Why the Wrong Contact Center Software Can Torpedo Your CRM
September 17, 2013
By Mae Kowalke
, TMCnet Contributor
Customer relations management (CRM) software is a crucial part of any business, and when integrated with the contact center it can drive real efficiencies and opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell products, in addition to building loyalty by delivering a better customer experience.
Not all contact center software solutions are created equal, however, and many do not adequately integrate with CRM systems. It is important that contact center software is specifically chosen with CRM integration in mind since the wrong combo can leave a contact center high and dry when it comes to knowing who is calling.
Two main factors to consider when looking at contact center software and CRM are support for multi-channel communication and native CRM support.
The contact center is no longer just about calls. While many customers still prefer talking with an agent, many have now begun using SMS, chat, or even social networks to communicate with companies. Contact center software must support all channels—and be able to leverage CRM data across these channels.
When selecting contact center systems, shy away from systems that focus primarily on a single communications channel or don’t adequately integrate all channels. This can mean limited connectivity with CRM.
“Your contact center software should be able to capture all email, chat and standard telephony interactions for linking to the customer records database,” noted a recent white paper by contact center solutions provider, 8x8 (News - Alert). “This not only ensures continuity in all interactions, but it gives the CRM database more information to use in constructing a better picture of your customers’ behavior.”
A second factor that must be considered is native CRM support. Just because a contact center solution can tie into CRM systems does not mean the support is robust or easy to implement.
The key technology for integration with CRM solutions is Computer Telephony Integration (CTI (News - Alert)). It is the technique for mixing CRM with the contact center, and it is what delivers the relevant customer account and profile detail to the agent. This data delivery is also called “Screen Pop,” because if it’s working right, it pops open a window on the agent’s desktop containing the customer data.
Look for solutions that have CTI built in and do not require third-party software to deliver CRM integration. It is important that CTI integration is native out of the box because this means that the contact center solution is handling the complexity and the initial integration. An add-on can break during upgrades or deliver less than full integration, and this can be a huge hassle or even crippling for true integration.
The marriage of contact center software and CRM can be healthy or troubled. As with marriage, it all depends on the partner you choose.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey