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Small business owners who aim to scale often find themselves contemplating whether to delegate customer service responsibilities. However, determining whether this is a financially sound and strategic move hinges on various factors. After all, the cost to outsource customer service depends on different elements, including geographic location, service complexity, language proficiency, and the extent of technology integration.

Before you entrust this essential function to external partners, you need to have a thorough understanding of the outsourcing market. Moreover, you must know how to find the balance between cost and quality of service. So, in this blog post, we will give you all the details you need to make an informed decision, ensuring that your transition to outsourced customer service is both strategically advantageous and seamless.

Cost to Outsource Various Customer Support Services

To effectively manage your expenses, you need to understand the cost to outsource various customer support services. Here are some critical details to know about externally delegating support channels like phone, chat, email, and social media management:

Call Center Services

Despite the growing popularity of AI-powered communication channels, phone support remains a preferred medium for many customers. In fact, a CFI Group study reported that about 76% of consumers prefer reaching support agents through phone calls. It’s not surprising why, especially since this medium traditionally offers a direct line for customer inquiries, feedback, and complaints. Moreover, consumers value voice-based support when they want immediate assistance or when they’re dealing with complex issues.

What Affects the Cost to Outsource Call Center Services?

Several factors influence the cost to outsource call center services, but location remains to be among the biggest determinants. For example, Deloitte’s 2022 Global Outsourcing Survey found that companies save about 40% to 60% when they outsource to countries like India or the Philippines. After all, labor costs are typically lower in these locations.

However, the complexity of the tasks and language proficiency of the workforce also play crucial roles. For example, if you need specialized support for technical services or products, you’d find labor providers who demand higher fees. So, when you’re striking a balance between cost and quality, remember to weigh these factors against your goals for customer service.

Chat Support

As e-commerce continues to grow, live chat support has become an indispensable channel for online businesses. Because it offers convenience and immediacy, customers can expect quick responses while browsing a website. Consequently, such support feature improves shopping experience, significantly increases conversion rates, and even resolves issues on the spot. So, if you’re running an e-commerce business, having chat support can be a strategic move towards being competitive in the digital marketplace.

What Affects the Cost to Outsource Chat Support?

In general, the number of interactions, response time expectations, and complexity of the necessary support influence the cost to outsource chat support. Moreover, you need to consider the type of chat support you’ll need:

  • Purely Human Support: This option offers personalized interactions characterized by higher empathy and a nuanced understanding of customer needs. While purely human chat support generally leads to increased customer satisfaction, its personalized nature often comes at a higher cost.
  • Purely AI-Driven Solutions: Such solutions may offer significant cost savings through automation, streamlining the process of handling inquiries. However, they typically lack the personal touch and the depth of understanding that human agents provide. Note that these qualities can be crucial for complex or sensitive customer interactions.
  • Hybrid Model (Human-in-the-Loop): This model seeks to balance cost-efficiency with the benefits of human interaction. Moreover, it combines the efficiency of AI with the insight and empathy of human agents. So, it also offers a cost-effective approach without compromising on the quality of customer service.

Email Support

Despite the rise of instant messaging and social media, a Salesforce survey reported that 93% of customers still prefers to reach out to companies via email. After all, this channel offers a formal medium for feedback, detailed inquiries, and problem resolution. 

As a small business owner, you can benefit from outsourcing email support by having a record of interactions. Additionally, you can send detailed responses while addressing customer concerns comprehensively. 

What Affects the Cost to Outsource Email Support?

The response time, email volume, and the complexity of queries influence the cost to outsource email support. Also, expect higher costs if your operations require high volumes of complex emails and rapid response times. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for industry-specific expertise or specialized knowledge, you’ll find outsourcing partners that command premium rates.

Social Media Management

With more and more customers turning to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, social media management has become an important part of outsourced customer service. Delegating this task allows you to address comments, questions, and concerns promptly. At the same time, your consistent interactions with customers lets you build brand engagement and loyalty. As you focus on critical aspects of your business operations, you can rest easy knowing that your outsourced social media management aligns with your objectives.

What Affects the Cost to Outsource Social Media Management?

The cost to outsource social media management is influenced by several key factors that determine the scope and depth of service required. If you want to maintain a solid online presence across different platforms, consider the following:

  • Number of Platforms Covered: Expect higher costs when you want to manage more social media channels, as this approach increases the workload and complexity of the job.
  • Frequency of Engagement: You’ll need more resources when you want to achieve higher engagement rates. As the interaction with followers and posting frequency increase, the overall cost goes up as well.
  • Depth of Monitoring and Interaction Required: In-depth monitoring for brand mentions, customer sentiment, and responding to comments or messages ensures that your business will remain responsive and engaged with your audience. However, this approach requires complex management strategies and additional effort which can rack up the costs.

Exploring Average Outsourced Call Center Pricing

Let’s explore the average pricing across different regions for outsourced call center services.

Region Pricing per hour
The United States/Canada $20-30
Western Europe $40
Australia $35-55
Africa/Middle East $15-20
Latin America $8-18
Philippines $8-14
India $6-10

Source: Timedoctor

This table illustrates the potential cost savings of outsourcing call center services offshore. It’s essential to consider the specific region you choose to outsource to, as pricing can vary significantly across offshore destinations.

Besides region, numerous factors influence call center outsourcing pricing. Therefore, no two outsourced call center operations are likely to have identical costs.

For instance, shared inbound call center services cost anywhere from $0.27–0.45/minute (for low-cost offshore centers) to $0.75–1.25/minute (US and Canada centers). Meanwhile, dedicated services can cost anywhere from $8–15/hour to $20–30/hour.

Outbound, hourly, and commission-based call center services have different rates as well. The cost also increases depending on the number of channels supported. Having multilingual representatives also means higher costs.

Value-Added Services vs. Cost

Sure, the cost is the biggest factor that small businesses should consider when outsourcing customer services. Even so, you should still weigh the value-added services that new partnerships can bring. When you find the right provider, you can significantly up your game, make your customers happier, and give your brand a competitive edge. Here are some ways outsourcing customer service is worth the investment:

Quality of Service

The adage “you get what you pay for” rings particularly true in outsourced customer service. When you’re after the quality of service, you need to find a reputable managed service provider. Additionally, you must choose partners who are known for cutting-edge technology, a well-trained workforce, and unwavering commitment to exceptional customer experiences. 

On the flip side, such caliber of service often comes at a premium. Despite that, your investment will be worth it because you’ll see returns in customer satisfaction and loyalty. When you find outsourcing partners who value quality, you can ensure that your customers will receive the professionalism and care that they deserve. Consequently, you can set your brand apart in a crowded marketplace.

Multichannel Support

These days, customers expect to reach businesses through multiple channels, including phone, chat, email, and social media. As a small business, you might see omnichannel customer support as a significant business expense upfront. However, if you see the value it brings, you’ll realize that you’re getting your money’s worth. Here are some of the returns you can expect when you invest in multichannel support:

  • Enhanced Customer Accessibility: Customers prefer to reach businesses through channels they feel most comfortable with. So, by providing various venues for customer support, you make it easier for your audience to reach you, whether that’s over the phone, through email, or on social media.
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction: Of course, customers who have the freedom to choose their preferred method of communication have a better experience with a brand. Consequently, you can also expect higher satisfaction levels.
  • Better Customer Engagement: Multichannel support allows for more opportunities to engage with customers. As a result, you’re fostering loyalty and stronger relationships.
  • Competitive Advantage: When you offer support across various platforms, you’re setting your business apart from competitors who may not provide the same level of accessibility.
  • Improved Response Times: With multiple channels at your disposal, you can manage and prioritize inquiries more efficiently. And Forrester research reported that 77% of customers believe that good online customer service would mean companies valuing their time.
  • Data Collection and Insights: Each channel provides unique data and insights into customer behavior and preferences. With such a level of detail, you can tailor your services and products more effectively.

When you look at the value that multichannel support brings, you’ll view the upfront expenses as a cost-effective investment. After all, you’re building a robust, customer-centric communication infrastructure that caters to the diverse preferences of your audience.

Technology Integration

You’ll also experience a significant competitive advantage by integrating advanced technologies like chatbots, artificial intelligence, and analytics into your customer service operations. By using these tools, you can streamline processes, get valuable insights, and personalize customer interactions. Thus, you’re also enhancing the overall service quality.

Besides, several advantages come with investing in outsourcing partners who prioritize technological innovation. For one, you can improve your operational efficiency. At the same time, you’re equipping your business with the tools you need for strategic decision-making and long-term success. The upfront costs associated with technology integration are offset by the long-term benefits of improved service delivery and customer satisfaction.

Customization and Scalability

If you’re planning to scale your business operations and you want more flexibility in customer service, outsourcing can be a great option. In general, you will have the freedom to tailor the services according to your specific business needs. Moreover, you can scale support levels in line with growth and changing requirements. So, as your business increases and your needs change, you can continue to provide effective and efficient customer service.

Find an outsourcing partner who offers flexible, customizable solutions. This way, you can have the necessary agility to adapt to changing customer expectations and evolving market conditions. When you take this approach and choose adaptability, you can expect higher costs. However, this investment is vital if you want your customer support operations to grow along your business.

Cost of Outsourcing Customer Service in 2024

The cost to outsource customer service is generally justified by the benefits it brings to the table. For small business owners who are setting goals for growth and efficiency, these expenses can be seen as a valuable investment. However, to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth, you must choose the right channels and strike a balance between quality and expense. 

Also, remember that you’re not just cutting costs here—you’re also enhancing your brand’s credibility and customer satisfaction. So, make informed choices, weigh the pros and cons, and select a partner that aligns with your vision for growth and excellence.

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