What Is The Difference Between Inbound And Outbound Call Centers?
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Typically, a place that maps more incoming calls is called an inbound call center. On the other hand, centers that make more outgoing calls are called outbound centers. The tipping point, for the sake of clarity, is 50%.
So, if a contact center makes more than 50% outgoing calls than incoming calls, it will be called an outbound call center. And conversely, if more than 50% calls are inbound, it will be called an inbound call center.
Outbound calling means outgoing calls made by agents (or sales representatives) for sales, follow-ups, renewal reminders, or updates. Inbound calling means incoming calls taken by agents for customer support or inquiries.
To understand the nature of work, purpose, agents, attributes, customers, level of challenge, and effect on business, let’s delve deeper into this.
Differences in Purpose
While the goal of any call center is a happy and satisfied customer, the way to achieve this differs in either case.
In an inbound call center, customers will be calling in with either queries, doubts, complaints, or suggestions where he needs the assistance of agents. The agents will help him resolve this. The customers’ need for service is high, and closing the interaction positively is more in the agent’s control.
Conversely, in an outbound process, the agents call the customer. It may be for sales, payments, updates, offers, or renewals on products or services. The customer may or may not be receptive, as his need for the same is not verified. Neither is the time of contact at his convenience. As a result, success rates are lower.
Differences in Technology
Technology-wise, an inbound call center, will require technologies such as
- Call Monitoring
- Call controls such as mute, hold, transfer, and barge-in.
- Ticketing Integration
Outbound Call centers would need:
- CRM Integration
- Outbound IVR
Differences in Agent Training & Attitude
While both types of work have merit, in terms of agent attributes, some differences are natural. In an inbound center, customers feel in charge. Agents need to have customer information at their fingertips, as soon as a call comes in. They need to be polite and have both excellent listening skills and problem-solving skills.
While in an outbound center, agents are encroaching on people’s time. These agents often need to adopt a slightly more aggressive attitude. They need to be good at recognizing prospects’ moods, selling, persuasion, and closing.
Differences in Business Impact & Challenges
Finally, the effect on the business of both inbound and outbound call centers is essential, yet the level of challenge is different in both. Outbound contact centers are measured in terms of high conversion ratios. While Inbound Contact centers are measured in terms of resolution speed and customer satisfaction.
All in all, the importance of neither can be undermined. Fine-tuning the processes while having a good grip on the changing market along with excellent training of the agents is a mantra to running a successful Contact Center.