What is an Outbound Contact Center?
For many businesses, contact centers operate as the hub of their customer communications. Call center agents take inbound calls from people who need help, working to improve customer experiences as well as nurture pre-existing relationships with those who call.
Outbound call centers, on the other hand, have a completely different function. Though both outbound and inbound call centers may look similar, the calls and conversations they make and have are focused on different goals.
If you want to learn more about inbound vs outbound call centers, this is the guide for you. We’ll walk you through the specifics of inbound and outbound calling, tips for optimizing your outbound contact center, and answers to common questions.
Ready? Let’s get to it.
What is outbound in a call center
As you might guess from the name, outbound involves communication that goes out from your contact center. Most outbound centers are focused on sales and marketing, such as B2B lead generation, appointment setting, collections, fundraising and market research. Agents in sales call centers work to qualify leads and gather contact information that can be used to find potential customers.
Whenever you get sales calls, for example, you might be talking with outbound call center agents. If you compare your own experiences with phone calling a business vs when you receive calls from a marketing company, you can better understand the roles agents in sales play.
What is lead generation?
Lead generation is a strategic sales business process in all industries served and targeted by outbound marketing efforts. Though the tactics a business uses will vary, the goal is always the same: draw new prospects to the company so you can sell to them. Common lead generation tactics include:
- Social media marketing - When Wendy’s roasts you on Twitter and invites you to enter its contest, there are agents working behind the scenes to get your info and build a stronger connection.
- Content marketing - Every good piece of content has a custom call to action that encourages readers to complete a specific action that gets them more involved with the company. This might be a button that sets appointments with sales reps or a reminder to subscribe to the official video channel.
- Digital marketing - If it’s online, it falls under the company’s digital strategy. Mobile app developers, for instance, usually build account requirements into business apps, using these registrations to get in touch with new leads.
- Event marketing - Ever wondered why you have to sign up for that free event? Outbound marketers use event registration forms to build lists of potential customers who may be interested in their products.
- Direct marketing - You’re probably most familiar with this form of marketing, often accomplished through cold calls and emails. Direct marketing is used to sell consumer products directly to prospects, rather than first building a connection that leads to a purchase.
Though lead generation is a function of outbound call centers, it is also used for inbound sales. We’ll talk more about the difference between both types of contact centers later.
What is the outbound process?
Agents who work in an outbound call center may connect with leads through a variety of methods. Rather than waiting for you to make the first move (like chatting with a live agent through a business website), the outbound process starts when the business reaches out to you.
Let’s say your business is looking to find new leads who may be interested in your new product design. Your outbound contact center agents get to work, calling prospective new customers to try to interest them in making a purchase. Since the agents are dialing the customer, rather than taking incoming calls, they are using the outbound process.
Though the start and purpose of the interaction are different, they still involve two-way conversations with your customers. By choosing an outbound call center solution that supports and advances your goals, you can build lasting relationships through any kind of interaction.
What is the difference between an inbound and outbound contact center?
As we mentioned above, the biggest differences between inbound and outbound contact centers are the purpose and efforts of each. While working in an outbound contact center, agents reach out to prospects for lead qualification and sales efforts. An inbound call center, on the other hand, accepts communications coming into the business, managing the customer story to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction.
Key features of contact center software: inbound call centers vs outbound call centers
Though both types of contact centers are working towards different goals, they both need quality contact solutions to reach their audience. To run both a top outbound call center or the best customer service department, businesses need an omnichannel contact center platform that offers features such as:
- Phone calling
- Live chat
- SMS messaging
- Social media
- Artificial intelligence
And so on. Since both sales and customer service are critical to business development, many companies use call center software with both inbound and outbound capabilities to build hybrid contact centers. Limiting any scaling and maintenance needs to one contact center solution saves time and money that can then be used for greater gains elsewhere.
Outbound call centers: Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know all about outbound contact centers, it’s time to talk about the realities of operating one in your business. Below, we’ve answered your most important questions about outbound calling and the benefits it can bring to your contact center.
What’s next for my outbound contact center?
Your successful outbound contact center starts with the software you use. As you perfect your outreach strategy, make sure you’re using a platform that lets you:
- Get up and running quickly
- Scale up or down on demand
- Run your contact center on modern cloud architecture
- Use tools built for agents, supervisors, and analysts
- Empower your agents to have the right conversations every time with powerful scripting options
- Connect your contact center to the rest of the company
- Utilize one vendor for all communications, especially for a hybrid inbound/outbound call center