[Update: This post was updated 5/7/2017. A previous version described CrazyCall as predictive dialer software. CrazyCall uses power dialing.]
What’s the best free and open source call center software?
The answer is not five dogs with iPhones stuck to their heads. (Though, that would be pretty awesome.)
Depending on your needs, there are several types of call center software, including the following:
- For outbound calling, predictive dialer software is something you’ll likely want, so your salespeople can operate at peak efficiency. It’s one component in the larger world of inside sales software.
- For larger call centers, whether inbound or outbound, call center monitoring software can be useful for determining which of your agents are raising the bar. Call accounting software gives you insight into how your calls are going and makes it easy to measure and compare agents’ performance.
- To link your marketing campaigns to sales, call tracking software (aka call analytics software) tells you which phone numbers (and thus which marketing campaigns) are producing the best results.
A word of warning
“Open source” usually means “free,” though not always. What it also usually means is that you’re on your own. Open source software tech support is usually minimal. You have to host the software yourself, customize it yourself, and troubleshoot it—you guessed it—yourself. You may even need to update it yourself, as there’s no guarantee anyone else will keep it secure and up-to-date.
Free SaaS platforms come with their own set of headaches. Most SaaS options are only free for one, or maybe up to three users, and often have limited features.
You don’t want to sign up for something because it’s free for one user, but then have to switch to another platform as soon as you start to grow. So make sure you’re choosing with the future in mind.
5 free and open source call center software options
All that said, here’s a list of the most up-to-date free and open source call center software options I could find.
OSDial is in version three, and the latest update includes user interface (UI) improvements that cut down on visual clutter to save agents time and frustration. It comes with ten preconfigured phones to get ten agents making calls right away.
Administrators can choose whether agents are able to dial other extensions, make external calls, or transfer calls. They can also preselect groups of inbound calls to head to different agents. It comes with voicemail boxes for agents, and you can rank agents.
There are even more features available if you’re willing to pay for them, including advanced reporting and separate interfaces for multiple companies. There’s a forum for self-help, but unless you’re able to code and have the time to troubleshoot on your own, I’d save myself some time and headache and partake of the paid support.
GOautodial has a much more lively and active forum than OSDial. It’s on version four, and can handle outbound, inbound, and blended calls. It comes with GOadmin (administrative setup and control), GOreports (report builder), and GOagent. It also offers call recording capabilities and is built to comply with call laws in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. Support for Sangoma and Digium PCI cards comes built-in, as does survey dialing capability.
CrazyCall has many of the features you’d expect. It’s got the ability to automatically route calls to specific agents based on preset criteria. But it also leaves space between calls for agents to take notes and prepare for the next call. They call this feature “power dialing” as opposed to predictive dialing. It produces sales reports and allows you to compare agents. This option is cloud-based instead of downloaded and installed, and the call recordings are hosted in the cloud too. Capterra reviewers love it.
Pamela for Skype was the first certified Skype add-on application when it hit the market in 2005. It lets you record any Skype call, mono or stereo, plus Skype chats.
In addition, Pamela can play audio files during a call, take notes during or after a call, transfer a call to a contact or group, and many more cool features.
The basic version is free. Should you decide to upgrade to Pamela Pro or Pamela Business, you can get call scheduling functionality, Skype conference calls, a Skype voicemail box, and Skype chat autoresponses.
Bitrix24 is free, cloud-based, call center monitoring software with a self-hosted version available if you enjoy DIY projects. PCMag likes it, saying it’s got a ton of functionality. These features include an intranet and customizable web-based lead forms. All this can make the interface “overwhelming,” according to the review, and daunting to learn. But as you scale, “it has the potential to be the one-stop CRM and collaboration tool for your business.”
There’s no phone support, even at the paid level, which is odd for a freemium SaaS. You don’t pay for inbound calls, but you do for outbound. You’ll also have to pay if you have more than 12 agents or need to rent a phone number.
Other types of call center software to know about
Here are a few more of the categories that make up this market:
Automatic call distributor (ACD) software takes incoming calls and distributes them to the right agents based on preset criteria. It might be based on what option the caller chooses in your phone tree, their phone number, or when their call comes in. ACD software is often part of a computer telephony integration (CTI) system. Interactive voice response (IVR) is the name for that human-sounding machine that asks you who you are and what you want before you get to talk to a human.
If you think of any great free call center software options that I missed, please let me know in the comments. Also, for a complete list of predictive dialer software, call recording software, and call center monitoring software, check out our directories.
Looking for Call Center software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Call Center software solutions.