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6 Affordable Call Center Services for Small Businesses

Alice Wong
July 18, 2022
When the average salary for a customer service representative in the U.S. is $35,000 a year, running your own call center in-house can feel expensive.

When the average salary for a customer service representative in the U.S. is $35,000 a year, running your own call center in-house can feel expensive. And that's not even including employee benefits like health insurance, 401k, etc. Adding on to that, the average time it takes to recruit and train a customer service representative is about three months. That usually leads e-commerce brands to consider outsourcing so they can save money and ramp up faster.

But first, are you sure you need a call center?

Phone is an expensive customer service channel. The average cost of providing a customer service phone call is $5, according to research from the Aberdeen Group. That cost can go even higher when agents handle complex customer inquiries.

And sure, it's nice to make sure your customers get a personalized experience, but it doesn't need to take place over phone. In fact, customer service is becoming more prevalent on these channels:

With Chatdesk, you can dramatically reduce your inbound call volume, quickly shifting callers to chat and self-service resolutions starting at $99/month. This can help you save an average of $3 per call.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Call Center on Average?

There are many factors that will affect the cost of hiring a call center, such as the size of the call center, the services offered, and the location of the call center. However, on average, it costs between $15 and $25 per hour to hire a call center.

3 Types of Call Center Services: Inbound, Outbound, and Blended

If you decide phone customer service is a must for your business, the first step is figuring out what kind of services you expect the call center to provide. There are three general types of call center services: inbound, outbound, and blended.

1. Inbound call center services:

Inbound call center services involve answering customer inquiries and providing support or information. Inbound call center services are typically used to support customers who are already customers of the company. Inbound call center services can also be used to provide information about the company, such as hours of operation, locations, or directions.

2. Outbound call center services:

Outbound call center services involve contacting customers to promote products or services or to schedule appointments. Outbound call center services are typically used to contact customers who are not already customers of the company.

3. Blended call center services:

Blended call center services involve a combination of inbound and outbound services.

Asking the Right Questions to Potential Vendors


Since these customer service agents will be speaking to your customers and representing your brand, make sure to ask vendors these questions in your screening process.

  1. Who are some of your clients? Can you speak to a client?
  2. What's your client retention rate? What's been the average length of time clients have worked with you?
  3. How's the quality of your customer service? What's the average CSAT or NPS score of your clients?
  4. Do you handle inquiries across multiple platforms or communication channels?
  5. How does your pricing work? Do you charge different pricing for different kinds of inquiries?
  6. Where are your agents based?
  7. How long will the contract's term be?
  8. Are there setup fees?
  9. Who will be on your account? For example, will there be a Client Success Manager?
  10. Do they have minimum requirements?
  11. Do they offer 24/7 support? Or can you select the hours of support you need most?
  12. Do they support multiple languages?
  13. How do they train their staff to make sure the responses are actually on-brand?
  14. What kind of reporting do you provide?

6 Popular Call Center Providers for E-commerce Businesses

1. Chatdesk

Unlike traditional call centers, Chatdesk helps companies reduce their customer service costs while providing the highest quality of customer support on chat, email, and social. Innovative brands like Thinx, Factor, and Mented Cosmetics trust us to service their customers. We offer flexible pay-per-ticket monthly plans and our CX Experts are based in the U.S. Our agents use our proprietary BrandScript Technology to ensure 100% on-brand responses from Day 1. Schedule a free demo to learn more. Free trial available and we can get you set up quickly.



2. Signius Communications

Signius Communications offers affordable 24/7 coverage and an impressive selection of services. As for pricing, the options it provides are quite affordable compared to larger call centers. The company offers three plans and, if you need more minutes, is willing to work with you to design a plan geared toward your needs.



3. Nextiva

Nextiva provides intelligent cloud-based contact center solutions ranging from basic to high-tier plans. Depending on your chosen subscription, services can range from necessities like inbound and outbound services to premium features like analytics and workflow automations. It can even include chat, email, and SMS support.

As for call-center-focused services and capabilities, Nextiva has its Cloud-Based VoIP Call Center Solutions. Its features include IVR, call routing, and dashboards that help you monitor your call center's efficiency.


For their intelligent cloud contact center services, pricing isn't available online and you have to talk to one of their experts to get a quote. Here's a look at its four available plans:

As for Nextiva's VoIP Call Center Solutions, it comes in two tiers and follows user-based pricing. This means what you'll pay will scale with your customer service team's size - which is an ideal option for businesses with limited resources:

4. Go Answer

This customer service provider has a particular focus on inbound call center services for small businesses. 5,000 businesses, in fact, outsource their needs to Go Answer. And beyond phone communications with customers, the company also handles email, web chat, and SMS. It even provides multi-channel support and ticketing.

However, Go Answer's pricing isn't visible on their website. It's not much of a downside, however, since you can get a quote tailored to your business's needs by contacting the company's sales team.

Other Services:

5. Five Star Call Centers

Five Star's hubs are all based in the United States and serve various industries such as retail, hospitality, finance, and more. It's a provider that offers a wide suite of both inbound and outbound call center services - with its outbound services being made available to both B2C and B2B organizations. But like Go Answer, Five Star's pricing isn't available on the company's website. You'll need to get in touch with its team to get a customized quote.

Core Services:

Key Inbound and Outbound Services:

6. Specialty Answering Service (SAS)

SAS provides 24/7 support and, unlike other traditional call centers, provides multi-channel services, responding to messages on social media and other platforms. Additionally, rather than employing the services of international CSRs, the company utilizes agents based in the United States. It also has professional bilingual receptionists and virtual office capabilities for their live operators.

The company's monthly fees, meanwhile, are either minute-based or call-based. SAS also offers plans including 2,500 minutes and above, but pricing starts at $2,400. Those price points may not be cost-effective for smaller businesses, especially with the additional charges for extra minutes.

Communication Channel Services:


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