A call center can rise or fall by the quality of the software running the operation: is your call center going to be a well-oiled machine or a disaster waiting to happen? The right choice of programs can help decide one way or the other.
With such a variety of call center types and purposes, there's no perfect software suite that meets every need for every business; but what we can do is recommend some of the best solutions out there right now. Read on for our top picks.
Zendesk knows its stuff when it comes to customer relations, and its call center software is one of the best packages around. Part of the appeal is the host of other services – from web apps to content management systems – that Zendesk can plug into.
Like the rest of the Zendesk suite, Zendesk Talk is bright, intuitive, and slick in operation. Don't worry about spending days training up your staff, because few apps are as easy to get around and as simple to deploy as this one. Everything is handled in the cloud and it plugs right into Zendesk's ticketing system for tracking jobs.
The application manages inbound and outgoing calls, and can be set up with a new number or one you're porting in. Everything from hand-offs to other customer reps, to voicemail recordings, is handled with aplomb – it really is an excellent all-in-one solution that you can set up and leave to do its magic.
On the back-end there are real-time analytics and a host of reporting options to play around with too. You don't have to buy Zendesk Talk in a bundle with everything else that Zendesk does, although you can if you like the products and want to save some money.
- Sign up for Zendesk for free or from £15/$19 per agent per month, plus usage, with a free trial available
If you want to play with the big boys then you want to be looking at something like Five9 for your call center software solution – you'd be joining the likes of Expedia, Fitbit and Siemens if you took this route, though it's less suited to smaller businesses that are just starting out because it is so vast and comprehensive.
It packs in lots of advanced features, whether that's intelligent call routing to specific agents, or the ability to move seamlessly across calls, texts, and social media. If you need a specific call center feature, then chances are Five9 can provide it.
Everything you need to manage inbound and outbound calls is included, and the reporting and analytics functions behind the scenes are as sophisticated as you would expect as well. It plugs into a host of other tools, if you need it to, including a wide variety of CRM systems from the likes of Salesforce and Zendesk.
All these features come at a price though – Five9 costs substantially more than the other options we've mentioned here, though you have to ask for a personalized quote for your needs directly. If you're going to make use of all its features, you might still find it excellent value for money.
Aircall is one of the most polished call center packages we've come across, and like a lot of modern-day solutions, it works mainly in the browser. It also plugs into many of the other leading web apps of the moment, including Slack, Zapier, Zendesk, Salesforce and more.
So what can do you with Aircall? Pretty much anything you need to manage incoming or outgoing calls from a center, with support for intelligent agent routing (based on time zone or skill set for example), and a full control panel for every call that features customer details and account notes.
Your agents will sound as clued-up as possible thanks to the wealth of information that Aircall can pull up, and it handles all the basics well too – everything from call center analytics to local number registration, making Aircall suitable for maintaining a presence in several different countries at once.
There's tight integration with your choice of helpdesk system or CRM, and everything just works as it should. It perhaps lacks the customization and personalization options of some other solutions, but that makes it perfect for businesses that just want to get up and running with a call center quickly, no matter what the size.
Despite having a rather odd name, CrazyCall is an impressively solid call center software solution, managing everything over the web so operators can work inside browsers rather than from traditional telephone switchboards. It's particularly suited to smaller businesses who want to start off with something affordable.
You can get started in minutes, and use your choice of local numbers to start making and receiving calls, plus you can manage incoming calls through your browser and forward them from other numbers if needed. It may not have the advanced sophistication of some of the other tools on this list, but CrazyCall holds its own at the budget end of the field.
Calls can be reviewed and analyzed through the same straightforward web interface that CrazyCall uses for everything else, and the system can also connect to a host of other apps and services to make life easier – everything from Slack to MailChimp. We also like the way CrazyCall can handle lead generation from the web too.
If you stay within a certain limit of calls each month (1,000 minutes per agent to be precise), you don't have to pay any usage fees on top of your subscription. Add in the free trial and the simple setup and it's perfect for businesses just dipping their toe into the world of call center software.
There's a lot to like about Freshcaller, with its modern, accessible interface, broad range of features and functions, and the way it can scale up to support as many numbers as you need. Everything is handled through an online interface that brings up all the information your staff need in a click.
That interface really is one of the jewels in the Freshcaller crown – if you use cutting-edge web apps like Gmail or Asana then you know where you are with Freshcaller. While you're obviously going to have to give your call operators some training, the software is simple enough to offer a very shallow learning curve.
Freshcaller promises setup within two minutes and you don't have to configure any hardware either, because everything can work over the web and in a browser. You can add new numbers, port in existing ones, or mask numbers if needed, and everything from call queue management to back-end reporting is handled in style.
Freshcaller is part of a broader suite of business software, though you don't have to buy any of the other components if you don't want to. Freshcaller feels like the way call center software should be made in our digital age, and with a free trial you can test it out for yourself before committing.