Call center management and customer call quality are two sides of the same coin. Call centers are an integral part of every organization but they tend to operate on high expenses. In this case, the goal of an enterprise is to work out a smart way in which call centers are run in a cost-effective manner without comprising on customer experience.
With the right call center software for cost saving, an organization of any size or industry can strike a balance between call center cost-efficiency and customer satisfaction. Read this blog to learn more about the allocation of call center resources and 10 useful tips that will help reduce call center costs for your organization.
What does Cost Per Call mean?
Cost per call (CPC) is a metric used predominantly in call center management. It measures the cost associated with handling every call that comes into the center within a given time frame. Typically, CPC is determined by identifying the total cost of running the call center (including labor, equipment, and other expenses) against the total number of calls received. This metric can be used to highlight areas where costs may be high and ways to reduce expenses. In addition, CPC is often used to evaluate the overall performance of the call center.
Combined with another metric average handle time or AHT, cost per call helps in measuring the efficiency of the call center. For instance, a lower CPC may suggest that the call center is operating in an adept and effective manner. On the other hand, a higher CPC is an indication of the fact that there is ample scope for cost savings.
CPC is a useful tool for call center managers as it helps them pinpoint factors they should consider to reduce costs. These factors include coaching and instructing agents to manage calls skillfully or investing in call center software for cost saving among others.
How to calculate the Cost Per Call?
The cost per call in a call center is calculated by dividing the total cost of running the call center by the total number of calls handled by the call center agents. Here’s the formula for this estimation:
Cost per Call (CPC) = Total Costs / Total Number of Calls Received
The total costs incurred by the call center include expenses such as:
- Training and coaching costs for agents and supervisors
- Hardware and software expenses, including phone and computer systems
- Operating costs, such as rent, facilities, and maintenance
- Marketing and advertising expenses
When calculating CPC, call center managers to start by measuring costs against calls within a specific time frame such as (hour, day, month, quarter, year, and so on). They also identify the number of calls received per channel. These channels include phone, video, text, live chat, email, support tickets, fax, and self-service IVR.
To calculate the CPC, the costs are added up and further divided by the total number of calls received by the call center agents.
10 Tips on reducing call center costs for your organization
Now that we have established the link between cost per call and the total cost of running an organization, it’s time to focus on reducing call center costs for better growth and overall success.
Having said that, reducing call center costs without considering its impact on customer satisfaction and call quality is a job half done. While the cost per call is a handy metric in terms of its budgeting abilities, it doesn’t go that extra mile to ensure call quality, customer support, and customer satisfaction. Here are 10 tips that could help managers cut back on call center costs without adversely affecting customer service:
1. Hire and train agents efficiently
Hiring experienced agents and training them to handle calls in an efficient and professional manner can help call center managers accomplish two goals in one go: call quality and cost reduction. When agents who are well-versed in assisting customers and troubleshooting issues carry out their responsibilities in a customer-centric fashion, the cost per call significantly reduces. The best way to do this is to monitor calls, identify gaps if any, and train agents in the weak areas. Also, whether hiring experienced agents or freshers have a proper induction and process training plan in place.
2. Improve first-call resolution
There are times when customers call multiple times seeking assistance over one particular issue. Resolving customer queries over the first call itself will help the organization as a whole save a lot of time and resources. To make First Call Resolution an active function of day-to-day call center operations, give agents the tools and information they need to solve most issues, route calls to the best agent for the task, and use call center software for cost-saving that keeps track of caller information.
3. Regularize call monitoring
To significantly reduce costs in a call center, managers should actively monitor calls to evaluate agent performance and provide consistent feedback. Monitoring live calls will give managers a clear understanding of how agents are performing and what their shortcomings are, in terms of their ability to assist customers effectively. This will help ensure that agents are providing good service and that costs are kept low.
4. Implement a compact call center software solution
Advanced call center software for cost saving combined with other business tools such as CRM systems, predictive dialers, and others to provide comprehensive information about the caller, allowing agents to quickly and efficiently meet their needs. This type of software also compiles all relevant information such as call logs, chat transcripts, and support desk tickets on one system. With the ability to easily open, close, and edit tickets and cases within the call center software interface, agents can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time providing quality customer service.
5. Use integrated business tools
Call centers can reduce cost per call by using computer telephony integration or CTI. This is an integrated business tool that enhances an agent’s capabilities in meeting caller needs. In addition, CTI eliminates inefficient workflows. CTI also speeds up the caller verification process which takes a lot of time for agents. This helps decrease call handle time, boosts customer service, and inevitably lowers the cost per call.
6. Encourage the call back from the queue feature
In most cases, customers prefer opting for the “call back from queue” option when they dial into a call center. While this feature saves their time, it also helps call centers reduce the cost per call. Managers should encourage their teams to make the best use of the “call back from queue” feature of call center management to amp up customer experience and decreases costs by reducing the number of people waiting in a queue.
7. Highlight skills-based routing
Customer satisfaction hits an all-time low when customer calls are constantly transferred among a large number of agents. This is not all. Unorganized call transfers also increase the cost per call for the organization. A smart way to reduce call center costs and improve customer experience is to establish a skill-based routing system in place. The skills-based routing feature links calls to the best-suited agent on the basis of location, contact history, agent availability, and skills. This improves customer satisfaction, decreases handle time, and lowers the cost per call.
8. Offer self-service options
Besides using call center software for cost saving, call centers can reduce costs by offering customers a slew of self-service options to choose from. These include features such as informative hold messages, a comprehensive knowledge base IVR, and “how-to” tools. Self-service options will effectively bring down inbound call volume and the costs incurred by the organization to maintain call systems, hardware, and staffing.
9. Pay attention to scheduling and utilization rates
The key to delivering impeccable customer service while keeping costs low is to tighten scheduling and promote adherence to the schedule. Using specific call center management software and keeping agents informed about the benefits of adherence to the schedule will go a long way in streamlining the entire process. In addition, implementing a feedback/reward system can improve call handling and thus, reduce cost per call.
10. Employ remote/virtual agents
Employ remote on-call agents and/or co-sourcing to manage bulk call volume. By doing this, you can curb staffing and infrastructure costs as well as decrease cost per call. Accomplish this by hiring remote agents for high-volume seasons. Additionally, delegate a sizeable chunk of your call center functions to a more cost-effective provider, and allow in-house staff to work remotely. This is a smart way to reduce call center costs without affecting call quality.
To sum it up
Controlling operational costs is a crucial objective for call center managers, but it is equally important to achieve it without dampening service quality. The 10 tips shared above will enable you to reap the benefits of training agents thoroughly, scheduling properly, hiring remote agents, offering self-service options, using integrated business tools and so much more.
If you’re looking to redefine your call center operations for better results, consider HoduCC, a multichannel customer support software for cost-saving and personalized customer service.