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Best Contact Center Software

By
Neil Cumins
,
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
| Updated
Jan 11, 2023

If you're wondering how to choose the best call center service for your business, look no further. This guide includes our best picks for call center services and all the information you need to choose one that suits your needs.

Best for Reliability
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Supports fax, Twitter, SMS and email
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Over 300 prebuilt integrations
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Includes webinar software
Best for Customization
Salesforce Service Cloud
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Can be extensively customized
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Point-and-click guided workflows
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Embedded site/app support options
Best for Integrations
Five9
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Includes IVAs and call recording
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More than 150 integrations
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Clear package pricing
Best for User Experience
8×8
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Straightforward user interface
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Extensive customer support
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Self-service client experiences
Best for Value
GoTo Contact Center
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Extremely competitive pricing
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Supports skills-based call routing
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App or desktop browser interfaces
If you're wondering how to choose the best call center service for your business, look no further. This guide includes our best picks for call center services and all the information you need to choose one that suits your needs.

The Best Call Center Services

  • Contact center software handles customer communication channels, from telephone and SMS to social media and messaging apps.
  • Today’s contact center software market is fiercely competitive, with some key distinctions between many of the industry leaders.
  • Among contact center software platforms, there are significant differences in approach, coverage and technical support.
  • This article is for companies looking to invest in new contact center software in 2023.

It’s predicted that contact centers will handle the majority of customer interactions through non-voice channels in the near future. As such, omnichannel contact center software is increasingly replacing traditional call center platforms, which only had to handle inbound and outbound calls. Today’s software needs to provide a coherent interface for contact center staff across not only phone but also email, SMS and live chat options, all at a reasonable per-user-per-month price. We reviewed some of the leading contact center software platforms to help you choose the best one for your business’s needs.

Find the Right Call Center Service for Your Business

Fill out this questionnaire to find vendors that meet your needs.
Company Editor’s score Best for… Free trial Starting price Phone support
RingCentral 90 Reliability Yes, but limited $32.99 Yes
Salesforce Service Cloud 88 Customization 30 days $25 Yes
Five9 88 Integrations No $149 Yes
8×8 84 User experience No $85 Yes
GoTo Contact Center 83 Value 30 days $33 Yes
Twilio Flex 82 Automation 5,000 user hours $150 No
Convoso 75 Outbound Contact Centers No Contact sales for quote Yes

Key TakeawayKey takeaway: Significant variations in starting prices might suggest some platforms are unnecessarily expensive. In fact, low-cost entry packages are often extremely limited, requiring an upgrade to a more expensive version to match the services offered by rivals.

Our Reviews

RingCentral: Best Contact Center Software for Reliability

pro
RingCentral offers an extremely stable and dependable platform.
pro
Flexibility extends to in-queue callbacks.
con
Essentials platform doesn’t include 24/7 support.

RingCentral has been around since the 1990s and now offers two related (yet separate) contact center packages. The MVP communications platform is designed for messaging, video and phone inquiries, while the CX platform incorporates a mobile app. Both packages support hundreds of third-party integrations.

Editor’s score: 90/100

In testing, we liked RingCentral’s simple, user-friendly interface. We also liked the presence of dedicated desktop and mobile apps for all four main operating systems. RingCentral also includes some welcome features that are missing from competitor platforms, such as call spam filtering and automated call whispers for agents, as well as a supervisor console with live monitoring.

Key aspects of RingCentral include an AutoDiscovery utility, which monitors communications to identify keywords and phrases, linking them together into a word cloud-style grid to see what common themes emerge as customers contact agents. RingCentral also includes sentiment analysis and agent training through customizable templates so you can optimize how your agents interact with customers.

Read RingCentral Review

Salesforce Service Cloud: Best Contact Center Software for Customization

pro
Salesforce Service Cloud can be extensively customized across numerous channels.
pro
Extensive tech support and a vibrant community act as helpful resources.
con
The platform can be overly complex and expensive for smaller firms.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Salesforce Service Cloud is one of many products from this renowned SaaS provider. Because Salesforce is the parent company of Slack and MuleSoft, you might already be using other Salesforce products such as Marketing Cloud. If so, they’ll dovetail neatly with this uniquely customizable omnichannel platform.

Editor’s score: 88/100

As you might expect from such an established brand, Salesforce offers extensive customer support and a thriving online community that can often provide further assistance with queries. There’s even a dedicated YouTube support channel, and you won’t have to look far to find a telephone number for additional support, something that wasn’t a given with the other contact center software providers we reviewed.

Guided workflows are assembled using a point-and-click interface; often, just a few mouse clicks are enough to create conversational bot support. Best of all, Service Cloud is platform agnostic, and the mobile app even works on Windows phones.

Read our full Salesforce Service Cloud review

Five9: Best Contact Center Software for Integrations

pro
Five9 offers more than 130 integrations to optimize flexibility.
pro
Five9 is highly rated by users and offers extensive customer service.
con
Five9 is relatively expensive despite lacking key features like a mobile app.

It’s all about customization and integrations with Five9. There are four tiers of service in Five9’s Intelligent Cloud Contact Center platform, alongside more than 130 third-party integrations and services. These include blue-chip brands like Oracle, Slack, Gmail and IBM Watson Speech to Text.

Editor’s score: 88/100

We found the Five9 agent interface to be among the cleanest and simplest to use among the software we reviewed. Its effective (but not garish) use of color helps to draw your eye where it needs to be. The automated decision trees, intelligent virtual agent (IVA) and workflow management tools are also graphically powered drag-and-drop interfaces, suitable for endless tinkering even by beginners.

CRM integrations can be used in their prebuilt form or modified. Similarly, Five9’s workforce optimization package can be provided native or combined with third-party applications to modify it for your needs. Even the performance management dashboards can be customized to suit client-specific needs and roles.

Read our full Five9 review

8x8: Best Contact Center Software for User Experience

pro
Skills-based routing ensures the most important inquiries are tackled first.
pro
8x8 offers one user-friendly interface for all staff to learn.
con
Speech analytics, QM and Microsoft Teams integration are all paid extras.

A simple user interface is a key benefit of 8×8’s platform, with identical single panes visible to agents and supervisors. Supervisors can call on a wealth of additional functionalities, such as template reports, which can be modified and scheduled to run at any point. There are two plans available to 8×8 clients, but only the X7 platform extends beyond voice calls into chat, email, SMS and social.

Editor’s score: 84/100

Prices are competitive for both 8×8 packages, though the relative simplicity of the unified web browser interface means 8×8 lacks some of the advanced tools we found in our review of other contact center software. The 8×8 platform does offer voicemail transcription, video conferencing for up to 500 participants and external dashboard displays for presentations, however. There’s also 24/7 tech support in 10 languages, available via email, phone or chat.

Analytics support dashboards are concisely presented with adjustable colors. Similarly, widgets can be added, edited and removed with a couple of clicks, such as one that shows the last 30 days of queue activity history, for example. Conversations can be scanned and evaluated for keywords and phrases or lack of customer response, and overall scores for agents can be generated automatically from this data.

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GoTo Contact Center: Best Contac Center Software for Value

pro
GoTo Contact Center features two affordable packages that keep prices low.
pro
GoTo Contact Center supports in-platform conferencing and team meetings.
con
GoTo Contact Center offers limited functionality and customer support compared to other software we reviewed.

One of the most affordable platforms we reviewed, GoTo Contact Center still supports key functions like automated email reports, the outcome of inbound inquiries and bespoke dial plans. As the parent company of the LastPass password management system, GoTo will also offer you webinar, training and meeting software, as well as remote device access software. The company also sells hardware, including cordless or multimedia IP handsets.

Editor’s score: 83/100

Although it offers omnichannel support, GoTo Contact Center excels at telephone support. Features like intelligent call routing can drive calls to agents with specific skill sets or language capabilities, while call queues can be customized with variable-frequency promotional messages and announcements.

Web browser and app interfaces have near-identical aesthetics, reflecting the relatively shallow learning curve involved in getting up to speed on GoTo Contact Center. The 30-day free trial is also one of the most generous in today’s market. It’s just a shame the company puts so many barriers in the way of contacting support staff, and there are limited online resources available for self-guided troubleshooting and learning.

Read our full GoTo Contact Center review

Twilio: Best Contact Center Software for Automation

pro
Twilio Flex supports programmable voice, messaging and video APIs.
pro
Twilio Flex offers an imaginative take on automation and routing.
con
Twilio Flex requires a knowledge of program code (or a willingness to learn).

Twilio Flex offers a unique experience due to its reliance on program code rather than GUI-powered interfaces for routing and workflow management. These features have been ingeniously addressed by creating a 16-bit-style RPG called TwilioQuest, which teaches even beginners the basics of coding. We’re tempted to recommend the TwilioQuest game just for fun, even if you’re not in the market for contact center software.

Editor’s score: 82/100

While some people might run to the hills at the mere mention of coding, there’s lots to appreciate about Twilio Flex. It dovetails with Google Contact Center AI, supporting preloaded recommended responses, and it even supports inputs from the Telegram secure messaging channel alongside more conventional input streams like SMS, WhatsApp, email and chatbots.

Other notable attributes of Twilio Flex include automated push notifications, extensive KPI tracking (you can monitor the percentage of abandoned inbound conversations in a queue at any particular moment) and bespoke reporting on agent/center performance. Being able to pay per hour rather than per month is another distinguishing characteristic Twilio offers.

Read our full Twilio Flex review

Convoso: Best Contact Center Software for Outbound Contact Centers

pro
Convoso is good for companies wanting granular control over outbound calls.
pro
Convoso supports automated lead follow-ups and customized voicemail drops.
con
Convoso doesn’t support inbound inquiries or social/messaging platforms.

Better known for dialer services than contact center software, Convoso offers a suite of omnichannel tools to support outbound contact centers. Across phone, email and SMS, it remains focused on outbound communications, making it far better suited to sales than customer service.

Editor’s score: 75/100

Convoso’s utilities include customized agent scripts, skill-based call routing, automated dialing and extensively customizable dashboards. These can track KPIs by extracting data from reports and previous campaigns. An open API supports existing third-party applications from the likes of Salesforce, Shopify, Zapier and Zendesk. Its focus on calls is reflected in services like local caller ID, follow-the-sun dialing and answering machine detection.

The theme of automation runs throughout Convoso services, from personalized email marketing to intelligent virtual assistants. If something goes wrong and you need support, you can phone or chat to support staff via the website – but only between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. PT on weekdays and 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT on weekends. That could be a problem if you’re based on the East Coast or operating double shifts in your contact center. It’s also disappointing that the company won’t divulge any pricing data until you speak to a sales rep.

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Call Center Service Costs

A glance at the “Starting Price” column in our comparison chart above might suggest a huge disparity between the most affordable and the most expensive contact center software. As always, though, you get what you pay for. Salesforce’s most expensive package is 12 times more costly than its cheapest, while the basic GoTo Contact Center package is relatively limited. Low starting prices are more of a marketing gimmick than an actual guide – with one or two exceptions, you can expect to pay around $150 per user per month for a comprehensive suite of omnichannel platform support.

There are anomalies in terms of pricing. Twilio Flex allows new customers 5,000 free hours, and it also allows ongoing payment per hour. This might suit companies in seasonal industries who don’t want a standing monthly charge. Convoso doesn’t publish prices at all, meaning you’ll have to speak to a sales rep to find out what its services will cost your firm.

Contact Center Software Features

We can’t promise that every tier of every product reviewed above offers all these features, but these are some of the key features we felt that any mid-tier contact center software solution ought to offer.

Feature Description
Omnichannel routing Software should accept inbound inquiries from numerous channels.
Single-pane interface Bring past interactions and current data into a single, coherent window.
Monitor and review Spot struggling agents; track and monitor KPIs; run training and coaching.
Clear pricing Per-user-per-month pricing is standard, alongside paid upgrades.

Omnichannel Routing

Customers should have a consistent experience, regardless of whether they phone in, communicate through a chatbot support tool or send an SMS support request. The best contact center software platforms combine all these input channels (and others) into one interface. Agents and supervisors should be able to monitor inquiries across all channels easily and in one central location. However, it’s notable that Convoso supports outbound communications only.

Single-Pane Interface

Agents shouldn’t be flicking back and forth between different software platforms. Every aspect of customer interactions and history should be displayed (usually chronologically) in a single-pane window, giving them full oversight and granular control. These dashboards should be customizable, from colors and design to widgets and data feeds. A single-pane interface supports rapid response times from agents, which can boost customer satisfaction and improve resolution rates.

Monitor and Review

Our shortlisted platforms all take slightly different approaches to reviewing agent performance and customer interactions. Twilio offers bespoke reporting in response to certain interactions or thresholds being breached, while RingCentral archives data for 25 months to support retrospective analysis. However a contact center software platform does it, we looked for a mechanism that enables supervisors to monitor and review agent performance and offer coaching to help agents improve over time.

Clear Pricing

We’ve explained above that pricing varies considerably from one tier to another, but all the companies we’ve reviewed, except one, offer unambiguous pricing on a per-user-per-month basis. Some additionally offer pay-as-you-go deals, while free trials are common but not universal. RingCentral’s free trial is so limited, for example, it’s effectively useless at gauging the platform.

TipTip: Although free trials are useful, don’t sign up to one unless you’re likely to remain on the platform. They often require a lot of setup and can be complicated when disentangling your IT infrastructure from a contact center system once it’s up and running.

Choosing Contact Center Software

These are the key factors to consider when shortlisting contact center software:

1. Compatibility with existing systems

Be sure any contact center software you choose is compatible with your existing hardware and software, as well as your team’s workflow. If you’re happy with your existing hardware, you might wish to avoid companies attempting to upsell you Jabra or Poly handsets. If you use certain database or spreadsheet packages, you might want your new platform to integrate with them.

2. Customer reviews

While we’ve conducted thorough testing on the platforms listed above, nobody can review contact center software better than daily users. Investigate existing customer reviews on reputable sites like TrustRadius, and study what people are saying on Google and Bing. Customer reviews can give you an idea of whether or not a contact center software will mesh well with your business’s needs.

3. Cost

Consider value, not just overall cost. A low starting price might be for a telephony-only system with no evaluation tools and limited archiving. Establish what services you need or desire, and then compare pricing between platforms, rather than basing your budget on cut-rate starter packages.

4. Client support

It’s notable that some companies are reluctant to furnish even registered clients with a telephone number for support. Others offer 24/7 support only on pricier packages or limit it to certain times of the day based on their local time zone. Is that good enough for your business?

Advantages of Contact Center Software

These are some of the key reasons to consider contact center software:

  • Omnichannel tools: These platforms support communications through more channels than the voice-only approach of traditional call center service providers.
  • Cloud-hosted software: They’re all cloud-hosted, many through a web browser, meaning there are no hardware or setup costs involved.
  • Pricing tiers based on need: Pricing is generally scaled according to the number of agents using the platform, which is transparent and makes budgets easy to calculate.
  • Integrates with other business software: Most platforms offer extensive integrations with third-party platforms like Slack, Gmail, Zendesk and Teams.

Contact Center Software FAQs

These are some of the most common questions people have when it comes to contact center software platforms, which we’ve answered for you.

What channels do the best contact center software platforms cover?

The best contact center software will route communications to agents from phone, email, SMS and live chat options. Some can manage social media communications as well, which can be a useful feature for businesses with large social followings.

Are there limits on the amount of time contact center software can be used?

Most contact center software packages are charged per agent per month, which means there’s no price difference if the agent works four hours per week or 40. Twilio Flex is unusual in offering a pay-as-you-go pricing model for their Flex platform.

Do I need dedicated hardware for a contact center software platform?

No. These platforms are all software-powered, dovetailing with your existing hardware or software. Some companies market recommended handsets and headsets, but you can use legacy hardware or operate entirely through the cloud.

Neil Cumins
Neil Cumins
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Neil Cumins is an award-winning writer and journalist from Carlisle, England. With over 20 years of experience writing about technology and marketing on both sides of the Atlantic, he’s worked with some of the world’s biggest hardware and software manufacturers, as well as countless SaaS brands. An amateur coder and semi-pro photographer, Neil launched his own business in the Noughties, and has subsequently helped many other small firms to grow and prosper.
Image Credit: bernardbodo / Getty Images
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