Best 6 call centre phone systems

A roundup of the best call centre phone systems and software available on the UK market.

Our research

To recommend the best phone systems for small businesses, our team of expert writers and researchers hone in on the most important factors. We rate providers on value for money – including initial setup costs, any equipment costs, and ongoing service fees; an ability to scale as your team grows; depth of features, plus the help and support options that are available.
Written and reviewed by:

Our independent reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers.

According to our independent analysis, the best call centre phone system provider is RingCentral. Not only does it have the highest overall score, standing at 4.7 out of 5, but it also outcompetes other providers for its high scores in the features (4.8 out of 5) and customer support (5 out of 5) categories.

With RingCentral, you'll have access to a wealth of tools like voicemail to text, virtual receptionist, and call flip regardless of the subscription plan you choose. This will give your call centre an extra layer of flexibility that will help your chances of keeping customers happy. 

But is RingCentral the right choice for your business? Other providers on our list all offer great features and benefits, with some outperforming the winner in important areas, such as pricing.

Best call centre systems at a glance

  • RingCentral – Best overall call centre phone system for small businesses
  • 8×8 – Best call centre phone system for agencies
  • Vonage – Best for call centres that are scaling up their growth
  • Nuacom – Best for smaller teams of under 5
  • GoTo – Best for business support teams fielding large call volumes
  • Dialpad – Best for campaign and fundraising call centres

Don't spend unnecessarily – you can click any of the links above to begin comparing costs on call centre systems for your own business size and needs.

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We recommend taking a moment to get personalised call centre software pricing quotes for your business. This service is free, only takes a few minutes, and they're obligation-free.

Or, if you want to carry out further research, read on for our review of the best call centre software for small UK businesses. Based on findings from our real-life customer use case analysis, we’ll also give you some top tips to choose the right service for your business.

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1. RingCentral

Best call centre phone system for small businesses with over 10 employees that need to prioritise onboarding

4.7 out of 5
  • Price
    4.5
  • External connections
    3.9
  • Inbound communications
    4.8
  • Training features
    5

Pricing from: £7.99 per user, per month

RingCentral has four call centre packages to choose from. Its basic, Ring Central Essentials, package is ideal for small-scale call centre solutions, with a particular highlight being its customer support features, awarding this provider a perfect 5/5 in our research.

Calls can be made into transcripts to use for training new hires – excellent if you're a fast-growing call centre that needs to invest in regular recruitment drives. These features are also fantastic for management. Users can create their own rules to assign incoming calls to available agents, filtering out any customers that can be assisted by a recorded message, as well as free up live agents to handle more complex calls. 

We also like that RingCentral Standard (£14.99 per user, per month) can offer onboarding support to users for zero charge. This will free up a lot of management time spent training workers on the new software, giving you more time to focus on growing your sales.

RingCentral pricing

As the UK teeters on the edge of a recession, to protect cash flow, businesses will need to consider affordability when choosing new software.

Not only is RingCentral our top choice for call centre support features – it's also one of the most affordable choices on our list.

Our top two RingCentral plans for SMEs are:

  • Ring Central Essentials:
    £7.99 per user per month (paying annually)
    £12.99 (paying monthly)
  • Ring Central Standard:
    £14.99 per user per month (paying annually)
    £18.99 (paying monthly)

How does RingCentral compare with its rivals?

RingCentral is very similar to our third-place contender, 8×8. However, it is noticeably cheaper (RingCentral prices start from £12 less than 8×8 per user, per month) and it also gets a slightly higher score for inbound communication features.

This is because 8×8 is missing spam prevention features, whereas RingCentral offers these on its basic plan. Spam prevention is an easy win for SMEs as it wheedles out time-wasters, and keeps your agents on track and selling to genuine, high-quality leads.

2. 8×8

Best call centre phone system for agencies or teams with an existing client list that already have a lot of customer software

4.3 out of 5
  • Price
    4
  • External connections
    4.3
  • Inbound communications
    4.7
  • Training features
    5

Pricing from: £10 per user, per month

8×8’s contact centre software offering is great for anyone after a sophisticated solution. Its outbound and inbound call features are just as strong as its customer management features, making it a great out-of-the-box option for businesses that have a lot of external connections (it came first in our research for this category).

As well as a native CRM solution, 8×8 offers CRM integrations, allowing you to set up your call centre software to work alongside your current customer relationship management system. You can even set up payment processing to keep all of your operations in one place.

Plus, unlike Vonage or RingCentral, 8×8 also integrates with web conferencing software like Slack, so you can make phone calls from your messaging platform. Just type /8x8call <phone number> to make a call or /8x8meeting to host a meeting.

8×8 pricing

As you'll likely be using it alongside a lot of other competing subscriptions, the platform is not the most affordable option when it comes to pricing. Consequently, we gave 8×8 a lower mark for pricing than Vonage, despite the former boasting slightly better functionality.

Our top 8×8 plan for SMEs is:

  • 8×8 X2:
    £19 per user, per month (paying annually)
    £25 per user, per month (paying monthly)

How does 8×8 compare to rivals?

Against its competitors, 8×8 scores well in our research. It came in out joint-first with RingCentral for customer support (beating our runner-up, Vonage). This is largely due to it being one of the only systems on our list to enable a call-flow designer, which allows users to design their own sequence of steps for each inbound call.

The one area where 8×8 is found to be lacking is with its customer score (3.5 out of 5). Real-life users told us that 8×8 is not the most intuitive option to use (Dialpad and GoTo Connect both score a full mark higher for this research category).

3. Vonage

Best call centre phone system for scaling call centres (with over 20 employees) wanting cheap software that doesn't compromise on inbound communication

4.2 out of 5
  • Price
    5
  • External connections
    3.7
  • Inbound communications
    4
  • Training features
    4

Pricing from: £9 per user, per month

Thanks to its affordable and scalable pricing plans, Vonage claimed first position during our research for pricing. It is the best friend of any scaling company looking to grow quickly, without being charged a fortune on business overheads.

For just £9 per user, per month, users can access a ton of sophisticated inbound tools, including spam prevention, customisable hold music, and a call queue. All of these are designed to automate basic admin tasks, giving your agents more time to make sales.

Vonage also performs well for the number of integrations it permits. It connects with existing helpdesk software, like Salesforce; and CRM systems, like HubSpot.

Vonage pricing

As we've already mentioned, Vonage is an excellent budget option for SMEs. With prices starting from just £9 per user, per month, you'll be hard-pressed to find a system that is just as wallet-friendly. Plus, with unlimited users permitted, even the largest startup teams will be able to use this platform.

Our top two Vonage plans for SMEs are:

  • Vonage Select: £9 per user, per month (paying annually)
  • Vonage Professional: £12.50 per user, per month (paying annually)

How does Vonage compare with its rivals?

Admittedly, the brand is considerably outranked by our pole position winner, RingCentral, across several key research categories, including security (Vonage gets 3/5, while RingCentral gets 4/5).

But given its low price point, we still think Vonage provides unrivalled value for money. The areas it is missing (such as voicemail to text) are still available for an added fee, should you want to curate a premium offering for your sales team.

4. Nuacom

Best call centre phone system for resource-stretched firms with fewer than 5 employees needing a system that's easy to master

3.8 out of 5
  • Price
    4
  • External connections
    2.9
  • Inbound communications
    3.8
  • Training features
    3.5

Pricing from: £14.99 per user, per month

During our research, we found that Nuacom received its most impressive rating in the customer score category. This is a measure of how much each platform's existing userbase would recommend it to other business owners, for which Nuacom scores a whopping 4.6/5 in this area (for context, 8×8 achieves just 3.5/5).

Whether you're getting started with a call centre phone system, or switching providers, Nuacom's customer support is unrivalled. Every user gets a free, 15-minute onboarding session to help them to get to grips with the software, as well as live chat, email, and phoneline support.

On top of this, Nuacom also has a vast library of inbound communication features. Smaller, less-experienced teams will still be able to get up and running quickly thanks to Nuacom's complementary service of quick and easy setup, and clever, automated reception tools.

Nuacom pricing

On the call centre cost spectrum, Nuacom sits bang in the middle. Its price point certainly can't be considered cheap against alternatives like Vonage, but the brand does still get 4.4/5 during our analysis. This is because of its unique interface that makes it a top choice for those needing a clever, easy-to-use management system – a big pull factor for smaller businesses.

Our top two Nuacom plans for SMEs are:

  • Nuacom Unlimited: £14.99 per user, per month
  • Nuacom Call Centre: £29.99 per user, per month

How does Nuacom compare with its rivals?

Compared with its rivals, Nuacom's offering looks subpar. It didn't come higher than fourth in six out of our seven research categories, and it also lacks any collaboration features – making it a poor choice for teams with over five employees.

However, Nuacom's huge customer score says a lot about its value proposition. The brand's average consumer review score across G2, Capterra, Trustpilot, and TrustRadius is an amazing 4.6 out of 5 – miles ahead of RingCentral (3.5/5), branding it as an outstanding, accessible product for new users.

5. GoTo Connect

Best call centre phone system for business support teams fielding 2,000+ calls per month, such as IT centres

3.7 out of 5
  • Price
    4
  • External connections
    2.2
  • Inbound communications
    4.3
  • Training features
    3.4

Pricing from: £10 per user, per month

To evaluate the best providers for inbound communications, we looked at 10 key features to see whether they were available across all of our top phone systems for call centres. GoTo is the only brand on our list to have all 10, including ring groups.

Ring groups is a really useful tool that is often lacking in phone software. It allows users to create a group of phone numbers (extensions, or physical telephones) that ring simultaneously when one extension number or extension is dialled. Agents can instantly jump on to answer the call, ensuring that customers ringing for a quick response – such as those enquiring about event hours – will get an immediate response.

Because of this specialist focus on inbound communications, we think GoTo Connect is the best choice for businesses who have large volumes of customers calling in for help or guidance.

GoTo Connect pricing

At just £10 per user, per month, GoTo Connect is a steal for small businesses that don't need a particularly sophisticated phone system.

Users will need to pay a lot more for the advanced features, such as integration with Salesforce and Zoho. If you're just looking for a cheap option to receive a large volume of calls, you'll find GoTo Basic as excellent value for money.

Our top two GoTo Connect plans for SMEs are:

  • GoTo Basic: £10 per user, per month
  • GoTo Standard: £21 per user, per month

How does GoTo Connect compare with its rivals?

As we've flagged, GoTo outscores all other providers in our list for inbound communications. Its cheapest plan gets 5/5 for features in this area – while 8×8 manages only 3/5.

However, we should highlight that GoTo is found to be lacking in management and training tools. Call recording, transcripts, and call monitoring are not permitted, while agent performance tracking is made difficult because of the lack of customisable SLAs.

Therefore, we wouldn't recommend it to teams with lots of middle-management tiers because it's not the best for governing a call team.

6. Dialpad

Best call centre phone system for short-term marketing campaign-related calls, such as third sector businesses engaging in fundraising

3.6 out of 5
  • Price
    4.5
  • External connections
    2.3
  • Inbound communications
    3.5
  • Training features
    4.5

Pricing from: £12 per user, per month

It might sit last on our list, but Dialpad is a strong overall choice for call centres because it still receives a good overall score of 3.6/5 in our research. Collaboration is just one area where Dialpad succeeds over its competitors – which makes it a good choice for sales teams.

Teams can message internally within the platform, while video conferencing and task management are both available for every user to collaborate on a particular project (neither Nuacom nor RingCentral offer these features to users). Another savvy feature which Dialpad boasts is its smart auto-text technology to help with transcribing calls – which is even available on the lowest-priced plan, Dialpad Standard.

Users are given one free localised number but there is no option to add additional numbers, which means Dialpad is not a good option for ambitious businesses wanting to scale their call centre operations. Further down the line, you will outgrow Dialpad – another reason we only recommend it for short-term focused sprints such as a seasonal promotion.

Dialpad pricing

Given its average price point, Dialpad isn't a cost-saving platform, but it won't break your bank either. For short-term campaigns, Dialpad works well, but SMEs might be better looking at a wallet-friendly option like 8×8 if they're after a long-term call centre solution.

Our top two Dialpad plans for SMEs are:

  • Dialpad Standard: £12 per user per month
  • Dialpad Pro: £20 per user per month

How does Dialpad compare with its rivals?

Probably Dialpad's weakest area is external connections. Compared to 8×8, our top-rated provider for integrations, the winner is clear – Dialpad Standard doesn't pair with CRM or helpdesk software, and also doesn't work alongside email.

Still, it's undoubtedly an affordable product, scoring a 4.5 out of 5 in our price analysis. This outcompetes RingCentral, which only manages to scrap a 3.5 out of 5. Therefore, this is a good option for businesses that have a tighter wallet but still want a system with robust functionality.

How to choose the right call centre software for your small business

Call center worker accompanied by her team.

The Startups team of small business experts worked alongside an independent researcher to identify the top small business phone systems on the market.

Together, we collated a list of the three most important software features for call centres. Based on our findings, we think call centre managers should look for:

Inbound communication features

Firms operating within customer service tend to deal with large levels of inbound calls. A virtual receptionist feature, for example, ensures a caller is immediately engaged with the company, and can have a big impact on customer satisfaction.

Training features

Training employees is an important aspect of working at a call centre. Centres tend to have larger teams with a high staff turnover that, without proper management, can lead to a disorganised and poorly supported team of new starters.

External communication features

Call centres have a lot of software requirements. Finding a phone system that can integrate with your existing tools, such as a CRM system, is important to ensure you're not wasting money on software subscriptions that don't complement each other.

How we test business telephone (VoIP) systems

We tested eight VoIP systems to evaluate them in terms of functionality, usability, security options, cost, and more so we can make the most useful recommendations to small UK-based businesses.

Our rigorous testing process means these products have been scored and rated in seven main categories of investigation and 16 subcategories – in fact, we covered 78 areas of investigation in total. We then gave each category score a ‘relevance weighting' to ensure the product's final score perfectly reflects the needs of our Startups.co.uk readers.

Our main testing categories for VoIP systems are:

Customer Score: external customer opinion as to their satisfaction; the feedback and ratings given by customers who have used a particular VoIP product. Also, the market position and reputation a VoIP software holds.

Cost: the pricing structure associated with the VoIP service, such as monthly subscription fees, call rates, and setup fees.

Features: the functionalities and capabilities offered by the VoIP service, e.g. call forwarding, voicemail, call waiting, and caller ID.

External Connections: the VoIP service's ability to connect and integrate with external systems or devices, including compatibility with existing phone systems and integration with mobile devices.

Customer Support: the assistance and resources provided by the VoIP service provider to customers, such as technical support, documentation, and online resources.

Security Options: the measures and features implemented by the VoIP service to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and protection of voice communications and data.

Scalability: the ability of the VoIP service to accommodate the growth and changing needs of an organization, such as the capacity to handle a growing number of users or support multiple locations.

The Startups product testing process

The Startups product testing process diagram

Best call centre phone systems and software: a summary

As mentioned earlier, the best call centre software provider is RingCentral. Its call centre solution offers an advanced platform that empowers management to onboard and train new hires easily. Plus, excellent hardware integration can help you get set up with ease at an incredibly affordable price. 

  • Choose 8×8 if you're an agency with an established client list and lots of existing software
  • Choose Vonage if you have over 20 employees and a strict software budget
  • Choose Nuacom if you have fewer than five employees and need to start taking calls quickly
  • Choose GoTo Connect if you are a large team fielding over 2,000 customer requests per month
  • Choose Dialpad as a short-term solution for outreach and marketing campaigns

Regardless of our opinion, you should always compare call centre software providers before signing on the dotted line. The last thing you'd want is to be stuck in a contract with a service that doesn’t fulfil the needs of your business.

We've used the results of our findings to build a simple cost comparison tool for small business call software. Simply provide us with a few basic details, and the most suitable providers will be in touch with personalised quotes to get you started straight away.

Call centre software FAQs
  • What should you be looking for when choosing a call centre phone system?
    We recommend that businesses focus on three research areas when searching for a new call centre phone system: inbound comms, external connections, and training features. These are all key considerations for call centres because you'll typically receive a large number of inbound calls, new hires, as well as have a lot of existing software to think about.
  • What are the benefits of a call centre phone system?
    Thanks to call centre software and phone system investment, businesses can benefit from increased efficiency because you'll have more time to engage with customers - ultimately improving their experience. Plus, call centre systems are also excellent for managing your sales funnel – dashboards, alongside customer accounts, will give you a bird's-eye view of the entire transaction lifecycle.
  • How much does a call centre phone system cost?
    Most phone systems are now billed on a subscription basis. Depending on the platform you decide to use, you should expect to pay between £8 to £20 per user, per month.

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Written by:
Ross has been writing for Startups since 2021, specialising in telephone systems, digital marketing, payroll, and sustainable business. He also runs the successful entrepreneur section of the website. Having graduated with a Masters in Journalism, Ross went on to write for Condé Nast Traveller and the NME, before moving in to the world of business journalism. Ross has been involved in startups from a young age, and has a keen eye for exciting, innovative new businesses. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.
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