Contact centers are built around conversations, and like any good discussion there must be a purpose. Customers expect their experiences with a contact center to be easy and effective, brands need to deliver on these expectations with the right people and technology.
Let’s explore how two common types of contact centers, inbound and outbound, require the right mix of empathy and innovation to increase satisfaction and loyalty.
What is an inbound contact center?
An inbound contact center is where the customer begins the conversation. Associates at inbound contact centers handle incoming requests from individuals who need assistance with products and services. While a traditional inbound contact center that provides support services focuses on call resolution, today’s associates must be versatile across multiple channels such as messaging, chat, email, and social media.
Inbound contact centers need to anticipate and effectively serve customers on multiple channels at once. Customers expect to seamlessly move from one channel to the next without having to remind you who they are, what they bought, and when they plan to pick it up. It is one journey. It should be fluid and connected across every channel.
What is an outbound contact center?
An outbound contact center is where the associate initiates the conversation. Contact center associates are typically performing sales and marketing activities like cold calling, B2B lead generation, and B2B appointment setting to acquire new customers, stay in touch with existing customers, and speak to former customers to increase share of wallet, improve brand loyalty, and advance sales opportunities.
Typically, outbound contact center services and other contact center solutions use live associates to act as an extension of a brand’s sales team to sell products and services on behalf of brands.
How to supercharge inbound and outbound services
An effortless experience across channels is a must for either type of contact center. Effectively serving customers with channel optimization and intelligent automation increases satisfaction, opens opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell, and creates memorable experiences:
- Conversational messaging: Customers want to communicate with a brand the same way they would quickly contact friends and family over a messaging platform. Messaging is direct, immediate, and reaches people with context in the moment.
- AI assistance: Use automation and artificial intelligence (AI) behind the scenes to help associate connect with the information in the systems of record more quickly and effectively. They can interpret information and data accessed in real time and scale to focus on empathizing with customers and resolving issues.
- Dynamic knowledgebases: Build FAQs for both associates and customers with a dynamic search function and interactive reviews and ratings to bring the best answers to the top.
- Intelligent automation: AI-powered automated analysis can identify a contact driver (e.g., a delay during the holiday season) and find effective resolutions that match customers with the best response.
- AI-Powered Training: Enhance employee engagement through real-time feedback and coaching and use dashboards to promote healthy competition between learners. You can also drive real-world behavior change using gamification techniques like points, badges, rewards, and status upgrades
Together, these digital capabilities provide a strong back bone for customer interactions that require the best of empathy and technology.
Create effortless experiences for every interaction
Inbound and outbound contact centers begin the conversation in different ways, but they both rely on the ability to provide simple and relevant services. Customer and employee experience is only as good as the experiences it provides. If both parties can use technology to make their day easier, then the people and tools have done their job.
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