If your business has to deal with customers, a contact center is essential for communication with them. However, finding and training dedicated agents to manage call center operations takes time and effort. That is when customer service outsourcing comes into your business strategy. Outsourced call centers are cost-efficient and can take the responsibility of client management off your shoulders. It saves time and resources for issue resolution and staff management. Outsourcing customer support is perfect for businesses looking for ways to cut call center costs and receive impeccable service from experienced agents. Therefore, companies can focus on primary business goals & strategies while the customer support area is under control. Read on to find out about the benefits of outsourced call center, offerings for different pricing, and how to calculate cost per call.
In-house call center services: how much it costs to provide them
Working with the in-house contact center means the company has to spend significant resources to cover hiring processes, training costs, and employee perks. The average salary for agents is $15/hour but that is not all-in call center costs. It is likely that the hourly rate is closer to $30 – $35/hour or higher, including payroll taxes. In-house call center staff requires regular meetings and coaching sessions to maintain employee engagement and customer satisfaction, unlike the outsourcing center, handling business needs independently.
The in-house customer support does not provide business flexibility because such companies as retailers or travel agencies depend on seasonal call volume. When hiring an agent, a company often offers a contract for 6 months or less, which is not a stable job opportunity for most call center agents. Therefore, the in-house customer support department often has staff turnover and recruitment issues as employees strive for a productive time at work.
Why outsourced call center is a reasonable solution
As there is a wide variety of outsourced call center companies, choosing the suitable one for your business will not take much time. Average outsourced providers work in countries such as Ukraine, the Philippines, India, or Malaysia, where most of the population speaks English, and the hourly wage is lower. You can get high-quality assurance for normal hourly rates there. The high level agencies are usually based in different time zones so that multiple clients can contact dedicated agents round the clock.
Outsourcing customer support provides various answering services that boost productivity, such as live chat, social media, and technical help. The pricing structure includes the omnichannel option, which practices cost savings as it is much cheaper than managing every channel on your own. Customers’ satisfaction increases if they have various outsourced services at hand while looking for help. According to Zendesk, over 35% of customers expect to be able to contact inbound call centers on any channel.
Moreover, managing in-house outbound call centers is a highly responsible mission, as you have to organize call volume to meet the needs of every customer and remain cost effective. Outsourced services control the staffing burden and benefit the administration, leaving the opportunity to make crucial decisions in the employment process. Thus, you still control the final call center pricing but don’t have to worry about scheduling interviews, managing training sessions, and trial tasks.
Call Center Pricing: Comparing Offerings of Outsourcing Providers
We have analyzed some of the top outsourcing providers to have a clear and accurate call center pricing guide. So, what is the hourly rate of a call center outsourcing? In most cases, the average cost per call equals $1 per minute. The price depends on various fees, such as indirect labor expenses. Thus, a thousand 5-minute calls will cost around five thousand dollars. The amount of money your company invests in an outsourced call center affects the fee per call/minute.
Analyzing inbound outsourced call center pricing, you can find rates from $0.50–$1.75 per minute, depending on the country where the service provider operates and the type of service you require ( technical support, order processing, healthcare advice, etc.). Many call center companies offer flat-rate packages based on expected usage, such as 1,000 minutes for $1,100 (which comes out as $1.10 per minute). Typically, the more minutes included in the plan, the lower the cost per minute. On the other hand, outbound call center prices often charge by the hour, ranging widely from $10–$50 per hour. Outsourced agents receive the proper training and knowledge about the product or service and often speak different languages.
What To Look For In A Call Center
Before signing a contract, agree on the expected schedule and shifts of agents, paid overwork, a number of incoming calls a customer support center has to cover, and whether you need multilingual support. It’s also important to discuss the exact work region outsourced and the required steps in unexpected situations, such as power outages. In addition, the professional staffing agency should offer a free trial to evaluate the quality of the call center services. During the trial period, it would be helpful to play the role of a “fake customer” with inbound calls to an outsourced call center for a few days to check the quality of assistance and whether you had to wait on hold for too long. It shows how the company will provide support to your customers, whether they practice outbound calls to missed clients and whether it’s worth signing a contract with them.
Calculating Cost Per Call
- Create a numbered list of customer service representatives working for your business. Set up a timeframe for evaluating the cost per call. It can be a day, a week, a month, or even a year. For instance, let’s proceed with the cost per call within an hour.
- Analyze the number of calls that each support agent handles within an hour. To find this out, you can check the number of calls performed by a particular agent in a week and divide it by the number of hours the agent has worked during the week.
- For one of the agents of your choice, take the number of calls they handle in an hour that you’ve calculated before. For example, the support agent works 8 hours a day. Thus, he handles 400 calls per week, which means 80 daily and 10 calls per hour, respectively.
- Divide the support agent’s wage by the number of calls they perform in an hour. For instance, if the employee earns $20 per hour, you can divide it by 10 and get $2 per call. It will be the cost per call in an hour for the given outsourcing customer service agent.
- To calculate the total cost per call within your call center, repeat steps 3 and 4 and determine the average wage of a support agent. Then, divide the result by the average number of calls performed in an hour. This number shows how much each call costs your business and what strategies for cost savings you can implement.
How Much Call Centers Cost For Outsourcing? Which Is The Best Option?
Understanding agent “productive time”
When specifying the wage of outsourced staff, the company usually pays just for productive agent time. Thus, there is no need to pay for breaks or training, and a call center agent is usually productive for 80% of an hour.
Assuming a decrease in FTE (Full-time Equivalent)
Outsourcing call centers possess enough expertise in predicting call volume, recruiting, and managing agents. Thus, experienced agencies provide businesses with the necessary technology, ongoing coaching, personnel retention, and shared agents’ selection process. They decrease FTE by taking care of technological and management aspects but the quality of customer care service remains at a high level.
Using “All-In” Approach
Most outsourcing agencies include project management and training expenses in agent hour/per minute rate. It is a perfect solution for businesses that wish to try new tech platforms but don’t have the resources to implement them independently.
Thus, the outsource call center costs are usually lower than the price of an in-house team. For instance, if the number of client requests per month is up to 200, and the service should work round the clock in English only, the price can start at $1,500 monthly.