Does your organization or business make a large volume of calls or texts over a given period of time? Think voter registrations, fundraising campaigns, healthcare enrollment, weather cancellations, or appointment reminders..
Are you looking to automate or enhance an referral process so people immediately receive a call or text from you when you receive their information?
You might be looking into robocalls (or texts). Robocalling services allow you to import a large number of phone numbers and leave automated message or send texts to your contacts.
I recently looked at a few major robocall providers and rated them based on their ease of use and customer service. Check them out and see what might work for your project or program.
|Pricing: You can buy a block of calls (recommended). The message units can be used for calls or text messages and they never expire. You can also sign up for a subscription (only use this if you plan on using it a lot). Pricing information is publicly available on their website for blocks and subscriptions. No free trial available. They offer non-profit discounts.
How it Works: Everything is managed in your dashboard in your web browser. You can use a pre-recorded an audio message (mp3) uploaded to the dashboard OR their text-to-speech feature to create your messages if you don’t have time to record your own messages (not recommended). You upload your contact lists to their dashboard in Excel file format. Then, you schedule calls. You can view the results of your calls or messages in your dashboard.
Dashboard/Ease of Use rating: ★★★★★
RoboTalker’s dashboard is streamlined and very simple. They have a demo video right on their website for anyone to view.
Customer Service: ★★★★★
They responded immediately via email offering to set up a time to talk after I submitted their contact form and after I provided more information about our project needs, they provided suggestions about which plan/amount of credits would work best for us.
|Pricing: You can purchase prepaid credits for calls or texts, but you have to contact them for pricing. Free trial available.
How it Works:
They do have a mobile app you can install on your smart device, but the browser dashboard just looks clunky compared to the other I looked at.
They followed up with me by email after I submitted a demo request form on their website with specific information about our project needs. They were honest and transparent and provided suggestions about which plan/amount of credits would work best for us.
|Pricing: Their voice calling option goes by minutes. You’d have to do math to figure out how many messages you could get for your needs. Free trial available
How it works: The voice calling feature is part of a larger suite of communications applications offered by SimplyCast. Voice and texts are separate. Everything is managed in your SimplyCast dashboard. You can use a pre-recorded an audio message (mp4) uploaded to the dashboard OR their text-to-speech feature to create your messages if you don’t have time to record your own messages (not recommended). You upload your contact lists to their dashboard in Excel file format. Then, you schedule calls. You can view the results of your calls or messages in your dashboard.
Dashboard/Ease of Use rating: ★★★★
Customer Service: N/A – they didn’t ever call or email me personally. I received an automatically generated feedback form, but no personal outreach.
|Pricing: MSRP ranges from $1,800 to $2,700, and the first year of support is included at no-charge (I was quoted at $1,300 as a nonprofit). No free trial available.
How it works: With the PhoneTree Hardware and Software Kits, you purchase the equipment/hardware and install their software to manage your contacts and messages. Having equipment and extra software means having to keep it up. Even though the first year of support is free, you have to decide if it’s within your capacity to keep everything up to date.
They do have a cloud-based option, but I was not offered a chance to look at it and the rep didn’t think it met our needs.
Dashboard/Ease of Use rating: N/A – the representative I spoke with told me about their hardware solution, but there was no demo to try.
Customer Service: ★★
Somebody followed up with me within a couple hours of me filling out their demo request form. He pitched the hardware option to me. I requested a demo or something I could watch to see how it works but it was not available. According to their website, with the hardware/software option, you can record messages and send them, but he didn’t seem to think it was possible.
Overall winner: I chose Robotalker based on the appearance/functionality of their dashboard and their customer service. They ended up being cheaper than OneCallNow by a few bucks.
Since we weren’t necessarily looking at a long-term solution, I didn’t choose the hardware/software option offered by Phone Tree, although it may be a wise solution for those looking to make an investment in this for the future. I also preferred having a place to log-in to where I could view the results of my calls and manage everything in one place.
If you are currently using robo-calling software or choose a service above or not listed here, feel free to share your experience in the comments!