Outbound vs Inbound Customer Support Understanding the Difference

Giving top-notch customer support is an absolute must for any organization that wishes to compete in this intensely competitive business world. When it comes to customer service, there are two main approaches commonly used: outbound and inbound customer support.

Inbound customer service happens when a customer calls your company and requests assistance. Meanwhile, outbound customer service occurs when you reach your customers to follow up on a service issue or notify them of new products or policy changes.

Both approaches have their specific uses, advantages, and limitations. Knowing the difference will help you decide which is better for your business.

The Proactive Approach: Outbound Customer Service

Outbound customer support is all about taking the initiative to reach out to customers. Typical cases when you’d use this approach include:

  • Market research
  • Customer Satisfaction Surveys
  • Service follow-ups
  • Telemarketing
  • Lead generation

Reaching out to customers means you anticipate their needs and offer proactive assistance. Companies usually use this approach when launching new products or providing updates and relevant information to existing customers.

You can also use this to inform customers of a service issue or follow up on the resolution to a previous concern.

Outbound customer support is also instrumental in generating sales leads and promoting new offers or upselling opportunities. Companies often leverage this approach to share exclusive promotions, discounts, or cross-selling options directly with interested customers.

Challenges With Outbound Customer Support

However, many customers find outbound customer service intrusive. No one likes unsolicited calls or emails barging into their daily routine, and these incidents are often annoying and dissatisfying. You should also remember that not all customers are ready or available to respond when a company reaches out.

When using outbound customer support, you must balance proactive support and respect customers’ privacy.

The Traditional Approach: Inbound Customer Service

Inbound customer support is the traditional way where customers (or potential customers) call your company to ask for assistance. These calls can come from potential leads who book an appointment or a consultation. They can be from existing customers who request basic troubleshooting or follow up on the status of a claim.

Advantages of Inbound Customer Service
  • Access to Highly Skilled Agents: Inbound customer service agents are trained to handle and solve customer queries and provide the necessary support when needed. They can be skilled in technical support, inbound sales, or customer service.
  • Able to Resolve Difficult Clients: Inbound agents know how to efficiently resolve customer complaints and handle demanding clients. They can also gather customer feedback by asking the right questions after every interaction.
  • Able to provide 24/7 365 support: Inbound customer support services are able to provide around the clock support to your callers at a fraction of the price of doing it inhouse.
  • Easy to Scale: Inbound support is also easy to scale to accommodate varying customer inquiries. They have adequate resources and efficient call routing systems to minimize customer wait times and provide a smooth experience. Inbound call centres can adjust their resources and staffing levels based on anticipated or seasonal demand, ensuring efficient handling of customer requests.

Inbound vs. Outbound Customer Support: Which Should You Choose

Both outbound and inbound customer support offer distinct advantages and limitations. Depending on your goals, you can choose either one or utilize a blended approach.

However, most customers prefer to be in control of their situation and directly reach out to a company for their concerns versus the other way around. In today’s busy world, reaching out to a customer can often be viewed as intrusive and may hurt your brand.

By offering inbound customer service, you can be there for your customers when they need you the most. By answering their concerns promptly, you can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, eventually boosting your revenue and reputation.

At On Call Centre , we deliver exceptional customer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year—sometimes 366. On Call Centre has been providing tailored, fluently French/English bilingual answering services and call centre services to small business owners (professionals, trades) and customer support departments (government, high tech, property management, healthcare, emergency clients) serving Ottawa , Montreal and Toronto —and all over Canada —for almost 50 years.

Get the eBook