How Much Does It Cost to Hire a 24/7 Call Center Service?
One of the realities of a global economy is the need to communicate with customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In our world of instant access, most people expect to connect with a live person when they need to call a business.
Of course, not every organization has the wherewithal to keep employees on staff 24/7. For these businesses, hiring a 24/7 call center service is the answer.
What Are the Benefits of Utilizing a Call Center?
Employing a call center to field customer calls helps free up staff to handle matters only they can address. Or, you can use a call center for your employees' off-duty hours, to ensure that your customers reach a live person no matter what time of day, or day of the week, it is.
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If you're building a business, or operating a small one, a call center helps build your brand and typically saves you money over building an in-house call center team. Most call centers offer a variety of benefits, including recording phone calls for your review and data reports on the number and types of calls received each day.
What to Look for in a Call Center
With the Internet, it's easier than ever to research a company or industry (obviously, since you're on this site). Take advantage of that and begin your call center search with a bit of research.
If you know any of the call center's clients, call at least one of them, posing as a customer. You'll see first-hand how the operators handle phone calls and queries. You can also look online for customer reviews of the service, focusing on the more recent reviews to get a true gauge of the customer experience.
If you're looking at services located in areas where language barriers may exist, you definitely want to perform a series of test calls to determine whether this presents any sort of issue for your customers.
Find out what sort of options the call center offers, such as call analysis and recording calls for your review.
Finally, look at any incentives the call center offers its employees, how well it pays them, and what goals it sets for employees. This information helps you gauge employee satisfaction and whether the company works to maintain headcount and incentivize employees to provide excellent customer service.
What's the Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Call Centers?
Inbound call centers accept calls from your customers, answering questions or providing information or technical support. They may also accept and process payment. If callers need to speak directly to you or one of your employees, the inbound call center transfers those calls to your location.
Outbound call centers place calls rather than answer them, typically for surveys and data gathering, or for generating sales leads or cold calling. They may also call customers after they complete surveys or lodge complaints.
How Much Do 24/7 Call Centers Charge?
There is no hard and fast rule around call center pricing, as it varies by industry, location, call volume, the complexity of your expectations, and so much more.
Options even vary as to how the company charges and handles calls, since most outsource call centers handle numerous clients. An agent may be on the phone with one of your clients one minute and then talking to someone in an entirely different country the next. In these setups, you typically pay by the minute, at a rate between 50 cents and $1 per minute.
Some call centers offer dedicated agents, someone who works only for your company. These agents become experts in your business and typically you pay an hourly charge for this improved level of expertise, between $10 and $25 per hour.
For outbound call centers, prices are generally higher, starting at around $25 per hour and going up to around $65 per hour for each agent making calls on your behalf. In this setup, the price depends on the complexity of your requirements as well as location.
Additional Call Center Costs
In addition to hourly or per-minute charges, expect to pay a setup fee of around $3,000 (on average). You may also have to pay for training, programming, and reporting, depending on your contract.
Many call centers charge a monthly minimum. If you have wildly fluctuating call volumes and pay a per-minute rate, this can really drive up your costs. As in anything else purchased for your business, obtain at least three bids, making sure you know exactly what the quotes include so you can make an accurate comparison.