If you took a handful of consumers and asked them to describe what they know customer service call centers to be, chances are you’d get a variety of responses. Since experiences shape our understanding of things, it’s easy to realize that many companies use customer call centers differently. Here are four of the most common and recognizable forms of inbound (a.k.a., when the customer calls you) call centers in effect today.


  • Customer service: This is the most well-known understanding of call centers. If you have a problem unrelated to technology or sales, you’ll find yourself talking to a customer service agent. Any questions you have regarding shipping, returns, clarity on a bill, etc., all get directed to this general call center.


  • Tech support: Tech support call centers are designed to answer questions and solve problems related to technological errors or mistakes. For example, if you’re running tax software and are informed that you owe the government tens of thousands of dollars more than you did last year, you’ll want to contact a tech support call center to figure out just what went wrong and where. Additionally, they can assist hardware problems: if your TV isn’t connecting or your printer isn’t working, they can lend a hand (or a voice).


  • Help desk: Help desk centers answer general queries relating to the company and its brand. They can provide customers with information regarding products and services available, materials used, and can ensure you get to the person you need to be speaking to if they are unable to help.


  • Inbound sales: Marketing call centers often handle inbound sales calls as a separate platform of accepting orders and payments. When you see an infomercial, the number listed at the bottom of your TV connects to an inbound sales call center where someone will take your address and payment information.


Around 72% of businesses cite improving customer experience as their number one priority, and customer service call centers offer an easy and effective way to do just that. This article focuses entirely on inbound calls, but you can have the same impact through outbound sales call centers as well. Which one do you think will benefit your business the most?