One time, a customer called Spothero’s customer support because he had reserved a parking spot but found someone else parked in it. Megan took the call. “I am sorry, we’re a young company. We have some glitches, but I’m here to help,” she said.
“That was not the right answer,” Megan says. “I don’t know what the right answer was, but it was not that.”
The customer was angry. He screamed and called her inappropriate names. She immediately went into shock and put the phone down. She then ran 13 blocks to Lake Michigan to just let it all out. All of this was too much for her—the angry customers and the demands of her job.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what call center agents and customer service reps go through.
So when I asked Craig Anderson, founder of Express Dentist, what he valued the most in a call center software, I was not surprised. Ease of use was the first thing he mentioned.
“The software needs to be easy to use and navigate so our agents can find what they need quickly and efficiently,” he said.
Figuring out how to use software should be the least of your agents’ worries. So I signed up for each tool to test their features and give you all the critical details you need to know before investing in a call center CRM software.
In this blog post, you will learn:
- Which CRM software are the best for call center users
- Which type of business do they serve best
- What features you should look for in a call center CRM
Features To Look For in a Call Center CRM Software
Call center CRM solutions are feature-rich. They pack common CRM features with call center features, like advanced call routing, ticketing systems, virtual dialers, and IVR integrations.
But choosing the ideal call center CRM software depends on your needs. The features an inbound call center requires differ slightly from those of an outbound call center.
So I spoke to Craig and Edith, who highlighted a few key features based on their experience that you can start looking out for in any software. Craig Anderson is the founder of Express Dentist while Edith Matos is the Hotline Director for Drug Helpline.
Call routing is a feature that connects customers to the right agent who is available, capable, and better skilled to assist them. This feature helps reduce caller wait time and prevents customers from being transferred to multiple agents before talking to one who’s capable of helping.
For Craig, here’s how important call routing is for Express Dentist:
“Call routing allows us to handle customer calls in a much more efficient manner. When customer response times improve significantly, this translates to happier customers and a boost in sales.”
Many call center software provides call routing functionality. But it all boils down to how flexible they are to meet your specific needs.
You might need skill-based routing where the next call is routed to agents with the specific skill set needed, but the software only allows direct call routing. So be sure to test the solution before fully integrating it into your workflow.
Call center software integrating with CRMs helps your reps quickly access customer data and history in real-time. Customers wouldn’t have to wait to be served while your reps or agents are retrieving the relevant customer information. For Craig, call processing even became quicker.
“With CRM integration, our call processing became quicker since we no longer duplicate information between systems. Since there’s less opportunity for error, our agents are more confident in the accuracy of the information they deliver. This results in fewer callbacks, greatly reducing handle times.”
A call center CRM comes with inbuilt CRM features. But for general contact center solutions, you’d have to integrate them with a third-party CRM.
Call scripting is a way to provide agents and reps with the appropriate words to use during calls without them having to remember them all. The call scripts can act as outlines reps can use in any circumstance.
And when everyone has the same script, customers get a consistent experience no matter which agent they talk to.
According to Craig Anderson:
“Call scripting allows us to create a more consistent customer experience. By providing agents with a script to follow, we can be sure they are conveying the same key information to every caller and that they meet compliance objectives. As such, human errors are reduced, call quality is improved, and customers are given a more satisfying experience.”
This feature captures a recording of a call with a customer. These recordings can then be reviewed to determine if agents are providing the right information or following workflows. The recordings can also be used to train agents and reps during coaching sessions.
“It’s a valuable quality control tool, allowing us to listen to calls and identify areas where agents could improve their performance. It also helps in training new staff.” ~ Edith Matos, Hotline Director for Drug Helpline says.
Reporting and Analytics
Reporting and analytics help you make informed decisions based on the data collected. You can identify whether you have a seamless workflow, training opportunities, or just check the overall team performance.
“Built-in reporting tools help us track KPIs, such as average call length and abandoned calls. This helps us identify trends and areas for improvement.” ~ Edith Matos
7 Best Call Center CRM Software
To determine the best call center CRM software, I looked into several CRM platforms to find those that have call center features. I reviewed their websites and identified five solutions that have a use case for call centers.
I also identified one customer service software and another business phone system that integrates well with popular CRMs and both can function as call center CRMs.
I then signed up for the free trials for each platform and spent a few hours on each one trying the features, getting a feel for their UI, and experiencing their functionality from a user’s perspective.
I tried their call flows, routing strategies, etc., and also noted their distinct capabilities.
Best Affordable All-in-One Call Center CRM for Small Businesses
EngageBay is an all-in-one CRM software that includes call center features small businesses and startups can use.
Its intuitive UI is designed to make it easy for you to access everything much faster. And if you need support to set things up, you can get a free onboarding. The menu items such as your contacts and call automation are arranged at the top of the screen for easier access.
And since it has its own native inbuilt CRM, customer support reps would have more context when they make outbound calls or when a customer calls.
While on a call, your reps can find all the details about a customer such as the pages they visited on your website, the tickets they’ve opened, past phone calls, the forms they’ve submitted, the products they’ve bought, etc.
Sales reps can also make direct calls through EngageBay. If you have a Twilio subscription or any other third-party app within their list, you can integrate it with EngageBay and call your customers directly through the platform.
You can also use their advanced workflow automation builder to assign outbound calls to your best-performing rep to solve critical issues your top customers face. Their workflow builder is flexible so you can assign calls depending on your goals and circumstances.
EngageBay also has an automated dialing system. Your reps wouldn’t have to manually dial a customer’s number every time they need to call them. And the calls would be recorded so you can use the recording during coaching sessions and also fine-tune your call center processes.
- Automated call dialing
- Workflow automation
- Free forever plan for 15 users
- Free helpdesk and live chat
- Call recording is not in the free plan
User Reviews of EngageBay
If you’d like to know what other users are saying about EngageBay, here are some honest reviews:
Best Call Center CRM With Powerful Call Workflow Automation
Freshdesk is a contact center software by Freshworks. Based on its capabilities and features, it is best suited for an inbound call center.
It has a distinct UI that makes it less intimidating to use. The first thing you’d find when signing up is their onboarding flow. They have an onboarding video paired with an in-app onboarding checklist, which gives you a bit of a leg up when starting out.
But since it’s a contact center CRM, it doesn’t have an inbuilt CRM system. You can integrate it with your own CRM or use their standalone Freshsales CRM (paid separately).
Here is a list of the CRMs they integrate with:
It has a powerful call workflow system where you can set up basic IVR to route calls to agents based on the digits customers press, configure call queue, and set up advanced routing automation based on your needs.
And the most impressive thing is all this is found in one dashboard. So every workflow automation you need to set up is a click away.
You can also buy phone numbers from 90+ countries. But you’d also have to buy call credits which range from $5 to $25. Once you have everything up and running, you can access call recordings from the call metrics tab.
- Advanced call workflow automation
- Fast and easy setup
- Access to its mobile app where you can access your dashboard
- Expensive per agent when upgrading
- Lacks in-built CRM system
- Based on customer reviews, their customer service response time is long and requires constant follow up
Best for Small Businesses Looking For Basic Call Center Capabilities
Hubspot is an all-in-one CRM platform whose service hub can serve as a call center solution. Its inbound calling capabilities are still in development, but you can still carry out outbound calls.
Agents can call customers directly from the platform using its VoIP software. Its service hub is integrated with its free contact center CRM, so when an agent talks to a customer, they would have all the details about a customer on one dashboard. Having all this information in one place makes it faster and easier to resolve issues.
But it lacks a call workflow system. Its main selling point is its ticketing system, which when paired with its CRM, agents can resolve issues and call customers faster.
- Powerful ticketing automation system
- Free integration to their CRM, but is its CRM really free?
- Track customer queries in one place
- It lacks call workflow automation
- Basic call routing functionality
Best for Inbound Call Centers
Pipedrive is a sales-focused CRM, but it’s also positioned as a call center CRM software.
It has its own contact center CRM software, so you can import your contacts much faster. Agents will also have all the customer details in one single pane of glass so customer issues would be resolved faster. But I found it to be a bit cluttered with details about the customer all over the place compared to others.
You can automate your call management workflows on one dashboard. Its call routing requires a bit of customization because its workflows are sales oriented. You can also call customers directly from Pipedrive through their in-built dial pad or integrate a third-party phone system like Aircall or Justcall depending on your subscriptions.
It also allows call recordings and a place to store your call scripts so agents can confidently resolve issues and you can use the recordings for coaching and training sessions.
- Free trial
- Easy to set up
- Access to its mobile app
- Bugs on some features, I had to click a few times or reload the tab for a feature to load or work
- Calling feature only available in their Professional plan ($39.90 per user/month billed annually)
- No free plan
#5. Agile CRM
Best for Outbound Call Centers
Agile CRM is a CRM platform designed for small to medium businesses. It’s also positioned as a call center solution.
Although it has a ’90s vibe to it, its automation feature is quite impressive compared to other products we’ve looked at. While its call routing is not straightforward as it is in Freshdesk, you can get around that by using its tag-based calling.
For example, when a customer with a top customer tag opens a ticket with a high priority status, you can route the ticket to your most skilled agent to either call or resolve the issue via email.
You also have access to call reports where you see the total time spent on calls by each agent, the general timeline of calls by your agents, and generate bar graphs based on time called.
Agile CRM also allows you to integrate with third-party telephony apps, such as Twilio and RingCentral. You can also add context-based call scripts depending on the rules you set.
For example, when a customer with a certain tag calls, a specific call script will be attached to the contact.
- Call scripting in their free plan
- Free forever plan
- Easy to set up and use
- Call recordings only available at the enterprise plan
#6. Zoho CRM
Best Customizable Call Center CRM
Zoho CRM is an all-around CRM platform that manages your sales, marketing, and support functions.
It has a built-in telephony function that lets you make instant calls either through your phone or a third-party app. But it can only carry out basic functions like click-to-call, call pop-ups, and call notes. To access advanced features you’d have to integrate a third-party app like Justcall, Ring.io, Aircall, and many others.
You can also integrate it with their standalone app, Zoho voice where you can access the full functionality a call center needs. This integration helps you manage calls directly from Zoho CRM, sync contacts from the CRM, and set up advanced call workflows.
- Call reporting analytics
- Easy integration with other Zoho products
- Free trial
- The free tier supports only 3 users
- Call routing available through third-party integrations
Best for Sales and Support Teams
Cloudtalk is a cloud-based call center software for sales and support teams.
It is a standalone call center software, so it lacks an inbuilt CRM system. But you can integrate your CRM of choice. It integrates with popular CRMs such as Hubspot, Pipedrive, Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Copper, and Freshsales. With these integrations, your agents will have the full customer context when talking to a customer.
Its IVR system guides callers through different dial-in options and routes them to the right agent or department that can offer them specialized assistance. You can also set up different routing criteria depending on your needs.
Your agents can see all customer history in one dashboard and after a call, Cloudtalk automatically shows a recording of that call. You can also route calls depending on the skills of your agents. Once you assign skills on the settings panel, calls would be routed depending on the skill level a customer requires.
- Easy integrations with popular CRMs
- Easy to set up
- 14-day free trial
- Based on several reviews, you have to wait for the caller to answer to know the call went through
- Lacks free plan
- A number of their call routing feature is not available in the starter plan
Wrap Up: Get Started With a Free Call Center CRM Software
Cloud-based call center CRM solutions help you run a call center efficiently without the burden of IT infrastructure that’s on-premises and may even be unsafe.
EngageBay, for example, offers powerful features, such as calling customers in one click, recording conversations, developing call routing plans, and even conducting broadcast calls on contacts with certain tags.
You can sign up for EngageBay and try out these features and many more for free.