Basic Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Call Centers
Even in the age of chats and social media, the call center remains an essential tool for handling customer inquiries. Call centers handle a high volume of inbound and outbound calls. Understanding the distinctions between inbound and outbound call centers will assist you in determining the best option for your company. We have some facts to help you understand why call centers are essential in customer engagement.
To reach the broadest possible audience, many contact centers now employ an omnichannel strategy for customer service. It can be an excellent strategy for meeting customer demand and brand marketing when done correctly. The increased popularity of social media and chats, on the other hand, has not diminished the value of the traditional customer service channel, namely voice.
Furthermore, according to a recent poll, approximately 72 percent of people prefer voice calls over text, video, or social media for handling most contact center interactions.
Call centers are currently the most crucial aspect of customer service for businesses. Call centers enter the picture in two ways. The first is when a customer calls for help on their mobile phone. Second, when a company reaches a prospect to make a sale or conduct a survey. However, not all call centers are created equal; the type of call center required depends on the nature of the business.
According to Strategy, the cloud call center market is expected to reach $424.11 billion by 2033 at a 25 percent CAGR.
This article will learn about the various types of call centers and the key differences between them. To make an informed decision for your company, you must first understand what distinguishes the two.
What is an Inbound Call Center?
Inbound call center software allows customers to seek immediate customer support such as answering questions, resolving issues, or dealing with any customer service-related issues, while also allowing businesses to manage all incoming calls efficiently. Because of the nature of the calls, they are more customer service-oriented, focusing on resolving customers’ concerns about a product or service that the businesses provide.
Few businesses rely on an inbound call center as their primary method of customer interaction. It is critical to provide exceptional customer service across all channels because a single bad customer service experience can result in losing a loyal customer.
The most fundamental characteristic of an inbound call center is that the agent waits for customers to call them rather than actively making calls and reaching out to them. The critical role is to improve the overall customer experience by providing meaningful assistance – assisting customers with problems and resolving various obstacles.
Having a high-quality, technologically advanced inbound call center is critical for businesses of all sizes. Approximately 89 percent of businesses expect to compete primarily based on customer experience. As a result, the inbound call center model is more customer service-oriented than outbound and includes a variety of platforms for connecting with customers, such as phone calls, emails, SMS, social media, and the increasingly popular Live Chat.
What Is the Process of an Inbound Call Center?
- The user/customer dials the business number.
- Inbound call centers answer the incoming calls of the business.
- A machine or human at the inbound call center understands the need for incoming calls and routes them to the concerned agent/department.
- The agent entertains the caller and ends it with a call disposition.
What is an Outbound Call Center?
Outbound call centers, instead of inbound call centers, make more calls to customers and prospects than they receive. The vast majority of outbound call centers are focused on sales, and their main priority is to reach out to customers and potential customers, make sales and publicize the company.
Outbound call center agents typically work on customer data stored in software, which leads them to make sales and cold calls and spend time helping customers upgrade their services.
They typically use customer relationship management (CRM) software to track and manage their interactions with customers for analytics and make future interactions run more smoothly. Agents aim to reach out to customers to educate or inform them about a company’s products/new offerings and persuade them to purchase upgraded services.
Outbound call centers use various calling techniques than inbound call centers to make sales. Agents have a completely different focus because they do not answer the phones, answer questions, and provide support. Instead, they are the ones who make cold calls, set goals, and actively contact potential customers to meet them.
What Is the Process of an Outbound Call Center?
- An agent or machine dials an outgoing call from a database.
- Outgoing calls may encounter a busy line, an incorrect number, customer unavailability, voicemail, or an answer from the customer.
- The agent only connects to the call when a human answers it when using machine dialing. The agent must wait until they determine whether or not the customer has responded to the ring.
- The agent explains the requirements to the customer and then handles the call.
What is the distinction between inbound and outbound call centers?
It is critical to understand the types of interactions you may have with your customers when planning the infrastructure for your company’s call centers. The primary distinction between the two call centers is how most interactions begin in the first place.
Understanding the type of call center you want to be in is critical for developing and implementing call center protocols. For example, running an inbound call center won’t need technology like a dialer. If you run an outbound call center, you’ll need features like call monitoring and possibly others, depending on your needs.
To help you understand the distinctions between inbound and outbound call center services, consider the following:
1) Depending on the Services they offer
Inbound Call Center
- Customer Service: In order to assist prospects and customers, the customer service team relies on inbound calls. It could be in the form of product or technical assistance.
- Inbound Sales: As previously stated, inbound leads find your product or contact you after research. Your inbound sales team relies on the volume of calls they receive to close deals.
- Product/Service Enquiry: Prospects may inquire about new offerings and existing products/services. On the other hand, existing customers may complain about problems they have encountered in the last few days or months. They might also call to provide feedback on their user experience.
Outbound Call Center
- Market/Customer Research: Outbound calls can also collect data by conducting customer or market research. This type of call center is typically used by businesses to launch new products or add a new feature to an existing one.
- Customer Success and Outbound Sales Call: Agents in outbound call centers make proactive calls to customers to solicit feedback on the offerings and to assist them in achieving their objectives. Predictive dialers are used in outbound call centers to automate the calling process by using advanced algorithms to reduce manual dialing time and increase agent efficiency.
2) Software Features/ Technology
Inbound Call Center
- IVR: IVR is an automated system that allows callers and businesses to communicate using voice and a keypad. Many call centers use the IVR system to handle incoming calls quickly and manage company processes over the phone. It allows businesses to interact with customers while streamlining the communication process and saving time. Callers are greeted by an automated voice message containing caller identification, lead distribution, and call distribution instructions.
- Call Tracking: Inbound calls are attributed to the marketing campaigns that brought the callers to your business during the call-tracking process. With this feature, businesses can gain insights that will help them perform better in their marketing campaigns.
- Automatic Call Distribution: The Automatic Call Distributor, also known as ACD, is a wireless software that receives incoming calls and routes them to the best available agent or department based on predefined routing rules. ACD systems aid in managing call traffic and the distribution of calls by utilizing a predefined rule-based routing strategy that defines how inbound calls will be handled, thereby assisting call centers in avoiding common errors and becoming more productive.
Outbound Call Center
- Automatic Dialer: Autodialer software dials phone numbers from a list and connects the caller to a live agent or a prerecorded message. It speeds up the process by eliminating the time-consuming task of dialing individual phone numbers, allowing agents to focus on delivering the right message and increasing productivity. Auto-dialers are used in various environments and industries, including sales, health care, education, and hospitality.
- Predictive Dialer: A Predictive Dialer employs a machine-learning algorithm to improve call center agent efficiency by dialing numbers ahead of time and screening out all unanswered calls. It enables businesses to increase their efficiency and number of calls. Predictive dialing ensures that more customer calls are made in less time. Predictive dialers increase agent productivity while reducing idle time, answering machines, and time zone navigation concerns.
The goals of outbound and inbound call facilities are to make and receive calls to answer customer questions and fulfill their requests. However, both call centers use different techniques and methods to achieve this goal. Customers or prospects contact inbound call centers with questions or requests that need to be addressed. Agents then interact with customers, provide the necessary information, and resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Customer satisfaction is a critical component of the entire process that should not be overlooked.
On the other hand, agents in an outbound call center make sales and marketing calls to existing customers or prospects. The calls could be for a payment offer or a monthly update informing them of new or renewed offerings.
4) Agent Training
Agent training is essential in both inbound and outbound call centers. Inbound call center agents interact with customers with varying moods and requests, so interactions must be more personalized. It asks for specialized training to encourage courteous, proactive, and patient agents. In contrast, the primary goal of outbound call center agents is to convert prospects into customers, so agents must be more sales-oriented and determined to keep a person engaged. Inbound call centers emphasize persuasion, whereas outbound call centers are more aggressive.
It is premature to declare one call center superior to another. Each type of call center is designed with a specific purpose in mind and is intended to serve a different set of audiences. It is up to your company to determine whether it requires inbound or outbound call center services. In any case, if your company is expanding and your team is constantly overburdened, call center services can be a huge help.
AcmaTel offers call center software for both inbound and outbound calls. We assist businesses in increasing sales through a consistent customer acquisition process, prioritizing them during the post-sales process, and effectively implementing necessary customer services and support.
Amit Singh - Founder & CEO
Amit has over two decades of expertise in product development, team building and scaling, and leading software architecture and operations. Amit had firsthand experience with IT pain and frustration while running his prior business and was determined to solve it with ACMA. In developing solutions, he is steadfastly dedicated to establishing a culture based on diversity, inclusion, and ethics. He promotes critical thinking from all walks of life and viewpoints.
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