Most people think of call centres as all being the same, but there is indeed a great difference between inbound and outbound call centre services, as anyone who has ever worked in a call centre will tell you.

Let’s take a more detailed look and find out which service is most appropriate for the needs of your business. It’s possible you may need one service more than the other, or you may need both. It all depends on what you need to achieve.

What are Outbound Call Centres?

Outbound call centres are used for outreach. The people who are called may have requested to be called, but in the majority of cases the calls placed are “cold calls” which means they’re entirely unsolicited. As you would probably expect, not everyone appreciates receiving unsolicited calls.

In general, outbound calling is done for the purpose of either selling something to consumers or for market research purposes. The people making these calls need to be especially good at rapidly establishing rapport with strangers, and they need nerves of steel and a thick skin to cope with the difficulties that may arise with making these unsolicited calls. This is where good customer service skills may come in handy. 

The justification for it is that even though some people find outbound call centre calls annoying, the calls do actually work. It takes a lot of effort and plenty of misses before a positive response is received, but perseverance pays off.

What are Inbound Call Centres?

Instead of making calls to people who probably don’t want to be called, inbound call centres receive phone calls. These calls could come from consumers who want to purchase something, from people seeking information or from people who need assistance in some way.

Because the people who make these calls all want something, it’s usually easier to deal with them than would be the case if they were on the receiving end of an outbound call. Of course, that doesn’t mean callers are never rude, especially if the main reason they’re calling is to make a complaint, but it is usually easier to get these calls under control compared to outbound calls.

What’s the Difference Between Outbound & Inbound Call Centres?

The main difference between outbound & inbound call centres is how the majority of the calls take place. If more than half of your calls are outbound then it’s most likely you’re considered an outbound call centre. 

Outbound centres are for customer outreach. Your business (via the call centre) reaches out to prospective customers or market research respondents to request information. On the other hand, inbound call centres are part of customer relationship management (CRM). People call in to tell you their needs and seek an appropriate response from your business via the call centre. 

The costs involved in both may also differ but not necessarily. Outbound call centres tend to have higher costs because they make calls instead of receiving them, and because workers in these jobs expect to be paid more due to the stressful nature of the work and the difficulty of performing it. However, inbound call centre workers don’t make calls, except for responding to “call back requests”, and their job is less stressful so the costs of an inbound call centre is normally lower in comparison to outbound call centres.

Understanding the type of call centre you need is important for the planning and implementation of systems within your business. Be sure to evaluate what you want to achieve before making a decision on whether an outbound or inbound call centre would be best suited to reaching your goals.