Inbound Call Centers: What Are They and Who Are They For?
The customer journey doesn’t end when you successfully sign a client up for your product or service. Unless you have a perfect product (hint: no business does), you need to support your customers. That’s where inbound call centers come in. But what exactly are they?
“Inbound call center” is a common term in business, but it tends to raise questions. What exactly does an inbound call center do? How do they help service your customers? Is a contact center different from a call center?
And more importantly, do you need a call center for your business?
What is an inbound call center?
The primary function of an inbound call center is to provide support for already existing customers by taking inbound calls. An inbound call center may also take calls from prospective customers, but this is usually built into sales operations functions.
An inbound call center is a reactive part of the business. Your call center team may make outbound calls, but typically those are in response to customers that have already contacted the call center.
What about contact centers?
Traditionally, an inbound call center has referred to a group of employees that would solely handle phone calls.
But in today’s world—with a multitude of different ways to contact a company—support extends far beyond phone calls. Most companies offer support over multiple channels, including text, email, social media, and chat.
Almost all inbound call centers are now “inbound contact centers” that handle various inbound channels. But old habits die hard, and the term “call center” is still the standard term in the customer support industry.
Inbound call center services
An inbound call center provides many services for your customers, including things like:
- Customer service. The customer service team (or customer support team) is a team of experts that helps your customers when something goes wrong with your product or service. They help troubleshoot issues, walk customers through problems, and ultimately resolve your customer’s support needs. Outsourcing partners like Peak Support excel in this area, because it’s what we do all day, every day.
- Technical support. The technical support team provides inbound help when your customers need specific answers about how to use your product or service. This can roll up into the customer support team, but in some companies it’s its own entity. Whereas your customer service team handles simpler and more common questions, your technical support team handles more complex and challenging inquiries.
- Content moderation. Inbound contact centers can handle content moderation for social media companies.
- Back office support. Back office tasks include data entry, fraud reduction and billing support. These tasks are mission critical for many businesses, but they take a ton of time. A good outsourced team can efficiently handle these tasks while freeing up your in-house team’s time.
- Lead verification. Inbound lead verification assesses a sales lead’s quality before passing it along to your sales team. This helps your sales team to focus on selling to qualified leads, increasing the likelihood of closing the deal.
- Appointment scheduling. An inbound contact center can provide a place for customers to set up appointments to learn about your product or meet with your sales team.
What are the benefits of an inbound call center?
Key benefits of having an inbound call center include providing a great customer experience, improved productivity, increased sales, and higher customer retention.
Great customer experiences
An inbound call center is a way of telling your customers, “we’re here for you.” When they need support, an inbound call center provides a way for your customers to contact your company directly whenever they need something.
Studies show that a great customer experience is more expected now than ever. Your support team is a key way you create a great experience. It can even help you avoid some nightmare customer service scenarios.
As much as we try to deny it, multitasking is a myth. Switching tasks repeatedly causes a loss of focus and efficiency.
Having an inbound call center improves productivity by freeing up other parts of the business to do what they do best. For your sales team, that means more selling. For your engineering team, that means focusing on bugs and features that will have the biggest impact.
An inbound call center team focuses on supporting your customers, which helps enhance productivity in all departments. Your customer service team acts as the first line of defense, solving customer problems and answering questions. While you’ll still need to escalate or transfer customer issues to teams like sales or engineering, you’ll have more confidence that you’re only sending them the right issues.
Having a team focused on serving your customers can also uncover innovative ways of servicing your customers.
An inbound call center can increase sales in two ways.
First, if your inbound call center team handles sales responsibilities—such as upselling or scheduling demos—then they have a direct impact on your sales and revenue growth.
The other way an inbound call center impacts sales growth is a bit less tangible. If you’re known for providing great customer service whenever customers need help, this reputation will result in more sales and better retention over time. 90% of customers highly value the quality of customer service when choosing a brand, and your inbound call center team can set your brand apart.
Creating an inbound call center for your business is like investing in your current customers. Studies show acquiring new customers is five times more expensive than retaining existing ones, so investing in your existing customers always pays off.
By having a team that regularly speaks directly to your customers, you are closer to their needs, frustrations, and problems. You can quickly resolve issues and help customers get more value from your product. Your support team can also become a valuable source of customer insights for the rest of your organization.
Do you need an inbound call center?
Inbound call centers provide a lot of benefits, but it all depends on the size of your business and your customers’ expectations.
If you’re a small to medium-sized business looking to quickly expand, you will most likely benefit from having an inbound call center. Gauge your current contact volume. Are you struggling to keep up with the support contacts you have already? Can you estimate how this volume will grow as you bring on new customers?
If you’re a larger business, adding an inbound call center will give you a way to service your customers in a human way. FAQs, chatbots, and help centers are all great tools that should be part of every company’s customer experience strategy. But there are some issues where a human touch is needed, and leveraging a dedicated team to service your customers typically creates the best experience for your customers.
Should you use an in-house or outsourced call center?
When you’re looking to add an inbound call center for your business, you should consider two main factors: cost and time
Adding an in-house call center can be expensive. These costs can be hard to estimate, but you know you’ll need to pay for things like salaries, benefits, and technology. You’ll also need additional recruiters to recruit and hire new team members.
Outsourcing to an inbound call center company like Peak Support can be significantly cheaper (and far more scalable).
Outsourcing your call center can be cost-effective for a number of reasons. Your outsourcing partner typically takes on the work of hiring, training, and managing your call center team. Outsourcing simplifies your operations and your balance sheet, creating efficiencies across your business that help reduce costs.
Studies show that 70% of companies take between 1 and 4 months to fill a role. Once the role is filled, it can take an inbound call center agent anywhere from 2 to 7 months to become proficient in their role. That’s a total of almost a year if you’re able to fill your team all at once.
Outsourcing to an inbound call center company may make more sense for your business, especially if you’ve got significant growth on the horizon. At Peak Support, we can frequently get an inbound customer service team up and running in as little as a week.
Explore an outsourced inbound call center with Peak Support
At Peak Support, we specialize in helping you create excellent and scalable customer experiences. We can build the right customer service team for you.
If you’d like to explore call center outsourcing, let’s chat! Contact Peak Support today to see if outsourcing would be a good fit for you.