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CTI – Computer Telephony Integration

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The modern Call Center and Helpdesk require modern CTI or Computer Telephony Integration solution to enhance the agent performance & customer experience. CTI is a fancy word to describe integration between computer application & telephony system.

Generally, CRM or Customer Relationship Management software integrated with the telephony system refers to Computer Telephony Integration solutions.

Today’s business requires the solution which can integrate their business process with telephony. The advanced CTI is also known as BTI, or Business Telephony Integration is the key to excellent Customer Experience and operational efficiency.
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CTI with EPABX – The old way

CTI is the most misunderstood concept in the telephony world. The software & application has changed drastically in the last two decades, but the CTI has not changed. Generally, EPABX vendor provides CTI software. That software with epabx has limited functionalities.  

The older concept has many shortfalls. The working of CTI provided by EPABX is as below, which explains why it needs modernisation.

  • The software needs to install on all pc & server talk with EPABX using USB/LAN/Serial cable.
  • The CTI database is updated manually.
  • The software shows the pop up from the CTI database.
  • Click to Call work from software.
  • Generally, the organisation uses different software like CRM, to manage customer data. The organisation has to manage two different databases. CRM database & CTI database.
  • The CTI software with EPABX does not work effectively due to managing different databases.
  • EPABX uses TAPI or Telephony Application Programming Interface for CTI. TAPI is old technology & complex to understand by NextGen developers.
CTI with EPABX doesn’t work correctly due to the integration of an Analog system with Digital system & usage of old protocol like TAPI. The modern business requires business process integration with their telephony.
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The old CTI with EPABX uses TAPI technology, which is like 35 years old and extremely difficult to manage and run. Also, TAPI does not support the modern programing language.

CTI with IP PBX, the new way

The modern business uses CRM software to manage their business processes. The integration of CRM with IP PBX telephony makes a killer combination for better customer experience & enhancing agent performance.

Benefits of Computer Telephony Integration

IP-PBX integrates with CRM using modern technology like RESTFul APIs. Let’s discuss the benefits of CRM integration with telephony

1. Click to Call

  1. In the old system, Generally, the user sees the number in any software or excel sheet and then dial it manually from the phone instrument, which is time-consuming and error-prone.
  2. The new CTI enables the user to click on any number in CRM software & the number dials automatically. It makes outbound dialling process easy & automated.
  3. The CRM software call logs with duration, disposition & recording link.
  4. It helps agents to reach more prospects.
  5. It makes cold calling process faster.
  6. It helps agents to write sales notes during calls quickly.
  7. It enhances the performance of agents. The activity and its effectiveness analysis are straightforward.
The tight integration of CRM with IP PBX telephony system makes it possible to do preview dialling, predictive dialling & automatic dialling from CRM itself.
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2. Screen pop up on an incoming call

  1. When the call is from a known number is known, The CRM software displays the name to the Agent.
  2. The pop up contains customer information like name, email, company details etc.
  3. When Agents greet the customers with their name, it takes customer experience to a different level.
  4. Every customer wants faster service. For that call center agent requires precise customer information before answering the call on their CRM. Call popup helps agents to understand customer problems directly instead of asking specific details.
  5. Agents can create contact/lead/enquiry if an incoming call comes from an unknown number.
  6. The agent can create a support ticket from the pop-up menu.
  7. The agent can write notes from pop up itself.
  8. All the call details get linked to the respective module in the CRM software. (e.g. Contact, account, enquiry, deal, etc.)
Screen popup using CTI with CRM helps to predict your customer’s intent before answering the calls.
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3. IVR or Interactive Voice Response & ACD or Automatic Call Distribution

  1. IVR integrated with CRM makes more sense.
  2. The DTMF key pressed during IVR is captured on CRM & agents know the DTMF key selection on screen pop before the call.
  3. Every time repeating the problems to a different person on the call is annoying. This happens with all of us many times. The reason is lack of technology like CRM, CTI & ACD.
  4. Based on CRM data call can be routed to the right agent. CTI helps to achieve intelligent call routing using ACD.
  5. Many times after entering every detail on IVR (i.e. account number, registered number, ticket number, etc.) when the call lands on the agent, they ask us to repeat all the details. A well- implemented of CRM & CTI can resolve this.
  6. An Automated Customer Satisfaction (C-SAT) feedback IVR system with advanced reporting from CRM, helps increase efficiency.
For an effective CTI implementation, The information collected on the IVR system must be stored  & displayed on the agent panel; otherwise, there is no meaning of IVR.
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4. Voice Broadcasting System

  1. Advanced CTI helps to do voice broadcast or outbound ivr from CRM software.
  2. The detailed report of voice broadcast can be available from CRM.
  3. CRM software can store customer response in call report & relate that with customer data.
  4. IP PBX telephony system requires voice broadcast support & advanced API to integrate with CRM.

5. Missed call management

  1. Every missed call is a missed opportunity for a business.
  2. All the details of the missed call show on the CRM dashboard integrated with telephony system of agent panel.
  3. The agent can callback by click on a missed call.
  4. CTI & CRM makes missed call management easier.
  5. It helps missed call to call back response time faster.
Every interaction with customers should be appropriately logged in CRM software & it’s equally important that the information is accessible to any agent at any time.
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6. Live Dashboard

  1. Live CRM dashboard integrated with telephony helps to track & improve KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
  2. Following KPIs can be monitored on Live CRM dashboard integrated with the telephony system.
    1. AHT (Average Handling Time).
    2. Service Level (SL%)
    3. Calls in Queue
    4. Logged in Agent/Idle Agent
    5. Abandoned Calls
    6. Average Talk Time
    7. Queue wise Performance
    8. Agent wise Performance
  3. Admin can monitor the agents in real time using spy, whisper, barge through the dashboard.

7. Call Recording

  1. IP PBX records all the calls.
  2. The best part is recording is linked to CRM software.
  3. The call recording can listen directly from CRM.

8. Agent Performance Monitoring using CRM

  1. The telephone extension number is mapped with CRM user Id.
  2. This helps to relate calls automatically into CRM.
  3. Automatic call assignment saves a lot of times & add intelligence to the system.
  4. This helps to analyse calls made & received by the agent from CRM

9. Call Reporting

  1. All the reports of the call made & received with call date, duration, disposition available in CRM
  2. All the call data automatically relate with respective CRM module (i.e. contact, account, enquiry etc.)
  3. This enables a bird’s eye view for the management team.
Common Myth – Most of the people believe that only Call centre or Helpdesk use CTI technology. This is entirely wrong. Any business can leverage the benefits of CTI technology for customer delight & employee efficiency.
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CTI components and Setup

CTI is a part of telephony IP PBX solution. There are six major components required for a complete onsite solution.

1.   IP PBX

  • IP PBX works best to provide modern day CTI Solution
  • IP PBX should have features like IVR, ACD, Voice broadcast & advanced CRM integration.
  • IP PBX is a critical element of telephony infrastructure.
  • Each & every component in telephony infrastructure should be digital.

2. Telephone Line

  • The telephone line is required to make & receive calls.
  • It is terminated to IP PBX.
  • SIP trunk or PRI line is recommended as it’s digital in nature.

3. IP phone & Softphone

  • Use IP phone & Softphone to get the best sound quality.
  • A softphone is a software used to make & receive calls from a computer. Headsets are required to communicate using a softphone.
  • Don’t use an analogue phone by using IP to Analog converter.

4. CRM Software

  • It is the most crucial part of a CTI solution.
  • CRM needs to integrate with IP PBX to get all the advanced functionality of CTI.
  • All the functionality of CTI (i.e. click to dial, screen pop up, dialer, etc.) needs to develop in CRM software.

5. API or Application Programming Interface

  • IP PBX vendor provides API to integrate with third-party CRM software.
  • RESTful API is a must.
  • It helps to develop features like click to call, screen pop up, linking to call recording in CRM, call transfer etc.
  • API should be simple & easy to understand by CRM developer.

6. Local Area Network (LAN)

  • Proper planning of computer network is required to get the benefits of IP telephony & CRM.
  • Security device like Firewall is a must to secure data network & IP telephony.
CRM & telephony from different Vendors creates a significant problem in implementing CTI solution. It is recommended to select a single vendor for CRM & telephony solutions for smooth implementation.
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Hosted Solution or On-Site Solution

CTI is a part of the more extensive dialer system. There are few factors needs to consider for a cloud-based solution or onsite solution.

  1. Number of Users
  2. The cost difference of both solutions
  3. The process
  4. Administration ease
  5. Comparison of the features of both solution

Cost of CTI Solution

CTI solution is a part of a more extensive call centre software or Help Desk software. It requires hosted/on-premise telephony infrastructure & CRM software. The API which is necessary to integrate both telephony & CRM software is an add-on feature of telephony IP PBX solution. The cost of integration & implementation is additional. The advanced IVR integration, complex call divert logic using CRM requires the extra cost of customisation.

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