When it comes to customer service, e-mails, live chats and FAQs might seem to overcome telephones. But, it’s an illusion like a part of the David Copperfield show.
The fact is, phone calls hang tight.
The Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report proves it. Phone calls are still the most popular way used by customers to solve issues with companies.
Thus, the development of a well-functioning call center should become one of the main goals for business owners in 2021.
We can distinguish two types of call centers – inbound and outbound ones. I’ll describe how these two differ from each other.
But first, you’ll find out the general definition of an inbound call center. Later, you’ll also get to know all services that it can provide.
Then we’ll move on to the tips on how to start and develop an inbound call center in your company.
The main goal of developing an inbound call center is growing customer satisfaction. You can’t argue with that.
To use some metaphor, it’s comparable to the fact that Rome is the capital of Italy. Quite undeniable, isn’t it?
These are briefly all issues raised in this article.
So, we have all the puzzles. It’s time to combine them.
Table of contents:
- What is an inbound call center
- Inbound call center vs. outbound call center
- Inbound call center services
- How to start an inbound call center
- Grow your business with an inbound call center
What is an inbound call center
Let’s begin with the definition of an inbound call center.
I guess we all know the general definition of a call center. It’s a group of agents, who answer incoming phone calls from customers.
The core of their activity is help and support.
They should do it professionally, by all means, no matter the circumstances. It makes them close to a SWAT team.
This is why having an inbound call center is crucial for business development.
So, what’s the main purpose of having one?
It’s quite obvious at the first glance. They bake bread in a bakery, they cut hair at the hairdresser, they take calls in a call center.
Yet, it is worth remembering that each process has some requirements and guidelines.
In an inbound call center, the agent is obliged to ask the caller about some necessary information – his or her name, the reason for a call, etc.
Next, a customer gets a confirmation that the message has been received and he or she will be served by the relevant department of a company.
That’s the old school way of doing it. There appeared a data-driven system that improves this process extraordinarily. I’ll get to that later.
Inbound call center vs. outbound call center
To understand the idea of an inbound call center even better, it’s great to contrast it with an outbound one.
The inbound call center is all about receiving incoming calls from your regular customers. Agents are prepared to solve everyday problems and answer difficult questions.
Outbound call center agents focus on making outgoing calls to expand the customer base. They rely on both warm and cold calling to achieve their goal.
Their duties may extend to making surveys and doing research amongst customers.
So, let’s make it clear.
Inbound call centers take in all trusted customers.
Outbound call centers reach out to new customers.
Inbound call center services
Let’s get into the details of the services provided by inbound call center agents.
They may vary depending on the industry, current market situation, individual approach towards the clients, etc.
But, there is a set of services that works like a pattern for all inbound call centers. Let’s specify them.
I know, it’s a broad term. The general idea is to be open for your customers’ comments and objections. And, of course, always be ready to solve these issues.
Poor customer service can be a start of a domino effect.
It’s good to realize that the nature of an agent’s employment is a foundation for successful customer service.
There are two types: on-site agent vs. an outsourced agent.
It’s more preferable to hire an agent instead of relying on the outsourced one.
This is when you are sure that your agents are well-trained to provide a high-quality service. It can only result in strengthening your brand. They identify with your product.
Of course, outsourced agents can also handle tasks by following your strict guidelines. But, you need to remember that their services are spread over several companies.
It’s more probable that they will follow the guidelines, but the service will be far from a personalized one. Lack of engagement is plain to see and hear.
This is why you should be focused on building a strong inbound call center within your business.
Inbound call centers aren’t only about solving problems by answering tricky questions from customers. Often, the main task is promoting a product or services.
This is why agents are trained to have short and specific sales conversations. They also can lead a customer through the whole process of transaction.
For example, the agent has access to the customer’s digital cart, therefore he or she can help in completing a purchase order.
Thanks to this help, a customer can enjoy the product or service shortly after.
Dealing with complaints
Life’s not a bed of roses. You can meet several types of customers. Sometimes you just need to forget about nice words and quick transactions.
Instead, you deal with customer’s problems, such as complaints.
Here comes the superhero named inbound call center. It allows you to handle these matters efficiently.
Inbound call center agents should be always well-prepared. There is one proven action plan.
- Listen carefully to your customer.
- Be empathic.
- Get all the information.
- Show the options to solve the issue.
- Act quickly.
- Keep your promises.
The customer feels appreciated when he or she receives a satisfying solution.
Remember – your business is a monarchy, where your customer is a king. An inbound call center is a tool letting you be constantly within his or her reach.
There’s a good chance that your customers won’t contact you only to talk about your product.
After all, the complexity of your product is based on general technical issues.
It’s beneficial to have agents in your inbound call center team, who are well-qualified to solve these issues.
How to start an inbound call center
OK, you are familiar with the importance of an inbound call center now.
Let’s go through all steps of launching one in your business.
Develop a call center profile and strategy
Above I listed the most common services provided by an inbound call center. Now it’s up to you to decide which ones will be the core of your activity.
The most commonly found profiles are customer service, product/service marketing, and technical support.
It’s beneficial to have your agents qualified in all areas. There will be no difficulty in redirecting the calls. The customers will be provided with a professional service no matter the issue.
Another important cause is to plan the strategy to make an inbound call center grow along with your business. It’s an inevitable process.
To put it simply – the more customers you have, the more incoming calls you get. It’s crucial to have the ability to handle them all.
The stability of customer service means the stability of your business.
Establish recruitment process carefully
When you estimate the possible scale of interaction with your customers over a month, you’ll be able to overlay it with some needed agents.
Another efficient way to predict the required number of agents is through research among your competitors.
After learning the most efficient models and strategies, you’ll be ready to transfer them to the ground of your business.
OK, you have the number determined. Now you can look after the candidates for a job in your inbound call center.
Here’s the part of the process where you can entrust HR specialists.
There are a few appreciated qualities, such as charisma, energy, or empathy.
It’s great to have agents with strong emotional intelligence, who are cool under pressure. They can listen to the problem patiently and come up with a satisfying solution quickly.
Remember that the number and profile of agents are both essential to launching an inbound call center successfully.
Make things easier for your agents
It’s hard to imagine an inbound call center without a few basic facilities.
There are computers, monitors, headsets with microphones, and keyboards.
Invest in proven producers of such equipment to make sure that everything will move like clockwork.
Provide your agents with a well-functioning background. Then you are more likely to experience a better work performance from them.
However, the equipment is not everything. You can go one step further and get a data-driven phone system for your inbound call center.
I’ll explain it on the example of Channels – a system that stands out compared to the others. It links cloud telephony with a plenty of beneficial features.
Channels gives all necessary customer details before a call. It means that your agents waste no time for long interviews.
They don’t ask about the name, preferences, purchase history, etc. They have it all displayed, so the call goes straight to the point. It only increases customer satisfaction.
You can have Channels as a Chrome extension, so you don’t need to invest in a big amount of telephone sets for your agents. That’s a money-saving solution – you can cut down to the basic facilities, while the system will do all the rest.
The best for last. Remember when I mentioned that there is a data-driven phone system that facilitates the process of redirecting calls?
I lied. To be honest, Channels eliminates it.
Customers are asked to choose a number on their keypad, with a specific service attached to each number.
Then, they have connected to the agent straight away, without waiting on hold or being redirected from pillar to post.
This is yet another way to gain a customer’s trust. Ten points for Gryffindor!
Grow your business with an inbound call center
Customer satisfaction is a seed for your business to grow.
Relax, you don’t need to be an experienced gardener.
I can tell you the secret – a well-working inbound call center is the most efficient way to water this seed.
It’s always extremely beneficial for your customers to have their issues solved smoothly any time they want.
They also love to close their deals, get advice, and receive technical support. You can provide them with all these services without much effort.
The strong foundations to build a successful inbound call center are a clear strategy, dedicated agents, and professional equipment.
However, a data-driven phone system is a tool that activates the machine to work.
This is how you make your business thrive.