This 7-step guide provides an overview of what you should consider when integrating telephony (CTI) into your CRM if you don’t want it to turn into a nightmare.
1. Understand what CTI means and how it relates to your requirements
There are lots of acronyms out there in tech land, and CTI is another to decipher. Read our blog here to learn more about CTI, but in essence it is the software that allows computers to interact with a phone system. However, the first step you should take is pinpoint exactly what it is that you want to do. At this stage your focus needs to be broadly on what outcomes you want, and then move to what technology might exist to help you.
2. Form a team to own the project and agree requirements BEFORE approaching vendors
People across your organisation are going to be challenged in some way to change the way they work. Involving those people in designing (and committing to) the changes helps fight the ‘that’s how we’ve always done it’ mentality. Discuss business-level advantages that you can measure further into the project such as productivity or cost savings.
3. Agree your resources – especially a budget and realistic timeline
Lots of businesses try to set a budget and resources too soon and it’s an error to be avoided. The knock-on effects can manifest themselves in over-spends, loss of time and overall performance disruption. Being realistic, however, shouldn’t push the boundaries of flexibility. You are undertaking this project for a reason, normally because there is a problem that needs solving. Don’t allow yourselves (or the project team) to slip from the commitment to deliver a result – it gives the vendor excuses to under-deliver but equally just extends how long the existing problem is in place.
4. Research the market and speak to the businesses you think might be a good fit
Technology is evolving so rapidly that forcing yourself out of the comfort zone is the only way to find new things. Be prepared to reject possible solutions if they aren’t ticking the boxes your requirements identified; anything above and beyond your requirements shouldn’t come at the expense of what you need. CTI requires a partner with robust integrations and proven success. So, it is just as important to look at the culture and values of potential partners and see what their customers say about them.
5. Ask for a trial to test the proposed solution and check your requirements are understood
Insist on an opportunity to try out the CTI integration. A vendor should be happy to support this because a) customer experience is a huge part of adopting new technology successfully and they will want to showcase how good their integration is and b) they can learn as much from a trial as you can. A good trial makes a full-scale roll out easier. Let a vendor advise and guide you to a certain extent but get them to commit to achieving the outcomes you want on the timeline that suits you. One caution: don’t choose a solution on price alone.
6. Training, training and more training
In order for your project to succeed, you must ensure everyone in your company understands the new tech they are given. They are most likely comfortable with the status quo and don’t want change. Involve them throughout and support them through any training they require. You embarked on this project to create a change for good, so it’s vital to do everything you can to enable them to use it successfully.
7. Take away the old way of doing things
You’ve scoped out your integration requirements correctly. You identified the right solution and worked with the right partner to introduce the integration in the way your business needs. You’ve invested in the right level of training and have a team ready, willing and able to get the integration rolled out successfully. You did all of this for a reason: the old way wasn’t good enough anymore! So, get rid of it, or at the very least minimize it so that it immediately starts to become irrelevant to how your business and your teams now operate.