What’s the cost of outsourcing a call center?

Woman learning What’s the cost of outsourcing a call center
July 28, 2023
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A call center is a crucial component for businesses that engage directly with customers. It’s where customers turn when they need immediate assistance and can also serve as an outbound sales channel. However, setting up and running a call center requires a lot of resources, the cost of which can add up.

Is it more cost-effective to run your call center in-house or outsource it? Here, we’ll provide an overview of call center outsourcing costs, plus a competitively priced alternative that enables you to set up a flexible contact center in-house.

Should you outsource your call center?

The decision to outsource your call center will depend on your business’ resources and needs. These considerations can help you determine whether outsourcing is right for your business:

  • Cost: This is the number one reason many businesses outsource call centers, which require facilities, equipment, staff, training, and more. Outsourcing to a professional call center can be more cost-effective because multiple clients share these costs, so your business isn’t solely responsible.
  • Staffing: This refers to the number of employees needed to run an effective contact center, and it depends on your client base and will impact the overall cost. Additionally, consider how long agents’ shifts will be and whether you’ll offer 24/7 service. If you want round-the-clock coverage, outsourcing your call center can help ensure you have the appropriate staffing without hiring lots of new employees. However, an in-house call center gives you more control over agent training and brand consistency.
  • Quality assurance: This is crucial in helping ensure a positive customer experience. So by outsourcing, you can rely on an experienced team rather than training your employees to handle customer calls. Plus, professional call centers typically monitor calls to ensure agents follow procedures and provide excellent service. On the other hand, in-house call center agents might have in-depth knowledge of your business and be better equipped to answer customer questions.

What’s the pricing breakdown of outsourcing a call center?

Before we dive into pricing, let’s take a look at what you’d get for your money. While each call center will have a breakdown of what the costs cover, in general, it’ll look something like this:

  • Upfront setup costs: The initial costs typically cover new hardware or software the agency needs to acquire to serve your business and customers. Plus, there could be additional costs associated with hiring and training new employees to handle the volume of calls for your business.
  • Fixed or usage-based rates: The call center rates can be fixed monthly or based on the time agents spend speaking with your customers. Either way, the rate typically covers:
    • Staff
    • Equipment
    • Operations
    • Reporting
    • Monitoring
    • Support for your customers on multiple platforms

If you decide to outsource your call center, carefully review the pricing structure to understand what the pricing covers and where you might incur additional costs.

Average outsourced call center cost

Outsourced call center pricing will vary depending on whether it’s inbound versus outbound or both. For example, an inbound call center that handles technical support will require the agents to have technical knowledge about your product. On the other hand, an outbound call center that handles sales calls will require the agents to have sales experience. In both cases, the agents’ expertise will impact the price.

Let’s look at the average price ranges for each type of call center.

Inbound call center cost

Depending on the country where the call center operates and the type of service you require (such as customer service, technical support, order processing, or healthcare advice), you can find rates from $0.50 to $1.75 per minute.

Many call center companies offer flat-rate packages based on expected usage, such as 1,000 minutes for $1,100 (which is roughly $1.10 per minute). Typically, the more minutes included in the plan, the lower the cost per minute.

Outbound call center cost

The costs for outbound call centers will similarly depend on your company’s location and the services you require. As we discussed above, outbound call centers often charge by the minute or the hour, ranging widely from $10 to $50 per hour.

Pricing can vary quite a bit from country to country. For example, a call center based in the Philippines will generally have lower prices because wages for agents are lower than what you’ll find in the United States. This is due to the cost of living and market rates for call center agents in each country. So consider your language needs for your call center and whether you want to support your local economy when deciding where to outsource.

Build an in-house contact center with Twilio Flex

Outsourcing a contact center works well for some businesses. However, if your business requires agents with highly specialized knowledge of your products or services, you may prefer to create a contact center in-house.

Other benefits of in-house call centers include:

  • Increased oversight over operations and quality
  • Seamless integration with your systems, like your customer relationship management platform
  • Enhanced flexibility to iterate and customize your contact center based on performance and customer needs
  • Greater control over customer data and privacy
  • Streamlined communication and collaboration between contact center agents and other team members

Does an in-house contact center sound like the right fit for your business? With Twilio Flex, you can deploy a contact center in a matter of days and tailor it to your business needs and existing processes.

Flex enables you to add new channels, like email and SMS, as your needs grow. Plus, it seamlessly integrates with your existing tech stack, creating a consistent experience for your agents and customers alike.

A free trial of Flex includes 5,000 hours of usage. After that, you can choose to pay hourly or monthly:

  • Hourly pricing starts at $1 per active user hour and allows you to flexibly scale up or down based on seasonality.
  • Monthly pricing starts at a $150 flat rate per named user, such as an agent, supervisor, or administrator. This gives you a predictable spend, regardless of call volume or agent activity.

With these flexible pricing models, you get all the benefits of an in-house contact center at competitive prices. Plus, Flex offers volume discounts, giving you a fair price as your usage increases.

Learn more about Twilio’s call center pricing, or request a free demo of Flex to discover what you can build with this platform.