How Much Does a Call Center Service Cost?
Summary: Call Center Service Prices
While package structures may vary based on the provider, the typical cost of outsourcing to a call center is in the range of $1.15 to $0.75 per minute. That’s an average rate of $0.95 per minute. Prices usually decrease with the purchase of more minutes. A business that needs basic coverage for 1000 monthly minutes can expect to pay $900 to $1100 per month. With startup costs, that amounts to $11,700-$13,200 per year.
In This Article
- Average Call Center Prices
- Popular Call Center Service Prices
- Pros of Using a Call Center
- Selecting the Right Service
- Free Call Center Service Quotes >>
Outsourcing your company’s calls to a call center service may be the most optimal solution if your own on-site staff are unable to attend to call duties, or if you do not have the physical capacity to hire and host call agents. However, this type of outsourcing can come at a wide range of costs, all determined by the various options available to meet different business needs. Before you sign any contracts, have a look at the details we’ve gathered below. You’ll find a complete overview of the costs associated with call center services, and the other key factors that must be considered when narrowing down the best candidates.
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Typical Costs of Call Center Service
Call center service charges normally fall in the range of $1.15 to $0.75 per minute. That comes out to an average of $0.95 per minute.
Your billing structure may differ based upon the type of agents you get. Some services offer a selection between “shared” or “dedicated” agents. Shared agents are those that also handle calls for other businesses. These services are usually paid for by the minute. Dedicated agents are those that only handle calls for your company, and these services typically charge by the hour. Most services require that you buy full 8-hour work days when hiring dedicated agents.
It’s important to note that many call center services will require you to sign an annual contract. However, there are usually terms that allow for cancellations within a certain period of time.
Popular Call Center Services and Their Prices
Go Answer was named by Business.com as the best call center service for inbound calls. In addition to supplying agents for live calls, Go Answer also staffs for e-mail and chat support. There is the option for 24/7 support, and bilingual agents (English & Spanish). Additionally, specialist agents for legal intake services are available.
- Free trials are offered for up to 30-days or 200 minutes of agent talk time (whichever is reached first).
- There is a one-time setup fee of $75 for all plans.
- Go Answer’s starting package is a pay-as-you-go $50 per month plan, which tacks on $1.15 per minute.
- The 100 minute plan is priced at $110 per month, with $1.10 for each additional minute.
- The 250 minute plan is $250 per month, with $1.00 for each additional minute.
- There are several more plans with higher minute limits. The largest is for 10,000 minutes, costing $8,200 per month and $0.90 per additional minute.
- Legal intake services start at $2.20 per minute, but their largest plan drops that rate to $1.50.
- Custom plans are available if you need larger or more specialized packages.
- Extras include interactive voice response menus ($0.15 per minute), sub-accounts ($10 each), and additional phone numbers ($10 per month, per number).
- Dedicated agents are offered at $14.50 per hour, with a minimum requirement of five agents and full eight-hour days. That comes out to a minimum of about $2320 per month.
TeleDirect is considered a top overall choice for a variety of business types. Both inbound and outbound call types are accommodated. Boasting just 11 seconds as its average time to answer calls, and a 98% dedicated client call quality assurance score, this service is able to offer superior levels of service. All packages are sold on a prepaid, pay-as-you-go basis. Once your minutes run out, you can buy another package. Because TeleDirect’s plans are not based on monthly subscriptions, they may be particularly suitable for companies that have fluctuations in their call volumes.
- Each package includes 3 hours of setup and training. Charges may be applied if extra time is needed.
- Teledirect’s smallest package covers 1,000 minutes for $1,100 ($1.10 per minute).
- Per-minute rates get lower as minute packages get larger - other packages span $0.99-$0.88 per minute ($2,970-$8,800).
- Their largest plan offers 20,000 minutes for $15,000 ($0.75 per minute).
- Extras like call recording, text notifications, and IVR can be added on for 10% of your per-minute usage rate.
- Cancellations allow for a refund on 80% of your package’s unused minutes.
- Accounts must use at least 29 minutes per month to remain active.
Five Star Call Centers
Five Star Call Centers is a veteran agency of 35+ years, located in the midwest. Its competitive rates make it one of the most affordable U.S.-based outbound services in the industry. This allows you to get the benefits of having English-speaking, American agents within a smaller budget. In a review, Business.com stated that Five Star Call Centers provided “one of the best customer service experiences we encountered”. The agency normally works with companies that have a fairly high call volume.
- Setup and training fees are $20 per agent, and total time required is dependent upon the complexity of your needs.
- The price for shared agents starts at $0.80-$0.90 per minute.
- Dedicated agents cost an average of $26 per hour.
- A $3000 monthly minimum is required for 24/7/365 service.
Why Does Your Company Need Call Center Service?
Many businesses of all sizes find themselves in the same frustrating predicament: most or all of their staff are tied up with other responsibilities, leaving few, if any, employees available to answer phone calls.
This can put companies in a vicious cycle. They’re not able to take all the calls that come in from customers, so then their business suffers. When the business suffers, there is less time available for employees to devote to handling calls. Other factors enter the equation as well.
1. In-House Hiring is Expensive
Hiring extra staff to accommodate customer calls can often be more expensive than a business can afford. The average cost to hire a customer service representative is $10-$30 per hour. The national average salary is $27,834 per year. Estimates including the cost of employee benefits, equipment, and other setup expenses price hiring a team of 4 in-house customer service representatives at $259,955 in the first year.
Many companies find that the most efficient way to solve this problem is by outsourcing their call tasks to a call center service. It’s usually easier, much more affordable, and helps to boost call success too.
2. Call Center Outsourcing can Improve Your Customer Service
American consumers still strongly favor talking to businesses on the phone. And the quality of those phone call experiences can go a long way toward cementing their customer loyalty. By facilitating better handling of customer calls, outsourcing to a call center can result in far better levels of service.
- 62% of people report contacting a customer service agent within the past month
- 38% of consumers will call a customer service rep when they encounter product issues
- 65% of customers prefer receiving customer service via phone calls
- 66% of people say they do more business with companies who have provided them good customer service in the past
- 24% of consumers say that the most frustrating part of bad customer service is not being able to get a hold of a real person
What to Keep in Mind When Selecting Call Center Service
In order to select the call center service that can best meet your company’s needs, you’ll need to make some calculations and account for a few particulars of your business.
1. Do You Need Inbound or Outbound Call Services?
Inbound services cover answering calls that come in from customers. Outbound services cover calls that are made to customers. Some agencies specialize in one or the other, but others do offer both services.
For outbound call types, such as sales, keep in mind that you may need agents who are skilled in sales and are familiar enough with your product to cite relevant selling points. There may be training costs associated with addressing these requirements. These can range from $2,500 to $10,000+. It’s also worth noting that some services will ask for bonus payments of $5-$10 per hour based on performance. Outbound services with U.S. agents usually cost $22-$32 per hour.
2. Your Company’s Typical Call Volume
How many calls does your business typically receive per day? Per month? Are there seasonal fluctuations in the amount of calls you receive? How long do your calls usually last? All of this will need to be calculated before you can determine just how many minutes of monthly call center service you’ll need.
3. Agent Location May Affect Customer Satisfaction
Since 61% of consumers say that they have stopped transacting with a business after a poor service experience, your customer retention rate relies heavily on whether or not your call agents are able to provide satisfactory service. This can be a challenge when you outsource to international call centers where English is not the native language.
Many customers report having a lot of communication issues when they are talking to international representatives. Sometimes it is a matter of accents being difficult to understand, and sometimes it is due to the agents lacking the fluency and vocabulary required to understand what customers are saying. While plenty of international agents may speak great English and provide excellent service, it’s important to be aware that this is more of the exception than the rule.
What’s more, having a shared culture can play a very big role in building rapport between agent and customer. Being able to relate to each other on that level can give an added boost to customer satisfaction.
If cost is the most important factor in outsourcing your calls, then international agencies may be your best solution. Rates can be as low as $0.35-$0.45 per minute for inbound service, or $5-$14 per hour for outbound.
4. The Complexity of Your Product or Service
Does it require specialized knowledge to address issues with your company’s product or service? If so, then you may need a call center service that can provide agents who have the skills necessary to effectively help your customers.
As many as 40% of Americans say that their most frustrating issue with customer service is when the agent they’re speaking to doesn’t have the expertise to solve their problem. In fact, 31% feel that having a knowledgeable customer service agent is the key to a good customer service experience.
Aside from the issue of upholding a good standard of customer service, agent qualifications can also be a matter of regulations. Depending on your business type and the nature of the calls that will be fielded, the agents may require different certifications. These can include HIPAA for healthcare programs, PCI Level 1 for credit card information processing, or Licensed Insurance Agents for insurance programs.
If you will need agents that have special certifications, then you will need to narrow your search to services that can provide such agents, and likely expand your budget. Specialized outbound services with U.S. agents can cost $35-$50 per hour.
5. The Provider’s Performance
An investment in call center outsourcing can be squandered if the provider you choose isn’t able to perform up to industry standards. For example, best practices stipulate that 80% of incoming calls should be answered within 20 seconds. Average call duration should be 4 minutes. And 70-75% of caller issues should be resolved on the first call.
To ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth, you’ll want to take the time to ask providers about whether or not they can meet such benchmarks.