards for better team monitoring. The Widgets library has seven categories, more than 20 widgets, and key performance indicators (KPIs).
Unfortunately, Freshdesk’s free version and Growth plan lack team dashboards, chatbots, and social ticketing. If your team requires advanced ticketing and agent monitoring features, check out RingCentral Contact Center. The platform offers workplace optimization capabilities, including performance dashboards, skills-based scheduling features, and speech analytics.
Want to know more about how call centers work? Call centers are not just about answering phones; businesses need to be available to interact with customers and potential clients on their preferred platforms. Read our articles on the benefits of computer telephony integration (CTI) in our call center guide and contact center market trends for small to medium-sized businesses to learn if it’s right for you.
- Voicebots: Freshdesk’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered voice bots respond to customers’ frequently asked questions, such as account activation and password reset. This solution minimizes the need for live agent intervention.
- Abandoned call metrics: Get information on call drops and the trends that explain why this is happening. Insights will help identify areas of improvement that will enhance the customer journey.
- Warm transfer: Warm transfer provides agents with a background and context of the caller’s issue before transferring the call, minimizing the need for customers to repeat their concerns.
8×8 Contact Center: Best for Businesses Handling Sensitive Customer Data
*Plan is paid per user
8×8 Contact Center is best for companies and industries that have strict data compliance standards due to the nature of the sensitive information they handle. It complies with multiple data security and compliance requirements, including HIPAA, FCC Consumer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) compliance, and the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA).
8×8 Contact Center uses an approved third-party certification to ensure it meets HIPAA and FISMA data security levels. This extensive information security compliance, coupled with a 99.999% uptime guarantee, makes it an excellent option for various industries, including healthcare, banking, and financial services.
Noting 8×8 Contact Center’s omnichannel voice and digital routing options, its comprehensive services may be more than what a small startup or solopreneur needs. If you’re in the market for a call center solution offering a free plan, Freshdesk has free customer support software with help desk ticketing features. The Free Forever Plan includes social media support so you can interact on social media using a centralized dashboard.
8×8 Contact Center Features
- Team chat: Colleagues connect instantly through 8×8’s Contact Center’s business chat, available on mobile and desktop apps. Users on the messaging platform are identified through your company directory, and the chat easily integrates with other popular team chats like Slack.
- Speech analytics: 8×8 Contact Center analytics correlate insights and provide timely team feedback with automated transcripts and audio data that can be searched and analyzed to improve customer experiences.
- Customer surveys: Gather unbiased customer feedback using customer satisfaction surveys to measure customer experience and data for better decision-making. These surveys generate client feedback and allow you to identify and recognize high-performing agents.
With critical insights and features like video meetings and a multilevel auto-attendant, 8×8 Contact Center is a great call center option. Head to our in-depth 8×8 Contact Center review for a closer look at its service offerings.
CloudTalk: Best Provider for Businesses With International Operations
*Paid per user, billed annually
CloudTalk offers virtual numbers for over 160 countries, making it an ideal choice for companies with a presence in multiple locations. It also allows you to set your business hours and identify the best time to reach you. Coupled with CloudTalk’s personalized greetings, impress the locals with custom recordings that make your callers feel more at ease.
In addition to being readily available to your customers, this solution offers an opportunity to filter call statistics by phone number. This is particularly useful for businesses with global teams wanting to analyze details, such as average call times in particular regions, for coaching and mentoring purposes.
However, CloudTalk lacks information on uptime guarantees. If uptime is crucial to your business, 8×8 Contact Center offers a high 99.999% uptime service level agreement (SLA), and Talkdesk has a 100% uptime SLA. Consider either 8×8 Contact Center of Talkdesk if your nature of work requires minimal downtime, like in education, where students need to access lessons remotely, and in healthcare, where patients have urgent and critical concerns.
- Multilanguage app: CloudTalk is used worldwide, with virtual numbers available in over 160 countries. Its phone application is available in many languages (e.g., English, German, Portuguese, and French).
- Unlimited concurrent calls: With this feature, your agents will be able to handle as many inbound and outbound simultaneous calls as you’d like. This is particularly useful for increasing agency productivity and reducing clients’ wait time. In the context of sales and marketing, there is no limit to how many clients your agent can engage.
- Workflow automation: Streamline business processes by automating daily workflows; common automation scenarios include call detail export to customer relationship management (CRM), follow-up SMS for unavailable customers, and Slack message notification after SMS receipt.
For more details, check out our full CloudTalk review, which includes information on features, pricing, and use cases.
RingCentral Contact Center: Best for Its Call Routing Automation
*Custom pricing is available through RingCentral Contact Centers’ sales team.
RingCentral Contact Center offers the best business phone system with a powerful suite of unified communications (UC) features, including an efficient automatic call distribution (ACD)—routing calls to appropriate agents. Its ACD integrates with other workforce management tools, such as voicemail, for customers to leave recorded messages and automatic call back to request a return call.
On top of this feature, RingCentral Contact Center also offers interactive voice response (IVR) systems or multilevel auto-attendants for companies with high call volumes. This feature comes with an IVR editor that lets you craft up to 250 phone menus, making RingCentral Contact Center one of our top picks for best IVR systems.
However, RingCentral Contact Center’s four-level tier pricing is not readily available on the website. The monthly cost of an all-in-one system may be a concern for small businesses that need a low-cost call center option. Freshdesk offers a free version, and its paid plan begins at a monthly cost of $18 per user, with discounts available for annual billing.
RingCentral Contact Center Features
- Intelligent routing: With omnichannel, skills-based, and AI digital routing options, transfer customers to the best agent equipped to handle their needs.
- Outbound dialers: Boost your sales with RingCentral Contact Center’s predictive, proactive, and progressive dialers that maximize each outbound campaign. Agents will be able to focus on ensuring quality conversations and less on manual dialing.
- Speech-to-text analysis: Spot trends by making it routine to analyze call recordings that pick out keywords and phrases in customers’ speech to track trends regarding customer sentiment and purpose for calling.
Do you want to learn more about this platform? Check out our full RingCentral Contact Center review.
Nextiva Contact Center: Best for Its Virtual Collaborative Workspaces
*Custom pricing is available through Nextiva’s sales team.
Nextiva Contact Center provides extensive collaboration tools, enabling teams and customers from anywhere in the world to work together remotely. Nextiva Cospace is an app designed to host your company’s communications in one space. This platform includes project task management, unlimited group chats with feedback and voting functions, high-definition (HD) audio and video meetings with screen sharing and 1:1 sessions, and secure file sharing.
Nextiva Contact Center’s video conferencing software includes screen sharing and live webinar capabilities. Its base plan comes with video calling for up to 45 minutes and video meetings for up to 45 minutes and 250 participants. Nextiva Contact Center’s base plan is also fully equipped with this feature for those needing call and video conference recording functions.
Nextiva Contact Center caps video conferencing participants at 250. If you need a platform that accommodates a higher participant count, consider 8×8 Contact Center. It offers HD video and audio conferencing with up to 500 active participants and has no meeting or minute restrictions.
Nextiva Contact Center Features
- Internet fax: Send faxes from your email provider of choice and manage faxes through your mobile devices. Nextiva Contact Center also provides standard and HIPAA-compliant internet fax services.
- Number porting: Forget about getting a new number with Nextiva Contact Center’s number porting. This feature allows you to move your existing phone number from your current carrier and use it with Nextiva. It will also be the one to handle the porting process at no additional cost.
- App integrations: Maximize Nextiva Contact Center by integrating your phone system with popular apps, such as Google Contacts, NetSuite, and Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Nextiva Contact Center supports voice calling and texting with other valuable features, including task management tools and a team calendar. Explore more about service offerings and pricing plans in our Nextiva review.
Talkdesk: Highest Level of Service Reliability
*Talkdesk plans are based on a three-year contract.
Unlike most providers that offer 99.9%, 99.995%, or the “5 9’s” (99.999%) uptime SLA, Talkdesk offers customers a 100% uptime SLA guarantee. It ensures zero downtime, making you constantly available to your clients for maximum sales potential. In the event of network disruption, you are able to remain active, and those that experience downtime simply submit a refund request.
In addition to its high uptime SLA guarantee, Talkdesk has a powerful predictive dialer with IVR and CRM integrations. Its predictive dialer complies with Do Not Call (DNC) rules and easily updated DNC lists using comma-separated value (CSV) spreadsheets. This is why it’s our top-ranked predictive dialer provider.
Unlike other providers, like Freshdesk and CloudTalk, Talkdesk does not offer a free trial. If you are interested in low-cost call center options, Freshdesk and CloudTalk offer 21-day and 14-day free trials, respectively.
- Automatic call distributor: Efficiently route inbound calls to appropriate agents or departments based on agent expertise, customer history, or business hours. Talkdesk also offers complementary services, such as call monitoring and call barging, that improve agent performance.
- Screen recording: Improve customer interactions by monitoring your agent’s screens and capturing their activities during calls. These playbacks are helpful in dispute resolutions and tracking client engagements and transactions.
- Virtual agent: This is an AI-powered conversational assistant that is able to interface with customers, providing 24/7 response using neutral language.
Wondering about what you need in phone systems for call centers? Our guide will teach you all there is to know about the different features available and how they can help your business deliver excellent customer experiences. Check out our best call center phone system features article to choose the right solutions for your business.
How We Evaluated the Best Call Center Phone Systems
We looked at several phone system service providers offering call center essentials and evaluated their pricing options, features, and user reviews. We narrowed the list down to the best six providers that offer a range of basic and advanced features ideal for solopreneurs and small businesses.
Learn how we evaluated the best call center phone systems for small businesses by clicking on the tabs below:
25% of Overall Score
Cost was an essential factor in this assessment, and we prioritized providers offering free trials and free versions. We delved into pricing structures, inclusions in base plans, annual discounts, and volume-based pricing and analyzed the different pricing plans of call center solution providers.
25% of Overall Score
The primary function of call center telephone systems is to handle inbound and outbound calls; it should offer the necessary tools to streamline operations. We focused on general capabilities, such as IVR, agent monitoring, and analytics.
25% of Overall Score
What sets call center systems apart is the niche features that elevate the platform and, ultimately, a company’s operations and service delivery. The right call monitoring software also provides unique solutions to make call centers more efficient. We gave points to those providing speech analytics, workforce management, and data security compliance.
25% of Overall Score
Our expert score is based on personal experiences using the software and feedback or reviews of users. Each call center phone system received a rating according to its standout features, value for money, popularity, and of course, ease of use.
What to know more about how to measure call center agent performance and customer satisfaction rates? Check out our guide on the key call center metrics your business should measure.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the most important call center phone system features?
With a call or contact center, different included features will benefit various business types. For example, not every business has a need for call barge, which allows a supervisor to completely take over a call with a customer. For a comprehensive guide to call center features and their uses, check out our piece on the 12 best call center features your business should have.
What metrics should I consider for my call center?
Just like call center features, the metrics your business will need to consider might vary based on your business needs. In general, things like average turnover rate, call volume trend, and your customer satisfaction (CSAT) score are very important. Take a look at our guide on the subject for a more detailed accounting of key metrics and KPIs.
How can call centers improve their metrics?
Three main ways to improve call center metrics include using contact center software, acting on insights, and training agents. Contact center as a service (CCaaS) tools provide customer-facing tools that enhance how your center operates as well as the customer journey, such as easy-to-navigate IVRs and advanced call routing tools.
Artificial intelligence (AI), third-party app integrations, and automation features can all assist agents, resulting in better performance. For instance, CRM integrations give your team access to customer data before and during a call, which helps them personalize conversations and improve the overall caller experience.
These are the top call center phone systems offering low-cost and contact center as a service (CCaaS) features for companies to better engage customers and collaborate internally. If you’re looking to get started or upgrade your system, we recommend Freshdesk. Its free, entry-level plan is packed with essential services. As your business grows, you can easily upgrade to higher plans with advanced features. Sign up for their 21-day free trial today.