Best IVR System for Small Business? Nextiva’s Advanced IVR

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Using a well-designed IVR system can improve call handling in several ways. Not only can it improve the customer experience, but it’s also available 24/7 and can dramatically lower your operational costs. 

The question is, what’s the best IVR system for your small business?

To us, the answer is obvious—Nextiva’s Advanced IVR system. 

Why Nextiva’s Advanced IVR System is the Best For a Small Business

Screenshot of laptop showing Nextiva IVR routing on monitor

One of the best things about Nextiva’s system is that it’s customizable, making it adaptable to everyone’s needs and budget. Even businesses just starting out can have access to a top-tier IVR system, with robust features at a cost they can afford. 

Here are some specific features Nextiva offers:

  • Natural language call steering
  • Queue callback
  • FAQ answering
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Payment processing
  • Multilingual virtual agents

Plus, it has industry-specific features, such as insurance enrollment and hotel reservation booking, which is a nice touch. 

With these features, you can offer callers a comprehensive list of self-service tools to provide 24/7 support at a low cost. You won’t need to pay for an entire team of live agents or more employees when you have an efficient cloud-based IVR system like this one, helping you save on staffing, training, and onboarding costs. 

In terms of the specific savings amount, Nextiva mentions you can potentially save up to $23,200 by using a virtual agent instead of a human one. 

And this is big for small businesses. Because you have such a small team, you likely can’t spend a lot of time or money setting up an IVR system. 

That’s the beauty of Nextiva. It has a simple, web-based portal to conveniently set up and manage your IVR system. It also easily integrates with external systems like a CRM, appointment center, or payment service. That way, you can get everything easily configured without needing a dedicated tech expert. 

Customers today are used to a more personalized experience, which is what Nextiva provides.

With the help of conversational AI, callers can speak naturally to the IVR system and state exactly what they need. The system will then process the request and respond to the customer’s query quickly.

Say, for instance, a customer is calling to make a payment. Rather than forcing them to listen to a long list of menu options, potentially with multiple layers, Nextiva allows them to simply state that they need to make a payment. 

From there, the system will instantly bring them to the PCI-compliant payment processing area so they can make a payment without any hassle. And because Nextiva offers multilingual virtual agents, callers can speak in their natural language. 

This provides an experience tailored to the customer rather than the same one everyone gets by solely using menu options. 

If you’re wondering about the technology behind Nextiva’s Advanced IVR System, it’s powered by Google Dialogflow (Google’s platform for developing chatbots and virtual agents) and IBM Watson, which is one of the world’s most advanced natural language processing systems. 

Here are some of the most impressive benefits Nextiva’s system offers:

  • Increased call routing efficiency (a 99% reduction in customer service time)
  • Advanced self-service options for callers
  • Fewer abandoned calls
  • More secured credit card payments
  • Higher customer satisfaction (a 10-point improvement, on average)
  • Greater operational efficiency
  • Lower operational costs

When you put all of that together, you can see why Nextiva’s Advanced IVR System is our top recommendation for small businesses. For pricing information, you’ll need to contact Nextiva’s sales team.

A Couple More Solid IVR Systems if Nextiva Isn’t For You

Although Nextiva is our personal recommendation, it may not be the right choice for every small business. Here are two additional IVR systems that may fit your business better.

RingCentral Business Phone System

Screenshot of RingCentral business phone system landing page

RingCentral offers one of the best all-in-one business phone systems on the market, as it unifies all of your communication channels onto one single platform. That way, you can simplify communication with customers, as well as between internal teams. 

It comes with a multi-level auto-attendant and IVR system, which provides efficient call routing for multiple locations and offices. You can have up to 250 voice menus and submenus per account. You can also enable self-service options, so you can feel confident about being able to serve customers no matter what their inquiry is. 

The RingCentral editor for creating phone trees is intuitive and easy to use, making it convenient to integrate without having to deal with an overwhelming learning curve. This makes it perfect for small businesses that are just getting the hang of using an IVR system and need a straightforward solution. 

In terms of plans, there are three to choose from, and all include the IVR:

  • Core – $20/user/month annually, $30/user/month monthly
  • Advanced – $25/user/month annually, $35/user/month monthly (this is the most popular plan)
  • Ultra – $35/user/month annually, $45/user/month monthly 

Besides the IVR, the Core plan offers unlimited domestic calling, SMS and MMS, basic analytics, AI transcription, and AI meeting summaries. The Advanced plan features everything included with the Core package, as well as auto call recording, advanced call monitoring and handling, multi-site management, and essential business analytics. 

And the Ultra plan includes all of the features in the Core and Advanced plans, plus unlimited HD video, whiteboards and messaging, unlimited file sharing, unlimited storage for files and recordings, and enhanced business analytics. 

The bottom line is that if you’re looking for a high-quality IVR system along with a platform that streamlines communication internally, the RingCentral business phone system is an excellent option. While it’s not quite as loaded as Nextiva’s Advanced IVR system, it’s certainly a respectable product and more than sufficient for many small businesses.

8×8 Contact Center

Screenshot of 8x8 contact center landing page showing examples of agent status and interactions dashboards

The first thing to note about 8×8’s IVR system is that it’s only available through its Contact Center Solution. Admittedly, this won’t be for everyone, given a full contact center solution may be too expensive or unnecessary for some small businesses. 

If, for instance, you only need a bare-bones IVR system, 8×8 probably won’t make sense. 

That said, it’s worth considering if the price fits your budget because you get access to robust features that enhance the customer experience across all interactions. And given how strong 8×8’s IVR system is, we believe many small business owners will get a lot of value out of this product. 

8×8 has two IVR system choices

One is 8×8 IVR, which is included with every Contact Center solution license. It’s a fully integrated system, with built-in native CRM and customer experience analytics. You can use it to conveniently route calls and handle routine inquiries with self-service options. 

And with the built-in analytics, you get a detailed overview of call patterns, which provides valuable insights into what’s working and what needs tweaking. 

The other plan is 8×8 Intelligent IVR, which can be purchased as an add-on. This AI-powered, speech-enabled voice response system provides intelligent self-service options for callers and relies on smart call routing. And the drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to build and edit any IVR path. 

Regardless of which plan you choose, the 8×8 Contact Center can help you create smooth customer interaction workflows to help callers find the information they need while performing many self-service tasks. That way, you can avoid needlessly routing callers to live agents to handle routine inquiries. 

8×8 also makes the system easy to navigate for the caller. Say, for example, a caller needs to change a menu option at some point during their call. This IVR system allows them to instantly do so without needing a live agent to step in. 

And for the callers that need to be routed to a live agent, 8×8 enables you to direct them to the appropriate person for quicker call resolution. That way, you can fully leverage each agent’s sophisticated skill set while minimizing unnecessary transfers. 

All the while, you can capture valuable data to continuously refine your IVR system and provide the best possible caller experience. 

Also, it’s worth mentioning that if you have higher than normal levels of business activity like a seasonal spike during the holidays, you can adjust your call flows to handle increased call volume. This allows you to account for fluctuations without having to add new team members. 

As for Contact Center plans, there are four options available:

  • X4
  • X6
  • X7
  • X8

Note, however, that to get pricing information, you need to talk to the sales department. 

Let’s Recap

Pound for pound, our favorite choice is Nextiva’s Advanced IVR System, mainly because of the wide range of features you get. But if that’s not quite what you’re looking for, RingCentral and 8×8 offer excellent options as well. 

It’s just a matter of what features you need and your budget.

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