How Much Does It Cost to Outsource Call Center Services?

Happy call center employee

Call centers are a practical bridge between your company and your consumer base. Outsourcing call center services is how you scale your business to remain competitive.

Did you know at least 58% of customers contacted customer service at some point in 2020? Call centers ensure your business provides the most frictionless buyer’s journey possible. Outsourcing provides you the means of enjoying repeat business without taking on too much responsibility.

How much does it cost to outsource call center services, anyway? It’s time to talk numbers. We’re going to break down the basic day-to-day costs so you can start scaling in 2022. 

What Kind of Call Center Do You Need?

Before you start crunching numbers, you need to have a good understanding of today’s call centers. The size of your business, your industry, and your goals will determine which model suits you best.

What are General Customer Services?

Each employee in your business has a few duties to fulfill. Giving them too much work runs the risk of burnout and employee turnover.

General customer services are sometimes offloaded onto employees instead of outsourcing. These services can include (but aren’t limited to):

10 responsibilities and duties of customer service employees

Examples of day-to-day customer service representative duties are listed below, they range from frontline agents and tech support reps to those in managerial customer service positions.

1. Answering questions about a company’s products or services

2. Processing orders and transactions

3. Resolving issues and troubleshooting technical problems

4. Delivering information about a company’s offerings

5. Providing proactive customer outreach

For example;

  • through proactive chat
  • informing customers about real or potential product/service issues
  • monitoring brand mentions
  • engaging in customer conversations on social media
  • proactively asking customers for feedback

6. Handling customer complaints 

7. Collecting and analyzing customer feedback

8. Responding to customer reviews

9. Developing and documenting knowledge into helpful content

10. Tracking customer service KPIs and metrics

Outsourcing call center services free up your employees to attend to your customer needs. It’s a win-win all around.

Related: Building Relationships Through Inbound Contact Center Services

The Inbound Call Center

Do you anticipate a high volume of customer complaints, questions, and commentary? You will need an inbound call center to handle this activity effectively.

The most common reasons customers use inbound call centers are:

  • Questions about products, services, or deals
  • Managing their account, such as changing an address or expanding services
  • Complaints about poor service, missing orders, or negative employee behavior
  • Attempting to process a new order
  • Additional technical support
  • Requesting quotes, scheduling appointments

The inbound call center is designed to save everyone a headache. Your employees will be able to focus on their work instead of constantly answering calls. Not only that, your customers will have one-on-one attention instead of trying to wrestle with a chatbot or automated phone message.

The Outbound Call Center

On the other hand, your business may anticipate reaching out to customers on a regular basis. The outbound call center is a fantastic resource that will save you time and money in the long run.

Outreach is essential for any marketing campaign, regardless of business size or industry. How can customers buy what they don’t know about? Alongside reaching out to prospects, outbound call centers also provide the following:

  • Conducting surveys to improve business
  • Telemarketing for Lead Generation
  • Up/Cross sale
  • Updating database information
  • Follow-up on leads
  • Providing proactive information, such as policy changes or new deals
  • And so much more

Related: 6 Reasons to Outsource Your Call Center Services

The Outsourced Call Center

The outsourced call center is able to support both inbound and/or outbound calls. The function of an outsourced call center is to take care of most or all of your day-to-day administration needs. You can even tell your outsourced call center how to manage your inbound vs outbound ratio. 

Call center outsourcing is continuing to grow in popularity as more companies understand better how to leverage the value of a BPO partner.  Handling in-house customer engagements via calls, emails, webchats, text, etc.. is expensive.

The trained contact center agents handling these engagements are experts in providing exceptional support. That is all they do, all day, every day. 

Woman answering call center phone
Woman answering call center phone

Why Outsource Inbound Call Center Services?

Apart from cost reductions consider:

  • 24×7 service for your customers
  • Offers flexibility and scalability
  • Stability and attractive IT policies
  • Expert support staff and management
  • Focus on core operations
  • No capital investments
  • Access to the latest technology and tools
  • Eliminates staffing issues and increases business continuity
  • Detailed reports on data analytics
  • The Basic Costs of an In-House Call Center

Should you keep your call center in-house or outsource it? We’ve broken down the basic costs of in-house call centers to give you an idea of what to expect.

These costs are estimated on a yearly basis.

HIGH-END CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE

These costs are estimated on a yearly basis.

  • General hiring costs: $20,000
  • Office space: $45,000
  • Software and hardware expenses: $5,000
  • Customer service management: $40,000
  • Employee salaries (with benefits): $140,000

Expect to pay about $250,000 per year for an in-house call center.

MID-RANGE CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE

These costs are estimated on a yearly basis.

  • General hiring costs: $12,000
  • Office space: $25,000
  • Software and hardware expenses: $3,000
  • Customer service management: $20,000
  • Employee salaries (with benefits): $90,000

Expect to pay about $150,000 per year for an in-house call center.

LOW-END CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE

These costs are estimated on a yearly basis.

  • General hiring costs: $6,000
  • Office space: $15,000
  • Software and hardware expenses: $3,000
  • Customer service management: $20,000
  • Employee salaries (with benefits): $55,000

Expect to pay about $100,000 per year for an in-house call center. 

Other costs you’ll have to take into account include:

  • Onboarding programs
  • Payment processing fees
  • Office equipment
  • Data analyst programs
  • Marketing
  • Shrinkage 
  • Attrition

These costs could easily add several thousand dollars more to your final check, stretching above $125,000 for a “low-end” representative to around $300,000 for a high-end representative. Is it any wonder why businesses are choosing to outsource?

To make things clear, running an in-house call center has its benefits. You gain a high level of control and can customize your call center to suit you down to the last detail. However, the costs are extremely high. You might not break even despite your best efforts.

Now let’s take a look at the benefits of an outsourced call center. 

Breaking Down the Costs of an Outsourced Call Center

The outsourced call center is a major boon for businesses today. You get all the benefits of an effective inbound or outbound campaign without the high price tag.

Figuring out how much you’ll pay an outsourced call center depends on the following factors.

What is the Expected Call Volume?

How many calls do you anticipate your call center completing in a day? How about a week or a month? 

Estimate your call volume early so you can get the most accurate estimate.

Call Duration

How long does the average call take? For example, inbound technical support calls tend to be longer due to the amount of detail needed. On the other hand, outbound campaigns for new deals tend to be shorter.

The longer the call, the more you’ll have to pay.

Support Level

Similar to the above category, you need to estimate each call’s support level. The more support and expertise needed, the more you’ll pay. 

General Availability

Will your outsourced call center be available around the clock or only on weekdays? Do you take time off for holidays?

While 24/7 availability is very attractive, you may pay more than needed if your customers generally call on weekends.

Multilingual Support

Does your primary customer base speak English and Spanish? How about other languages? 

You may find it necessary to add multilingual support to your outsourced call center. To get started, record the percentage of your calls in each language. Once you’re done, summarize the ROI gained from each language. You may find certain audiences of different languages more lucrative than others.

Related: How Should You Convert Data Challenges to New Business Opportunities?

Give your business an edge in 2022. We established Blue Valley Marketing to provide effective B2B strategies based on data, not theory.

Call center employee faces
Call center employees answering call ques

The General Costs of an Outsourced Call Center

Outsourced call centers generally work by the hour. Expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $70 per hour depending on the service you buy and the scope you need.

A little math is needed after you get an hourly rate that accommodates your business’s needs. For example, imagine hiring five outsourced call center representatives who work at $20 per hour. All five of them work for eight hours per day, seven days per week. That would be $1,120 per representative for a full week’s work, which adds up to a collective $5,600 per week.

Overall, that’d be around $291,000 per year (for 5 people). Keep in mind there are other ways to pay a call center, too.

Dedicated Agents

Do you want to have a call center entirely devoted to your business? Consider requesting your call center to be a dedicated agent.

Dedicated agents often pay more than general call center models, but the trade-off could be very appealing for your brand. Call centers that focus on one business develop long-term relationships that create more effective results. Constantly jumping between call centers is stressful and time-consuming.

Contract Work

Always read your contracts thoroughly. While a deal may seem good on the surface, you may find your outsourced call center incompatible several months down the line.

Make sure your contract allows you to leave on a good note. If you’re stuck financially, you could end up soured toward call centers in the future.

Monthly Flat Rate

It’s common to charge by the hour to only get what you pay for. That said, a monthly flat rate is a strong option for certain business models.

If you’re on a budget or unsure about committing, consider the monthly flat rate. While the upside is a reduced cost, there are also a few downsides:

  • You may indirectly pay for non-productivity hours
  • Scaling is difficult with generalized costs
  • You get less oversight on your services

Keep in Mind Common Add-Ons

Is there anything else you should know concerning outsourcing call center services? Add-ons are a popular feature among several businesses, allowing you to whittle down your must-have features.

Quality Assurance

This feature is fast becoming a staple among modern businesses. Quality assurance gives you improved oversight on whether or not your products are serving your customers.

If quality control is an issue you’ve been struggling with, request this add-on. You’ll gain deeper insight that will improve your customers’ experience and reduce the need for constant technical support.

Analytical Programs

Do you need extra help determining KPIs or figuring out a game plan? Analytical programs consolidate your data into usable information.

Your analytical programs are an essential tool for your marketing and sales team.

Managerial Training

On-site and off-site training go a long way in keeping your business stable. It’s actually much more expensive to hire new people than to retain existing workers.

What About the Offshore Call Center?

You may be considering the benefits of the offshore call center. This option is attractive for its lower cost and physical proximity to specific markets.

If you do a lot of international business, the offshore call center could save you time and money. Offshore call centers also regularly have multilingual staff to better accommodate businesses in different countries. To give you a better idea of the costs, the average call center employee in South America ranges between $8 to $20. 

The lower costs in offshore call centers are often due to the reduced cost of living. For businesses looking to shave down their budget without losing quality, the offshore call center is ideal.

Outsource Call Center Services – Final Thoughts

Outsourcing call center services is becoming the go-to choice for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Administrative tasks, follow-up, and lead nurturing are tiresome tasks. When you add in technical support requests or customer complaints, your to-do list will seem monumental. Outsourcing your call center services allows you to save money without sacrificing quality. Inbound, outbound or mixed call centers are all valid choices depending on your business model.

You gain several of the following benefits by making the switch in 2022:

  • Saving money on day-to-day business expenses
  • Improving the customer service experience
  • Reducing the employee workload
  • Cultivating long-term customers
  • Staying competitive in your field

If you’re not sure whether or not to commit to a call center, reach out to us with your questions and concerns. We’re happy to walk you through the call center process so you can save time and money this year.

Last Updated on June 30, 2022 by Ronen Ben-Dror

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