Efficient cost management is crucial for the success of any contact centre. Therefore, monitoring your cost per inbound call (or cost per contact benchmark) is a great way to gauge the efficiency of your operations.
Here, we explore what the current cost per call benchmark is, the benefits of understanding your cost per call, and your next steps for calculating and improving cost per call in your contact centre.
What’s the Current Cost Per Call Benchmark?
According to ContactBabel’s 2023-24 UK Customer Experience Decision-Makers’ Guide (pg. 97), the typical cost per call is £6.26 (€7.25, $7.68).
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that a good cost per call varies depending on industry, location, and the complexity of services provided.
As a rule of thumb, however, a lower cost per call is desirable, and you should be aiming to consistently reduce your cost per call over time through efficiency improvements.
Therefore, it’s equally important to keep track of your own call centre’s cost per call benchmark, so you can monitor the success of any improvement initiatives over time.
How to Calculate Your Average Cost Per Call (Inbound)
Calculating the cost per call for inbound calls involves dividing the total cost associated with handling inbound calls by the number of inbound calls received during a specific period.
The formula to calculate cost per inbound call is:
Cost per Inbound Call = Total Cost of Inbound Calls / Number of Inbound Calls
What Do You Need to Factor in When Calculating Your Cost Per Call?
That being said, the above is just step one, as you also need to look at several other factors and nuances – unique to your operation – to calculate your true cost per call, including:
You must account for overhead costs such as rent, utilities, technology infrastructure, and administrative expenses.
This includes costs for call centre software, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, automated dialling tools, and any other technology investments.
Agent Attrition and Training
High agent turnover rates can result in increased training and onboarding costs, so make sure you also factor in the cost of hiring and training new agents, as well as ongoing training for existing staff.
A low occupancy rate may indicate inefficiencies in staffing and can impact cost per call.
For information on how to measure and calculate occupancy in the contact centre, read our article: How to Calculate Occupancy
Call Abandonment Rate
Abandoned calls still incur costs, including telephony charges and potential lost business opportunities.
Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
If your contact centre has service level agreements in place, failing to meet them can lead to penalties or additional costs, so ensure that any fines or penalties related to SLA breaches are included in your cost per call calculation.
Quality Assurance Cost
Maintaining call quality and compliance often requires investments in quality assurance programmes, monitoring tools, and resources.
These costs should also be considered, as they directly impact customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.
Outsourcing and Third-Party Costs
If you outsource certain aspects of your contact centre operations, such as customer support or telemarketing, the fees paid to third-party providers should also be included.
Elasticity of Demand
Consider how fluctuations in call volume also affect your cost per call. During peak periods, for example, you may need to hire additional staff or use temporary agents, which can increase costs.
Steps to Reduce Cost per Call for Inbound Calls
Reducing the cost per call for inbound calls requires a strategic approach, including:
A Different Approach Is Needed for Outbound Calls
Here are some additional tips to help you also calculate and reduce your cost per call for outbound calls.
The formula to calculate cost per outbound call is:
Cost per Outbound Call = Total Cost of Outbound Calls / Number of Outbound Calls
Strategies for Reducing Cost per Call for Outbound
Reducing the cost per call for outbound calls requires a different set of strategies to inbound calls, including:
Use data analytics to create targeted call lists to increase the likelihood of successful calls.
Implement auto-dialling software to increase agent productivity by reducing idle time between calls.
Create effective call scripts that guide agents without making them sound robotic.
Agent Performance Monitoring
Continuously monitor agent performance and provide feedback for improvement.
Stay compliant with regulations like the Do-Not-Call list to avoid costly penalties.
Why Calculate Your Cost Per Call?
Once you can accurately calculate the average cost per contact in your call centre, it can really help with the following:
If you are looking for information on calculating other key call centre metrics, read these articles next: