Have you ever called a company to get technical support or talk to their customer service team? Or received a call from a company conducting a survey or marketing campaign? Both types of calls are possible because of call centers.
If you aren’t familiar with how call centers work, the main concept to understand is that there are two types of call centers, inbound and outbound. Both types of call centers serve different purposes, let’s discuss what the difference is below.
Inbound Call Centers
The main thing to know about inbound call centers is that they are customer focused. The inbound call center receives calls from outside of the center from customers who need technical support, have a question, or would like a complaint resolution. Then, they use their call center software to address the issue.
Since the calls come from outside of the center, most times the person who initiated the call, the customer, wants to be talking to someone from the center. This makes the interactions more pleasant for both parties involved.
To provide the person calling with the best customer service possible, the call center agent needs to have the appropriate training and product or service knowledge to solve the customer’s problem quickly and efficiently. Typically, the call center agent will use a help desk software that is implemented within their company to assist them in this process.
Outbound Call Centers
Unlike inbound call centers which are customer focused, outbound call centers are more sales focused. Outbound call centers place calls to people outside of the center for various reasons including marketing or political campaigns, requesting money for charities, selling a product or service, or conducting a survey. These calls can also be made for B2B and B2C marketing, upselling and cross-selling products within a company, and lead generation.
With outbound call centers, generally the person receiving the call is not expecting it, which can sometimes cause tension between the customer and call center agent. Typically, the agents call the people on their list, and use specific checklists to get the information they need. Then instead of using a help desk software like the inbound call centers do, they use a CRM (Client Relationship Monitoring) software to input and gather data.
Inbound vs Outbound Call Centers: What’s the Difference
Understanding the difference between an inbound and outbound call center is important, especially when evaluating the type of software needed to run efficiently. This can include help desk software, call center software, dialers, and CRM software.
To determine the type of call center one is, evaluate what type of calls there are more than 50% of the time. If you are mostly making outbound calls, you are considered an outbound call center. Similarly, if you are receiving most of the calls, you would be considered an inbound call center.
Can you get one (hybrid) call center system that handles both?
Even if your call center is considered to be mostly one or the other, inbound or outbound customer service, chances are you could be using both methods throughout the work day. When a company runs this way, this is when a hybrid call center system can be beneficial.
Incorporating a system that combines inbound help desk software and outbound calling and management software can be a great decision to simplify and streamline a company’s productivity. Oftentimes, if you are using two different types of software, a disconnect can happen between the company or it can get extremely unorganized and confusing.
Using a unified system allows the call center agents to switch between making and taking calls easily, maximizing productivity. Also, having one software here all the phone call data is stored can help managers to pull reports and analyze metrics and company KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators).
Implementing call center and help desk software can also help to set up automatic rules for who the calls will go to depending on the type of call. For example, if you have inbound calls with severe issues or in-depth questions, you will want those calls to go to some of the best customer service agents within the call center. You can also attribute different rules to different measurements such as number of calls made, length of call, and number of dials attempted.
Not only does combining inbound and outbound call center software increase productivity within the company, but it can also be cost effective. Paying for one combined software that includes the help desk software component and the CRM component, is often cheaper than paying for both individually. It also requires less training time, since you are only training the entire team on one specific software, rather than taking the time to teach them two separate ones.
If you are considering implementing a hybrid call center within your company, the first step is to evaluate which type of calls you generally make more of, inbound or outbound. Then, conduct research on the best type of help desk software and CRM software, or combined call center software that would be the best fit for your company.