Which call center billing model should I use?

What’s the best call center billing model measurement – charging for calls per month or per call? Expert Donna Fluss explains the methods behind both and how to best apply them in the contact center.

We are currently using a call center billing model that is based on the number of hours of calls we make in a month, on a cost-per-hour basis. Our client now wants to adopt a charge-per-call model that will, to a large extent, suit them profit-wise. My boss wants a counter-proposal that will suit us, with this counter-proposal also as a charge-per-call model. What would you suggest?

In concept, converting from a cost-per-hour to cost-per-call model should be very straightforward. If you have accurate volume numbers, you just divide your current price per hour by the average calls per hour for that client over a representative period of time and you get a price per call.

There are complexities and potential areas of concern involved in doing this conversion. These include:

  • How accurate is your volume capture mechanism? If you are billing off your volumes, they need to be just about 100% accurate.
  • How steady is the call mix you handle for that client? If there are major fluctuations in the in the average call length and/or complexity from month to month, it could lead to wide swings in the profitability of the per-call pricing. (This could be dealt with by putting some sort of complexity pricing adjustment into the contract.)
  • It’s advisable to include a quality service level agreement (SLA) to ensure that calls are handled to your client’s satisfaction. Without the SLA, you would be motivated to handle all calls as quickly as possible, which would likely lead to unhappy customers.

None of these potential issues should be “show stoppers,” but they are issues that need to be thought through and dealt with before implementing a major change in your call center billing model.

Submit your question to Donna Fluss at [email protected].

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