Call centers have been a staple of the customer service industry for decades. Since the invention of the telephone and its widespread adoption into homes throughout the world, businesses have been leveraging call centers as an effective communication method. Let’s focus on one specific type…
What Is a Blended Call Center?
Blended call centers describe a contemporary approach to managing both inbound and outbound customer interactions. A blended call center model endeavors to:
- Optimize the productivity of the call center agent
- Maximize the efficiency of the company overall
- Enhance positive customer experiences
This model is experiencing a rise in popularity as businesses around the country seek to provide better, more seamless service to their customers.
Inbound vs. Outbound Call Centers
The traditional model of call centers consisted of two separate entities — inbound call centers and outbound ones.
Inbound Call Centers
In the traditional model, inbound call centers focused primarily on receiving calls where customers were seeking information or assistance.
Outbound Call Centers
Outbound call centers, on the other hand, were responsible for other business purposes, like making calls to either potential or existing customers.
Some examples of outbound call center uses include sales and marketing or debt collection, but there are certainly more types.
Why Call Centers Are Blended
What business owners began to realize was that dividing call centers into outbound vs. inbound minimized efficiency, productivity, and, therefore, profitability in many situations. When call agents were restricted to a single role, they were often left with periods of nothing to do aside from waiting for the next assignment.
This situation is where blended call centers came into existence as a way to address inefficiencies in workflow. They allow call agents to manage both inbound and outbound calls based on day-to-day customer needs and volume.
Blended call centers allow call agents to perform their tasks dynamically with fluidity. When there’s a day of high inbound call volume, call agents can manage the inbound workflow. However, during low inbound volume days, they can focus more efficiently on outbound campaigns like cold calls.
Blending allows resources to be allocated in a way that ensures a call center is operating at peak efficiency while its agents remain productive.
Blended Call Center Services
Blended call centers offer a variety of services for businesses seeking to outsource their inbound and outbound communication needs. By outsourcing customer communication and some of the outbound sales calls, companies can have their specialized professionals focus on more targeted business interactions.
Some of the blended call center solutions offered include the following.
Customer Service and Support
This is one of the primary services offered by blended call centers. Call center agents field inbound calls from customers who need help or are trying to resolve complaints.
These agents are given specialized training to resolve customer issues with professionalism and efficiency, allowing businesses to benefit from their dedicated expertise. They provide extensive training to their agents, so they are well-versed in customer service best practices to increase customer loyalty rates while protecting a company’s reputation.
Sales and Marketing
Blended call centers also offer outbound sales and marketing services which can:
- Generate leads
- Increase customer acquisition rates
- Boost company revenue
Blended call center agents can be used for a variety of campaigns, like product promotion, telemarketing, or even customer surveys.
If your company needs service-related solutions for customers seeking assistance with their products, blended call centers can help. Call center agents are trained to expertly navigate troubleshooting scenarios to resolve technical problems.
Outsourcing your technical support needs to a blended call center can help you provide timely, dedicated assistance to your customers.
Blended call centers are often used to help businesses handle debt collection services. In this role, agents play the role of collectors and are responsible for:
- Touching base with delinquent customers
- Negotiating and setting up payment plans
- Coordinating with other parties to recover any outstanding debts
When you outsource your debt collection needs to a blended call center, you ensure that these time-sensitive tasks are handled in a dedicated manner that maintains compliance with industry regulations.
Blended call centers typically have built-in quality assurance systems to help businesses maintain high-quality agent performance.
These quality assurance systems not only ensure that customer interactions are being handled in a professional manner that aligns with the business’s expectations but also ensure businesses receive detailed reports outlining KPIs.
Multiple Communication Channels
These days, customers expect multiple methods of customer service communication, from phone calls to live chats to emails. Blended call centers typically offer omnichannel services, helping businesses manage their live chats and other channels to interact with their customers in a variety of ways.
When outsourcing your call center needs, blended call centers offer training services so that your business does not need to spend valuable company dollars on recruiting, training, and then managing your call center agents.
Instead, they take on all aspects of managing the workforce, from onboarding to comprehensive training.
What Are the Main Advantages of a Blended Call Center?
Blended call centers are a business model that has gained traction, especially in recent years, and it’s no wonder why. Here are some of the numerous advantages of working with a blended call center.
Optimizing Your Workforce
Perhaps the most significant advantage of a blended call center is how it allows you to optimize your workforce and, therefore, your money. Whether you have an in-house call center or are contracting services through a third-party organization, you’re investing your valuable business dollars into this portion of your company’s workforce.
The blended call center model reduces the amount of idle time call agents have during their daily workflows, which optimizes workforce utilization and can result in substantial cost savings.
By optimizing the workforce of your current employees or contracted workers, you can lower labor costs because the people you already work with are getting more done throughout the day. You can then take these savings and invest them in other key areas of your business.
Increasing Sales Opportunities
Because blended call centers allow businesses to capitalize on their sales leads during low inbound call volumes, you may experience better sales campaigns.
They offer more flexibility in the ways agent workloads are allocated, which can enable businesses to pivot easily during market trends to seize new sales opportunities.
Enhancing Customer Experience
Since blended call centers allow agents to work on both inbound and outbound calls, agents typically have a better, more well-rounded perspective on the business they’re working with. This means that not only will their outbound sales initiatives improve, but their inbound customer interactions will as well.
A more well-rounded grasp of the business allows agents to become intimately familiar with the company’s services and products, which allows them to offer a higher level of expert support to customers seeking answers and resolutions.
Improving Agent Satisfaction Levels
When agents perform more versatile roles in both inbound and outbound call interactions, they gain a broader skill set in both sales and customer service.
These experiences not only make them more experienced and versatile professionals but also arm them with the tools needed to level up in their careers, should they choose to advance.
Cross-training in both inbound and outbound interactions allows agents more challenging and engaging opportunities, which can increase their overall satisfaction levels.
How Can a Blended Call Center Help Your Business?
By outsourcing your inbound and outbound call needs, you can work with a specialized workforce that allows for significant cost savings.
These agents are highly trained for exactly the purposes you need — professional, organized, and thorough interactions with customers in a variety of situations, from technical support to cold calls.
Since you do not have to recruit, train, and manage these agents, your company saves not only money but valuable time.
Instead of your key workforce having to devote time from their schedules to managing these inbound and outbound interactions, they can focus on more intimate business operations that can help improve your company’s profitability.
Blended call centers also offer a diverse skill set, assisting your company with inbound customer service interactions and outbound sales campaigns. This versatility maximizes workforce optimization while helping you cut labor costs.
Working with a Blended Call Center
Working with a blended call center is easy, but finding the right partner can be challenging unless you know what to look for.
When outsourcing your inbound and outbound interactions, the call center you work with must know how to integrate with your brand while providing the services required.
To successfully work with a blended call center, you should identify your company’s needs, KPIs, and what you’re looking to get out of inbound and outbound interactions.
By communicating your expectations effectively to a third-party blended call center, you position yourself to receive higher-quality service and better interactions with your customers.