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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:

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:

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:

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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