What is Outbound Calling?

J. Beam

As a job duty descriptor, you may see or hear the term outbound calling. As a homeowner or business executive, you’ve likely experienced the result of it first hand. It refers to phone calls made by a company to a specified list of contacts. In sales, this type of calling encompasses telemarketing, lead generating, and other steps necessary in the sales process.

Outbound calling often includes telemarketing.
Outbound calling often includes telemarketing.

As opposed to employees who handle inbound calls, employees who perform outbound calling may be required to abide by certain laws that apply to their job or type of work. When a job description requires employees to handle inbound calling, they are usually fulfilling duties that are governed by the company’s policies. Customer service, company or business inquiries, and so forth are handled through incoming calls. However, outbound calls, such as in sales or collections, is partially mandated by state and federal law.

It is considered harassment for a company to repeatedly call a customer.
It is considered harassment for a company to repeatedly call a customer.

For example, a company who uses these calls as a way to build a client base to sell a product or service is required by law to remove names from their contact list if the contact requests them to do so. It can be considered harassment under the statutes of law if a company repeatedly calls upon an individual or business for the purposes of solicitation once they have been asked to stop.

Calling lists for outbound calling are usually purchased from third parties who compile lists based on any number of specific factors, from homeownership status to income bracket to previous purchasing history. In many cases, the lists are preprogrammed into automatic dialers that constantly move through the lists, dialing the numbers and simultaneously routing all answered calls to an employee. This is one way for a company to increase its productivity and maximize its sales base.

Outbound calling can be the crux of some companies’ operation. However, it is difficult for many companies to find reliable and competent workers to perform the calls, especially in telemarketing fields. Most job seekers looking for phone jobs first look for customer service positions and other jobs that handle inbound calls, and job seekers who are specifically looking for outbound calling jobs often prefer business to business calling rather than business to residence calling. However, in some fields, telemarketing and lead generation can actually become a lucrative field, depending on the product and market. Most companies who hire telemarketers offer to train them, as opposed to inbound call centers that frequently require some experience in a call center. Similarly, calling for business to business sales often requires some experience as well.

Outbound calling can be the crux of some companies’ operation.
Outbound calling can be the crux of some companies’ operation.

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Discussion Comments


@anon34379- Did you want to know how the outbound calls are made? Where I worked, we had outbound call center software that used what we call leads to generate calls. In the setting where I was, leads were fed to our system by the company we worked for. The software dialed the leads automatically and kept the calls going for the customer service agents. The leads (or phone numbers) were generated by interested consumers putting their phone numbers in an online form with a request to be contacted. So basically, the phone numbers were fed from the parent company to us and dialed by our computers. Hope that helps explain the outbound process.


I worked in an outbound call center for a year and a half. We worked on different campaigns and employed upwards of fifty people. It was a relatively small call center, but a big employer for my small town.

I worked as a supervisor for the better part of my time with the company. In that capacity, I did a lot of outbound call center training. The campaigns were so structured that it was not difficult to teach new hires what was expected. It does take a certain personality, but the technical aspects of the job could always be taught. We didn’t do cold calling. We got to call up people who had requested information. That made the calls easier a lot of the time. We still got people that weren’t happy, but that comes with the territory.

The training mostly consisted of going over what the agents would say on the phones and different scenarios they were likely to come across. Having done both inbound and outbound calling, it was fun to be on the training end of things.


What is outbound process?

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