In the age of chats and social media, the call center is still a key to manage customer queries. It’s the closest experience towards face-to-face customer engagement. Call centers handle large volumes of calls, both inbound and outbound. Understanding the differences between inbound and outbound call centers will help you determine the best option for your business. We have some facts to help understand why and how call centers play an essential role in customer engagement.
Nowadays, many contact centers use an omnichannel strategy for customer service with the hope of reaching the greatest possible audience. When executed right, it can be an excellent approach to meet customer demand and brand marketing. However, the increased popularity of social media and chats has not diminished the value of the traditional customer service channel, i.e., voice.
In addition, a recent poll survey by Ameyo found that around 72% of people prefer voice calls over text, video, or social media for handling most of the interactions at the contact centers.
At present, Call centers are the core part of customer service for organizations. Call centers come in the picture in two ways; first, whenever a customer calls for support on the mobile phone. Second, when businesses call prospects to make sales or conduct a survey. Nonetheless, not all call centers are created equal; what kind of call center they need to operate on depends on the nature of the business.
As per Strategyr, the cloud call center is predicted to reach $424.11 billion at 25% CAGR by 2033.
In this article, we’ll understand about types of call centers and the essential difference between inbound and outbound call centers. It is necessary to understand what differentiates the two of them to decide for your business.
What is an Inbound call center?
Inbound call center software enables customers to seek quick customer support like answering queries, issue resolution, or any customer service-related issues and allows businesses to manage all incoming calls efficiently. Given the nature of the calls, they are more customer service-based and focus on resolving customers’ concerns regarding a product or a service that the businesses offer.
Few organizations use an inbound call center as the primary method of customer interaction. It is critical to provide exceptional customer service across all channels as one bad customer service experience can lead to the loss of a loyal customer.
The most fundamental feature of an inbound call center is that the agent waits for customers to call them instead of actively making calls and reaching out to them. The critical role is to improve the overall customer experience by providing meaningful help – assisting with customers’ issues and resolving all sorts of obstacles.
Having a quality and technically updated inbound call center is critical for all sizes of businesses. Around 89 % of companies expect to compete with their concurrence primarily based on customer experience. Consequently, the inbound call center model is more customer service-oriented than outbound and covers several platforms to connect with the customers, such as phone calls, emails, SMS, social media, or still more and more popular Live Chat.
How Inbound Call Center Works?
- User/customer dials the business number.
- Inbound call centers answer the incoming calls of the business.
- Machine or human at the inbound call center understands the need of incoming calls and routes it to the concerned agent/department.
- The agent entertains the caller and ends it with a call disposition.
What is Outbound Call Center?
In contrast to Inbound call centers, outbound call centers tend to make more calls to the customers and prospects than they receive. Most of the outbound call centers are sales-focused. Their primary focus is to reach out to customers and potential customers, making sales, and publicizing the business.
Typically, agents in outbound call centers work on the customers’ data stored in the software, leading them to make sales and cold calls and spend time helping customers upgrade their services.
Usually, they utilize customer relationship management (CRM) software to track and manage their interactions with the customers for analytics purposes and make future interactions smoother. Agents aim to reach out to customers to educate or tell them about companies’ products/new offerings and inspire them to buy upgraded services.
Outbound call centers utilize a series of different calling techniques to make sales than inbound ones. Agents have a completely different focus as they are not the ones who are receiving the calls, waiting to answer questions, and provide support. Instead, they are the ones to make cold calls, have targets to achieve, and actively contact potential customers to meet them.
How Outbound Call Center Works?
- Agent or machine dials an outgoing call from the available database.
- The outgoing calls may face a busy line, wrong number, customer unavailability, voicemail, or answer by the customer.
- In machine-based dialing, the agent connects to the call only when a human answers it. The agent has to spend the time until they figure out if the customer has responded to the call.
- The agent explains the requirements to the customer and ends it with call disposition.
Difference between Inbound and Outbound Call Center
When planning call centers’ infrastructure for your business, it is vital to understand the type of interactions you might have with your customers. The primary differentiator between both call centers is how most of the interactions start in the first place.
Understanding the type of call center you want to be is vital for planning and executing protocols in your call centers. For example, if you are an inbound call center, you will not require technology such as a dialer. While, if you’re an outbound call center, you will need features such as call monitoring and some more, depending on the requirements.
To get a more clear picture, here are the differences between inbound and outbound call center services:
1) Based on the type of services they provide
Both inbound and outbound call centers provide different types of call services to their customers.
Inbound call center
- Customer Service: The customer service team relies on inbound calls to assist prospects and customers. It can be in the form of product or technical support.
- Inbound Sales: As stated earlier, inbound leads find your product or reach out to you by doing their research. Your inbound sales team relies on the influx of calls made by them to close deals.
- Product/Service Inquiry: Prospects may inquire regarding any new offerings or existing products/services. On the other hand, existing customers may complain about issues they are facing or experienced in the past few days or months. They may also be calling in to provide feedback on their user experience.
Outbound call center
- Market/Customer Research: Another function of outbound calls is collecting data by doing customer or market research. Businesses usually use this type of call center to launch new products or add a new feature to the existing one.
- Customer Success and Outbound Sales Call: In outbound call centers, agents make proactive calls to the customers to collect their feedback on the offerings and focus on helping them achieve their goals. Outbound call centers use predictive dialers to automate the calling process by using advanced algorithms to cut manual dialing time and increase agents’ efficiency.
2) Software Features/ Technology
Both inbound and outbound call centers work on a different set of technology and software features.
Inbound call center
- IVR: IVR is an automatic system that allows callers and businesses to interact via voice and keypad. Many call centers use the IVR system to handle incoming calls quickly and manage companies’ processes via the phone. It enables businesses to interact with customers and streamline the communication process without wasting time. Callers receive an automated voice message with instructions that can be used for caller identification, lead distribution, and call distribution.
- Call Tracking: In the call tracking process, inbound calls are attributed to the marketing campaigns that led the callers to your businesses. With this feature, enterprises get insights that help to perform better in the marketing campaign.
- Automatic Call Distribution: Automatic Call Distributor, commonly known as ACD, is a wireless software that receives and routes the incoming calls to the best available agent or department based on the predefined routing rules. ACD system helps manage call traffic and distribute calls using a pre-defined rule-based routing strategy that defines how inbound calls will be handled and helps call centers avoid common mistakes and be more productive.
Outbound call center
- Automatic Dialer: Autodialer software automatically dials telephone numbers pulled from a list and connects to a live agent or a prerecorded message. It smoothens the process by eliminating the tedious task of manually dialing individual phone numbers, enabling agents to focus on delivering the right message and increasing productivity. Businesses uses auto dialers in various settings and industries, including sales, health care, education, and hospitality.
- Predictive Dialer: A Predictive Dialer uses a machine-learning algorithm to increase agents’ efficiency in a call center campaign by dialing numbers ahead of time and screens out all unanswered calls. It enables businesses to increase efficiency and the number of calls they make. Predictive dialer ensures to make more customer calls in a shorter time. Predictive dialer maximizes agent productivity and minimizes worries of idle time, answering machines, and time zone navigation.
Outbound and inbound call facilities’ goals are to make and receive calls to resolve customer’s queries and fulfill their demands. However, To accomplish this goal, both of the call centers use different techniques and methods. At the inbound call centers, customers or prospects call the agents with questions or requests they want to resolve. Agents then interact with the customers, provide the required information, and resolve the problem at the earliest opportunity. One of the main characteristics that can not be overlooked in the entire process is customer satisfaction.
Contrarily, in an outbound call center, the agents call the existing customers or the prospects for sales and marketing purposes. The calls might be intended to make an offer for payment or a monthly update, informing them about a new or a renewal of existing offerings.
4) Agent Training
Agent training plays a crucial role in both inbound and outbound call centers. In inbound call centers, agents deal with customers with different moods and requests, so the interaction needs to be more personalized. It calls in for specialized training sessions that encourage agents to be polite, proactive, and patient. Conversely, In outbound call centers, the primary objective of the agents is to turn prospects into customers, so it requires agents to be more sales-oriented and have great determination to keep a person engaged. Inbound call centers emphasize more on persuasive approach while outbound call centers follow an aggressive approach.
It’s unfair to say which call center is better than the other quickly. Each type of call center is designed with a particular purpose and meant to work for a different set of audiences. Whether your business needs inbound or outbound call center services depends on what your business requires. Either way, if your business is growing and your team overextends themselves every time, call center services can be a great help for you.
Ameyo provides both inbound and outbound call center software. We help businesses to generate higher sales through a steady customer acquisition process, prioritize them through the post-sales process, and effectively implement required customer services and support.