What Is an Inbound Call Center?


Companies of all kinds rely on call centers, both internal and outsourced, to handle all kinds of customer needs, marketing, tech support, and more. The digital age has changed the landscape of the “traditional” call center, but their purpose and function remain mostly the same. There are different types of call centers, including inbound, outbound, and hybrid options, depending on what you need. In this guide, we’ll be covering the details of inbound call centers, including what they do, the benefits of having them, and more. 

What does an inbound call center do?

As the name suggests, inbound call centers are typically responsible for fielding calls that come in, rather than making them. They may return some calls that were missed or call people back to provide further information or support, but their primary focus is on answering the phones. These types of call centers typically handle customer needs and concerns, queries from potential customers, and related types of calls. 

Some services offer inbound marketing support and lead generation assistance, so they may take calls from people who are reaching out to learn more about the company or make an appointment for a consultation, for example. Ultimately, an inbound call center can field any type of calls that you need and do whatever other work is required to follow up, provide you with reporting and other information, and make sure that your calls get the prompt, professional attention that they deserve. 

What are the benefits of having an inbound call center?

When you invest in an inbound call center, you will know that someone is always there to answer the phones. That’s their entire job. You no longer have to worry about whether your sales team will get to their phones in time or how many messages you’ll have to return because you were in a meeting—you can now direct everyone to the call center first, and then have calls forwarded to you or messages passed along if they are important enough to warrant your direct attention. 

So, you’ll essentially get all the calls you need to take and have someone else handle the ones that don’t require your aid specifically. If you’re doing digital marketing right, the need for an inbound call center to help you field all the new leads and customers should be glaringly obvious by now. And when you invest in the right solution, you’ll also enjoy benefits like:

  • Lower costs when you outsource
  • Agility and scalability
  • More efficiency and professionalism 
  • 24/7 support to ensure you never miss a lead
  • A dedicated team for incoming calls
  • Cloud-based software for easy integration 
  • Rich reporting and metrics to ensure your call center is living up to its promises

These are just a handful of the perks that come from investing in a call center, whether you choose to do it in-house or outsource. 

Should I outsource or create my own team?

This is another big question people have when considering call centers—do you need to invest in your own call center within the business, or will it be more cost-effective for you to outsource the work? There’s no single answer for every business. You have to consider your needs, your budget, and what type of future you see for your organization. For some small businesses and startups, having their own call center is just too much. For others, it’s a natural part of growing the business because someday they’re going to be a huge corporation that needs it, so why not invest now? 

Fortunately, there are several affordable options that you can use to get call center services moving faster than building your own team. Why not consider outsourcing first and then if you decide it’s not enough, you can start building an in-house team? Then, in the meantime, you’re not dropping the ball or missing important calls. Take the time to consult with outsourced call centers and virtual receptionists to see what they offer and then go from there. If you’re like most companies just starting out, outsourcing will usually seem to be the better choice. 

You can create affordable, scalable, custom plans for all your inbound calling needs when you choose a third-party provider, which definitely helps the budget and makes growth much easier for companies that aren’t quite at the “corporate giant” level just yet. 

What about hybrid call centers and virtual receptionist services?

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, hybrid call centers are another option that companies have. Virtual receptionist services, which are similar but often have more administrative support, are another great choice if you have diverse communication and admin needs. A hybrid call center will handle all of your inbound and outbound calls, along with anything else that you request from them. They have the staff, departments, and capacity to do it all in one place, which can often save you a lot of time and hassle. 

After all, do you really want to have to manage two different call center providers? A company rarely needs inbound calling support and not outbound support, and vice versa. Why not get it all from the same place? And since you’re getting support, why not get as much as you can by adding virtual receptionists to your list of considerations?

If you like the idea of virtual receptionists, the team at Smith.ai is ready and waiting to help you with all of your phone, chat, and other support needs. We can provide solutions for 24/7 answering services, along with assistance for lead intake, appointment scheduling, live website chat, and anything else that you need. 

If you’re still working on outreach, we can create a hybrid plan to manage your inbound calls and messaging as well as your outreach campaigns. And we’ll do it all with the professional expertise that your brand deserves. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do for your inbound and outbound calling needs, or drop us a line at hello@smith.ai

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Written by Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing Manager with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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Affordable plans for every budget.