The Best Call Centre Software and Phone Systems A roundup of the best call centre phone systems and software on the market Aimee Bradshaw May 18, 2021 10 min read Our experts We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality. This article was authored by: Aimee Bradshaw Senior Writer So you’re looking to upgrade your call centre phone system and software, but feeling a bit overwhelmed by the extent of your options? Don’t worry – we know that researching the ins and outs of call centre technology can be hard, so we’ve put this article together to help you find the right solution. Of course, you don’t have to spend hours researching. Our call centre phone system questionnaire is designed to offer businesses some valuable guidance – in fact, it’s helped thousands of businesses find the ideal call centre phone system for their needs. You’ll just need to answer a few basic questions – like how many phones you’ll need, and the kind of features you’re after – and then wait for the suppliers that best match your needs to be in touch. It really is a reliable way to find the right solution. If you’d like some pointers on how to choose the best phone system for your call centre, then skip to the advisory section at the bottom of this article. Or if you need more information about starting a call centre in general, head on over to our how to start a call centre guide.The best call centre software: UK providersAccording to our research, the best call centre phone system providers are: 1. RingCentral 2. Avaya 3.8x8 4. Nextiva 5. Cisco Webex 6. Freshdesk We’ll provide you with a list of compatible call centre phones for each call centre software provider in our reviews. But first, let's see how our providers stack up against each other in this table. Avg customer score out of 5 Starting price user/monthFree trial24-7 phone supportOperating systemRingCentral4£65NoYesAndroid, iOS, Linux, MacOS,WindowsAvaya4.3£64NoYesWindows, iOS, Linux8x84.1£37YesNoWindows, MacOSNexiva 4.4$50NoNoWindows, MacOS, Android, iOSCisco3.8£96NoYesWindows, MacOS, LinuxFreshdesk4.5£11YesNoWindows, MacOSWant to find out what these top call centre systems can really offer your business? We’ll look at them in more detail in the following section.The best call centre software and phone systemsThe top six call centre telephony systems come from RingCentral, Avaya, 8×8, Nextiva, Cisco, and Freshdesk. 1. RingCentralBest for: growing businessesRingCentral has three call centre packages to choose from. Its basic package is ideal for small scale call centre solutions, with inbound and outbound calling capabilities, interactive voice response (IVR), and automatic call distribution (ACD) three of its main features. These features allow call centres to filter out any customers that can be assisted by a recorded message, and free up live agents to handle more complex calls. It also means the call queue is handled in a way that ensures queries go to the agents with the right qualifications.RingCentral’s most popular offering is its Advanced call centre package. This package allows call centres to interact with customers and clients on an omnichannel basis, including by email, chat, SMS, and social media. RingCentral has been developed for use on Android and iOS tablets and phones, Windows-operated computers, and Macs. There are a huge number of integrations available, too, allowing businesses to build a bespoke call centre software package. Software integrations includeamoCRMZoho FlowFreshdesk Premium CTI Compatible phone systems Yealink T42S – £119Cisco 8861 – £249Polycom VVX 601 – £299 Top five features:AI digital routing to interpret and direct inbound communicationsIVR to enable self-service for admin-based enquiries Workforce management tools to arrange shifts and manage performanceSupervisor tools enable call recording, as well as silent monitoringAgent tools including script assistance, call transfer, and availability setting Pricing: Bespoke pricing that depends on package features and integrations 2. AvayaBest for: companies in need of a small business solutionAvaya’s call centre phone system and software isn’t quite as sophisticated as RingCentral’s system, but it’s still packed with features. There are two packages to choose from, Voice and Digital, the latter of which enables agents to correspond with customers and clients through email, chat, and SMS as well as over the phone.Businesses that invest in an Avaya call centre phone system can expect an intuitive user experience – great for onboarding call centre staff – and live monitoring in case a manager needs to assist in a call. There’s also voice-to-text transcription to aid in delivering real-time prompts to call centre staff, and other useful tools to aid productivity. Inbound and outbound calls can be accounted for on a pay-as-you-go or pay monthly basis, depending on which option is the most cost-effective for your business. Avaya also has a range of compatible handsets, enabling businesses to benefit from a complete call centre phone system solution. Software integrations includeGoogle for WorkSalesforce CRMHubSpot Compatible phone systemsAvaya J179 Avaya J189Avaya J139 Top five features:Skills-based routing to ensure callers speak to the right agentQuality management and training with Digital packageSend real-time prompts to agents to help them through difficult callsMulti-channel communication with Digital packageReal time and historical reporting with both packages Price: Voice – £64 per user, per month Digital – £101 per user, per month 3.8×8Best for: out-of-the-box solution8×8’s contact centre software offering is great for those 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 don’t need a bespoke package. Not only that, as well as a native CRM solution, 8×8 offers CRM integrations, so you can set up your call centre software to work alongside your current customer management system. You can even set up payment processing to keep all of your operations in one place. With customer journey analytics, workforce management, webchat, queuing, and callback features all part of the solution, 8×8’s tools offer everything you need to grow and manage your customer base. Just bear in mind that it’s not the most intuitive of platforms to use. Software integrations includeDynamics 365Salesforce CRMNetsuite Compatible phone systemsCisco DeskphonesPoly DeskphonesYealink Deskphones Top five features:Manage call quality with dashboard reporting and agent scoring Open APIs to integrate with a range of existing software platformsIntelligent AI to help build an efficient contact centreManage workforce with shift scheduling, forecasting, and holiday planningCloud-based reports can be accessed from any device with a log-in Pricing: £37 to £125 per user, per month 4. NextivaBest for: a full VoIP solution The majority of Nextiva customers comment on how easy its call centre phone system is to get to grips with. It offers all the features you can expect from call centre software, including IVR, call recording, and automatic call distribution. In addition to offering all the tools your agents need to effectively manage inbound and outbound calls, Nextiva provides call centres with reporting and dashboard capabilities, meaning team leaders can see how well individual agents are performing.Nextiva offers businesses a complete VoIP phone system solution, meaning your contact centre phone system can easily integrate with your business’s telecommunication infrastructure. For example, call centre agents can forward calls to internal handsets, and auto-attendants can divert calls away from your contact centre if specific advice is needed. Software integrations includeHubSpotSalesforce CRMZendesk Compatible phone systemsCisco DeskphonesPoly DeskphonesYealink Deskphones Top five features:Call analytics include total calls, talk time, and both inbound and outbound callsVoIP app allows agents to take calls on their mobile phone while on-the-goRoute calls to agents in a certain order depending on experience Tools such as barging and call pulling allow for a seamless experience when adding agents to the call, or transferring to a different device Set up omni-channel support, so you can assist on a preferred channel Pricing: $50 to $100+ per user, per month 5. Cisco WebexBest for: a bespoke call centre solutionCisco is one of the biggest names in UK telecoms, so it makes sense that it has a whole suite of telecoms solutions for businesses to take advantage of. Its solutions have been designed so that they’re easily integratable with each other, as well as with third party software.The telecommunication giant’s call centre phone system has been designed with enterprise businesses in mind. It supports up to 3,000 agents, and comes with advanced ACD and IVR. Companies can also set up chatbots, and benefit from omni-channel communication.The Webex platform is browser-based, meaning it’s not designed for use on tablets or mobile phones. If you do want to use VoIP phones in addition to headsets, then you’ll need to select phones from Cisco’s range of IP handsets. Software integrations includeGoogleMicrosoftSalesforce Compatible phone systemsCisco IP DECT 6825 HandsetCisco IP Phone 8800 Series Cisco IP Phone 7800 Series Top five features:Supports inbound and outbound voice, and email and web chatHistorical dashboards and live reporting to assess performanceSkills-based routing for all channels promotes effective customer serviceOpen API means developers can integrate a whole range of softwareCloud-based web application means remote workers are supported Pricing: From £96 per user, per month 6. FreshdeskBest for simple call centre setupsFreshdesk can be used as a basic ticketing system to address customer enquiries, or it can be used as a full on call centre software solution. The software supports email, social media, web chat, and bots, in addition to a call centre phone service. Unlike some of the more heavy-duty call centre phone systems featured on our list, Freshdesk is available as a browser app, meaning agents can access the software on their mobile phone or tablet. With knowledge base management to help advisors with answering customer questions, and the option to build customer satisfaction surveys, Freshdesk is a great solution for a small business looking for a lite, yet scalable call centre solution that’ll enable them to place their focus on customer service. Software integrations includeZoho CRMGoogle AnalyticsQuickbooks Compatible phone systemsCisco PanasonicPolycom Top five features:Available as a mobile app or browser-based appMulti-channel ticket assignment automatically given to those who become availableIntegrates with other business solutions and 300+ native apps to create seamless workflowsMonitor staff performance with Helpdesk performance management integrationFree plan is available (though it severely limits the call centre services you can offer) Pricing: From £11 – £85 per user, per month Best call centre phone systems and software: a summaryOur pick of the top six call centre software and phone system solutions offers something for everyone. If you’re after a sophisticated out-of-the-box call centre solution, you should look into investigating options from the likes of 8×8 and RingCentral. For a bespoke, scalable call centre solution that you can bring in-house as well as access remotely, Cisco is worth a look. Cisco’s team will be able to create a call centre package for the most niche of business setups. For a solution that’s sophisticated but a little less tech heavy, Nextiva and Avaya are good options to consider, while small businesses looking for a lite solution that they can integrate with an existing VoIP phone system may want to look at Freshdesk. If you don’t think any of these call centre systems match your needs, don’t worry. We haven’t been able to list all of the features that these call centre phone system providers offer, so it’s worth using our list as a guide from which to conduct some more research. Or, if you’d rather cut out the research entirely and get straight to the point, our call centre system comparison tool can help. It’s been designed by our team of telecommunication experts, who’ve come up with easy-to-answer questions that’ll guide you to the best provider for your needs. The tool is quick and completely free to use.How to choose the right call centre software for your small businessLook at the call centre software first, and make sure it offers you all the features you need. Will it allow your team to ring out (make outbound calls), as well as take calls? Can you set up things like an auto-attendant and interactive voice response? Can you set up call queuing, and recording?Make sure the software is scalable. Look at whether you can add sophisticated features like ticket assignment, omni-channel support, and voicemail transcription. Also look at whether it integrates with your existing customer relationship management (CRM) system, or whether it offers a sufficient native CRM system. Then look at choosing your call centre phones. Different software packages are compatible with different handsets. This means most suppliers will recommend the right phone package for a complete on-premise or cloud-based call centre phone system solution.If you feel like you need help finding the right call centre phone system and software for your small business, you can always shop around through startups.co.uk. Our comparison tool has been designed by our telephone experts to help guide businesses to the right solution. Once you’ve answered a few simple questions, you’ll be sent free no-obligation quotes from providers that match your needs. The tool is free to use, and has helped over a thousand businesses over the past year alone.Call centre phone system FAQsWhat are some of the burning questions when it comes to choosing a call centre phone system? What are the main call centre phone system features?What are the top six features you should be looking for when it comes to choosing a call centre phone system? Inbound call management – does it offer interactive voice response and automatic call distribution to make handling calls more efficient?Omni-channel support – to assist customers via multiple digital channels, including email, SMS, and instant messagingOutbound call management – auto-dials numbers to increase the likelihood of getting to a potential customerCRM integration and an open API – to integrate your call center phone system with customer relationship management software and other business toolsCall centre reporting – a dashboard that displays things like number of calls taken, cases resolved, and time spent on the phoneInteractive voice response – a machine answering system through which callers can complete basic tasks like registration or payment What are the benefits of a call centre phone system?A call centre doesn’t necessarily mean hundreds of employees sat behind a computer screen answering phone calls. It can simply be a couple of employees using a dedicated call management system, which assists with customer enquiries or outbound sales calls. Thanks to call centre software and phone system investment, businesses can benefit from:Increased efficiency – calls are directed to call handlers with expertise in a specific area, increasing customer satisfactionImproved customer experience – dedicated and trained call handlers ensure customer calls are dealt with professionallyGrow your business – train staff to convert casual enquirers into committed buyers, and show them techniques to retain customers that may have a complaintManage your sales funnel – dashboards alongside customer accounts will give you a bird's-eye view of your sales funnel How much does a call centre phone system cost?A call centre phone system can cost from around £40 per user, per month for the software alone. The overall cost depends on the features you need (for example, whether you’re looking for voice-only or omni-channel customer handling), and whether you’re looking at purchasing handsets, too. If you are investing in handsets as well as call centre software, you’ll need to consider the cost of configuring the handsets, plus any installation costs. VoIP handsets can cost upwards of £100, while installation costs can range from hundreds to tens of thousands of pounds depending on whether you’re looking at a cloud-based or on-premise solution. Share this post facebook twitter linkedin Aimee Bradshaw Senior Writer Aimee is Startups' resident expert in business tech, products, and services. She loves a great story and enjoys chatting to the startups and small business community. Starting her own egg delivery business from the age of 12, she has a healthy respect for self-starters and local services.