Never underestimate using phones for communication with customers in your new or established business. If you've realized setting up a call center to talk with customers is beneficial, the next thing on your mind is likely the cost.
This could prove a dilemma if you absolutely need a call center to handle the influx of calls coming in. Your other departments probably can't handle the hundreds of calls you keep receiving into the day and night.
To create a customer service department, it's going to require substantial investments. Though you can offset many of these costs by outsourcing your call center, let's take a look at the four cost pillars that go into building your new department.
1. Staffing Your Call Center
While artificial intelligence has become a dominant technology in many call centers, you shouldn't make this a crutch. Using said technology alone would cost you more than you can maybe spend now.
You need real people involved in taking calls. Customers want to talk to real human beings when dealing with complex customer service issues.
To properly staff your call center, it's going to cost you possibly thousands of dollars, depending on how many call agents you hire. Mashable points out it costs $1 per minute to service a customer on the phone. When you add agents to your payroll, it adds up considerably in a year.
Most statistics have phone agents making around $30,750 a year, or roughly $12.15 per hour. For 50,000 monthly minutes, you would need at least eight or more agents to handle the demand of calls you receive around the clock.
Then factor in the cost of hiring a supervisor who now gets $35,360 a year in their role. Some of these jobs go up to $50,000 a year after career advancement.
As you can see, this cost pillar adds up to well into the $300,000+ range after you factor in taxes and employee benefits.
2. Investing in the Right Technologies
To keep your call center competitive, you absolutely have to invest in the best possible technologies. Doing so might sound as daunting as placing call agents on your payroll.
Technology isn't always expensive, but something as convenient as the cloud is going to mean a monthly charge. Most of these services cost around $150 per month. While this might sound expensive, using the cloud is more than worth it for the convenience of data storage. Plus, you can keep your entire phone system in the cloud (like VoIP) to keep things going in the event of a disaster.
Don't forget about buying CRM or ERP software to help manage all your calls. These platforms generally cost around $420 per employee, coming to $3,780 annually.
Internet service is also needed to help your phone system function. High-speed internet is essential, though rates are going to vary depending on the provider you choose. Sometimes you'll find a bargain, even if most quality internet prices run around $350 per month for an enterprise. Ultimately, this could come to well over $4,000 every year.
You'll additionally have hardware and networking infrastructure investments. These added details are discouraging to think about in how they'll add up. Regardless, you can still set up your own call center if you're willing to invest in technology on your own.
3. Implementation of Your Technologies
Investing in all your hardware and platforms is one thing. Having them all properly set up and configured is another hurdle to overcome.
Chances are, your employees aren't going to all be tech-minded enough to set everything up by themselves. You'll have to hire someone to take care of implementation. Some of this is going to involve training time as well, sometimes working with your staff individually.
It's possible to find consultancies that help with implementation for CRM software and the call center equipment you've invested in. Of course, any consultancy coming in to configure your technology isn't going to run cheap.
Expect to pay up to $125 per hour for these consultants, not including training time. In total, it could come to a one-time cost of $5,000 just to get yourself up and running.
Consider how much much less of a headache it would be if you outsourced all equipment requirements to a reliable call center provider.
4. Paying for Your Facilities
Due to physical space issues, you may not be able to house your call center in your main office facility. It may mean having to rent separate office space just to have room to fit your phone bank.
Obviously, paying for extra facilities is going to cost you a monthly rental fee. The average rental cost is around $2.40 per square foot per month. On a yearly average, you're looking at well over $25,000 every year.
Rent could go even higher when you consider you don't want your phone agents working in cramped quarters. They should have at least 100 sq. ft. of space for each of them.
Then think about the utility expenses in your rental space from electricity to further investments in equipment and interior decorating. Your average here is typically around $200 per month, leading to a $2,400 loss annually.
What is the Total Cost?
For a startup, all of the above is going to add up to well over $418,000 on an annual basis. Being in startup mode, you can see how much of a headache you're going to take going this route.
We didn't even include additional costs like sick days and vacation time for your employees, plus investing in analytics.
If you need help with high-volume calls, your best bet is outsourcing, something we'll provide for you at Westpark Communications. You'll be amazed at how your startup costs will reduce to zero when you let us handle all your call center duties.
With an expert team that has thorough training, we'll take care of all your inbound and outbound calls and send you a custom proposal on annual cost. But before taking our word for it, get a total cost analysis on investing in your own staff, technology, and equipment.