How to Use CTI to Develop CRM Strategies

For any business to thrive in today’s competitive market, the two essentials of marketing are foraying effectively into new audiences to turn them into clients, and retaining all the previous customers to ensure they do not flock to a competitor.

Both of these practices are indispensable to the existence and growth of a company. Since major companies delegate their telemarketing duties to a call center, it then falls upon call center agents to hold true to marketing principles in both retaining customers and creating new clients.

In today’s digital age, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is handled through the use of call center software from side to side with the Computer Telephony Integration (CTI).

CTI is a broad term that encompasses all the technological tools developed to integrate the interactions between a telephone and a computer.

The most common usage is to describe call details on a desktop screen to provide insight for the agent, but it can also refer to more advanced server side functionalities such as the feature of automatic call routing.

Customer Relationship Management is achieved through a whole host of customer intelligence and acquired business data.

It takes in data about customer profiles, purchase patterns, call history, categorical preferences, profitability data, etc and analyzes it to find out the most optimal distribution channels, sales strategies, targeted marketing and oversees individual customer service to ensure proper follow ups and client retention.

All of these functionalities are better implemented by the integration of phone and screen. When you study the data about a call before making it, you are better equipped to take a more effective line of approach.

Furthermore, when you get the real-time data as you are on call showing you the statistical probability of success should you take a certain route, you can steer your conversation accordingly to get the best results.

With an abundance of data continuously pouring in, agents should make use of the power of analysis to ensure better customer service and boost their business.

CRM is an essential part of every business. With the tools at our disposal, we can gain significant insight and even build predictive models to project sales taking all the aspects of a customer into account.

Here are a few tips to use CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) to develop CRM strategies.

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1.    Integrate products and service channels effectively. CTI tools allow you to effectively “know” your client in a manner you could not have, if you did not have the tools to analyze every scrap of data.

This means you now have the power to know which customers are likely to come into the picture at what times and what sort of products or services they are likely to be attracted to. This would allow you to distribute service channels with the maximum efficiency.

2.    Customize services, products and prices to best suit your client. Once you have all the relevant information about a customer, you can customize services and price them accordingly to ensure a sale, rather than trying to sell a generic package which that a client may or may not want.

3.    CTI facilitates opportunities for cross selling. Cross selling refers to the practice of selling an additional service to an already existing customer. Because you have your customer’s needs presented to you on your desktop, it allows you to suggest the perfect additional services and makes it far likely to conclude a sale.

4.    Using desktop-phone integration helps to quickly identify future prospects and schedule those pitches accordingly. This is particularly useful for larger call centers where it cannot be guaranteed that the same agent will remain dedicated to that customer in the future. Reminders allow the new agent to know exactly what the pitch should be.

5.    Deliverance on promises becomes easier with specific memos getting saved on a desktop and reminders going out when necessary. This ensures the best of customer service and keeps your customers satisfied.

6.    CTI is useful for inbound calls. It enables caller identification, so whenever the phone rings, all relevant details of the caller along with their call history, purchase history, interest labels on various products and other details are available to the agent even before he has answered the call.

7.    CTI systems that work on the server side provide added functionality in terms of incoming calls. These systems can automatically route a call to the agent who had handled the previous calls for the same customer.

In this way, more constructive one on one relationship can be established, through which customer retention can be maximized. The operator can provide a very high level of personalization in such cases.

8.    In case of outbound calls, manual dialing is a waste of critical time, especially during the peak hours. CTI provides a one click call system which gives two fold advantages – it saves the time of looking up numbers and punching them in, and it also provides a knowhow of the customer beyond their name and number, which is always useful to make the first move.

9.    Call processing can be automated using Computer Telephony Integration, which is why it can be ensured that all necessary business processes can flow without a glitch.

After the call is carried out, labels are attached by the agents as per the outcomes of the calls. These labels are then filed in, data is added and customer profiles are modified by the CTI.

10.    CTI can be used to track and collect data by recording all telephone activity and attaching well-defined notes to flag their categories.

This would allow for the statistical analysis to be carried out on this data later, revealing insights would come in handy for the next call with the same customer or with the other customers sharing similar interests.

11.    CTI shows the way forward for new product development, since it is a one-stop solution in understanding the demands of clients.

Developmental paths are driven by identifying the needs of the target audience, and the utilization of CTI tools helps to do just that.

12.    The improvement of customer care is dependent majorly on how personalized the service can be for every individual customer.

Since it is almost impossible to have dedicated personnel attending to each customer and eventually getting to know them well enough to bring about fruitful leads, we take recourse of technology to derive the requisite data and model the client’s expectations beforehand.

In this manner, the call center agents as well as the company have a sense of what to expect from the customer base even before any direct interaction takes place. This model is continuously pruned as more and more data comes in.

13.    CTI solutions help to determine the in-house requirements as well. CTI gives an indication of what sort of staff would be required, what training they should have, what sorts of volume of calls are to be expected and what the predictive queries could be.

This information helps to structure the environment accordingly so that the best of customer service can be provided.

14.    Companies can use their personalized service as a USP, thus allowing for CTI to directly influence marketing strategies and ground level sales. Because CTI allows for service better tailored than any competitor, this service can be modeled as a commodity.

15.    CTI helps to filter data and suggest only the most appropriate actions in order to conserve valuable time and resources.

It emphasizes on maximizing the conversion ratio rather than maximizing the target group, since sales takes precedence over the exposure.

The Case Study

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The tips and strategies provided above will help you to make smarter decisions with regards to customer relationship management.

The use of CTI has benefits in many arenas in bettering CRM techniques. To further highlight this point; let us take a look at a case study for a real-life scenario.

For the sake of anonymity, the company in question will be called CYTRIN SOLUTIONS.

Let us take CYTRIN SOLUTIONS to be a company providing call center solutions for a recognized organization.

This case study will give an overview of the situation that the telemarketing company CYTRIN SOLUTIONS found itself in, with a study of the challenges it faced during its operations.

It will also talk of the solutions that were drawn up to negate these problems, and the underlying result of the implementation of these changes.

The Problem Scenario

The organization that hires CYTRIN SOLUTIONS prides itself on customer retention and the type of customer satisfaction it provides.

However, CYTRIN SOLUTIONS is finding it difficult to manage both aspects of growing in new territories and keeping previous customers hooked at the same time.

They are looking for the best call center software which will help them to systematically arrange the tasks to handle both simultaneously and improve their CRM functionalities.

The Challenges

The challenges that the company faced with respect to customer relationship management are listed below.

1.    The services that were available could not be customized for the specific customers. Because of this, many customers were opting out of certain packages since it involved them unnecessarily paying for the products they did not need.

2.    Cold calls were seeing a drop in conversion ratio because client information was not available at one click. This made it difficult for the agents to determine the best course of action for every client individually.

3.    Calls from a specific client were not being routing to any specific agent.

For this reason, every follow up required intensive background study on the part of the call center, because a new agent was handling it every time. This amounted to a large amount of time and resources being wasted.

4.    It was becoming difficult to keep a track of every deliverance to be made, especially because different agents made different assurances to the same client at different points of time.

Data was generated in a very haphazard manner and it was difficult to make a meaningful pattern out of it.

The Solutions

The managers at the company recognized the need for tackling these problems immediately. They studied the problems that they faced and came up with the following solutions to counter those challenges.

1.    The company decided to adopt the use of call center software solutions that would automatically draw up all the relevant information about the caller as a call was being made or received. This allowed the agent to get to know the customer before approaching him or her directly.

2.    They went ahead with Computer Telephony Integration which helped them in converting far more incoming calls since the agent could see the result of analysis of that caller’s previous records, which would give him an idea of what approach, should be taken with that specific client.

3.    The company relied on the data available to direct them regarding the personalized services. They then pitched these services to the clients who needed exactly that, which saw a sharp increase in sales within a very short time.

Analysis of data revealed exactly what trends were likely to be followed, and what sort of expectation might be generated.

The Results

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After the implementation of CTI, call center agents were able to make more intelligent decisions driven by the data in front of them, and this resulted in increased sales.

Within a month of the installation of CTI devices, the company saw a client retention rate increase at 5%.

Targeted marketing saw them break profit margins by 15% in the very first year.

In addition, after 3 years of dedicated implementation, the company was able to achieve a client retention rate of over 90%.

While there are many dimensions to good customer relationship management, one of the major points to be highlighted is how much personalized care can be provided to each individual customer.

Customers are drawn towards a company that not only provides high grade products but one with a personal touch, which can answer queries effectively and give valid suggestions.

With the internet taking over the era of direct face-to-face conversations, companies need to prioritize treating each customer as an individual.

The use of CTI helps in the development of CRM strategies that provide that very essence of personalization and individual care, which is a requirement to survive and thrive in the market today.

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