What Is a SaaS Call Center? Key Benefits, Features, & Setup

March 18, 2024 11 min read

Julie Bai

Julie Bai

Traditional call centers can be a real pain to set up and maintain. They’re expensive, inflexible, and can’t easily adapt to changing business needs.

That’s where SaaS call centers come in.

They are cloud call centers that provide all the essential call center functionalities through the internet. This eliminates the need for physical hardware and simplifies management. With a SaaS call center, you simply pay a subscription fee to access the features you need.

In this article, we’ll walk you through SaaS call centers (what they are, key benefits, and features) and show you why they’re more efficient and cost-effective in handling customer interactions. You’ll know why to switch to a SaaS call center solution to stay competitive (without breaking the bank).

What Is a SaaS Call Center?

A Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) call center is a cloud-based software solution that enables businesses to handle customer interactions without significant upfront investments in hardware, software, or infrastructure.

Instead of equipment installed on-site, a SaaS call center uses the internet (VoIP) for calling and provides features through a subscription model.

Its core functionalities include inbound and outbound call management, call routing, and analytics, and it often integrates with omnichannel communication tools like email, chat, and video.

On-Premises vs. SaaS Call Center

Both options allow you to manage customer interactions over the phone, but they differ in how they’re set up and maintained.

On-premise call centers involve installing software and hardware directly at your company’s location. Your IT team takes care of everything, from setup to ongoing maintenance and upgrades. This gives you control over the system and data security.

On-premise solutions can be customized to fit your specific needs. However, the upfront costs for hardware, software licenses, and IT staff are significant. Scaling up or down is also expensive and time-consuming, requiring additional hardware or software purchases.

SaaS call centers, on the other hand, are cloud-based. You access the system through an internet browser or softphone app, eliminating on-site installations. This translates to lower upfront costs with a subscription-based pricing model.

Maintenance and upgrades are handled by the provider, reducing your IT burden. Scaling up or down to meet changing call volume is also a breeze with a SaaS solution.

Most providers offer robust security features and administrative tools too. Customization options might be more limited, but they’re still sufficient for most businesses.

Key SaaS Call Center Features

With SaaS, you have a virtual call center accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. It offers a range of features to streamline your customer service operations, drive better customer engagement, and enhance the customer experience.

Let’s take a look at some key features of SaaS contact centers.

1. Inbound and outbound call management

SaaS call centers help efficiently route incoming calls to the right call center agents based on their skills, availability, or other predefined criteria. Customers connect with the most suitable agent to handle their inquiries.

You can also manage outbound campaigns for sales, marketing, or surveys to proactively reach out to customers.

2. Advanced call routing (ACD, IVR)

Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) distributes calls intelligently among agents based on agent skills, call priority, and queue length. This key SaaS contact center feature minimizes wait times and ensures a balanced workload across your team.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems also automate basic tasks, such as account balance inquiries or frequently asked questions, and direct callers to the appropriate departments based on their needs.

How IVR works

3. Omnichannel communication

SaaS call centers go beyond just voice calls and provide an omnichannel customer experience. They easily integrate with email, chat, social media, and video conferencing tools, covering interactions across all touchpoints and channels in a customer journey.

Customers get to choose their preferred mode of communication; agents handle interactions efficiently from a unified interface.

4. CRM integration

You can easily connect your SaaS call center software with your customer relationship management (CRM) system to consolidate valuable customer insights and provide more personalized service from a single place.


With CRM integration, agents can access customer history, previous interactions, and relevant data in real time. They feel empowered to deliver tailored solutions, anticipate customer needs, and build stronger relationships.

5. Call recording and analytics

Most SaaS contact center solutions come with built-in call recording and analytics features. You can record calls for training, quality assurance, and compliance purposes.

Analyze call center data, such as call duration, wait times, and customer sentiment, to identify trends, optimize agent performance, and improve efficiency.

Practical insights into your call center operations help you make data-driven decisions and continually refine your call center strategies.


6. Workforce management tools

Optimize your workforce with built-in tools for scheduling, forecasting, and performance monitoring.

SaaS call centers often include features like real-time agent monitoring, workforce management dashboards, and scheduling automation. These tools help you allocate resources effectively, ensure adequate staffing during peak hours, and monitor agent performance to maintain high service quality.

Business Benefits of SaaS Call Centers

Gartner reports that 75% of CRM spending is allocated to SaaS solutions, highlighting the significant advantages of moving communications platforms to the cloud.

SaaS Call Center CRM Spend - Gartner

Today, businesses with sales or customer service departments can massively benefit from moving their communications platform to the cloud with a SaaS call center solution. How?

1. Cost-effectiveness

Implementing a cloud-based solution is much more affordable than on-premise options. Startup and ongoing costs for SaaS solutions are lower, with no need to budget for servers or infrastructure.

You pay a fair monthly subscription price per agent seat, which includes unlimited calling, texting, and features. This eliminates the astronomical upfront costs of hardware, software licenses, and IT maintenance with on-site PBX systems.

Related: How Much Does a Call Center Cost?

2. Flexibility & scalability

With a cloud-based platform, scalability is a breeze. You can easily add new locations or remote agents without investing in additional office space or equipment.

You can quickly adjust your agent resources based on call volume fluctuations, especially during peak seasons, without purchasing additional hardware or software. Cloud solutions enable offices across the globe to work together seamlessly to serve customers and provide a consistent experience.

Your agents can work from anywhere with just a softphone app and an internet connection. This means you can build a diverse, remote team and give them the work-life balance they crave.

3. Advanced features

SaaS call center solutions offer a wealth of advanced features that benefit businesses of all sizes.

From ACDs that intelligently route calls to CRM integrations that provide valuable context for each interaction, these features can significantly enhance your call center operations.

Other notable features include dialed number identification service (DNIS) for marketing campaign tracking, live chat for customer preference, interactive voice response for self-service options, and number porting to maintain your existing phone numbers.

With a SaaS solution, you can access these advanced features without significant investments or technical expertise, leveling the playing field for small businesses.

Related: Understand How DNIS Works in Call Centers: A Complete Guide

4. Improved customer service

Cloud-based SaaS platforms provide a unified interface for omnichannel communication, so your customers can reach you however they prefer.

With features like skills-based routing, CRM integrations, and real-time analytics, your agents will have the tools they need to resolve issues faster and keep customers smiling.

5. Better agent productivity

Automations like IVR help route basic queries away from agents, allowing them to focus on more complex issues. Computer telephony integration (CTI) automatically surfaces relevant customer data, reducing manual lookups and speeding up call handling.

Post-call work is minimized through automatic call logging, giving agents more time to provide excellent service. With one unified interface instead of multiple tools, agents handle multichannel interactions more efficiently. AI features can even suggest the next-best actions, further enhancing productivity.

Average Call Center Activity Stats

6. Increased security

SaaS call centers offer increased security. SaaS software employs strict cloud-based security measures, including encryption, access controls, and redundant infrastructure to keep your call center data safe.

You benefit from the provider’s investments in security certifications and audits, ensuring compliance with regulations like PCI and HIPAA. Automatic software updates protect against the latest cybersecurity threats with no effort required from your IT team, giving you peace of mind.

Types of SaaS Call Centers

There are several types of SaaS call centers, each designed to cater to specific business needs:

types of call centers

What To Look for In a SaaS Call Center Software

When searching for a SaaS call center software, here are key features and considerations:

Top SaaS Call Center Providers

The SaaS contact center software you choose depends on your unique needs, budget, business size, and features most useful to you. Here are a few top options for different needs and business sizes in 2024.

Provider NameStarting PriceKey FeaturesBest For
Nextiva$50 per user/month (no setup fees)Auto attendants, call routing, voicemail to text, integrations with popular CRMs, video conferencingBusinesses of all sizes
Zendesk Talk$55 per user/monthOmnichannel support (voice, chat, email), call routing, reporting & analytics, integrations with CRM & helpdeskBusinesses of all sizes
Five9$149 per user/monthAutomatic call routing, workforce optimization, customer analytics, AI-powered featuresBusinesses looking for advanced automation & analytics
Genesys Cloud CX$75 per user/monthLarge enterprises with complex contact center needsLarge enterprises with complex contact center needs
Aircall$30 per user/month (with a 3-user minimum)Cloud-based call center, call recording & analytics, call routing, integrations with popular CRMsSmall call centers with high call volume

How To Set Up a SaaS Call Center

Setting up a SaaS call center is quite easy compared to traditional setups. Here’s how to get yours up and running in no time:

1. Define your needs

Start by figuring out what you actually need. How many calls are you expecting? During peak hours? What call center features are must-haves (think call recording, super-smooth call routing), and what can wait?

Contact Center Features

Finally, set a budget that you can keep up with. You can always start small and scale up as your business grows.

2. Choose a SaaS call center provider

Scout around, compare features, and make sure your SaaS call center solution can grow with you — you don’t want to be stuck if your call volume explodes.

Usability is key too, for both you and your agents. Consider how user-friendly the interface is for both agents and administrators. Also, ensure the provider offers reliable customer support.

Don’t forget to assess their security and compliance setup.

3. Get equipped

VoIP headsets are a must for most agents (comfort is key), but some systems might just need a good computer and microphone. And don’t forget the internet — a reliable connection is the backbone of crystal-clear calls.

4. Set up your SaaS call center

The provider will walk you through creating your account, picking features, and getting new virtual phone numbers (you can even port your existing numbers). Next, create agent logins, assign them to agents with appropriate permissions, and set up call routing rules to distribute calls efficiently among agents.

Train your agents on using the call center software, handling customer calls, and following your company’s customer service protocols.

6. Measure and improve

Use call analytics to track key call center metrics like call duration, wait times, and agent performance. Take timely customer feedback on your systems and processes so you know where to improve.

Nextiva voice analytics

Use call recording and quality monitoring to assess agents’ performance too, so you know how efficiently they’re performing, meeting targets, and servicing the customers.

Circle Back & Start By Choosing the Right Call Center Software

The first step to setting up a SaaS call center is finding the right VoIP call center solution, and Nextiva is here to help. Our cloud-based call center software offers plenty of features to help you manage your call center from anywhere in the world.

After you’ve figured out the right plan for your business needs, we’ll help you port your existing phone numbers to ensure a smooth transition. Our team of experts can also guide you through the process, making it hassle-free and efficient.

Whether it’s choosing the right VoIP phones or headsets for your customer service team, we’ve got you covered.

You can also opt for Nextiva’s softphone app for both desktop and mobile devices to reduce the upfront costs and get your call center up and running quickly.

Get a cloud contact center solution from Nextiva.

IVR, call recording, VoIP numbers, call routing, advanced reporting–integrated in ONE cloud platform.

Julie Bai


Julie Bai

Julie Bai was a product manager at Nextiva, UCaaS evangelist, no-bull communicator, and translator for people, dog lover, and mother to an adorably active boy.

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