Integrating a CRM system into your call centre
Implementing an integrated telephony to your CRM solution is something you’ve probably considered at some point for your business.
Often people find it difficult to navigate the varying levels of integration, and the availability of accessible and workable software, especially in the cloud.
Businesses may even be unaware of the untapped value they are missing out on due to a lack of integration.
So let’s tackle the first, most obvious question.
Firstly, why integrate?
Businesses without integration between their CRM and contact centre systems will diminish the customer experience.
Agents are unable to verify who customers are, their value to your business, or where they should be routed, and they can’t track their contact history easily or quickly – ultimately leading to poor service.
69% of consumers say that personalised customer care influences loyalty, so enabling agents to give a 1:1 service journey is key.
However, it is difficult for agents to deliver this if they are unable to access customer data quickly and efficiently.
Businesses that do not integrate their systems may also see an increase in operational costs, and experience higher staff turnover, due to the extra manual labour required to manage the customer interaction.
Finally, agent productivity is inevitably limited when sales or service operatives have to scour multiple systems to gather customer data, whilst on a call, or in any real-time interaction.
“Having all your customer information stored in one integrated system allows for deeper analytics and less complexity.”
So what are the options and which is best?
Many contact centre managers believe the only way to achieve Salesforce or CRM and call centre integration is through Application Programme Interfaces (API); what are these and are they the best option for your business?
What is an API?
An API is a tool that makes a website’s data digestible for a computer system.
Via an API, a computer can view and edit data, just like a person can, making data easier to access and manipulate.
However, APIs are often an unattractive choice because they:
- Require development expertise to implement, and maintain;
- Have significant cost impacts, both time and money;
- Can take a long time to deploy; and
- Are not as flexible to change(s)
It is also worth noting that APIs can systemically require maintenance and manual labour, especially when you upgrade software. This can impact your bottom line.
APIs can require a lot of skilled maintenance, which is often a drain.
If APIs are the most common means of integrating a system but have a number of drawbacks, what other options are available?
How Native Solutions Solve the Problem
If we take the Salesforce example, a Native Solution (like Vocalcom) embeds itself into the CRM environment, ensuring your contact centre systems and workflows are accessible through Salesforce.
These require minimal setup and provide an affordable and seamless solution for connecting your call centre with all the data in your CRM.
- Native is infrastructure-free: and is rapidly deployed;
- You can manage the solution yourself with your Salesforce admins or on-site support;
- Native integration doesn’t require any new skills in-house; and
- Native integration with Salesforce allows you to reduce the complexity of your reporting as CRM and call centre data are now in the same place.
In one documented case study provided by Lendi, a Salesforce customer, deploying a native solution lead to a:
- 132% increase in daily productivity per agent;
- 25% reduction in solution costs; and
- 40% reduction in ramp time
Having your CRM and contact centre natively deployed can drive greater productivity.
Which option is right for me?
When selecting an integration option for your organisation, consider the following:
- How much of the contact centre setup can you do inside of Salesforce or your CRM?
- Is an API the only option or is native a possibility?
- Where does the reporting sit? Is it in one place or across multiple platforms? What are the pros/cons to this?
- How many channels are you using for customer experience and are agents able to easily navigate between them?
- How quickly could you connect your telephony and CRM to one another?
- Is cloud the right option for my business?
Ultimately deciding which is the right call centre technology platform to integrate a CRM into your call centre can be dependent on a range of different factors.
There are a number of call centre technology consultants that can provide expert advice or search the CX Directory for a list of contact centre technology vendors who specialise in integrated solutions.
- Search: Industry list of call centre technology suppliers
- Read: On-premise versus cloud call centre software – learn the differences
- Attend: A list of upcoming industry webinars, conferences and training courses