How to Calculate (and Reduce) Your Cost Per Call
Let’s be honest: in the business world, money talks. And, as we also all know, running a call center is costly. Very costly, in fact. Considering the amount of expenses that are inevitably required to run a call center, one of the most important responsibilities call center managers have is to figure out how they can reduce costs in a way that doesn’t affect customer experience.
Cost per call is a business metric that allows call centers to calculate the total cost involved in handling calls during a specific period of time. As well as being an essential metric, reducing cost per call is typically a high priority on call center managers’ to-do list.
In short, cost per call can be calculated by dividing operational costs by the total number of calls in a given period of time. But how do you do that in practice? Check out our article, and see for yourself!
Calculating cost per call – let the numbers speak for themselves
The first thing you have to do is to compile a list of the agents working for your call center and then define the time period for which you want to calculate the cost per call.
Next, determine the number of calls an agent handles per hour during an average shift. For example, let’s take an agent – we’ll call him John – and calculate the number of calls he deals with during a one-hour period. In order to do that, you’ll have to look at the number of calls he makes during an average day, and divide that number by the number of hours he works each day.
Let’s do some math! Let’s say that John handles 40 calls a day and works an 8-hour shift.
Once you have John’s number of average calls per hour, you can determine John’s cost per call. To do that, divide John’s wage by the average number of calls he handles during an hour, and the result will be the cost per call for John.
So if John gets 15 dollars an hour, then, as you can see in the calculation below, John’s cost per call will be 3 dollars.
In order to calculate the average cost per call of your call center, divide the result by the total number of agents working in your team. For instance, let’s say that you work with a team of 10 agents. After doing the calculation below, the result will be $0,30, telling you what each call is costing your business.
Of course, though, the method above only takes into consideration your agents’ wages as costs. But don’t forget that a call center has other costs, such as operational, software and office space costs.
Therefore, another (and perhaps more accurate) way of calculating your cost per call is to calculate your call center’s total costs for a specific period of time (including salaries, operational costs and costs associated with any call center software used), and divide the total cost by the total number of calls handled during that time period. The result will be the total cost per call of your call center.
For example, let’s say that your call center costs $100,000 per year and handles 200,000 calls during that time. In this case, as you can see in the calculation below, your call center’s total cost per call will be $0,50.
Speaking of calculations, there’s a bunch of another important metrics you should definitely keep track of, including your cost optimization, sales optimization and margin optimization. So check out our calculators, and let them do the math instead of you!
How to reduce cost per call
Not surprisingly, one thing all call center managers crave is to reduce their cost per call, while also providing a continual high level of customer service for their clients. Fortunately, with careful planning and implementation, this balance is more than achievable.
Amongst other things, well-trained agents, with an excellent knowledge of the processes at your call center, are a must, as they can more effectively assist customers, and so reduce call times and improve first-call resolution. Although training does cost a substantial amount of money for any call center, it is worth making sure you provide high-quality training sessions for your call center agents. You’ll see how much difference a well-trained agent can do.
Maintaining high call quality is another way to reduce cost per call. In order to do this, it’s essential to implement live call monitoring. By doing this, call center managers and supervisors can offer constructive feedback to agents, thus helping them improve the overall quality of their calls. As a result, efficiency will increase, and cost per call at your call center will decrease.
In addition to focusing on improving your customer service, when scheduling agent shifts, always make sure you consider peak call times and agents’ adherence level. Effective scheduling is another way of helping you increase efficiency and reduce call center costs.
Last but not least, since you’ll definitely need accurate statistics to calculate your cost per call, make sure to utilize comprehensive call center software. In fact, a call center without proper call center software is like a car without engine. In a previous article, we discussed what you have to consider when choosing a call center software, so make sure to check it out! If you expect your agent team to excel at their job, then you’ll need to empower them with proper tools. VCC Live®’s software, for instance, offers powerful features, such as a predictive dialer, that will help you further your aim of maximizing efficiency.
In order to get the most out of your calls, you’ll need to keep cost per call as low as possible, while ensuring that your call center continues to provide exceptional customer service to your customers. The balance between efficiency and effectiveness will make all the difference here. Follow our tips and you too will be able to turn your call center into a profit center!