Different Types Of Call Centers: Inbound, Outbound, Automated — What They Are & Which Is Best For Your Business.

Different Types Of Call Centers: Inbound, Outbound, Automated — What They Are & Which Is Best For Your Business.

Different Types Of Call Centers

A call center is often the first contact a customer has with your business, and it’s critical that you choose the right kind of call center for your needs, and the needs of your customer. There are many different types of call centers, key among them inbound, outbound and automated call centers. What sets each type of call center apart, and how do you choose the right one? Let’s explore each type of call center and how they operate.

Inbound, Outbound & Automated Call Centers

Inbound call centers are commonly used to answer calls from customers as they come in. Tasks associated with inbound call center agents include payments, follow-up, tech support and basic help questions and answers.

Outbound call centers are responsible for outreach to customers, often with a specific purpose, and are sometimes called telemarketers. Using an outbound call center is great in situations where you need more lead generation, cold calling or even survey data from customers. This is also a great option if you want to do proactive outreach to customers.

Automated call centers greet customers with recorded messages and funnel them through a series of easy questions, in an effort to send them to the right representative or department of the company

Examples of Call Center by Industry

Every industry has different needs , and choosing the right call center is critical to meeting those needs. For example, the airline industry typically needs customer service agents with access to flight status, frequent flyer balances and a while array of information for each call. Healthcare call centers need to be able to set appointments, direct customers to the right physician, and know when to direct patients directly to the hospital. Retail needs agents who can facilitate a refund or return, or answer questions about company policy. No matter the unique needs of your particular business or industry, there is a call center to meet them.

The Importance of Call Centers

A Microsoft survey found that 90% of Americans factor in customer service when choosing a company to do business with. There are many reasons a company might choose to work with a call center. Perhaps they aren’t able to deliver the customer service that they want too, or they are getting too many calls per day, monopolizing time and resources. Call centers can free up staff to focus on more productive tasks, over fielding calls. In addition, most call centers operate 24 hours, meaning customers will always have a basic level of support. After you’ve decided what type of call center you will employ, it’s time to decide which service is right for your business . There are several elements to take into account when choosing a call center.

  • Size – Does the call center have enough staff to meet your business needs?
  • Security – Does your chosen call center have a good reputation and security practices to protect both company and customer data?
  • Cost – How much will the call center cost, and will you see a return on your investment? Will you use dedicated or shared agents, and how does this affect your business?
  • Experience – How long has the call center been in business and what industries have the worked with in the past? How does the call center handle reporting and data regarding day to day operations?
  • Location – Is your call center on-shore or overseas, and what languages will your call center agents speak fluently? Will agents be able to effectively communicate with your customers, leaving them satisfied after the call?

For more information on call centers, and how you can use them to boost your business and productivity, contact ListenTrust today.

Common Call Center Challenges & How to Overcome Them

Common Call Center Challenges & How to Overcome Them

Call Center Challenges

Call centers can be tough to manage, with an array of agents, scripts, clients, hours and languages. They are also a quickly growing market, expected to peak at $496 billion by 2027. When considering implying or building your own call center, it’s important to look at the common challenges associated with call centers, and how others have overcome them to create a successful and productive work environment that customers and staff appreciate.

A call center is where you expect to get answers, fast. Agents should have access to your data, and the answers you need – and they need it fast. In short, there are two main reasons to create a call center: Customer service and satisfaction and to generate more revenue. Let’s explore some of the most common call center challenges, and how they can be overcome!

1. Technology Issues

There is so much technology available for the modern call center, it’s hard to know where to start. CRM systems, management tools, auto or predictive diallers, and IVR solutions are just a few of the options you have when setting up a call center. It’s important to get the right, complementary technology that works together seamlessly, with no delay. Many call centers find that they have deployed too much technology without testing its usability, or that they aren’t making effective use of the technology they do have. The solution is simple – test out all technology thoroughly before deploying it, and work out all the bugs before your agents start using it with customers.

2. Customer Satisfaction

You could say that if your call center is suffering from low customer satisfaction, you don’t have a good call center. Customers dislike many things about call centers. Sometimes the scripts are uncomfortable and unnatural, technology slow or staff unprofessional. Sometimes staff simply isn’t trained well or doesn’t have access to the data they need to please customers and answer their questions. To fix this issue, train your staff carefully, and consider running customer satisfaction surveys, to see where you can improve. Ask your staff and customers for feedback to identify problems early.

3. Absenteeism & Unreliability

Call centers are tough places to work. You are presented with unhappy customers and issues daily, and it takes an endless amount of patience and empathy to get it right. This stress creates an environment where staff call our or leave frequently. This has become an especially big issue since the “Great Resignation” of 2021. To fix this issue, enforce strong policies around absenteeism. Be flexible with your employees with family or health issues that might cause them to be out. Some are even setting up call center employees in their own homes. Use the same empathy that you expect of your call center employees, when dealing with their personal issues (that we all deal with).

4. Productivity

A common issue with call centers is agent productivity. With a large staff, some potentially working from home, how do you track agent productivity and how do you encourage your staff? Some are overcoming this issue by establishing clear key performance indicators, or KPIs, or deploying remote agent management tools. Finally, you can’t ignore the importance of moral on a productive work environment. Find ways to motivate your staff to give excellent customer service each and every time by offering rewards, accommodations or even prizes. Recognize excellence in your staff, and elevate that person to train others.

Consumers are trending toward a huge appreciation of good customer service, with so much bad customer service available, and 80% of Americans say that a positive customer experience depends on speed, convenience, knowledge and friendliness. We are relying on call centers more and more, but without equipping your staff with the right technology and the best policies and management, you are setting yourself up for failure. Ultimately, all that matters is that you are pleasing your customers, and solving their issues – and prioritizing your customers means focusing on your staff and internal practices first.

For more information on common issues call centers face, and how to overcome them, contact ListenTrust today.

Looking Back at 11 Years of Call Center Expertise: What We’ve Learned and How We’ve Grown

Looking Back at 11 Years of Call Center Expertise: What We’ve Learned and How We’ve Grown

As ListenTrust enters its second decade, we’re reflecting on what we’ve learned and how we’ve evolved throughout our first decade in business. Here are some of our favorite takeaways from the first 11 years. 

  1. Company culture is key: Culture is the foundation of ListenTrust because we believe that a fun, creative environment fosters more engagement and dedication from our employees.
  2. People are our best asset: We know that without our Managers and Agents, the work could not get done, and we continuously ask them for feedback to make positive changes within the company.
  3. Philanthropy is a driving force: We saw employees improve sales when their “reward” was donated to a good cause. The philanthropic spirit we’ve ignited has allowed us to take employees on trips to build schools in Haiti and raise funds that have helped us donate over $590,000 to the nonprofit, buildON.
  4. Negative experiences give us opportunities to improve: Over the course of 11 years doing business it’s natural there would be challenges along the way, but having an open mind and being flexible in how we respond has been the key to overcoming them. We’ve learned to focus on the things we can control and have even pivoted significant aspects of the business to do things we haven’t done before, helping us increase profitability and gain new clients.
  5. Interactive leadership is vital: Being on the ground, easily accessible, and listening to our Managers and Agents, reminds them that we are invested in their future and care about their personal success.
  6. Recognition and rewards are strong motivators: Through rewards, we remind our employees that their work is valued. It also keeps them motivated and inspired to improve when they see how well their peers are doing.
  7. Personal accomplishments drive sales: We’ve learned that when people have the support to reach their personal goals, they are happier employees who perform better. After we implemented our DreamTrust program we saw many of our Agents increase their sales and also saw a decrease in turnover.
  8. We’re not a vendor, but a true partner to our clients: For us to be successful and deliver results to our clients, we work with them every step of the way. We want to know what has worked for them previously and where the areas of opportunity are so we can make the changes and improve the success of their campaign.
  9. Scripts matter, but rapport matters more: Even though we write great call scripts for our Agents, we understand that personal connections are more important to truly convert the customer into a loyal brand advocate. We even have in-house tools that help our agents better connect with customers by building rapport quickly on a call.
  10. Open door policies produce results: We want our employees to reach out to us, and if that means walking into the CEO’s office to talk, then that’s great. Whomever an employee needs to speak with to discuss a project or provide feedback, we want them to go straight to that person no matter what the org-chart says.
  11. Be positive and fun: Throughout the years, we’ve learned that you can be serious when it comes to business, but you can have fun too. This is why we focus on creating an exciting and positive work environment where people can excel.

Ready to Work With ListenTrust? Contact Us Today

 

For more information, contact Tom Sheppard, VP Business Development, at: tsheppard@listentrust.com.