A Quick Guide to Comparing In-House Vs Outsourced Contact Center Costs

If you’re already managing an in-house contact center, you know that navigating the natural peaks and valleys of call volume presents a complex challenge when calculating call center costs. You know that the ratios and formulas are multifaceted, which can make a direct comparison between in-house and outsourcing a little difficult.

When you need to present a business case complete with outsourced contact center costs, you need to break down the numbers in a way that makes sense. Below, we look at the multiple factors that go into the call center cost comparison.

Productive vs. Non-Productive Agent Time

In addition to investing in agent recruiting when you staff and train an in-house team, you’re paying for every minute of the time they’re there. From the moment they enter the office, their time is spent settling in for the day, taking calls, taking breaks, engaging in training and coaching activities, as well as the time spent in ready waiting during lulls in arrival patterns. Each minute affects your bottom line.

In sharp contrast, when you outsource your contact center, you’ll only be paying for productive agent time. Typically, you can project an estimated 85% productivity rate, so instead of paying 100% of your agent’s work hour, you can cut those hourly costs by about 15%. That represents significant savings right out of the gate.

Management of Call Center Agents

When staffing your in-house contact center, you’ll also have to hire front line supervisors or coaches as well as program managers for the team. In doing so, you’ve just added yet another line to your call center budget.

In contrast, when you outsource your call center, program management costs (including those frontline supervisors) should be automatically included in the agent rate. (If your vendor doesn’t include program management in your per minute or per hour rate, we should talk… )

Reporting

Every successful call center needs to keep a painstakingly close eye on quality assurance. The metrics produce an abundance of data, and include factors like first-call resolution, response times, average handling time, customer satisfaction, service level, net promoter scores, and more.

A great contact center reporting team will go beyond the gathering of data to offering value-added analysis that supports your decision-making. Every call center needs information management professionals supported by appropriate tools and technology to fully leverage the data you absorb daily. Add at least two more budget lines to your in-house call center here. On the other hand, when you consider outsourcing your call center, this cost is usually already tied into the agent rate.

Call Center Infrastructure

With in-house centers, you’re on the hook for every component of the supporting infrastructure. These overhead costs include your facilities, telephony, workstations, and more; not to mention any IT staff you’ll need to hire to provide tech support.

This is a cost that isn’t going to go away – every three to five years, you’re going to start thinking about upgrading. Ask your tech team: major systems upgrades are expensive – both in terms of direct expense and the time and focus of your internal tech resources.

Once again, in an outsourced arrangement, the hard and soft costs of systems, maintenance, and upgrades are going to be carried by your call center partner.

Call Center HR Support

When considering your in-house contact center overhead costs, don’t forget the foundational expense of recruiting, payroll and taxes, and benefits management. Additionally, these costs can fluctuate depending on your turnover rate. And of course, the HR staff themselves need to be factored into your calculations.

As with all the above factors, HR expenses are by default included in your outsourced per minute or fixed rate.

Other Factors

Finally, there are a number of advantages you’ll gain from outsourcing that will add further value to your investment, which may not be realized through in-house efforts. These factors result in both reduced FTE and increased potential for overall call center success. They include:

Cutting-edge call center technology for efficient call distribution
Cross-training to maximize staffing for peaks and valleys of call volume
Shared pool options for lower volume hours of operation
Deep expertise in forecasting for maximized efficiency
Risk mitigation in the management of both human and technology resources.

Though this is an abbreviated guide, it should give you a good idea of how all your costs break down so you’re not left trying to compare apples to oranges. At Blue Ocean, we know that calculating costs can be a big headache. If you’re looking for some more in-depth insight on the math, don’t hesitate to contact us today at 902.722.3300.

10 Secrets to Help You Save Money Groceries Shopping

Are you looking for some not so obvious ways to save money? Have you already cut back on those trips to Starbucks and your cable bill but still need to save more? Great, how about groceries?

Yes, you can save money groceries shopping. It isn’t always easy or obvious… but it is possible. Here are 10 secrets to help you get started.

#1 – Get Organized

This sounds basic but the very first thing you should do to save money groceries shopping is get organized. Super organized. Like OCD.

Start by making a meal plan. Knowing what you’re going to eat each day will ensure you don’t buy extra, unnecessary ingredients. After you compile your meal plan, make your shopping list.

#2 – Know Your Sales

Check weekly circulars from stores to know which items are marked down. If you don’t get a local paper, most stores publish their sales ads online.

Use your list from secret #1 to hone in on just the items you need. You will not save money groceries shopping if you just buy stuff because it is on sale.

#3 – Price Match

It wouldn’t be good to save money groceries shopping just to blow all those savings on gas… which is exactly what will happen if you have to run all over town to take advantages of all the great sales you found.

Instead, choose to shop at a store that price matches (ex. Wal-Mart). That way you can take advantage of all those weekly sales without wasting all your gas. Simply bring the circulars from other stores with you and present the sale prices to the cashier at checkout.

#4 – Be Social

Sometimes, being a social butterfly pays off. Follow your favorite stores and brands on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). They will often post special deals or coupons there.

#5 – Check Your Facts (Er, Receipt)

Look, we’re all humans and we all make mistakes… this goes for the person behind the cash register at your local grocery store as well. Once you leave the store, carefully review your receipt for accuracy. Did everything ring up at the right price? Did all your coupons get scanned in?

If you find a mistake, don’t hesitate to either call the store or go back and ask for an adjustment.

#6 – Bulk Buying BFFs

If you’re single or a small family but want to take advantage of the discounts bulk stores offer, then buddy up with a friend to share. Buy products together at big warehouse stores and split them. This will allow you to save money groceries shopping without wasting food.

#7 – Avoid Convenience

Convenience products, like pre-sliced fruit, are well, convenient but they also come with a hefty price tag. Skip these items; put in a little extra time and effort in order to save money groceries shopping.

#8 – Go Digital

Our high tech world offers you more opportunities than ever to save money groceries shopping. Take advantages of digital coupons from your local store (ex. Krogers) as well as money saving apps such as Checkout51 and Ibotta.

#9 – Get a Green Thumb

Produce can be one of the costliest items at the grocery store. Save money groceries shopping by growing your own produce if possible.

#10 – Get Creative

All you need to do to save money groceries shopping is think outside of the box. A little creativity will go a long way. For example, make every Monday “meatless Monday”. Doing so will allow you to save a bundle by buying less meat. Need a little inspiration? The Intranet is filled with recipes for fabulous meatless meals.

Kelli Bhattacharjee, the owner of http://www.FreebieFindingMom.com, is a former investment professional with nearly ten years of experience. After graduating the top of her class in finance she decided to pursue her passion of empowering others to better manage their money via her savvy financial blog.

Managing the Family Blender – Making Blended Families Work

Do you own a blender in your home? If you do, what type of blender would you say you own? Is it small, medium, or large? Is it one of those high-tech blenders with multiple buttons with different speeds? Or is it an older style blender with just a few buttons with only two or three different speeds? I do own blender in my home. I would have to say it is a rather large blender. As the man of my house and the head of my house hold, I take it upon myself to be the manager of the blender in my house. You see, the blender that I am referring to is not the kind that you may think. I am actually referring to my family.

I have a blended a family. My wife and I both come from previous marriages. In each of those marriages, we produced children. When my wife and I met and fell in love, we decided to bring our families together to form one big family. We are what you might call the modern-day “Brady Bunch.” The blended family is much more common today than it ever has been. If not handled the right way, being a part of a blended family can be a nightmare. On the other hand, if properly managed, a blended family can form a bond that can allow for the removal of the “Blended” and can just be a family; a healthy, supportive, and loving one.

My wife is 100% Dominican. She was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She moved to the United States at an early age and lived between New York, New Jersey, and Texas. I am African-American. I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. We are both ex-military and currently reside in North Carolina. Between my wife and I and our children, we bring three different ethnicities to the table. We also bring different upbringings, cultures, personalities, and attitudes as well. This can be a very stressful mix if the right frames of mind are not brought to the forefront. Luckily, my wife and I came to a very good understanding of how we want to raise our family. We both understand that we must have a sound foundation and that we must set the standards for our family and then stick by them.

We understand that bringing a blended family together is hard work and it takes great effort. It takes time for a family like this to gel together. It is not an overnight procedure. It is also very difficult to put a timeline on a process such as this. Each family dynamic is different and may take varying amounts of time to achieve the ultimate goal, which is a single, fully functional unit of love, respect and support for one another. We also understand that it takes plenty of fortitude to be able to manage the large mix of personalities and different attitudes, wants and desires. This effort has to be looked at as a life-long commitment to making the family work and everyone has to get on one accord and do their part. My wife and I made that commitment before we even got married and we recognize that putting the blender to work in our family starts with us. As the head of my house, I feel that it ultimately starts with me setting the tone.

Here are some concepts that my wife and I decided to incorporate into our family culture.

1) Rules must be put in place to develop discipline and responsibility. Once my wife and I agree on a house rule, we hold everyone accountable. Each child is held to the same standard. No one receives preferential treatment and everyone who violates a house rule is subject to the same punishment.

2) Communication on our part as parents is critical when dealing with our children. We have to always be in agreement with everything when it comes to the children. We never let any of our children play us against one another. Whatever my wife tells them, I back her up and vice versa. We never have disagreements in front of them. We save those for when we are alone and can talk things out in private.

3) Respect is huge in our family. There are all boys here in the house. I am tough on them when it comes to respecting the woman of the house. There is to be absolutely no disrespect of any kind displayed toward my wife at any time. It does not matter if it is her biological sons or her step-sons. I correct with haste, any actions that I deem disrespectful towards her. Teaching the boys how to respect women is a priority of mine and I will work hard to instill that quality in all of them. I demand respect as well, but the dynamic of my relationship with the boys is slightly different and I go out of my way to distinguish that difference with them.

4) Education is very important to our family. We try to instill the value of education into our children. We don’t just do that by word of mouth. We also demonstrate it through our actions. My wife is pursuing her undergraduate degree and I am working on a degree as well. They see us faithfully completing our school work as well as pursuing our career dreams. We want them to understand that they must work hard to achieve their goals and dreams. We make sure they understand that whatever they want to do or be, they can if they put their minds to it and work hard.

5) Family fun is necessary for bonding and just being able to unwind and enjoy being with each other. We consistently do family events together. Whether it is a cruise, sporting event, going to church or to a movie, a trip to one of our favorite restaurants, or just taking a drive to Baskin Robbins for some ice cream, we spend lots of time together doing fun things as a family. We work hard, so we should play hard as well. We also support one another’s individual events. All of our children like to play different sports. We all support each other in our individual events too. We want everyone in this family to know they have a support system at home that they can trust and depend on.

6) Love is the key ingredient that helps to make everything work. We try as hard as we can to create an environment that is full of love. My wife and I are very affectionate in our home. We show lots of affection in front of our boys so they can see it. I love my wife and I show her through my affections towards her. If they follow my example, my boys will also learn how to properly treat a lady, with kindness and respect. We also show plenty of affection towards the boys. We want them to know that we love them. We want them to understand that we desire to see all of them grow up to be happy and successful men.

Our overall goal is to ensure that our children have a safe, healthy, and loving environment where they can grow, thrive, and become well-rounded young men. We believe that the six concepts that we incorporated into our family culture have begun to reap great rewards. We still have a lot more to do and a long way to go, but we are well on our way to a great start in developing our family. I believe the same concepts can also be helpful to anyone who has a blended family.

Remember, nurturing a blended family is like making the perfect cake batter! Once you have all the ingredients, blend them together until you have a smooth mix. When the cake is baked in the oven at the right temperature for the right amount of time, you will have a nice looking, sweet-smelling, and great tasting dessert. This is the way I see my family, which is why I work so hard to make sure our family is built on unity, love, and respect. That is why I consider myself to be the manager of the blender in my home. Truthfully, every member of the blended family has to contribute in order to make the family a success. So in a way, each person is a manager of the family blender. Let the blender in your house work for you!