different types of call centers

Customers are essential for a business. Indeed, it could be said that without customers, there would be no business. Thus an important question for almost any business is: How do you balance costs and provide a great customer experience at the same time?

For many organizations, the answer is to use a call center. More and more companies, from small and mid-sized businesses to large corporations like Microsoft and Ford, are outsourcing their call center services. They will use call centers for various needs that can benefit both the business and their customers. To see if call center outsourcing could benefit your business, take a look at the types of call centers and the services they offer.

In-House vs Outsourced

All call centers fall under one of two categories: in-house or outsourced.

A company can own and operate a call center themselves, which is called in-house. The purpose may be to provide service to existing customers and/or make calls to acquire new ones. The advantage of an in-house call center is the closeness with the business itself. Branding and processes may be more consistent and issues may be resolved quicker because the call center is simply another part of the business. Disadvantages include the investment needed to find, hire, and train employees, to install the technology, and the office space and expenses required to maintain the call center.

If a business doesn’t want to develop or house their own call center, they can outsource their needs to a third party. Many organizations choose this option to save costs, which is a big advantage. Disadvantages of outsourcing may be a disconnect between the company and the center, and a potential gap in the expected level of customer service and what the call center provides.

When outsourcing, there are three different types of call centers: inbound, outbound, and automated.

Inbound Call Centers

At its most basic, inbound call centers take calls. Their agents receive incoming calls for a business or organization. Inbound call center services can be a valuable business tool.

Many companies will outsource inbound call centers to provide customer support because it can be challenging for a business to have the staffing or infrastructure to take care of a high volume of calls. Call centers are often more equipped to handle both low or high call volume and are staffed with professional customer service experts. Often, agents will also be trained in upselling techniques.

There are many inbound services, but some of the most common include:

  • Answering service
  • Order processing
  • Chat support
  • Email responses
  • Tech support
  • Loyalty programs
  • Hotlines
  • Dispatch
  • Help desk services

Outbound Call Centers

Fundamentally, outbound call centers make calls. Call center agents will call other people for a business or organization. They can be an important part of lead generation or the sales funnel. While this may include calling leads to acquire brand new customers, other outbound services include:

  • Appointment setting
  • Conducting customer surveys
  • Welcome calls to customers who have just started using a product or service
  • Market research
  • Telesales
  • Billing explanations
  • Event registration
  • Product recalls

Automated Call Centers

These days, nearly every organization relies on electronic processes to stay in touch with customers. Automated call centers automate processes for a business, such as:

  • Appointment reminders
  • Online scheduling
  • Check-in reminders
  • Email management
  • Holiday greetings
  • SMS texting
  • Dealer/franchise locator

You can further classify call center types by looking at the size, which is typically based on the number of agents available for making or receiving calls. Small call centers generally have 5 to 10 agents. Medium centers have a capacity of around 30 to 50, and large centers have more than 50. Large call centers usually serve several clients and are often open 24 hours.

General Call Center Benefits

Despite the name, call centers handle more than just telephone calls. They often take care of communication online via real-time chats on the company’s website, through email, or on social media. Many businesses outsource services to a call center for the following benefits:

  • Reduced costs
  • Increased flexibility
  • Greater responsiveness
  • More service coverage (including different languages)
  • Access to the latest technology
  • Freeing up business resources to invest elsewhere

If you see ways that a call center can help your business, ROI Call Center Solutions is here to help. Let our award-winning service and dedicated team of experienced professionals give you a competitive edge. Contact ROI Call Center Solutions today to see what we can do for you.