10 Best Call Center Software (March 2023) (2023)

Picking the best call center platform for your business goes beyond cost and call routing features. You need to think about the bigger-picture considerations. The type of deployment and installation is as important as whether you’ll have a dedicated support agent to help you launch the software. Keep the following in mind as you shop for your call center solution.

Essential Features to Consider

Whether you already have a call center platform in place or it’s your first time choosing call center software, there may be some terms or features you aren’t familiar with. Many call center services mention these things in features lists but don’t offer any description of what they are. Consider these features before making a switch or picking the best call center platform for your small business.

Omnichannel Communication

Customers today expect to receive support from a variety of channels, from phone and email to texts and social media. The best call center platforms support omnichannel communication so you can resolve customer issues and answer questions from a chatbot on your website or through your business’s app, on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp and through SMS texts or by phone. This feature can help you connect with your customers through their preferred communication channel, which could increase customer satisfaction and reduce the need for as many calls.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Interactive voice response (IVR) is a bit like an automated chatbot, but it’s for incoming calls. So, if a customer calls in for information, you may be able to provide that through an IVR feature. For example, a customer may call a retail store to find out what the remaining balance is on a gift card. An IVR feature could let them choose “check balance” in a menu, and then they need to punch in their gift card number to find out how much they have left. This feature can give customers a quick answer and reduce the number of calls your agents need to take.

Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)

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Automatic call distribution (ACD) works similarly to IVR in that it uses a menu for customers to choose the best choice for them, but it routes calls automatically to the right agents. For example, if a customer calls in because they want to purchase a product or service, they may hear a recorded message asking them to press “1” for sales, “2” for tech support, and so on. When they press “1,” their call goes to the next available sales representative, rather than a customer support agent. This feature can reduce the time a customer is on hold, improve customer satisfaction and reduce time spent on calls with an irrelevant agent.

Call Routing

You can think of call routing as the manual version of what IVR and ACD do. Put simply, call routing is how a caller goes from a recorded menu of options to an agent. Alternatively, if you have a live agent or operator, a call is routed to that operator, who can then route a call to the appropriate department or agent manually.

Call Monitoring and Recording

Many call center programs include a call monitoring feature, which allows managers to listen in on agent calls for quality assurance. Call recording can be an automatic or manual feature, which also helps with quality control, and the recordings can be referenced at a later point for training, to collect customer feedback or to confirm information.

Analytics and Reporting

One of the most important features call center managers want from software is rich analytics. There are many measurable and essential call center metrics that are vital to the success of your support team. Some important reports and analytics to keep an eye out for include:

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  • Customer satisfaction
  • Cancellation rates
  • Subscription rates
  • Number of calls, such as daily, weekly or monthly
  • Inbound vs. outbound calls
  • Number of cases, such as total, open or closed
  • Hold times
  • Length of calls

There are more advanced analytics you can find in some of the best call center software, too. For example, predictive analytics can use call data to show you what’s likely to happen next with support calls based on previous data, time of day and other factors.

Some call center software include machine learning or artificial intelligence to help analyze conversations in real-time or recorded calls to pick out specific words. You can usually adjust settings for the AI to “listen” for keywords that are positive or negative, such as “frustrated,” “excellent,” “annoyed” or “thank you.”

Hosted vs. Cloud-based vs. On-premise Software

Most of the call center platforms today offer a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution. However, some legacy call center software options still offer an on-premises installation. There’s also an option that exists in between cloud-based and on-premises and that’s hosted.

Cloud-based Call Center Software

The beauty of cloud-based call center solutions is that you can quickly and easily deploy the software from a browser or an app installation. All users should be able to access the tools and data with their login and a laptop, desktop or mobile device. Generally, cloud-based software is more affordable, easier to deploy and adopt and can support remote workers or hybrid workers.

Usually call center software-as-a-service (SaaS) gets updates regularly and they’re included in your subscription cost. You also get added value if new products or features get released. Plus, support is usually included in your plan.

The purpose of the tiered plans is to support your company in multiple ways as you grow, so if you outgrow a shared server, your call center software may put you on a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server, if that’s an option.

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On-premise Call Center Software

If you choose an on-premise option, the software will be installed onto your servers, phone hardware and it works through an intranet. The benefit of this deployment is that typically you pay one price for the software and you can add as many users as you need. Your IT workers are likely those who will keep the software updated, issue logins and monitor security on your servers.

What isn’t always clear is how you receive support or software updates when you purchase a software license. Some software companies charge for support after onboarding and installation. Usually, you pay maintenance fees for updates that may only come once per year (or less often).

Hosted Call Center Software

A hosted solution is similar to a cloud-based call center solution, but the difference could be that you choose the type of server for your platform. Larger companies may put too much stress on shared hosting servers, so a VPS or dedicated server could be a better option.

Your operations should work the same as with a cloud-based solution from a SaaS in that your call agents only need an internet connection, a device for the platform and login to be able to work. Most cloud-based and hosted call center services support VoIP callers, so you don’t even need to invest in telephony hardware.

Which solution is best for you mostly depends on the type of call center you have, your work policies and your hardware situation.

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Important Software Integrations

Many call center platforms include tools to help you track customer and support agent interactions, track client information and manage tickets. However, not all of them do all these things, which is why it’s important to choose a call center platform that integrates with other apps that you may already use.

Check to see if you need your call center software to integrate with these types of apps:

  • Accounting software (QuickBooks and Xero)
  • CRM software (Salesforce and HubSpot)
  • Marketing software (Mailchimp and Sendinblue)
  • Point-of-sale (POS) software (Shopify and Square)
  • Calendars (Google and Outlook)
  • Customer support software (Zendesk and Zoho Desk)

Pricing and Plans

It’s difficult to tell you precisely what you’ll pay for call center software because there are so many variables including pricing structure, number of agents and departments your business has and the types of features you need.

If you’re set on choosing legacy software and purchasing a license outright, just know that pricing is usually set by the company and it may be a custom quote based on the number of agents you hire. Your cost will be higher on the front end, but you won’t have a monthly or annual cost (or it will be lower by way of maintenance fees compared to a subscription with a SaaS company). Keep in mind you’ll also have costs associated with server maintenance, security, office space for agents and hardware, including computers and phone systems.

Given that most call center software has moved to cloud-based solutions, that’s the pricing we’ll focus on here to give you an idea of what you’re going to pay per agent, monthly or annually as a lump sum.

There are a few different pricing structures that call center software uses. Legacy software tends to stick to one-time charges for a license with ongoing maintenance fees for updates. Tier-based models are most common, so you can expect low, mid and high tiers with varied allowances, limitations and features:

  • Free: Typically a free plan limits you in a lot of ways either by restricting you to one agent, phone number and department. Likely you won’t get to access the software’s support channels and many advanced features will be off-limits.
    • Example: LiveAgent offers a generous free plan (no advanced reporting, includes LiveAgent branding)
    • Cost: $0
  • Low tier: Entry-level plans for call center software offer more functionality than a free tier. Many call center apps don’t even offer a free plan, so you may find the limitations on a low tier are still too limiting. Common limitations include number of departments supported, specific types of routing and call monitoring features.
    • Example: Zendesk Talk offers a fully functional platform (no email archiving, call blocking or call recording controls)
    • Cost: $49 per agent, per month, paid annually
  • Mid tier: At the midlevel of call center pricing plans, you find a sweet spot for small to midsize businesses that require advanced features such as video conferencing, advanced security features like single sign-on (SSO), two-factor authorization (2FA) and integrations with CRMs.
    • Example: RingCentral has two mid-tier plans to serve businesses that need custom integrations, automatic call recording and more allowances for video calls.
    • Cost: $150 per agent, per month, paid annually
  • High tier: For the fewest limitations and the most advanced features, top-tier plans exist to support enterprises and businesses with massive or growing call centers. These plans can usually accommodate any number of agents, departments and won’t limit your storage of tickets or files.
    • Example: Freshdesk’s Enterprise plan includes every feature possible, but it still limits a few things such as bot sessions per month and API calls per minute.
    • Cost: $79 per agent, per month, paid annually

So, how much should you expect to pay for call center software? Based on the available tiers of our best call center software, here’s what you could spend with different size teams:

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Average Pricing for Call Center Software

Low TierMid TierHigh Tier
Average Cost per Agent, per Month (Paid Annually)$54$65$85
Annual Average Cost for 10 users$6,480$7,800$10,200
Annual Average Cost for 25 users$16,200$19,500$25,500
Annual Average Cost for 50 users$32,400$39,000$51,000


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