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How to Link CTI and CRM for Profit

  • utworzony przez Ron Cottaar, Marketing Director at Gigaset pro
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What do we need to enable basic CTI applications?

The basic technology for CTI has been around for a long time. For example, Telephone Application Programing Interface (TAPI) which is found in all of the current Microsoft operating systems celebrates its 25th anniversary next year. It is now common for the core features for CTI to be included in both entry level and high end PABX’s as standard.  The more interesting aspect is in ease of integration and raising customer awareness. When it comes to the first point, for desktop applications and telephony equipment from established brands, it is a relatively straight forward integration process. Gigaset pro for example has supported TAPI and its derivatives since launch and have also embedded additional features to allow CTI connectivity with applications like Outlook and Salesforce via simple self-service wizards – straight out of the box. Yet a bigger issue is still educating customers and especially smaller business as to the benefits of CTI. Many still assume that it is complicated and expensive and yes most of the costs are professional services fees, but the channel has an opportunity to win SME deals in a market that is still relatively untapped when it comes to CTI. Gigaset pro’s recently launched UC suite is an example of a complete UC solution designed for SME’s that have a simple pricing model, easy integration and the core features that customers desire.

What is the entry point for applications and how far can we go before hitting the technology buffers?

Simple CTI can effectively be delivered for zero additional cost especially for customers that have common off the shelf applications such as Microsoft Office, Outlook and most modern database platforms. The telephony channel has been doing CTI projects for a long time and the most common CTI use cases are relatively straight forward to implement. Mobile applications are trickier, but not insurmountable as both Apple and Google provide a level of integration into things like diallers and caller ID. However, these API functions are less mature and the skill set within the wider telephony channel when it comes to mobile application CTI is less well developed.  The telephony and UC space is moving quickly and working with a partner that will ensure that CTI integration that works on day one will be continually developed to work with the next wave of operating systems, APIs and messaging standards is an absolutely vital consideration for both the channel and end customers. 

What business benefits can users expect to see?

The benefit that is the easiest to communicate to customers and realise quickly are operational efficiencies. In the simplest CTI application such as call centre agent screen population with caller’s details; CTI can speed up the call, allowing more calls to take place per agent over time offering a simple cost benefit. In more complex applications, for example process driven IVR/CTI for booking a service engineer for a field repair; an intelligent solution can remove the need for an agent and also improve booking accuracy. Yet a benefit that often is forgotten is the social, human, element. When you answer any call and you know something about your customer, admittedly triggered by a CTI screen pop, you can engage in a proper conversation and build a rapport. In an age where some think technology is in many ways ‘taking over’, CTI can help businesses keep that human touch alive but still gain the operational benefits.