Call Centers Cope with Rising Customer Acquisition and Lead Generation Costs: 2024 Trends

Call Centers Cope with Rising Customer Acquisition and Lead Generation Costs: 2024 Trends

December 8, 2023 | Convoso

For many businesses in the lead gen and outbound sales space, it can feel harder and harder to achieve profitability and sustain growth. Between persistent inflation, falling contact rates, and rising competition, there are many factors that threaten to chip away at margins. 

In 2024, many of these issues will continue to dog contact center leaders and their teams, but there are also a host of strategies and tools available to help teams unlock operational efficiency, improve performance, and lower customer acquisition costs.

Use this guide to better understand some of the prevailing headwinds contact centers face in 2024—and to discover best practices that can help your business rise above the rising costs of lead generation and sales. 

2024 Trends Infographic download

This trend article is part of the series, “Outbound Contact Center Trends,” helping you stay current with issues, technologies, best practices, and strategies that impact your business. Our aim is to provide tools and guidance that will improve productivity, efficiency, and ultimately profitability for your sales and lead generation team.

What’s Behind the Rising Costs of Customer Acquisition?

Running a call center in 2024 is no cakewalk. Dig into some of the root causes of rising customer acquisition costs to understand 

The Costs of Doing Business are Going Up

One simple reason that businesses might be spending more on acquiring new customers is that it’s more expensive to be in business than it was just a few years ago.

Last year, 88% of small businesses reported being impacted by inflation. Although prices have cooled somewhat, organizations are still adjusting to the impact, which can be felt in everything from the cost of materials to software to labor. 

Competition is Fierce in Many Industries

As businesses try to manage rising costs without passing them onto their customers, many are also navigating highly competitive industries, where leads are closely fought over. In the fast-expanding solar sales industry, for example, 54% of customers get at least three quotes before making a decision, and 89% get at least two.

Too Many Sales Processes Lack Sophistication

Meanwhile, as sales expert Jason Cutter has written, a surprising amount of teams lack the technology and processes they need to succeed in today’s competitive environment.

For starters, teams frequently lack a CRM or dialer that’s able to prioritize speed to lead. Content to reach out to leads after minutes, hours, or even days, instead of just seconds, these sales teams wind up with poor contact rates and, ultimately, lost leads and higher costs. As he writes: 

“I talk to so many salespeople and teams that complain about their Cost Per Acquisition and conversion percentage while, at the same time, they are taking days to call new leads. As soon as possible, make sure to get a dialer platform that does it automatically and instantaneously.”

What’s more, many of these teams fail to have something worthy of being called a sales process in place. Again, Cutter sums up the crux of this issue: 

Knowing how to improve your sales process starts with the most basic thing: actually having a sales process. If you’re not tracking, reaching out to, and following up with leads in a way that’s repeatable (and measurable), you’re leaving conversions on the table.

It’s Harder to Contact Leads

The importance of having the right technology and process in place is only becoming more and more important in today’s environment. Because it’s not just competitors that are standing in the way of successful sales and lower acquisition costs. It’s lower contact rates.

Today’s outbound lead generation and sales teams are facing the perfect storm of changing consumer behavior and carrier action, making it as hard as it’s ever been to get leads—even the most interested ones—on the phone.

On the one hand, the vast majority of consumers nowadays are very unlikely to answer their phones for unknown callers. (It’s no wonder more businesses are relying on SMS marketing.) 

On the other hand, carriers have taken aggressive action to help stop robocalls, leading many businesses to be hit with Spam Likely labels and blocked calls.

All told, call center contact rates have taken quite a hit. And without the right tactics and tools to cope with the change, customer acquisition costs are going to keep rising.

Leads Many Be in Short(er) Supply

Heading into 2024, many in performance marketing and sales may be facing a relative shortage in leads after a game-changing ruling from regulators at the FCC.

Striving to end the so-called “lead generation loophole,” the agency’s consequential ruling, which is expected to take effect sometime between the summer and fall of 2024, will require that consumer consent is obtained on a one-to-one basis, among other restrictions. 

While the exact consequences of the change remain somewhat up in the air, this change could end multi-vertical and, crucially, certain co-reg third-party leads that some organizations rely on to fuel their sales.

As teams look to pivot their lead generation strategies in the year ahead, without the right strategies in place, they will likely run into even higher acquisition costs.

How to Lower Customer Acquisition Costs in 2024

Paying mind to your customer acquisition costs is always a key task in maximizing contact center profits. However, the convergence of all the dynamics discussed above means that, in 2024, it will be all the more important for success.

While the exact recipe for driving profits will be unique to each organization, contact centers should look to the following tips and best practices to lower customer acquisition costs—and prevail over this prevailing 2024 trend.

1. Start with an Accurate Measure of Your Costs

When it comes to reducing acquisition costs, you need to first be sure that you’re actually keeping track of these costs. 

As Convoso CEO Nima Hakimi has discussed in the past, many call centers overlook cost per acquisition (CPA) and instead only look at cost per lead (CPL). However, the CPL-based approach leaves a variety of important costs out of the picture. In Hakimi’s words:

“If I opened a restaurant and set menu prices based on the food costs, but didn’t take into account what I pay the chef, the cooks, the waiters and waitresses…I’d be out of business.”

Be sure that you rely on dialer software that’s able to calculate CPA in real time, giving you an ongoing view of not only how much your leads cost but also your other biggest call center costs: your agents and your technology. 

Related Content

Explore more about how businesses are leveraging call center analytics in 2024

2. Get a Clear View of Your Agents’ Activity

Because driving down CPA is so dependent on your agents using their time (i.e., the time that your business is paying them) as efficiently as possible, you need to be able to keep a watchful eye on their activity, identify positive and negative trends, and provide coaching and feedback that makes a difference.

As we cover in another of our trends analyses, the latest in sales quality assurance software will be essential for leaders in this regard over the course of the new year. Bolstered by advances in conversational AI, QA tools are now able to effectively monitor and analyze calls across entire enterprise-level contact center teams. What’s more, they can even provide ready-made insights to automate part of the coaching process as well. 

For organizations looking to accelerate management and coaching, as well as support continual process improvement among your agents, AI-powered QA software is fast becoming a must-have tool.

Related Content

Learn more about changes in Call Center Quality Assurance, another trend shaping the call center industry in 2024

3. Give Your Leads to the Right Agents

Sometimes getting the most out of your call center agents is less a matter of coaching and more about connecting leads with the right agents. For this reason, Jason Cutter says that skills-based routing is one of the best tools for improving cost per acquisition. 

“When certain reps are doing well, you want to keep feeding that hot hand,” says Cutter. “You need to make sure you have the technology in place to do that.”

Using Convoso’s advanced lead filtering capability, you can create rules for skills-based routing using any field value you have at your disposal, giving you the ability, for instance, to connect costly high-intent leads only with your top-performing agents—or only route calls from certain states to agents with the correct licensure.

Altogether, this adds up to greater sales efficiency and a lower cost-per-acquisition.

4. Zero in on Your Contact Rates

It may be getting harder to get leads on the phone, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In fact, outbound calling remains one of the most efficient and profitable means of generating leads and closing sales—so long as you have the right tools to do so.

To support healthy contact rates, look no further than a comprehensive caller ID reputation management solution like Convoso’s ClearCallerID™. By helping you protect the health of your phone numbers, manage your call volume, and develop smarter outbound dialing strategies that avoid spam flags in the first place, you’ll reach leads with more clean caller IDs and drive more successful connections.  

5. Report on Your Speed to Lead

Clean caller IDs are essential, but timing is also critical to making contact and converting leads into customers at a lower cost. 

Today’s consumers are infamously fickle, moving onto other tasks—or, worse, other products or service providers—just minutes after expressing interest and opting in to be contacted. 

In this sales environment, call center automation is absolutely paramount. Without the ability to automatically prioritize and dial leads as soon as they hit the hopper, you’re inevitably going to miss out on sales—and wind up with a higher CPA. 

Look for a dialer that prioritizes speed to lead and reaches out to your hottest leads as soon as possible. Better yet, find one that gives you the ability to report on speed to lead in granular detail, so you can continue to find ways to optimize your outreach and lower your acquisition costs.

Related Content

Improve contact rates with the help of the DX5 dialer engine that powers Convoso's smart automation and unmatched speed to lead.

6. Find More Areas to Automate

Of course, speed to lead is far from the only aspect of your dialing and lead follow-up processes that can (and should) be automated. Indeed, when it comes to enhancing the efficiency of your call center and optimizing your CPA, there may be no better solution than intelligent automation. Like so many other organizations are doing, make 2024 the year that you leverage call center automation tools to push your team toward a brighter future, with cutting-edge technology like:

  • Workflow automation: Develop the most effective strategic dialing cadences and incorporate voicemail drops, texts, and emails with workflow automation software that helps you achieve high-efficiency, omnichannel outreach across all of your campaigns.
  • Dynamic scripting: Help your agents deliver the right message—or the best possible rebuttal—every time they have a lead on the line with leading call center scripting software that updates in real time, as the conversation unfolds.
  • Intelligent virtual agent (IVA) solution: When powered by cutting-edge conversational AI, an IVA like can extend the capabilities of your team at a lower cost. presents a wide variety of use cases with its ability to converse with life-like fluency over both AI SMS and voice: it can field calls and texts as your 24/7 answering service; schedule callbacks and send reminders; and even pre-qualify leads. Use an IVA to eliminate routine, repetitive conversations from agents’ workloads, and allow them to focus on more effectively, and efficiently, generating leads and closing sales at scale.

7. Make the Right Investment- and Focus on the Return

Understanding and optimizing your operation’s true CPA is important to driving profits. But it’s not everything. 

Ultimately, to navigate the pressures and costly dynamics of today’s market, leaders should focus on the return their investments deliver—because oftentimes, you get what you pay for.

As Convoso customer Sean Chapman, Chief Technology Officer at the Medicare lead gen and sales contact center Medigap Life, attests: “The real question [for managers] is ‘What’s the ROI?’ not ‘How much does it cost?’” 

After relying on—or trying to—low-cost technology like VICIdial and Chase (now DialedIn) to dial leads, Chapman’s team invested in the Convoso dialer, which offered the features and sophistication they needed to drive improved performance. 

Despite the initial increase in cost, they realized better returns virtually overnight—and are driving down total costs in the long run, thanks to 80% increases in contact rates, 60% fewer caller IDs labeled as spam, and 40% fewer leaked voicemails. For Medigap Life, switching dialers was the decision that drove 300% revenue growth.

In 2024, take a page out of their playbook, and consider whether your dialer is putting your organization in a position to win in today’s sales environment. 

Because, between rising acquisition costs and competition, falling contact rates and lead supply, it may not seem like it’s getting any easier out there, but the right dialer software can make all the difference. 

Take the first step toward scaling your contact center in 2024. Schedule a free demo of our predictive dialer software and see for yourself the difference Convoso delivers.

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