Inbound vs. Outbound Call Centers: What’s the Difference?
Whether large or small, businesses all over America need to make phone calls to existing and potential clients and handle calls from past customers who call in with questions, comments, or concerns. Both of these components of customer communication are important to your long-term success.
Customer satisfaction is at the core of being a successful business. This means that you must be willing to invest in your customer’s happiness, build brand loyalty, enhance the customer experience at all touchpoints, and be proactive in solving customer complaints.
There are two different types of call centers. Inbound call centers take customer calls while outbound call centers initiate contact with customers. Both are essential and crucial to maintaining upward growth.
Inbound Call Centers
Whenever a customer has a complaint or issue with a service or product purchased from your business, they will often contact you via telephone. These inbound calls are important because they allow you to ensure your customers maintain a positive attitude towards your company.
Inbound call centers receive and field these calls based on their nature. Below are several more examples of the functions inbound call centers handle.
Inbound Call Centers Functions
- Fielding And Directing Calls
- Handling Customer Complaints
- Arranging Solutions For Customer Complaints
- Generating Revenue
- Payment Processing
- Providing Information To Customers
Fielding and Directing Calls
One of the most critical functions of inbound call centers is efficiency. By taking, fielding, and directing customer calls to the appropriate departments or people, inbound call centers help ensure customers are given quick access to the right people who can help them. Additionally, this reduces time wasted by staff speaking with customers they cannot help.
For instance, transferring the customer to the sales team would be inefficient if a customer calls in with a technical complaint or issue. The sales team may not have the skills or tools necessary to assist them. This will cause delays for both the customer and the sales team, neither of which benefit your growth.
Handling Customer Complaints
Unhappy customers are inevitable. No matter how hard you try to be perfect, perfection is impossible. However, when you make an error or when there is an issue that is negatively impacting your customers, you do have the ability to make it right.
Inbound call centers allow you to earn and maintain customer loyalty by righting any wrongs. An unhappy customer can cause significant issues for your growth as they are far more likely to tell their friends and families about their negative experiences than they would say to them about a positive experience.
Arranging Solutions for Customer Complaints
Inbound call centers will receive most customer complaints that don’t come in via other methods such as email, your website, or inside your brick-and-mortar locations. These complaints can often be resolved via the customer service representative they speak with at your call center.
If the issue is beyond the scope of the representative, they can direct the customer to the appropriate source, or they can arrange remedies. For instance, if a customer complains about their product going to the wrong address, the representative can arrange for another shipment to the correct address. However, if they have a technical complaint, the representative can transfer them to a specialist who can assist them with the issue.
Although most of the calls coming into the inbound call center will be for customer service issues, the opportunity to create potential revenue with the call should not be wasted. Inbound customer service representatives can upsell or cross-sell products and services to the customers while they are on the phone or provide upgrade options to alleviate their concerns.
Inbound call centers also can handle payments for your products and services. Missed or late fees can be costly for a variety of reasons. For starters, missed payments often prompt mailed notices to the customer. These notices cost money for material and postage. Reducing late notices helps lower your operating costs.
Providing Information to Customers
Customer service always involves the dissemination of information. If a customer has a question about your product or service, the inbound call center can assist them. The call center can usually help with basic inquiries, such as when their bill is due or what services they have. If the customer has a more in-depth question, the inbound call center can direct them to the appropriate resource.
Outbound Call Centers
Outbound call centers also play a vital role in the customer experience. Whereas inbound call centers field calls from customers, outbound call centers reach out to prospective and existing customers.
Outbound Call Center Functions
- Proactive Customer Service
- Market Research
- Appointment Setting
- Telemarketing And Sales
Proactive Customer Service
Proactive customer service is one of the best functions of outbound call centers. Proactive customer service has various functions, but at its core, it involves contacting customers to ensure they encountered a positive experience with your company, service, and product.
For instance, if a customer purchases a product from your company, calling the customer a week or two later to ensure they are still enjoying the product and inquiring about any concerns are examples of being proactive with your customer service. This level of attention to your customers will show them how important their satisfaction and happiness are to you as a company.
The benefits of being proactive are endless. However, the greatest is that it promotes brand loyalty. You spend a lot of time and resources finding new customers and closing deals. It is equally important to maintain them as customers. It is far more costly to lose them and find new customers to replace them than it is to invest in their ongoing satisfaction.
Market research is an essential element of growth. To remain competitive, you need to know what your customers think, desire, hate, dislike, and love. We guarantee you that your competitors are researching your market. Don’t be left in the dust by ignoring this essential element of successful businesses.
Outbound call centers allow you to conduct market research with existing and prospective customers. Completing surveys is a great tool to gauge customers’ interest at any given point. The information attained through this research is then used to aid your marketing team’s product and service strategies.
Outbound call centers are also great for setting up customer or sales team appointments. Regardless of the type of business you are in, getting face-to-face with your customers is essential. Your outbound call centers can set up new appointments and confirm existing appointments.
Telemarketing and Sales
Telemarketing is a word that almost universally prompts adverse reactions, but despite this negative connotation, it is an essential element of marketing and sales. Telemarketing is the same as a salesperson going door-to-door to find new customers or sending out mailers. In other words, its primary purpose is to find and close new customers for your business.
Outbound call centers are essential in facilitating telemarketing and sales for your company. Some companies use these call centers to find new customers and gauge interest which can then be sent to the sales department for later follow-up. Others use the outbound call center to find new customers and conduct sales.
In either case, the outbound call center is vital to making this possible.
Key Call Center Takeaways
Inbound Call Centers:
- Are The First Line Of Defense For Customer Complaints
- They Can Also Help Increase Sales And Revenue
- Provide Solutions To Customer Concerns
- Increase Customer Experience Efficiency
Outbound Call Centers:
- Are The Frontline Of Your Telemarketing
- Are A Great Tool To Conduct Market Research
- Provide Face-to-Face Opportunities For Your Sales Team
- Build Brand Loyalty
Bringing It All Together
Inbound and Outbound Call Centers work together to create a customer experience for your customers that serves to increase customer satisfaction, increase customer retention, increase revenue and sales, and reduce negative impacts on your image.
One of the most excellent tools available to you with these call centers is the ability to anticipate your customers’ concerns proactively. This demonstrates to them that you are customer-focused and not profit focused. The result of this proactiveness is increased brand loyalty.
AwesomeOS: We Know a Thing or Two
At AwesomeOS we specialize in providing a customer experience for your customers that serves as an extension of your company and not just a partnership. While outsourcing your call center needs may not be the first solution you thought of, it creates many benefits for you, from reduced costs to access to global talent.
Give us a call today and connect with our team to learn how we can amplify your brand loyalty and customer satisfaction as a trusted partner and extension of your company. Our costs are straightforward, and you’ll never receive hidden charges or fees for our services. What’s more, we have no issue with working with your company on a month-to-month contract to give you the confidence you need as a leader in your company to choose us as your customer service partner.
We look forward to partnering with you on your journey towards providing the white-glove customer experience your customers deserve.