Call Center Resource and Cost Comparison: In-house vs. Virtual Call Center
When it comes to Call Centers, there are many things to consider when you are trying to determine if your business should be out-sourced or whether to keep it in-house. Arguments can be made for either case. Smaller to mid-sized businesses may find it cost prohibitive to start a call center in-house, but it might be, that only the services of a big outsourcer can meet their business requirements, despite the high price tag. A decision that is based solely on a lower price tag doesn’t necessarily yield the best business choice either.
On average the hourly rate for a Virtual Call Center is estimated to be $25/hr. But what do you get from a virtual Call Center for this price?
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- 1.Unrestricted Access to Virtual Service Staff: Virtual call centers can cater to your customer needs by providing continuous, global support across all time zones. This allows business owners to provide uninterrupted, around the clock service, at a much lower cost, whenever customers need it.
- 2.No Direct Call Center Infrastructure Costs: Hard and soft system costs for maintenance, and upgrades are provided by your virtual call center partner. No large capital investment or call center salaries are required. It is all built into the hourly rate(s).
- 3.Call Center HR Support: HR expenses are already included in your fixed/per minute/hour rate.
- 4.Overall Reduced Costs: Virtual call centers “share” their agents across all their clients and this helps to deliver an overall lower cost-per-call rate for all clients which can help provide significant cost savings for businesses.
- 5.Staff Scheduling Optimization: Agents can be scheduled for your specific business needs which helps to reduce the cost-per-call. You only need to pay for productive time (not any agent “down time”).
- 6.Specialized Call Center Industry Knowledge & Expertise: Some outsourcers specialize in certain industries and their management team(s) have expertise and proven strategies to optimize your business requirements. Additionally, they hire staff that can speak more than one language which can support multichannel connections. You won’t need to worry about language barriers obstructing communication between your agent and a customer.
- 7.Data Reporting & Quality Assurance: There is an abundance of metrics that can be gathered when a call center monitors staff for quality assurance (e.g. response times, customer satisfaction, first call resolution etc.). A good call center will go beyond data gathering and offer valuable insights on the information gathered to identify performance improvement opportunities, business insights and to ensure that your contract standards are being met. This service is usually built into your agent’s hourly rate.
- 8.Security and Software Technology: Virtual call centers will invest in the most updated, robust and secure communication software technologies to protect your data and information. Most centers have specialized I.T. experts on-hand to support any operating “glitches.” Even if a business has their own operating issues (e.g. a power outage etc.), a virtual call center will still be able to operate and support your customers.
An average In-house Call Center is estimated to be $27/hr. But what benefits can you get for developing your own in-house call center for the price?
- 1.Immediate Actionable Data: Proprietary software can be purchased to gather intelligence and it can be turned into immediate money-saving opportunities.
- 2.Full Time Dedicated Staff Are Available For Your Customized Sales Efforts: Resources are not shared with other clients and they can quickly support your targeted marketing campaigns and/or adjust their efforts to your evolving business needs.
- 3.In-house Staff Can Be Used As A CRM Resource: Staff can be trained to gather data intelligence for time sensitive business issues or critical business data requirements.
- 4.Staff Flexibility: Virtual agents can respond to a business’s immediate requirements. Staff flexibility can be very important for businesses that rely on client responsiveness to ensure their business is successful (e.g. sales in a competitive market). In off peak time periods, call center staff can be used for outbound sales calls to generate additional revenue to offset some of the in-house call center operating costs.
- 5.More Control Of Marketing/Communication “Messaging”: By having an in-house call center, you can directly monitor how your team communicates to clients and their responses. This may be critical for certain kinds of businesses/product launches/services etc. For example, a new product introduction, may require modification to the “messaging” due to negative client responses or defective products.
- 6.Immersing Employees Into A Corporate Culture: Staff will understand the values of your business and will represent your brand/services the way you want.
- 7.In-house Client Service Experts Are Your Call Center Staff: Instead of using a call center’s generic service team, you can train your staff to be high quality product/service experts who can provide quality, personalized service to meet your business standards.
- 8.There is no middle man: Businesses have more operational control and can decide who and when to hire and they don’t have to go through a middleman or share their profits.
- 9.Security: Managing and using your own secure network/server(s) can ensure that your own security standards are met and maintained. If your business is built around proprietary data or has other confidential operational requirements (e.g. a research business), keeping your call center in house may be a wise choice.
In summary, understanding your business limitations, opportunities and needs, paired with your own profit goals is critical for determining which type of call center is best for your business. If you make your decision, from a cost perspective only, it could result in some unanticipated negative effect(s) for your business.