Best Ways to Reduce Cost-per-Call in a Call Center

Taking into account the number of expenses that are inevitably required to operate a call center, one of the most important responsibilities of call center managers is to find out how they can reduce costs so that this does not affect the quality of customer service.

In this article you will find:

How to Calculate Cost per Call
How to Reduce Cost per Call

A typical call center usually handles a huge volume of calls a day, with each of these calls coming at a price. Cost per call is a business metric that allows call centers to calculate the total cost involved in handling calls during a specific period of time (an hour, a week, a month, a year, etc.). For call center managers reducing cost per call is the very first thing to take into account. The cost per call could include things such as wages for call center staff, per-minute costs or toll-free number costs on the telephone bill, utilities for the call center itself, and the cost of the equipment and software used in order to adjust inbound and outbound calls.

How to Calculate Cost per Call

The first step in calculating the cost of a call in your call center is to list all the call center agents that work at your center.

The next step is to define the time period during which you want to calculate the cost per call (an hour, a day, a week, a month or even a year).

Let’s go through the process of calculating the cost per call within an hour.

  • Determine the number of calls each agent handles during the average shift. To do this, find out the number of calls that are processed by each agent during the week. Take this number and divide it by the number of hours the agent works.
  • Make an agent list and record the average number of calls made by each agent per week. Now record the salaries of each agent.
  • Select a random agent and determine the average number of calls they handled during one hour. Take into account the average number of calls made by the agent during the day and divide them by the number of hours the employee works.
  • To determine the cost per call, take the agent's salary and divide it by the average number of calls made by the agent per hour.
  • To determine the total cost per call to your call center, repeat the previous two steps and divide the result by the average calls made by your call center. That is, determine the average salary paid to your agents per hour and divide them by the average number of calls your call center handles per hour. This will give you an average of the cost of each call.

This calculation allows you to estimate on which channels and how effectively your budget is spent in the call center.

Source: CallCentreHelper

Or it can be even better to calculate the cost for each channel of contact separately - calls, emails, web chats, etc. Such granular calculation can give you even more data.

To make the most of every call and operate the call center at a reasonable cost, the balance is required between efficiency and effectiveness in their daily operations, resources, staffing, and customer service quality. Fortunately, with inbound call center solution from Voiptime, this balance is more than achievable. 

How to Reduce Cost per Call

Here are some tips to help your call center reduce cost-per-call without missing the opportunity to develop relationships with customers and increase revenue.

Use VoIP Telephony Instead of Traditional

Traditional fixed lines are installed with a large number of hardware. Therefore, the cost of setup and maintenance may not be small. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has a much lower entry barrier since no additional equipment is required. You can make and receive calls from your computer, smartphone or laptop. The cost of services is much more affordable as well.

All that a user needs is a VoIP telephony service provider and a stable high-speed Internet connection. VoIP telephony provides different advanced call, text and video options to meet multiple communication needs.

Provide High-Quality Training Sessions for Call Center Agents

The most ideal approach to reduce the cost of a call and improve the quality of customer service is to ensure that specialists have sufficient information, training, and assets to adequately meet client needs. You can achieve this through careful selection of candidates and providing reliable input and training depending on their execution. Your efforts to form a highly skilled team of operators will improve the first call resolution, reduce handle time and improve the quality of customer service which reduces the number of repeated calls for a similar problem. 

Use Call Monitoring

The call center QA team must be involved in real-time call monitoring to identify the common customer service problems. The QA team is designed to help businesses improve customer engagement, streamline communication processes, and encourage employees to work together to achieve business goals.

By doing this, call center managers and supervisors can offer constructive feedback to agents, helping them improve the overall quality of their calls and optimize their handle time. A qualified agent will not overly delay calls or constantly put a client on hold. As a result, the efficiency will increase, and the cost of a call in your call center will decrease.

Use Integrated Call Center Software

If you expect your team to work optimally, you should provide them with appropriate tools to do this. This is where the integrated call center software comes in. 

Implementing omnichannel software can be a great way to increase your business revenue.

Call centers remain an important point of contact, but keep in mind that your customers can also reach you through:

  • social media - clients can send you messages or feedback on social networks;
  • live chat - for many people it is easier to write instead of communicating in a voice;
  • emails - this channel is particularly popular in the B2B sales sector as many professionals are involved in email communication.

Cloud call center solutions enhance the customer experience with:

  • quick and easy development without increasing operating costs;
  • exceptional, high-value customer experience across channels and touch points;
  • flexibility, security and scalability for further growing with business needs.

Use Callback from Queue

By providing your operators with the best call center software, you have to also ensure that you use the key features that directly affect the cost of a call.

An interactive voice response system is considered to be one of those highlights. The advantage of this feature is not only to increase customer loyalty; this additionally reduces the telephony costs (and in turn reduces the cost-per-call) due to decreasing the number of callers holding in the call queue. 

The cost of an incoming call to toll-free numbers and holding a call in line is quite high for the company. Then it is better to inform that there is no free operator at the moment and suggest the customer to apply for a callback so that they do not wait for the connection in the queue.

Apply Skill-Based Routing

Another way to increase the cost of a call and demolish customer satisfaction is by transferring a caller from one operator to another, forcing them to repeat their name and reason for the call and without providing the necessary assistance. This irritating process can be prevented with skill-based routing, namely:

  • ensures that callers will be transferred to the most suitable specialist to resolve their issues from the very beginning;
  • routes calls based on complex algorithms taking into account client location, a history of contacts with the organization, a dialed phone number, and statistical data;
  • connects the caller with the agent based on their availability, department, skills, spoken language, etc.

In this way, skill-based routing ensures that callers are routed directly to the operator who is most qualified to meet their needs, thereby increasing customer satisfaction, shortening call processing time, and lowering the cost of a single call.

Apply Self-Service Options

The phenomenal method of reducing the cost of a call is to shorten the volume of incoming calls. Implementing the self-service option for routine repetitive requests cuts the telephony costs, gives more time to your operators for handling more complex appeals, and therefore decreases the cost of the call. 

How can you achieve this without negotiating quality of service? Allowing customers to support themselves. There are many clients who would prefer not to communicate with a specialist. Frankly speaking, many do not care about this. These customers will take the opportunity to support themselves. Providing them with self-service options, such as a knowledge base on websites, IVR for self-service, blog entries with best practices and ebooks will significantly reduce the number of incoming calls without compromising the quality of administration.

Provide Effective Scheduling

Improved planning and adherence to schedules can significantly reduce staff costs and, consequently, the cost-per-call. Some important tips to help improve planning, compliance, and employment include the use of the workforce management, advising professionals on the importance of flexibility, keeping the operators informed of the level of commitment, and rewarding the professionals. Using these strategies to improve productivity and living environment will also lead to a significant reduction in call costs.

Hire Remote Operators

Staffing your call center with remote call agents or cooperation with an outsourcing call center to handle call overflow can significantly reduce staff and infrastructure costs, thus lowering the cost-per-call. You can hire remote call center agents during seasonal peak volumes of calls, combine part of your call center operations with a more economical provider, and give your employees the opportunity to work from home. All this will significantly reduce operating costs and the cost of one call without compromising the quality of service.

Optimize First Call Resolution

Some call center experts argue that attention and resources should not be aimed at reducing the cost of a call but rather cost per call resolution. This is because there can be significant costs for clients who call back on the same issue. Thus, utilizing the resolution of the first call will significantly reduce the cost-per-call in the call center. Optimizing the first call resolution involves providing operators with the required information to solve most of the problems they may encounter, using integrated call center software so that agents have access to complete call history, and using skill-based routing, which is why a call is redirected to the most suitable operator. Optimizing the described metric will reduce not only a cost-per-call but a call volume as well. 

Summing Up

To get the most out of your call center, you need to keep the cost of one call as low as possible while ensuring that your call center continues to provide exceptional customer service. The balance between efficiency and effectiveness will make a difference here. Following the above-mentioned tips will help to turn your call center into a profit center too!

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