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What is Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)?

cti, telephony, people on phones, headsets

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.

James Marscheider

About James Marscheider

James Marscheider | CloudCall