The #1 Call Center CRM (+ a Free Option Just As Good)

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Managing customer relationships is a vital piece of the contact center puzzle; the more you know about the needs and habits of your customers, the more equipped you’ll be to serve and support them well.

Modern CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software makes it easy to understand your user base by keeping track of helpful information about individual callers, as well as larger trends emerging from this data. 

When it comes to selecting an online support system, Nextiva is currently ranked as the best in the business. Think of it as the fancy sports car of CRM software because gaining access to its bevy of customized features and tools requires a significant financial investment that, for some, proves too daunting. Plus, depending on the size of your operation, it might offer a bit more muscle than you need.

Companies with smaller teams and budgets may benefit more from HubSpot’s free solution—a far more practical and reliable alternative. While it may be less flashy, you’ll get many of the same features in an agile package that provides a great starting point for building out your system. 

Nextiva: The #1 Call Center CRM 

Among the many Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers out there, Nextiva is widely recognized as the top-rated performer. Its reliable network and award-winning phone system solutions can assist business owners across virtually any industry in streamlining their communications and operations.  

Taking into account the specific needs of call centers and contact centers, Nextiva also offers intelligent cloud capabilities that capture key data and empower agents to perform at a higher level than they otherwise could. These include powerful CRM features that integrate with existing call center phone systems to deliver a more complete and dynamic solution. 

Nextiva’s multifaceted software enables you to store and manage relevant customer information across every communication channel with very little effort. As a result, agents are given all of the details they need to create meaningful interactions, resolve customer issues, and identify cross-selling opportunities. The software also tracks activity across chat, SMS, phone, and email integrations, highlighting crucial trends that can help you promote a better customer experience—both individually and collectively. 

Through one convenient interface, Nextiva gives you access to tools and features that support the success of your daily operations—in addition to setting you up for long-term growth. You can expect capabilities to do the following:

  • Visually track the entire sales process from start to finish, optimizing every detail and ensuring that no opportunity slips through the cracks.  
  • Make and receive calls efficiently using one of the most reliable VoIP networks available, with a blended inbound-outbound call flow. 
  • Leverage automation and AI features, including email drafting, automated reminders, ACD (Automatic Call Distribution), and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) technology. 
  • Fully customize your CRM approach by integrating Nextiva’s solution into your existing platform or modifying it according to your performance specifications.   
  • Integrate VoIP and CRM in a system that supports all aspects of your daily operations while also tracking vital customer relationship data.  
  • Centralize all team communications using the NextivaONE mobile app, allowing you to manage remote work, voice calls, video calls, and meetings on the go. 
  • Get full-service technical support from Nextiva’s team of experts who can walk you through the entire setup process and field any tech-related inquiries. 

Nextiva organizes its contact center support solutions into four tiers: Core, Premium, Optimum, and Ultimate. Respectively, these tiers add voice capabilities, digital engagement tools, workforce optimizations, and workflow automation features. 

Each tier is also customized to suit the needs of each client, with CRM functionality and software add-ons tailored to your specific business size and type. Naturally, this personalized approach makes it challenging to estimate pricing. 

However, to give you some idea of the potential costs, the brand’s popular Call Center Pro plan starts at $50 per user per month. This is a cloud-based solution that offers access to core features over your existing VoIP system, such as unlimited call queues and intelligent call distribution. 

If you’re ready to move on to automated queue management tools and more in-depth tracking capabilities, the Call Center Enterprise plan rings in at $100 per user per month. 

This plan provides access to all of the Pro plan capabilities, plus sales tools and tech-based advancements like ACD and IVR to elevate agent efficiency. You can also select from over 40 key data points to track and refine on a customized trend reports dashboard. 

When You Can’t Pay, Choose HubSpot’s Free CRM Software

If you’ve got little room in your budget to spare for expensive CRM software, consider that HubSpot’s solution covers much of the same ground as Nextiva—and it’s completely free. The platform is also engineered to work hand-in-hand with your existing business phone system, expanding your customer approach with a host of modern tools right at your fingertips. 

HubSpot proudly touts its software as a way to “seamlessly connect your data, teams, and customers in one CRM platform that grows with your business.” 

The premium version—which you can demo by filling out a simple online signup form—is priced on an individual basis just like Nextiva’s built-to-suit CRM solutions. That said, the free option gives you access to plenty of foundational features to optimize essential aspects of your business. 

For example, you can review and sort all of your key sales funnel information in real time with a clean virtual dashboard. You can also compare incoming data to pre-set goals and determine areas in need of additional support. 

HubSpot makes it easy to track customer interactions across all communication channels (including social media), and it syncs with your existing email platform. It even automatically records and stores customer data in an organized timeline for instant access. 

With all of these features, you’d think there’d be some strings attached—but nope. In fact, HubSpot doesn’t even ask for a credit card to hold on file. The free account covers unlimited users and data, storing details for up to one million contacts. Plus, you get access to its Service Hub tools like:

  • Email reply tracking for a better understanding of customer engagement with your marketing efforts. 
  • Email scheduling, taking the stress and tedium out of planning and executing targeted campaigns.
  • Meeting scheduling to help streamline your team communications and get everyone on the same page. 
  • Customized data tracking, enabling you to record and follow up to ten key performance indicators (KPIs) across three graphic dashboards. 
  • Facebook Messenger integration to reach certain customers where they are and streamline their journey into your sales flow. 
  • List segmentation to target customer types and learn how to serve them better.   
  • In-app call options that leverage HubSpot’s unique Calling Extensions SDK (Software Development Kit) to streamline the communication process.   
  • An on-brand live chat feature that operates via the HubSpot platform but looks and feels like your business.
  • Conversational chatbots to help generate and qualify leads—in addition to supporting basic aspects of the customer service experience.  
  • Instant channel switching, which allows agents to take their interactions from one point of contact to another within the same conversation thread—such as from live chat to email.   
  • Ticket monitoring and progress tracking in a single, convenient dashboard. 

If you’re newer to the industry or your operation is on the smaller side, these free features can be more than enough to get you started. As your team expands and your customer base grows beyond the one million mark, you may find it helpful to tack on additional services. 

If you’re ready to upgrade to HubSpot’s Starter plan, you’ll gain extra features that help automate call flows and enhance your marketing efforts so you can create your most efficient operations possible. HubSpot also white-labels its various customer-facing functions (such as chat and email), increasing name recognition with graphics that match your company branding. 

You’ll also be able to track a wider array of data points that’ll help you obtain actionable insights into your market, team performance, and growth opportunities. 

This plan is priced at $20 per month when billed annually and $30 when billed monthly.

Choosing Your Best-Fit CRM Solution

From HubSpot’s free software and paid Starter plan to Nextiva’s $50 per user and expanded Enterprise options, there’s something for everyone. 

However, if it feels like there are too many choices and you’re not sure where to begin, aim for the CRM software that manages your business needs right now. 

For instance, when you’re just starting out and trying to stretch every dollar, HubSpot’s free plan can help you lay down a solid foundation to begin setting goals, comparing data, and managing relationships. At the next stage of your growth, you can upgrade to the company’s paid plan, which doesn’t break the bank and still allows access to a bigger online toolbox. 

Eventually, you’ll determine specific aspects of your business that you’ll want to refine and optimize by using more specialized online resources. This can happen when your customer database starts to outpace your platform, for example, by toppling over one million contacts that you’re eager to organize and segment. 

At this point, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a full-service software like Nextiva, as it’s armed with a richer set of capabilities to serve you, your employees, and your users.

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