How Does CTI Benefit Small Businesses?| By |Dan Sincavage

There are two things that distinguish today’s successful businesses. And, we’re not talking about size or how much money you put into marketing. Wherever you are in the spectrum – small business or big business – you can reach your goals or even outperform when you enable access and data.

We’re talking about sales representatives who are within reach of their customers, up-to-date information that helps you close deals, responsive and knowledgeable customer support, better collaboration among team members, and more.

You can have all this with CTI or computer telephony integration. CTI for small business is the marriage of access and data. That’s your phone system and computer, alongside the internet, enabling you to do better business. And you can have it, regardless of how big or small your company is.

CTI for Small Business: Access

CTI for small business improves access within your business through several features, such as call routing, phone flexibility, call logging and automated dialing. This translates to a more collaborative team, accessible sales representatives and happier customers.

Call routing: Even for small businesses, automated call routing is already a requisite. You are letting your caller know that they are dealing with professionals, and not a dated business where one person is still tasked with answering and forwarding calls all day. Get the most qualified members of your team to answer specific calls, such as support and sales calls. Streamline the process by making sure that callers reach who they want to talk to faster.

Phone flexibility: Talk to customers, prospects and services providers wherever you and your team are. Doing business is no longer confined to your desk. With CTI’s flexible phone feature, you can configure your office phones to forward calls to your devices when you’re not logged into the system.

Automated dialing: For sales reps, speed can make a world of difference. The faster you can make calls or call back, the more responsive you appear to your clients. Increase your team’s productivity through automated dialing via CTI telephony.

Call logging: With call routing and flexible phone use, there might not be reason to miss calls ever again. But, in case you do, CTI integration allows you to log all calls. You can refer to the logs and call back once you’re available.

CTI For Small Business: Data

Information is important in all aspects of business, especially when it comes to sales and customer support. CTI integration makes relevant data available to you when you need them the most.

Features, such as call data recording, Google integration, and the automated screen pop-up system, put data that enhances client and prospect engagement in your hands.

Call data recording: When integrated with a reliable CRM system, you can use your CTI system to create lead and customer profiles, all throughout the buyer’s journey. Map the progress of each person with call data recording. Know their call/ interaction history, location, personal data and other information. Use this to improve their experience and engage with them more effectively.

Google integration: Have your system automatically tap into Google for information regarding your callers, such as their location, organization and the like. Harness the internet goldmine when you want to enhance your client/ prospect interactions. Remember that small details matter when you are trying to make a good impression.

When you know the location of your caller, for instance, you can tailor-fit your greeting. Say “howdy” when your caller is from the southern part of the US. It can bring a smile to their face and put you a step closer to making a deal.

Automated screen pop-up system: A pop-up screen with information about your callers is exactly what you need when you’re trying to make a good impression. With details you can use, such as the caller’s name, location, call history and products bought, you can personalize the interaction. When they offer new information, you can easily take note, for future reference. You no longer have to scramble with some software to open up their profile for account authentication, viewing and updates. With CTI integrated with your CRM, the process is automatic. You are able to respond to queries in a timely and friendly manner.

CTI, CRM and Sales

There are many sales success stories with CTI for small business, alongside a reliable CRM (customer relationship management) system, at the forefront. Take for instance Home Learning College, a UK-based distance education provider, which moved their learning program queries in-house. Through CTI integration, they experienced a jump in their conversion rates, compared to when the task was outsourced.

If your goal is to jumpstart your sales department, consider an investment in computer telephony integration. Of course, CTI alone won’t cut it. Couple this with a reliable CRM system. This gives you a 360 degrees customer/ prospect view that’s integrated with their call activity.

Track how your prospect is moving along in the buyer’s journey. Is he or she ready for another sales call from you? Would more product information or brochures help? What other online activities have they done to signify interest in your product?

CTI and CRM also allow you to streamline your sales processes. Because information is readily available, you can go through calls faster without sacrificing effectiveness. Connect with your clients and prospects more effectively with information they need, when they need it.

CTI and Meeting Your Bottom Line

We understand that for a small business, the bottom line plays a crucial part in all decisions, especially when it comes to the systems to invest in and those to forego.

With CTI for small business, there shouldn’t be much debate. It is requisite in today’s business environment. Your customers expect it. And, you will definitely benefit from a properly implemented computer telephony integration system.

But, in case you need more convincing, here are some of the major organizational benefits you can have with CTI:
1. Improve your customer relationships.
With CTI, you have updated information about your customers and prospects at the tip of your fingers. You can add to this with a few clicks. Create information-rich customer/ prospect profiles that personalize transactions and improve your sales team’s effectiveness. This is something that can be used for years by multiple agents for sales and support.

Increase sales and client retention rates with something as simple as personalization. Any improvement in customer relationships is a plus when it comes to meeting your bottom line.

2. Streamline your sales processes, and other business areas.
CTI can improve your productivity, especially when your business depends on call volume and engagement quality. With improved access and data, a business day can include more inbound and outbound calls. Your team becomes more effective in dealing with these calls. And, this translates to increased sales and revenues.

3. Optimize your investment.
It is likely that you’ve already invested in a CRM system for better client management. This is one of the power tools of super sales teams, and “a must” investment.

Make the most of your CRM system by integrating it with CTI. This would loop in your phone call activity with your customers/ prospects’ information, creating a pumped up CRM system.

You can have faster and more productive phone conversations. You trim away that impersonal stage, wherein you ask for authentication and other information. Get to what’s important – what your customers really need. And, you get to save on overhead too by finishing more within the same time frame.

4. Integrate your CTI system easily.
One of the best things about CTI systems is that you can easily integrate them, regardless of your current telephony interface. CTI supports TAPI, CSTA, MiTAI, OAI and TSAPI. You can have it running alongside Citrix Terminal Server, and over a VPN network.

So, don’t worry about compatibility. Up-to-date CTI systems are designed for easy integration and roll-out.

5. Deploy fast, without hindering work.
Work need not be interrupted when you upgrade your telephony system with CTI for small business. Keep to your daily grind, and enjoy the benefits of CTI ASAP. Fast and easy deployment is like getting a productivity boost for almost zero cost.

CTI integration and implementation can be done off hours, and deployed on the next day.

How To Implement CTI for Small Businesses

The best people to move forward with for your CTI system are IT professionals, either in-house or those from the service provider. There are configurations and settings that should be done right, the first time around. And, you shouldn’t be bothered with the technical details.

What’s important, however, is that you know the full capabilities of your CTI system, as well as the other systems you currently use.

CTI is highly compatible with most telephony systems so there’s nothing to worry about, on the end. In the same way, it integrates nicely with several other applications that you might already use, such as CRM and lead generation software.

When you know the full capabilities of CTI, as well as your other applications, you can implement with growth in mind. Make the most of these capabilities. Ask your provider or IT person to configure and integrate with optimization in mind. As your business grows, you should be able to grow into the systems you have in place, making full use of them.

Plan your CTI integration around your business day. Remember that a typical set-up shouldn’t hamper with your day-to-day.

Learn about your CTI telephony system. Share information with your team. If possible, conduct a short training program once your CTI is ready to use. After all, the best use of CTI for small business is not just about optimizing integration. You also have to teach your users how to make the most of the sales power tool that they have at their disposal.

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