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Best call center software of 2021

Best call center software
(Image credit: Pixabay)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best call center software can provide an enterprise-grade telecoms experience for small to medium-sized businesses.

Call centers used to something only enterprise companies could afford, but cloud-based phone systems can now also offer a an accessible and affordable call center solution, to make it easier to manage all customer and staff communications.

As it's all driven by software, this means no expensive outlay of hardware costs, let alone constructing your own call center. Additionally, as it runs from your existing business phone system, this means all of your communications can be handled by the same software and phones that you are already using.

Standard features will include all forms of call routing which should normally include interactive voice response (IVR) and on-hold messaging, among other things. Also note that some call center service providers offer complete SaaS platforms, such as Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) and Contact Platform as a Service (CPaaS).

Additionally, using the same software platform means being able to collect and analyze data regarding all aspects of your business communications, from KPIs for phone agents, through to workflows that result in the best customer resolution. The result is the ability to generate reports on efficiency and productivity and have clear ways in which to improve both.

The fact that a call center can now be run through a software solution means that the market place is becoming increasingly crowded, with existing VoIP providers jostling with legacy phone companies to offer a plan for you. To help make the decision-making process simpler, we feature the best call center software solutions below.



(Image credit: RingCentral)

1. RingCentral Contact Center

The innovative call center software provider

Reasons to buy
+Omnichannel routing+Easy cloud platform+Powerful customizations

RingCentral offer one of the most innovative of the cloud-based phone platforms, and the RingCentral Contact Center software is no exception.

The platform is designed around a number of core features, such as true omnichannel routing, CRM software integrations, agent management software, as well as the inevitable reporting dashboard and analytics.

What sets RingCentral apart from many competitors is that the service has been built in the cloud for the cloud, avoiding some of the technical problems that have plagued other vendors who have tried to migrate legacy systems online.

Additionally, RingCentral's Connect platform offers a backend with a powerful yet easy to implment range of customizations which makes it a leading CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) provider.

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(Image credit: channels)

2. channels

Local call center for sales

Reasons to buy
+Uses local numbers from 75+ countries+Good reporting suite+Strong focus on sales+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Sales focus may be too narrow for some

Formerly known as CrazyCall, channels is a cloud-based service that can be easily managed through an app. You can make calls both through an automatic dialer as well as using a click-to-call browser extension.

A unique feature of channels is that it allows you to route outgoing calls through local phone numbers, which may increase response rates for sales calls. Call recording comes as standard to help monitor agent results, and reporting is included to allow you to organize and analyze calls and manage success rates.

Rather than providing general customer/client support, channels is more focused on being a sales-calling platform and doing that well, especially in terms of improving conversions and increasing ROI.

Pricing includes features such as IVR, free incoming calls, 30 days call recording, ecommerce integration, and live chat integration.

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(Image credit: Freshworks)

3. Freshcaller

Easy to use call center software

Reasons to buy
+Cloud hosted PBX+No hardware required+Designed for small businesses+Free basic tier
Reasons to avoid
-Need to purchase numbers

Freshcaller is an all-round call center platform that runs from the cloud and is simple to use. Everything can be managed from a single control panel, and calls can be made with nothing more than a click.

The fact that it doesn’t require any hardware makes it an obvious solution for small businesses, but it still includes a lot of features, such as call masking, routing, recording/monitoring, forwarding, and conferencing calling. Although it allows for global use, local numbers still have to be bought through the Freshcaller management inventory.

Overall, it’s a good general platform for integrated call purposes, and that it’s internet-based makes it both very accessible and affordable. The starter level is free to use for unlimited agents, with the only cost being call charges. 

There are paid versions available, with the more expensive options offering more advanced features, such as call routing after business hours and metrics, as well as service-level monitoring and omnichannel routing.

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(Image credit: Five9)

4. Five9

All-in-one call center solution

Reasons to buy
+Intelligent routing+CRM integration+Focus on increased productivity
Reasons to avoid
-Pricing isn’t as competitive as some rivals

Five9 is an all-in-one call center solution that enables management of customer support and sales through a single dashboard. Aside from all the usual features you’d expect, it also includes a predictive AI to maximize efficiency among teams.

This means that if there’s a surge in inbound calls, agents normally involved in outbound calls will be diverted to handle the extra workload, and vice-versa. There are various settings and features involved with this, all focused on improving efficiency.

If that wasn’t enough, this solution also integrates with a number of major CRM software platforms, such as Salesforce, Zendesk, and Oracle. Five9 is also a cloud-based solution, making it easy to access without the need for telecoms hardware. Built for anything from small business to enterprise needs, pricing is customized according to need.

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(Image credit: ZenDesk)

5. ZenDesk Talk

Call center with CRM

Reasons to buy
+CRM with call center+Customer-focused solution+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

While many cloud call-center providers build customer relations management (CRM) into their product, ZenDesk has done it the other way around by building a cloud contact center around customer relations management. The result is ZenDesk Talk, a smooth and sleek solution that really does put the customer first.

Customer service teams now have the ability to provide telephone support from the same place they manage other channels, with the customer information and history provided as the call is taken. The aim here is to maximize efficiency and workflows by presenting everything together. However, as well as calls Zendesk Talk also has built in SMS, with texts automatically working to raised tickets, making it easy to keep track of communications. 

Additionally, there are all the features you'd normally expect with a call center solution, not least call recording, IVR, routing, and real-time monitoring. As a cloud-based system it can be set up within minutes, and analytics allows for KPI to be tracked and monitored.

More call center solutions

Improvements to internet and network technology have allowed cloud solutions to flourish, and while we've covered the best in contact center solutions, here are some strong contenders to also consider:

LiveAgent is a helpdesk solution for improved customer service, that includes the ability to route and work with phone calls in its more expensive plan. At the basic level LiveAgent is a CRM platform that deals with email ticketing and live chat, but its All-Inclusive plan for $39 per month per agent includes a cloud contact center along with all the options and analytics you'd expected from a best-of service provision.

Talkdesk offers an enterprise cloud contact center that could allow you to make big efficiency and cost savings. It's simple to use but packed with wide range of advanced features, and there are a number of integrations available to improve productivity. The system can be adapted and customized according to your needs, but automation is available for routine tasks to help improve workflows.

8x8 offers a dedicated cloud contact center alongside its VoIP services, offering features such as omnichannel routing and analytics, as well as a range of CRM integration options with SalesForce, Netsuite, Microsoft Dynamics, and Zendesk. The focus here isn't just on providing a communications solution as much as a platform for improving productivity and efficiency. 

VICIdial is the most widely used open source call center platform, and it’s free to use. This solution is also very feature-rich and undergoing constant development. You can either download and install it on your own server network, or else opt to use VICIdial’s own hardware and have the company manage everything for you. Because VICIdial is open source, you’re not locked in to a vendor.

Twilio Flex is another option to bear in mind, billing itself as the ‘world’s most flexible cloud contact center’. Some of the major advantages with this particular system include the ability to very swiftly deploy a call center – within a week, the company promises – and not just that, but there’s a huge amount of flexibility on offer to tailor the solution to your precise business requirements (for example, it’s dead easy to add something like a chatbot to your existing contact center solution). Twilio offers a free trial and pricing is pitched at $150 per user per month (or you can opt for an hourly rate if you think that would suit better).