Whether companies are dealing with inbound or outbound calls, outsourcing call centers can help companies cut costs.
Companies typically pay agents at internal call centers per hour, so companies pay for both productive and unproductive time. On top of this, companies must pay for the costs associated with hiring, training, and managing employees.
When companies outsource call centers, the outsourcing center manages all associated work. The cost of call center outsourcing ranges from $5 to $50 per agent per hour.
Benefits of Call Center Outsourcing
While companies often tend to outsource due to lower costs, there are additional benefits.
If companies operate internal call centers, they have to spend time hiring, training, and monitoring call center employees.
Companies that provide outsourcing services handle all tasks involved with the call center.
More Flexible Schedule
When companies outsource call centers, it’s easier to provide a more flexible call center schedule. For example, outsourcing makes it easier to provide 24/7 customer support.
When companies hire internally, they have to find employees willing to work early and late hours, which can be difficult to do.
Cons of Outsourcing
While there are benefits to outsourcing call centers, there are also drawbacks.
Lower Product Knowledge
Agents at outsourced call centers are less familiar with company products and services than internal employees. Also, since these agents are not located within the company, it’s harder for them to find answers to difficult customer questions.
Agents’ knowledge does depend on the quality of the provided training. Therefore, companies should provide materials that thoroughly explain their products.
Less of a Concern about Customer Satisfaction
Since agents at outsourced call centers are not true company employees, they might have less of a connection with the company they are calling for. Therefore, customer satisfaction may suffer.
If companies outsource to call centers in other countries, there may be language barriers. Customers may have trouble understanding the agents due to accents.
When agents are located remotely, communication between the hiring company and the agents can be difficult. If a remote agent has a question, it’s harder for them to reach the company.
Types of Call Center Outsourcing
Call center outsourcing is divided into two main groups: inbound and outbound. Within these groups, there are a number of different pricing models.
Inbound centers handle calls from customers. These calls involve placing orders and seeking support.
With shared inbound services, call center agents handle calls from more than one company. Usually, agents are fielding calls for a few dozen companies.
In the shared model, companies are charged per agent minute. These costs range from $0.40 to $0.90 per minute.
Dedicated services devote agents to handle calls from one company. These outsourcing companies typically charge an hourly rate per agent.
These costs range from $8 to $30 per agent per hour. Dedicated call centers are best for companies with a steady, predictable flow of incoming calls since rates are independent of agent talk time.
Monthly services charge by the month, rather than by the hour or minute. Some of these services have limits on monthly talk time.
Rates start at $100 per month.
Agents at outbound call centers make calls to customers. These calls may involve generating sales, conducting surveys, or other tasks.
Hourly call centers charge per hour. These prices vary from $5 to $50 per hour.
When outbound call centers conduct sales calls, they are often charged based on commission. The commission amount depends on the product or service that the company offers.
However, the commission rate should be higher than an hourly rate, to account for the risk of uncertain payments.
Hourly plus Commission
This pay structure combines the two types listed above. Call centers are paid a low hourly rate along with additional commission payments.
Determining the Cost of Outsourcing
The cost of outsourcing call centers depends on a variety of favors. First, it’s important to know how providers calculate the cost of call center outsourcing.
How Centers Charge
Outsourcing providers usually charge by the agent hour. This means that companies are only charged for productive agent time.
If an internal call center employee is on the phone for 75% of their time, and they are paid $25 an hour, their employer pays them $25 per hour. However, with outsourcing companies, the employer only pays for productive time.
Therefore, if the agent is on the phone for 75% of the time, they are only paid 75% of their hourly rate. Outsourcing providers can also charge a flat hourly or monthly rate.
Where is the Company Located?
One of the largest factors in determining call center costs is where the outsourcing company is located.
In locations like India, Pakistan, and Indonesia, hourly rates range from $5 to $15 per agent per hour. In Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe, hourly rates range from $10 to $25 per agent per hour.
In the United States, Western Europe, Canada, and Australia, hourly rates range from $20 to $50 per agent per hour.
The more knowledge agents have about the product or service, the higher the call center rates. Call center agents with highly specialized knowledge can cost over $50 per agent per hour.
Should You Outsource Your Call Center?
As mentioned above, there are both pros and cons of outsourcing call centers.
The main benefit of outsourcing is that it can save time and money. Outsourcing generally costs between $5 and $50 per agent per hour.
While these costs are lower than those associated with internal call centers, outsourcing does have some drawbacks. Outsourcing call centers may result in poor communication and lower customer satisfaction.
Before you decided to outsource your call center, weigh the pros and cons. Next, decide if you need inbound services, outbound services, or both. Finally, determine how many agent hours you need.
From here, you can determine whether or not it makes sense to outsource your call center and what outsourcing company is a good fit.