CRM Integration with Phone Systems

By Kevin Stewart
Updated: February 17, 2011

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are vital to any business. Keeping track of customer information and managing that data is a critical business function. CRM systems must be accurate in real-time, flexible, and extensible. Phone systems are important extensions of any CRM system. The features and benefits of business phone systems can augment and improve the effectiveness of CRM in any organization.

One example of CRM and phone system integration is Interactive Voice Response (IVR). IVR uses voice and keypad options to direct incoming or outgoing phone calls. IVR capabilities have expanded with decreases in the cost of voice recognition software. For businesses considering an upgrade to their CRM system, advancements in CRM communication capabilities can make upgrades pay off in increased customer conversion and retention.

Email, Social Media, and Website interaction

CRM and phone integration can also increase communication through email, social media, and websites. For example, a customer can enter an inquiry by email, through social media, or a website, and using a callback phone number, a representative can call and enter the customer’s full information in CRM. This makes constant communication with the customer possible, without initiating duplicate requests to update their information.

Screen-pop capability increases productivity and helps improve customer service. When a customer calls, an IVR dialog captures the customer’s basic information, such as phone number or account number. Using a query to the CRM database, the customer service representative sees a screen with the customer’s account information displayed.

Cloud computing and CRM

CRM has embraced distributed computing and adopted the “cloud” computing model. Instead of interacting through separate desktop, notebook, and mobile software systems, CRM maintains one database and connects through a single Web-based interface. This improves data currency and makes software maintenance and upgrades uniform.

Eliminating the synchronization process is another benefit of cloud computing. No longer are CRM users required to upload their changes or synchronize their client computers to a server database. Users can interact directly with the CRM system, which eliminates the need for synchronization. This also improves the currency of phone system data. Keeping track of customers in CRM and updating the phone system in real time makes both systems more reliable.

Implementing best practices for CRM and phone systems

As CRM systems have become more streamlined and cost-effective, these benefits have influenced other key functions, including business phone systems. Updating CRM capabilities can drive improvements and greater efficiency across the enterprise.

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