Customer Management Articles

Don’t Get Hung Up on Cost: Contact Center Software Pricing Explained

by Ankita Singh
Published on 9 January 2018

The contact center software industry is on the verge of huge growth and digital disruption. According to one study, it will grow to $29.1 billion by 2022; that's up from $13.3 billion in 2016, meaning it's expected to more than double in a span of six years.

Such explosive growth usually leads to more competition, which means cost savings for you, the consumer.

That's great news, right? But more competition also means more options, and that can get overwhelming. How do you know which contact center software solution is the right one for you, and how can you avoid paying too much for it?

In this article, we're breaking down everything you need to know about contact center software pricing, including the key features offered, and how they affect the price. We'll also take a look at pricing structures and a few other factors you need to know about.

What are the key features that make up contact center software?

A contact center, according to Gartner's definition, can support customer interactions through multiple channels, such as phone, email, chat, and social media. Various software tools and functions support call centers, including automatic call distribution, computer telephony integration, interactive voice response (IVR), and outbound dialers.

Contact centers differs from call centers, as a call center supports only telephone calls.

There are many contact center software options available, with each offering more basic features along with some advanced features. We've compiled a list of these features to help you better understand the products and how they could meet your business needs.

Contact center software feature Description
Call management Allows agents to make inbound and outbound calls. They can mute, unmute, and record calls as needed, transfer a call to another agent, or forward calls to an external phone number.
Call routing Lets users with appropriate access route calls to agents or groups of agents to ensure a customer is connected to the right person.
Omnichannel routing Makes it possible to connect customers with the best agent at any time regardless of the communication channel used (chat, email, phone, social media).
Automatic call distribution (ACD) Makes it possible for administrators to distribute calls to agents with specific skills and specialties.
Interactive voice response (IVR) Lets customers interact with a computer interface through keypad and voice inputs.
Predictive dialing Automatically calls a sequence of phone numbers, screening out busy, no-answers, and disconnected numbers to save time. Predicts the best time for calls. Tracks available agents, lines, average handle times, etc. to adjust call routing accordingly.
Scripting Allows users to create scripts for both inbound calls and outbound dialing campaigns and edit the templates as needed.
Workforce management Administrators can manage agent schedules, time-off requests, workflows, and queues, to keep everyone busy without overloading anyone.
Quality management Allows call recording. Lets managers comment on and evaluate recordings for training and quality management. Also facilitates automation of repetitive quality management tasks such as providing live feedback to agents, understanding stress levels, and analyzing speech quality in real-time.
Compliance Ensures compliance with state and federal do not call regulations across outbound and inbound operations.
Unified dashboard Allows managers to see agent activity, active calls, contact center performance, and more at a glance, without having to switch windows or scrolling.
Text-to-speech Converts text data to speech to help agents continue to provide information to customers while working on their queries.
Speech recognition Lets you provide self-service applications to customers using interactive voice response (IVR). Helps pull customer data and previous interactions more quickly through speech recognition of the current call and aids in analysis of customers' calls (for instance, in the case of repeat calls) to pinpoint the root cause of the issue.
Speech analytics integration Helps agents better understand customers and can be used for coaching purposes. Gauges stress, satisfaction, etc. in the tone of the customer's voice, which can also help identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities.
Conference calling Add agents and external resources to a call to assist customers better.
Integrations Integrates with other types of business software, including customer service, CRM, marketing, file sharing, and productivity tools for seamless data transfer and quicker access.
Contact management Store contact information and customer interaction histories so they're readily available for agents during customer interactions.

Contact center software pricing structures explained

Broadly speaking, the contact center software solutions listed on GetApp fall into three main pricing ranges:

  • Starter price range: $0-50 per month
  • Mid price range: $50-100 per month
  • Enterprise price range: $100+ per month

Note: Prices are on a per user per month basis, with no maximum number of users. Pricing plan terminologies used by different software providers vary and may not exactly match the categories defined here. The categories here provide a general estimate of the price ranges and target user base supported by different providers. See the Appendix to learn more about the methodology we have used to arrive at the three price categories.

Software vendors may structure their pricing differently, but for the most part, they will fall into one of the pricing structures below.

Regardless of pricing structure, many contact center software vendors offer a trial period of 15 to 30 days, sometimes with limited features. Free trials and demos give you hands-on experience with a tool, so you can try out key functionality and determine whether it's a fit.

Pricing structure Description Examples
Free
  • Open source software: Vendors provide the source code, which allows developers to use, modify, and customize a platform.
  • Freemium: Vendors offer the software for free, often with limited features with the option to purchase upgrades and add-ons.
By number of users
  • The price of the software is per user (usually per month), so as the number of users increases, the price goes up.
  • This allows flexibility to add users as your business grows, without paying for more user seats than you need.
Subscription
  • Some vendors allow you to subscribe for a contract period, and the software is available to a set number of users.
  • Subscriptions can be monthly, biannual, or annual.
  • This type of a pricing structure is good for large companies and/or those that are growing quickly.
Custom plans
  • Some vendors don't have their pricing listed, but offer price quotes on request. They will often customize the software with the specific features you need.
  • This structure is more suitable for larger teams and enterprises.

What features do you get within each price range?

The table below summarizes some of the common and advanced features that are available within different pricing ranges of the software.

Note: The above results are not based on a specific software product, but are instead derived from analyzing 10 applications from GetApp's contact center software directory listing, which met certain feature and rating requirements. For example, the green tick mark represents the presence of a feature in a particular price range for 50 percent or more of the applications.

Additional factors that affect how much you'll pay for contact center software

Other contact center software pricing determiners that should factor into your buying decision are:

  • Integrations. Some contact center software platforms allow tailored CRM integration and speech analytics integration with their higher priced plans. So, the pricing of your software can go up with certain integrations, as they allow you to expand the capabilities of the core software. Though these integrations may cost more, if you use them strategically, they can increase the value for your money. It's all about whether or not you really need them and optimize them correctly.
  • Advanced analytics. While most contact center software offers analytics and reporting to some degree, higher-priced plans may provide advanced analytics capabilities. This allows you to track trends among customer queries and other issues such as call lag. It also lets you add customer filters to analyze individual and group activity to predict behavior and adapt business practices.
  • Technical support. Higher end pricing plans may include additional technical support such as phone and email support, a priority hotline, a dedicated account manager, and individualized onboarding sessions.

Next steps

For more information and clarity, you can check out the following GetApp resources:

Appendix: Price range meter methodology

Starter price range

The starting price of most of the products is $0, and this forms the lowest value of the range. The higher end of the Starter price range is calculated by taking the average of the lowest prices of the 10 products considered. This ensures that the starting price of most of the products fall within this range.

Example: If the lowest pricing plan (other than free versions) offered by vendors A, B, and C are $10, $5, and $15 respectively, then the higher end of the starter price range would be $10 (average of all the prices).

Mid price range

The lower end of the mid price range segment is the higher end of starter price range. To get the higher end of the mid price range segment, we took an average of the middle prices of the top 10 products. In cases where there were multiple pricing plans between the starter and enterprise versions, we have taken the average of those plans to identify the product's middle price value.

The number of users supported by a software in this price range is the mean of the number of users supported by the mid-price versions of the top 10 vendors.

Example: Suppose product A has four pricing plans: Basic, Professional, Business, and Enterprise at $10, $20, $40, and $60 respectively. Then the middle price value for product A is the average of its Professional ($20) and Business ($40) plans, i.e., $30. If the middle price of the other two vendors B and C are $20 and $40, then the higher end of the mid range price segment is the mean of $30, $20 and $40 (= $30).

Enterprise price range

The enterprise pricing segment starts from the higher ends of the mid range pricing segment. All prices above this value lie in the enterprise pricing range.


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