Should you hire a call center for your business operations? It’s a common question amongst successful and high-growth businesses that need to scale their customer service accordingly.
Call centers operate with only one focus, and that’s to interact with existing and potential customers for the business effectively.
There have been huge improvements in how call centers operate nowadays compared to the early 2000s. Before, hiring a call center would entail a huge contract, and they only engaged with enterprises such as major telecom firms and bank institutions.
This eventually evolved with call centers for hire catering to businesses of all sizes across various sectors.
Hiring a call center
Are call centers dying?
The first wave of outsourcing was brought by large enterprises, and the future is still bright for small businesses and startups.
The rapid digital transformation nowadays calls for SMEs to outsource most of their operations offshore, especially call center services. Aside from the Philippines, a growing number of destinations now let businesses hire call center agents flexibly.
Outsourcing can be a great option for hiring and running operations offshore. Having their own customer service team also gives them the flexibility to scale when needed.
Most call center companies now use omnichannel services like chat and email to talk to customers. They don’t have to worry about expanding their communication channels since they are trained for this.
Types of call center service
A call center can be classified into two types: inbound and outbound.
Inbound call center services
An inbound call center primarily deals with incoming calls. This is where the agent provides customer service support related to inquiries on products or services, sales, billing, or general queries.
Most inbound call centers provide additional support via email or live chat to better serve their customers.
Inbound call center activities
Inbound call center metrics
|Telephone Answering||First Call Resolution (FCR)|
|Live Chat and Email Support||Net Promoter Score (NPS)|
|Claims Processing||Abandoned Call Rate (ACR)|
|Medical Answering||Average Speed of Answer (ASA)|
|Appointment Management||Average Handle Time (AHT)|
|Help Desk and Dispatch Services||Average Call Transfer Rate|
|Hotline Services||Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)|
|Virtual Receptionist||Customer Churn Rate (CCR)|
|Order Processing||Call Duration|
|Reservations & Booking||Cost Per Contact|
Outbound call center services
An outbound call center primarily focuses on making outgoing calls, where the agent calls a list of potential or existing clients.
This is commonly sales-driven and popularly associated with telemarketing and lead generation. These agents typically earn more due to commissions and bonuses that are set by the company.
Outbound call center activities
Outbound call center metrics
|Telesales||First Call Close|
|Lead Generation & Qualification||Conversion Rate|
|Appointment Setting||Calls per Agent|
|Cross-selling||Calls per Account|
|Insurance Sales||Hit Rate|
|Warranty & Renewals||Hold Time|
|Market Research||Abandoned Call Ratio|
|Survey Gathering||Average Call Length|
|Billing and Debt Collection||Revenue per Successful Call|
|Event Registration||Occupancy Rate|
Do you need an inbound or outbound call center?
Call centers can provide a wide range of services for your customer support. To maximize them, you should know the differences between hiring an inbound or outbound call center team.
Inbound call centers can help with your contact center needs. They can help your customers more with troubleshooting, navigation, and processing applications and requirements.
For instance, telecommunications companies have their new and renewal line applications outsourced to help them process high volumes of applications which may be difficult in-house.
Outbound call center services, meanwhile, can be tricky. Some services, such as outbound sales, should be in-house since they require a more personal touch to be able to convert more sales.
Other services, such as appointment reminders and lead generation, can be outsourced to a virtual assistant or a dedicated team to help your in-house sales team.
How to find and hire a call center
You can spend a lot of valuable time searching for, assessing, comparing, and negotiating with call centers.
If you are uncertain whether you want to hire or work with one yet, the best way to start is by reading current information about local and offshore call centers that can support your business.
It is often a good strategy to check the reviews of these call centers in 3rd party websites, which can give you a better insight into the experiences of other clients who have used or are still using their call center services.
Other websites, such as Glassdoor, give you feedback from past or current employees for a specific call center, this is another great way to assess if the company’s culture aligns well with yours.
Pros and cons of hiring a call center
There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages to consider before deciding to hire a call center. It is a match-making process in the sense that you need to be able to partner with the right call center company to make it successful.
While price can be a reason why businesses outsource call center services, it should not be the only reason to do so. Paying too cheap often results in getting unqualified agents that will only make things worse for you and your business.
Here are some of the pros and cons of outsourcing a call center.
Top 5 advantages of call centers
Top 5 disadvantages of call centers
and scalable solution
|1. Reduced quality control|
|2. Experts and process specialists||2. Confidentiality and security|
|3. 24/7 customer service||3. Lack of flexibility|
|4. Easily manage call volume||4. Constant management|
|5. Increase business continuity||5. Potential hidden costs|
Call center reviews and comparisons
efore hiring a call center, you need to do your homework and check reviews.
The services that they offer, the terms, and the prices that they expect vary tremendously along with the quality and output. There are a number of websites that you can go to to get call center reviews.
Each call center has its own website that makes them sound the best and be able to accomplish anything that the client wants, wherein in reality, the process is often more complicated and has a lot of headaches if you go in unprepared.
You don’t go to an Apple store and ask how good their iPhone is; it’s better to hear reviews from other users who have been using the product longer. This is generally the same concept before you hire a call center.
Top 5 places for call center reviews
|1. Outsource Accelerator|
|5. Call Center Focus|
Outsourcing a call center
Engaging with an outsourcing provider to handle your call center operations enables you to save up to 70% on salary costs. This lets you focus on core business activities without worrying about catering to various customer queries.
Call center pricing
Call centers have different pricing structure offerings. Some may give you a dedicated or shared team whose services are charged hourly, monthly, or per commission. However, it is still important to review their pricing and try to get the best deal for your requirement.
Pricing for call centers is as follows:
You may avail of a per-minute charge for your service if you expect a low volume or on-demand call from your customers. This also allows you to hire a shared team that handles different clients daily besides your account.
For inbound services, low-cost countries such as the Philippines and India usually charge US$0.35-0.45/minute per call.
If you expect a medium to a high volume of calls and would like to monitor your operations more, you can avail of a per-hour charge. A per-hour service gives you more savings and controlled costs on specific volumes of calls they handle.
Depending on the company, they may charge you weekly or monthly based on the bulk hours you have availed. Costing may also vary per country.
For inbound calls, companies charge an average of US$6-15/hour in the Philippines. For outbound, meanwhile, it may range from US$8-20/hour.
When you have a medium to a high volume of calls but also want to control your team, you can hire dedicated staffing. They work exclusively for your account so they can focus more on giving the best service to your customers.
For this, companies charge you on a per-call basis, depending on their offer. Either they have a fixed monthly charge with a specific call quota, or they can customize charging for your services.
Part-time charging is for businesses that need special services 24/7, seasonally, or after business hours. You may hire a shared or dedicated team to fulfill your specific hours. Charging for this service can be per hour or commission-based.
Lead generation calls, seasonal accounts, and other outbound services usually charge commissions for their service. Upon reaching a quota, you and your company can agree on a full commission.
Usually, call centers need to earn an average of 10-20% per hour on top of their normal rates to achieve it.
Hourly + commission
You maximize your team’s effort and services when you mix a call center’s hourly rate and commission. This is more favorable for both inbound and outbound call centers since they can have a bigger pay for your call center team’s performance.
Call center salary
The Philippines employs over 1 million people in the BPO sector, with more than half being in the call center industry. IBPAP even projects further growth in 2023, with the workforce population rising to 1.7 million.
Call center salary would vary depending on the company, staff experience, and client account that would be handled.
The salary table below serves as a guide to compare the difference in salary cost between outsourcing to the Philippines versus hiring in-house. See our complete guide to salaries for more detailed information.
|Call center role||Philippines||USA||UK||Australia|
|Agent (1-3 years exp.)||$3,337||$29,717||$22,137||$35,275|
|Agent (3-5 years exp.)||$5,175||$33,004||$25,014||$39,860|
*per Annum & in USD
Outsourcing to the Philippines
Outsourcing to the Philippines can add rocket fuel to your business.
With nearly two decades of experience in handling call center operations, the country has an abundant supply of well-experienced agents for a fraction of the cost compared to local hires.
Filipinos are also known for having impeccable English skills and a close familiarity with western culture and lifestyle, which makes it easier for clients to engage with the agent in resolving their issues.
The best call centers in the Philippines
The very first call center was set up in the Philippines back in 1992. In just over two decades, the outsourcing industry has grown exponentially to become the economic lifeblood of the country.
The outsourcing industry, in general, has one of the largest contributions to the country’s economy, employing millions of people from different walks of life.
The Philippines now has over 700+ outsourcing companies, we have listed 20 notable outsourcing companies that offer call center services, some of them coming from different provinces outside Metro Manila.
These are just some of the companies that placed their trust in the Philippines and built incredible world-class outsourcing operations as a result. See the full list of the top 40 outsourcing suppliers here.
Top 20 call centers
If you are looking to hire a call center for your business needs, Outsource Accelerator can provide you with three free quotes when you browse our BPO directory, which lists 700+ outsourcing suppliers in the Philippines to get started.
Hire a call center in other leading outsourcing destinations
Aside from the Philippines, many rising and established outsourcing countries also offer call center services to the West. They have become preferred destinations by Western businesses due to several factors such as location, costs, and cultural compatibility.
A leading outsourcing destination alongside the Philippines, India is mainly popular in IT and customer support services. The country is declared the largest outsourcing country globally by the World Bank and employs five million people.
India attracts Western businesses due to its link to the UK, English proficiency, and many educated and skilled people joining the workforce yearly.
Top call centers in India
- Genpact Services LLC. Started as a business unit for General Electric, some of Genpact’s market now includes the Global Fortune 500 companies.
- FirstSource Solutions. FirstSource Solutions is one of the leading providers of customized Business Process solutions for services, including call center.
- Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS). A leading BPO company, HGS prides itself in providing holistic solutions, especially in contact centers, to businesses worldwide.
For a full list of the Top 30 call centers and outsourcing providers in India, see here.
One of the rising Eastern European companies in outsourcing, Poland is one of the biggest players in IT outsourcing. Aside from this, the country also offers services in finance, accounting, and customer support.
Top call centers in Poland
- Aidey. Aidey provides a diverse range of customer service and back-office solutions for SaaS, e-commerce, hospitality, and service industries.
- Focus Contact Center. Being in the industry since 2008, Focus Contact Center offers innovative contact center solutions through a cloud-based model.
- Conectys. Conectys provides call center and customer experience services in over 35 languages, 24/7.
For a full list of the Top 30 call centers and outsourcing providers in Poland, see here.
Puerto Rico has become one of the most popular nearshoring destinations for the United States. Through them, global companies are able to enjoy financial savings without sacrificing cultural compatibility and the ease of traveling to the location.
The Commonwealth has heavily adopted the US culture and currency, which still makes it ideal for businesses to keep the local identity of their brand.
Top call centers in Puerto Rico
- Atento Puerto Rico. Atento is considered a CX leader in South America, offering multichannel call center services to the US and other countries.
- ECONSOL. Established in 2013, ECONSOL is a leader in offering customer experience solutions in Spanish and English.
- DRSI Call Center. Being in the business for 28 years, DRSI Call Center provides dedicated staffing in telemarketing, web, and chat support that is trained to maintain focused engagement.
For a full list of the leading call centers and outsourcing providers in Puerto Rico, see here.
Canada is another close competitor when it comes to nearshore outsourcing. The outsourcing industry in the country is bound by federal government regulations, including its ten provinces and three territories.
Top call centers in Canada
- 24-7 Intouch. Aside from content moderation, 24-7 Intouch serves live chat services to the biggest brands and organizations worldwide.
- Gexel. Having a decade of experience, Gexel provides a bilingual omnichannel customer experience for clients and customers.
- Advantage Communications. Advantage Communications of Prince Edward prides itself on taking customer service to the next level efficiently.
For a full list of the leading call centers and outsourcing providers in Canada, see here.
Why you should hire a call center today
Call centers are far from irrelevant and phased out. Even today, they are still the most effective way to reach out to customers and even your internal teams.
Customer service nowadays is not just restricted to calls but also to other means of communication, such as video calling and conferencing.
Aside from this, call centers are now heavily regulated, adding layers of protection for both businesses and their clients. Most companies must now follow compliances such as having proper scripts and establishing the company identity.
All in all, hiring a call center is mostly beneficial for businesses nowadays.