Should You Pick a Contact Center That Offers Inbound, Outbound, or Both?

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Select a contact center that can grow with you and meet your future requirements

Customer-facing activity in a contact center occurs in two forms. One is inbound, which the answering service reacts to. The other is outbound, where the contact center proactively initiates communication with a target audience. Some full-service answering services offer both inbound and outbound service to their clients.


Inbound Only

Most contact centers specialize in inbound work. This is where customer communication comes into the answering service. The contact center responds to these customer requests.

Common types of inbound activity include sales, customer service, and product support. More sophisticated forms of inbound services revolve around customer care and customer retention. Even more involved inbound work includes dealing with crisis management, product recalls, and tier one technical support.

The common element in all these various service offerings stems from the fact that the customer initiates the communication and the contact center reacts. This could occur by phone, email, text, social media, or web chat.

Outbound Only

Other contact centers specialize in outbound work. In this, the answering service proactively reaches out to businesses and consumers to sell a product or provide information.

Common types of outbound contact center services include lead generation, appointment setting, and direct response such as lead capturing and gathering. Other outbound work includes customer research, customer satisfaction surveys, and customer acquisition. But the best-known type of outbound work is sales.

The common element in each of these various service offerings is that the answering service initiates the communication with the customer or prospect. Similarly to inbound, this could occur via phone, email, text, or social media.

Inbound and Outbound

Some contact centers excel at both inbound and outbound work. This means they provide all the services listed in both the above inbound and outbound categories.


Vendor Selection

Which one should you choose? The answer seems self-evident, but it might not be as simple as you think.

For example, assume you want a contact center to take phone orders and respond to email customer service requests. A logical choice would be to select an inbound call center. Alternatively, assume you want a call center to do lead generation and set appointments for your sales staff. It seems an outbound call center would be a perfect fit for this scenario.

Think Long Term

However, this is short-term thinking. What happens when your company grows? What do you do if you need your inbound answering service to handle some ancillary outbound work? If you selected a contact center that only does inbound, then they can’t help you with your outbound request. You’ll either need to find a new answering service that can do both, or find a second contact center to handle your outbound component. Both options are a hassle.

Conversely, what do you do if you want your outbound call center to pick up some inbound activity for you? Again, if your contact center only does outbound work, they are lacking the equipment and personnel to handle your inbound activity, and you’re forced to find a new answering service vendor.

Select a Vendor That Can Grow with You

The smart move to avoid these scenarios is to choose a contact center that can adapt to meet your needs as you expand. This includes the center taking on additional inbound or outbound work to complement what they already provide for you, as well as to add outbound work to supplement their inbound work on your behalf and vice versa.

Ansafone Contact Centers, a 24/7 live contact center service provider, uses a multi-channel communication approach to help clients communicate via phone and live chat, with email management and social media monitoring. Ansafone’s business process outsourcing (BPO) services specialize in customer service, help desk, tier-1 tech support, sales conversion, and enrollment. Click here to learn more.