Outbound Call Center: Overview, Campaigns, & Key Features

March 1, 2023 9 min read

Blair Williamson

Blair Williamson

what is an outbound call center? An outbound call center is a business facility that staffs agents to make outbound calls to customers and prospects.

What is an outbound call center?

An outbound call center is a business facility that staffs agents to make outbound calls to customers and prospects. Companies outbound call centers to grow sales, conduct surveys, collect market research, and proactively deliver customer service.

Inbound call centers maintain existing customer relationships by offering customer support. Instead, outbound sales teams find new leads and follow up with customers through surveys and referrals.

Some businesses may choose to prioritize either inbound or outbound calls. Or they could combine efforts with a hybrid call center.

We dig into the characteristics of outbound call centers to help you determine whether one is right for your business.

Table of Contents

What is an outbound call?

Outbound calls are a form of verbal communication made by a call center agent. It contrasts with inbound calls, as it’s the agent who initiates the conversation.

Typically, companies use their business phone system or a sophisticated cloud contact center to make outbound calls. Outbound calls serve several purposes: sales, fundraising, and market research through surveys and follow-up calls.

Outbound calls are often used for:

  • Sales: Businesses contact potential customers through lead forms or other lead generation tactics.
  • Fundraising: Agents contact donors and potential donors to generate donations for nonprofits.
  • Marketing efforts such as surveys: Businesses can gather market research through surveys and scheduled follow-up calls.

History of Outbound Calling

Did you know the history of the outbound call center dates back to the 1960s?

The history of outbound sales calls began when women worked from home and placed outgoing calls to people on behalf of Ford to measure consumer interest in a new car. As a result, they dialed 20 million people and sold 40,000 cars, marking the first known telemarketing success story.

Today, call centers use advanced analytics, auto-dialing tools, and CRM integrations to enhance outreach campaigns. Nevertheless, call center technology is only the tip of the iceberg of what modern call centers can do.

Contact center software now uses advanced call routing and dialing tools to improve and speed up outbound calling campaigns. We’ll dive into more below.

What is the outbound process?

Outbound sales play an essential role in many businesses, especially those with outbound call center agents who are responsible for telemarketing and sales calls.

The outbound process typically begins with sales development representatives (SDRs), who engage in outreach to potential customers via phone calls, emails, or other channels. The goal is to identify qualified prospects and schedule demos or meetings, aiming to drive conversions and increase revenue.

SaaS sales teams can find potential customers through cold calling, outbound emailing, and booking demos with qualified prospects.

Source: RAIN Group

Sales outreach campaigns

Outreach campaigns are a type of outbound sales motion to build relationships with potential customers. This campaign can take many forms, including cold calls, email campaigns, social media outreach, and even gifts.

The outbound process typically involves the use of contact center technology, such as auto-dialers, IVR routing, and CRM integrations, to help agents manage their outreach and track their progress. A sales rep has an arsenal of tools to develop a book of business and grow their pipeline.

Outbound call benefits

One of the top benefits of outbound sales is the ability to influence conversion rates. Outbound call center agents create opportunity — not wait for it.

They can engage with potential customers in a personalized way, offering tailored solutions and addressing their specific needs and pain points. This can lead to a higher likelihood of sales and referrals — ultimately increased revenue.

While outbound sales can be highly effective, there are also challenges you should know.

One of the biggest challenges is compliance with regulations, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Outbound call centers must be careful to avoid becoming a nuisance to potential customers while still engaging in effective outbound calls.

Another challenge is the need for skilled outbound call center agents. These agents must be able to communicate effectively with prospects, build rapport and trust, and handle objections. They must also be able to navigate CRM tools and use call center solutions.

What is the difference between an inbound and an outbound call center?

The main difference between these two types of call centers is that they focus on different goals.

Inbound call centers

Inbound call centers receive incoming calls from customers seeking support. The main goal is to provide customer satisfaction in resolving questions or concerns in the shortest amount of time possible.

Related: Top 33 Call Center Metrics To Supercharge Customer Satisfaction

Outbound call centers

Outbound call centers aim to provide proactive customer support and generate new business via cold calling or upselling. Outbound call centers also offer services like routing (to reach the best agent) and call center software to track the calls and customer data.

Outbound vs. Inbound call centers

Inbound call centerOutbound call center
Types of callsCalls that come into a call centerCalls that go out from a call center
GoalsCustomer serviceLead generation
Types of serviceSupport and product/service inquiriesSelling and market/customer research

Example of an outbound call center campaign

One prime example of how outbound call centers benefit businesses is when customers receive scheduled services, such as home cleaning.

When the service is completed, an outbound call center agent follows up with the customer, gathers feedback, addresses any concerns, and schedules the next visit — accomplishing both customer satisfaction and revenue generation goals.

This outbound call center campaign ensures prompt feedback and prevents negative reviews that could potentially harm a business’s online reputation.

What is the purpose of an outbound call center?

Outbound call center services lend themselves to a variety of call center campaigns. Here are six of the key offerings.

Proactive customer service

An outbound call center allows you to alert customers of service outages, delivery delays, and other pressing information to assuage concerns and issues. Not only will this help build your rapport with customers, but it will also cut down on the number of inbound calls you receive from frustrated ones. 

Lead generation

This type of sales strategy can lead to impressive results. HubSpot found that 62 percent of businesses said that their outbound sales strategy is effective. 

Collecting customer surveys and feedback

Conducting market research through customer service satisfaction questions helps businesses gather in-depth insight. Agents can also follow up with a customer to alleviate bad customer reviews with friendly service.

While talking with customers, agents can also look for ways to cross-sell and upsell. This can be done by actively listening to customers’ needs and connecting them with sales agents.

And this tactic has some impressive results. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20 percent. However, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. 

Source: Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance

Appointment setting 

Agents can book appointments for prospects to meet with a sales representative. This lets sales reps jump into the process once a lead has been thoroughly vetted, saving time and streamlining the sales process.

Correcting billing issues

Outbound teams can also contact customers to let them know that their subscription is up for renewal. Or, if a bill is overdue or there are billing errors, they can call customers to help resolve the issue.

Scheduled customer callbacks

Agents can avoid irritating customers by keeping them on hold by scheduling callbacks. This helps eliminate long wait times for the caller and improves customer experience.

Key features for outbound call centers

Here are a few key features to consider when looking for an outbound contact center provider

Dialer tools  

Sales dialers allow agents to improve their efficiency and the volume of calls they are able to make. The types of dialer tools differ within outbound call center software, but here are a few of the most common:

  • Predictive dialing: A predictive dialer tools automatically dial numbers for agents. Nextiva prohibits the use of auto/predictive dialers.
  • Power dialing: Similar to predictive dialing, power dialing allows agents to make calls, one after another, automatically — much faster than dialing by hand.
  • Business phone calls: With VoIP phone service, agents can make calls anywhere there’s an internet connection. This lets them work remotely and eliminates the need for a phone line.
  • SMS reminders: Send a short SMS reminder from your outbound contact center before a meeting. A reschedule is better than a no-show.

Custom caller ID

If a caller ID phone number is local to the customer, they’re more likely to answer the call. That’s why modifiable caller ID is essential in outbound communication. The agent’s desktop can see only the customer’s number entered by the agent. The incoming call at the customer’s end shows up with a phone number belonging to their area.

Click-to-call capability

Click-to-call is sometimes referred to as a click-to-dial and one-click calling. It’s a phone system feature that connects phone calls using VoIP.

Call recording

The ability to record phone conversations with customers can greatly improve agent success. This feature is also used to track agent performance to help them improve.

With VoIP call recording, companies are able to offer quality call assurance, minimize legal risks, and increase accountability.

Advantages of an outbound call center

As important as inbound calls are for strengthening customer relationships, outbound call centers help you bring in new ones.

Here are several benefits of an outbound call center you might not know:

  1. Reach customers on their schedule: With outbound call centers, you can reach a high number of potential customers. With the right tools, like a predictive dialer, call center managers can maximize their phone time and increase conversion rates.
  2. Improve customer acquisition: By leveraging market research, telemarketing, and cold calling tactics, your sales team can identify and reach out to potential customers. Real-time customer info (like Call Pop) boosts retention and revenue.
  3. Retain more customers: Live agents can place customer calls and provide personalized support, upsell and cross-sell products, and set appointments for follow-up. Even help desk call center teams can build long-term relationships and increase loyalty by focusing on customer satisfaction.
  4. Boost agent productivity: With call center software and integrations, agents can streamline their workflow and spend more time on phone calls. With business process outsourcing (BPO) firms, you can have them work on new deals and route the info to your sales reps when a prospect is ready for a sales discussion.
  5. Track important metrics: Be in the know by monitoring call center metrics like call volume, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction. These stats help you identify areas for improvement and adjust your strategy accordingly. Use call center software to automate metrics tracking and generate reports for analysis.

Related: Call Center vs. Contact Center: Which One Is Best In 2023?


Below, we’ll answer a few commonly asked questions about outbound call centers to determine if one is right for you.

What is an outbound call center?

An outbound call center is a business facility that staffs agents to make outbound calls to customers and prospects. Companies outbound call centers to grow sales, conduct surveys, collect market research, and proactively deliver customer service.

How does an outbound call center grow revenue?

They grow sales because agents are actively making calls to potential customers. They also help continue relationships with new customers by educating them on new product offerings and updates.

Who uses call center software?

Companies often add an outbound for business development and proactive customer support. Industries that use this software include nonprofits, healthcare, insurance, hospitality, retail, and telecom companies.

What are the reasons for setting up an outbound call center?

If you’re looking to grow your business, outbound call centers can help. Agents can use lead generation to grow sales and cut down long wait times for customers with call queues.
But if your focus is to help customers who are contacting you, then an inbound call center is the right option. You could also combine the two with a hybrid call center.

There are many benefits to adding an outbound call center to your business strategy. This is invaluable if you want to improve customer relationships or find new prospects.

And if you want a hybrid approach, Nextiva’s VoIP call center will help your business strike a balance between the two call types. Our software will help you deliver personalized service, communicate with customers, and track real-time analytics to help your agents — and business — grow.

Blair Williamson


Blair Williamson

Blair Williamson is a Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Nextiva. Her background is marketing in higher education and tech. She geeks out on WordPress, kettlebells, and whatever book she's currently reading.

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