Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are like childhood sweethearts, strolling through the playground hand in hand. Like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Like yin and yang. Like two sides of the same coin. Like Jack and Diane, two American kids growing up the best that they can. Together, they form a syzygy; an archetypal pairing of opposites that complete each other to form a more perfect whole. They stand alone, but separating them would be a waste when they work together to create something so magnificent. You could just eat Oreo cookies, but why eat them alone when you could experience the sweet pleasure of dunking them in a cold glass of milk?
When paired together, a CTI application and CRM software work to create a technologically advanced union of telephony services for your contact center.
If you have ever used Skype, then you know what CTI technology is. Essentially, the way it works is a user would have the CTI-based application on their desktop or laptop computer, and from this they are able to call out and reach others on their actual telephones or through their computer application.
CRM software, like Salesforce, Infusionsoft, and Zoho, is used to streamline and synchronize all aspects of customer interaction into one system. It provides automated organization and aggregation of sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support. It is a technology that contact and customer service call centers have become dependent on to run business operations smoothly and at a high rate of productivity.
You Complete Me
A software system that could successfully integrate the best aspects of CTI and CRM would be capable of the highest productivity rates and would provide contact center agents with the means to provide the best customer experience possible. A contact center willing to invest in this integration would end up seeing massive ROI (Return On Investment) and have access to features and functions that would streamline their business practices.
With the successful integration of CRM and CTI technologies, there would be:
- Intelligent Answer: A combined use of Automatic Number Identification (ANI) and Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS) is available with a system that integrates CRM and CTI technologies. A CTI application with ANI and DNIS features could use a CRM database to pull up information on a customer when they call in or are called. When the call information is made easily available to a call center agent, they can better personalize their service and figure out what the customer needs in seconds from what the system already knows about them.
- Intelligent Transfer aka IVR: An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu allows for a system using ANI or DNIS to gather information on a caller, whose call can then be transferred to the call center agent best equipped to handle the call. This also means that the customer will be automatically routed to the correct department for their inquiry, rather than bounced around several times before they can reach the right person. The caller data will show up on the agent’s screen so that they don’t have to ask the caller repeat questions, which could also cause annoyance and result in the customer’s unhappiness with the system.
- Zero Downtime: Because CTI is a computer application, not a telephone service, it is run through the internet. With the correct bandwidth, there is virtually no downtime or outages for customers, so they can always be reached.
Imagine Me and You, I Do
The pairing of CTI and CRM technologies deserves a fan following as large as sriracha and (honestly) pretty much anything. The telecommunications industry has come to rely on both separately, but when put together, the combination gives call centers intelligent features, high reliability, and speedy productivity rates.
In hit song “Happy Together”, The Turtles voiced it best, “I can't see me lovin' nobody but you/For all my life./When you're with me, baby the skies'll be blue/For all my life.”
CTI and CRM: so happy together.