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8 Types of Call Centers and Their Purpose

man researching different types of call center

Excellent customer service influences consumer purchasing decisions as much as product quality. If it’s too complicated for consumers to find the answers they’re looking for, they aren’t likely to push through with a sale. 

In addition, call centers are responsible for developing a robust brand image and developing trust. However, no call center is a one-size-fits-all solution for businesses—there are nuances you’ll have to consider.

Our guide will tell you how a call center functions and what eight primary types are available for hire.

What is a Call Center?

A call center is a centralized office or facility where a company or organization handles incoming and outgoing telephone calls to provide customer service, technical support, sales, or other types of assistance. Call centers are commonly used in various industries to manage many customer interactions.

Primarily, call centers handle customer inquiries, complaints, and requests for assistance through trained service agents. Outside of queries, agents can provide technical support for troubleshooting issues. 

Agents might also make outbound calls to potential customers to promote products or services and take orders or bookings over the phone. When processing orders, call center agents record and fulfill them.

Finally, call centers conduct surveys and market research, gathering customer feedback and insight.

8 Types of Call Centers

Here are some common types of call centers

1. Inbound

Inbound call centers handle incoming calls from customers, clients, and individuals seeking support or information. They must promptly and efficiently respond to orders, issues, and complaints.


  • Focuses on handling incoming customer calls, leading to higher customer satisfaction
  • Agents are well-versed in addressing customer queries and resolving issues
  • Opportunities for upselling and cross-selling occur during interactions


  • High call volume during peak times may lead to longer customer wait times
  • Challenging to predict call flow, impacting staffing requirements

2. Outbound

Outbound call centers call customers and prospects regarding sales, marketing, surveys, collections, and follow-ups. Some outbound agents are responsible for debt collection or making appointment reminders.


  • Enables proactive customer outreach for sales, promotions, and surveys
  • Offers more control over agent schedules and resource allocation
  • Provides opportunities for lead generation and sales growth


  • Can face resistance from customers who may perceive outbound calls as intrusive
  • Higher chances of call rejections or unanswered calls

3. Virtual

Virtual or remote call centers function from locations outside centralized physical offices. They are geographically dispersed and ideal for home setups. Virtual call center infrastructures are cloud-hosted and accessible through the Internet.

These unique call centers employ remote agents with access to a broader talent pool. 


  • Agents work remotely, leading to cost savings on office space and infrastructure
  • Provides access to a broader talent pool without geographical limitations
  • Provides increased flexibility in staffing and scalability


  • May require robust technology and security measures for remote access
  • Communication and coordination challenges may occur among remote teams

4. Onshore

Onshore or domestic call centers function within the same country as their parent company (the organization they serve). They make/take inbound and outbound calls. This same-country location enables language and cultural familiarity, allowing for regulatory alignment and reducing language barriers.


  • Agents and customers share a common language and cultural understanding
  • Reduces the risk of communication barriers and customer dissatisfaction


  • Has higher labor costs compared to offshore alternatives
  • Has limited access to a 24/7 service, depending on the time zone

5. Offshore

Unlike onshore call centers, their offshore counterparts function out of a different country than their parent company. While these call centers function identically, offshore call centers have lower labor costs.

Offshore call centers provide multilingual capabilities thanks to geographical diversity, which is ideal for businesses that serve international customers. However, time zone differences can make communications tricky.


  • Lower labor costs, which can result in significant savings for the company
  • Provides access to a diverse talent pool with multilingual capabilities
  • Availability of 24/7 service due to different time zones


  • Potential language barriers and cultural differences may affect customer experience
  • Data security concerns and adherence to different regulatory standards

6. Blended

In a blended call center, agents handle incoming calls from customers (inbound) and outgoing calls to customers or prospects (outbound). This integrated approach allows call center agents to switch between inbound and outbound tasks based on call volume and business needs.

While blended call centers are flexible and scalable, training requirements may be demanding or beyond your business capacity. 


  • Combines both inbound and outbound functions, maximizing agent productivity
  • Enables agents to switch between tasks, reducing idle time
  • Provides better resource utilization, especially during periods of low inbound call volume


  • Requires sophisticated call routing and workforce management systems
  • Agents must be trained for both inbound and outbound tasks

7. Help Desk

Also known as technical support centers or IT help desks, help desk call centers assist callers requiring troubleshooting assistance. These agents provide support to customers experiencing issues with products and services.  

Help desk call centers focus on resolving technical issues promptly and efficiently, ensuring smooth operations and customer satisfaction. These call centers typically employ a ticketing system to manage requests and complaints.


  • Specializes in providing technical support and assistance
  • Technical expertise of agents leads to effective problem-solving
  • Enhances customer satisfaction and product loyalty


  • Requires continuous agent training to keep up with evolving technologies
  • Complex technical issues may lead to longer call durations

8. Emergency

An emergency call center, also known as an emergency communications center or emergency dispatch center, handles emergency calls and dispatches appropriate resources to respond to urgent situations. 

These call centers are a crucial link between the public or individuals in distress and emergency response services, such as police, fire departments, ambulance services, or other emergency responders. They employ trained individuals and use specialized software to perform multi-agency calls while adhering to strict protocols.


  • Handles critical and time-sensitive situations, saving lives and property
  • Highly trained agents follow standardized protocols for effective responses


  • High-pressure environment may lead to stress and burnout among agents
  • Potential consequences of errors can be severe in emergency situations

Which Type of Call Center is Right for Your Business?

When determining what call center is right for your business, factors to consider include the following:

  • The volume of calls your business expects to receive and make
  • Your unique customer support requirements (e.g., resolving customer issues, providing technical support)
  • Your sales and lead generation strategies
  • Budget and cost considerations
  • Intended global reach
  • Data security and compliance requirements
  • Your unique company culture
  • Your industry experience

Whatever the case, your business will require a reliable and always-on cloud phone solution to ensure your customers get what they need. With ULTATEL, you can reach hundreds of thousands of customers at reasonable costs. Plus, you won’t have to worry about downtime. We have your back 24/7.

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