Call Center Software for a Small Business: Overview & Key Features

May 1, 2024 9 min read

Dominic Kent

Dominic Kent


Whether you’re choosing your first or your next call center software as a small business, it’s a decision that will impact how you work and how you serve your customers for years to come. 

When considering a call center phone system, there’s a lot to consider regarding inbound and outbound calls, applying specific call treatment, and configuring custom call queues.

In this blog post, we address the absolute must-haves when it comes to buying call center software, introduce new features, and highlight the right solution for you.

Spoiler Alert: The best five call center software for small businesses are:

  1. Nextiva
  2. Ringover
  3. Sprinklr
  4. Five9
  5. LiveAgent

Must-Haves When Choosing a Call Center Software for Your Small Business

If you do nothing else when comparing call center software, make sure to look out for these three things:

1) Rapid onboarding with a user-friendly interface

When you lack the in-house resources to dedicate to user onboarding and constant training, the time taken to get call center agents up to speed is vital.

Will your call center software take weeks to learn, with day sessions needed to learn the interface? Or can you walk a new agent through the main functions and let them get on with it?

Nextiva call center interface

If your chosen vendor suggests a lengthy period for onboarding and adoption, consider this a red flag. The solution is most likely too complex for a small business and better suited for an enterprise with custom requirements.

When assessing call center software for a small business, look for an intuitive interface that’s easy to navigate, especially for non-technical users. These might be the people who offer the most value when it comes to customer service, so you don’t want your new software to become a block for them.

2) Built-in CRM integrations

Your call center software will rarely be the only tool your agents work with. Think about the other key business apps they’ll be using on a daily basis and ensure your chosen call center integrates with them.

This needs to happen out of the box to avoid setup delays and free up internal resources that are already dedicated elsewhere.

Ensuring CRM integration between your call center software and your most used apps ensures all customer data, like past interactions and purchase history, is readily available to agents. Failure to integrate can lead to lower customer satisfaction, siloed information, and duplicate effort.

3) Unlimited vendor support

As a small team, you don’t want to be out on your own when something goes wrong.

Choose a vendor known for exceptional customer service with readily available support options (phone, chat, and email). If you operate 24/7, for example, make sure you can reach your vendor at any time and through your preferred method of contact.

Look for plans that include unlimited support to ensure you get the help you need to customize the software or troubleshoot any issues when you need it.

Essential Features for Small Teams

The number of possible call center features available on the market today is overwhelming. Comparing feature by feature is no longer a productive exercise, as there are so many.

Instead, make sure your shortlist of call center vendors supports all the following high-quality features:

Automatic call distribution 

Automatic call distribution (ACD) is a technology used in contact centers to route incoming calls to available agents based on predetermined rules.

You can distribute phone calls based on caller ID, business hours, support level, and interactive voice response (IVR) selections. As a result, inbound calls reach the right agent, department, or even voicemail quickly and without the caller having to dial a different phone number.

Imagine a customer calling about a specific appliance at a big-box store. ACD can identify keywords and route the call to an agent familiar with that product line, ensuring expert assistance on the first try.

Interactive voice response

IVR offers self-service options for basic inquiries, reducing agent workload and wait times.

An IVR helps callers navigate to their desired destination through preset menu options.

By choosing the right option, callers get matched with the respective department, individual, or queue.

Inside an IVR, you can configure special rules for who picks up each call based on skills, call volume, or period.


Call recording & call monitoring

Basic call recording ensures all your calls get recorded and retained for compliance reasons. If you need to recall a customer interaction in the future, you have them securely stored.

More advanced call recording enables you to level your training and quality assurance processes. Not only can you listen back to any call of your choosing, but you can also set up routine (and automated) workflows where you take customer calls and review them for key criteria.

With easy access to call recordings, you can build a formal quality assurance process without constant legwork and effort.

Call center quality assurance criteria

Dashboards & reporting

They say what gets measured gets managed, and this couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to call center operations.

With access to the right call center metrics, you can track volumes, wait times, and resolution rates to identify areas for improvement.

What’s even more helpful is having these displayed on dashboards for easy viewing. You may have a wallboard to track agent performance, and you could even introduce contact center gamification.

You can also have a supervisor-specific dashboard for certain teams to get a holistic view of what’s happening at any given moment (or in the past) so you can make business decisions backed by real customer data.

Nextiva dashboard and wallboard

Top 5 Call Center Providers for Small Businesses

Now, we’re going to introduce the five best call center software providers that are specifically great for small businesses. 

These are all providers who hit the key criteria:

  • Ease of use
  • Rapid onboarding
  • Unlimited vendor support
  • CRM integration and open APIs
  • Delivery of essential features for small teams

1. Nextiva

Quick and simple setupNo free trial
Affordable for small businessesNo support for on-premises deployment
24/7 support and 99.999% uptimeLack of out-of-the-box integration for some niche business apps

Nextiva provides a phone system, video conferencing, and call center solution, meaning you have a single platform for all your communication and business needs. 

You can choose from inbound, outbound, or blended contact center software alongside your core internal communications app. 

Expect a wide range of features, even in the basic call center package:

  • Call routing
  • IVR
  • ACD
  • Speech analytics
  • Reporting and dashboards
  • Mobile app for instant access
  • Option to add email, chatbots, SMS, and social media

For outbound call centers, expect computer telephony integration (CTI), a power dialer or predictive dialer, and a ton of advanced reporting options to streamline sales.

Nextiva contact center solution

Out-of-the-box CRM system integrations include:

  • Salesforce
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Microsoft Teams
  • HubSpot
  • Zendesk
  • Zoho
  • Oracle Sales Cloud
  • Workbooks
  • ServiceNow
  • SugarCRM
  • Act! CRM
  • Lotus Notes
  • ConnectWise
  • GoldMine
  • Bullhorn

Nextiva customers love the assisted implementation, ease of setup, and friendly and knowledgeable support team.

“I can’t really say enough about the support. Nextiva is top-notch when it comes to any issues that I have. It is thorough, responsive, and professional. From my perspective as the IT Director, it’s really the forefront of my requirements for any vendor that we deal with. We have to be able to reach out to support and resolve an issue very quickly.”

~ Rich Sparkman, Director of Technology at Shelby American

2. Ringover

Unlimited international callsLack of support for lesser integrations
Robust basic call routingFewer omnichannel add-ons
Specialist in sales and recruitmentLack of call center market exposure

Ringover is a cloud-based software that is mainly used by small and medium-sized businesses. 

It offers unlimited international calls to various destinations and has robust basic voice call capabilities. The call center platform also includes advanced routing features to enhance call efficiency.

With a focus on sales and recruitment, Ringover integrates with specialist CRMs like Bullhorn, TextUs, Sense Messaging, and Loxo. You also get integrations with major platforms like Zoho and Microsoft Dynamics.


For teams that wish to get set up quickly, Ringover boasts that you can get going in minutes. If you spend a little extra time (and money), Ringover supports emails, SMS, and social media.

At the top level, you get AI features like real-time transcription, call center analytics, and radio coaching. 

3. Sprinklr

Supports 30+ communication channelsChoice of solutions can be overwhelming for small businesses
Dedicated account manager for enterprise plansNo dedicated account manager for smaller teams
Wide range of CRM integrationsPotential for complex setups

Sprinklr offers a comprehensive omnichannel contact center, including calls, emails, social media, and messaging.

This cloud-based call center software integrates with a wide range of CRM platforms, including:

  • Freshdesk
  • IBM Watson
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Salesforce
  • SAP
  • ServiceNow
  • Zendesk

Support options include phone, chat, and email, with dedicated account managers for enterprise plans. Sprinklr’s marketing messaging focuses on improving customer support metrics, so you’d hope they are practicing what they preach.

Sprinklr dashboard

4. Five9

Longstanding AI legacyHigh price point for small businesses
Focus on automationCan be overwhelming for new users
Enterprise scalabilityNeeds a separate provider for VoIP

Just because you’re a small business, it doesn’t mean you’re not looking for the most advanced features. If you want an advanced AI-powered contact center solution, Five9 hits the nail on the head. 

You get what we’ve come to expect as stock call center features, like call queuing, IVR, and skills-based routing.

But where Five9 really excels is in its ability to use AI to generate reports and provide sentiment analysis on your customer transactions.

If you’re a data-driven organization with a lot of customers and a decently sized service team, Five9 can be a great way to get control of your contact center, with features that include:

  • Agent assist
  • Call recording and transcription
  • Workflow automation
  • Digital engagement
  • Conversational IVR
  • Quality assurance
  • Workforce management

5. LiveAgent

Great alternative for budget-conscious businessesNot a fully-featured call center
30-day free trialLack of call center market exposure
Adds extra help desk featuresCan require a lengthy implementation

LiveAgent is an affordable option, best known as a ticketing and help desk software. However, with a user-friendly interface, it makes a great choice if call center costs are your primary concern and your core function is customer service. 

Think of LiveAgent as a shortcut to a call center software solution, with help desk features like:

  • Configurable business hours
  • Canned responses
  • Contact forms
  • Email forwarding
  • Universal inbox
  • Time tracking

It also comes with basic call center features like:

  • IVR
  • Call back requests
  • ACD
  • Smart call routing
  • Call transfers
  • Call recording

You also get out-of-the-box integration with popular CRMs like Zoho, HubSpot, and Freshsales.

Need to Do More Than Take Calls?

If a call center solution for your small business sounds useful, but you need to do more than handle calls (like responding to support emails, website chats, and social media questions), a contact center platform might be a better fit.

Unlike a call center, contact center software streamlines multiple channels into a single interface.

We refer to this extra functionality as omnichannel — combining all your customers’ communication methods and providing a holistic view for agents to work efficiently and provide a superior customer experience.

It’s not for everyone, but it can help your team work more efficiently and reduce the chaos caused by switching between several disparate apps. 

What’s the Preferred Call Center Solution for Small Teams?


When looking for call center software as a small business, it’s not necessarily about which has the most features.

While more is generally better, think about what you’re realistically going to use and how efficient and easy it is to use what you need.

When those crucial features are considered alongside the level of support required, we find that Nextiva delivers time and again in this category.

With customers like Veterans Home Care and Canyon Coolers using Nextiva because of its ease of use and quality support, we’re happy to go toe-to-toe with anyone when it comes to providing call center software to small businesses.

“We foster relationships based on the connections we make and having the best software, the best hardware, the best suppliers. Nextiva has checked all the boxes for us.”

~Jason Costello, CEO of Canyon Coolers

With a simple portfolio of products and a history of delivering, Nextiva’s small business experience is second to none.

It’s a win-win with Nextiva.

Customers get personalized phone support. Your sales teams get a flexible inbound call center.

Dominic Kent


Dominic Kent

Dominic Kent is a content marketer specializing in unified communications and contact centers. After 10 years of managing installations, he founded UC Marketing to bridge the gap between service providers and customers. He spends half of his time building content marketing programs and the rest writing on the beach with his dogs.

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