Computer Telephony Integration
Computer telephony integration, or CTI, is any technology which allows computers to interact with telephone systems. This allows users to perform all call-related tasks, usually handled through a PBX or key telephone system, directly from their desktop. Computer telephony integration also lets your communication devices to communicate with one another: phone, computer, fax, voice mail, mobile, etc. This gives users centralized control over all of their means of communication through a single interface.
With CTI, these tasks can be carried out from any computer, thereby benefiting smaller companies which lack the resources to maintain costly communications infrastructures. This technology is often used in call centers, since they field a large volume of calls, and continually seek to enhance productivity. Computer telephony integration opens the door to a more flexible and scalable way of operating a call center or for any organization where call volume is high.
WHY CTI IS BENEFICIAL FOR CALL CENTERS
1. Pre-routing data gathering
Pre-routing data gathering is the best way to start off an efficient and personalized call conversation. You gather enough information to route the calls correctly to an agent with skills that match the needs. You also get enough data on who exactly is calling, where they’re from and their call history. This could be a basis for friendlier yet to-the-point call engagement.
By using CTI to get information before the actual conversation, you help out your agents. It cuts time off from asking callers qualifying questions. They can proceed to the issue and use their time actually fixing the customer concern.
2. Intelligent Call Routing
One of the greatest time-wasters in the call center is incorrectly routed calls. Not only does it lengthen call processing. You also get irritated callers who are likely to be more difficult to handle. Intelligent call routing through call center integration qualifies calls according to product segments, concerned departments, the degree of help required and caller history. How many tiers you configure into your CTI’s call routing feature depends on you. It can help zoom in on the best agent to take the call. This is a win-win for both the call center and your caller. Matching needs to the best customer support agent can mean getting to a resolution faster. Your team can process more calls. And, your customers are happy.
3. Data-Driven Call Processing
Go beyond merely communicating to ‘connecting’ with people. – Jerry Bruckner, author of The Success Formula For Personal Growth. Data-driven call processing improves your support services that can be provided to your customers and prospects. In the case of call centers, it adds the human element to everything, and this could make a world of difference. There are several levels to how much and what kind of information you get from your callers. You have the initial contact point, wherein you can get basic information before routing the call. Then, you have CTI’s many features that allow you to log calls, access previous call histories, integrate with Google, your CRM and other software, among others. This makes data-driven calls possible. And, there are many ways to leverage this when you want to improve your customer service. You can make calls more personalized and responsive. Address people by their nicknames. Greet them with a “good morning, “good evening,” or “howdy” because you know their location. Refer to old issues they had called about and follow-up. There’s just so many ways to use CTI in order to communicate with your customers that they are more than just numbers or faceless callers. In return, you earn something priceless, their loyalty.
4. Efficient and Effective Call Agents
Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees. – Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO When you empower your team with everything they need to be effective in their work, you’ve taken the first step towards building a solid customer support group. Your CTI call center integration is an indispensable part of this. Think of the agent’s seat at work as a hot seat. At the very least, people call them to ask about the product or follow up about an order. On their worst days, your agent handles an erupting volcano at the other end of the line. They need all the support they can get. CTI call center integration provides them with as much data necessary for fast and responsive support. It also matches callers with the best person for their concerns. When best matched, there is less need to forward calls or get a tier 2 support person involved. There is also lesser possibilities of an eruption. Your callers are happier for this. And, you have a well-oiled customer support team. Your agents are more effective, at work. That accounts for a great part of a healthy and supportive company culture.
5. Lowered Operational Costs
Good customer service costs less than bad customer service. – Sally Gronow, Welsh Water, Head of Customer Support and Field Operations When optimally configured, you can use CTI call center integration to streamline your processes. This can bring about several results, such as better customer support and happier customers. It is also a way to cut operational costs. CTI has several features that unburden your agents. From data gathering to basic tasks, like password changes, account status checks, and others, your team works more efficiently and can potentially handle more calls. In exchange for increasing manpower or lengthening operating hours, just make sure to know the full capacity and capabilities of your CTI system. Make full use of it, and you’ll have a hard-at-work, tight and efficient ship.
Features which enhance the customer experience
The reason that CTI so markedly improves productivity is that it enables a host of features which would be difficult or impossible to implement on a traditional system. Let’s look at the example of a VOIP business phone system. Here are some features to improve your customers’ experience and help you provide quality service at no extra effort cost to your staff:
Interactive voice response: filters customers before they even talk to an agent. The filtering criteria can include agent language, type of issue, geographic location of the call, etc. This allows for specified routing of calls and boosts first call resolution, a crucial metric of customer satisfaction.
Automatic callback: Automatic call-back allows customers to be contacted at their leisure, rather than wait on hold, which is often a trial of one’s patience. By being placed in a queue, customers know they will be called back, and are freed up to go about their day. This feature increases customer satisfaction by saving the customer time and frustration.
Click to Call: Adding a click-to-call button lets customers with their own CTI to call without having to dial your number. By saving your customers effort, you can increase their overall user experience.
These features vastly improve the user experience of a business phone system. They are the fruit of the added flexibility and modularity of computer telephony integration. Alongside the various integrations we touched upon earlier, these features can make your business phone system into a complete solution that improves the entire customer lifecycle.