Customer Acquisition Cost

Here’s How Contact Centers Are Lowering Customer Acquisition Cost

Customer Acquisition Cost is a key target for businesses. It also happens to be one area where outbound or blended contact centers can have a massive impact. 

That’s clearly of huge benefit to any organization. What’s more, bringing down acquisition cost often has a ripple effect that positively impacts CX. 

Why is that you ask?

The short answer is that reducing cost generally means reducing effort. By focusing on one, you’ll also achieve the other.  

So let’s find out how!

In this post:

Defining Customer Acquisition Cost 

The easy way:

  1. Define a period (for example, one financial year)
  2. Calculate the total sales and marketing cost for the period
  3. Divide that by the number of customers acquired during the period

As you can probably tell, that’s a ‘back of the envelope’ approach… but it’ll work for now.  Every business is different, but a full breakdown would include salaries, overheads, paid marketing and software licences. 

customer acquisition cost formula

Let’s bring down your customer acquisition cost!

The first step to lowering CAC is knowing what those costs are. In short, we’re looking at the cost of:

  • Reaching out to people
  • Bringing prospects through the funnel
  • Keeping the lights on

Now let think about how the contact center can reduce those costs.

#1 Haul ass when new leads come in

You can only have so many conversations in a day. So let’s make sure those conversations are as successful as possible! 

The key factor is speed. When new leads come in, don’t sit on them. Don’t put them on the ‘to-do’ list.

Talk to them.

Here’s the stat to keep in mind: the odds of a lead entering your sales process is 21 times greater if you contact them within 5 minutes, versus 30 minutes. 

And I bet you thought 30 minutes was pretty reasonable?

If you sell b2b (or high-value b2c) then that means a phone call. Any outbound call center should be able to place a call within 5 minutes of receiving a new lead. 

Care to disagree?

Hey, it’s 2021. We have self-driving cars, private spacecraft and talking computers.

A quick response time is not out of the question. 

How the pro’s do it

‘Deep data integration’ isn’t the sexy answer… but it’s the right answer. 

What happens when you connect your lead management systems to supporting systems, like your sales dialer

You get an end-to-end system that registers new leads – adds them, as high priority, to your outbound call list – and automatically places the call. 

In other words… same leads. More sales. 

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#2 Define your ideal lead more exactly

You can only have so many conversations in a day. Wait – did I already say that? Well, it’s true. 

Eventually you hit a wall and there’s just no scope to increase quantity. 

That’s when you need to focus on quality. If you’ve ever worked in online marketing, you’ve seen the deep level of targeting that’s possible in digital channels.

If you want to focus on people named Bob who own yellow shorts, you can. 

What about the ‘real world’ of the inbound contact center?

Here, you need to paint with a broader brush. Single factors like age can have a big impact on the likelihood of making a sale. 

(For a great analysis of the factors that link to worthwhile contacts, look at the existing customers with especially high customer lifetime value. What do they have in common and how can you reach more customers like them?)

How the pro’s do it

It comes down to your customer support software. Most enterprise contact centers have some ability to add tags to customer profiles. Some really good ones have the ability to alter the services customers receive based on those tags. 

Typically, No-Code automation plays an important role.


Think about the steps in this process:

  • Leads enter your system
  • Tags are added to their profile based on their personal information
  • Those tags guide the next action – like a high-priority outbound contact

Simple in theory. No-Code automation makes it simple in practice. 

Lead nurturing


#3 Cut back those overheads

Let’s cut some costs! Two kinds of overhead loom large in most leaders’ minds. 

First, salaries. Now, automated call center services may decrease headcount in the medium term.

But that’s a bit… hypothetical. Put a pin in that one.

The other biggie is your building. It’s rent, maintenance, insurance and a hundred other drains on your resources. And that is the bit you can reconsider. 

2020 accelerated the virtual contact center in a big way. As you know, that means letting agents work from home or from smaller remote offices. 

The cost benefits are clear (and huge). Your business could save $25,000 per agent with home working. One case study showed major increases in agent skills and agent retention. 

There was also a 30% spike in enquiries converted to orders – meaning customer acquisition cost shot sank through the floor. 

What’s not to like?

How the pro’s do it

Fifteen years ago, this was a big deal. 


Not so much.

With either a hosted or cloud-based contact center, the physical location of agents literally doesn’t matter. 

Even with a 100% premises-based solution you can move voice and media data without hassle. 

But what about managing agents? Well, who isn’t working from home in 2021? We’ve tested the theory now – we know it works just fine. 

#4 Crack open your NPS scores

You do NPS surveys, right? Of course you do – everyone does. 

And what happens with the data they yield? Into the vault, never to be seen again?

Here’s the big secret about NPS… it’s not the score that matters. Not really. It’s the feedback from promoters. 

When promoters provide verbatim feedback, they’re giving you direct insight into customers’ heads. They’re telling you what makes a promoter. 

And why does that matter for customer acquisition cost?

Because there is no cheaper way to get customers than referrals.

Referrals are gold dust. Forget tv ads, forget social media posts and forget publicity stunts. Referrals are the only ads that matter. 

Net Promoter Score


How the pro’s do it

Bottom line, you have to make customers happy. Very happy. There are no shortcuts to that – you just have to listen. 

But there are some good strategies for boosting referrals. Take GiffGaff, a UK cell phone network. They give new users – mainly younger people – an extra SIM card to hand to a friend. 

The UK energy company Bulb does something similar. If you sign up a friend, both of you get £50 free energy. 

Is £50 per customer a lot?

For the customer, it seems like a pretty generous gift. For the business, it’s just 4% of the typical annual energy bill.

Compared with the cost of advertising this is dirt cheap. 

That may explain why Bulb is the UK’s fastest growing private company. 

#5 Develop your CRM Automation

How much more could your CRM do for you? The answer is ‘a ton’.

CRM automation is the backbone of a shocking number of enterprise sales and acquisition projects. 

Here are the headlines:

  • More sales
  • Smarter marketing
  • Less manual work

More sales – we covered this already. Get to people faster, get them on-side. 

Smarter marketing – we’ve looked at this too. It’s all about profiling, and offering personalized customer service based on what you know.

So what about that manual work? There’s a lot of value waiting to be found. Auto-completing data entry is neat, and that’s only the start. 

One of the most exciting areas is NLU for agent productivity. What does that mean? Basically, a natural language tool ‘listens’ to calls and offers up next actions. That’s especially value in a sales setting, with upselling opportunities. 

Customer Acquisition Cost sales


How the pro’s do this

Ready to be startled? The typical salesperson doesn’t become fully productive for 10 months! 

The key barriers are product knowledge, and internal systems.

But well-deployed NLU systems are like full-time mentors/assistants that offer up solutions based on long experience. 

It can show agents the quickest route to the right outcome. It can remind them of ideal upselling or cross-selling opportunities. It can send out all the email and SMS confirmations, or perform other side tasks. 

Pretty good huh? 

*You* can do anything on this list without much hassle. The key ingredient is No-Code automation which makes it quick and easy to automate anything. It’s worth 5 minutes to learn more, wouldn’t you say?

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