Last updated on March 10th, 2019 at 01:09 pm
A call center is not merely made up of phones and people answering them these days. Just as with any aspect of business, software created especially for call center purposes has become commonplace over the past two decades.
If you want your call center operating at full functionality, such specific call center software may be worth looking into. As with any software, call center software comes with a wide range of different features.
Most come with such features as automatic call distribution (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), auto dialers, and workforce scheduling, among others. Anything you can do with a business phone, you can do with call center software, and more.
Our Top Call Center Software Pick: Five9
That said, Five9 offers the best all-around service that you can find in just about any call center anywhere.
While it’s on the pricier side, the breadth of features that you can get from Five9 put it at the top of our list.
Best Call Center Software Providers[table “76” not found /]
Our Second Best Pick: Talkdesk
Not everyone needs all the features that Five9 offers.
Talkdesk has nearly as many features as services like Five9, but at a much more reasonable price.
Five9 has been around for a while, as far as call center software is concerned.
They first released their virtual contact center in 2003, and have been in business ever since.
Today, they have headquarters around the world, including California, Russia and the Philippines.
One of Five9’s most standout features is their active blending capability. This blends together both inbound and outbound features to differentiate customer experience and maximize productivity.
This is made possible in part due to dynamic predictive dialer technology, which automatically moves outbound agents to inbound queues when there’s no outbound calls to be made, and vice versa.
This system encourages proactive follow-up calls, the solicitation of customer feedback, and notification of product shipment or problem resolution.
Five9 offers robust IVR and predictive dialing features. You can also add line capacity in mere hours, with multi device access. Five9 also guarantees 99.999% uptime, with around-the-clock monitoring.
There’s a variety of other benefits to using Five9 as your call center software. You get no maintenance costs or expensive integration projects. Nor does signing up for Five9 require any hardware investment.
Software maintenance is also kept out of your hands. Five9 takes care of your contact center infrastructure, so you can stay focused on running your company.
Five9 is a cloud-based call center program. Setting up requires no extra fees or complex, time-consuming processes. It also makes your call center management more flexible and scalable for your needs.
Five9 is one of the more expensive call center software options out there. The monthly per-agent, per-month cost is $175 for fewer than ten agents, and $165 for more than ten. Additionally, you will have to pay $250 for a one-time setup fee.
You’ll also need to sign a contract. Whether it’s month-to-month or annual, it’s still a contract. If you sign up for an annual contract, you’ll pay less per month – but you’ll be locked in for at least a year.
One knock against Five9 is that the company uses Java as the foundation for their technology. Some customers view Java as obsolete and less secure than other platforms, and have reported issues with updates.
Five9 has a robust set of features to offer a company that requires broad and flexible call center functionality. But their price range may be more ideal for a well-established business with money to spend.
Talkdesk bills themselves as a next-generation, cloud-based call center software.
They boast an easy to use interface as well as advanced features, comprehensive reporting, and integrations with more than 25 business tools.
With Talkdesk, you get all the standard features you get with most call center software, and more. You can record calls, make unlimited concurrent calls, and agent-to-agent calls.
Talkdesk also offers a click-to-call feature, where you can place calls directly from your preferred helpdesk, CRM, or website.
You also get advanced routing features with Talkdesk. In addition to ACD and IVR, skills-based routing is included.
With skills-based routing, you can assign calls to a specific agent or use Talkdesk’s algorithm to ensure that customers are connected with the most qualified agent to meet their needs.
You can integrate Talkdesk with programs such as Salesforce, Zendesk, and LiveChat. Among these business tool integrations, you get enhanced caller ID, automatic workflows, and contact history.
As Talkdesk is a browser-based software, setup is quick and easy. Talkdesk also has real-time and historical reporting, as well as call monitoring, providing you with the tools you need to analyze data, even on the fly, to aid in your decision-making.
Talkdesk starts at reasonably affordable pricing. If you sign up for an annual contract, a basic plan costs $45 per agent per month. Professional and enterprise plans cost a bit more – $65 and $125 per agent per month, respectively.
But this pricing can be deceptive. With Talkdesk, incoming calls are not free. Incoming calls cost $0.02 a minute and outbound, $0.03 a minute. And this is just for calls made in the US and Canada.
As Talkdesk is a browser-based software, it operates exclusively in the cloud. No software downloads or hardware purchase is necessary to run Talkdesk– only a computer, an internet connection and a plan.
Even with all the amazing features and affordable pricing, Talkdesk does have its detractors. Many people don’t find Talkdesk’s features to particularly stand out. Most customers would like to see more features added in the future, such as more comprehensive Zendesk integration.
Talkdesk is a handy option for small and medium-sized businesses with smaller staff and budgets to balance. However, you’ll need to pay extra for every call that’s made, so if you sign up with Talkdesk, be mindful of your monthly bill.
InContact is another leading call center software provider.
Offering only the leading ACD, IVR, and WFO software, as well as the only no-pause dialer on the market, InContact has gained traction among a lot of businesses.
Features and Benefits
InContact offers a wide range of features with their call center service. In addition to the features mentioned above.
You get agent scripting, disaster recovery, and automatic callback. With agent scripting, you can customize agent scripts and create decision trees.
The disaster recovery feature in particular enables you to keep taking calls even in the event of a weather-related or other disasters that would otherwise disrupt service.
With this feature, you can ask agents to work from home or wherever there’s an internet connection, or even reroute calls to another location if you have one.
With InContact , you also get speech analytics software. This software will help you identify the top concerns and the most important calls.
You can also set up custom call tags with this software to categorize customers’ reasons for calling. There’s a lot more you can get with InContact as well.
The program offers campaign and list management capabilities, and over 100 third-party CRM integrations. Whatever integrations you need, InContact likely has it on their list.
Unfortunately, InContact is not very transparent with its pricing scheme. You’ll have to contact them directly for a quote. Some sources have reported plans in the neighborhood of $100 per month.
With all the features a plan with InContact would come with, it won’t be cheap. On the other hand, their billing model is pay as you go, requiring no contract to sign on to their services.
InContact is a software as a service (SaaS). This means that you’ll be paying a subscription to pay for a license to run the software. While it’s a specific form of cloud computing, it’s still a cloud-based service.
Customers dissatisfied with InContact tended to complain about the usual issues with buggy software and the occasional poor customer service. But overall InContact seems to generate more praise than complaints.
With the lack of pricing information, it’s hard to say who might be the best customer for InContact. But the wide span of features and lack of transparency with pricing indicates it’s on the expensive end of the pricing spectrum.
If you’re a medium to large size business that could use all the features, InContact may be the one for you.
Nextiva Call Center
Nextiva has been in the business since 2006, and serves more than 100,000 businesses in the United States alone.
They also serve clients worldwide, including international airlines and Japanese auto manufacturers.
Nextiva is also a top place to work among tech companies. In 2015, they were selected as a Careerbuilder top place to work in the state of Arizona.
They take the practical stance that happy workers will lead to happy customers, and so far it looks like it’s working.
Nextiva’s motto is “Amazing Service,” taking particular pride in their own customer service department. Nextiva boasts of short hold times and friendly customer service agents.
But Nextiva offers one of the top call center programs on the market, so with any luck you won’t have a need for their customer service.
Among the standard call center features, Nextiva offers intelligent automated call distribution and detail agent status. Conditional call routing and swap cues for agents are also included with a Nextiva plan.
They also make transfers simple, with a one-click call transfer feature. It also takes only one click to any phone number extension.
If you’re looking for an affordable call center program, Nextiva may be it. For their most popular office plans, you’ll pay $35.95 per user a month for one to four users, $30.95 for 5 to 19 users, and $22.95 for more than 100 users.
Nextiva also requires no contract to sign up. With any plan, you get a lot of freebies, too. A local number, toll-free number, and porting an existing number come at no extra charge.
You also get conference bridge, advanced call management, and unlimited calling with your plan.
Cloud-based and Installation
Nextiva is a cloud-based software program, meaning that data related to Nextiva won’t clutter up your hard drive. But it does come with hardware, however, so you’ll need to spend some time setting up.
You can also use Nextiva as an app on your phone or other mobile device – provided you’re using an Apple product.
It can take some time to set up the system, and tech-savvy business owners may not appreciate overly helpful customer service staff when setting up.
Nextiva does come with some hardware setup, so the process can be long and tedious, even frustrating.
Nextiva has a plan tailored for a business of any size, large or small. Their comprehensive plan structure makes it affordable for a small business and leaves room to grow.
If you start with Nextiva and find that you need more than five agents, for example, you’ll easily be able to upgrade your plan.
Aircall is relatively new to the call center software scene. Founded in 2014 in France, Aircall has quickly become a global enterprise.
You can contact the company from nine different countries, and obtain a new number from them in over 40 countries.
Aircall has a huge host of features at your disposal if you sign up. You get a free toll-free number, a click to call button, IVR, and skills-based call routing. You also get unlimited concurrent calls and real-time number modifications.
Most of their features don’t really stand out from the rest of the pack. Plenty of other call center software companies provide all these features. But at Aircall’s price point, you don’t need to ask for much to be satisfied.
A subscription to Aircall also includes access to a host of integrations. You can integrate Aircall with Salesforce, Zendesk, Slack, and lots of other helpdesk and CRM software.
Cloud-based computing and Mobile App
Aircall, like many of the others on this list, is also an SaaS call center provider. While you pay for their services on a subscription basis, you get access to their full range of functionality as long as you remain a subscriber.
If you want to keep using the software wherever you go, you can install Aircall’s app on your Apple or Android device.
Aircall is one of the most affordable call center software programs you can get, starting at $15 a month per user for a Starter plan. Prices go up to $30 for Premium, and $50 a month for an Enterprise plan.
You can also sign up for a seven-day free trial if you’re not ready to commit. With either the premium or enterprise plan (their more popular plans) you get unlimited users.
Call recording, forwarding, and voicemail, as well as click to call and a host of other features. You also get help center access and email and phone support if you need it.
An enterprise plan gives you a little bit more. On an enterprise plan, you get unlimited caller queue and data recording, as well as advanced analytics and Salesforce integration.
You’ll also get a bit more of a personal touch from customer support, with a dedicated account manager and one-to-one onboarding sessions.
As a newer software, Aircall still has a few bugs to work out. Some customers have mentioned having issues with both the desktop and mobile applications from time to time.
Aircall doesn’t have a lot of unique features, either, but this could change as the company grows.
Aircall provides all the features that one would require of call center software, at a reasonable price point, to boot.
Very small businesses may not require all the features. But a growing business may find that Aircall offers just what they’re looking for at the right price.
Our Final Say on Call Center Software Providers
Choosing the right call center software can be a critical choice for your business. You don’t want to go with a provider that is too buggy or where customer support gives you a hard time.
Luckily, none of the selections on this list have such issues. If you go with any of our selections for best call center software, you’ll be going in well-informed and satisfied.
The WiseSmallBusiness Team is full of industry experts and successful business owners willing to contribute important business articles.