What Is The Meaning Of An Inbound Call?
Inbound calls are types of calls that a customer makes in order to connect with a contact center or a call center. The help desk also responds to inbound calls just like a contact center, but calls initiated to a help desk will usually come from employees and less likely from a customer.
Inbound and outbound calls can be attended to exclusively or in a combination of both by the call center.
Customers who initiate an inbound call to a call center will usually be doing so to make inquiries about products and services, as well as to make complaints. The information gathered by the call center agent is then used to find a resolution to the complaint or to provide information that the customer has inquired upon.
There are several metrics that are used to measure the performance of an inbound call agent, these include: average handle time (AHT), time in the queue, and first call resolution (FCR). Inbound call centers occasionally enumerate the service goals that the call center will aim for in a service-level agreement (SLA).
Due to advancement in communication technology, inbound call agents now communicate with customers via other means such as chat and through emails, which allows customers’ needs to be met from a variety of methods.
What Is The Meaning Of An Outbound Call?
Unlike an inbound call that is initiated by the customer, an outbound call is a call to a customer from the call center or on behalf of a business. Have you ever received a call from a strange number with a voice which could be that of a man or a lady asking for or giving information about a product or service? That is what an outbound call is.
Outbound calls are part of a series of activities that businesses engage in by utilizing call centers to reach out to their customers and prospects.
Are Outbound Calls Effective?
Modern technology has improved the features of outbound calls that assist call centers in doing a better and effective job. New features such as auto-dialing and predictive dialing are tools that help call center agents maximize their time more efficiently.
Another great tool that helps in making outbound calls more efficient is the automatic call-back tool. Other features such as call scheduling, as well as customer relationship management tools all help to enhance the quality of outbound calls. Call center agents who have information about customer behavior are equipped to make better quality outbound calls.
Generally, outbound calls have improved in efficiency over the last decade with improvements made to enterprise software, which are readily available and are at the disposal of the call center.
The typical nature of an outbound can include:
- Fundraising calls
- Sales calls
- Calls for contact list updating purposes
- Verification services
What Is An Inbound Call Center?
An inbound call center is company that responds to calls initiated by customers.
Inbound call centers are designed to provide customer support or service. In many cases, inbound call centers have been found to be a part of the sales division by taking sales orders and also to serve as an internal help desk for organization and businesses.
Inbound call centers provide the following services:
- Reservations, scheduling appointments, registrations
- Customer service – respond to complaints, take inquiries, and requests
- Order entry and processing, along with taking sales orders
- Support for customers, as well as internally for certain businesses
In most cases, many organizations do not directly handle inbound calls. They usually contract that aspect to external inbound call centers. Businesses rely on external call centers to receive inbound calls because it is typically cheaper to purchase the service, rather than paying the cost of employing several call center agents, along with implementing an actual call center into their business.
Most businesses take advantage of incurring the cost of inbound calls on a “per minute” charging basis compared to incurring the financial burden of acquiring calling equipment and staff that the task needs.
What Is An Outbound Call Center?
An outbound call center is a type of business activity center that consists of a collection of call center agents who make calls to existing and prospective customers on behalf of clients and businesses.
Outbound calls are often facilitated with the use of modern technology in order for them to be efficient. With the help of tools like a predictive dialer, a large volume of calls can be made within a shorter time.
These are some of the uses of outbound call centers:
- Great for proactive customer service – delivery arrangements, informing customers about delays in delivery or other services
- Sales calls to prospective customers
- For booking appointments/ appointment setting
- A method used for acquiring market research
- Consumer satisfaction surveys
- Sales calls to existing customers – upselling or cross-selling
- Sales calls to existing customers – renewals
What Are The Differences Between Inbound And Outbound Call Centers?
The type of calls that take place at a call center ultimately determines whether that call center is an inbound call center or an outbound call center. This is the main factor that can differentiate between one or the other.
If over 50% of calls that take place at a call center are inbound, that call center is considered an inbound call center. The same criterion applies to outbound call centers.
If you operate a call center, determining the type of call center that you are operating or planning to operate is key to implementing the protocols and systems you want to run in your call center.
For example, if your call center handles primarily inbound calls, there may not be a need for technology devices like a predictive dialer. Your focus will be more on tools that are more suited to inbound calls.
For call centers that are engaged in outbound calls activities, more resources should be put into software programs that will help make them more efficient. Tools such as call scheduling, predictive dialing, and automatic callback are some of the essentials for an outbound calling center. Calling features such as call monitoring, which is great for listening in on outgoing calls should also be utilized for those interested in maximizing the services offered.