Technology & Roadmap

Inbound vs Outbound Call Center: Different Solutions you Need

  • August 23, 2022
  • 4 mins read

A call center is a melting pot of myriad business activities — from customer support to market research, from lead generation to order cancellation. Depending on a combination of factors such as the size of the organization, location, business goals, scale of calls, kinds of customers, etc., each call center is unique. Yet, call centers can be classified into two types: Inbound and outbound.

In this post, we look into both of these in detail and how you can best use them.

1. Inbound Call Center

Inbound call centers typically receive calls from customers. In an inbound call center, agents answer these calls, address customer queries, answer their questions and direct them to the right place to resolve their concerns. Some of the popular use cases of inbound call centers include:

  • Lead Generation: A key use case for an inbound call center is lead generation through inbound calls based on advertising and promotions. For instance, a customer who has seen a digital ad might call the company to learn more about its features and pricing. An inbound call center will address this call.
  • After-sales Service: During the first few days immediately following a sale, customers might need support. Especially in the case of complex products like a SaaS solution, the onboarding journey needs attention. Businesses use an inbound call center to be available for customers’ needs.
  • Order Management: Several industries have an order management lifecycle where customers need support. For example, in e-commerce, customers might want to return their items, request an exchange, raise complaints, etc. Hotels and travel agencies are bombarded every day with booking and cancellation requests. The inbound call center handles these.
  • Customer Service: An inbound call center is an organization’s customer service foundation. It is the one place where customers reach out in case of questions, concerns, complaints, or queries. For example, banks and credit card companies use inbound call centers for customers to know their balance, outstanding card features, transaction disputes, etc. Software companies use it to offer technical support.

Based on these specific use cases, organizations use call center management software that powers their needs. Some commonly used features are:

  1.  IVR: Using pre-recorded interactive voice response (IVR) to collect preliminary information and authentication so the caller’s experience can be personalized and more efficient.
  2.  Call routing: The IVR uses pre-defined rules and customer inputs to transfer the call to the right agent. Exotel’s smart routing feature uses equal, sequential, emergency, and sticky agent routing methods to do this automatically.
  3. Call recording: Recording and saving all incoming calls for quality monitoring, training, benchmarking, and dispute resolution purposes.
  4.  Call forwarding: To redirect incoming calls to any other agent without dropping the call. If an agent realizes that the customer needs help with a different department or wants to speak to a supervisor, they can forward the call accordingly. Automated forwarding based on agent availability is also possible.

2. Outbound Call Center

In an outbound call center, agents initiate calls to customers on behalf of their company. They reach out to customers offering help, selling products, or collecting information. Some popular use cases of outbound call centers are:

  • Sales : Organizations primarily use outbound call centers to reach prospects to sell. These calls could be cold (calling a prospect for the first time) or warm (calling a prospect after a previous interaction). You can also use an outbound call centre to upsell or cross-sell solutions to existing customers.
  • Reminders and Follow-ups: Another key use case is customer engagement. Agents call existing customers with reminders and follow-ups. For example, an insurance provider might call about upcoming premiums. A healthcare provider might call about appointments.
  • Research and Feedback: Many businesses use outbound call centers to conduct surveys or interviews of their target audience either to test the viability of their new product or to understand their pain points after using an existing product. Many organizations also regularly make outbound calls to collect feedback.

An outbound call center needs different tools and features to be efficient. An outbound call center’s commonly used features are:

  1.  Auto-dialer: To automatically dial numbers and connect to an agent only when a prospect picks up the call. Exotel’s autodialer helps boost agent productivity and call center efficiency.
  2. Dynamic caller ID: 55% of outbound calls are never answered. Some customers even blacklist numbers. (Source: Baylor) Dynamic caller IDs customize the number to be displayed based on the customer’s location, improving pickup rates.
  3. CRM integration: Displaying customer details such as previous order information, location, name, etc., automatically, so agents are well-equipped to help the caller.
  4.  Call recording: Recording and saving all incoming calls for quality monitoring, training, benchmarking, and dispute resolution purposes. 

Inbound vs Outbound Call Center 

 

Ideal Solution: Get the Best of Both Worlds

Inbound and outbound call centers serve distinct purposes for any organization. However, most companies need both. For instance, while customer service is vital, an inbound call centre is necessary, and sales teams also need an effective system to make outbound calls. 

An effective call center can handle both inbound and outbound calls. It requires teams specializing in each skill set. A customer service agent must be trained in product knowledge, commonly asked questions, and handling irate callers. A sales agent must be strong in conversational selling, understanding customer needs, handling objections, etc. To empower them to do their best work, the combined call center also needs robust software with features designed for both.

This is exactly what Printvenue, a fast-growing e-commerce company, got with Exotel. They leveraged Exotel’s software to optimize their human resources to smoothly handle incoming and outgoing calls. To read the full story, click here.

Book a demo now to know more about Exotel and its inbound and outbound call center software.

Manisha Mishra