Inbound Call Center Outsourcing Pricing Options

By Nathan Teahon, Strategic Account Manager

Call Center Outsourcing Agent

In the world of inbound call center outsourcing, many things are going to factor heavily in deciding which call center to use for inbound call handling. Those factors are going to include things like location, agent quality, experience, facilities, reporting capabilities, the likability of management staff,  certification requirements such as HIPAA, PCI Level 1, as well as several other factors. Indeed, one of those things is going to be price.

Now, as it pertains to price and before diving into models and numbers, it’s important to note a couple of things. First, these models and prices discussed in this article are for domestic inbound programs placed in U.S. call centers. You can utilize offshoring for call center outsourcing if you are looking for the best prices. Still, there are several reasons why telemarketing services are best in the U.S. Second; it’s important to note that not every inbound program is created equal. The level of complexity, amount of training, and overall talent of agents required for a particular campaign can affect pricing.

Most companies have two separate pricing models for inbound call center outsourcing campaigns.

 Call Center Outsourcing with a Per Minute Model

Call center outsourcingIf a client’s incoming calls, emails and chat messages are low volume or inconsistent, their program will most likely be priced on a per-minute basis.  It is best that programs with low volume or irregular volume patterns are placed into an environment that is either shared with another inbound call client or blended with an outbound campaign.

Note:  for the rest of this article, any place that I say “inbound,” I’m referring to many different types of customer contacts, including inbound voice calls, text messages, email messages or chat messages.


  • Shared/Blended model – Pricing ranges from about $0.70 – $1.25 per minute, domestic. 

  • Dedicated Agent model – Pricing ranges from about $25 – $35 per hour, domestic.


 What Does ‘Shared’ or ‘Blended’ Mean in Call Center Outsourcing?

If an inbound contact call center puts your program into a shared environment, that means that your call center agents are also being used to handle calls for other clients.  Call centers do this because some inbound programs have low volume or inconsistent call volumes. It would be too expensive to staff call center agents on a dedicated basis and have them sit there waiting for incoming calls.

Cross-training call center agents to work on behalf of multiple programs help keep agent utilization high and keep costs reasonable for clients that use third party outsourced call center companies.  Most companies use skills-based routing to identify in real-time which call center agents are trained to handle which types of calls at any given point in time and then route the call to the best agent available.

Typical pricing for shared/blended services is $.70 to $1.25 per minute. Minutes are calculated by adding the talk time plus the call wrap-up time.  And this is typically a loaded cost, including the management staff and support staff.

 Call Center Outsourcing with an Hourly Model

When a program has enough inbound volume to warrant dedicated call center agents, most companies will price the service on an hourly basis.  Pricing for dedicated agents that handle inbound interactions typically ranges from $25 to $35 per hour. As previously stated, this can vary based on the skill set required by the agents to succeed as well as the number of agents needed to staff the campaign appropriately. Typically, the more agents needed to fulfill the needs of a particular client, the lower the per hour rate. Another X-factor can be if there are specific requirements like requiring licensed insurance agents or if a program needs to be staffed 24 hours per day and seven days per week.

Quality Contact Solutions has years of high-quality inbound call handling experience, including Inbound Sales, Upselling, Customer Service, and Technical Support. We act as an extension of our clients and pride ourselves on putting the right call center team in place for each of our programs.

Related Articles to Inbound Telemarketing:

How to Find an Inbound Telemarketing Services Call Center
Create the Perfect Inbound Telemarketing Services Report
How to Find an Inbound Telemarketing Services Call Center
How to Create Inbound Telemarketing Incentives That Work
Reasons to Blend Inbound and Outbound Telemarketing Services

Nathan Teahon is a Strategic Account Manager for Quality Contact Solutions. Nathan is responsible for ensuring client success for one of QCS’s largest clients and for overseeing the QCS At Home management team. Prior to Quality Contact Solutions, Nathan worked for a Top 50 Call Center company based in the Midwest. Nathan’s experience has run the gamut with stints as Supervisor, Quality Assurance, Program Management, Account Management, and also as a Call Center Manager. His diversity of call center experience lends itself well to support a wide variety of clients and their unique requirements.  Nathan co-authored an online course for The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) called Teleservices.  Nathan can be reached at [email protected] or 516-656-5133.