Call Center Software

Software Advice helps call centers choose the right call center software so they can distribute inbound calls to agents and execute outbound campaigns.

Twilio Flex

Twilio Flex is a fully programmable cloud-based contact center platform that gives businesses complete control of their contact center experience. With Twilio Flex, companies can deploy an omnichannel contact center platform and customize... Read more

2 recommendations
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Five9 Cloud Contact Center

Five9 is an all-in-one cloud contact center solution for inbound, outbound, blended and omnichannel contact centers world-wide.  Powered by Practical AI, Five9 enables agents to provide customer experiences across phone, email, chat,... Read more

26 recommendations
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PureCloud

PureCloud by Genesys is an on-premise and cloud-based call center solution for businesses of any size and industry. Key modules include Automatic Call Distribution, Interactive Voice Response, Computer Telephony Integration, Auto Dialer,... Read more

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RingCentral Contact Center

Cloud communications provider RingCentral has expanded into the Call Center space with their Contact Center solution. The integrated suite powered by inContact offers Automatic Call Distribution, Interactive Voice Response, CTI, Auto... Read more

7 recommendations
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Aspect Via Customer Engagement Platform

Aspect Via Customer Engagement Platform is a web-based contact center suitable for organizations with 100 or more concurrent and named users. The system is a complete set of customer service capabilities including self-service, omnichannel... Read more

1 recommendations
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NICE inContact Cloud Contact Center

NICE inContact is cloud-based call center software that helps businesses to maximize the quality of leads and minimize the cost of client interaction. The solution comprises many features required to process inbound support requests... Read more

12 recommendations
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Nextiva VoIP

Nextiva's Business VoIP solutions offer telephony services for small businesses with functionality that eliminates the need for a traditional phone system. The packages include VoIP phone systems, scalable PBX trunks, online faxing... Read more

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TCN

TCN is a cloud-based call center solution that caters to various industry verticals including health care, automotive and business process outsourcing (BPO). TCN is available for multiple channels such as inbound, outbound, blended,... Read more

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ChaseData Call Center

ChaseData Call Center software offers cloud-based, standalone call center functionality with customer service and support built into the solution. It’s designed for outbound, inbound and blended call center teams. Dialing capabilities... Read more

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VanillaSoft Pro

VanillaSoft is a cloud-based sales management solution that combines features for CRM, lead management and telemarketing which helps sales teams in businesses manage their daily operations. VanillaSoft uses a queue-based sorting system... Read more

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Verascape

Verascape is a cloud-based call center solution that caters to businesses in a variety of industries. Key features include call logging, call recording, a progressive dialer, call scripting, escalation management and voice recognition. Verascape... Read more

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UJET

UJET is a cloud-based call center application that integrates with customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. It offers both voice and chat channels for customers to reach their support agents. Users can connect with agents... Read more

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Newfies-Dialer

Newfies-Dialer is a cloud-based voice broadcasting, autodialer and phone survey solution that helps users manage concurrent calls from a centralized location. Newfies-Dialer features live lead transfer which enables users to pull... Read more

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XenCALL Predictive Dialer CRM

XenCALL is a cloud-based call center solution for companies of all sizes in a variety of industries. Key features include automatic call distribution, interactive voice response, auto dialing, scheduling, performance analytics and... Read more

8 recommendations
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VCC Live

VCC Live is a cloud-based call center solution designed for call and contact centers of all sizes. The solution offers multiple contact center solutions, communication channels and other services. Key functionalities include database... Read more

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Oracle Contact Center Anywhere

Oracle Contact Center Anywhere Software provides a call center system with a host of features that include call queuing, call routing, as well as callback requests including email, online chat and web callback. Calls can be routed... Read more

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Convoso Cloud Contact Center

Convoso’s all-in-one contact center platform generates and converts leads faster using multiple communication channels. The cloud-based solution offers multiple dialing modes (predictive/power/preview) along with two-way texting,... Read more

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EducationFolder

EducationFolder is a cloud-based training and performance management solution for call center agents. Key features include learning management, quality assurance, a knowledge base, task management and reporting. EducationFolder enables... Read more

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CrazyCall

CrazyCall is a cloud-based call center software solution. Key features include live analytics reporting, an agent panel, workforce management and a dialer that matches agents with leads. CrazyCall’s agent panel automates dialing... Read more

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VICIdial

VICIdial is an open-source, cloud-based contact center solution suitable for small to large call centers in a variety of industries. Key features include inbound and outbound calls, call routing, email integration, online chat and... Read more

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Buyer's guide


Last Updated: December 10, 2018

Call center systems share characteristics with both standard business phone systems (also known as PBX systems) and customer service/help desk solutions. At the same time, call center software offers a number of dedicated features for both agents and supervisors that can’t be found in other types of business communications solutions.

This buyer’s guide will cover the major differences and points of overlap between these software categories to help you understand which best fits your needs. We’ll also highlight the specific functionality that can only be found in a true call center solution.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Call Center Software?
Standard Features and Applications
How Call Center Software Differs From PBX and Customer Service Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Market Trends to Understand
Recent Events You Should Know About

What Is Call Center Software?

Simply put, this is an umbrella term for applications dedicated for use in either a formal or informal call center. The closely related term “contact center software” is in many cases a synonym, but also refers to features used in call centers that handle a number of communication channels in addition to voice (e.g., email, instant messaging, SMS text, social media and live chat).

Call center software supports the agents whose job it is to assist customers over the phone, or via one of those other channels. It also supports the supervisors who oversee the call center's operations.

Standard Features and Applications

Here are some common functionalities you can expect to find in a typical call center software package:

five9


Agent Desktop Interface in Five9

Automatic Call Distribution (ACD)

Parks incoming calls in a queue, where callers wait until an agent is available.

Most call center systems are capable of a special mode of ACD known as skills-based routing, which distributes calls to agents based on rules that factor in agent skills and performance metrics.

Simpler modes of ACD can be found in standard business phone systems.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

The technology underlying the voice menus that allow callers to complete actions over the phone via voice or keypad input.

IVR systems share similarities with auto attendants, but are much more flexible, enabling callers to do things like paying a bill or checking an account balance.

IVR systems are defining components of inbound call center solutions. Businesses that only need to direct callers to the right extension don’t need IVR; a standard business phone system and an auto attendant will suffice.

Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)

A jargon term for integrations between phone systems and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. CTI integrations add features both to CRM systems and call center systems.

CRM systems gain click-to-dial functionality, where agents click on a customer’s phone number in a database of contacts to dial out.

Contact center systems gain “screen pop” (screen population) functionality, or displays that instantly appear on contact center agents’ screens when they receive an inbound call.

Screen pops pull data about the inbound caller from the CRM system to help the agent better manage the interaction.

Auto dialers

Applications that automatically dial numbers from a list or at random. There are 3 major types:

  • Progressive dialers automatically dial a new number when an agent becomes available.
  • Predictive dialers dial multiple phone numbers at once and distribute the answered calls to agents based on availability and wait time.
  • Preview dialers are progressive dialers that allow agents to see details about the upcoming call in the dialing list and choose to accept or reject it.
Workforce scheduling

Enables forecasting of staffing requirements based on historical data.

Performance analytics and reporting

Captures and analyzes information about agent interactions (frequently via integration with a call recording application for easy retrieval of problem calls).

This information is fed into agent scorecards and reports on team-wide statistics such as abandonment rate and average time in queue.

Call center scripting

Enables supervisors to program agent scripts for sales calls and customer service calls. Also allows supervisors to control operational rules for calls and generates fields that feed data from calls into the CRM system.

Monitor/whisper/barge

These are three standard call control features used by call center supervisors:

  • Monitor allows supervisors to listen in on calls without the agent or caller knowing.
  • Whisper allows supervisors to coach agents without the other party on the line hearing.
  • Barge allows supervisors to immediately join the calls they’ve been monitoring.

How Call Center Software Differs from PBX and Customer Service Software

Call center systems are built on the same technology as business phone systems, and offer many of the same features. Additionally, help desk and customer service solutions can be viewed as a specialized category of contact center software.

Here are the major differences:

  • Standard business phone service providers don’t offer applications such as IVR, dialers and skills-based routing.
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  • Call center systems are only appropriate for employees who are working in sales or support teams, though some systems include features for front office employees. Many call center vendors also offer standard phone systems and can deploy both, if needed.
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  • Licenses for call center systems are, on average, significantly more expensive than licenses for standard phone systems.
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  • Help desk and customer service solutions offer “trouble ticketing” functionality, i.e. when a customer contacts support, a ticket is created to help agents track the issue until it’s resolved. This functionality can be added to call center systems, but it requires integration with a CRM system.
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  • Help desk and customer service solutions are only appropriate for inbound contact centers—they don’t offer features for managing sales campaigns in outbound contact centers.
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Similarities and Differences Between Call Center, PBX and Customer Service Software

What Type of Buyer Are You?

We’ve already seen that there’s significant overlap between call center systems, business phone systems and customer service systems. Different categories of buyers will need different types of solutions:

  • Small offices needing call queueing can usually make do with a standard business phone system. (See examples here.)
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  • Outbound call centers focusing on sales will need a dedicated call center system such as the examples listed on this page.
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  • Inbound call centers focusing on support can use either:
    • A call center system integrated with a separate CRM system for trouble ticketing functionality.
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    • A customer service or help desk system with built-in trouble ticketing functionality.
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  • Collections agencies need to work with vendors specializing in deployments for this industry segment. These vendors offer tools to help maximize debt recovery rates and to ensure that call centers operate in compliance with applicable regulations.
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  • Virtual contact centers, i.e. contact centers that rely heavily on remote workers, will need solutions that offer robust mobile apps and softphones.
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Market Trends to Understand

Contact center software has evolved as customers’ expectations and needs have shifted with the rise of mobile devices and social media. The following trends are particularly important to consider when selecting a solution:

Multi-channel contact centers. As more customers seek to engage businesses through other channels than voice (e.g., SMS text, live chat and email), contact center software has evolved to enable agents to interact via these additional channels. Interactions across all channels in a multi-channel system feed into a unified agent queue.

Social media. Contact center software vendors are increasingly offering modules that allow agents to manage interactions via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. New analytics tools also help businesses data-mine social media for signs of potential customer issues before phones start ringing.

Virtual queuing/Web callback. Traditionally, callers had to wait on hold to maintain their place in an ACD queue. Now, a new technology known as Web callback or virtual queueing allows callers to “virtually” hold their place in the queue after they hang up in order to receive a callback later.

While this technology has proven popular with consumers, it’s still not a standard offering in call center systems. If this is a must-have feature, you’ll need to shortlist vendors that offer it.

Speech/text analytics. Call center reporting traditionally focused on metrics such as call length and call abandonment. Now, systems are emerging that can analyze audio data to detect anger, frustration and other emotions in callers’ vocal tones. The results of this analysis can be used to identify trends in the performance of agents and the contact center as a whole.

Text analytics is used to scour textual interactions (e.g., emails, SMS text messages and instant messages) for certain keywords that indicate frustration or satisfaction on the part of the customer. While powerful, these tools are still relatively rare offerings compared to standard applications such as ACD and call recording.

Recent Events You Should Know About

Avaya Inc. Files for Chapter 11. Continuing in its struggle to shed the company’s hardware division, call center IT stalwart Avaya Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2016. The company was facing a mountainous debt reaching $6.3 billion.

Genesys acquires Interactive Intelligence. In a move to improve and expand its omnichannel communications and customer experience solutions portfolio, contact center company Genesys acquired Interactive Intelligence for $1.4 billion in December 2016.

BroadSoft Ranks as Visionary in Contact Center as a Service Magic Quadrant. For the second year in a row cloud contact center provider BroadSoft has been recognized as a Visionary in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS).

FrontRunners® for Call Center, November 2018

FrontRunners Vendors Defined

Take this short survey so we can help you identify the products that best fit your needs.


What Is the FrontRunners Quadrant?


A Graphic of the Top-Rated Call Center Products

FrontRunners uses real reviews from real software users to highlight the top software products for North American small businesses.

Our goal is to help small businesses to make more informed decisions about what software is right for them. That’s why we engineered FrontRunners.

To create this report, we evaluated over 121 Call Center products. Only those with the top scores for Usability and User Recommended made the cut as FrontRunners.

FrontRunners-Vendor-Collateral

Scores are based on reviews from real software users.

What’s the Difference Between the “Small Vendor” and “Enterprise Vendor” Views?


The Different Graphics Show Different Sizes of Vendors

Small and Enterprise refer to the size of the software vendor company—not necessarily the size of customers they serve.

We break vendors into two groups for two reasons: It’s a more equal comparison of products, and software buyers have told us it’s helpful.

To determine who’s Small and who’s Enterprise, we look at how many employees the vendors have. All products in FrontRunners, whether Enterprise or Small, are evaluated using the same process.

Each graphic shows the top 10-15 performers for each the Enterprise and Small vendor categories. You can switch views simply by clicking on the version you’d like to see (above the graphic). You can read more in the full FrontRunners methodology here.

How Are FrontRunners Products Selected?


Products Are Scored Based on User Reviews


The gist is that products are scored in two areas—Usability and User Recommended—based on actual user ratings.

To be considered at all, products must have at least 20 reviews published within the previous 18 months, and meet minimum user rating scores. They also have to offer a core set of functionality—for example, automatic call distribution with skills-based routing, CTI, monitor/whisper/barge and call performance management and analytics.

From there, user reviews dictate the Usability and User Recommended scores. Usability is plotted on the x-axis and User Recommended on the y-axis.

You can download the full FrontRunners for Call Center Software report here. It contains individual scorecards for each product on the FrontRunners quadrant.

Got It. But What if I Have More Questions?


Check Out Our Additional Resources!

Have questions about how to choose the right product for you? You’re in luck! Every day, our team of advisors provides (free) customized shortlists of products to hundreds of small businesses.

  • Simply take this short questionnaire to help us match you with products that meet your specific needs. 
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  • Or, talk to one of our experienced software advisors about your needs by calling (844) 687-6771—it’s quick, free, and there’s no obligation.

For more information about FrontRunners, check out the following:

  • The “FrontRunners FAQs for Technology Providers,” linked at the top of this page, for detailed answers to commonly-asked questions. 
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  • The complete FrontRunners methodology to understand the scoring.
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  • For information on how to reference FrontRunners, check out the FrontRunners External Usage Guidelines. Except in digital media with character limitations, the following disclaimer MUST appear with any/all FrontRunners reference(s) and graphic use: 

FrontRunners constitute the subjective opinions of individual end-user reviews, ratings, and data applied against a documented methodology; they neither represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Software Advice or its affiliates.