person on the phone discussing call center rates and pricing

Call Center Rates and Pricing

Nothing is more crucial to running an effective customer support system than managing rates and pricing. Without timely paychecks and worthwhile incentive systems for exceptional workers, employee motivation drops rapidly, and subsequently, call center attrition increases. Before establishing or revamping your call center, you first have to consider your pricing model and the functions of your call center. Your call center pricing model, rates, and the roles of different call center departments are all interrelated—it’s important to break down the various aspects of running a call center to determine pricing. Not all companies use the same call centers, nor do they all need every service.  Ready to build your call center from the ground up, or look at different ways to restructure your call center? Learn the different factors that determine call center rates and pricing here.

Types of Call Centers & Contact Centers

Before even considering pricing, you must decide what type of communication you need with your customers, and how to best execute those specific communication modes.  Ask yourself these questions to get started: 
  1. How do you want the customer to reach you? 
  2. Can a centralized call center staff effectively handle all inquiries? 
  3. Do you need services other than customer support?
Most customer support calls are handled over the phone. But in today’s world, technology such as chatbots, FAQs, accounts, and help desks can lighten the burden.  Alternative communication channels also help customer support staff during peak hours and give your team diverse material for review, broadening their perspective when helping customers. How you approach structuring your contact center depends on the size of your business and what it sells.  A small- or medium-sized eCommerce business likely doesn’t need the same personnel as a similar-sized tech startup. While an eCommerce business would probably have dedicated staff handling communications related to product tracking and inquiries, a tech company wouldn’t likely need this.  Once you identify what role a call/contact center will have within business operations, it’s time to figure out which type is most effective.

In-House Call Centers versus Outsourced Call Centers

The debate between in-house and outsourced call centers is widespread for companies as they grow.  An in-house call center is managed by a company’s employees, which means there is a dedicated team of internal employees directly answering customer calls. Outsourced call centers are run by a separate company from the one needing call services. Outsourcing can be used for one department, people in specific locations, or company-wide. As businesses develop, their needs diversify, and roles become specialized to maximize efficiency. Many laws, regulations, and employment practices in the United States set strict standards for businesses to withhold. Due to this, many companies choose to outsource their call center. In general, outsourcing is less expensive than hiring an in-house team, regardless of where you live. In-house teams are manageable for small or local businesses, but they should also develop other communication channels to alleviate some of the burden from their call center functions.

Multichannel Contact Centers versus Omnichannel Contact Centers

The next step up from running a call center is a contact center. Contact centers are a dedicated team of outsourced or in-house employees that manage multiple consumer and client communication types—not just calls and voicemails. What’s unique about a contact center is they also handle email, web chat, social media, and SMS communication—and use customer relationship management (CRM) tools and customer satisfaction and engagement analytics software to resolve customer concerns. Regardless of the type of contact center (multichannel contact center or omnichannel contact center), all contact centers handle inbound and outbound voice calls. The primary difference between the two contact centers is that omnichannel contact centers use cloud-based software and other comprehensive software tools to process customer inquiries. With cloud-based software at their fingertips, omnichannel contact centers can quickly process and display customer information to their employees, understanding the customer’s history, previous issues, and background. On the topic of streamlining, omnichannel contact centers save on costs over multichannel contact centers by optimizing and emphasizing key performance indicators (KPI).

Outbound Services versus Inbound Services

Lastly, when deciding which call center is the right option for your business, consider what call center services are necessary. All outsource call centers break down their services into two categories: outbound and inbound. Outbound services center around lead generation through information gathering and client management. Surveying, up-selling, cross-selling, telemarketing, and customer loyalty programs are some of the many things you can do with an outbound-focused call center. On the other hand, inbound services are meant to cut down on call volume by directly answering customer calls about products, orders, service quality, and additional technical support. Help desks, customer service, order taking, and answering services are some of the most common inbound call center functions. Many companies outsource call centers to handle both inbound and outbound communications. However, the same team shouldn’t be managing both services, and agents should only work within one department to maximize efficiency.

11 Factors That Influence How Much a Call Center Costs

1 . Location

The location of a call center is the most significant factor in determining how expensive it is to manage. Workers in the United States, Australia, and Western Europe have a higher standard of living, a better education, and more of a grasp of English communications. However, due to this, it is more expensive to run a call center in those places. Outsourced call centers are the cheapest in India, Pakistan, Latin America, and Asia (more specifically, the Philippines), where English is taught to a proficient level at schools. Call center pricing models are frequently dependent on location
  • Onshore call centers cost about $20–$30 hourly per agent. 
  • Nearshore call centers cost about $10–$20 hourly per agent. 
  • Offshore call centers cost about $6–$14 hourly per agent.

2. Pay Structure

Do you plan on paying your employees hourly or a set salary? Call centers turn over many employees, so there is a valid case to be made for paying staff either way. 

3. Bonuses

At many call centers, employees are paid extra while working during surge hours or for overtime. Bonuses incentivize employees to take additional steps and carefully consider customers’ needs.

4. Insurance and Other Perks

Consider giving employees health insurance to engender loyalty via stability and security. You can’t get back the time an employee spends lingering over an illness or injury, and long-term sickness negatively impacts call center productivity.

5. Total Number of Staff

Call centers lose potential customers when they miss out on calls—and therefore lose money. You should also consider when staff members are working and use analytics software to have as many employees working at peak times as possible.

6. Experience of Employees

Depending on the role of your business and what you need the call center to do, pricing can vary drastically. Employee experience also influences the amount of missed/dropped calls, and the reasons those calls ultimately fail.

7. Tools Available

Call centers have many call management tools to help them process information and handle incoming calls. Call center rates depend on the quality and pricing of these tools.

8. Hours of Operation

It is more expensive to run a call center during peak times when there are the most incoming calls. 24/7 call centers, and non-remote call centers, have to deal with utility costs and other fees.

9. Languages Spoken By Employees

If your customers speak more than one language, your employees must be trained to speak multiple languages and should be paid more for their developed skill sets.

10. Training Costs

Employees aren’t perfect, and as a business’s needs, product lines, and brand identity change, so must call centers. Training costs are unavoidable, especially for correcting issues and optimizing communication approaches.

11. Cost of Integrating New Employees

Call centers go through personnel quickly—so it is absolutely vital to integrate employees efficiently. Employees with more experience cost less to integrate, but require higher pay.

Emphasize Customer Experience and Retention with Global Response

Looking to start an omnichannel contact center for your company? Contact Global Response to receive a free quote and learn more about how we can help your business.
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