Call center services required by a business can be divided into two broad categories – inbound and outbound. Businesses need to set up an inbound call center to handle calls made by existing and potential customers. An inbound call center helps to manage a variety of incoming calls – customer service, help desk, appointment management, order processing, technical troubleshooting, and inbound sales.
At the same time, the businesses also need to set up outbound call centers to make agent contact customers and prospects by making outbound calls. The outbound call centers help the brands to contact existing and prospective customers for a variety of purposes – to carry out telesales, to generate leads, conducting market research, to deliver collection reminders, and to make appointments for business meetings.
There is a third category – blended call centers which handle both outgoing and incoming call traffic. The blended call centers enable businesses to unify their inbound and outbound call operations seamlessly. The PC Magazine describes blended call center as “a call center that allows agents to both make and receive calls as demand and strategy dictate. Combining automatic call distribution for incoming calls with predictive dialing for outbound calls, it makes more efficient use of an agent as each can handle the overflow of the other. In addition, the different types of calls add variety to the day and make the job less boring.”
Unlike inbound or outbound call centers, the blended call centers are capable of both handling inbound calls as well as initiating outbound calls. Blended call center technologies help businesses to increase the efficiency of their call center and maximize agent utilization. Many companies, nowadays, opt for blended call centers to utilize the same resources for both inbound and outbound calls. There are also several reasons why a blended call center is currently one of the most important trends in call center technologies.
Understanding Important Aspects of Blended Call Center Technology
Unify Inbound and Outbound Call Center Operations
The blended call center technologies make it easier for businesses to set up and operate call centers by unifying their inbound and outbound call center operations. The blended call center, unlike an inbound call center or outbound call center, handles both incoming calls and initiate outbound calls through a single interface. The agents can use the same interface to make outgoing calls and receive incoming calls.
Facilitate Automatic Call Distribution
The new age call center solutions come with features to distribute calls, prioritize calls, and blend calls efficiently. The businesses can leverage cloud-based technologies to distribute incoming and outbound calls efficiently among the staff agents. They can further improve customer experience through call-blending and call-prioritization. The cloud-based call center solutions help agents to personalize customer interaction by accessing relevant information while interacting with the customers.
Work with Blended Agents
Often small businesses and start-ups lack the resources required to manage inbound and outbound calls individually by deploying additional agents. The blended call centers help companies to optimize their call center operations by deploying same agents for both types of call traffic. The blended call center agents can manage both inbound and outbound calls efficiently. Also, the call-distribution and call-prioritization features provided by the blended call center technologies help businesses to handle the surge in call volume by making outbound agents handle inbound calls.
Improve Agent Productivity
In addition to reducing call center deployment time and cost, blended call centers also help businesses to improve agent productivity and reduce agent idle time. Businesses can leverage sophisticated auto-dialing solutions like predictive dialers to initiate outbound calls to multiple telephone numbers simultaneously. The predictive dialers can even detect busy tones, answering machines, and disconnected calls. Also, they ensure to transfer calls to live agents only when a contact answers it.
Keep Agents Motivated
No business can optimize its inbound and outbound call center operations without reducing high agent attrition/turnover rate. These days the call centers agents work in pressure and stress. Also, they feel bored and demotivated by repetitive tasks and handling the same type of calls throughout the day. The blended call center technologies help businesses to motivate agents and reduce attrition rate by shuffling between inbound and outbound calls. The agents hone their call center skills and expertise by working with new age call center solutions. The managers can further help agents to improve their call center skills by monitoring call quality.
Improve Call Quality
In addition to reducing agent idle time, the cloud-based blended call center solutions facilitate call monitoring. The supervisors have the option to monitor and evaluate the quality of both live and recorded calls. They can further leverage call center analytics to assess the quality of incoming and outgoing calls to match customer demands and expectations. Hence, blended call centers help businesses to deliver optimum customer service and meet customer demands continuously.
Drive Cross-Selling and Up-Selling Efforts
A large percentage of customers nowadays contact businesses by phone while conducting pre-purchase information search. The inbound agents can drive sales and increase conversion rate by providing relevant information about the products or services to existing customers. Likewise, the outbound agents can drive sales by initiating outbound calls to introduce new products, promote existing products, and make value-added offers. The blended call centers enable inbound agents to increase conversion rate and outbound agents to boost telemarketing efforts by providing relevant information to the existing and prospective customers.
Simplify Call Center Deployment and Management
Businesses need to deploy additional agents and set up separate infrastructures to handle inbound and outbound calls individually. The blended call centers help firms to manage inbound and outbound calls efficiently without investing additional time and resources. The managers can further monitor and improve both inbound and outbound call operations by generating reports of each type of call based on real-time data.
The worldwide blended call center market has been growing consistently. Many enterprises are leveraging blended call center technologies to reduce call center deployment time and cost significantly. In addition to unifying inbound and outbound call center operations, blended call center also enables agents to interact with customers through emails, live chats, and web-based interfaces. However, it is essential for businesses to identify and address the common problems faced by blended call centers to increase the average speed of answer (ASA)