Everything you need to know about CTI
What is CTI?
CTI stands for Computer Telephony Integration, which put simply, connects your telephone system with your computer, most commonly CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement and Infor CRM SLX. The main features of CTI include outbound calling enhancement (Click-to-Dial), inbound caller recognition with the ability to ‘screen-pop’ to the customer records and a record of the Call History. Further details here.
Why use CTI?
You would use CTI to streamline interactions with customers or anyone who interacts with your business by phone, to improve the productivity of your workforce and to create a more personal customer experience. Time is saved with outbound dialing and inbound recognition, the call process is managed and you have the ability to increase productivity by generating business workflows. Greeting customers by their name makes them feel like they are being treated as a person, and their precious time is saved with all previous call history available to the user. Further details here.
How does CTI work?
Simply by connecting to both your computer (or CRM) system and your telephone system. CTI streamlines the process of dialing, caller recognition, call management, post-call processing and call reporting. Features and functionality can be crucial to CTI to ensure the user follows the correct processes whilst on and after their call interactions. One thing to be wary of is how the contacts numbers are managed as some CTIs have intelligent software to massage the numbers with the ultimate aim of increasing the hit rate of recognition of both inbound and outbound call activity.
Who can use CTI?
Pretty much anyone who has a phone system and a computer system that they can connect. Traditionally when people think of who uses CTI they assume it’s call centres only. Although both service and sales staff are the main users, it really can be used for anyone who spends a significant amount of time on the phone and needs to make the most of their time. For example a takeaway restaurant, on a Friday night they have a limited time window and need to take as many orders as possible, if they waste time confirming customer details which they previous had, this could cost them business!
If you’re thinking about CTI and how it can improve your business and personalise interactions with your customers, there are 3 key things you should think of and check:
- Does it match all numbers? with the different formatting of numbers, this can be an issue. Some CTIs only match if the phone number it is stored without any formatting (i.e. +44123456890, rather than: +44 (01234) 567 890 ext.123 ).
- Are your current systems set up to easily install and configure? CTi will connect to your underlying telephone switch (PBX). Many PBXs make it difficult for CTI solutions to connect to, it is well worth checking this and your computer system (or CRM) is set up to easily connect. Otherwise, it could be expensive to implement a whole new telephone system and/or computer software.
- Will CTI benefit you? Yes, is the short answer. However, you need to weigh up how much time is spent on the phone by your sales and service staff. Is the investment worth the increases in productivity which will be gained across the board? Subscription models are available to make it easier on your cash flow and to easily end your investment if it is not right for you!
We know all of this because at QWARE we have been working with CTI for nearly two decades and developed intelli-CTi which connects Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Infor CRM with a wide range of telephone switches. Full details are available here: intelli-CTi Telephone System Compatibility List
If you want to see for yourself what the features and functionality can do for you and your business, you can request a FREE demo or trial here: https://www.intellicti.com/