what is an inbound call center

What is an Inbound Call Center?

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Customer satisfaction plays a crucial role in a business’ success. Negative experiences like long wait times is one of the reasons 50% of customers switch to your competitor.

When every interaction could mean the difference between keeping and losing a customer, it becomes vital to provide excellent customer experiences at every turn.

So, it makes sense for companies to increase their capacity to handle incoming customers calls and manage their call center inbound call flow, by setting up or outsourcing to inbound call centers.

Inbound call centers can help enhance the customer experience by providing high-quality, ongoing customer support and assistance – and this post will explain what is an inbound call center, its different components, and the benefits & risks of outsourcing an inbound call center for your business.

Call centers are designed to manage the phone lines of businesses and provide support. Most call center agents field inbound interactions every day, but these aren’t the only type of inquiries they take. The two primary types of call centers are inbound and outbound call centers.

An inbound call center is a centralized department (internal, outsourced, or both) that manages inbound interactions to provide customer support. Responding to inbound inquiries is a primary function of most customer service teams that are looking to enhance the customer experience.

Inbound vs Outbound Call Center

Let’s briefly describe the main differences between inbound and outbound call centers:

Inbound call centers:

Receive incoming calls from customers.

Inbound phone calls, chats, SMS, or emails are initiated by the customer and are made to a business’ support team or customer service department, which are then picked up by the inbound call center. Inbound call center agents will answer customers’ questions about a product or service and address any questions or complaints.

Outbound call centers:

Usually monitored and initiated by Sales teams, outbound call center agents make cold outgoing calls, SMS messages, or emails to potential customers regarding products or services.

 

Inbound Call Center Services

While customer service and support is probably the most well-known function of an inbound call center, there’s a long list of other revenue-generating services they can provide as well. Here’s a list of the most common services that inbound call centers can handle:

• Customer Service Support

Experienced call center agents assist customers with a wide range of issues, and are able to properly answer questions and mitigate any issues that arise.

At Humach, digital agents can help you enhance the customer experience by providing a 24/7 avenue for customer contact and support services, answering FAQs, status inquiries, and more. Within the contact center itself, our agent-facing tools will make helping customers easier than ever before.

• Multilingual Support

Overcome language barriers with ease, connect with customers no matter where they are in the world, and seamlessly launch products and services globally using our multilingual agents.

• Lead Qualification

Fast track your sales funnel with call center representatives who identify qualified opportunities and potential customers.

• Market Research

Use call center agents to conduct inbound surveys that help you improve things like product design, marketing, sales, and customer experience.

• Payment & Order Processing

Despite the popularity of ordering online, many customers still place their orders via phone call.

Job responsibilities of call center agents can include assisting customers with completing their orders over the phone, using PCI compliant information and security protocols.

Conversely, customers may contact a business to inquire about their billing or resolve online payment issues.

• Outbound Services

Call center representatives conducting outbound phone calls to attract potential customers, conduct market research, and more.

• Overflow & After Hours Support

Support and serve your customers 24/7/365 with call center agents to ensure you never miss an opportunity to delight customers.

• Scheduling & Reservations

Increase appointment and reservation volume with call center agents who focus on scheduling patients or customers, so you don’t have to.

• Tier I Tech Support

Inbound call centers provide needed technical support, including answering customer complaints, changing passwords, and updating account info. This type of support is especially beneficial if you have complex products where customers may call in with issues that need to be fixed. Our digital agents can eradicate the need for humans to address tier 1 inquiries and automate the process. If they are unable to resolve the issue, they will escalate the inquiry to our human agents, and use AI and machine learning to learn and improve over time.

• Upgrade & Renewal Inquiries

Subscription-based organizations might receive phone calls from current customers who would like to expand or change their current plans.

In this circumstance, call center agents will either be trained to upgrade the plans, increasing cross-selling and upselling opportunities, or the call will be funneled to a sales agent who can fulfill the request.

Studies show that only 1% of customers who have issues resolved on the first call are likely to try out a competitor – compared to 15% when the request is not properly addressed.

 

Common Inbound Call Center Duties

inbound call center duties

Even though the types of call center services can vary from call center to call center, there are a number of inbound call center duties that are common between them.

Duties of a Call Center Agent

Call center agents, or representatives, are the friendly individuals who interact with and support your customers.

Depending on the type of services they provide for your business (inbound vs. outbound), agents could be sales experts, tech wizards, product pros, or master problem-solvers. In any case, the expertise of inbound call center agents will always be to provide an exceptional customer experience.

Some common call center agent duties include:

  • Acting as an extension of the brand to accelerate interest and loyalty
  • Interacting with customers  professionally and politely
  • Responding to customer inquiries as quickly as possible
  • Actively manage and update customer records and databases
  • Invariably document and report customer notes and feedback
  • Providing personalized support based on the needs of the customer

Call center agents are also responsible for call patching, where instead of taking messages from your customers, the call is forwarded to the right person immediately. This allows you to filter calls and send them to a person who is available to properly assist. In the event that no one is available, the call center agent will typically take a message.

Nowadays, AI-based automation has gone from a novelty to a necessity for many inbound call centers. Products like Humach’s omni-channel AI-powered agents are trained and validated by humans to understand customer intent and get smarter over time.

They field, triage, and resolve customer inquiries, only escalating to human agents when necessary. This next-generation customer engagement improves first contact resolution by 22%.

Duties of Call Center Management

While agents do quite a bit of heavy lifting in the contact center, their focus is primarily on the customer. Call center managers and supervisors fixate on the agents. Their job is to ensure every call center representative is professionally trained and motivated and is executing their jobs effectively against various key performance indicators (KPIs).

To support agents and call center productivity, common call center management duties include:

  • Hiring, training, and preparing agents to solve problems and promote products and services as a seamless extension of the brand
  • Ensuring agents are equipped to reach call center objectives and goals
  • Answering agent questions and assisting with complex calls
  • Identifying call center operational issues and providing feedback for improvement
  • Preparing operational and client-facing reports and analyzing data to assist and advise on best practices

What Are The Benefits of Inbound Call Centers?

According to an American Express report, 33% of Americans would consider leaving a brand after just one instance of poor quality service – which shows how superior customer service is critical for your business.

But inbound contact centers do so much more than just receiving calls. The fundamental goal of a call center is to enhance the customer experience.

Outsourcing your inbound call center can help with:

  • Retaining customers
  • Handling substantial call volumes – they have the resources and processes to handle a higher call center inbound call flow.
  • Maintaining a consistent brand voice. Call center representatives are trained to uphold your brand voice and engage with customers in a professional and friendly manner.
  • Giving your internal team the time to focus on mission-critical tasks.

Nowadays, many call centers can handle social media, email, live chats, SMS marketing, and much more.

Inbound call centers can also help your company with revenue-generation, including upselling and cross-selling products and services.

A call center will work closely with you to help decide on the best plan of action to achieve your business goals and then will provide customized solutions to help you achieve them.

 

What Are The Risks of Outsourcing To an Inbound Call Center?

how to setup inbound call center

While outsourcing your inbound call center comes with a list of benefits, there can be a few risks.

These can include:

  • Data breaches as a result of outdated third party contact center software or inadequate IT in third party systems
  • Loss of control over how your product/service will be presented to customers
  • Choosing a vendor based on price alone

 

How To Get Started Outsourcing To An Inbound Call Center

You can mitigate potential risks by clearly defining your goals with your team and thoroughly assessing potential inbound call center partners.

According to the 2020 Global Outsourcing Survey from Deloitte, the top lesson learned by business leaders was that more time should have been spent on RFP or service provider selection.

Tips:

  • Have your team perform a risk assessment to make sure that the potential vendor follows the necessary protocols and complies with industry certifications and standards.
  • Be clear about your needs, the type of skills that you would like agents to have, your company’s policies and procedures. Keeping prospective call center vendors updated about product, service and policy changes will ensure consistent service delivery.
  • Choose a vendor that will fulfill your inbound call center needs, not at the lowest possible price. Doing otherwise may result in problems with service quality, reduce customer satisfaction and cost your company more over the long run.

Properly assessing prospects will ensure that you find a provider who will meet your critical business objectives and help provide the high-quality customer service that you need.

 

Choosing The Right Outsourcing Provider For Your Business

inbound vs outbound call center

Whether you’re interested in outsourcing your inbound call center,  implementing one of your own, or just have some additional questions, Humach’s team of experienced outsourcing specialists is here to help.

We’ve spent more than 33 years leading the industry with award-winning inbound call center services and exceptional customer experiences.

From agents to operations, our adaptable, modern infrastructure and fierce commitment to innovation are what demonstrates the Humach difference.

In order to provide our clients with the best call center solutions for their business, we have a wide variety of customizable options like the Humach-at-Home remote agent model, AI-powered Digital Agents, as well as traditional on-premise offerings. Our team of experts works with you to identify and implement the best approach to accomplish your goals.

Tailoring your inbound call center services and solutions allows us to provide you with a quote that’s specific to your organization’s needs. So unlike most traditional providers where pricing and services are one-size-fits-all, with Humach, you only pay for what you need.

Ready to maximize your ROI with advanced inbound call center solutions that scale with your business? Contact us today to discuss average monthly inbound call center outsourcing costs, how to setup an inbound call center, or to learn more.

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