This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
Employing one of the best call management systems helps small businesses handle incoming calls efficiently. These systems route customer queries to the right agents, record and analyze conversations, and display metrics that evaluate and improve team performance. Choosing the right platform is critical. To start, consider essential call management features: automatic call distribution (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), call recording, and call activity analytics.
To help you determine the right business tool, we evaluated several call management software tools and identified their best use cases. These are our top picks:
- RingCentral: Best overall for managing calls efficiently using third-party integrations
- Nextiva: Excellent for reducing long-distance call costs
- Dialpad: Best for artificial intelligence features
- Vonage: Great for managing low and fluctuating call volumes
- Grasshopper: Best for obtaining multiple phone numbers for customer support
- Ooma: Great for connecting with overseas customers
- Google Voice: Excellent no-frills, budget-friendly call management platform
Best Call Management Systems at a Glance
Call Management Systems
Monthly Starting Price (per User)
4.56 out of 5
4.51 out of 5
4.43 out of 5
4.41 out of 5
$31 for unlimited users (fixed-rate)
4.14 out of 5
30-day money-back guarantee
4.05 out of 5
3.94 out of 5
RingCentral: Best Overall Call Management System
*Save up to 33% with annual billing. Volume discounts for 50 users and up are also available.
As our best overall provider, RingCentral does particularly well thanks to its robust call routing capabilities and powerful integration with other third-party solutions. With RingCentral, it’s a simple process to distribute calls to multiple phone numbers and team members based on a variety of criteria, such as the day of the week or the number dialed. It also has call queues that accommodate up to 25 callers.
For those looking for contact center features that your agents can use or benefit from, RingCentral also provides call barge and whisper. This helps increase call quality by allowing managers to coach agents in real time and intervene when there’s a difficult customer. Overall, RingCentral has 300-plus integrations and most popular customer relationship management (CRM) systems are covered. These include:
- Zoho CRM
- Microsoft Dynamics 365
Your service reps get a complete customer profile during a call, helping them understand concerns better. All these contribute to faster customer service and shortened wait times for those employing RingCentral as a business call management system.
RingCentral is our top pick in the best business phone systems guide. However, its subscription plans are more expensive than other call management software. If you want a cheaper alternative and only need a basic phone system to handle calls, Google Voice is a better option. It has a free version for solopreneurs, and its paid plan starts at $10 per user.
- Call delegation: Assign key team members to answer calls on behalf of company executives to manage multiple call transfers more efficiently. RingCentral allows users to have a maximum of 10 assistants to an executive.
- RingOut: This feature lets you use a landline or a mobile phone to make calls when you have an unstable internet connection. Your RingCentral number will appear in the caller ID instead of your personal number.
- Visual voicemail: See all your voicemails and choose which ones to prioritize. Read the messages when you’re not able to listen to the audio files.
Nextiva: Best for Reducing Long-distance Call Costs
*Save up to 22% with annual billing.
Our second provider ranks high in our listing of best call management systems thanks to its toll-free minute allowance. Per month, Nextiva provides an allocation of 12,500 toll-free minutes, helping organizations cut costs when dealing with a high volume of long-distance calls. While this is their maximum plan tier, it is some of the highest toll-free minute allowances in the VoIP industry. For clarification, at the starter tier, Nextiva provides an impressive 1,500 toll-free minutes, which is ideal for businesses with lower call volumes.
This provider is known to be a reliable small business VoIP service. One drawback is that its call recording and voicemail transcription features are only offered in its most expensive subscription package, priced at $45.95 per user. If you want to unlock these capabilities without the hefty price tag, choose Ooma instead. Its Pro subscription package, which costs $24.95, almost half the price of Nextiva’s most expensive plan, includes these features.
- Call routing: Configure business hours settings to assign calls to agents based on the time of the day. Choose skills-based routing to direct customers to team members most qualified to handle their specific concerns.
- Call rating: Create a questionnaire form to help team leaders evaluate agent performance as they revisit call recordings.
- Custom ringback: Use customized music to create a more positive waiting experience for callers and reflect your unique brand identity.
Dialpad: Best for Artificial Intelligence Features
*Discounts are available for annual billing.
This call management service is known for its artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted business phone system. Call transcriptions are auto-generated during live calls by the AI system, which helps ensure quality contact when a customer reaches out. Additionally, the Action Items feature provides your agents with instructions on how to deal with inbound and outbound calls. This is auto-generated by the AI system and is valuable when trying to maximize customer experiences.
With all of its great AI call management features, it’s important to understand that Dialpad doesn’t offer extension dialing until its most expensive plan. This could provide an issue for businesses looking to provide an easy call management experience for inbound calls. If extension dialing is critical for your business, consider Grasshopper. This provider has extension dialing even at the base-level plan.
- Live speech coaching: This is a very useful training tool that employs Dialpad’s artificial intelligence. As the call progresses, the AI determines if an agent is speaking too quickly or if too many filler words are being used.
- Snippets: For the sake of call review, agents can opt to save select portions of a conversation for a later time. These snippets span the 10 seconds before the button was pressed and 10 seconds after. The recording is then sent to the agent’s email.
- One-on-one video calls: Even though video conferencing has become common with VoIP and unified communications providers, it’s worth noting that Dialpad quickly allows this to be done even from a VoIP call.
Vonage: Best for Managing Low & Fluctuating Call Volumes
*Pricing includes one main local company number. The provider requires a minimum one-year contract.
Vonage has the distinction of being one of the first VoIP providers on the market, and as a result, has a fairly full-featured product offering. Consider Vonage if you have low or fluctuating call volumes because the provider is fully customizable with several a la carte call management features. All subscription plans have standard capabilities, including auto-attendant, call blocking, call forwarding, call rerouting, and call screening, which should be enough to handle low call volumes.
When calls pick up, you have the option to add needed functionalities to your phone system for more efficient inbound call management. Some of Vonage’s add-on tools include toll-free numbers with unlimited use, call queues, and call groups.
However, this a la carte functionality can quickly add up in price. For instance, the provider charges $39.99 for toll-free numbers with unlimited usage. If you need multiple toll-free numbers to accommodate high call volumes, it’s best to choose the call management app RingCentral. Its subscription plan comes with a free toll-free number, and additional numbers cost only $4.99 monthly.
- Simultaneous ring: Ring several team members’ devices to avoid missing an important call. Vonage allows you to alert up to five different phone numbers before the call goes to voicemail.
- Smart numbers: Automate tasks and boost your team’s productivity using intelligently programmed numbers. You’ll be able to route calls geographically based on the caller’s area code and place calls to a customer to remind them of appointments with an automated voice response.
- Spam shield: Vonage automatically identifies telemarketers or suspected scammers’ numbers. A warning appears on the caller ID to keep the agent from answering the call.
Grasshopper: Best for Obtaining Multiple Phone Numbers for Customer Support
*Save over 10% with annual billing.
When it comes to VoIP providers, many charge by the user, which is one advantage of a Grasshopper phone system. It charges a flat rate no matter the user count. It also offers a maximum of five phone numbers and an unlimited number of extensions in its highest-tier subscription plan. Should you require more phone numbers, you pay the monthly fee of $10 per number.
All call management tools are available at every plan tier with Grasshopper. These include voicemail transcription, simultaneous call handling, incoming call control, and reporting. Moreover, you can get live receptionist services through Ruby for an additional fee.
While Grasshopper is an excellent virtual phone number provider, it doesn’t offer international numbers. For this, a provider like RingCentral is preferable for businesses doing business overseas. Also, Grasshopper has limited integrations. In this regard, RingCentral’s 300-plus integrations might also better serve your needs.
- Call blasting: Ring up to 15 phone lines and notify multiple team members about an incoming call. This helps cut down customers’ waiting time and deliver faster customer service.
- Voice studio: Tap into the talent of professional voice actors for your custom phone greetings. Your announcements can be recorded in English and Spanish.
- International calling: Grasshopper supports calling to over 50 countries, including Mexico, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Your account must be at least 60 days old to activate international calling. For those based in Alaska or Hawaii, a five-day-old account is enough.
Ooma: Best for Connecting With Overseas Customers
When it comes to overseas calling, Ooma is one of the best options because it has unlimited calling to up to 70 countries. All other providers in this guide offer international calling but at metered rates. How much international calling costs varies in most cases, but having a flat rate when calling overseas often helps businesses save money.
Ooma also features plenty of call management tools: call forwarding, call transfer, voicemail, extension dialing, and three-way calling. However, the drawback of choosing this provider is that you must get the most expensive subscription plan to unlock the find me, follow me feature. On Vonage, this tool is a standard feature, which you’ll access even at the entry-level subscription plan.
- Seven-digit dialing: Simplify outbound calls by simply dialing seven digits of phone numbers instead of 10. This is possible by setting the user’s local area code in the Number Settings.
- Enhanced call blocking: Block anonymous calls and suspected spammers and let team members focus on legitimate business calls. You also have the option to create a Block List and add numbers you don’t want to accommodate.
- Call park: Place calls in communal “parking spots” and have another team member pick up the call. This is also beneficial if an agent needs to change devices or locations.
Google Voice: No-frills, Most Budget-friendly Option
Among the best call management solutions, Google Voice is the most suitable option for small businesses on a budget that only need essential call management capabilities. The platform has the most affordable rates, with an entry-level subscription plan priced at $10 per user. There is also a free version available to solopreneurs. The paid subscription plan comes with basic features, namely call forwarding and voicemail transcription, as well as integrations with Google Meet and Calendar.
Before choosing Google Voice, note that it doesn’t offer toll-free and vanity numbers. If you need different types of phone numbers to establish a national presence and manage calls, choose Grasshopper. This call management platform provider supports toll-free and vanity numbers and adds numbers as you choose higher-tier subscription plans.
Google Voice Features
- Ring groups: Reduce wait times by directing calls to multiple team members. This feature distributes workload among agents and improves productivity.
- Call recording: Record calls and have managers revisit them for performance evaluation. This feature helps clear miscommunication between agents and customers and reduces the risk of legal disputes.
- eDiscovery: Search for text messages, voicemails, transcripts, and log events easily using Vault. Export search results for easy reference of files.
How We Evaluated the Best Call Management Systems
To assess the top call management providers, we considered pricing, general and advanced features, ease of use, and customer support. We added our expert opinion on its value for money and popularity in the evaluation.
Learn our specific considerations for each criterion by clicking on the tabs below:
15% of Overall Score
To determine the platform’s affordability, we checked the cost of the base-level and second-tier plans and gave more points to those offering annual and volume discounts. We also considered if the providers offer a forever-free plan that benefits small teams.
25% of Overall Score
The general features we looked at were unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada, video and audio conferencing, and a mobile app. Since businesses need a reliable communications platform, we included an SLA guarantee in our assessment, providing more points for 99.999% or above uptime.
20% of Overall Score
The specialized features we checked were international calling, international numbers, and the IVR system. Higher points were given to providers with robust integrations.
10% of Overall Score
We evaluated ease of use by determining the expertise required to set up and operate the phone system. We also assessed if providers have an intuitive interface.
10% of Overall Score
The variety of customer communication channels was part of our evaluation. We gave more points to providers with email, phone, and live chat support. We considered the hours these channels are operational.
20% of Overall Score
This includes our evaluation of the provider’s standout features, value for money, and ease of use. We checked user ratings in third-party review sites to gauge the software’s popularity.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A call management system is a platform that automatically gathers information from callers and distributes such calls to the proper customer service representatives. This is made possible by various tools, including call queues, call groups, and the IVR system.
The primary benefit of using phone call management software is providing better customer service. Since the system automatically directs callers to the right location, customers are able to get faster, more accurate responses to their inquiries. Here are more benefits of using a call management solution:
- Increased agent and team productivity: Automatic call routing means team members won’t waste precious time manually assigning calls to agents. Many platforms integrate with third-party business tools, allowing service representatives to know important customer information and handle requests faster.
- Lower costs: As you boost productivity and handle more customer concerns, operational costs are reduced. You won’t have to pay for employee overtime since quotas are hit within work schedules.
- Improved performance: With call management platforms, you’ll be able to assess customer service operations through the call analytics tool. If you want to evaluate performance on an individual level, use call monitoring features.
The best call management platform offers accessible pricing, robust features and integrations, and an easily navigable interface. Let’s explore each one of these factors here:
- Accessible pricing: The best call management solution for your business matches your financial capability. Look for providers offering multiple subscription plans for different budget levels and business sizes. If you have multiple phone users, go for those with discounts for bulk purchases.
- Robust features and integrations: The call routing features you should prioritize are ACD, IVR, call queues, and ring groups. For call handling, your system must at least have caller ID, call forwarding, call transfer, and call park. The third-party integrations should match your existing tech stack, working with different types of tools, such as CRM, customer service, and collaboration software.
- Easily navigable interface: Team members shouldn’t have a hard time getting familiarized with the platform. Maximize the free trials offered to see which one fits the tech know-how of your employees.
The best call management platforms enable you to distribute calls to team members efficiently, handle inquiries professionally, and capture conversations for improved agent performance evaluation. Out of all the VoIP apps reviewed, RingCentral is the best call management system for small businesses as it’s equipped with advanced call routing and monitoring capabilities as well as robust third-party integrations that further improve its functionality. Sign up for RingCentral’s 14-day free trial today.