Does Cost Per Interaction Matter and Why? 

Understanding interactions occurring through other channels

Does Cost Per Interaction Matter and Why
Contact CentreInsights

Published: January 21, 2021

Anwesha Roy - UC Today

Anwesha Roy

Most organisations measure cost per call, but what about interactions occurring through other channels?  

In 2020, over 90% of contact centre leaders agreed that integrated omnichannel is a top priority, requiring immediate transformation. Therefore, it becomes crucial to erasure, monitor, and improve the efficiency of interactions happening via channels other than call. That’s why cost per interaction is such an important metric, reflecting which channels are most ROI friendly and what is the optimal channel mix for your organisation.  

What is Cost Per Interaction in a Contact Centre?

Cost per interaction can be defined as the average resources (operational costs and capital expenses) needed to power a single interaction. For telephone-only contact centres, cosper call and cost per interaction will be identical, but this is not the case if you are omnichannel.  

For omnichannel contact centres, cost per interaction can be measured for each channel specifically, as well as for the entire channel mix as a whole. For instance, if your cost per inbound call is $7, for email $4, and for web-based live chat is $4, your average cost per interaction across the contact centre will be $5.  

Each of these three numbers  $7, $4, and $4, once again are calculated by dividing the average resources costs spent on that channel in a given period by the number of interactions processed during that specific time 

Reasons Why Cost Per Interaction Matters More Than Ever By calculating cost per interaction, you can: 

  • Reallocate resources effectively– If a channel has a very low cost of interaction, it means that there is a high volume of interactions being served by a relatively low resource pool. You can reorganise resources, prioritising channels where the cost per interaction is lower
  • Buy technology judiciously– Channels with a high cost per interaction could benefit from technology intervention, bringing automation and other digital efficiencies. For instance, if your cost per call is higher than the cross-channel average, you might want to invest in IVR self-service
  • Upskill your resources– If a particular channel has seen a sharp rise in demand, you might need to train agents further to efficiently handle high volumes. Also, a spike in cost per interaction for a specific channel in an omnichannel contact centre usually signals an upskilling need

What is a Good Cost Per Interaction?

The cost per interaction depends on three things: the channel mix, local cost advantages (more affordable rent, labour arbitrage, etc.) and the degree of automation. Research suggests that phone calls have the highest cost of all, at approximately $6.69. Webchat is the cheapest at $3.64 only.  

Similarly, you could calculate cost per interaction for social media, email, SMS, etc., as per your channel mix.  

What About Cost Per Outbound Interaction?

Most industry benchmarks are calculated for inbound interactions, as the profitability for outbound often depends on the conversion/lead generation rates. To calculate your cost per outbound interaction, use the same formula as above, only replacing the number of interactions with the number of closed/possible leads generated.  



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