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Every industry has its three letter acronyms. Knowing them is all part of belonging to that tribe of experts. Contact centres are knee deep in them. ACD, IVR, KPI, SLA, FCR and of course CTI.

This last one is maybe the weirdest.

In an age of smartphone cleverness and online connectivity, what does Computer Telephony Integration even mean? Surely there must be an app for that. What’s the big deal?

In fact, if I pretend to be a third of my age, I’m even probably wondering what a computer is or what telephony means. Telegraph and Snapchat is all I understand.

Back in the day, CTI was a brave idea. A bridge between two worlds. Computers were about data. Telephony was about communication. Contact centres demanded they found a way to connect. Computer Telephony Integration was the result.

A bit exotic back then. Utterly essential right now. First generations of CTI were hardware based, housed on site. Today’s versions exist in the cloud and bring together platforms worth of functionality. Salesforce and NewVoiceMedia being an excellent case in point.

The core purpose of CTI has not really changed. Phone based engagement flies blind unless informed by what we already know about the caller. Therefore real time connectivity is needed to inform decisions about where to place the call and what to focus the conversation on.

It’s CTI that enables maybe the hottest trend in customer experience: the expectation for real time personalisation. Way before AI assisted bots were learning what mattered to us during our daily routines, CTI was there for us.

As an advisor, it lets me see who is calling bundled with all we know about them in terms of what they have bought and what they have talked to us about.  That instant memory sets the context for relevant conversation and effective service.  No doubt I’m better at helping each customer as a result.

As an inside sales person, CTI takes the load and makes life easier. The right people to phone are on my screen. One click calling to get through.  A summary of what we already know about the prospect pushed onto my screen. Then, when it’s time to reflect on outcomes, I have a performance dashboard of simple, visual feedback that gives me a personalised feedback loop to learn from.  I’m hitting target more often as a result.

As their manager, life’s much simpler than even ten years ago. System training is now intuitive and much shorter, meaning I can spend more time on empathy building competencies. The tech is just less fussy. Any browser and any operating system. No downloads. Near instant on-boarding when I need to plug in seasonal staff.

No spreadsheet mucking around or late nights to get reports out. All on dashboards that are simple enough for even a team leader to tweak for one to one coaching. At last I can concentrate on managing the quality of customer experience.

As a customer, CTI improves my service experience in many ways. If I want to take care of things for myself, the IVR options presented to me are just the ones that matter. If it’s an ongoing issue, I can talk to the same person each time.

On busy days, I’m bumped to the front of the queue since I’m a top spending customer. The few times I’ve had a frustrating time on a web site, I’ve been immediately offered an apology and a discount code for the next time I shop. Overall everyone seems to know me and gives me what I’m after in super quick time. I’m happier here than many other service experiences I have to put up with.

This is what full blooded CTI can deliver.

Customer data and engagement need to co-exist. They complement each other. Like a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc paired with a sharp cheddar. The combination just works.

NewVoiceMedia has put together a complete guide for exactly what Salesforce CTI is, what it does, how to implement it and even how to validate potential suppliers of the technology. In the first of our ultimate guides, discover Salesforce CTI and the considerable advantages that come from implementing the technology.

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