Whether you run a small non-profit that needs help with handling calls or part of a large multi-national corporation looking to enhance overall customer communication, the end goal is similar: finding a solution that meets and exceeds your most pressing needs.
But first, it helps to determine the key differences between the two main types of call center platforms: the inbound and outbound call centers, respectively.
TeleDirect, a premier business process outsourcing (BPO) provider of call center platforms and other critical client communication tools, offers expertly outsourced inbound call centers and outbound call centers. From tech-friendly automated support to live agent assistance, we’re the preferred inbound & outbound call center solution for companies across the globe.
And the need for inbound call center and outbound call center services is stronger than ever, despite the myth that chatbots and AI are taking over contact center communication. Not surprisingly, most people prefer talking to an actual person about a product, service, or other important information. This is especially true for healthcare organizations and critical care facilities, where actual conversations are the literal lifelines that help ensure timely, quality healthcare.
So, the classic call center functions (for both inbound and outbound platforms) aren’t going away anytime soon. What is an inbound call center’s primary tasks? Which type of service would fit my business model? What is an outbound call center’s main advantages over other types of outreach strategies?
You have tons of questions – and TeleDirect has all the answers! Keep reading to discover the distinctions between inbound vs outbound call centers, how your business or non-profit model helps determine which service to select, and various types of inbound & outbound strategies available to reach your unique client base.
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Inbound vs Outbound Call Center Services – Initial Assessment
If you’re not sure about the inbound vs outbound call center debate, you’re not alone; in fact, you might be surprised at how many of our clients contact us with minimal knowledge about what the two types of call centers actually do!
Before we discuss what is an inbound call center, what is an outbound call center and the main differences between the two, assess your business or non-profit’s core service needs, the greater industry or sector beyond your own firm, and what exactly your client communication needs require.
- Type of business. Your business’s demands are vastly different than the business around the corner – and even from a direct competitor. If you need assistance with marketing efforts, an outbound call center solution might be the best choice. But if incoming calls typically overwhelm your business during certain times, and inbound call center is the pick. It all depends on your own business type, and which services you need, from both short-term and long-term perspectives. Many of our clients sign up thinking they need either an inbound call center or outbound call center, when actually they need both! But as a general rule of thumb, marketing agencies require outbound assistance, while those enterprises with a large volume of incoming calls – think healthcare providers or utility companies – need inbound help right away.
- Your business sector. The ability to shift on the fly and focus on inbound rather than outbound – and vice versa – is critical for many types of industries. For example, insurance firms require different needs than financial service providers. For example, the annual tax season means that tax preparation firms, banks and other financial firms need extra call support leading up to April 15th.
- Crisis communications and client communication. Important product updates. Follow-ups with patients. Recall notices. Depending on the direction of your communication (inbound vs outbound), critical messaging, calls and other forms of contact can make or break trust with your customers or patients.
Before you debate the inbound vs inbound call center issue with key stakeholders, look within your own organization, and externally at prevailing industry trends, to determine your own unique communication requirements.
Important Differences: Inbound vs Outbound Call Center Services
You need contact center solutions, but aren’t sure which one suits your needs. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.
What is an Inbound Call Center?
The key difference between inbound vs outbound call center services is the direction of communication. For incoming calls, inbound call centers are designed to receive all client communication. In the past, this simply meant phone calls. But with today’s multi-channel environment, this also includes text messages, chat sessions, social media queries, and more.
Inbound calls and communication fall under any of the following categories:
- Reservation services. Want to ensure your next big seminar gets the most people in the seats? Reservation services, as part of your inbound solutions, fit the bill.
- Order processing. Need help processing orders during high volume periods, or to support a successful new product launch? Order processing is a key element of any complete inbound call center service platform.
- Multi-channel communication. We mentioned it briefly before…today’s inbound call center services require much more than simple phone answering services. With media support & direct response capability, your inbound service is able to navigate the considerable challenges (and volume) of a robust multi-channel marketing campaign!
- Extra support. If you need 24/7/365 support for your inbound call center, overflow & after hours services are essential. The business cycle never stops for some clients – make sure your inbound services include this critical aspect of total customer service.
- Inbound tech support. As the world becomes more tech-dependent, the ability for your inbound call center to handle everything from IT business queries to server issues and more. TeleDirect’s Tier 1 Tech Support is the ideal tool to enable effortless, streamlined service in this regard.
- Sales support & lead qualification. This is a little-known but fast-growing element of the complete inbound call center service. Think about it: your inbound call center is the perfect mechanism to select & source leads – but you need a little help in transitioning potential leads into paying customers. That’s what our lead qualification resources are all about – contact TeleDirect today about how we can help!
The best inbound call centers also handle help desk services, which means they have an ideal combination of automated backend support with highly trained agents to manage client-focused concerns. Think of inbound call centers as your ultimate customer service resource.
What is an Outbound Call Center?
While inbound call centers are focused on the tasks listed above, outbound solutions are less geared toward customer service and instead concentrate on your firm’s marketing strategy. Lead generation – opposed to lead verification – is a key core of any well-planned outbound call center, along with:
- Lead generation & growth. While inbound call centers are all about lead qualification – which leads are worth pursuing – outbound call centers should help your organization generate potential leads…and thus potential paying customers!
- Appointment management. From setting to confirming appointments, this crucial task is at the heart of the process of bringing on additional customers. The goal of every firm is to transition from prospecting to upselling – and that’s the main goal of any appointment setting platform.
- Telesales & upsells. Speaking of upselling – does your outbound system have a solid telesales & upsells application in place? If not, your outbound call center isn’t all it can be. To reach its full potential, you have to be able to figure out which leads are ready for initial and recurring service. TeleDirect can help, thanks to an experienced group agents who close the deal.
- Constant feedback. Inbound call centers don’t get all the customer feedback priority. With an effective surveys & feedback program, your enterprise quickly identifies which areas of your outreach strategy are on track, and which parts need improvement.
- Seminar & event registration. To turn potential customers into long-term clients, the initial “wow factor” is required. To optimize your outbound call center services, ensure you have an actionable, intelligent event & seminar plan in place. With a host of backend features and user-friendly tools, TeleDirect’s outbound platform excels in this critical space.
To look at the inbound vs outbound call center comparison another way, think of inbound call centers for paying customers, while outbound call center activities are centered around potential clients.
Contact TeleDirect Today for Assistance with Your Inbound & Outbound Solutions
While contrasting the inbound vs outbound call center attributes and core competencies, you may decide that BOTH services are in store – many of our clients do! Whatever you need, TeleDirect is here to provide turnkey solutions, system-wide upgrades, and focused, specific improvements to your inbound call center or outbound call center.
See how our BPO services can help today. We’re the preferred outsourced inbound & outbound provider for companies across the entire business continuum, with multiple industry expertise and more than two decades worth of experience.
Not sure how to proceed? Here’s a sensible first step – contact TeleDirect today. Call our inbound & outbound call center specialists at (800) 776-1081, or fill out our client contact form. We’ll be in touch with customized solutions ASAP. Thanks for considering TeleDirect for your complete inbound & outbound call center needs.
Smitha is the CEO and CFO of TeleDirect. Smitha obtained her license as CPA in 2007 from the California Board of Accountancy. Smitha is a results-driven leader with a proven track record of driving profitability and growth. With over 20 years of experience in business and finance, Smitha’s expertise in developing and implementing strategic plans has led to significant improvements in customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and operational efficiency. Smitha’s expertise in financial analysis and strategic planning allows her to develop innovative solutions that balance the needs of clients, employees, and shareholders. Smitha is passionate about building strong relationships with clients and fostering a culture of excellence that empowers employees to deliver outstanding results.