12 Sep 2018
Think customer service is only about handling customers calling about missing orders?
Professional customer service continues to evolve all the time. It’s a crucial aspect of any company that relies on its relationship with customers.
Of course, that’s about every business in existence.
A company’s customer service team may be big or small. Nonetheless, they have one goal: to provide solutions to their clients or customers.
They can do this in two ways: inbound or outbound. How they can cater to the needs of the customers would rely on the point of contact. Will the customer call them or will they contact the customer?
Know the differences between outbound and inbound customer service and see how it can help you grow. Learn if they fit your business needs below.
What is Inbound Customer Service?
Inbound customer service provides support through the phone. It is the process of receiving calls from customers and then attending to their concerns.
There several possible reasons why a customer would want to call a business. The customer might want to report an issue and want a resolution. Concerns about payment and questions about their accounts are also common reasons.
Inbound customer service also entails entertaining inquiries from potential customers. An interested individual might call about a service or open an account.
Duties of an Inbound Customer Service Representative
Although their jobs may seem straightforward, an agent juggles many tasks in one call. While speaking to the customer, they also pull up their details, take notes, and such.
Note that the duties might change depending on the company. Some of the most common duties of a CSR include:
Resolving Customer Problems
No matter what kind of product or service they have, customer representatives must provide a solution when a customer calls in because of a problem.
Whether the item that they received has a damage, or if they’re having technical issues with the company’s tech product, CSRs must know how to resolve the problem in a proper manner.
They may process returns or refunds as long as they’re allowed to. They should also be able to guide customers of any age and intellect to troubleshoot and solve the technical problem.
Sometimes, the resolution is something they have to decide for themselves. For this, they must have quick thinking and the ability to follow through.
Answering Account-Specific and Other Questions
A customer service agent usually has access to a software that allows them to view the details of a customer’s account. This way, they’ll be able to answer the questions when someone calls in about their account. This also allows them to form a solution based on the customer’s details.
Apart from that, a CSR should always be ready to answer all other types of questions.
How much is an upgrade? Is a customer eligible for one? What about the inclusions of a specific service?
The training should cover most of these questions, but some are unique. In such cases, a representative can relay what they think is the best answer or seek the help of a supervisor.
Taking Orders and Booking Reservations
Inbound customer service doesn’t only involve answering questions. It also includes processing orders or booking reservations.
When you order food, flowers, or other items, your call connects to an inbound CSR. When you want to book a reservation for flights or hotels, CSRs also process that.
In summary, a customer service representative processes requests like these. That is beside resolving problems related to flights, hotels, delivery, and more.
What is Outbound Customer Service?
Outbound customer service is similar to inbound in that it has more or less the same objective: customer satisfaction. The main difference would be that this process relies on the customer representative reaching out to the customer.
The differences are more than that, however. They have some advantages over inbound.
For example, companies can use this to welcome a new customer. This is an effective strategy to strengthen the trust in the company. A company may also call a customer after an inbound call to request feedback about the service.
Sometimes, an agent can perform both inbound and outbound customer service.
Duties of an Outbound Customer Service Representative
Because an outbound customer agent can steer the conversation when they call, their duties are different than those who work with inbound calls. Some of which are:
Reminding Customers About Payment
When a customer misses a payment, a company will have their outbound agents call them. How do they know whom to call?
That is through a software. It knows when a payment is overdue; it then sends an alert for a representative to call the customer. They’re not like debt collectors, though, who might get aggressive in collecting payment.
They should be polite in reminding the customers about their bill. They may then ask when the customer could make the payment.
Offering New Products or Services
Outbound customer service makes it possible for companies to relay information. They can give their existing customers a heads up about a new product or service.
For example, a bank representative might offer a new credit card. A telecommunications rep might call to recommend an upgrade or an add-on.
This isn’t like cold-calling, where a company will call a non-customer to offer products.
Resolving Customer Problems
Outbound customer representatives can solve issues as well. When a customer has reported a problem in a previous call, an agent may call back to help them solve it. They follow up and walk through the troubleshooting methods with the customer.
If the problem is beyond their training, they may redirect the call to technical support. In this regard, they are alike inbound customer reps, save for the matter of who called whom.
Inbound vs Outbound: What Does Your Business Need?
The type of customer service you need would depend on your industry. However, it’s not uncommon today to provide both inbound customer service and outbound customer service.
Whichever solution you think is right for you, what matters is that the team you have can provide a great experience for your customers. Contact us now and let’s discuss how we can make your company grow.