The informational gap between marketing and sales is a classic business challenge. Harvard Business Review has gone so far as to declare the two business units at war. Not everything that separates the two fields is purely informational. Marketing goals and sales goals do not always align. But between any two business segments, better information sharing has the potential to improve communication about internal efforts and external client interactions.
The pre-digital age limited the passing of information to word-of-mouth or written memos. Innovative technologies such as computer telephone integration (CTI), however, reduce labor-intensive tasks like recording and managing information manually. Information can also be delivered in the heat of the moment—like when a client calls customer service to resolve an issue, or a potential client calls sales staff to get must-have answers before a purchase.
For those committed to a transition to CTI, choices abound. The two main decision points are choosing a phone system and a CRM. VoIP phone services have a critical role in connecting phone system data with PC-based CRM information. Regardless of CRM, businesses relying on Mitel phones enjoy a distinct set of benefits.
Why a Mitel Phone System?
Ottawa-based Mitel, founded in 1973, generated $988 million in annual revenue in 2016. Mitel provides its business clients with unified communications solutions, having transitioned from a PBX-based to a VoIP-based business beginning in 2001.
Unified communications—with their capacity to link interactions across several communication channels—address an acute need for enterprise-level businesses. CTI solutions are a natural outgrowth of Mitel’s narrow focus on unified communications technology. Mitel customers work with a company that retains a business-only approach and commitment to VoIP phone systems.
Mitel’s client roster boasts an array of household brands, many of which depend on seamless communication between CRMs and phone systems: The Make-a-Wish Foundation for its donors and events; Hyatt for its reservation system and client services. In all, Mitel claims 60 million daily end users located in more than 100 countries.
What to Expect from CTI
CTI has the potential to streamline customer communication and build call center efficiencies. Over time, those efficiencies may go beyond customer service improvements and eventually decrease company expenditures. Still, the most common pain point for many organizations is a lack of information accessibility. This need is clear in call centers, where poor information sharing can leave representatives uninformed during client interactions with bottom-line implications.
For both sides, the consequences are longer calls, more repetitive question-and-answer sessions, and a less satisfying overall experience. Without CTI:
- Customer service representative knowledge is limited to information stored within a phone system database.
- An initial set of standardized questions is necessary to identify a client issue or need, potentially requiring call rerouting to a more qualified representative.
- Clients calling in on a regular or semi-regular basis must explain the same issue repeatedly.
- Customer service representatives may suggest a series of solutions or next steps that have already been tried, increasing client frustration.
CTI, on the other hand, can connect vital CRM data to a company’s Mitel phone system. Mitel CRM integration means that in a comparable situation:
- Customer service representatives know who is calling as soon as the phone rings.
- Employees have a detailed client history at their fingertips and have already been identified as the best person to help a client.
- Clients enjoy a faster, more competent customer service experience that supports retention efforts.
- Next steps build on past efforts for challenging or multi-step issues.
Eliminating barriers between datasets ensures that valuable information ends up with those who need it most, even if those needs are unpredictable:
- Clients may call to close a deal at any hour. Without automatic rerouting based on presence management, what happens if a potential sale goes to voicemail?
- An external meeting might lead an executive to question their vendor with an unannounced call. How will a call center representative recognize the importance of a VIP client without real-time access to vital CRM data?
- A rush of calls may follow a predictable pattern that escapes observation. How much value could large organizations find in analytics-based staffing of call centers?
Benefits of Mitel CTI Integration
Mitel’s CTI solution is Mitel Business CTI. For Mitel phone users, the first question to answer is whether Mitel CTI functions with any CRM. The short answer is “yes”: “A smart combination of Mitel Business CTI […and] any existing CRM […] brings together all the business applications that are capable of communicating.”
Mitel Business CTI includes three components:
- Presence Management
- Instant Messaging
Mitel CTI offers standard CTI features to streamline calling, like click-to-call (or click-to-end), with integrations across CRMs, ERPs, and several Microsoft Office programs. Other call management features of Mitel’s CRM integration include callback, call forwarding, and call transfer.
Also standard with Mitel CTI are presence management features to divert calls to colleagues when the original contact is unavailable, and voicemail-to-PC transfer services. Mitel’s “tagging” feature allows employees to see when colleagues have returned to their desks and are again available to receive calls. Integrations with Microsoft Outlook automatically align availability with calendar events. (Users still retain manual override capabilities.) Default settings send in-meeting calls directly to voicemail while preserving chat accessibility.
While most CTI features focus on client–company interactions, Mitel’s conference call capability allows for easy collaboration among internal teams that may be in different offices, cities, or countries.
Because Mitel is a unified communications enterprise, Mitel CTI integration goes beyond standard VoIP-to-CRM connection and allows for live chat, video chat, email, and SMS communication. Bluetooth connectivity, a more recent Mitel innovation, links PC-connected smartphones to the Mitel BusinessCTI system. Such flexibility has added value for internal communications, where a wider range of contact methods may be appropriate.
Mitel CTI Contact Management
Not all contacts are the same. Mitel CTI supports differentiation and like-grouping of contacts with special classification features. “Federation” capabilities allow cross-organization information sharing, defined with variable levels of access. Each partner can adjust settings to preferred levels of access, from “Public,” which offers only name, title, and status, to “Team,” which may include meeting schedules and details.
For internal or cross-partner communication, advanced contact management through Mitel CTI can improve employees’ ability to:
- Find contact information.
- Choose the best time to reach someone.
- Use the preferred method of contact.
As part of the federation and multi-organization communication process, Mitel Business CTI can pool contact data from multiple sources beyond CRMs, such as Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft Outlook.
Mitel CTI Analytics
For businesses that want to go beyond data sharing, Mitel includes an add-on module, Mitel Business CTI Analytics, that can help business managers make decisions based on Mitel Business CTI data. This knowledge can improve efficiency in high-volume call facilities and provide a data-backed rationale for changes to technology or staffing. Automated reports are preformatted for Internet-based sharing and print.
Base Requirements for Mitel Business CTI
There are two main editions of Mitel Business CTI; a basic installation and Mitel Business CTI Enterprise. Mitel recommends its basic installation for Mitel 100 and OpenCom 100 systems. All other systems require Mitel Business CTI Enterprise:
- MiVoice Office 400
- MiVoice 5000
- MiVoice MX-ONE
- OpenCom 1000
- MiVoice Business
Mitel identifies three compatible servers for Mitel Business CTI installation:
- Microsoft Windows Server 2008
- Microsoft Windows Servicer 2008 R2
- Windows 7
Using Mitel CTI to Move Forward
Depending on how companies communicate with clients, Mitel CTI integration may have a variety of benefits. Connecting a CRM to a call center may improve communication and client satisfaction. Heavy internal phone use may benefit from a streamlined process for scheduling meetings and sharing line access. Analytics-focused organizations may be able to improve management or reduce call center costs.
Mitel focuses on unified communications solutions for businesses running VoIP phone systems. This competency aligns with the technical requirements for a successful CRM integration. Mitel’s shift to VoIP in the early 2000s and away from its PBX systems suggests a company that spots trends early and, as a result, spends more time at the forefront of innovation. Mitel has developed a CTI system that promises clients the ability to communicate more effectively and with less effort, freeing human resources for the creative work needed to push their businesses forward.
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