Updated July 12, 2023
Business owners usually keep call centers out of their marketing plan. Without knowing, they’re throwing a tremendous opportunity to nurture their customers and leads into a trash can.
Why? Fair question!
Reasons vary from business to business, but fear of their price is the primary concern. Thinking about it, you’re going to hire a whole call center! That must be super expensive, right? The answer is a big “no” since call centers usually charge per minute, which is affordable for most small businesses. (And for medium and large businesses, too, of course!)
Another common reason is that business owners don’t know what call center type to hire.
Types of call centers can get confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with what each type does. There are eight principal types of call centers, and each type has a unique set of characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages.
So, nailing this part will ease choosing an accurate call center for your business. Therefore, the infographic below contains the 8 call center types every business owner should know about. Plus 5 fascinating facts and their pros and cons that you should consider.
What is a call center?
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of call center types, let’s first have a brief look at what a call center is.
“A call center is an office or a department consisting of specialized customer service representatives. Their job is to answer customer inquiries and solve those customers’ issues. Call center customer service representatives are also called call center agents. It’s called a “call center” because it handles inbound and outbound telephone calls.”
JGRobo Marketing, Inc
However, call centers don’t manage calls only. They can handle customers interactions in a multitude of channels such as email, social media, SMS, and way more. Check our article about how call centers can transform your business with their numerous benefits.
Also, keep in mind that both of the terms “call center” and “contact center” are interchangeable. Except for multichannel and omnichannel contact centers — they’re always referred to as “contact centers.”
Types of call centers infographic
The 8 different types of call centers
1- Inbound call centers
An inbound call center manages inbound calls i.e. incoming customer calls. This type of call center is oriented towards customer support and it’s widely used to assist existing customers of a company’s product or service. Also, they can handle a tremendous amount of calls in one go.
Did you know that:
- 58% of customers agree that customer service is a crucial factor that affects their brands choice.
- 61% of consumers stopped transacting with a business after a poor service experience.
2- Outbound call centers
Outbound call centers differ from inbound call centers in several ways. An outbound call center deals with outbound calls. These types of call centers call clients instead of receiving customers’ calls. This is the prominent difference between inbound and outbound call centers.
Did you know that:
- Between one-third and one-half of sales go to whichever vendor responds first.
- 70% of global consumers favor brands that contact them with proactive customer service.
- 73% of businesses mentioned the improvement of customer service as a growth factor in 2017.
3- Blended call centers
Blended call centers are a powerful combination of inbound and outbound call centers. Imagine having the power to receive and make outgoing calls at the same time! All in one place, this ensures a happy marriage between your business and your customers’ satisfaction.
Blended call centers pros and cons
- ✅ Deliver high-quality service across a variety of channels
- ✅ Agents are trained well and highly engaged
- ✅ Manage both inbound and outbound calls in one place
- ❌ Agents must be proficient in dealing with multiple channels, which is not a guarantee
4- Virtual call centers
A virtual call center is a flexible call center in which their agents work from home or across several offices. Usually, it doesn’t have a physical location. All call center representatives use the same technology to process your customer service needs — just like a traditional call center.
Virtual call centers pros and cons
- ✅ Always available with their network of worldwide agents
- ✅ Agents’ productivity levels are usually high
- ❌ Potential technical issues, such as slow internet, since the agents are dependent only on their personal resources
- ❌ Can be challenging for scenarios requiring higher security, such as payment processing
5- Outsourced call centers
In most cases, a business doesn’t have enough resources, or the will, to make and run its own call center. So instead of wasting large amounts of money to make this infrastructure, an outsourced call center — as part of what is also known as business process outsourcing (BPO) — steps in. Simply, it’s a separate call center that deals with a business’ customer service needs.
Outsourced call centers pros and cons
- ✅ Save huge amounts of money instead of building an entire call center from scratch
- ✅ 24/7/365 support for a low price
- ✅ Guaranteed customers satisfaction
- ❌ Can be regulatory/compliance/legal challenges if using overseas call centers
6- In-house call centers
Historically, it was uncommon to see massive businesses, companies, and banks hire call centers. Instead, they had their own call centers with their own trained agents. These agents deal only with their company’s products and customers. Call centers like these are known as in-house call centers.
In-house call centers pros and cons
- ✅ In-house agents usually know more about your business/brand
- ❌ Takes a lot of time and effort to establish
- ❌ Training the agents consumes a lot of resources
- ❌ The infrastructure (space, computers, internet, phones, software, etc.) is often unaffordable.
7- Omnichannel contact centers
These types of call centers ensure an outstanding customer service experience for your customers. It lets the customers interact with your business whenever they need to. And because they typically use advanced cloud technology, all customers’ interactions are synced into one place — even if they’re spread across multiple channels. This makes the agents’ duty easier — which, therefore, results in a top-notch user experience.
Omnichannel contact centers pros and cons
- ✅ Offers multiple communication channels for customers
- ✅ It offers data collection solutions
- ❌ Agents that lack multitasking skills can result in a bad customer experience
- ❌ Can help combine client/customer data from multiple sources for a better experience
8- Multichannel contact centers
Just like its name suggests, a multichannel contact center enables agents to handle customer service via multiple channels including phone, SMS, MMS, messaging, and even social media.
Multichannel contact centers pros and cons
- ✅ Customers can interact with a business through multiple channels including social media, email, and webchat
- ❌ Agents can get confused dealing with conversations in multiple channels causing a loop of frustration for customers
Bonus type: Automated call centers
Did you know that automated call centers use technology and call center software to automate tasks such as answering consumer questions, directing calls, and sharing account information? This modern call center streamlines efficiency and production while also improving the client experience.
Technologies used include IVR systems (interactive voice response), chatbots, RPA (robotic process automation), and NLP (natural language processing), enabling automation of various tasks, regardless of complexity.
Knowing call center types is a major concern for any business owner who wants the luxury of top-tier customer service. And choosing from a large array of call centers can become overwhelming.
Here’s a brief overview of call center types:
- Inbound call centers
- Outbound call centers
- Blended call centers
- Virtual call centers
- In-house call centers
- Outsourced call centers
- Multichannel contact centers
- Omnichannel contact centers
By now, you should have a solid understanding of each type — what it can do and what it cannot.
Don’t forget that call center services provide a golden opportunity to transform your business performance from the bottom up. How? Simply by letting your business operate around the clock, 24/7, all days of the year.
With call centers, call management, receiving calls, technical support, and assisting customers is easier than ever! Also, they will maximize your lead and data validation efforts.
The best part, though, is that you don’t even have to pick up the phone, reply to an email, or respond on social media. Oh, another marvelous part is that it’s available for almost all industries! No matter what your business is, a call center can help you leverage supreme customer service/experience for your customers.
With that being said, you’ll be known as the business that doesn’t sleep!
1- 58% of customers agree that customer service is a crucial factor that affects their brands choice. → Microsoft Global Customer Service
2- 61% of consumers stopped transacting with a business after a poor service experience. → Microsoft Global Customer Service
3- Between one-third and one-half of sales go to whichever vendor responds first → HubSpot
4- 70% of global consumers favor brands that contact them with proactive customer service. → Microsoft Global Customer Service
5- 73% of businesses mentioned the improvement of customer service as a growth factor in 2017 → Deloitte global survey