Earlier in the year, respected industry analyst Sheila McGee-Smith blogged about the growing functional overlap between call center software and CRM desktop applications. She gave some great advice for deciding what the right choice for your business is. I’m not going to revisit that; you can read Sheila’s posts for the details. Instead, I’m going to focus on four key integration capabilities you should look for when choosing the right CRM desktop to meet your needs.
- Embedded call handling controls – the voice channel is mostly the exclusive domain of your call center software. Call handling controls should be seamlessly embedded within the CRM interface using the same UI components. They also need to provide more than basic call control with functionality for outbound dialing, transfers, and conferencing.
- Synchronized screen pops – customer information from the CRM system should automatically appear when an agent gets a customer interaction and should be a native function of the integration and not require any customization. It should also work for all contact channels, not just voice.
- Automated data exchange – call center software and CRM systems both contain valuable customer information. The integration should automatically insert contact center information into the CRM customer record, without requiring customization. This information should include links to call recordings, and emails and chat transcripts if those interactions are handled by the contact center system.
- Interaction routing – over the years, call center software systems have developed increasingly sophisticated capabilities for connecting customers with the best agents to handle them. There is increasing overlap in interaction handling capabilities between contact center and CRM systems, especially around email, chat, SMS/text, and social media interactions. It’s your decision on which system handles what types. Ideally, the integration would support routing for cases and any other CRM-handled channels, such as emails or chats. At a minimum, it needs to support presence syncing so that an agent involved in a customer call is not interrupted with new CRM interactions, and vice versa.
A tight, well-constructed integration between call center software and CRM systems, like CXone Agent for Salesforce, enhances the business value of both systems. If you are attending Dreamforce 2017 November 6-9th in San Francisco, drop by the NICE inContact booth (#1729) and see a live demo of our integration.