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Inbound and Outbound: A Look at Call Center Software

This article was updated on February 7, 2024

The call center software market offers various solutions for receiving inbound calls, placing outbound calls, or handling both. Although options are plentiful, knowing how to select the right platform can be difficult. Read on to discover how to select the best call center solution for your business.

Illustration of a call center agent with a headset and sitting in front of a desktop computer.  Speech bubble icons represent a conversation.

Do I Need Different Software for Inbound and Outbound Call Centers?

No, call center leaders do not need to purchase separate software for inbound and outbound calls, but that is certainly an option. Like all tech solutions, call center software differs widely from provider to provider. Some programs are explicitly geared toward outbound calling, and others only focus on inbound functionalities. However, many call center programs combine various inbound and outbound tools to create a hybrid solution. It’s also worth noting that all of these solutions can be cloud-native, cloud-hosted, or on-premises.

In short, you have a ton of options to choose from — which can be both freeing and overwhelming. Read on to better understand inbound, outbound, and hybrid call center technology.

What Is Outbound Call Center Software?

Often used in sales, outbound call center software is designed to assist agents in completing outgoing calls to customers, partners, and prospects. The goal of outbound call center software is to simplify the process of connecting sales agents to the right people, at the right time. When integrated with a CRM and other digital assets, an outbound call center program ensures agents are armed with the information they need to develop relationships with leads and create valuable experiences for existing customers.

Outbound sales calls fall under two categories: cold calls or warm calls. In cold calls, the potential customer doesn’t expect the call, doesn’t know who you are, and they probably start with a feeling of distrust. Warm calls are the result of some earlier interaction with the lead — meeting at a convention, a previous call, etc. — and tend to have better conversion rates. In general, the vast majority of outbound calls involve:

  • Appointment setting, with an outbound agent scheduling meetings on behalf of assigned salespersons
  • Lead generation to spark a prospect’s interest in the company’s products
  • Telemarketing to pitch products to a targeted call list
  • Telesales to close the deal
  • Market research that gathers opinions and feelings about the company and its products

What Is Inbound Call Center Software?

Different from outbound solutions, inbound call center software is designed to help agents receive and manage incoming calls from prospects and current customers. Inbound calls mainly revolve around customer support, account questions, or product/service inquiries. A streamlined and easy-to-use inbound system is absolutely vital for providing customers with the service and support they deserve. Think of it this way: If a customer or prospect has a poor call experience with your organization, that could push them toward one of your competitors.

Inbound calls come into your call center for a wide range of reasons, but they tend to fall under four main categories:

  • Customer service calls where the caller wants to make a payment over the phone, ask about returns, update their mailing address, give their feedback, and similar actions
  • Technical support calls seeking help for things like a broken or malfunctioning product
  • Inbound sales calls from potential buyers seeking more information
  • Upgrade or renewal calls from current customers who would like to renew, upgrade, or combine their subscription plan

What Is Hybrid Call Center Software? 

These solutions are able to handle all inbound and outbound calls. Adopting a hybrid system is beneficial for multiple reasons — for starters, it saves your business money. Because a hybrid platform can handle all types of calls, it eliminates the need to purchase multiple types of software. These solutions also make it possible to consolidate and streamline your tech stack so vital customer and business communication information is easy to store and access. Ultimately, a hybrid system provides the flexibility and versatility needed to meet customer needs without the hassle of juggling disparate tools.

How Do I Choose Good Call Center Software?

To select the best software for your business communications needs, you have to ask the right questions. Here are just a few things you should consider before committing to a purchase:

  • What CRMs can your system integrate with? What about other communication tools?

  • What kind of reporting and insights capabilities does your solution offer?

  • Does your solution enable a blended customer experience across multiple channels?

  • Is your software scalable? 

  • What security, privacy, and data protection measures are included in your software?

Call Center Software Is Only the Beginning

Improving your customer experience doesn’t stop when you purchase call center software. For small businesses, Vonage Business Communications offers unified communications tools that can give you contact center-level capabilities to handle high call volumes in a simpler call center setting. For example, calls sent to call queues are routed to agents based on their availability and the routing rules that you have established.

And if you need something more robust, you can take your business to the next level with an integrated unified communications and contact center solution.

Contact Us

Let's connect!

Want to know more about inbound and outbound call centers? We’re here to help! Call us at 1-844-365-9460, or fill out this form! A dedicated specialist will show you:

  • How the right call center software can help your agents deliver fast, effective customer service that builds long-term loyalty
  • How outbound call centers can drive more sales through efficient appointment setting, lead generation, and more
  • Why a streamlined, easy-to-use inbound system is crucial for providing customers with the service and support they deserve

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