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7 Steps to Successful Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)

By | Communications, Customer Experience, Management, Technology

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.

Secret step number 8 is to future-proof your solution. Work with your chosen vendor to explore how the integration will evolve and what new features and products they have coming. Make sure that as your company evolves, your chosen solution can keep up. Any point you don’t feel you are getting the maximum benefit, speak up and work with them to get things back on track.

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What is Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)?

By | Customer Experience, Productivity, Technology

CTI stands for Computer Telephony Integration. In essence, it is any technology that allows computers to interact with a phone system, moving control of the telephony platform to a computerised environment. Often this is achieved by taking advantage of cloud technology as opposed to using a more traditional hardware approach such as an on-premise PBX.

You may have already used CTI – directly or indirectly, for example:

  • The on-screen notification you see when a call is coming in? – CTI
  • When you call the bank and you reach the right person that you need to speak to. – CTI
  • When the agent that you’re speaking to knows loads of information about you (once you pass the screening test!) – CTI

There are a whole host of benefits for successful CTI adoption for businesses and users alike. One of the biggest advantages is that it brings together CRM and communications data.

With a CTI solution, your business can:

  • Provide better customer experience with functionality such as inbound screen pops, allowing you to forward/direct the call appropriately.
  • Have personalised, smarter conversations using CRM driven screen pops that offer detailed information about a caller, including historic interactions.
  • Improve employee performance through measurable KPIs relating to call records and stats accessed through CRM dashboards.

Although the T in ‘CTI’ stands for telephony, the very best CTI providers always include an integration with a CRM system. For a CTI implementation to be successful, you need to make sure that it is connected to the system where your data is stored and that your whole communications project encompasses as many of your business-critical communications channels as possible.

By placing your data and communication channels tightly together, you provide your teams with a unified view of a customer. Your agents can see all interactions with a specific caller, no matter the medium where those interactions took place. For example, if a customer is calling in to talk about an email they received, your agent can see the email in the CRM and offer a personalised experience. The same applies with all forms of communication such as text, instant messaging and social media messages.

Companies that adopt CTI successfully can expect cost savings, productivity gains and customer satisfaction improvements. However, equally important are the CTI adoption benefits that are less obvious: collaboration across parties, assistance in performance management and having more time and resources to focus on growing your business.

A good CTI solution will help you identify opportunities, specifically for your business. Productivity gains as a standalone promise isn’t good enough, you must get specific. CTI without a CRM integration is only half the story and you only gain half of the advantages.

Get your CTI solution right by talking to potential vendors about their CRM integration capability. Seek testimonials from businesses that have successfully adopted CTI and have an outcome similar to your goals. Ultimately, you need to make sure that your chosen CTI solution can work towards your goals.

mobile recruiting

3 ways to keep your recruiting, mobile!

By | Candidate Experience, Recruitment, Technology

The office desk has a lot going for it. Your PC’s desktop is crammed with every file you’ve ever needed from the past five years. That teddy bear you picked up from a recruiting fair the week before you achieved top biller is keeping a watchful eye on proceedings. Your drawers are full of an array of biscuits, sweets and crisps that would bring an Instagram ‘influencer’ out in cold sweats.

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CloudCall at Bullhorn Engage 2017

By | Recruitment, Technology

The CloudCall Team had an amazing time at Bullhorn Engage 2017 last week! Every year Engage surpasses itself, with the speakers, sessions and attendees.

Industry leaders came together to connect and learn, while exploring the possibilities of the remarkable staffing industry. Our team engaged with customers, partners, staffing leaders while expanding our knowledge of recruitment and industry needs.

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Unifying Customer Touch-Points within Recruitment

By | Recruitment, Technology

Business process automation is becoming a common discussion point for larger Recruitment organisations using advanced CRM systems. The ability to “systemize” process creates consistency , predictability and scalability.  The visualisation of performance using user friendly Dashboards and Reports enables management  to scrutinize  and control crucial KPIs.

recruitment_touch_pointsHowever, many Recruitment businesses are experiencing disjointed customer and candidate journeys. This is primarily because the various touch points within the recruitment business operate within separate silos. For instance, it is still rare to see Recruitment and Staffing professionals working from a single system that gives a unified view of a Candidate (emails, phone conversations, CV and Social Data). This in turn means that conversations that happen between a candidate or customer and their recruiter rarely make it to the management team who can effect impactful actions and improvements based directly on this real-time information.

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[Infographic] 4 Reasons to Switch from PBX to CTI

By | Productivity, Technology

Do you use a CRM system to manage information related to customers and prospects? Does your sales team use the phone extensively to connect to prospects while storing data in CRM? Is your customer services team optimised to handle a large amount of inbound calls? If you answered yes to at least two of those questions, it may be time to consider a switch from a traditional business phone system (PBX) to computer telephony integration (CTI).

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How Technology is Shaping the Future of Telephony

By | Communications, Productivity, Technology

At one point in time, the humble telephone was used by businesses simply to make calls – pick up the phone, dial a number and speak to the customer. But with advances in technology, they can now do so much more. Modern telephony helps to combine the best of both the worlds – the humble telephone meets technology. Computer-telephony integrations bridge the gap between your telephone system and your data helping businesses handle calls better, drive productivity and improve customer satisfaction.

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