When it comes to keeping a pulse on the health of your contact center, cost per contact can be a very handy tool. This key performance indicator (KPI) provides insight into how effective agents are at delivering top-notch customer service and will signal to you when certain performance areas are falling off track.
Unfamiliar with this term? We’ve got you covered. Read on for a crash course!
What is Cost Per Contact?
Cost per contact is exactly as it sounds; it’s the amount that any interaction with a customer costs your company over a specific period of time. It’s safe to say that a low cost per contact indicates call center efficiency and generally predicts success.
Here’s how to calculate CPC:
At its core, the process of measuring cost per contact is pretty straightforward. Simply pick a time period and follow the formula below. Also remember that in this context “cost per call” refers to any interaction with a customer in the contact center, including calls, texts and live website chats.
Total Call Center Costs/Total Number of Calls Answered = Cost Per Call
Though the formula seems simple enough to grasp, it starts to get tricky when you have to determine the total cost of your call center. Don’t forget to count the following:
- Employee wages including vacation pay, over-time, and bonuses.
- Recruiting, hiring, and training costs.
- All company technology including hardware, software, and licensing fees.
- Office supplies, furniture, food, coffee, etc.
What Should I Be Aiming For?
Ultimately, there isn’t one straight answer that fits every different contact center. The best way to know if your cost per contact is on track is to monitor it on a bi-weekly basis over the course of a few months. With this data, you’ll have a better understanding of what your contact center’s average cost per contact is and can watch for any peaks or valleys.
If you notice an increase in your CPC, you can measure other KPIs to determine what areas may be impacting the number. Use metric-tracking software to determine if your average handle time is increasing, first call resolution is falling, abandoned call rates are rising, or customer satisfaction survey results are going down. Come up with solutions to improve these metrics and you should see an overall improvement in your cost per contact.
It can be helpful to create sub-categories for cost per contact by department. For example, sales calls tend to be on the longer side and are often handled by staff who earn more than an agent who works on general account maintenance. Keeping tabs more specifically can help you better identify what’s working and what’s not for which employees.
3 Ways to Reduce Your Cost Per Contact
Design training programs focused on efficiency.
Ensuring all agents are equipped with the knowledge and training to handle calls fast and with tact is essential to keeping your cost per contact low. When agents are well-versed on their own responsibilities but also have a handle on other aspects of the contact center, it gives them an edge when it comes to redirecting callers to the correct lines or just stepping out of their usual roles to help a customer whose issue would normally need to be transferred.
Optimize your Interactive Voice Response (IVR).
When a customer calls into your contact center, the first impression they get is the IVR. An optimized IVR can mean the difference between one-time and repeat customers, high and low customer satisfaction scores, and whether or not a caller abandons before even reaching an agent.
Have you heard of Web Call-Backs (formerly Visual IVR)? It connects customers using web or mobile services to your IVR so they can easily get into the queue and schedule a call-back.
Empower your customers with self-service options.
If you give customers the opportunity to schedule their own call-backs, you give them the power to opt out of sitting on hold. Fonolo’s Scheduled Call-Backs technology makes it easy for agents and customers by giving callers the option to set the timing for their call-backs, ultimately smoothing out call spikes, lowering abandon rates, and helping your call center maintain a desirable cost per contact.