What Contributes to the Cost of a Contact Center

People frequently ask me how much the technology costs to successfully run a contact center. What I find interesting about this question is that people often think that the technology component of running a contact center is one of the largest portions of the total cost of operation...but it isn't.

Experience has shown time and time again that there are four broad categories of costs in running a contact center business. Those four categories are:


  1. Contact Center Staff and Labor
  2. Contact Center Facilities and Overhead
  3. Contact Center Technology and Maintenance
  4. Contact Center Telecommunications and Networking

In addition, experience has also shown that about 75% of the costs of a contact center are for the Contact Center Staff and Labor and the remaining 25% is divided among the remaining categories: Facilities and Overhead, Technology and Maintenance, and Telecommunications and Networking in that order.  Go ahead and check the math in your contact center. How do you size up?  To help you out, I have included a list of items for you to consider in each category when adding up the total cost of operating your contact center.  Remember, some of these items are variable charges month to month, while others are fixed costs that must be spread across the year or month you are measuring.

Contact Center Staff and Labor

  1. Wages, benefits, taxes and hiring costs of your contact center agents and supervisors and quality management staff
  2. Salaries, benefits and taxes of your contact center management team
  3. Chargebacks for business services such as HR, accounting, IT, etc. ( if applicable)

Contact Center Facilities and Overhead

  1. Facility rent, utilities, maintenance and janitorial
  2. Investment in office furniture and maintenance
  3. Build-out and customizations made to the facility to accommodate growth
  4. Supplies and consumables for the office and break facilities
  5. Travel costs

Contact Center Technology and Maintenance

  1. Investments in computers, headsets, telephones, monitors, printers, overhead displays
  2. Technical support chargebacks or services
  3. Technology maintenance contracts
  4. Investments in Contact
  5. Application and Storage Servers and Software for Contact Handling and Workforce Optimization applications
  6. Contact Handling hardware if applicable including ACD, IVRs, Dialers

Contact Center Telecommunications and Networking

  1. Dedicated Internet Access and mobile internet contracts
  2. Dedicated T's and mobile voice contracts
  3. Voice network per minute charges for toll free, local, and long distance usage
  4. VoIP services

These items should get you thinking and cover the vast majority of the most significant costs of operating a contact center. As you can see, the technology investment is really only the tip of the iceberg.