A Guide to Call Center Software Pricing Models
Are you a call center manager looking for call center software but are not sure how much you should be paying for it? Well, the answer is not simple because multiple factors are at play. You need to analyze your requirements and team size and match them with the features offered by multiple call center software solutions.
Additionally, it would help if you considered crucial factors, such as budget, number of users, required features, upfront and recurring software costs, additional fees, and hidden charges.
With that in mind, we've put together this comprehensive guide to help you compare the cost of top-rated call center solutions. This will help you determine which plan will provide the most value for your investment. You'll also learn how call center tools are licensed and priced in detail.
How is call center software priced?
Call center software solutions have differentiated pricing plans/ranges determined by several factors, including software features, number of users and projects, vendor reliability, required infrastructure, business size and type, training requirement, deployment options, custom branding, integrations, and storage capacity.
Types of call center software pricing models
The most common pricing model for call center solutions is a subscription-based model where users pay a recurring fee to the software vendor monthly or annually instead of purchasing a license. Here are a few other pricing models for call center software:
Perpetual license: You pay a one-time license fee to get permanent access to the software and its features.
Free and open source license: You get the software license free of charge but have to pay for implementation, integrations, maintenance, and additional user seats.
Under the subscription model, per-user pricing is the most commonly seen. You pay a fixed fee for every user seat, and prices increase as the number of user seats increases. Per-user pricing plans are typically of three types, according to analysis done by our research team:
Basic: Starting at $16 per month, the basic plan includes limited features and functionality but can be a good option for small businesses or teams with simple call center management needs.
Premium: Mid-range price category can cost from $23 to $265 per month. This pricing plan often includes more advanced features and capabilities, such as call time tracking, smart call routing, and customizable dial plans.
Advanced: Ranging from $39 to $329, advanced pricing plans include advanced features such as managing unlimited extensions, hot desking, and call recording.
For reference, below is a snapshot of the costs of some popular call center software.
A note on features
Call center software automates receiving and responding to customer phone calls within a call center or contact center. The tool offers features, such as automatic call distribution, call routing, contact management, interactive voice response (IVR), call recording, and monitoring. These features enhance customer interactions with call center agents and assist them in understanding customer concerns for a quick resolution.
What are the upfront and recurring costs associated with call center software?
Upfront costs are the expenses incurred while purchasing or subscribing to the software. These include licensing costs, installation expenses, and training costs. On the other hand, costs such as subscription fees and maintenance costs are called recurring costs because a user has to incur them on a monthly or yearly basis to continue to use the software.
Before deciding on the software implementation, let’s look at upfront and recurring costs under the different call center software pricing models.
Free and open source plans
What it is:
This is a monthly or annual fee that the users have to pay till the time they want to use the software. The pricing is mostly based on the number of users of the software.
In a perpetual license plan, the users have to pay a one-time fee for a permanent license to use the call center software. The cost of this call center software license can vary depending on the number of users.
You don’t pay any fee to use basic call center software features in the free software. Open source software, on the other hand, gives you access to the source code of the software, which lets you modify, use, and distribute the software freely and fairly.
Commonly used for:
This kind of license is commonly used for cloud-based deployments, where the system is hosted by vendors on their servers and can be accessed on compatible devices over the internet.
Perpetual license is suitable for on-premise deployments, where the system is hosted and maintained in-house on the user’s own servers.
Small business owners or call center managers with limited budgets and resources.
Installation and setup, customization of the software, and integration with existing systems are the most common upfront costs associated with subscription plans.
Upfront costs associated with a perpetual license are a one-time license fee, customization costs, and hardware (for example, server costs).
Monthly subscription fees, starting from $16 per month, and charges for premium support services such as live chat and 24/7 phone support are two common recurring costs in a subscription license.
Monthly, annual, or ad hoc maintenance (for example, updates, patches, and upgrades) of the solution and premium support offerings (for example, extended phone support hours) may lead to recurring costs under this license.
There are no recurring costs. You can use it freely, typically with limited features.
Subscription licenses can have hidden costs, such as the cost to increase the tracking capacity of incoming calls, create more automated workflows, or implement company branding.
Hiring IT staff or the salaries of the IT staff who will work on the maintenance of the call center software can be a hidden cost associated with a perpetual call center software license.
Customization, integration with existing tech stack, training, and premium support options.
What are the additional fees associated with call center software?
Understanding additional fees that you may have to incur while implementing call center software is as important as understanding the various pricing models. These costs are common across vendors, and it’s a good idea to include them in your budget.
Data migration: If you're currently using call center software and are considering switching to a different one, it's important to take into account the expenses related to data migration. The process of moving your data can be quite time-consuming, and you might need to consult with an expert to ensure proper data mapping and integrity. Additionally, there could be some downtime during the data transfer, which could impact your business operations. So, it's essential to carefully consider these factors when calculating the costs associated with data migration.
Training: If your team isn't at ease with the call center tool you introduce, they won't be able to make the most of it. Fortunately, many software providers provide support materials such as knowledge bases, FAQs, and video tutorials to help you grasp the tool's ins and outs. Assess whether these resources are adequate or if extra training is necessary. While additional training may incur upfront expenses, it'll ultimately empower your staff to handle complex tasks using the tool, making it a worthwhile investment.
Hardware and IT: Consider the possibility of upgrading your servers to accommodate the call center tool on your team's computers or mobile devices, ensuring their devices meet the tool's technical specifications. Additionally, you might need to bring in an IT specialist to handle perpetual maintenance. These expenses will increase your overall investment in the call center software, so it's crucial to conduct a thorough evaluation of your existing IT infrastructure before making a commitment to a specific tool.
Maintenance and upgrades: Routine upkeep and enhancements for the call center platform are vital to prevent downtime or technical glitches that could disrupt business operations and ensure the software operates smoothly. However, it's worth noting that these maintenance tasks, upgrades, and patches might not be included in the vendor's license or subscription, potentially requiring separate purchases. Another option is hiring an in-house IT manager for tool maintenance. Carefully evaluate both alternatives to determine what is more cost-effective for your specific needs.
How to find the right call center software price range?
Define your needs. Start by understanding your specific needs, project scale, and workflow. When you can pinpoint your exact needs, you can match them with the features offered by call center software in different price ranges. This ensures you don't overspend on features you won't use or compromise critical functionalities due to budget constraints. Tailoring your choice to your specific needs helps you make a cost-effective decision.
Analyze pricing plans. Thoroughly examine the pricing structure of the software you’re considering. Look for transparency in pricing, including one-time fees, subscription models, or additional costs for advanced features or user licenses. Compare the pricing plans of different software options to ensure they align with your budget and long-term financial expectations.
Consider scalability. Assess whether the call center software can adapt to your evolving needs. While a software solution may meet your current requirements, it's essential to evaluate whether it can accommodate the growth of your projects or business without incurring significantly higher costs. Scalable software allows you to expand your usage, add more users, or access advanced features as your call center management needs evolve, ensuring a cost-effective and sustainable solution.
Common questions to ask when choosing a call center software pricing plan
Does the tool have a free trial or demo version? A free trial or a demo version will let you have a hands-on experience to assess the software’s user-friendliness, features, and compatibility with your workflow. It will minimize the risk of you investing in a software solution that may not meet your requirements, ensuring a more informed and cost-effective decision.
Is there an open source version of the tool? Open source call center software will give you access to a community-driven solution. You will be able to assess the tool’s capabilities, customize it to your unique requirements, and contribute to its improvement. This approach will significantly reduce your software expenses while fostering innovation and adaptability.
Does the tool support add-ons? Call center tool add-ons allow you to enhance functionality and tailor the software to your specific requirements. You can identify whether essential features or integrations you need are available through add-ons, potentially saving time and money compared to custom development.
The products in this guide qualified for the most recent FrontRunners for call center software and were highly rated by users. Only products with publicly available pricing information were included in this table. We summarized publicly available pricing sources, including vendor websites as of September 2023, beginning with the lowest monthly pricing (not including annual discounts) for packages that include the core functionality for a software category. We list pricing for more advanced packages (per user, when available) that include the core software feature(s). Your company’s needs may differ, and final pricing may vary.
Note: This article is intended to inform our readers about business-related concerns in the U.S. It is in no way intended to provide financial advice or to endorse a specific course of action. For advice on your specific situation, consult your accountant or financial consultant.