Contact centers and call centers manage large volumes of calls inbound and outbound. However, knowing the differences between inbound and outbound call centers can help determine which best suits your business needs. 

This article closely examines the differences between inbound and outbound call centers and helps decide the right solution for you.

What is an Inbound Call Center?

An inbound call center handles incoming phone calls from customers and potential customers. They are mainly about resolving concerns and questions and providing customer service. 

An Inbound Call Center operation starts when the customer calls the business and the call center answers the call. Then, they route incoming calls to the most appropriate agent. Some types of Inbound calls are Customer support, Inbound Sales, Technical support, Support service, etc.

Customer support is an inbound call aimed at agents to help resolve a customer’s concerns or inconveniences. Inbound sales help customers decide whether to purchase a product by requesting information about a specific product or service. According to CFI Group, 2020, 76% of consumers contact customer support by phone. This informs the importance of inbound call centers. 

Also, Technical support calls help customers solve any IT-related problems. Support service call services ensure premium and pleasant service is delivered to the customer to keep the business top of mind.

What is an Outbound Call Center?

An outbound call center reaches out to customers and potential customers and makes more calls than it receives. They are mainly about making sales and cold calls and helping customers upgrade their services.

An Outbound Call Center operation starts when an agent makes an outgoing call and gets answered by the customer. Then, the agent states the purpose of the call. Some types of outbound calls include Meetings and appointments, Lead Generation, Telemarketing, Telesales, Market Research, etc.

Outbound agents use outbound calls to schedule meetings or appointments between the lead and a company representative, perhaps a salesperson. Through warm and cold calls, outbound agents get leads that could potentially turn into buyers of the company’s products and services. 

Telemarketing is when sales agents pitch their products over the phone based on a given target list. They generate interest in prospects regarding the business services. Telesales has a different end goal from telemarketing—to close the sale. These calls don’t just generate interest; they pursue qualified leads and convert them.

For market research, outbound calls ask questions about a product, service, or brand and learn more about the target audience. Data gathered will be used to modify products or adjust marketing strategies. 

Inbound vs. Outbound Call Center

Here are some of the differences and similarities between inbound and outbound call centers:

Type of calls

Call centers where more calls are made by customers are inbound call centers, and where the agents make the calls are outbound call centers.

Inbound call centers focus on and handle customer service, inbound sales, technical support, and product/service inquiry. On the other hand, outbound call centers are about customer success and sales calls, lead generation, scheduling appointments, and conducting market/customer research. 


Inbound call center customers call with questions, issues, or complaints. Agents try to help them and find a solution to the situation. In outbound call centers, the agents take the initiative and make the call first. The purpose could be service promotion, offers, or product sales.


Inbound call centers use technologies such as Call monitoring, Call management, Call transfer, IVR systems, etc. Outbound call centers need call agents and CRM systems that help find interested customers.


In inbound call centers, customer calls are often complaints and come with some aggression. The agent must be polite and patient and ensure customer data as soon as they receive the call. The agent typically already has information about the lead or client in outbound call centers. The agent must decipher the client’s mood and convince them to use the service.

Business Impact

Inbound call centers do not sell directly but instead passively because you have to wait for the customer’s call. They are more impactful in making customers feel appreciated and heard. Outbound call centers are aggressive in their marketing tactics since you sell directly. They are more impactful in increasing sales and making the customers feel their opinion is valued.

Hybrid Call Center Solution for Your Inbound and Outbound Needs

If you can’t seem to keep up with the rate of technical support calls, then you probably need an inbound call center. And if you find it difficult to follow up on a long list of leads, you most likely need an outbound call center.

Here at ULTATEL, whether you need a competent customer support solution or want your sales superstars to get the word out effectively about your services, our cloud contact center solution can make a world of difference.