What is an outbound call center?
An outbound call center (also called an outbound contact center) is where agents contact customers and/or prospects on behalf of their company. As the name suggests, the contact established is through outreach in outgoing calls; the company contacts their users themselves, instead of the users reaching out to them.
When people mention “call centers,” it generally implies inbound call centers, where customers can contact brands for assistance and resolve inquiries related to a product or/service and get it resolved. But as of late, outbound contact center services have also been steadily rising in number as companies are beginning to understand their importance in driving lead generation and maintaining a better relationship with customers.
There might be several purposes to these calls – collecting surveys, gauging customer satisfaction, collecting payment, upselling, telemarketing, or even market research when it comes to contacting potential customers.
How is an outbound call center different from an inbound call center?
Inbound and outbound call centers have different goals due to the types of calls they facilitate. Other significant differences can be put into three main categories:
Who initiates the communication
Phone calls to inbound call centers are initiated by the users, whereas outbound call centers rely on agents placing calls to their existing and potential customers.
Intent of the communication
Incoming calls are primarily regarding customer service and answering product-related queries, while outgoing calls are placed by agents or voice bots for a host of reasons, ranging from customer support to lead generation, market research, or even collection of payments (in case of banking/finance companies).
Who is the call target
The target audience for outbound calls can be of two types. Outbound call center agents might contact existing customers to follow-up with cross-sell/upsell opportunities, to measure customer satisfaction through user surveys, and to handle payments related to purchase and renewal. Additionally, they may also contact leads for telemarketing/telesales or lead generation purposes. Inbound call centers usually get calls from existing users looking to troubleshoot issues or receive post-sales customer support.
What are outbound call center services?
Now that we broadly understand what outbound call centers do, let’s delve deeper into specific services and the types of phone calls that agents make.
Proactive customer service
Proactive customer service remains one of the most important reasons for outgoing calls. Customers who are proactively approached by brands for support tend to be much more satisfied with their customer experience and stay loyal to the company.
Lead generation and appointment setting
To generate leads and increase conversion rates for their brand, outbound call center agents contact potential clients via cold calling and appointment setting to determine their needs and interest in the products or services that your business offers. If this process happens over a sales call, it is known as telemarketing.
Agents that work for outbound contact centers focus on multiple aspects of driving their company’s sales, including:
Telesales and telemarketing might seem like two words for the same process, but they are actually two consecutive processes that help generate leads for the sales team. Telemarketing brings in marketing qualified leads (MQLs), while the agents handling telesales need to convert these MQLs into sales qualified leads (SQLs) and even further, into new customers. Telesales is one of the most significant sales-related activities performed by outbound call center agents.
Up-selling/cross-selling: Simply put, up-selling is driving your customer to sign a bigger deal for the same product or service (i.e., adding more users or features, upgrading to premium versions) based on the customers needs. Cross-selling focuses on selling other products from your brand that you think might be beneficial to your user. Outbound agents unearth up-selling and cross-selling opportunities to drive more sales and increase revenue.
Renewals: For existing customers that have purchased your products/services on a subscription basis, outbound agents also take care of driving renewals. Even though renewals are the least significant of all sales-based outbound activity, it plays a huge role in increasing customer retention and improving your brand’s image.
Outbound contact centers also have the responsibility of follow-ups to collect feedback from current/churning customers to understand their needs, so that feedback can be used to improve the quality of your products. Delivering simple ratings-based customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys to calls that collect detailed product feedback are all considered part of an outbound agent’s scope of activities.
How are outbound call center services handled?
Predictive dialing is a technology widely used in outbound call centers to queue calls intelligently for agents to maximize efficiency. This technology uses call analytics and advanced algorithms to estimate how long an agent would be on a call and how long customers usually take to answer calls. Once done, it dials numbers from a pre-configured contact list at the right time so that the agents attending the calls can take up another call right after they finish the first one.
Business process outsourcing (BPO)
Business process outsourcing, better known as BPO, is outsourcing your customer service processes to call centers that have the requisite staff and infrastructure to handle these interactions. In outbound call processes, BPOs come into play when companies do not want to hire a dedicated team of agents (owing to operational and cost constraints). All the outbound call activities of the company are handled by callers in the BPO itself.
CRM and integrations
Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps track the end-to-end journey for each customer while storing and managing important customer data. It documents details about all previous customer interactions and transactions so that agents have full context on the customer experience and are able to personalize their conversations better. When your CRM is integrated with your core help desk software and outbound-related solutions such as predictive dialers, your agents can be in control of their customer conversations.
Turbo-charge your outbound call center solutions with Sprinklr’s call center software.
Businesses usually struggle with coordinating their outbound call center processes because of the lack of a powerful, collaborative helpdesk solution. Sprinklr’s path-breaking solution, contact center as a service (CCaaS), harnesses the power of AI to transform scattered customer data from 30+ channels into actionable insights that your agents and sales reps can leverage to drive more sales for your company. Sprinklr — the world’s only unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform — supports outbound call center operations through:
Sprinklr Voice to deliver proactive voice support, fueled by real-time customer insights
Automated Dialers to simplify call scheduling and multiply outbound call volume
Sentiment analysis and scoring to detect customer sentiment during calls using AI-led analytics
Contact center analytics to obtain real and projected performance metrics for each agent’s activity and resolution data
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