A Quick Guide to Comparing In-House Vs Outsourced Contact Center Costs

If you’re already managing an in-house contact center, you know that navigating the natural peaks and valleys of call volume presents a complex challenge when calculating call center costs. You know that the ratios and formulas are multifaceted, which can make a direct comparison between in-house and outsourcing a little difficult.

When you need to present a business case complete with outsourced contact center costs, you need to break down the numbers in a way that makes sense. Below, we look at the multiple factors that go into the call center cost comparison.

Productive vs. Non-Productive Agent Time

In addition to investing in agent recruiting when you staff and train an in-house team, you’re paying for every minute of the time they’re there. From the moment they enter the office, their time is spent settling in for the day, taking calls, taking breaks, engaging in training and coaching activities, as well as the time spent in ready waiting during lulls in arrival patterns. Each minute affects your bottom line.

In sharp contrast, when you outsource your contact center, you’ll only be paying for productive agent time. Typically, you can project an estimated 85% productivity rate, so instead of paying 100% of your agent’s work hour, you can cut those hourly costs by about 15%. That represents significant savings right out of the gate.

Management of Call Center Agents

When staffing your in-house contact center, you’ll also have to hire front line supervisors or coaches as well as program managers for the team. In doing so, you’ve just added yet another line to your call center budget.

In contrast, when you outsource your call center, program management costs (including those frontline supervisors) should be automatically included in the agent rate. (If your vendor doesn’t include program management in your per minute or per hour rate, we should talk… )

Reporting

Every successful call center needs to keep a painstakingly close eye on quality assurance. The metrics produce an abundance of data, and include factors like first-call resolution, response times, average handling time, customer satisfaction, service level, net promoter scores, and more.

A great contact center reporting team will go beyond the gathering of data to offering value-added analysis that supports your decision-making. Every call center needs information management professionals supported by appropriate tools and technology to fully leverage the data you absorb daily. Add at least two more budget lines to your in-house call center here. On the other hand, when you consider outsourcing your call center, this cost is usually already tied into the agent rate.

Call Center Infrastructure

With in-house centers, you’re on the hook for every component of the supporting infrastructure. These overhead costs include your facilities, telephony, workstations, and more; not to mention any IT staff you’ll need to hire to provide tech support.

This is a cost that isn’t going to go away – every three to five years, you’re going to start thinking about upgrading. Ask your tech team: major systems upgrades are expensive – both in terms of direct expense and the time and focus of your internal tech resources.

Once again, in an outsourced arrangement, the hard and soft costs of systems, maintenance, and upgrades are going to be carried by your call center partner.

Call Center HR Support

When considering your in-house contact center overhead costs, don’t forget the foundational expense of recruiting, payroll and taxes, and benefits management. Additionally, these costs can fluctuate depending on your turnover rate. And of course, the HR staff themselves need to be factored into your calculations.

As with all the above factors, HR expenses are by default included in your outsourced per minute or fixed rate.

Other Factors

Finally, there are a number of advantages you’ll gain from outsourcing that will add further value to your investment, which may not be realized through in-house efforts. These factors result in both reduced FTE and increased potential for overall call center success. They include:

Cutting-edge call center technology for efficient call distribution
Cross-training to maximize staffing for peaks and valleys of call volume
Shared pool options for lower volume hours of operation
Deep expertise in forecasting for maximized efficiency
Risk mitigation in the management of both human and technology resources.

Though this is an abbreviated guide, it should give you a good idea of how all your costs break down so you’re not left trying to compare apples to oranges. At Blue Ocean, we know that calculating costs can be a big headache. If you’re looking for some more in-depth insight on the math, don’t hesitate to contact us today at 902.722.3300.

Small Business Automated Marketing

Business owners just like you everyday are searching for an affordable solution to their marketing needs, that will not take up valuable time from their hectic days. Automated marketing could be your perfect answer to freeing up time without breaking the bank.

There are more and more solutions being developed to help the small business owner with their marketing, and with modern technology solutions, it has become more affordable than ever to stay on top of your current leads, customers and potential customers.

We all know that the key to getting referrals is to of course provide a great product or service, but also to stay in touch with current customers. Staying top of mind will make you and your business the first solution they think of when they are speaking with other business owners. “You know what worked well for me”, is a phrase that should come right before your business name in conversations.

Automated marketing will make the most of your staff and $$ resources. With automated marketing, a single staff member can execute campaigns and marketing plans that would have taken much more time in the past. By reducing necessary staff you can make the most of your resources.

Another big benefit to automated marketing is the consistency you will be able to maintain with your marketing. In the past we would refer to this as “drip marketing”. We know that consistently sending your message and opportunity to people always results in an increase in leads and ultimately, conversions. Left to do on our own manually, never works for very long. The more you are in front of your list, the more likely you will earn their business. Automate it.

For many business owners the biggest benefit to most automated marketing, is not having to be a tech to run or understand them. User friendly is the norm for most platforms available today. Most platforms can be mastered in a very short time, with help just being a phone call or email away.

Automated marketing now makes more possible than ever for any business to create a consistent brand presence on multiple channels using very little time and resources. If you are a small to medium business that is looking to efficiently and effectively manage your marketing budget, this could be an ideal solution. Take the time to discover the future of getting leads, customers and referrals. Discover automated Marketing.