difference between inbound and outbound callcenter

Written by:
John Borillo

You have heard about a lot of people working in call center companies or call center service providers. You have heard about companies and businesses investing in a call center Philippines. You have been hearing about these contact centers for a long time but do you really know call centers and what they are? Do you really grasp the idea of contact centers in general? You have also definitely heard about inbound call centers and outbound call centers. Is there any difference between the two? And is it really important to know inbound and outbound contact centers?

The thing is, there are plenty of these call centers in the Philippines and it has become an industry in itself. It is still pretty young as it has started only several years back. However, despite it being quite a young one, it has already proven that it can survive. From a small number of companies sprouting in the country’s capital, Manila, it has now grown to a staggering number. You would never really be able to fully grasp just how fast the growth of this industry has become. This is simply a reflection of the kind of service these call centers based in the Philippines have. The number would surely not grow really high if the service has been totally horrendous. But because it has been growing steadily, you can definitely see the quality of service Filipinos have been able to give.

If you are looking at investing in a call center to boost your company’s sales and get the kind of help that your business needs, it is best that you do get to know call centers a little bit better. By doing so, you would be able to understand how the whole thing works and how it is going to be good for your business. Aside from that, you can now have a great idea on what Philippine call center to choose for your business’ needs.

One of the top things that you should be able to understand is that there are two kinds of call centers out there. One is would be the inbound call centers and the other would be outbound call centers. These are the two main types of contact centers that you can find out there and it is best that you do know the difference between these two. Once you can differentiate one from the other, you can now move on and decide the one that your business needs. After all, outsourced customer service your goal for your now and so you must do your homework and learn about inbound call centers and outbound call centers first before making a decision.

What Is An Inbound Call Center?

From the name itself, an inbound call center is one wherein the agents would be taking only incoming calls. So if you have a business and you have decided to outsource your customer service, then you would most likely be outsourcing to an inbound call center. A technical support call center can also be an inbound call center as there are a lot of customers who do call to get technical help. Most of the people who handle technical accounts are the ones who help customers troubleshoot any problems or fix any gadget issues.

When you do outsource to an inbound call center, most of the time, your business would be able to help out a lot of customers who do call in for help or for inquiries. There are contact centers that create different teams especially for huge companies that need a lot of inbound help. For example, a technical support call center Philippines may seem to be geared only for receiving calls with customers asking for technical help. However, this kind of call center may also have teams that separate those who only need technical assistance, those who have trouble with the product or the service, and those who may be calling in to inquire about the product or the service. This usually happens for really big companies that need the agents to focus on specific tasks to facilitate better calls and be able to help out more customers.

Most people would think that inbound call centers are all for customer service and technical help. However, there can also be an inbound call center that would receive calls and yet also make sales. One example of this would be an order taking call center where agents receive calls from customers who are trying to place orders from your business. You can instruct these agents to actually assist the customers with what they need help with and also, during the process, ask them if they are interested in other products or services that the company is offering. Yes, sales also happens in inbound call centers and not a lot of businesses realize that. There are a lot of companies out there that have recently come to realize that it may be best to invest in an order taking call center Philippines especially if their business is about eCommerce or anything that may be sold online.

What Are The Services You Can Get In An Inbound Call Center?

If you are going to take a look at things, you would think that the only things that an inbound call center can do would be to entertain inquiries, take orders, and probably provide customer service at most. However, that is not quite true. An order taking call center Philippines can do more than just that. It can also provide other services that you may not look at at face value as part of the whole inbound call center category but upon closer inspection, can be really categorized as part of this type of contact center.

Magellan Solutions Outsourcing Inc., one of the top BPO companies in the Philippines, can attest to that. This company does not only provide the usual customer care services for those companies that do need their help. It also provides other services and the list includes order taking services as well as technical support. Order taking services can be for those companies that may be in the food delivery business or maybe even hotel reservations. Those can be counted as part of the inbound call center duties. These are just two of the services that one can get when it comes to providing services under an inbound call center.

Another type of service under inbound call centers would be answering services. These are often offered by companies that advertise toll-free numbers. Usually, these are meant for all those customers who may have inquiries, suggestions, or reactions about the product or the service that they may have bought. Though it may seem to be quite a difficult job to be part of an inbound call center, agents are trained well with top people in the industry providing call center training.

Have you tried contacting a website or a company’s help desk? Well, once you do, you are actually in contact with an inbound type of call center. Yes, that is right. Help desk services are also part of the inbound group. As with the definition, it is all about having the customer contact you first. Thus, help desk services are categorized under this one.

Other types of inbound call center duties may include live chat services for websites that have such a feature in them, as well as email support. A call center agent can be trained to do all of these tasks although he or she will not be asked to do all of these and do multi-tasking as it can mess up the company’s performance metrics.

What Is An Outbound Call Center?

If an inbound call center is all about the agents being on the receiving end, in an outbound call center, the agents are the ones who initiate. In previous years, an outbound call center was about taking care of outbound calls. However, in recent times, that definition has changed. There are now other services that are also outbound services but these are not necessarily limited to calls.

When a company decides to outsource to an outbound call center or a home based call center that offers outbound services, you can be sure that the agents handling the account would be the one initiating communication with customers in behalf of the company. These people would be the ones making the calls or communication first with the customer as compared to an inbound call center where the agents would have to wait for a call or other forms of communication to come to them.

It is not a secret anymore though when you ask people about what they think about outbound call centers and they would most likely answer that they would associate such with sales and telemarketers. Of course, this is not surprising as the first outbound calls were actually made by those who were trying to sell a product or a service to people. However, that kind of definition was when the industry was still in its early stages. Now, though still young as compared to other industries, the call center industry has already widened the scope when it came to outbound services that are outsourced.

One would be able to notice that in a lot of contact center job advertisements on television, on the internet, and on the newspaper, you would be able to see that there are plenty of call center jobs posted. This is not a new thing anymore as with the expansion of the industry, the jobs are becoming more and more specialized. This is also true when it comes to outbound call center jobs. You would definitely find quite a huge amount of services that are categorized under this type of contact center. And many businesses and companies are taking advantage of these categorized services to help grow their customer base and get an even larger share of the market.

What Services Can You Get In An Outbound Call Center?

Making calls can take up too much of your time. Thus, if you do need people to do them for you, you can always outsource such tasks to an outbound call center. There are plenty of services that you can get in one and it is very interesting to take a look at these. See, you may never think that they are part of the services found in such a contact center but they definitely are.

If you need telemarketing services, you can most definitely go to an outbound call center. This is where the industry has begun and it is quite known for it. You are most likely very familiar with telemarketers as you may have gotten several calls yourself asking if you would be interested in purchasing some product or service that a company may be selling. These people calling you are agents and they are representatives of the company selling their wares.

Another service that you can find in this type of contact center would be collection reminders services. If you have a business where you have quite a list of people that you need to regularly remind for payment of dues or fees, then outsourcing just may be the solution for your problem. These agents are trained to do such and you would not have to bother yourself with doing such time-consuming tasks.

For business owners of clinics or perhaps other businesses that operate by appointment or by schedules, then the outbound call center may be the place for you to invest in. See, instead of in-housing people to do the calls for you, you can simply outsource them and have trained agents do the task for you. You can be sure that all the people on your list would be given a call and they would be able to update your schedule for any changes. An outbound call center that offers such a service usually make use of a program that they can update and which will run real-time so there would not be any conflicts. Other services can include lead generation, mystery shopper services, and appointment setting services.

What makes an inbound call center different from an outbound contact center? Share your thoughts today.