What are the main types of call centers ?

Today, call centers can be used for different purposes. Depending on the needs of the customer and the company, this service can take different forms: it can be inbound or outbound, internal or external, proactive or reactive. Of course, the call center can also work in a hybrid mode, combining some of these functions. In this article you will learn about the main types of call centers.

Types of call centers: inbound and outbound

In inbound call centers, agents contact customers and potential customers usually through an automated phone system that follows a list of numbers. A customer service call center consists of a set of telephone workstations and teleoperators dedicated to customer relationship management. When a caller picks up the handset, the call is automatically routed to an available agent. This approach is primarily used in sales, telemarketing, charities and market research. Conversely, in an outsourced call center, customers call agents when they have questions, such as about payments, technical issues or contract extension requests. Some call centers handle both inbound and outbound calls.

External and internal call centers

Sometimes companies turn to external call centers or business process outsourcing (BPO) for strategic or budgetary reasons. This means that the call center is handled by an independent company, from hiring staff to operational management and team training. Such a structure can handle inbound calls, outbound calls, or both. However, if the company runs its own department, it is called an in-house call center. In this case, agents focus exclusively on the company's customers and products. Over time, they may specialize in certain areas and move up to a higher position, such as on the product or sales team (due to their unique skills). Some companies also take a blended approach, for example, hiring a team to perform some services and outsourcing the rest.

Types of call centers: reactive and proactive

These two types of call centers differ in their approach to serving customers. Reactive call centers try to solve problems as soon as they occur. In this case, the agent's main job is to deal with dissatisfied customers and solve their problems. Proactive call centers try to contact customers before problems arise. In this case, agents focus on upselling and cross-selling, as well as identifying at-risk customers in order to identify and resolve their problems before they escalate.