The biggest single operational cost for a contact centre is people and, despite the emergence of digital channels and self-service customer interaction, the telephone is still the primary communication channel between a business and its customers. Geomant Sales Manager Richard Hatcher answers some of the most common questions that crop up when discussing investment in desktop integration between a customer relationship management (CRM) solution and Avaya Telephony for Voice Interactions.
What is CRM Integration?
CRM integration provides a two-way link for information and functionality to pass between the Avaya telephony platform and the desktop CRM for voice interactions. Typically, a desktop integration will deliver some or all of the following features:
A Unified Agent Desktop
- Soft-phone embedded in the CRM application
- Consolidated view of omnichannel activity and history
- Links to relevant call recording records
- Customer data delivered to the agent from the moment the call starts
Click to Dial
- Agents simply click on the number from the CRM application
Agent Set Callback
- The ability to schedule a callback from a single user interface
- Calls are transferred with full customer details
- Agent-specific management information
What are the benefits of implementing CRM Integration?
All of the features above improve agent efficiency and optimise customer experience. A Unified Agent Desktop assists with training by having key information displayed a single ‘pane of glass’, reducing the need to toggle between applications during a call. The screen pop delivers detail about who is calling and potentially why, while click to dial functionality eliminates the need to re-key numbers. Call transfers with context improve the customer experience, preventing customers from having to repeat the reasons why they are calling – in my experience with interacting with call centres the biggest problem is having to repeat myself!
What is the return on Investment?
Building a business case is always tricky and, as a vendor, Geomant does not have visibility of all of your costs and so would find it very difficult to quantify the cost of ‘customer service’ to your brand. What we can do is provide a formula that would allow you to calculate some savings based on an anticipated reduction in average call handling time (ACHT). This should be approximately 20 seconds per call based on our research, however yours may be different. We refer to agent unit labour cost which is not just the agent salary, but all other costs associate with that agent:
Average Number of Agents in a day x Reduction in ACH x Number of Calls handled per day x Agent unit labour cost
What should I look for when selecting a solution?
There are several possible routes to CRM/telephony integration:
- Get IT to build a bespoke solution
- Get a third party to build a bespoke solution
- Find a vendor with an off the shelf solution
Any form of bespoke development will be based on your user requirements and therefore tightly aligned to your business needs. The downside is the development cycle will be fairly long unless the vendor is using some form of integration framework which aids rapid development. In addition, the issue of change control and versioning needs to be considered. Many CRM solutions are delivered from the cloud and an upgrade by the CRM vendor could ‘break’ the integration or require coding changes. Consideration also needs to be made around ownership of the source code as this can make moving to another vendor very difficult and costly.
Off the shelf solutions eradicate many of these concerns as they are often provisioned as software licensing either on-premise or in the cloud – they are quick to deploy and are mature offerings. In many cases the vendors offering these solutions are part of the CRM vendors ecosystem and have visibility of the roadmap, thus ensuring that compatibility with new versions is not an issue. Ownership of the source code is not an issue, as the product is licensed with a right to use subject to a support contract being in place.
Who can I talk to about the best solution for my business?
At Geomant we have been carrying out both bespoke and custom integrations with Avaya CM for nearly two decades, so are very well-placed to guide you through the process of system integration. If reading this blog has captured your interest, then please get in touch to discuss your requirements.