“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”
— Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company
What is an inbound call center?
An inbound call center is a qualified customer service team of agents that receive inbound phone calls related to the product and services a company delivers. This is the basic inbound calls definition, yet below we show a real impact of an inbound call center. Highly efficient and sustainable inbound call centers have the option to successfully process both low and high calling requests.
Most of these requests will come over the phone because it's the fastest communication channel. No matter how great your product or service is, customers always have questions and issues regarding products.
Agile and proactive inbound contact center operating creates a mood of trust to prospects and customers. It grants sustainability of business relationships with customers and revenue velocity. And all customers over the globe are likely to have lasting business relationships with those who are online and provide a personalized experience, especially in jittery times.
On the other hand, the purpose of the outbound contact center is sales. Outbound contact center agents are usually a part of a marketing team and eager to reach customers by calling on warm and cold leads.
And none of the companies managed to meet customer expectations if they didn't have enough salespersons or technologies to advertise and persuade.
What’s the difference between inbound and outbound calling?
Qualification of agents is the main difference between outbound and inbound call center agents. In an inbound contact center, agents are engaged to receive calls from customers and deliver relevant information.
On the other hand, an outbound contact center team proactively reaches customers by calling them and making a sales pitch to persuade them to make an immediate purchase.
Both sales and customer service team agents may work in one call center but have different goals and training. Inbound and outbound teams are critically important, and every small or mid-sized business (SMBs) should have both of them.
Main inbound call center services
Above, we've listed the main functions that an inbound contact center handles. However, functions vary depending on your business and contact center platform. The more prospects and customers you have, the wider range of communication you will need.
During the pandemic, digital channels became the next big thing in the world. A successful business must consider them as a primary goal in communication with customers.
Small and mid-sized businesses strive to deliver exceptional customer service, yet sometimes they fail. They fail to deliver the exact product that customers want (e.g. wrong product or service, failing to renew account, time and money loss to some degree), and this is inevitable.
For this purpose exists an inbound call center and customer service teams that are empathetic and handle hotline complaint issues. The hotline is the vital function of an inbound call center, where customers call to express complaints about a lousy company's products and services.
Agents that handle this type of call help reduce the anger, strain, and stress of those customers that suffer in some way from a company's actions. They also provide a rapid solution to the uncomfortable situation by giving discounts, products, or services for free if the company makes a mistake (e.g. wrong delivery, money loss, etc).
When your customer achieves products or services, some customers will have to call you from time to time for additional information, consultation, or remote solutions.
In any case, you provide general customer support services, handle queries, answer questions, and pivot via the phone, to provide relevant information to make a customer feel comfortable and confident.
First Call Resolution (FCR) is a valuable indicator for an agile customer support team and shows your agents are experts in the field. If agents are qualified for solving with a first touchpoint, customers will be delighted with a resolution within one call. As a result, your customer satisfaction rates are skyrocketing.
Every inbound or outbound contact center must have customer service agents or expert teams, which handle problems and solve issues upfront. That grants customer retention and shows that the company is here to stay.
Help desk customer service
Help desk services are spend-up customer service and must-have functions in contact centers. Especially, if your business is in IT, banking, software-as-a-service, or technology, you need to have help desk customer service. The more customers use technologies of any kind (manufacture or software), the more frequent calls on issues regarding the issues you'll have. Agents that work in help desk services are experts in the field.
Payment and order processing
When customers want to make immediate and seamless payments or purchase remotely, they will request a purchase over the phone. Here’s where your inbound call center solution will help. It’s far faster, economical, and a simple way to make purchases. In this case, your staff must rapidly fill the form, request information, and process the purchase.
Updating or changing passwords is one of the most popular and relevant activities in the financial and banking niche. Agents achieve recommendations on desired changes and make remote actions on updating information regarding their account or password.
Of course, every action with financial operation should be encrypted and secured, even from an agent that processed the operation. One of the most effective systems for password updating is the interactive voice response (IVR) system. Customers just change their passwords without involving any live agent whatsoever.
Upgrades, renewals, and other consultancy calls
Why travel to an office if you can make almost any renewals, upgrades, and consultancy over the phone? This type of request is a popular one, and it's easy to process them over the phone. Customers request agents to expand customers’ plans, renew health insurance, or deliver relevant information over the phone.
Every modern inbound call center solution includes everything that concerns customers and their products or services. The only rule you should follow for fostering the mood of trust and customer satisfaction. Your agents must have decent knowledge, motivation, and technologies (desktop, laptop, headsets, internet connection, and software).
To reach customers across all channels, such as phone, email, chat, social media, you must have multichannel contact center software.
Main outbound call center services
On the contrary, the purpose of the outbound call center is to achieve maximum profit or relevant information. Teams that call to customers are sales teams or someone who is highly successful in persuading customers.
In some call centers, especially for small and mid-sized businesses, agents are eager to master specific skills to handle inbound and outbound calls. And it's better to have a workable outbound call center solution for your business.
Telemarketing is one of the most profitable activities in a call center. Telemarketing works successfully in both B2B and B2C. The supreme purpose is to:
- Generate new leads. The company advertises its services through calling prospects with the purpose to turn them into regular customers. In the B2B environment, agents call to present their services to potential partners. However, it’s easy in B2C to contact potential customers and establish sustainable relationships.
- Customer surveys. Collecting data about your prospects and customers through interviewing them and achieving feedback to understand their opinion and financial plans regarding your company. Based on these data, companies anticipate customers' behavior and change their marketing.
- Asking for action. When you reach a customer, it’s crucial to ask for an action that interests you. There are many cases when companies lose opportunities because of a lack of asking for action. For example, visiting your website, ordering the product, arranging meetings, or making a purchase. Asking for action via phone is more accountable than email, chat, or SMS.
Telesales is the part of marketing that concentrates on closing sales over the phone. As door-to-door or face-to-face sales, agents contact targeted or qualified customers to compel them to make the payment right now. This is one of the most popular and profitable ways to generate ROI.
The main power of telesales is that it's fast and eliminates the factor of delay. Depending on the sales skills, agents compel prospects and customers within one call to make a purchase. Telesales continues to generate billions of dollars in revenue over the globe, and this revenue is on the rise.
The purpose of cold calls is to reach prospective buyers and present their goods or services. The main distinguish from telesales is that people are not aware of the product or service when they achieve such a call.
In cold calls, agents need to make warm-up calls, and persuade a person. Then if follow-up calls, using negotiation skills, intelligence, and energy compel customers to order a product or visit a website.
An appointment setting is one of the most effective functions of telemarketing. Frankly, meetings are more reliable and accountable than conversations over the phone. A person that meets you is likely to make a purchase or establish business relationships.
It’s more profitable to establish B2C or B2B relationships through meetings. If businesses place the questions, what's better, inbound vs outbound call centers, they must have facts about their true relevancy. Read on to find out why.
How do you handle inbound and outbound calls?
Handling of inbound and outbound calls is the keynote that small and mid-sized businesses must master. Firstly, customers build their imagination about accountability, reliability, stability of your business based on conversations with your agents.
Secondly, every inbound call center agent must be armed with decent knowledge, not in sales, yet how to satisfy every necessity of the customer. The more knowledgeable, skillful, and experienced agents in a particular niche, the more the mood of trust and confidence they create in customer interactions.
Thirdly, outbound calling is successful when agents have the skill, knowledge, and experience in closing sales and compelling customers. Outbound calling has more sales and intelligence skills than deep expertise in products or services.
It’s either knowing the psychology and persuasion techniques. Of course, experience is the chief for making successful outbound calls. Those agents that are in the business for some time confidently persuade customers yet are expensive.
Advantages of inbound call centers
The most critical advantage of the inbound call center is that in small and mid-sized companies, you already have customers that purchased something from you. And now, you need to answer their questions and satisfy inquiries on a regular basis.
Before customers complete their decision about a particular company, they wish to talk with company representatives. And here’s where the call center’s agents have the power to change their minds. With effective customer relationship management (CRM) and inbound call center software solution, agents have the power to solve any situation.
According to surveys, we can see an interesting situation with the behavior of customers:
- 6 from 10 customers in the US, stop their business relationships with a brand due to poor customer experience;
- 9 of 10 customers confirmed that online reviews impact their decision on making purchases from a particular brand;
- Customers are 2 times more eager to share their bad customer experience than a good one.
Now we see the real impact of customer experience that inbound call centers bring. Frankly, even if a company delivered a bad product or service to customers, which is inevitable due to the human factor, it’s possible to negotiate via phone and satisfy customers’ needs to retain them.
The other reason, as an SMBs, you will advertise your products and services as much as you possibly can. Your plan is to launch a marketing campaign, such as direct email marketing, general advertising, news, discounts, public relations (PR), radio commercial, TV commercial, banners, flyers, etc. It's crucial to attract prospects and increase your ROI.
Then you start to achieve prospective customers that become regular. These attracted customers will consistently call you in response to advertising. And to satisfy prospective customers, you need an inbound call center that handles their requests, provides relevant information, and compels them to make a purchase.
Taking into account seasonal picks that any type of service or product has, you need a call center to answer all of these inquiries related to both technical and sales inquiries. The impact of inbound call centers is tremendous. And a person will likely speak with a real agent to make sure your company is accountable and reliable.
Use key performance indicators to track all your results. To achieve real-time insights and pivot, when necessary, you need to constantly monitor inbound call center metrics. Moreover, your contact center can have agentless functions such as an interactive voice response system or chatbot.
Advantages of outbound contact center
The impact for business of an outbound call center is as important as inbound. The fact that you need to consistently reach customers by calling to increase your ROI, establish new relationships, and stand out from the crowd is clear. And if you have concerns about any kind of performance metric, it’s easy to track them.
Reaching customers is a significantly more powerful money-making tactic, than waiting until inbound sales on advertising. The sales department is the most valuable in your company. You may have a great product, yet if you haven’t enough power to advertise, call, and sell your products, you’ll have tough times in business.
Choose the predictive, progressive, or preview outbound dialer that suits your business needs to reach any customer in the world. For instance, a predictive dialer gives the capacity of rapid calling to the cold base of customers.
Blended call center (hybrid call center) and how blended call center software can help you
Why have only one function as an inbound or outbound contact center deliberately? If you do this, you manually limit your business from growing when you need to reach as many customers as possible or receive and process as many calls as possible.
It's better to have a blended (hybrid) type of call center that grants you incoming calls with the feature to initiate outgoing calls of any kind and any volume. Limiting yourself to a certain level of delivering or providing service is harmful. Especially right now, when the competition in the world is on the rise.
Tackling with high incoming calling volume is relevant as much as an option to launch telemarketing campaigns. For SMBs, it’s not a problem with inbound call center software. To have a small staff that is good in inbound and outbound calling. It’s also a solution and money-saving tactic that decreases your expenses, so you can't lose. But sure you can increase ROI and sustain the business process.
Why does all this concern SMBs?
Whether your business has an inbound, outbound, or blended call center, it's the step for global-scale business opportunities. For small and mid-sized businesses investing large sums of money in infrastructure, telephony, updates, and so forth is a challenging decision. In fact, they don't have to do it. Do you know why?
The reason is keeping your call center in the cloud is more economical and cost-effective. With a cloud contact center, you achieve all the necessary tools, infrastructure, and professionals without additional investment.
Cloud gives you all-in-one business tools and options to receive and initiate calls if you work on a global scale. The cloud call center software requires only: desktop/laptop/tablet, headsets, and a good internet connection. This kind of investment to achieve the power to connect with customers over the globe is pretty affordable.
Voiptime Cloud is a company that has more than a decade of helping small and mid-sized businesses to deploy their call centers in the cloud and increase ROI without additional expenses. Our contact center solution gives the option to reach every customer over the globe. Would you like to have such power at an affordable price that we present?
Here is how to make it happen: click get a quote below this article, fill the form, and our team will contact you as soon as possible. After that, your call center will start to work within 48 hours.
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