an inbound call center agent helping companies improve their CX

How to Pick the Right Inbound Call Center Company

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Your phones are ringing constantly, and your in-house team is struggling to keep up. Wait times are ticking upward, while customer satisfaction is ticking downward. It’s time to call in reinforcements.

But which inbound call center company do you choose?

Ultimately, you want to partner with a cost-effective call center that aligns with your company values and provides excellent customer service. Let’s walk through all you need to know to determine which call center is right for you.

Understanding inbound call centers

First, what is an inbound call center? An inbound call center is a contact center that primarily answers incoming customer calls. These third-party agents are trained to handle everything from:

  • Answering customer queries
  • Providing customer service
  • Giving technical support
  • Processing phone orders
  • Qualifying inbound leads

Some inbound call centers do provide outbound services. However, their primary focus is to resolve customer issues, provide information on your product or service, and ensure customer satisfaction.

Outbound call centers, on the other hand, proactively make calls to individuals or businesses. The call center agents initiate the calls for various reasons, including:

  • Making sales
  • Generating leads
  • Conducting market research
  • Gathering customer feedback
  • Setting appointments
  • Following up with customers

Inbound call center companies are customer-driven, aiming to support and retain customers by addressing their needs. Outbound call centers are more proactive, seeking to sell a product, expand your customer base, or gather valuable data.

Identifying your business’s needs

The first step in choosing the right inbound call center is to determine your business’s needs. Here are three helpful questions to ask:

  1.   How many calls do you expect to receive daily, monthly, and seasonally? Calculating the number of calls you expect to receive will help you determine what support you need from a third party.Outside of peak seasons, your in-house team might be able to handle the majority of daily calls. During your busy months, you could work with an inbound call center for extra support.

    On the other hand, you might find your in-house team is swamped with incoming technical questions. It’s time to turn to highly-trained, specialized agents who can help your customers.

  1.   What are your customers’ pain points? Think through your customers’ pain points to determine which services you need.
    • Are your customers waiting for a significant amount of time to talk with an in-house representative?
    • Do they need technical support to troubleshoot your product?
    • Are they calling outside of regular business hours?
  1.   What is your monthly and annual budget for customer care and support? Consider your budget to see how much third-party support you can afford and how much money you will save. Consider both the initial costs and the potential revenue from increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    Once you’ve determined your needs and your budget, you can then allocate your resources to whatever fits your business needs the most:
    • 24/7 customer support
    • Advanced technology, such as omnichannel support and AI chatbots
    • Increased number of agents
    • Specialized services tailored to your industry

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Criteria for choosing an inbound call center

Now that you know the specific services you need, you can compare different inbound call center companies. As you shop around, assess each call center based on the following essential factors:

  1. Location of the inbound call center: Inbound call centers are located in the U.S. (domestic), in neighboring countries (nearshore), or on the other side of the world (offshore). Each provides its own pros and cons, which we’ll discuss in the next section. Consider what you need from an inbound call center and which location works best.
  2. Experience and expertise of agents: Look for a call center with a strong track record in your industry. This is especially important when you are looking for specialized or technical support. Make sure to ask about the call center’s training programs. Many call centers train agents to answer product questions and solve complex issues for your unique customers’ needs.
  3. Quality of service: When working with an inbound call center, you need one that will provide exceptional quality of service for your customers. Look closely at the call center’s customer satisfaction scores, previous service level agreements (SLAs), and performance metrics. You can also read testimonials, case studies, and references from current and past clients to learn more about their quality of service.
  4. Technology and infrastructure: Many call centers today use advanced technology to provide clients with omnichannel support services. Look for a call center that can handle customer service across multiple channels, including phone, email, live chat, and social media. The most successful call centers integrate AI, machine learning, and human agents to provide personalized customer support.
  5. Reporting and analytics: All call centers should provide you with detailed reporting on agent performance and customer satisfaction. But each one will handle reporting and analytics differently.Some services will send you detailed daily reports. Others will record every call for you to monitor. Still others will only check in sporadically. Think through how—and how often—you want to be kept in the loop, and include reporting expectations in your SLA.
  6. Scalability and availability: The goal of all outsourcing partnerships is to make it easier for your business—easier to employ more agents and easier for your customers to access support. Look for a call center that can scale up or down with readily available agents.
  7. Compliance and security: In today’s world of cybersecurity threats and data breaches, choosing a call center that prioritizes compliance and security is more important than ever. Verify that the call center complies with U.S. standards and regulations, especially those related to data protection and privacy.

Considering location and cultural fit

We touched briefly on the importance of considering the location and cultural fit as you assess different call centers. Let’s look more closely at why this is so important.

Domestic outsourcing options are inherently aligned with American business practices and compliance standards. Cultural compatibility leads to easier communication, stronger data protection, and higher-quality customer support. But domestic call centers are also more expensive.

Offshore outsourcing is much more cost-effective, as labor costs in foreign countries are significantly lower. It is also incredibly scalable, with trained agents ready to join your team anytime. However, offshoring can come with its own challenges. For example, cultural and language differences can impact the quality of service.

As you assess inbound call centers, consider how their location affects pricing and cultural fit. The goal is to find a partner that shares your values and fits within your budget.

Evaluating cost vs. quality

Evaluating the cost of services versus the quality delivered is a delicate balance. Staying within budget is critical for financial health.

Yet the quality of customer support directly impacts customer satisfaction, loyalty, and, ultimately, your bottom line.

A critical piece of the puzzle is understanding the industry’s different pricing models. This will help you determine which pricing model matches the type of service you need.

  • Per Minute Billing: This is the most common pricing model, where businesses are charged based on the time agents spend on customer calls. Per minute billing is cost-effective for companies with fluctuating call volumes and shorter call times.
  • Per Call Billing: Businesses are charged a flat rate for each call the contact center handles. This works well for companies that expect consistent call lengths and want predictable billing.
  • Pay Per Transaction: This model is similar to per call billing but is based on transactions completed rather than calls taken. This is often used for sales, order taking, and lead generation, where the outcome is more important than the call itself.
  • Fixed Monthly Fee: Some call centers offer a fixed monthly fee that covers a predetermined number of calls or minutes. This model is great for companies that receive a stable number of calls each month and want a predictable budget.

Evaluating cost versus quality will be an ongoing cost-benefit analysis. Regularly monitor the call center’s performance to ensure your standards of quality are being met.

Reviewing performance metrics and KPIs

When considering potential providers, it is essential to review their performance metrics. This is a critical piece in determining how their costs measure up to the quality of service delivered.

Here are the most critical KPIs to monitor:

  • First Call Resolution (FCR): This measures the percentage of calls resolved during the first interaction with a customer. A call center that can address customer issues quickly shows its agents are efficient and effective.
  • Average Handle Time (AHT): AHT calculates the average length of a single interaction, including talk time, hold time, and after-call work. While efficiency is important, you want to ensure agents resolve calls effectively without rushing customers.
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): Usually determined through post-call surveys, this measures how satisfied customers are with the service they received. High CSAT scores are essential when looking for quality customer care.
  • Service Level/Response Time: This metric assesses the percentage of calls answered within a particular timeframe. Service Level/Response time is crucial because it shows the call center’s ability to manage incoming calls promptly.
  •  Abandon Rate: This calculates the percentage of calls that a customer disconnects before reaching an agent. A high abandon rate points to issues in staffing and call-handling processes.
  • Call Quality: This KPI evaluates the quality of interactions between agents and customers, often through call monitoring or recording. As you listen to calls, assess the agent’s professionalism, adherence to protocols, and ability to resolve issues.

Partnership and collaboration opportunities

When picking the right inbound call center, it is critical to consider location, cultural fit, quality of service, and cost-effectiveness. But above all, look for a contact center that will truly become a business partner.

Today’s best call centers integrate seamlessly with your operations, offering tailored solutions that align with your business goals. These call centers proactively collaborate with you and work as an extension of your in-house team. As you research and interview different call centers, look for ones that bring fresh energy and ideas.

Request a free consultation

That’s exactly who we are at Global Response. We partner with you to drive innovation, improve efficiency, and deliver excellent customer service. We are committed to learning the intricacies of your business and developing customized strategies for customer retention and growth.

Request a consultation with Global Response today. Let us use every incoming call to add value to your business, strengthen your market position, and create a seamless, positive experience for your customers.


When selecting an inbound call center, consider the following factors:

  • The provider’s experience in your industry
  • Their technology and infrastructure capabilities
  • Language support
  • Geographical location
  • Flexibility and scalability
  • Quality of service
  • Compliance with relevant regulations
  • Cost of their services
  • Cultural fit

Technology plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of an inbound call center. Look for providers that offer advanced call center technology, including CRM integration, omnichannel support, automated call distribution, interactive voice response (IVR) systems, and robust data security measures. These technologies enhance customer experience, improve operational efficiency, and ensure data protection.

Yes, the call center’s location can impact various aspects of your service, including language capabilities, cultural alignment with your customer base, operating hours, and the cost of services. Depending on your customer demographic, you may prefer a call center located in a region with a similar time zone or cultural background. It’s also important to consider regulatory compliance issues that may be affected by the call center’s location

Assessing service quality involves evaluating the call center’s performance metrics, such as First Call Resolution (FCR), Average Handle Time (AHT), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores, and Abandon Rate. Request case studies, client testimonials, and references to understand their track record. It’s also helpful to visit or have a virtual tour to get a firsthand look at their operations and interact with their management and agents.

Inbound call centers typically offer various pricing models, including per minute, per call, fixed monthly fee, and performance-based pricing. The right model for your business depends on your specific needs, such as call volume, call duration, and the complexity of services required. A per-minute or per-call model is cost-effective for fluctuating volumes, while a fixed monthly fee or hourly rate works well when you need specialized services. Discuss your business needs and expectations with potential providers to determine the most suitable pricing structure.

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