Virtual Call Center: Benefits, Best Software + How to Choose One

March 13, 2024 13 min read

Alex Doan

Alex Doan

virtual-call-center
What Is a Virtual Call Center?

Virtual call center software is a cloud-based application that uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, allowing call centers to make high-quality online calls without bulky and costly physical hardware.

Traditional call center technology doesn’t cut it anymore. It slows down operations and drives up costs. Plus, remote work benefits employers and employees across industries — and that goes for call centers, too.

Virtual call center software helps distributed teams deliver a superior customer experience, even with high volumes of inbound calls.

With the right virtual contact center, you can reduce costs, scale your team, and go live faster.

Below, we’ll cover the fundamentals of virtual call center software, key benefits, functionality, and top tools to enhance agent performance.

Best Virtual Call Center Software: Top 5 Comparison

The best call center software can help you with organization, customer communication, third-party integration, and much more — all with one solution.

These are the five best virtual call center software solutions available for businesses.

Virtual Call Center SoftwareKey FeaturesStarting PriceBest For
NextivaCloud-based VoIP calls Call forwarding Conference calling Voicemail to email Mobile app$50 per monthSmall, medium, and large businesses with a wide range of needs.
Five9Predictive dialer Scripting and guided interactions Customizable APIs$149 per user per monthLarge enterprises and contact centers.
AircallCloud-based phone system Helpdesk and CRM integrations Callback requests$30 per license per monthSales and customer support teams and small businesses.
Twilio FlexVoice APIs Dynamic call routing Real-time call monitoring$150 per named user per month or $1 per active user hourDevelopers (requires manual coding).
FreshcallerVoIP phone integration Ticketing and case management system Workflow automations$15 per user per monthTicketing and helpdesk teams.

Note that each service varies in pricing depending on features or the number of users.

Next, we’ll dig into the details of the top five software options.

1. Nextiva 

Nextiva provides virtual call center functionality alongside its cloud-based phone system.

A screenshot of Nextiva's cloud-based virtual call center solution.

Cloud communications empower your call center to take more customer calls with fewer agents.

You can also automate multichannel customer support and self-service options with Nextiva’s call center system.

It includes everything your team needs to provide exceptional customer service and skyrocket your business to the next level, like:

  • VoIP calls to make and receive high-quality calls over the internet.
  • Call monitoring and whispering for supervisors to assist agents in real time during challenging calls without the caller hearing. 
  • Call forwarding rules to redirect calls to alternate numbers or agents so no call goes unanswered.
  • Voicemail to email to automatically forward voicemail messages to email, so agents can easily access and respond to messages even when they’re away from their desks.
  • Conference calling with multiple participants so agents can easily collaborate or start group discussions with customers.
  • Call center performance metrics for call center managers and supervisors so they can track KPIs and make informed decisions.

Related: How Much Does a Call Center Cost?

Nextiva’s mobile app even keeps agents connected to handle calls from their smartphones to simplify remote and on-the-go call center operations. It’s a contact center solution with every support feature available at your agents’ fingertips.

💰Pricing: Nextiva starts at $18.95 per user per month. Nextiva’s virtual call center solution begins at $50 per month for smaller businesses and around $150 per month for larger ones.

2. Five9 

Five9 is a cloud-based call center software and contact center solution with features that improve call center operations and customer service.

A screenshot of Five9's cloud-based call center software.

It can help support your customers across different touch points with features such as:

  • Omnichannel support to help manage customer interactions across multiple channels, voice, email, chat, social media, and more. 
  • Predictive dialer to optimize the calling process by automatically dialing numbers and connecting agents to live calls. 
  • Workforce management tools to optimize staffing levels to meet customer demand while controlling costs.
  • Scripting and guided interactions for agents to access pre-built scripts and guided workflows.
  • Customizable APIs to tailor the call center platform to their needs and integrate with other business applications.

You can use these features for marketing efforts like predictive dialer campaigns that increase how many callers your agents can handle in a certain period.

💰Pricing: Five9 starts at $149 per user per month for a digital or voice-only contact center solution.

3. Aircall

Aircall is a business phone and communication platform specifically designed to handle sales and customer support calls.

A screenshot of Aircall's cloud-based call center software.

It can help with everyday call center duties with features like:

  • A cloud-based phone system for flexible and scalable call center operations.
  • Multichannel communication to support voice calls, SMS, and other communication channels.
  • Integrations with CRM and other help desk systems, such as Salesforce, Zendesk, and HubSpot, to access customer data.
  • Call-back requests so customers can conveniently schedule a return call.

Like most cloud-based offerings, cloud telephony offers better reliability for less money than their traditional phone counterparts.

💰Pricing: Five9 starts at $149 per user per month for a digital or voice-only contact center solution.

4. Twilio Flex

Twilio Flex offers an array of cloud communication APIs and services for developers to build a contact center and integrate it into their tools.

It has many features for customer contact center needs, including:

  • Voice APIs to build and customize voice-based communication applications, interactive voice response (IVR) systems, call routing, call recording, etc.
  • Automated messaging through SMS, chat, and social channels to send notifications, alerts, and updates to customers.
  • Dynamic call routing based on customer profiles, call volume, and agent availability.
  • Highly customizable interactions over VoIP and messaging.

Twilio does require coding, so consider the costs of hiring developers to implement your solution, too.

💰Pricing: Twilio Flex starts at $150 per named user per month or $1 per active user hour. The first 5,000 hours are free.

5. Freshcaller

Freshcaller from Freshdesk is a customer support and help desk software best known for its email and ticket support. It also offers features for handling phone-based customer support.

Outside of its free tier, Freshcaller offers a suite of features, like:

  • A built-in phone system to integrate with popular VoIP providers, enabling call centers to make and receive calls directly within the interface.
  • Interaction history to see all your past customer conversations so your agents have a history to draw from
  • Warm transfers when passing off calls to give agents context before they jump in to address an issue

Customer service automations can help boost agent efficiency and increase cross-team collaboration to move customer tickets along.

💰Pricing: Freshcaller starts at $15 per user per month. There is also a free tier for small teams that are just getting started.

How Virtual Call Center Software Works

Virtual call centers typically use a web-based application hosted in the cloud by a VoIP provider. This application enables call routing between the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and logged-in agents. 

An automatic call distributor (ACD) manages the call routing, distributing calls to the appropriate agents based on factors like:

  • Customer availability
  • Agent skills
  • Language preferences

You shouldn’t have to worry about the underlying technology of virtual call center programs — the call center provider takes care of it. Instead, invest the saved-up resources and time to coach and develop their customer service and sales skills.

🔎TLDR: Virtual call center software uses VoIP to connect calls over an internet connection rather than analog phone lines.

This allows a call center to be configured based on agent availability rather than their location. Anyone with a reliable internet connection can work as a call center agent from anywhere using an internet-connected headset, computer, or smartphone.

Traditional vs. virtual call centers

Virtual call center agents can work from anywhere. 

Traditional call center agents must work from a single location, often with on-premises telephony hardware in the building. 

Here are some key differences between virtual and traditional call centers.

FunctionVirtual Call CenterOn-premises Call Center
MonitoringLive data in an easily accessible & intuitive dashboard in the cloud.Managers dial into ACD to monitor calls.
LocationIn the office, on the road, at home, or anywhere.In a physical building.
CollaborationAsynchronous communication, team chat, and video conferencing.Voice-based or in-person meetings.
Real estate costsPay-as-you-go cloud-based model with minimal upfront costs. $0 if telecommuting.High setup and infrastructure costs, including real estate and office equipment.Up to $5,000 per employee.
Startup costsLow: Web/thin client, mobile or desktop apps, headsets.High: PBX, telecom, IT, VoIP phones, headsets, etc. 
Ease of scalingEasy: Unlimited scalability, features anytime you want them.Limited by physical space and telecom hardware.

Benefits of a Virtual Call Center: Why You Should Upgrade

Whether you’re deciding to move your existing call center to a virtual team or looking to start a virtual call center altogether, it pays to know the potential benefits.

A list of benefits of a virtual call center.

1. Organize your customer data

A virtual call center platform collects and organizes all the required metrics in a single dashboard. This empowers your team to create actionable, data-driven strategies and your agents to provide the stellar, personalized experiences your customers expect.

Your agents will be able to provide more personalized experiences for each customer when they can:

  • See previous conversations with a customer across channels.
  • Connect insights from your sales and support teams by integrating calls with your CRM.
  • Create automations for follow-ups and reminders.

This type of omnichannel contact center environment removes barriers to integrating data between channels and encourages cross-team collaboration. In return, your customers can benefit from a more fluid experience.

omnichannel-cx-benefits

2. Communicate across several channels

To reach the most customers, your team needs to provide outreach via business communication channels such as email, social media, text messages, chatbots, and more.

A true omnichannel environment offers advantages like:

  • Separate apps, tools, or dashboards for agents to help customers on multiple communication channels
  • Intuitive, effortless travel between channels without endless phone tree menus
  • Faster customer service by routing the customer to the appropriate virtual call agent instead of bouncing around between departments and transfers

Your call center’s efficiency and your customer and agent satisfaction are tied to how quickly and how well customer questions are answered. Answer them faster with a more integrated omnichannel solution.

The call center solution teams love.

Sales and support teams use Nextiva to deliver a better customer experience.

3. Boost customer satisfaction

Virtual call centers help agents help customers faster, increasing customer trust, loyalty, and satisfaction.

A solution that leads to positive customer satisfaction scores is worth investing in, thanks to:

  • Predictive routing to quickly connect customers to the right team member, which helps them straighten out issues the first time.
  • Live monitoring to ensure customers struggling to resolve their queries get help from supervisors jumping in on calls.
  • Continuous improvement from training and feedback customized agent-to-agent based on performance in live calls.

Together, these features empower agents to improve their customer service skills and capabilities.

4. Help your agents work smarter

The right virtual software can guide customers to help themselves, which eases burdens on your team, improves productivity, and raises satisfaction scores for employees and customers alike.

Virtual call centers help agents work smarter, which:

  • Improves agent productivity and efficiency
  • Reduces employee burnout
  • Lowers turnover rates

Running your virtual call center in the cloud can also help you handle higher call volumes. Nextiva’s software, for example, handles over 500 calls per line. You can take more customer calls with fewer agents to streamline call flows and distribute calls without issue based on varied daily and weekly agent schedules.

💡Tip: Nextiva’s AI-powered voice and chatbot power a comprehensive, customizable contact center solution that can help you take “smart” one step further — starting at $100 per agent per month.

5. Integrate seamlessly with third-party software

If your agents have to manually enter data from their customer calls into your other tools, you might benefit from adopting virtual call center software.

Connecting old-school call center software with modern apps and tools your business uses can be challenging. But virtual contact center tools include the following pre-built integrations for third-party software:

  • CRMs
  • Helpdesks
  • Ticket management
  • Productivity
  • Power dialers
  • Email
  • Shared team workspaces

Nextiva’s integrations work with (most) of your in-house tools and processes. Your agents will be equipped to seamlessly move between resources to help your customers better, enhance customer service, and boost overall efficiency.

Nextiva integrates seamlessly with most in-house tools and software like Google Workspace, Zendesk, and more.

A solution like Nextiva offers out-of-the-box business integrations for popular online tools like:

It also provides options for configurable setups with no-code API integrations.

The best call center software alleviates your contact center challenges and headaches. And if you’re thinking of migrating your entire operation to the cloud or starting a virtual call center from scratch, learning the benefits you stand to gain may make your decision easier.

6. Free up office real estate

A virtual call center is better for some companies than an on-premises one because it doesn’t require physical office space.

Since agents only need an internet connection and a headset, you can set up and install your virtual call center a few hours after signing up. When the time comes, simply onboard new virtual agents and scale up when you need the software licenses.

IT support also frees up time by reducing the number of hardware support cases they’d have to deal with on-site. They can focus on larger, more beneficial initiatives, like:

  • Enhancing VoIP security measures to protect the increased flow of data with a virtual call center
  • Optimizing and integrating software to improve agent efficiency
  • Exploring artificial intelligence (AI) automations to streamline operations

You can start a virtual call center with minimal investment or lower your operational costs for an existing one. You also score a more risk-free solution to scale as your business grows.

7. Increase reliability and geographic redundancy

When geographical boundaries don’t restrict agents, supervisors, and managers, everyone can stay connected from anywhere. Whether using the app from a home computer, tablet, or smartphone, calls and messages move seamlessly into the cloud.

This work-from-anywhere approach means you can provide 24/7 customer support and impeccable service without worrying about:

  • Bad weather
  • Traffic delays
  • Sick days

Scheduling remote agents in each time zone around the globe always gives your customers someone to connect with fast — and they won’t be able to tell the difference between an on-site or virtual call.

How to Choose Virtual Call Center Software

Finding the right solutions for your business is essential because every customer interaction counts.

The best call center software has key features that help businesses stand out from the competition.

So here are the top capabilities to look for to boost efficiency and help you scale:

  • Omnichannel functionality so agents can handle requests and share information across multiple channels
  • Virtual phone numbers so your team can make and receive calls from customers worldwide, whether working in an office or from home
  • Cloud-based VoIP calls to streamline business communications and increase security
  • Advanced calling features like ACD, IVR, customizable call flow, and call queues
  • Third-party integrations to reduce time your call center staff spends switching apps and hunting for information
  • Real-time analytics and contact center reporting to view the status and statistics of a call center’s activity and its agents’ productivity
  • Training options like supervisor resources, admin guides, and user tutorials to speed up adoption
  • 24/7 customer support to reach help easily via web, chat, email, or phone
  • Regulatory compliance to meet industry standards for specific requirements like HIPAA
  • Call center training and automation to guide agents, including peer-to-peer listening, live call monitoring, and conversational AI

If you opt for a virtual call center solution that has these features, you’ll be better equipped to meet your unique customer needs and scale while you do it.

Related: Enterprise Contact Center Solutions: Overview & Key Features

Choose Software That Helps You Scale

Virtual call center platforms enhance the calling experience and offer customers convenience. On the business end, they intelligently distribute your workload across departments. That means your agents can work smarter, not harder — and your profits can increase.

With campaign-specific analytics, automation, and advanced call routing, confidently handle a high volume of inbound or outbound calls from anywhere in the world with Nextiva.

The call center solution teams love.

Sales and support teams use Nextiva to deliver a better customer experience.

Virtual Call Center FAQs

For more info, check out these frequently asked questions about virtual call centers.

How do I start a virtual call center?

To start a virtual call center, first research the market and define your services. You’ll also need call center technology, like a phone system and the applicable software, plus a trained staff to use it.

You must also ensure compliance with local laws and regulations. In the United States, this includes the Telemarketing Sales Rules (TSR) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

How much does virtual call center software cost?

Remote call center software with Nextiva starts at $50 per user monthly and does not require any upfront hardware costs, setup fees, or activation fees. For more advanced call center functionality built for the enterprise, you might expect to pay around $150 per user monthly.

How does a virtual call center improve customer experience?

Virtual contact center solutions are examples of customer experience software that reduce wait times and dropped calls through greater call efficiency. They support agents in different time zones 24/7, ensuring intelligent call routing for quick problem resolution.

Automation and AI provide self-service options and accelerate solutions, and depending on the type of CRM, integrations enable agents to deliver more personalized customer experiences.

Can a virtual call center improve agent productivity?

Yes, a virtual call center can improve agent productivity in several ways. Agents who work from home can benefit from reduced commute times and more comfortable working environments. These can lead to higher job satisfaction and morale.

Virtual call centers can also leverage technology to streamline operations, like automated call routing and integrated CRM, reducing the time agents spend on administrative tasks and allowing them to focus more on assisting customers.

How do I integrate our business apps with a contact center solution?

Virtual contact center solutions allow teams to integrate the tools they use every day with their call center software. This gives agents a holistic overview of each caller’s entire customer journey. Integrations may include helpdesk, productivity, CRM, and other tools.

Software in this category may also include capabilities allowing agents to interact with customers via live chat, SMS, social media messaging, and more integrations in their call center dashboard. This enables agents to connect with customers on their preferred contact channel and seamlessly share data between all interactions.

Alex Doan

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Doan

Alex Doan is an experienced senior marketing professional specializing in propelling growth for both B2B and B2C companies. Proficient in streamlining marketing operations for seamless sales transitions, utilizing analytics and consumer insights to achieve measurable outcomes. Committed to enhancing lead and customer experiences through effective journey mapping.

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