For many companies, antiquated efforts at data gathering centered on registration cards. By promising recent purchasers that registration would establish warranty rights and access to product updates, companies could gather a trove of data about their consumers.
That initial practice, even when effective, falls far short of the depth of data retailers and service providers can now capture via electronic communications. New forms of data collection may include website analytics, post-call surveys, or third-party data sellers. Because the barriers to data collection are lower in recent decades, the primary challenge has shifted from “What data?” to “What to do with this data?”
Customer relationship management (CRM) software usually represents the deepest, most personal knowledge of a client. High-powered CRMs may contain client data from early marketing stages through the point of purchase. But decisions on how to store that data and to whom to allow access now dominate discussions on how to get real business value out of “Big Data.”
The question has special urgency for businesses in which retention hinges on the performance of call center representatives. How much client history do representatives know? How efficiently can they solve client issues?
It’s also vital for businesses with long sales cycles that require close coordination across multiple offices or employees. Is every team member aware of when a potential sale may close? Are they able to talk a potential client through the final steps, even if the initial contact is unavailable?
These are questions computer telephony integration, or CTI, has the potential to answer. For users pondering Nextiva integrations, the answers promise exceptional benefits.
What to Expect from CTI
Data does not accrue value by mere quantity. Quality and actionability of that data can be equally, if not more, important. In short, no technological or data-heavy integration is a magic bullet. Still, CTI may feel as though it comes close. By making CRM data available in real time throughout a company—or even between organizations—businesses can leverage more opportunities to put data to work.
CTI traces its origins to “screen pop,” or screen population technology. Call center employees fielding calls benefitted from pop-up information on their desktop computers, which in its earliest iterations was used primarily for caller identification, voice response, and automatic call distribution.
While primitive forms of CTI were available in the 1990s, the business transition from PBX lines to VoIP opened up new possibilities. The more robust connections made possible through internet-based integrations birthed a modern version of CTI.
Technological advancements, however, are still a means to an end. Businesses considering an investment in Nextiva CTI are probably most interested in how technology can improve bottom-line results. These are key business benefits that CTI offers:
Any agent fielding a call has access to vital CRM data. Knowing data exists is not that same as having data on-hand. CTI ensures real-time access to CRM data for any agent answering a call, whether that’s an in-house call center representative or a sales rep taking a call on their smartphone in an airport lobby. CTI eliminates agents’ need to shuffle through papers or click through screens to get to the data that will resolve a consumer issue or close a sale.
Clients get to the right person on the first ring. Transferring client calls from department to department soaks up time, resources, and client patience. CTI uses CRM data to route calls to the right agent on the very first ring. That means sales staff doesn’t spend time on troubleshooting calls, and technical support isn’t responsible for closing a sale—or finding someone who can.
Managers can better judge performance. Deeper data connections between incoming calls and CRMs mean managers have access to analytics reports that assess performance on a far more granular level. CTI platforms with built-in analytics can increase visibility into which new policies or technologies may lead to more efficient operations, for staff and clients. Having a data-backed rationale for changes can prove influential for winning C-Suite buy-in.
Other benefits touted by CTI providers are increased ease of collaboration among internal teams and the potential to realize call center cost savings.
Among the major players in the telecommunications industry, Nextiva is a relative upstart. Founded in 2006, the company is one of three run by serial entrepreneur Tomas Gorny. In just ten years, the company has reached $100 million in revenue.
While industry stalwarts boast decades of client service and historic innovation, Nextiva’s youth brings a different advantage: no legacy technology. Nextiva has grown up in the VoIP era, meaning its sole focus has been providing cloud-based communication systems fully prepared for CTI. It built its service after an internal search to serve another Gorney-led startup was unable to find a simple, effective, and affordable VoIP vendor.
Nextiva CTI Integration
Nextiva CRM integration covers two versions of its CTI product:
- Go Integrator Lite
- Go Integrator DB
Go Integrator Lite
Go Integrator Lite is a pared-down version of Nextiva’s full-service CTI. Go Integrator Lite provides click-to-call functionality to make dialing more efficient and avoid dialing errors. Click-to-call abilities extend to dialing from web pages, contact sheets, and address books. Go Integrator Lite also includes several other core CTI features:
- Contact searching across multiple platforms, including Microsoft Outlook, Google Contacts, and Lotus Notes
- Presence management for shared routing among internal teams
- Call logs that include call history, missed calls, and easy return-call functionality
Go Integrator Lite is installed via a software download. (Note that neither Go Integrator Lite nor Go Integrator DB have Apple-compatible versions.) Following software download, setup is as simple as the addition of a Nextiva username and password.
Go Integrator DB
Go Integrator DB, Nextiva’s flagship CTI product, includes all the features of Go Integrator Lite, but delivers far more in-depth integration. Nextiva CRM support covers most major CRMs, such as SalesForce, SugarCRM, and more than two dozen others.
The cloud-based Nextiva system retains simple installation features, with software download followed by entry of eight data points that connect a Nextiva account with Go Integrator DB. After Nextiva and the CRM of choice have been installed locally, Nextiva CTI setup can be completed within the Nextiva Go Integrator DB interface.
Go Integrator DB can manage and search multiple CRMs simultaneously. This feature supports enterprise-level companies drawing on various data sources to provide staff with a complete customer picture.
Other Key Benefits of Nextiva CTI Integration
- Setup of Auto Attendants to transfer calls to an extension without a receptionist. Nextiva offers unlimited Auto Attendants with capabilities to dial extensions by number or name. Nextiva still allows for operator transfer on demand (e.g. by pressing “0”) or after a set interval of inactivity. Auto Attendant setup and menu choices can also vary for after-hours calls on a user-by-user basis.
- Call forwarding for various durations: always, when busy, when unanswered, or when unreachable. Calls can be forwarded to any number entered by a Nextiva phone system user.
- Holiday scheduling to establish unique, short-term call processing capabilities like Auto Attendants, Sequential Rings, and Call Forwarding Selective. Rerouting can be preset to start and end at designated times and even recur annually. Schedules can be made available to single users, locations, or throughout a business.
- External voicemail access from any phone.
- Registration of local PBX phones to Nextiva’s Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Trunking servers.
Combining Nextiva phones with a CRM also promises rich analytics. These include the ability to monitor total calls, calls within specific date ranges, calls by day, hourly averages, and calls by state. Nextiva Analytics come preloaded with custom graphs and charts to visualize key data points.
For companies already using Nextiva, Nextiva CTI integration may be a logical next step. By connecting CRM data to a cloud-based phone system, businesses can take advantage of smarter call routing that saves employee time and delivers a better customer service experience.
While Nextiva may have come on the scene as a disrupter a decade ago, its VoIP services are now listed among the industry leaders, and its choice of two platforms—Go Integrator Lite and Go Integrator DB—offer CTI integration for a broad set of business needs. And, as always, a cloud-based solution promises lower installation costs and effortless scalability.
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