Business VoIP

11 Tips for Improving CRM and VoIP Integration

If your business uses VoIP-based telephony, it's time to consider integrating it with customer relationship management (CRM) technology. If you can get the finer details right, the results might surprise you.

Today, many smart organisations that make a high volume of calls use two important solutions. First is a customer relationship management (CRM) system where all leads, client records and other customer-related information is stored. It enables a business to strengthen its customer service and carefully monitor sales processes.

Second is VoIP-based technology such as the hosted dialler, which eliminates manual dialling for call centre agents and filters out time-wasters such as busy signals or answering machines. This way, the business can generate more sales. It also sees a surge in the productivity of agents and other employees as they work more consistently and do their jobs without hindrance.

There’s no doubt that each of these systems delivers significant business benefits. But it’s a new wave of innovation that sees them working together which achieves the true value.

A good integration between your CRM platform and your phone system can vastly improve your calling processes. Integration enables many features, such as click-to-dial and screen pops. It eradicates formerly manual administrative tasks such as scheduling follow-up calls, sending text messages to customers or emailing product literature.

But is all this easier said than done? Fortunately, integration is usually straightforward, but there are a number of ways to get the absolute best from your CRM and VoIP integration, starting with the systems you choose and the way you set them up.

Here are 11 tips for getting your CRM and VoIP integration right:

1. Ensure the CRM system you use has a good application programming interface (API). It needs to support ‘webhooks’ which let you develop push notifications (HTTP POSTs) easily. It means you can alter the direction in which your system controls information, whether it’s your CRM system controlling your VoIP system, or vice versa. And, it allows you to update leads or insert them directly into the CRM database.

2. Your CRM system must allow interface customisation. It’s important that you can add new fields and buttons on the interface which support HTTP web actions. For example, the system may need to tell a dialler to pause or make a phone call.

3. A disposition code set on your dialler can trigger workflow automation within your CRM system. For example, it might automatically prompt an information pack or an SMS test message to be sent to a customer. It’s therefore important to have a workflow feature on the CRM system and an API on the VoIP system to trigger it.

4. Always choose a CRM system that supports the screen-pop feature, as some don’t. This will provide the agent with client records when an outbound or inbound call connects, helping him or her to greet the client correctly and get straight to the point.

5. Make sure your CRM system can handle a large quota of API transactions. Some systems limit these, which can cause problems in larger call centres.

6. For click-to-dial manual calling, your CRM system should have tested plug-ins that connect to your VoIP system. Alternatively, some CRM systems have built-in code that enables this. 

7. Plug-ins should provide click-to-dial, screen popping and call logging information within call record reports.

8. Check that your CRM system integrates with your telephone system and with your hosted dialler if you use both. These are often separate systems. It’s important if you need automated dialling for telesales, and click-to-dial features for follow-up calls and general phone use.

9. There are several, ready-made applications and web services that easily integrate your VoIP phone service or hosted dialler with many CRM systems. These products focus on mainstream VoIP applications, so it’s wise to check first before investing in a new phone system or dialler.

10. When integrating your systems, it’s better to use as few suppliers as possible to reduce costs. It’s also easier to use a single point of contact for all support requirements. Hostcomm, for example, can provide all the integration resources, advice and support you need.

11. There are two possible choices for CRM and VoIP integration: You can buy ready-made integrations from the CRM vendor or plug-in provider; or you can employ a developer to integrate your systems. Both can be effective. Unlike ready-made integrations, software development can be difficult and expensive to control and maintain. Bespoke integrations, however, do tend to focus more on your specific needs.

As customers become more discerning, their tolerance for long waiting times, poor service or errors in their personal information is quickly waning. It’s vital that businesses ensure their employees can have the most accurate and informed conversations with clients as possible, placing an emphasis on quality as well as quantity. The most insightful companies are quickly realising the benefits of integration between VoIP telephony and CRM systems. It gives them the edge over the competition. And if you get your integration right, you’ll soon see benefits that may transform your business.


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