How to Handle Inbound Calls Seamlessly

Properly managing an inbound call center isn’t as easy as it seems. Read on as we discuss the 5 best practices to handle your inbound calls.
Reading time: 6 minutes

If your business has an inbound call center, managing it well is the key to enhancing the customer experience.

Truth be told, it’s a multifaceted approach that doesn’t just focus on the call center agents or technology. A complex workflow of interconnecting processes needs to be orchestrated to ensure that all your inbound customer queries are directed to the right agents and are resolved on time.

Managing an inbound call center involves creating effective routing of calls to save customers’ time in waiting for the right assistance. If you’re already generating several inbound calls (congrats!), you also have to ensure to properly distribute calls to reps sp that call queues don’t get too long. 

Inbound call center management also involves defining the scope of self-service that customers can avail of and when the intervention of a human agent may be needed.

Overall, a well-managed inbound call center results in higher customer satisfaction levels, lower waiting times, high accuracy in customer assistance, and efficient working of the contact center as a whole.

Let’s now discuss a few ways you can effectively manage your inbound call center by employing a combination of best practices and useful tools.


What is inbound calling?

Inbound calls are the calls that your customers or leads initiate towards your business.

Since an existing customer places a call to your business, it essentially means that they are experiencing a problem with your product or services. It’s for this reason that all inbound calls are monitored and are connected to a CRM tool that lets the service agents see what the customer may be calling about.

You can gauge its importance easily through HubSpot research arrived at. It says that the two most frustrating factors for a customer calling a business are:

  • Having to wait on hold for 33% of the customers.
  • Having to repeat their query multiple times to different service representatives for another 33% of the customers.

A well-managed inbound call center helps your business navigate such pressing challenges – customer churn, waiting times, turnaround time, resource utilization, etc.

3 types of inbound calls

Inbound calls are usually all about customer service. Your customers may call you because they need help with a product, or because they wish to know how they can use it better or care for it the right way. 

Some calls may be grievance calls if the products aren’t working as they expected. Whatever the case, most of the inbound calls can be broadly categorized into three heads.

1. Order, billing, and payment calls

Agreed that e-commerce is currently booming; few customers still like to place their orders over calls. 

There are good reasons for that: customers feel secure in ordering directly through call instead of involving a possibly dubious e-commerce website as a middleman. This is especially true for bulk orders. 

When your business receives a call for orders, you also need to ensure that you have phone-based and SMS-based payment systems in place to facilitate such callers.

2. Product calls

Product calls can be for any number of issues with the products your business sells. For example, if your business sells software, your customers may need help with resetting accounts, forgetting passwords, finding and using specific features or functions, setups, and installations, etc. 

On the other hand, if it is a piece of consumer electronics, your customers may need help with warranties, damage protocol, returns, EMIs, etc.

You need to have technically adept call center agents to handle product calls.

3. Service calls

Today, SaaS and other subscription-based services are on the rise. A few famous examples are Spotify, Netflix, and Prime. If you have ever called on the service numbers of these companies, you have made a service call.

Service calls usually deal with subscription-related queries. Common questions are generally around subscription expiry, balance and credits, renewal, upgrades, and such. To manage subscription-based calls, you need to train your agents to know about the latest offers and promotions to deliver more value to your customers through the call.

5 inbound calling best practices

Managing your inbound call center well banks majorly on satisfying your customers. The best practices that you adopt, thus, would focus on forming effective processes that address customer touchpoints as efficiently, expertly, and quickly as possible. 

Let’s now take a look at five essential best practices to manage inbound call centers.

1. Focus on the customer experience

When customers are happy, it means that most of the things you are doing are right. A consumer benchmark study conducted by Nice revealed that 87% of the customers would come back to your business if you provided them with a great customer experience.

Your inbound call centers have the capacity to humanize your brand and connect one-on-one with your customers, creating immense opportunities for differentiating your brand from the competition. Ensure that your inbound call center agents:

  • Know the escalation matrix
  • Can use inbound call center technology expertly
  • Know the power words they need to use
  • Have feedback tools handy

Additionally, your business should track customer satisfaction metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES), and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT).

2. Monitor the right metrics

As mentioned earlier, an inbound call center is a multifaceted entity that deals with a lot of things at once. 

As such, it is easy to get lost in the swarm of metrics that you should track. Each metric looks just as important as the next one, and it creates an overload of information – half of which you don’t need to track.

Instead, zero down on your North Star metric and then a few more that align with the goals and objectives of your business.

Each inbound call center has its own singularities and peculiarities — identify yours and choose the metrics that guide you towards improvement. A few examples are:

  • Average waiting time
  • Call abandon rate
  • Adherence to schedules

Getting your metrics right is the key to good management of inbound call centers.

3. Automate as much as possible

In the end, manpower is a precious and limited resource. You don’t want to delegate all your inbound calls to your reps because of two reasons:

  • You waste the time of your service agent when they engage in resolving straightforward queries.
  • You increase the turnaround times of query resolution when self-service, IVR, and automated chatbots can do the job quicker.

For this reason, most businesses today are automating their inbound call centers for improved workflows, processes, and customer service. 

The fact is that this intelligent automation is now capable of assessing consumer sentiment through continuous machine learning and can escalate the call automatically wherever needed.

4. Equip your reps with requisite tools and data

Training is a major part of preparing your inbound call center agents to do their jobs well. However, it is essential to equip them with modern technology for that extra efficiency in catering to the customers’ queries. 

Having the right data on hand as soon as an inbound call is received helps to significantly reduce the service time.

Since the rep has the customer history ready for reference on the screen, there is no need for the caller to repeat themselves.

5. Engage your reps

A recent study by Gallup has revealed that engaged reps help bring in 21% higher profitability and result in happier, more satisfied customers

By saying that your reps are “engaged” doesn’t mean that their productivity is high all the time – it just means that they work well and feel accountable for their work and consider the impacts of their work on the employer with every action they take.

Keeping your reps engaged through various initiatives helps them perform better at inbound call centers.

Tools that help you manage inbound calls better

Inbound call center tools help your agents take their performance to the next level. These tools are designed to optimize your call center processes and augment the operations with enhanced functionalities.

Deploying these tools at your call centers helps you drive efficiency and customer satisfaction.

  1. ACD: Automatic Call Distribution relies on predetermined information to automatically route incoming calls to the most relevant agent or department. It helps save time.
  2. IVR: Interactive Voice Response is a system that lets the consumers select which department they would like their call routed to.
  3. Skill-based routing: Based on the IVR selection or information provided by the caller, this routing system redirects the customer to the agent that has the skill to resolve that particular query.
  4. Business tool integrations: Business tools like CRMs and Business Intelligence systems help businesses generate insight from the calls and take informed decisions.
  5. Virtual agents: These are the customer self-service modules that save a service agent’s time. Where queries are straightforward, a virtual agent can handle the job well.
  6. Customized calling queues: With inbound calling software, you get the flexibility to customize call queues based on department, product, service, type of call, or anything that works for your business.


Managing your inbound call center really isn’t that difficult. Establishing certain best practices, and training your agents to be mindful, tech-skilled and improvising can take your inbound call center a long way. 

Be sure to augment your operations with the necessary technological toolkit that will help you take efficiencies higher.

Alex Garcia
Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia is a content editor and writer at Writers Per Hour. She enjoys writing (and reading) about small business marketing, entrepreneurship, and design.

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