If you are an advertiser and/or merchant and are billing customers with one of your own products, chances are that you have a call center in place to handle your inbound and outbound calling support. A call center can be the lifeblood of an advertiser’s business to keeping customers happy, retaining business and even building future business with followups for additional or related products to sell.
If you do not currently work with a call center or are thinking about becoming an advertiser, there are really two types of call centers you will be dealing with – Inbound and Outbound.
So first off, let’s define the two:
Inbound Call Center – An inbound call center is one that exclusively or predominately handles inbound calls (calls initiated by the customer) rather than outbound calls. A call center may handle either only inbound or outbound calls or might deal with a combination of the two.
Inbound call center agents performances are measured according to several things, including first call resolution (FCR), average handle time (AHT) and time in queue. Inbound call centers sometimes stipulate service goals the center will work toward in a service-level agreement (SLA).
Most Inbound Call Centers in today’s world offer telephone and email support as well as chat support. With the introduction of live support agent chat software over the last couple of years, this is becoming increasingly popular and I have been seeing it a lot in the Performance Marketing Industry.
Outbound Call Center – An outbound call center is one in which call center agents makeoutbound calls to customers on behalf of a business or client. Calls made from the center can include telemarketing, sales or fund-raising calls, as well as calls for contact list updating, surveys or verification services.
How Do Inbound And Outbound Call Centers Differ?
To be honest, in the Performance Marketing Industry there can be an overlap of the two with just a single call center handling both inbound and outbound calling. However, in a perfect world, let’s separate the two.
Outbound Call Centers tend to be more organized, have a plan in place and possibly scripts to use to achieve the best results possible. The Inbound Call Center though is on the other side and they are in place to typically offer support, handle problematic questions, offer suggestions, and basically attempt to solve any problem the customers might be experiencing.
One requires a lot of thinking and planning, whereas the other, requires imagination and creativity to make sure customers are satisfied when they hang up the phone.
Outbound Call Centers are typically reaching customers that are not expecting a call where inbound call centers are receiving calls that customers are making. This is really the difference between the two and as I said, in a perfect world, the two are different and require different skillsets among the call center agents.
Are you currently using call centers? If so, how is it working for you?