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Costs of an In-House Contact Center

This is a question we are often asked, and it is a difficult one to answer. It is difficult to make a real comparison between in-house and outsourced contact centers, especially if there are intangible effects such as brand damage, if the transition is not perfect. However, we know that you are trying to create a business case here, and the hard numbers are important. So we’ll give you a comprehensive overview of the operating costs of your internal contact center – both intangible and tangible – and how they compare to the cost of outsourcing.

Personnel costs

Although there are several types of pricing models for an outsourced contact center, it’s likely that many of the estimates you receive when evaluating potential partners will have a price per agent hour. If you’ve never outsourced before, it’s tempting to look at this figure and think you can hire contact center agents at a lower price! Yes, you can. But the truth is that an agent hour is much more than basic labor costs – and compensation is just the beginning. And that’s the beginning – PayScale shows an average of 10 €/hour for a customer service representative. Of course, the average wages for a contact center employee vary greatly depending on your geographic region, your industry and your required skills and experience, which is why Payscale also spends a range of €8.62 to €16.78 on the same position. If you’re based in a large metropolitan area, you’ll quickly find that not only are salaries much higher than the median, but it’s also hard to find people willing to work for this compensation. In particular, if you look into the suburbs where it is more affordable for the employees you are looking for to live – and many of them will not be willing to commute to town every day. Smaller cities, on the other hand, have a more affordable cost of living, which in turn provides a larger, more affordable talent pool. But, as I said, wages are just the beginning. They must also take into account the cost of taxes and social benefits, which account for over 30% of total costs. So even if you use agents with the average hourly wage, your cost will be around €13.5 per hour. In addition, you need managers, supervisors, coaches and trainers to manage your frontline agents, not to mention the extra staff time and financial investment in their support. This includes the tools and resources required for each of these roles to function properly, such as training programs, project management tools, licenses, job ad platforms, and more. Each of these elements adds up quickly in terms of cost. However, when you return to investing “per agent hour” (or sometimes “per minute” or “per transaction”) in a Customer Care Outsourcer, every factor is already taken into account.

Infrastructure costs

Next, we look at the physical space in which your contact center is located. Again, costs vary greatly by location, but the average rent per square meter for city offices is €20 (between €8 and €80), and rents are constantly increasing. Moreover, rent is just one piece of the puzzle – don’t forget the cost of maintenance, heating, cooling, lighting and workplace furnishings. And then there is the technical infrastructure. Although the technology has become cheaper over the years, the number of technical elements needed to support each contact center agent has actually increased. Once upon a time, agents just had a phone. Today they are connected to their computers and work with contact center software that combines call distribution with a number of other integrated functions such as CRM, IVR, call recording and data analysis. The price per workstation adds up quickly. And don’t forget the need for backup servers and emergency power generators to ensure business continuity. Even if your solution uses work-from-home agents and eliminates the need for physical office space, the costs are not fully consumed. These agents continue to require computer hardware, software licenses, telephony, and access to backup servers. (And management, HR and IT support, as mentioned in the above paragraph…) The cost of the agent hour for an outsourced partner once again includes all these costs – and the right partner is also strategically positioned to evolve its technical infrastructure as trends and new technologies come into play.

Staff turnover

There are other intangible costs here, which are no less important. The commitment of the employees is decisive for loyalty. Success is the result of innovative leadership and human resources managers and concrete initiatives to ensure that every employee is involved in his or her work. So, consider the cost of the small, simple things, such as office benefits – coffee, holidays, recognition programs, etc. – as well as the larger ticket positions, such as career development opportunities – training programs, certifications, tuition fees, etc. – and the cost of the larger, more complex things, such as the cost of the more complex things, such as the more complex things that are involved. When efforts to retain and engage employees are lost sight of, there are even higher costs – those of fluctuation. A Gallup survey found that companies with allegedly low levels of commitment generated 35% to 75% more revenue than companies with high levels of commitment. Given that the cost of replacing an employee is about 16% of the position’s annual salary, your company’s success can be significant. The right outsourced partner invests heavily in customer retention and commitment. They are familiar with the impact of contact center fluctuation and always put their employees first. And their investments in this area are once again fully integrated into their pricing model.

The Total Cost of an In-House Contact Center

The numbers above do not lie, and it may be cheaper to outsource your growing contact center. From the cost of the people and tools they need, to the cost of your facility and support initiatives, each position adds up to a large sum. Not to mention the intangible, but important, costs you incur when you lose focus as a business, rather than focus on your core competency.

Video Podcast Series started

We have created a video podcast series for you to show you the different aspects of the call and contact center solution myContactCenter. This podcast starts with a short introduction to the use of the Contact Center Agent workstation.

Chat as communication channel of the Customer Journey

Multi channel contact centers are able to use several communication channels at the same time. The most important communication channels are telephony, e-mail and chat. One of the most common use cases for chat are online shop systems and customer portals. By integrating the chat into the online platform, it becomes possible for users to contact their employees directly via chat. Chats are treated exactly the same as calls or e-mails. These are distributed by the ACD to the employees who then answer the chat directly in the contact center software. This considerably improves the communication process and thus the customer experience and increases customer loyalty. Since a multi-channel contact center software avoids the formation of isolated solutions for different communication channels, the overall cooperation and measurability of the communication is also significantly improved. If you would like to learn more about the possibilities to optimize your communication, please contact us today.

Reverse skill based routing

Skill based routing is a term from the call- and contact center industry and describes an algorithm for the distribution of calls, e-mails, … as it is also used in myCC. This algorithm is used to assign calls, e-mails, chats, … (conversations) to agents according to their skills. The more qualified an agent is for a skill, the more frequently conversations are assigned to that agent. In the case of reverse skill-based routing, this order is reversed. If reverse skill-based routing is used, less qualified agents are assigned conversations first and the more qualified agents are available for more complex tasks that cannot be processed by other agents. In myCC you can work with any number of qualifications and thus achieve a very fine granularity in agent selection. In order to use this granularity effectively, various parameters, such as a time delay, can be adjusted as required. Simple tasks can thus be processed quickly by less qualified agents and at the same time the experts are given more time for the more complex questions. The result is more satisfied customers and lower costs. Use myCC to harness these effects in your company. Please contact one of our partners near you.

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Be a call center agent

Working in a call centre or contact center requires discipline and good communication skills. As a customer service representative, you will need to respond to complaints and questions about your business. A call centre is quite a hectic work environment, so the better you refine your skills, the better you will cope.

Work on your computer skills.

Take a course if necessary, either online or maybe at a VHS. Practice typing and navigation on the computer and learn to type as you speak.

  • Call center agents need to be able to react quickly and identify important information.
  • If you are generally familiar with computer navigation, you will also learn how to use new software more quickly.
  • There are free programs and video tutorials that can help you polish up your computer skills.

Be on time.

Best come a little early every day. Plan enough time to get to work so you still have time to tune in to work when you arrive. Take your breaks when they are scheduled.

  • In most call centers, you need to log into the system before you can start.
  • Listen to traffic radio before you set off. If there are problems on your route, you have to leave earlier.

Learn from your supervisor.

Ask them for advice on how best to master certain situations and improve yourself overall. If possible, talk to them during breaks when they seem too busy during working hours, or try to catch them just before or after work.

  • Your supervisor probably also started at some point in your job. So he knows your position inside out and knows how hard it can be sometimes.

Stay up to date about your company.

Memorize as much information about your company as possible and check your intranet and website regularly. Don’t neglect your e-mail box either, because important internal memos are sent there from time to time.

  • You should know all the details about the products and services your company sells.
  • Self-confident call center agents are usually more successful at their job.

Keep a positive attitude.

Do your job with enthusiasm. Come to work optimistically every day and remember to maintain that optimism even in difficult situations. Have at least one yellow item on your table, if you may, and carry small positive sayings with you – for example, write them on small pieces of paper and put them in your wallet or stick them on your table as post-it items.

  • The yellow colour has been proven to create a psychologically optimistic mood.
  • Just use yellow Post-Its, pens or paperclips.
  • An example of a good saying is: “I can consciously control how I want to feel and I choose to stay optimistic.

Further develop your communication skills.

Speak slowly and clearly. Think briefly about what you want to say before you actually say it. Remember that conversations could be monitored or recorded.

  • If English is not your native language and clients sometimes have difficulty understanding you, consider a language course. You can do this either at a VHS, for example, or online. Some online courses are even free.

Be polite.

Stay friendly at all times and never become negative, condescending or argumentative, no matter what the customer says to you. Stick to the formal tone and keep a friendly tone in your voice.

  • Say things like “please”, “thank you”, “you’re welcome” and “I’m sorry to hear that”.

Go ahead and deal with angry customers.

Never take statements from customers personally and don’t tell them to calm down. Such customers first and foremost need empathy and a solution to their problem. Take a minute after the phone call and breathe a sigh of relief if you can, put your smile back on and dedicate yourself to the next caller.

  • One of the most important qualities of a good call center agent is to stay calm even under pressure.
  • Use for example “We appreciate your feedback”, “I will do my best to help you” and similar phrases and use the customer’s name as often as possible.
  • For the customer, you represent the company on the phone and he equates you with the company. Someone who is angry with your employer will not always treat you respectfully.

Avoid excessive conversations.

Ask questions that the customer only has to answer with yes or no and quickly bring the conversation back to the actual topic when it drifts away. Avoid personal topics or comments about the weather, unless you need to gain time because something needs to load into your system.

  • If you’re off work and a call isn’t ready, say, “That sounds like a case for my colleague.”

Make a good impression.

Pay attention to details and don’t think that you know the customer’s problem before he tells you. Don’t hang up until the customer is as satisfied as you can make him at that moment.

  • Many callers complain that call center agents do not properly address their problems and sometimes give inappropriate answers.
  • Show the customer that you have understood their concerns by summarising them briefly.

Pass the call on if necessary.

Find out which calls you should forward to your supervisor or manager. Ask your supervisor under what conditions you should forward a call to whom. If you can’t solve a customer’s problem, you should admit that and inform the customer friendly that you will put him through to a colleague.

  • For example, if a customer explicitly requests a refund and you are not allowed to arrange it, you must pass it on to a supervisor.
  • Instead of saying “I’m not responsible for this” you should always formulate it positively and say “[colleague or department] will be happy to help you”.

ilogixx at the call center world

ilogixx is represented at the Call Center World 2019 by the Platinum Partner Frings Informatic. There is a lot of news about our product myCC to report. In addition to a new and even more informative web site, there is also a lot of news about the product. Artificial intelligence is entering myCC. At Call Center World you will have the opportunity to experience for the first time how language is translated or transformed into text. Experience how easy it will be in the future to have conversations between callers in different languages and employees without the corresponding language skills. Language translation in telephony is an innovation that keeps the availability of your company at a high level even in case of resource bottlenecks. Convince yourself of the possibilities offered by the new graphic communication process designer. Simple configuration of processes without detailed knowledge with access to various data sources, be it a database, a web service, an AI system or other external systems. You can find myCC and our Platinum Partner Frings Informatic at CCW here: Hall: 3 | Booth: B1 Frings Informatic Solutions GmbH