Time is money, and call centers are no different in this matter. Learn how to reduce your costs and improve customer service at the same time!
Time is money, and call centers are no different in this matter. The call center cost per minute is usually estimated at around one dollar.
This may seem like not much, yet remember that the costs keep growing with every call. If you manage to decrease the cost per minute by just ten cents, you're going to save $100 dollars on every 1000 calls made. Sometimes a small change can lead to significant cost savings.
Sounds promising, but is there a way to reduce call center costs and improve customer service at the same time? Or does one have to be sacrificed for the benefit of the second?
In this article, we'll show you how to:
- use your call center budget in a more efficient way
- take your customer service to the next level and cut down on costs at the same time
- use call center software to boost your call center team's productivity
Ready to optimize your call center's performance? Let's proceed!
How do you calculate cost per call?
So, what exactly is included in the cost per call?
Every call center generates a wide range of different costs, from the office space and electricity bills to employee wages and maintenance costs. These expenses are compared to the number of employees and calls made to figure out how much an average call costs. The numbers may vary significantly according to your location, focus on inbound or outbound calls and many other variables.
As you can see, a lot of factors add up to the total spend. The question is, which expenses are necessary to motivate your team and which ones can be redefined to reduce costs and improve efficiency?
Cutting down on costs can be disastrous if you don't think it through before you act. Contact center automation can be tempting, yet it needs to be done right to work the way it should. Too much automation can make the customer experience impersonal, frustrating and simply ineffective. On the other hand, there are probably some repetitive tasks that take too much time. These can be automated successfully to improve customer service quality and simplify your team's workflow.
We're listing our best tips for improving your call center's performance and reducing costs at the same time below.
How to improve call center efficiency?
First and foremost, measure your actions
As the famous saying goes, what you can't measure, you can't improve.
Tools like CloudTalk can help you with analyzing call center data to draw relevant conclusions for your future strategies. To start with, you can leverage the following features:
- Call statistics – Measuring your contact center's activities can help you find the best hours to reach your customers (if you're running an outbound call center) and identify the average wait times and the busiest periods for your call center, so you know when you need more staff coverage and when it's fine to have fewer agents on duty.
- Call monitoring – All the calls are recorded and can be replayed later. This feature is crucial for effective qualitative analytics. Some insights cannot be drawn from the numbers only – sometimes you just need to listen to the calls to understand what's missing.
- Agent reporting – You can access every agent's individual stats directly, which is very helpful for evaluating your hiring decisions. Call center managers can use this feature to identify top agents and those who need more training, or simply are not the best fit for the job.
Digging into stats and results is the best way to start working on improving your team's performance. What's more, data-driven agent management makes it easier to come up with valuable and actionable feedback.
Drop traditional telephony and go VoIP
Traditional landlines come with a lot of hardware. From copper lines and physical phones, the setup costs can be daunting. VoIP (voice-over-internet protocol), on the other hand, has a much lower entry barrier, as no additional hardware is needed. You can call and receive calls from your computer, a smartphone or even a tablet.
In case of VoIP, the service costs are significantly more affordable, too. For instance, the cost of a Verizon landline in New York City is estimated at $435.33 for five lines. CloudTalk, for comparison, is priced per user. Depending on the plan you choose, the cost falls between $10 and $35 per head. What's more, VoIP solutions are not limited to one country – for example, CloudTalk covers over 70 international phone numbers. This reduces your costs significantly if your call center works with customers from different countries!
These advantages are just the cherry on top. If you're still not entirely convinced, you can read more in our blog post on VoIP telephony.
Focus on training your staff
It pays off to invest in customer service quality. In the long run, this will save you a lot of hassle and you won't have to deal with unhappy clients. The costs of handling complaints about bad customer service can be much higher than simply training your staff to prevent bad experiences. Better safe than sorry!
There are hundreds of valuable educational resources for call center agents. To get you started, we recommend reading our blog post on the value of onboarding and training.
Have customer data at hand
According to Microsoft's 2016 Global Customer Service Report, 78% of Generation Z customers (also known as millennials) expect the call center agent to already know customer details and product information.
How can one memorize all the details when they're talking to dozens of customers daily? Luckily, there's no need to know all the data by heart. CloudTalk can automatically create real-time customer card for you:
With this simple feature, all the customer information is gathered and displayed automatically at one place. The call center agent can access it even before they pick up the phone. In one glimpse, they can see the whole history of calls, chats and purchases.
So, how exactly is this helpful for improving your call center's efficiency? First of all, the calls are much shorter, as the customer service specialist doesn't need to search for information when they're on the call. This way, the cost per call decreases, the customer experience is much smoother and your agents are able to handle more queries. It's a win-win solution!
According to research by Aberdeen Group, companies with strong omnichannel support engagement note a 9.5% annual increase in revenue compared to 3.5% achieved by businesses with weak multichannel support. These numbers strongly suggest that implementing omnichannel support might be a great way to increase your company's revenues.
Call centers remain an important point of contact, but you should keep in mind that your customers are also likely to get in touch via:
- social media – customers can text you on Messenger, through Instagram or submit their reviews on Facebook
- live chat – some people just prefer writing to speaking
- emails – this channel is particularly popular in the B2B sales sector, as many professionals are used to email communication
If you'd like to learn more, our blog post on omnichannel support is sure to come in handy.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to reduce your call center costs and improve customer service quality at the same time. CloudTalk can be a pivotal tool in achieving these goals. Give it a try and see how it can help you measure results and change call center processes for better!