Have you ever wondered how much outsourcing costs in another country? Perhaps you’d like to outsource to another country to expand your operation or simply save money. Maybe you’ve heard it’s cheaper, but is it really? Let’s go over outsourcing pricing around the world.
Types of Pricing Structures
There are a few different types of operations in an inbound environment. In one, an agent may field calls for 2-4 different clients. A shared environment typically has a lower volume, but higher per minute charges such as 75-85 cents a minute.
There is also the dedicated call center environment. This includes higher-end programs, longer training periods. This is because of the increased difficulty and the need to be focused on one program. This is billed on a per minute or per hour basis.
Some foreign call centers will do a monthly charge, based on a subset of dedicated agents. That’s not something you’d find here in the States.
Some customers are also looking for outbound call centers. These can usually be summed up into outbound hourly rates. Others are pay for performance or commission-based. There are also hourly + commission-based call centers.
United States and Canada
In a dedicated call center, $26 an hour is about the average on the low end. This is anywhere from 52 to 62 cents a minute. If you need agents who are very specialized, like who are also insurance agents or nurses, this can go up to anywhere from $35 to $55 an hour. As an example, most of Expivia’s clients are $26 – $28 an hour. For our specialized clients, it’s in the $30 to $32 range.
Keep in mind that this is an all-in cost. It’s not just paying for the agent. It’s charges for the agent, Telephony, the supervisor, the QA, client service support, reporting, and IT. Everything is rolled into one cost. An outsourcer may have access to advanced analytics and reporting that would help make the cost worthwhile, and if the overhead costs of your own operation are included, outsourcing in this scenario would likely save you money.
This includes Mexico, Belize, Colombia, and those types of places in Latin America. Here, you’d look at anywhere from $10 to $18 an hour. Mexico is more $16 to $19, especially if you want bilingual agents who understand the culture of the United States.
Western Europe is typically expensive. There’s a lot of countries with higher taxes there, and higher regulated minimum wages. You’d be looking at paying anywhere from $30 to $40 an hour. Generally, you can find centers in the United States for cheaper that are just as good. Unless you need the locale specifically, you’d be best served looking elsewhere in my opinion.
Here, rates go significantly down. It’s more around the $10 to $22 per hour range. The interesting thing about Eastern European call centers is the diversity of languages and dialects. If you have many international customers who speak many different languages, Eastern Europe may be the place for you. The United States are generally not as multilingual and if you find a center that is you will pay a premium.
Asia, the Philippines, India
These prices keep going down here, but the savings aren’t as good as they used to be. For the Philippines, it would likely be $8 to $14 an hour. Though it’s cheaper, it may not necessarily mesh well with customers who are based primarily in the USA. Is your customer willing to deal with a language issue? There are some very well-spoken call center associates in the Philippines, but the opposite is also true.
India and Pakistan are similar. You can find some high-end centers, with rates of $5 to $11 an hour. The agents are highly skilled, but the language barrier may be too much of a hassle for customers based in the US.
In my opinion, I found that agents in the Philippines and India are very black and white. They can follow a script to a T, but they have difficulty being creative and sometimes problem-solving and thinking outside the box to customers issues. They may have difficulty going above and beyond for a customer service issue when it comes to engagement. It seems to be more of a cultural aspect of this part of the world compared to US agents. That is not to say there is not a place for thee agents, some are AWESOME, you just have to really do your homework.
In a hierarchy of pricing, Western Europe is most expensive, followed by the United States, then Eastern Europe, Mexico and near shore, with Asia trailing behind. The question to ask yourself when choosing a location is how much your customer base will be able to tolerate when it comes to the intricacy of issues and the language issues that may arise.
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