How integrating your CRM and Unified Comms platform can boost your customer service

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How integrating your CRM and Unified Comms platform can boost your customer service
In today’s times, customer experience is no longer merely a nice to have.
Photo by Luke Peters on Unsplash

Ask any business leader to name the high tech mainstays of modern commerce and it’s a fair bet the Customer Relationship Management platform will be up there with enterprise accounting software.

Ask any business leader to name the high tech mainstays of modern commerce and it’s a fair bet the Customer Relationship Management platform will be up there with enterprise accounting software.

Over the past four decades, CRMs have evolved from technical novelties into ubiquitious and extraordinarily rich data repositories, utilised by international behemoths and one man bands alike.

Also high up the must-have tech list is Unified Communications (UC) software, the backbone of the modern omni-channel contact centre – the beating heart of any organisation that interacts regularly with a sizeable customer base. UC software enables contact centre agents to connect with customers via multiple communications channels, including voice, video, text, and chat, and switch seamlessly between those channels, in the course of an interaction.

One plus one equals three: combining UC and CRM

More latterly, it’s become possible to integrate CRM platforms with UC software and for businesses that are able to do so, the benefits are difficult to overstate.

Why? Because marrying the two solutions puts every snippet of information about a customer and their dealings with the organisation at the fingertips of the agent who’s taking their call, responding to their email or conversing with them via web chat.

The result: faster and more informed customer service and the ability to add details of the latest interaction to the customer’s record immediately, so they can be easily referenced next time contact is made.

Quick and easy in the cloud

Linking your UC and CRM platforms is easy, if both solutions are running in the cloud.

And once it’s done, it’s done. Adjustments are unlikely to be required, unless something changes significantly.

That’s not to say there aren’t pitfalls for the unwary. At Access4 we’ve seen plenty of businesses fall into them and fail to extract the maximum value from their investment as a result. Here are our tips for integrating your CRM and UC successfully and economically.

  • Stick to the mainstream: In the ICT space, obscure can be expensive. Choose mainstream UC and CRM vendors and you’ll likely find they already have the APIs and links that will make integrating the two solutions a plug and play exercise.

  • Steer clear of custom code: It can be the quick fix that ends up costing you very, very dear. All too often, custom code is the first thing to break when upgrades are made. Fixing it can be disruptive and expensive. If it’s impossible to avoid incorporating some, ensuring it comes with a support contract is essential.

  • Confirm your requirements upfront: There’s no point paying for functionality your business doesn’t need and won’t use. Consulting with contact centre agents about what would make their job more efficient will help you determine the scope of the integration, before you get started.

  • Check speed and performance: An integrated solution that runs at half the speed of two standalone ones is of dubious benefit. Confirming that the performance of neither platform will be reduced as a result of the integration is important. If you don’t receive that assurance, it may pay to reevaluate your options.

  • Deploy patches and upgrades: It’s ICT Management 101 – and all too often overlooked. Deploying vendor patches as soon as they’re received will ensure both platforms perform at their peak. If you use cloud versions of UC and CRM, this ongoing piece of housework will be managed for you by your service providers.

Supercharging your customer experience

In today’s times, customer experience is no longer merely a nice to have: very often it can be an organisation’s chief source of competitive advantage. Integrating UC and CRM can allow your business to elevate the speed and standard of its customer service. That makes it an investment in productivity and profitability that’s likely to pay for itself many times over.  

Stan Chizhevskiy is Technical Director at Access4.

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