The Differences Between Inbound and Outbound Call Centers

Generally, Inbound and outbound call centers refer to the type of calls they primarily handle. They almost always have some amount of overlap, but generally, inbound call centers handle inbound calls while outbound call centers handle outbound calls. This difference between them affects the way their agents are trained and the expertise their agents require. Deciding which type of call center you need is a crucial step to finding the right call center for you that will provide you with the most value.

Inbound Call Centers

When your customers or prospects call into your business, they’re considered an inbound call. These types of calls are what inbound call centers specialize in. They mostly revolve around providing customer service and support or answering questions prospects have before they purchase. All inbound calls fall into three distinct categories; customer service, technical support, or inbound sales.

Customer service calls generally require a limited technical understanding of your product. They aim at simply making the customer happy and satisfying the need for why they called. This type of call deals with:

  • Product returns or refunds
  • Receiving feedback from the customer
  • Updating any personal information the customer has shared with your business
  • Processing payments
  • General questions about your business

Technical support calls require the agent handling the call fully understand the product or service you offer. However, these types of calls require more than just technical knowledge, they also require a high level of patience as the customer call is likely already frustrated. Managing technical support calls remains one of the most important functions of an inbound call center as it keeps your customers happy.

Finally, inbound call centers also handle inbound sales. More often than not, inbound sales only require a slight nudge to secure the sale. This leads the agents to put less of a focus on sales tactics and more focus on building a rapport with the client while answering any questions they might have. By going about inbound sales in a less pushy manner, they create trust between the prospect and your business.

Outbound Call Centers

The primary function of outbound call centers revolves around sales, which causes some to refer to outbound call centers as sales centers. These are the agents making cold calls and following up on warm leads day in and day out. They also reach out to existing customers to offer additional services your company offers that they may need.

Cold calls require the agents to be trained on the selling points of your product as well as a wide range of other sales tactics. This creates the first touchpoint between your business and a potential customer. How well they perform during this first call makes a huge difference in the likelihood of a prospect turning into a paying customer.

Warm leads already inquired about your service or were already contacted through a cold call and requested a follow-up call. This touchpoint is where most of your sales happen. The prospect usually only needs more information about how your product can help them before pulling the trigger. Some businesses also give their agents the opportunity to offer warm leads a one-time discount in order to secure the sale.