According to a recent survey, 61% of customers still prefer to use the phone to get support. It’s clear that, even in a world of email and chatbots, the telephone is still key to creating happy customers and more sales.
Automated calling services make it easy for businesses and organizations to efficiently respond to incoming calls from customers. From a sales perspective, the same service can be used to quickly call long lists of prospects and increase sales.
We reviewed over a dozen automated calling services based on the quality and variety of features, cost, ease of use, and more. Here are our top picks.
The 7 Best Automated Calling Services of 2020
Best Overall: Five9
Five9 was created as a virtual contact center (VCC) in 2001. Today, its cloud-based contact center software serves over 2,000 customers worldwide. We chose it as the best overall due to its flexible inbound, outbound, and blended packages; powerful third-party integrations; and training and workforce management solutions.
Five9 is a completely cloud-based service provider, which means businesses don’t need to buy any special equipment. All users need are a computer with fast internet access and a headset.
Five9’s inbound services include routing customers from multiple channels, interactive voice response with automated voice menus, and “screen pops” that give agents the information they need to personalize the customer’s experience.
Five9’s outbound services include speech recognition and predictive, progressive, and power dialers to connect callers with agencies faster and more efficiently. The company also offers a blended package that automatically assigns inbound calls to agents who are working on outbound campaigns when inbound traffic volume peaks.
Further, Five9 offers workforce management (WFM) and workforce optimization (WFO) solutions to help organizations manage staff and improve their agent capabilities. These include customer surveys, quality management, speech analytics, advanced data protection, and more.
Finally, Five9 integrates with a variety of contact relationship management (CRM) platforms, including Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, and Zendesk. Developers can also use Five9’s cloud APIs to create custom integrations with other software.
Five9 pricing is only available by requesting a quote and talking to an agent. Our research from third-party sources shows that Five9’s plans start at around $185 per user per month.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: ChaseData
ChaseData Corporation was founded in 1996 to provide cloud-based scalable and flexible software to call centers. The company provides industry-specific call center solutions for financial services, utilities, insurance, travel and hospitality, banking, and more. We chose it as our runner-up because it offers full-featured automated calling plans tailored for any small business.
ChaseData offers outbound call management, inbound contact center, and blended contact center services to help businesses and organizations handle both inbound and outbound communications.
The company’s outbound call management features include progressive, predictive, and power dialing (called preview dialing) as well as agentless dialing that can send pre-recorded messages or faxes to contacts. Users also get a 90-day call recording archive, real-time reporting, lead segmentation, an intuitive and individualized dashboard, and more.
ChaseData’s inbound calling features include customizable routing rules and segmentation, auto-attendant, IVR, quick caller ID, and more. The company’s blended call center lets agents multitask by answering inbound calls while attending to outbound calls at the same time.
Finally, ChaseData integrates directly with Salesforce, Sugar CRM, Zoho CRM, and Oracle as well as with over 500 other third-party apps through Zapier.
Small Business Plan
- $89 per user per month
- One voice channel per agent
- Call conference, hold, transfer, monitoring
- Digital call recording and playback (three months)
- List management, live dashboard, skill set assignment
- Preview dialing
- Progressive dialing
- Inbound capability
- Auto-attendant and IVR
- Automatic call distribution
- Music on hold
- Local, nationwide, and toll-free numbers available
- Remote agent capability
- $139 per user per month
- Four voice channels per agent
- Digital call recording and playback (six months)
- All Small Business Plan features
- Predictive dialing
- Skills-based routing
- Trainee mode for new trainees
- Customized SIP trunking
- Zapier integrations
- $169 per user per month
- Six voice channels per agent
- Digital call recording and playback (one year)
- All Professional Plan features
- Agentless dialing
- Auto leave message on voicemail
- Chat, email, and phone support
- SOAP-based Salesforce API
- Native API (Sugar CRM, Zoho, and Oracle)
Best for Client Engagement: Velocify
Velocify was founded in 2004 to provide cloud-based sales automation software for fast-paced sales teams. It was acquired by leading cloud-based mortgage finance platform Ellie May in 2017. We chose it as the best for client engagement because its Dial-IQ software combines automated calling and lead management software to help sales teams communicate more effectively with customers.
Velocify Dial-IQ is a completely cloud-based platform and integrates easily with any phone system, including cell phones and softphones. It also offers many features designed to optimize customer engagement and response, including click-to-dial, power dialing, blended inbound and outbound calling, matching local area codes on outbound calls, and powerful reporting and analytics.
The platform also offers more advanced automated calling features like notifying available reps of high potential inbound leads and connecting the first responder. Managers can monitor and coach agents using “whisper mode” so only the agent can hear or join a call at any time. Users can also record and listen to phone calls for training, quality assurance, and compliance.
Finally, Velocify Dial-IQ integrates directly with Salesforce and the Salesforce1 mobile app so agents can get all the customer data they need, even on-the-go.
Velocity pricing is only available by requesting a consultation. Our research from third-party sources shows that Velocity charges around $60-$100 per user per month.
Best for Sales Teams: PhoneBurner
PhoneBurner was developed in 2008 to help people use the phone as a relationship-building and selling tool. Today it is used by over 1,500 companies, including Remax, Keller Williams, and Farmers Insurance. We chose it as the best for sales teams because it comes with built-in CRM and integrates with other popular CRMs.
PhoneBurner comes with many standard automated calling software features, including power and remote dialing, SMS text messaging, local caller IDs, and automated lead distribution. The software also offers robust workflow automation and custom team reporting with automatic call tracking and recording.
PhoneBurner also makes it easy for sales teams to track and follow up with leads. A built-in CRM keeps a detailed history of every client’s call recordings, documents, and texts; tracks email engagement; and lets agents send emails and texts right from the CRM. PhoneBurner also offers intelligent lead filtering and automatically feeds the right leads to the right agents.
Teams that already have their own CRM can take advantage of PhoneBurner’s direct integrations with Salesforce, Hubspot, Pipedrive, Zoho CRM, and more. Users can also connect to thousands of other third-party integrations through Zapier or use PhoneBurner’s API to build custom integrations with practically any platform.
PhoneBurner is available for $149 per user per month and includes unlimited power dialing with no per-minute fees, call tracking and analytics, call recording and call transfer, phone and email support, a dedicated admin portal, and more.
Best for Small Businesses: Voicent
Founded in 2005, Voicent is a cloud-based call center platform with a built-in CRM and workflow automation that serves businesses in over 50 countries, including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and the Department of Homeland Security. We chose it as the best for small businesses because it offers à la carte pricing that lets users choose and pay for only the features they need.
Voicent is a solid automated calling service for small businesses with a full suite of service, sales, marketing, and management tools. The software offers an autodialer as well as predictive, progressive, preview, and power dialers; SMS and email marketing; and marketing automation.
Users can also enjoy a built-in CRM and agent dashboard that features sales automation; IVR; call routing; phone, text, and SMS surveys; whisper coaching; and CRM and agent reports.
Voicent’s CRM supports thousands of contacts to help small businesses track leads without needing to purchase additional software. It also fully integrates with Salesforce and offers an API to let developers create custom software integrations.
Voicent subscription-based pricing costs $19 per user per month billed yearly or $29 per user per month billed monthly and comes with a 30-day free trial. Additional features can be added to the base package for the following prices:
- Inbound call center with phone number: $15 per number
- Two-way text message campaign tool with phone number: $15 per number
- Additional outbound voice channel: $7 per channel
- Additional inbound voice channels: $7 per channel
- Workflow automation and customer journey management: $99 per account
- Caller ID: $2 per ID
- Email campaign tool: $5 per user
- Call center management: $10 per user
Best for Scaling: RingCentral Engage
RingCentral began as a small business communications tool for Microsoft Windows in 1999. It has since grown to become a unified voice, video meeting, team messaging and collaboration, and contact center platform serving 400,000 customers around the world. We chose it as the best for scaling because it’s a fully customizable cloud communication platform that can be customized to the needs of any business.
RingCentral Engage combines inbound, outbound, and digital customer interactions in one unified, cloud-based platform. The platform’s inbound capabilities feature Intelligent call routing like automatic call distribution (ACD), IVR, and skills-based routing. RingCentral Engage’s outbound capabilities include automated dialers, simple agent onboarding and automation, and advanced real-time and historical reporting.
RingCentral Engage also offers omnichannel routing features that let businesses connect to customers the way they want, from social channels and live chat to email and text messaging. The platform also provides managers with a full workforce optimization suite, including speech analytics and performance and quality management tools.
Finally, RingCentral Engage integrates directly with dozens of third-party apps, including Salesforce, Slack, Zoho CRM, Trello, and Google Drive as well as thousands of other apps through Zapier.
RingCentral has four plans at different prices points. Paying annually gets a discount too.
Essentials (19.99 per user per month or 29.99 per user per month.)
- Up to 20 users only
- Business phone or toll-free numbers
- Unlimited calls within the US/CA*
- Unlimited business SMS
- Team messaging
- Document sharing
Standard ($24.99 per user per month or $34.99 per user per month)
- All Essentials Plan features
- No limit on number of users
- Business phone numbers in over 100 countries
- Unlimited internet fax
- Unlimited audio conferencing
- Video meetings with up to 100 participants
- Up to 24-hour meeting duration
- Quality-of-service reports
- Popular integrations including
Office 365, G Suite, Slack,
- 24/7 support
Premium ($34.99 per user per month or $44.99 per user per month)
- All Standard Plan features
- Automatic call recording
- Single Sign-on
- Multi-site admin and management
- Up to 8-digit extensions with site codes
- Hot desking
- Advanced call handling including whisper, barge, and more
- Video meetings with up to 200 participants
- Real-time analytics
- Popular CRM integrations with Salesforce, Zendesk, and more
- Industry-specific integrations with Canvas, Smarsh, and more
- Developer platform and custom integrations
Premium ($49.99 per user per month or $59.99 per user per month)
- All Premium Plan features
- Device status reports
- Device status alerts
- Unlimited storage
Best for Nonprofits: CallHub
CallHub offers call center, voice broadcasting, and SMS marketing software designed for political campaigns, nonprofits, and advocacy groups. The company serves more than 1,200 customers in over 200 countries including organizations like Amnesty International and Sierra Club. We chose it as the best for nonprofits because it offers integrations with over a dozen political and advocacy platforms and a budget-friendly, pay-as-you-go pricing structure.
CallHub’s cloud-based call center offers many standard calling services. Users get access to robust predictive, power, and preview dialers depending on the need of each organization; the ability to import contacts from a CRM; local caller IDs; phone number verification; a detailed analytics dashboard; and more.
Features specific to nonprofits and organizations include mass and peer-to-peer texting, test opt-ins, scheduling pre-recorded calls to voters, patching members through to their representative, and assigning teams to phone banking campaigns.
Finally, CallHub integrates directly with many political, advocacy, and nonprofit software platforms, including NationBuilder, Action Network, Blackbaud Luminate, and Salesforce as well as thousands of other apps through Zapier.
CallHub has replaced subscription pricing for a pay-as-you-go model to help nonprofits and advocacy groups stay on budget. The price-per-minute rates are based on which device the agents are using.
Call Center Pricing
- Browser/softphone: $0.069 per minute
- Phone: $0.092 per minute
- Phone (dial-in): $0.072 per minute
Voice Broadcast Pricing
- Pre-recorded voice call: $0.046 per minute
Peer-to-Peer Texting Pricing
- SMS (sending): $0.034 per minute
- SMS (receiving): $0.012 per minute
- MMS (sending): $0.12 per minute
- MMS (receiving): $0.06 per minute
SMS Broadcast/Opt-In Pricing
- Short code
- $25 per month per keyword
- $0.05 per text to send
- $0.03 per text to receive
- 10-digit number
- $2 per month
- $0.034 per text to send
- $0.012 per text to receive
Collective Calling Pricing
- Phone: $0.016 per minute
What Is an Automated Calling Service?
Depending on the platform, an automatic calling service can help a business respond to incoming customer calls or make more outbound sales calls to prospective customers. These platforms are also used by organizations to send emergency notifications, event reminders, and weather alerts, or for debt collection, political campaigns, and fundraising.
As a business grows and manages more support calls, it needs more automation to route calls to available agents to minimize wait times and deliver better service. Similarly, businesses that can make more calls and accurately track leads can increase their sales.
How Does an Automated Calling Service Work?
Automated calling services typically have two primary functions: managing and routing calls coming into a business or organization and helping automate calls going out to the business or organization’s customers or members.
On the inbound side, automated calling platforms help send incoming calls to the best agent who can help. This can be done through an IVR system that lets callers resolve their own problems through menu choices and route them to the right person if they can’t. Inbound calling often includes call recording and performance tracking tools to help agents serve customers better.
On the outbound side, automatic calling services use autodialers to efficiently call as many contacts as possible and to prioritize contacts with the best sales potential using a “scoring” system. Outbound calls also often include integrations with a CRM in order to track and score leads.
How Much Do Automated Calling Services Cost?
Most automated calling services offer monthly pricing based on the number of users. Costs typically range from as low as $20 to nearly $200 per user per month. The lower-range plans tend to offer little to no third-party integrations and limited inbound or outbound features.
Only a few of the services offer pay-as-you-go pricing, with rates as low as $0.069 per minute for a browser-based phone. These options are best for nonprofits or businesses with tight budgets.
Are Automated Calling Services Worth the Cost?
Businesses that are struggling to manage an increasing volume of support calls can benefit from an automated calling service. In these cases, the cost of losing customers due to ignored calls or poor customer service can be much greater than the cost of automated calling service.
Businesses with long sales processes should also consider an automated calling service. Making more calls (and follow-up calls) to prospects can be vital to the growth of such a business. In this case, automated calling software can help qualify and track leads and prioritize calls for the maximum return.
How We Chose the Best Automated Calling Services
We looked at over a dozen services for this review. First and foremost, we chose providers with robust inbound, outbound, or blended calling features. Next, we looked at services that integrated easily with existing phone systems without the need for additional equipment.
We also wanted to choose providers that were reasonably priced or offered à la carte pricing for small- to mid-sized businesses. Finally, we wanted to make sure our choices integrated with a wide variety of other software, or at the very least, a good CRM platform. Customer service and sales are most effective when it’s integrated into a business’s or organization’s existing systems. These considerations, plus company history and reputation, helped us select the best automated calling services of 2020.
Talkdesk. "10 Customer Service Statistics for Call Center Supervisors." Accessed November 11, 2020.