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Best Call Center Services

by Adam C. UzialkoLast Modified: May 23, 2018

Intro
Best Picks
Pricing
Reviews
Methodology
Best Call Center Services
Does Your Business Need a Call Center?
Common Call Center Service Questions & Answers
Map
Services
Compare Quotes

The Best Call Center Services For 2018

Call center services are an extension of your business. They handle incoming calls for customer service, tech support and order processing. Many also manage appointment setting, lead generation and other outbound calling tasks. However, choosing a call center can be difficult: There are dozens of companies to choose from, and you need to evaluate multiple factors, including price, contract, range of services, and quality of customer care.  

Additionally, if your business is in a heavily regulated industry, you may need a call center that specializes in working with businesses like yours and has the necessary certifications as well as specially trained or licensed agents. For example, if your business is a medical practice, you want call centers that are HIPAA compliant.  

We want to help you choose the call center that's the best fit for your business. TeleDirect, Specialty Answering Service, 1-888-GO-ANSWER and TeleContact Resource Services are our best picks. These companies are U.S.-based and provide both inbound and outbound calling for businesses in multiple industries. If you need a company that specializes in telemarketing campaigns, we've included a recommendation for that as well.

Best Picks

Best Overall
Inbound Services
Outbound Services
Medical Practices
Telemarketing Services
Affordable
TeleDirect

Best Call Center Services

TeleDirect

TeleDirect is the best overall call center service company because it performs a wide range of inbound and outbound call services, provides solid client support, and has a low monthly minimum of 29 minutes per month. It offers bilingual agents that speak English and Spanish fluently, and can provide customer assistance in additional languages. It works with businesses in many industries, including healthcare, insurance and financial services. The pricing model is also flexible and allows businesses to use the minutes they've purchased at their leisure, so long as the monthly minimum is met.

In addition to providing customer support, tech support and order processing, agents can set appointments, conduct surveys and perform scheduled callbacks to follow up with customers. They can also make cold calls and perform lead generation tasks. This call center's agents answer your customers' phone calls in an average of 11 seconds, and it operates 24/7, so your customers can reach a live person quickly day, night and weekends.

1-888-GO-ANSWER

Best Call Center for Inbound Services

1-888-GO-ANSWER

With its wide range of services and multiple plans, 1-888-GO-ANSWER is the best call center service provider for small businesses in search of inbound services. It's one of the few companies that posts its pricing online. It doesn't have a minimum call volume that you're required to hit each month, nor does it have a monthly invoice minimum. You can upgrade or downgrade service at any time, and the company works with you on a month-to-month basis, so there are no cancellation fees if you close your account.

1-888-GO-ANSWER's inbound services include help desk, order taking, hotline and simple answering services, including an automated answering service. It also advertises that its agents answer inbound calls within three rings. Plans can be customized depending on the needs of the business, and the service is available 24/7/365.

Five Star Call Centers

Best Call Center for Outbound Services

Five Star Call Centers

Five Star Call Centers offers a wide array of services that make it the best solution for businesses in need of an outbound calling solution. It offers comprehensive outbound services, including upselling, cross-selling, recruiting, market research, cold calling, direct mail follow-ups and fundraising. Five Star also assists new clients with crafting their campaigns, from script design to organization.

Few other call centers matched up to the services Five Star offers, even though it maintains a high minimum of $3,000 per month. The company customizes its services to suit the needs of the businesses it works with and doesn't require a long-term contract. On top of its strong services and customized service, Five Star boasts exemplary customer service, with friendly, responsive and informative representatives.

Specialty Answering Service - Call Center Services

Best Call Center for Medical Practices

Specialty Answering Service - Call Center Services

Although Specialty Answering Service works with many different industries, it's the best call center for medical practices. It's a HIPAA-compliant call center that can schedule appointments, complete patient intake procedures and is open 24/7/365. Its agents are trained to screen emergency calls and can gather the information you need and contact you or, in urgent cases, transfer the call directly to you.

This call center company offers eight plans, including an economy plan with a low monthly fee and pay-as-you-go call minutes. You can upgrade or downgrade your service at any time, and the company can design a customized plan to suit the specific needs of your business. There's no long-term contract and no cancellation fees so you can close your account at any time without penalty.

TeleContact Resource Services

Best Telemarketing Services

TeleContact Resource Services

We selected TeleContact Resource Services as the best telemarketing company because of its inbound and outbound services, and prompt, high-quality customer service. The company will work with you to execute successful telemarketing campaigns. The company doesn't require you to sign a lengthy contract. Rather it provides its services on a month-to-month basis, with no minimum calling hours.

TeleContact helps you develop and write campaign scripts and runs tests to pinpoint which scripts are the most effective. The company has multilingual agents who can help you reach a broader audience. As a client, you are assigned an account manager who serves as your point of contact with the company. TeleContact also helps you target your market and run your campaigns.

Xact Telesolutions

Best Affordable Call Center Service

Xact Telesolutions

Xact Telesolutions is our choice for best affordable call center because it successfully balances affordability, support for low volume clients, and quality service. Xact's excellent inbound call services include scheduling appointments and processing orders. Automated services, like voicemail and messaging, are available, and custom programs are available upon request. Outbound services include targeted lead generation, tailored marketing campaigns, surveys and gathering customer feedback to ensure satisfaction.

Xact's pricing model starts with a subscription of 75 minutes for $82.50. The cost is industry standard, but the volume is quite flexible for even small businesses. For larger plans, the cost per minute decreases, ultimately reaching an affordable rate of about $0.78 per minute. What further set Xact apart from the competition was its support for up to 128 different languages.

Pricing

Call center services don't typically post their pricing online because what you pay is determined by the specific services you select and your average monthly call volume. If you require agents to be knowledgeable about your industry or to work exclusively on your account, that also affects your pricing. Inbound services, such as customer service calls and taking orders over the phone, tend to be less expensive than outbound services, such as appointment setting and lead generation calls.

Call center providers use different pricing models. Some charge per call or per minute, while others charge a monthly fee, which may be tied to a certain number of call minutes per month, with a smaller per-minute fee charged for call overages. Others offer pay-as-you-go plans in which you pay an advance and only pay for the call time you use.

As you evaluate services, it's important to understand which pricing model each company uses, how it works, what's included and what costs extra. For example, if a company charges by the minute, you want to find out if it bills in intervals, such as one second, 10 seconds or 15 seconds. You also want to find out if there's a minimum call time and if the agent's post-call actions (such as entering notes about the call into the system or relaying messages) count toward your minutes.

Call center services may charge various fees and upcharges. When you call for price quotes, ask about upfront fees (such as for setting up your account) as well as any recurring and incidental fees (such as overages or holiday rates) that you may be charged. Before selecting a service, you should read the company's contract to make sure you're aware of all possible fees.

Editor's Note: Looking for a call center service? We can help you choose the one that’s right for you. Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

 

Reviews

Below are all of our reviews for call center services and related categories. Our coverage also includes reviews of the best telemarketing services. See all of our reviews below.

Negotiation Tips

Because you'll most likely be working with a sales agent to design your service plan, you may be able to negotiate pricing, terms or services. Here are some pointers to help you get a good deal.

First, figure out what you need. Before you call any companies for quotes, you should know your average monthly sales volume and exactly what you need the call center to do so you get accurate quotes.

Get a ballpark idea of how much call center services cost. Although most companies don't post their pricing online, some do. Examine pricing tiers, fees and included services, then consider which would best align with your business. Use this information as a gauge as you evaluate additional companies.

Gather price quotes from at least three companies. In addition to monthly rates, ask how much it costs to get set up, how long the contract is, what fees you'll pay and if there are any monthly minimums. Ask if the company is running any specials or promotions. Finally, ask the sales agent to email you a quote or bid and a contract to review.

Compare rates, fees, contract terms and services. Read the contract and talk with the sales rep from the company you think is the best fit for your business. Ask about any fees you don't understand or that weren't disclosed in the quote. If you were quoted lower rates, fewer fees, better terms or bonus services elsewhere, ask if there's anything he or she can do to match them.

Finally, use the free trial period to make sure the service would help your business. During the trial, make several test calls so you can experience the call center's services firsthand. If there are issues, work with your sales rep or the customer service team to get them corrected and evaluate whether the company is easy to work with. If you're pleased with the trial and satisfied that you're getting a good value, go ahead and sign up. Otherwise, consider the next company on your list.

Our Methodology

We take the process of recommending vendors seriously, so we invested substantial time in researching various call center services and their features.

We started the process by coming up with a comprehensive list of vendors that offer call center services. To do this, we searched the web and consulted other lists and reviews of the most popular vendors. We ended up with a list of dozens of companies, and gave each vendor equal consideration as a best pick.

From there, we visited the websites of each vendor to compare pricing and features. We looked at all the details, including inbound services, outbound services, invoice requirements, call minimums and additional features. We used this information to narrow down our field of candidates to a shortlist of finalists.

Next, we contacted all the services we were considering, posing as a potential customer. We wanted to go beyond the marketing rhetoric and get a feel for how the companies handle actual customer interactions. We asked each customer service rep the same set of questions about features, options and pricing, and we noted our reactions to the experience. Company representatives who were friendly and forthcoming got higher marks, and those who were less than helpful or too pushy scored lower.

For our overall best picks, the decision came down to which company offered the best balance of affordability, useful features and effectiveness of call center agents.

Best Call Center Services

Telemarketing Services: Our Evaluation

Below is the criteria we looked for when evaluating telemarketing services. Customer support is critical, because telemarketing representatives are ambassadors for your company, and their interactions with your customers have a direct effect on your business.

Services Offered
The best telemarketing companies provide several types of inbound and outbound calling services. If you need help reaching customers, look closely at the telemarketer's outbound calling services. Many companies, including TeleContact Resource Services, assist with lead generation, market research, seminar and event registration.

However, inbound calling services are critical too. Some popular inbound calling services are customer assistance and technical support for a program or software. Not every telemarketer offers inbound services, but companies like West or Sound Telecom offer customer and technical support and are worth checking out.

Campaign Success Features
There are many different aspects of telemarketing services that influence your goals and campaign. Look for a telemarketing solution located in the U.S. Many telemarketing services are located overseas and hire employees for whom English is a second language. This may be an issue if your customers have a difficult time understanding and communicating with representatives, frustrating them and costing your business money. Every company on our list is based in the U.S. and employs native English speakers.

Another tool that can contribute to a successful campaign is script development. A well-developed script makes or breaks a phone call. The best telemarketing services help you create the perfect script for representatives to follow when speaking with your customers. This preparation helps telemarketing reps provide knowledgeable, professional customer service to your clients. It also ensures that the representatives deliver consistent information, which is important for marketing and sales.  

Reporting
As with any type of marketing campaign, it's important to track the results of your efforts to measure your progress. Many call centers provide call completion and refusal reports.

A call completion report shows how many agents were able to complete the entire script with a customer before the call ended. A refusal report shows the number of agents who were not able to complete the script or how many individuals declined to make a purchase or take the survey. Many companies also offer customizable reporting options, so you can receive key statistics on the progress of your campaigns.

The frequency of reports is another important factor, especially if you are contracting with a call center on a time-sensitive campaign. Many telemarketing companies, including GenSales, give you the option of receiving daily reports, so you stay abreast of your campaign.

Help & Support
The support you receive from a telemarketing service is critical. After all, telemarketers will be interacting with your customers, and you want them to receive the best assistance possible.

In the event you have a question or problem, it's critical that you can reach the telemarketing service quickly and easily. All of the services on our list provide telephone and email support, and a few provide live chat. In addition, many telemarketing services have online resources such as FAQs and articles for finding answers on your own.

Which Telemarketing Service is Best for You?

Your business type and calling needs ultimately determine which telemarketing service provider is right for you. Some issues to consider, however, are how many outbound calls you want the telemarketing service to make or the volume of inbound calls the service can expect.

Also, if you're not looking for outbound callers, you may want to partner with a service that operates as a call center for your company and takes incoming calls from customers. Or perhaps you need a service that actively contacts customers and follows up on leads.

In addition to understanding the needs and goals of your business, also consider the following:

Necessary Telemarketing Tools
When you look for a telemarketing company to partner with, some services you may want to take a closer look at include business-to-business calls, lead generation and market research. Each of these tools is imperative for running a successful telemarketing campaign that can grow your business and all of the companies on our lineup offer them.

Business-to-business calls help you develop relationships with new clients, including other businesses. Lead generation is important, because it builds leads for your company and follows up with potential customers to convert them into sales. By outsourcing your business-to-business calls and lead generation, you can save your in-office staff valuable time so they can focus on other aspects of your company's daily operations.

Market research is another valuable practice that can save you money when it's outsourced correctly. A telemarketing service will conduct surveys of your target audience and gather data for you.

Telemarketing Services Contracts
Some telemarketing services have minimum requirements you have to meet for each campaign. These requirements can include a minimum time commitment as well as a minimum number of calling hours within a defined time frame.

You will want to carefully review and consider the contract before signing on with a telemarketing solution. Some companies may not require a long-term contract but, instead, require a minimum number of calling hours. For example, you might have to agree to at least 100 hours of representatives interacting with your customers.

Before agreeing to engage with any telemarketing service, understand the requirements. If you fail to meet them or break a contract early, you could be charged a fee or for the hours remaining in your contract, even if you have not used them.

 

 

Does Your Business Need a Call Center?

Call centers can be great resources, but they’re not always necessary. Use our checklist to see if you should seriously investigate call center services. If several of these statements are true, it might be worth trying a call center solution.

  • My employees and I spend too much time answering phone calls.
  • My company is losing sales because we don’t have time to follow up on leads.
  • I don’t have time to run my business because I have to focus on answering customer questions.
  • We miss many customer calls because the phone lines are busy.
  • It takes my team longer than 24 hours to return customer phone calls because there’s so much to do.
  • We have a hard time keeping track of appointments.
  • My team doesn’t have time to call and remind clients about upcoming appointments.
  • Several of our customers speak languages other than English, but none of my staff can assist them.
  • I know we need help, but I don’t think we have enough work to hire a full-time receptionist to answer phones.
  • Customers often call in for help placing orders, but we don’t have the extra time to guide them through ordering processes.
  • We want to improve our customer service, but we don’t currently have the resources to do so.
  • Our customers call at all hours, but we can’t always answer the phones when our clientele needs us.

How Do Call Centers Work?

All of the companies in our review are U.S.-based and available 24/7. All of them have at least some bilingual agents who speak Spanish as well as English, and several companies in our review can also help your customers with other language needs.

You can instruct your call center service representatives to do any number of things with your calls. They can simply take messages from inbound calls or transfer your calls to you, they can set appointments and help with order processing, or you can have the call center agents handle the technical calls themselves with a custom script for your business. By working with the call center service, you can create a script specifically for your business and industry that call agents follow, which ensures that your brand stands out and your customers receive the best service for their needs. Some companies charge an extra fee for custom scripts, especially for complex ones. Keep this in mind when you look for a call center service.

You can have call centers perform outbound calls as well as take inbound calls. Outbound calls can include surveys, scheduled calls to customers for follow-up purposes, lead generation services and even cold calling, though some call centers no longer participate in cold calling if you do not have the customer’s information in your system already.

What Are the Benefits of a Call Center?

Call centers can help free up your and your employees’ time so that you can focus on important aspects of your business while others focus on handling your phone calls. A call center is a good way to improve your customer service without taxing your current resources, and it's a cost-effective solution, especially if you purchase a plan that lets you pay for minutes you use as you go.

Call center services can also help you close sales, since someone will be available to help with order processing and appointment setting. You can also have call centers follow up with your customers and work on converting leads into customers.

State of the Industry

Customer service is an important part of your business, no matter your industry or whether your clientele consists of consumers or other businesses. As a cost-effective alternative to staffing an in-house customer service team, many businesses hire call center services to communicate with their customers.

Phone continues to be the main communication channel for most businesses. According to Deloitte's 2017 Global Contact Center Survey, 64 percent of contacts are made via phone. However, when it comes to calling customer service, no one likes waiting on the phone. In a 2017 study of U.S. consumers conducted by Arise Virtual Solutions, nearly two-thirds of the 1,500 people polled said they would only wait on hold for two minutes before hanging up. When choosing a call center, average wait time is an important factor to consider. Our top pick for best call center services answers the phone in 11 seconds, on average.

Consumers are also reaching out via email, chat and social media. Alternate communication channels are expected to grow in popularity, and many call centers offer services to manage these channels for clients. Some companies have rebranded themselves as contact centers to better reflect the scope of the services they provide.

Most businesses choose U.S.-based call centers. Although typically more expensive than international companies, most businesses prefer U.S.-based call centers, because customers find it easier to resolve issues, especially complex ones, when there isn't a language barrier. Talkdesk cites a study by the CFI Group that found customer service issues were resolved 88 percent of the time when callers could clearly understand customer service agents, and only 45 percent of the time when the caller had difficulty understanding the agent. For this reason, most companies have agents on staff that fluently speak Spanish and other languages.

Call Centers and Answering Services Infographic

Understanding Call Centers and Answering Services
Credit: Grant Reinero

Common Call Center Service Questions & Answers

Have a call center service question of your own?

Absolutely. Like most things in life, your success will depend on several factors. Having a firm, but a flexible process. Phone, email, etc... Knowing your prospects inside and out. In other words, do your homework. Have a clear, engaging, and consistent message. Time of day and week can depend on the verticals you are calling. I like early mornings and late in the day. Always get the next action. When speaking to a "gate-keeper", don't make it a sales call. For example, you want to schedule an...

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Insight allow you to see what types of content your fans like. You can then post more of it and their experience will be improved. You can also view any unlikes, see if they occurred after a certain type of post and rework your strategy. If you have multiple unlikes/unfollows after a certain post, review the content and see if you can pinpoint what would cause a fan to want to leave.

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Hi Denise, I am the kind of person that would forget their head if it weren't sewn on. So I know exactly what your client is experiencing. In regards to etiquette, I would suggest he refrain from stating that he was "too busy" to return a call. That immediately implies that the caller is of no importance to him. Instead, he should apologize for not calling sooner. In regards to systems being put in place, this is paramount. If your client is lacking organizational skills, there are...

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If you offer benefits over a company hiring their own inbound agents, what you could do is look for companies that are hiring full-time inbound agents, maybe use Craigslist, Monster.com, Dice.com ... and newspaper classifieds. Once you find those that are seeking inbound agents, approach them by phone, email, in-person or by sending a brochure outlining why they could use you, rather than internally staffing their company.

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answered

Great question Giuseppe, first of all I agree with you. Cold Calling especially if you start a new business is nearly a necessity in order to get the word out fast about your company, products and services that you offer. However just picking up the yellow pages and call from A-Z is not the most effective use of one's time. I believe you need to prepare for the call and do some research first in order to make the cold call effective. Simple things that you nowadays can find nearly everywhere...

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Hi Georgia, As it looks like you're finding out, making it easy doesn't always mean that a customer will actually leave feedback. What I call "natural" feedback is the type that tends to be given when something really does not meet a customer's expectations/is really bad, or it was so amazing that they're inspired to leave feedback. If you want to coax everyone else to leave some feedback, try incentivising it. For example, do the feedback cards offer the customer anything for their...

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Map

DRS Acquisitions
833 Main Street South
Sauk Centre, MN
DRS Acquisitions
West
11808 Miracle Hills Drive
Omaha, NE
West
GenSales
6444 E Hampden Ave
Denver, CO
GenSales
Sound Telecom
244 5th Ave
New York, NY
Sound Telecom
TeleContact Resource Services
6436 Oakdale Road
Riverbank, CA
TeleContact Resource Services
OPK Telemarketing
7900 East Union Ave
Denver, CO
OPK Telemarketing
Five Star Call Centers
4901 E. 26th Street
Sioux Falls, SD
Five Star Call Centers
Telemarketing.com
3930 Commerce Ave
Willow Grove, PA
Telemarketing.com
1-888-GO-ANSWER
401 Franklin Ave
Garden City, NY
1-888-GO-ANSWER
CMS Call Center
41 S Grant Ave
Columbus, OH
CMS Call Center
AnswerConnect
PO Box 4000
Portland, OR
AnswerConnect
OnBrand24
100 Cummings Center
Beverly, MA
OnBrand24
Xact Telesolutions
255 Primera Boulevard
Lake Mary, FL
Xact Telesolutions
Specialty Answering Service
1006 W 9th Ave
King of Prussia, PA
Specialty Answering Service
Global Response
777 South State Road 7
Margate, FL
Global Response
DialAmerica
960 MacArthur Blvd,
Mahwah, NJ
DialAmerica
TeleDirect
4745 Chippendale Drive
Sacramento, CA
TeleDirect
BPO American
2355 Hwy. 101 South
Greer, SC
BPO American
Ansafone Contact Centers
101 NE 2nd Street
Ocala, FL
Ansafone Contact Centers
Signius Communications
7 Elk Street
New York, NY
Signius Communications
Transcosmos America, Inc.
879 W 190th St
Gardena, CA
Transcosmos America, Inc.
Specialty Answering Service - Call Center Services
1006 9th Avenue
King of Prussia, PA
Specialty Answering Service - Call Center Services
Contact One
8345 W 16thAve.
Lakewood, CO
Contact One

Services

List of 25Best Call Center Services

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