Inbound vs. outbound call centers: The difference

Inbound vs. outbound call centers: The difference

The typical activities conducted by inbound and outbound call center agents.

Every call center is designed to support the unique characteristics of a brand, its products, and the markets it serves. There are in-house centers, where the agents are employees of the brand and work onsite at one of its facilities. It is also common to see outsourced call centers, outside organizations that brands hire to manage and run their call center operations.

Despite these differences, all call centers fall into one of two categories; they are either inbound call centers or outbound call centers. Let’s explore the similarities and differences.

All call centers offer opportunities for a brand to offer a varied array of customer services. The type of call center best suited to meet an organization’s needs will be dependent upon its overall objectives, employee talent, and availability—and budget, of course.

What is an outbound call center, and what services does it provide?

An outbound call center is a function of an organization’s sales department. This group of agents are traditionally sales reps who spend their shifts calling prospects. Some companies also use outbound call centers to conduct surveys or other market research, calling shoppers to learn more about their needs and interests.

Here are a few of the typical activities performed by outbound call center agents:

  • Conducting telemarketing - Telemarketers have gotten a bad rap for calling during dinner time, but they serve an important role in direct sales, pitching their company’s products phone number by phone number. Telemarketers can spread awareness of and pitch products to sales prospects, generating brand awareness, leads, or scheduling appointments.
  • Generating telesales - To use a baseball analogy, if a telemarketer is a starting pitcher, telesales teams are the closer. Telesales agents have a singular focus on closing deals over the phone. Sometimes, these teams are called “inside sales” and are tasked with improving conversions and increasing revenue.
  • Setting appointments - Outbound agents can serve as sales development reps and book meetings or schedule product demonstrations for sales executives to follow up.
  • Generating leads - Agents in outbound call centers also conduct “cold calls” to identify sales opportunities and collect information that can determine whether the opportunity is ripe to pursue, asking questions on timing and budget.
  • Research new markets - Outbound call center agents sometimes conduct market research to better understand customer behavior and needs as well as the competitive environment. Market researchers might conduct phone surveys to learn what their target audience plans to spend on a specific category of product or service in the next 12 months. They might also ask about consumers’ current product and service usage, and their perceptions of each. From this research, a company can better target prospects and their needs.

What is an inbound call center, and what activities does it provide?

The most common activity conducted by an inbound call center is customer service. Inbound call centers are not strictly a revenue-eating overhead function and do have the ability to generate revenue.

Here are a few of the typical activities conducted by inbound call center agents:

  • Process orders and payments - Despite the popularity of e-commerce, many shoppers still prefer to place their orders over the phone. Inbound call center agents facilitate customer transactions via phone. Shoppers also might contact a company with billing questions or resolve a payment issue.
  • Provide product and tech support - Inbound call center agents help customers solve a wide array of issues, from updating account information and handling complaints to helping users change their passwords.
  • Upgrade and renew products and services - The popularity of subscription-based business (monthly clothing deliveries, online streaming services, and more) for both consumers and the enterprise, such as software as a service (SaaS) and cloud storage, has provided inbound call center agents the ability to bring in incremental revenue through product or service upgrades and renewals.

Best practices for outbound call centers.

There are a lot of unknown forces that can impact the performance of an inbound call center. Contact volumes can spike at any time for any number of reasons—natural disasters, a new service launch, and a product recall are just a few reasons customers might flood a call center on any given day. Here are three best practices for outbound call center to implement:

  • Focus on customer experience - Consumers no longer rely simply on price and product; today, it’s all about the customer experience. Inbound call centers can play a central role in delivering customer experience—everything from how agents answer calls to training processes to center KPIs needs to be developed in a customer-centric manner.
  • Cultivate engaged agents - The idea that happy employees make for happy customers might be trite, but there is a certain truth to it. Engaged employees that feel an emotional commitment toward the company they work for become invested in helping the company succeed. Reward your best agents and inspire others with recognition whether during a regular staff meeting or via gamification dashboards incorporated into your call center platform.
  • Focus on the right KPIs - With so many variables to measure, it’s easy to assume each metric is equally important. Such an overwhelming volume of data can lead to analysis paralysis, and the important metrics can get lost. Inbound call centers should have five crucial KPIs to measure the success of the operation. These should include operational (i.e., number of calls answered) and customer-related metrics.

Contact centers can be configured to address a wide variety of a brand’s sales, marketing, and customer service needs. When structured to achieve clear objectives, both inbound and outbound call centers can be revenue-generating.

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The Pathway to Customer Retention through Outsourcing

The Pathway to Customer Retention through Outsourcing

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Customer retention strategies are applied by businesses when they want to retain their customers for a period of time. The aim of customer retention is to hold on to the user / consumer / buyer for the longest time. Therefore there is a big difference in new customer acquisition when looking for potential leads. Retaining your customers is far more important and sustainable than acquiring new ones.

If a customer has purchased at least once from your business they are a target in the retention program that you seek to implement.

Research stated that 40% our sales in most cases are sold to the past customers. There is a high probability of making a successful sale to a past customer is almost 70%. Further, loyal customers are 50% more willing to try a new product of yours than new customers.

Retaining customers is a never ending cycle and it is mainly distinguished into three key phases.

  • Attracting customers: obvious first step is to attract the attention of your potential customer.
  • Guiding your customer: once a customer shows interest it is important to accompany them up until the first transaction is done.
  • Grow with your customer: once the purchase is done then the next focus has to be to make an effort to keep the first attention. If the spark remains the customer will eventually be another new ambassador.

There are many struggles in implementing customer retention outsource in Sri Lanka. With digital marketing being the key weapon users feel less well informed and actually confused as to the reliability of their information sources. There are many websites, blogs and other digital platforms that impact brand images for both good and for worst. Even today the most consumers make decisions based on the age old methods such as;

  • Word of mouth
  • Recommendations by other shoppers
  • Articles in the media
  • Analysis reports and reviews
  • Review and independent sources websites

Customers are on the other hand impatient and hence customer acquisition has become complex more than ever. It is also very important to find the right service provider to implement the right strategies and to carry out the right service. Hence choosing the right customer retention service provider in Sri Lanka is absolutely important.

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HIRING THE RIGHT CONTACT CENTER AGENT: SKILLS & ATTRIBUTES WE LOOK FOR

HIRING THE RIGHT CONTACT CENTER AGENT: SKILLS & ATTRIBUTES WE LOOK FOR

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One of the most important part of a contact center would be the hiring process. Because call center agents are the ones that represent the company as the initial contact point. They talk with the customers live, they are who listens to every customer’s concerns, persuade them to buy a product or service, assist on solving problems and questions they might have, and it goes on.

If you care about customer service and providing a great customer experience you would know the importance of having highly skillful agents that can offer an extraordinary service to your customers. Hence why when hiring a call center agent, companies should look for individuals with specific traits and skillsets. Here are some of the most vital attributes and qualities to look for in a call center agent.

SYMPATHY & EMPATHY

Sympathy and empathy is nothing more than caring for customers, sensing and understanding the feelings of the other. This is a very important quality that a call center agent must possess to offer exceptional customer service, this is because emotions play a vital role in the client’s decisions and perceptions. When the call center agent can get into client’s shoes and understand them, they will offer more customized and effective service. We believe this is something we develop in our agents but the honest truth is that it is much more difficult to train soft skills, like sympathy and empathy than technical knowledge, hence why it is really important to hire people with this trait.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

Over here, we are referring to everything involves communication, oral and written, the things you communicate and the way you communicate, and even more important how great you are at listening to customers, because before communicating, listening and understanding the customer’s concern is a key task. We all know that the main task of call center agents is to communicate with customers, hence why it is so important to hire people with great communication skills. Excelled in grammar, positive language, active listening, persuasive skills are traits that call center agents need to offer great customer service.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

As important as understanding customers emotions it is to understand our own emotions and know how to manage them. Call center agents to speak with people that show negative attitudes, they can feel stressed with difficult customer situations or can feel down with sad customers stories, also they can let their personal emotions interfere with the service level they offer. If they had a bad call, they should start the other with new positivism. That is why it is important for them to have emotional intelligence to remain calm, positive, and know how to manage their feelings.

FORWARD THINKING

This is a trait which cannot be learnt through college or university but through industry experience and how the agents work with clients who are in crucial stages. Unfortunately, not all agents are forward thinking when it comes to solving customer problems or providing solutions. This is where our HR team makes a different approach when choosing the right agent. Instead of doing it in the old-way, our team looks into the agent’s cognitive aptitude skills to understand their behaviors and critical thinking abilities.

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HOW IMPORTANT IS OUTSOURCING YOUR EMPLOYEE BACKGROUND VERIFICATION SERVICE?

HOW IMPORTANT IS OUTSOURCING YOUR EMPLOYEE BACKGROUND VERIFICATION SERVICE?

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Background verifications can impact businesses in various ways. It supports employers to hire experienced employees. It is also the key to creating a safe and productive work place for them and for the colleagues. A very successful background verification program supports to promote a company’s values and helps to preserve it by recruiting the best fits.

A successful background verification program is a lot of work as the organization has to ensure a secure, compliant, and dependable background screening process for their employees. Due to the tediousness and importance in this process organizations seek support from outsourcing companies who are experts in this service.

Outsourcing employee background verification as aforementioned is a key requirement in recruitments. There are many benefits of outsourcing employee background verification services and today many companies are already reaping benefits from doing so.

If your organization is keen in outsourcing employee background verification services ensure to proceed with a compliant and renowned service provider.

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CUSTOMER RETENTION STRATEGIES FROM 10 TOP COMPANIES

CUSTOMER RETENTION STRATEGIES FROM 10 TOP COMPANIES

Customers are the biggest and the most valuable asset for any organization. Be it a small business or a large organization. Customer acquisition and retaining is two of the most used strategies in the corporate world along the lines of customer management.

One of the most frequently asked question in organizations is “what’s better?” is it acquiring new customers or retaining the existing one. Even though both these strategies are important one of them should be the primary focus.

It definitely is a tricky question however; the tested and proven answer is focusing on Customer Retention Strategies is the best choice. There are many studies that have proven that today in organization almost 68% of the sales are generated through the existing customer base. So the stakes are definitely higher.

Even though Customer acquisition sounds very attractive retaining customers will constantly generate greater ROI and the norm is that it costs approximately 5 to 25X lesser. It is also believed that these customers will definitely bring in new customers through recommendations and word of mouth.

The next important question is “how do organizations create customer retention strategies to increase customer engagement and satisfaction. There are many case studies across organizations that have tried and tested different methods in customer retention.

Here are nine customer retention strategies that some of the biggest brands are currently following to attract, retain and satisfy customers. Three of the ingredients that make this wonderful recipe are leveraging on convenience to prioritizing and personalization that have been the key in many successful customer retention strategies in top companies.

If you are still confused on what exactly is customer retention let’s break it down to fractions more before moving into customer retention strategies. “Customer retention is a very specific initiative designed to focus on increasing customer value and encouraging them to re-visit, re-purchase and even speak about the products and services.

Here are some of the top customer retention strategies used by the top companies across the world.

Simply if the aforesaid basic steps are met oftentimes it enables a successful hiring, mobilize your resources, and deliver results.

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BPO STRATEGIES THAT ENSURE RECRUITMENT OF THE BEST TALENT

BPO STRATEGIES THAT ENSURE RECRUITMENT OF THE BEST TALENT

HR outsourcing solutions in Sri Lanka is widely used due to the increase in hiring and recruiting of top talented candidates. There ae new job roles created as we speak and it is especially for high-tech jobs. With this dynamic changes in the recruitment platform today organizations seek support in outsource recruitment in Sri Lanka.

These outsourcing agencies today aren’t magicians to recruit the cream of talent from the market. They simply follow basic strategies to ensure recruitment of the best talents in the market. The difference is that they are truly experts in providing these services; they have a solid network that supports them to find and pick the right talent. Here are some of the basic methods that HR outsourcing solution providers follow:

Simply if the aforesaid basic steps are met oftentimes it enables a successful hiring, mobilize your resources, and deliver results.

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IS WORK FROM HOME METHOD EFFECTIVELY WORKING FOR BPO COMPANIES?

IS WORK FROM HOME METHOD EFFECTIVELY WORKING FOR BPO COMPANIES?

We are in a timeline where many things have been restricted and many businesses around the world are pushed to operate with very minimum amount of resources. Amidst all these obstacles, Konnect BPO, as a leading business process outsourcing company in Sri Lanka extends its service to all the clients and maintains the service standards with state-of-the-art technologies to stay on top of the game despite the current situation given.

Even the business process outsourcing service comes into play along with a bunch of useful technologies, Konnect BPO’s work-from-home (WFH) model is not much sophisticated as we look at it from a technological perspective and the workflow is well versed on operational and security control.

Can the agents manage to be productive working from home?

Our experienced panel of agents are well trained on handling such scenarios and remotely carry out the work-related tasks. With our active workflow monitoring systems, 100% productivity of the process is guaranteed!

Despite the pandemic, we have noticed a spike on KPI’s achieved by our agents on the respective processes that are handled.

What if there was a technical breakdown, how well is it managed remotely?

Sometimes it might be mind boggling thinking about how are we going to manage work from home when there’s a technical breakdown. For instance, it could be a power cut from the area the agent is residing, or some software malfunction. At Konnect BPO, we are well focused on our business continuity plan, we ensure a backup agent who is thorough with the process is always in queue to take over and our technical team is always on loop to resolve with a rapid turn around time.

How about data protection and security control, could there be any chance on breach of compliance?

One of the biggest concerns for any client on outsourcing their business process to a third-party business process outsourcing service provider would be having their confidential data protected and maintaining a strong security control. Especially in the age of pandemic work-from-home models might make clients worry about the data safety of their businesses.

At Konnect BPO, we are pledged to maintain industry standard data protection and security control methods to ensure there’s no breach of compliance. Our technical team have a secured VPN connection which is established between the employee’s office PC and personal user device which creates a tunnel between these two devices for a secured workplace access. With this method, despite working from office or home, our IT infrastructure fully secured by industry grade firewall and data loss prevention systems.

While the pandemic has disrupted routines and practices, it has also challenged people to adapt, innovate, and move forward. Though unsettling at first, change is good if embraced with the right mindset and attitude.

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BENEFITS OF OUTSOURCING HR

BENEFITS OF OUTSOURCING HR

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How often do we as organizations really pay attention to our HR departments or give them the due credit for the good work they do to keep the employees happy and focused?

Oftentimes as organizations our focus mainly lies towards the sales, marketing or sometimes even R&D and finance departments. We tend to completely ignore HR at least until we stumble upon a hiccup that triggers the existence of HR department.

Any organizations human resource department is purely responsible for employee payroll, tax filing, and health administration. In addition, they are also responsible for taking care of legal compliance, maintain files and supervise trainings. Currently many organizations are in the trend of outsourcing basic HR functions as they believe that having this service in-housed is tedious task. They are in fact not completely incorrect on this decision as there are multiple benefits in outsourcing HR for the organization and employees.

Key human resource outsourcing benefits for the organization are:

Key benefits for the employee are:

In a nutshell all these HR outsourcing agencies provide professionally managed packages including workers’ compensation, HR compliance, payroll, benefits design and administration and talent management. Organizations however have to be cautious when they choose their service providers for human resource outsourcing services should be done thoroughly and complying with legal aspects. Similar to the multiple pro’s we see in outsourcing organizations should be aware of the cons when choosing the right service provider.

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HOW KONNECT BPO IS HELPING ITS CLIENTS BY OFFERING SUPERIOR CUSTOMER SERVICE IN THE AGE OF PANDEMIC.

HOW KONNECT BPO IS HELPING ITS CLIENTS BY OFFERING SUPERIOR CUSTOMER SERVICE IN THE AGE OF PANDEMIC.

With the pandemic at vast, the world as we know it has come to a halt. The business world is forced to operate with limited resources, and its effect is showing in many of its operations. Customer service is one of the most affected areas of organization at present. In such a situation, customer service in BPO can help businesses deliver a better experience to their customers.

With the anxious customers contacting the customer care channels of an organization more than ever, providing them with the same level of customer service they have come to expect from an organization is becoming quite a challenge. However, with the right call center partner, delivering quality customer service in BPO and the customer experience in these trying times is not impossible.

A well renowned name in the outsourcing industry, Konnect BPO is continuously helping its clients deliver excellent customer service to their customers. At Konnect BPO, we realize that a customer’s interaction with a company can immediately affect his or her sense of trust and loyalty at this time of crisis. Customers today want businesses to meet their new needs with care and empathy. The brands that can deliver the same can earn long-term customer loyalty.

Hence at Konnect BPO, we strive to deliver superior customer service by offering them a highly personalized interaction with empathy, concern, and care. Some of the important features of our customer service offerings are:

Understanding Customer Needs

Due to the pandemic and stay at home regulations imposed in many countries, the customers’ needs are changing. Therefore, to serve the customers well, a company, as well as its call center outsourcing partner, must understand these changing needs and focus on fulfilling them ASAP.

Konnect BPO can offer the customers with appropriate solutions in the quickest possible time with the multichannel customer service options.

Meeting The Customers Where They Are

During the global pandemic, the customers’ lives have been disrupted drastically. Even activities like going out for grocery shopping, socializing with friends have become risky. Therefore, customers today need digital, and very convenient solutions. Therefore, companies must accelerate digital options as that is what the customers need at the moment. With the right customer service and customer experience strategy, it is possible to meet your customers where they are and improve their experience.

At Konnect BPO, we do not see these predicaments as a challenge but an opportunity to improve customer experience. We work closely with our clients, to better serve their customers in the present situation and develop better customer service solutions through various communication channels, including voice, live chat, social media and email.

Developing Nimble Capabilities to Ensure Better Customer Service & Experience

Today, companies are doing rapid research to understand the changing dynamics and identify pain points in the new situation. They are also working on providing agile solutions to the problems.

Konnect BPO is working relentlessly with its clients to provide the customers with the best possible solution. We help our clients maintain a real-time pulse on the changing customer preferences with our innovative solutions.

Right now, it is essential to provide customers with prompt solutions that would suit their need, Konnect BPO can help its clients understand the changing customer needs and customer pain points quickly and work with the clients to come up with a solution.

A practical example would be for the recovery services we provide for one of our client who is a leading vehicle leasing service provider in Sri Lanka, their customer’s had issues on paying the monthly instalments due to rapid pay cuts, we raised this concern with the client and developed an easy paying instalment scheme during this stage where it helped ease up the financial stress of the customers and prevented from being written off as bad debts.

Konnect BPO Technologies (Pvt) Ltd. is one of the leading BPO solution providers in Sri Lanka offering a wide range of uninterrupted high-end services and intense outsourcing solutions to all valuable clients to achieve their goals and be on top of the game in this highly competitive market.

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OUTSOURCING – A REVOLUTIONARY ALTERNATIVE TO MITIGATE COSTS AND FOCUS ON CORE BUSINESS COMPETENCIES

OUTSOURCING – A REVOLUTIONARY ALTERNATIVE TO MITIGATE COSTS AND FOCUS ON CORE BUSINESS COMPETENCIES

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Now a day’s call center outsourcing is a hotly discussed matter in IT, accounting, digital marketing, HR, customer support, and development circles because many companies are facing a cash crunch due to lull in business for months together. Unsurprisingly, culprits are COVID-19 followed by the global recession. The previously cash-strapped businesses are now on the brick of sustenance crises which if left unaddressed would cause them to go under. Pinched by financial uncertainty, many businesses are turning to call center service providers to stay lean and ride out the storm.

The outsourcing process involves getting a third-party call center service provider to manage the day-to-day call center roles instead of hiring and training full-time call center agents for in-house management. The advantage of call center outsourcing is that businesses don’t have to worry about software and infrastructure expenses because third-party service providers are already well-equipped. The outsourcing party can decide whether to outsource a portion of call center operations or the entire functions. If a choice is made, SLA and NDA’s are signed and the selected functions are placed in the hands of a service provider.

Businesses worldwide are contemplating measures to shrink the workforce to avoid being wiped off the map. If your business is at risk of being guillotined, outsourcing customer service may be the only remedy. So, let’s dig into the call center outsourcing trends in 2020 and beyond.

  • Inhibits Runaway Expenses

    Proponents of call center outsourcing swears by the benefits of call center outsourcing especially in terms of operating margins. They say it shrinks the overhead to a trickle because there isn't an infrastructure to maintain or a need for full-time agents. Without the two major contributing factors of money outflow, the surging expenses taper off, allowing businesses to regain control of funds.

  • Mitigates Staffing Concerns

    Staffing is a headache for most companies because it involves extensive vetting which isn't time- and cost-effective especially when there are multiple vacancies and limited resources to filter applications. However, when call center services are outsourced, the service provider handles hiring, training, and task assigning efficiently than you could ever imagine.

  • Round-the-clock Customer Service

    By outsourcing customer services, you are counting on the service provider to respond to your customers from different time zones in a way, you'd like your team to work. An honest provider will do what it takes to ensure their agents are highly available, courteous, and professional.

  • Efficient Management of Call Volume

    Downtime is every business's nightmare. It throws the flow out of whack resulting in upset customers and unhappy agents who'd lose motivation. The unpredictable nature of downtime is what makes it scary. But when an outsourcing partner assures round-the-clock uptime, they are likely armed with contingency servers to ensure business continuity until disruptions are resolved.

The downsides of choosing a wrong outsourcing partner is a decline in service quality and it devalues the brand/business because the agents handling your customers could be uninspired or lack experience in ensuring client satisfaction. Also, most of the outsourcing partners in Sri Lanka manages processes in the form of a shared services where the contact center agents are loaded handling multiple companies processes simultaneously, these facts result in wiping out the productivity of the whole process and it does not really add any value to the client.

Konnect BPO Technologies (PVT) Ltd. simply breaks this universal barrier by ensuring dedicated agents are allocated to enhance productivity and run the process smoothly with great loyalty shown towards the services provided for the respective client’s process.

outsourcing konnectbpo

Mr. Azath Zarook – Director of Konnect BPO Technologies (PVT) Ltd. Added “I strongly believe that the key to successfully managing a particular process is by providing a superior end-to-end customer service while adding great value to the respective brand and adhering to strict compliance policies. Hence we are among the industry leaders and doing what we do at our best with passion to help achieve our client’s goals.

Konnect BPO Technologies (Pvt) Ltd. is one of the leading BPO solution providers in Sri Lanka offering a wide range of uninterrupted high-end services and intense outsourcing solutions to all valuable clients to achieve their goals and be on top of the game in this highly competitive market.

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