Standardization is at the heart of a call center because its work is a process. Elements that require a different workflow also need their own names and definitions. What does inbound and outbound mean? How does this division affect the work of a contact center?
Inbound and outbound are the basic call center specializations. Inbound stands for incoming line, which is the process by which the user contacts the advisor – or at least he or she makes the first contact. Outbound is an outbound line where a consultant calls people in the contact database. What are the consequences of these two specializations?
Inbound Call Center
The Inbound Call Center is primarily focused on customer service – future or current. The role of the consultant here is to respond to requests from the client. Such a call center can be used as:
- A hotline that answers customer questions related to services or purchased products, as well as their returns or complaints. He is also responsible for pre-sale service, providing information on the goods that the customer would like to buy,
- Technical support that solves technical problems with hardware or software,
- Accepting orders, i.e. as a sales channel in which the customer can purchase a product or service, as well as receive a new offer or extend the contract.
Performing a customer service function means that an inbound call center does not always have to be just an inbound line. In order to achieve results that are satisfactory for the client, the consultant sometimes reaches for the phone himself to explain with the client the issues that constitute a barrier to a positive solution to the case.
Outbound Call Center
It is different in an Outbound Call Center : it is the advisor who initiates contact with the consumer. Most often it functions in the following modes:
- telemarketing, offering goods or services, as well as new offers for regular customers or extension of expiring contracts,
- arranging business meetings and generating leads,
- conducting surveys regarding satisfaction with the product, service or customer service,
- debt collection.
This division affects not only the organization of work in the call center, but also other areas of the company’s operations.
Both specializations require slightly different skills expected from consultants employed by the company or an external call center. On the outgoing line, employees should be distinguished by persuasiveness and the ability to find an emotional connection with the interlocutor that will attract their attention. The incoming line requires the ability to insight into the client’s situation and easy navigation through the operating procedures, and sometimes also high technical skills.
Other functions should have software in the call center with outgoing lines, and other with incoming lines. In the inbound call center, you should take care of numerous IVR functions and omnichannel solutions that will help you get a seamless view of the full history of customer contact with the company. the use of automatic dialers, which should be programmed in accordance with the campaign assumptions – so as to call the most prospective customers.
If we have an inbound contact center, contact with them should be facilitated by displaying the appropriate telephone number in places strategic for the client. In addition to the classic “Contact” subpage on the website, it is worth placing the number at the very top of the page, adding a click-to-call button or the option of leaving a telephone number and calling back quickly by a consultant. It is also a good practice to include information about possible communication channels in email footers or on printed materials. The success of an outbound call center depends to a large extent on a sufficiently large and properly profiled database of contacts. That is why it is worth investing in a good CRM and collecting customer data – not only phone numbers, but also the history of purchases and contacts with the company in various channels, e.g. at events and in social media.
When deciding on a call center campaign, you should first formulate its goals and then choose the appropriate format – inbound or outbound. As they respond to different needs, it often happens that both lines operate in parallel in the same company. In such a situation, consultants should be provided with a CRM system that takes into account omnichannel solutions, i.e. customer data integration.