A 2018 Microsoft study shows that 95% of respondents consider customer service to be a critical factor in their loyalty to a brand.
And as someone who’s considering outsourcing, you’re probably wondering two things – “how can I ensure the quality of service if I outsource my call center”, and “how much is it going to cost?”
Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll break down how outsourced call center services pricing works, and the critical things you need to consider when reviewing your call center outsourcing costs.
Call Center Outsourcing Pricing
Depending on the vendor, outsourced call center pricing can seem complicated. But fear not, we’ve broken down the service into three key parts to help you better understand a typical outsourced pricing model:
- Various line items that impact outsourced call center costs
- How geographic locations affect cost and prices
- Different call center outsourcing pricing models you may encounter
Line Items That Impact Your Outsourced Call Center Costs
Most contact centers or business process outsourcing (BPO) companies provide omnichannel inbound and outbound contact center services that are significantly more cost-effective than managing and maintaining them in-house. Here are some of the line items you can expect to see:
- Start-Up Fees
In most cases, your outsourcing provider has to do some legwork before your services begin. Depending on the scope, this can include things like agent recruiting, training curriculum development, background checks, establishing network connectivity, as well as the costs to set up, migrate or develop any new or existing platforms, integrations, technology.
Start-up fees vary based on the type of service, the work involved, and the size of your organization, but most businesses can expect to pay several thousand dollars on average to get started.
- Per-Agent Costs
Your pricing arrangement may involve paying an hourly service fee for each agent you require, typically ranges from $20 to $80 per agent, per month (based on the project scope).
- Additional Service Charges
Some outsourcing providers will also charge additional fees for premium services (such as live multi-lingual or after-hours support or social media outreach). Depending on the type of service, additional service charges can be billed monthly or added on top of the agent hourly rate, which depends on the scope of your needs.
How Do Locations Affect Call Center Outsourcing Costs?
It’s commonly thought that outsourcing customer service to international or offshore companies is always cheaper, but this isn’t necessarily the case. The cost of outsourcing varies greatly based on geographic location, as we’ll detail below.
- North America
For contact center agents based in North America, you can expect to pay between $25 to $35 per hour. This may sound pricier than other regions, but the trade-off is the guarantee of a good cultural fit for your North American-based customers.
Due to higher taxes, the European hourly rate for contact center agents also runs a bit high: $30 to $40 per hour in Western European countries, vs $10 to $30 per hour in Eastern countries.
While prices vary across Asian countries, agent costs are generally lower and are often available around $7 to $15 per hour.
India is a common outsourcing choice due to its low agent costs, usually around $5 to $14 per hour. However, offshore outsourcing to Asian/Indian countries has historically presented cultural and language barriers – a common source of customer friction.
What Type of Call Center Pricing Models Are There?
Aside from regional variations in outsourcing costs, you’ll find that many call center services are implemented with different pricing models/usage structures:
- FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) Model – Price Per Hour
As mentioned above, some contact centers charge per agent which is known as an FTE model. Many find this model beneficial because of its cost-effectiveness which results in a fixed, predictable monthly cost. To combat any inefficiency risks, ask your vendor about including incentives or exploring an Output or Pay for Performance Model.
- Pay for Performance Model – Incentives
Another variation is the Pay for Performance Model which helps combat inefficiency risks and uncertainty associated with the traditional FTE Model. Objectives are aligned between you and your vendor, which is why some businesses find this results-based option appealing. However, it’s important to carefully consider what’s being incentivized, as it could put you at risk for low motivation and subsequent low performance.
- Output Model – Cost Per Unit
The Output Model is most common where pricing is volume-based by agent production hour, minute, or contact. Some find this model valuable because it’s typically priced lower than the FTE model (for non-phone) and reduces the negative impact of low occupancy. However, complex agent variables like staffing, scheduling, and attrition should be discussed with your vendor to avoid risks associated with incorrect forecasting or overstaffing.
While FTE, Pay for Performance, and Output are typically the most common industry pricing models, some vendors may also offer other agent options like:
A specialized team of agents focused exclusively on your account. Businesses with complex products, services, or interactions find it valuable and take comfort in knowing their customers are interacting with devoted, subject matter experts.
Having a scalable team that’s shared between multiple accounts is a cost-effective option some businesses find incredibly valuable because you don’t pay for idle time. It’s also highly flexible and adaptable – perfect for low-complexity interactions and rapid response.
This approach combines shared and dedicated agents and is also known as a hybrid, dedicated-core, or flex model. With this setup, a dedicated group of agents serves as your core team, and shared agents supplement when additional support is needed – making it one of the most scalable and easy to manage models.
Many contact center outsourcing providers offer a variety of pricing options, so make sure your preferred vendor has a plan that meets your needs and objectives.
Outsourced Call Center Pricing – Efficiency and Flexibility
There are many variables that can impact call center outsourcing pricing including location, pricing model, and scope of work.
In order to decide which pricing model works best for you, you must first establish your business objectives – what are you trying to accomplish? Is it to find the most cost-effective option with the lowest cost per interaction, or is it to offer best-in-class service and support?
Whatever your objectives are, you must have one thing – an experienced, world-class partner that understands your business and offers flexible cost models to help you achieve your goals. At Humach, our team of experts work with you to understand your business and provide you with custom solutions to help achieve your goals.
As a trusted leader in the business process outsourcing industry for the last three decades, we’re known for our limitless commitment to our customers. From on-premise agents with world-class software, to remote agents and advanced technology solutions – we tailor our services and pricing to ensure your success.