Do you know what is the primary link between a business and its customers? You guessed it, call centers! Every time a customer calls a company, it is received by the company’s call center. Various agents and sales reps who get in touch with customers also operate from call centers. Thus, call centers are an integral part of all businesses.
However, not all businesses are the same. They differ in the goods or service that they are providing, the way they operate and what they require to function smoothly on a day to day basis. Hence, to suit the different needs of various companies, there exist different types of call centers. Let us see what they are.
The different types of call centers
So what are the different types of call centers that are available? The two different types of call centers are : Inbound call center and outbound call center. Most businesses use either one depending on their needs. However, some companies provide both these services.
In order to determine which type of call center is best for your business, you need to have a deeper understanding of the use of both these types of call centers. One must know what differentiates one type from the other to make the best choice for his business.
To have a better understanding of the two types of call centers, let us look at them individually.
What is an inbound call center?
As the name suggests, inbound contact centers focus on incoming calls. In such call centers, the primary task of the agents is to receive incoming calls rather than calling people from their end. In such cases, callers are generally seeking some sort of assistance in terms of technical support, product assistance, product return or replacement, customer support, and so on.
Inbound call centers are centred around customer service and support. They serve as the primary forum of knowledge and assistance for customers. To ensure maximum customer satisfaction, queries need to be resolved as quickly as possible. Thus, inbound call centers need to have fast connectivity and incredibly active agents.
The IVR or interactive voice response software has wide applications and usage in inbound call centers. A survey by JDPower reveals that customers spend 30% of their call time interacting with the IVR menu rather than with human agents.
To make the IVR system more quick and efficient, many inbound call centers are now converting to smart cloud based contact centers.
What is an outbound call center?
An outbound call center is the exact opposite of an inbound call center. Here, agents proactively make calls instead of sitting back and waiting for calls to roll in. An outbound call center is mostly used for making sales and marketing calls.
Usually, agents have a list of names or ‘cold leads’ whom they call and try to convert into customers. However, tracking and managing such a huge list of leads can be quite a hassle. This is why most outbound call centers are integrated with the CRM software to keep a record of all the calls made by the agents.
Agents in outbound contact centers aim to advertise, promote and sell products. They do not need to answer any technical questions or queries that existing customers may have. This is why people who have good persuasive and marketing skills are generally placed in outbound call centers.
Now that we all have a clear picture of what is meant by inbound and outbound call centers, let us have a look at their differences.
What are the differences between inboudn and outbound call centers?
The primary difference between an inbound and outbound call center depends on whether most of the calls are received or made. As we have already discussed, inbound call centers primarily deal with answering incoming calls whereas outbound call centers are more focused on making calls from their end.
Thus, if a call center receives more calls than it makes, then it is an inbound call center. On the other hand, if a call center makes more calls than it receives, then it is an outbound call center.
They also differ in the kind of third party softwares that they need to integrate with. For example, inbound contact centers are focused on customer service and deal with huge volumes of incoming calls. Hence, integration with a good IVR software is a must for them. To increase efficiency and customer satisfaction, an intelligent call routing software is also often used.
On the other hand, outbound contact centers are used to actively make calls to leads. Thus, integration with a CRM software or a predictive dialer can prove to be immensely useful. Outbound call centers do not have much use for an Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, software.
The two types of contact centers serve very different purposes. Hence, before setting up a call center for a business, one needs to carefully analyse the needs of the company. It is important to think about the type of interactions one expects to have with his customers.
What is a business requires both types of call centers simultaneously?
While most businesses focus on either an inbound or an outbound call center, some may need both. For example, consider a high tech software company. Customers may experience software glitches or other problems for which they require technical assistance. Thus, an inbound call center is required.
However, the product may be fairly new in the market. In order to promote their product and reach out to more people, the company is investing heavily in sales and marketing. In that case, an outbound contact center also becomes necessary.
To function efficiently on both aspects of customer interaction, businesses may use both types of contact centers simultaneously. How is this achieved? Simple – by integrating all the third party softwares together and assigning different tasks to different agents depending on their skills and area of expertise.
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