Computer Telephone Integration
The phone rings and before you answer it you have a window on your desktop with the caller's record before you. If the number is not on your CRM, you have a blank record to take the details of a new enquiry about your services. Sound fantastic? This is Computer Telephone Integration (CTI).
CTI is standard procedure in large corporations and call centres, but, until recently, beyond the budgets of smaller organisations. However, by combining cheap hardware and open source software for PBX and CRM, you can run a system like this for hundreds of pounds – not thousands.
We can advise you on what you will need to achieve this. Whether you want to pop up a CiviCRM, SugarCRM or VTiger user record we can help.
We use Asterisk, an Open Source PBX, which can run on entry level hardware to keep costs to a minimum – yet we recommend higher quality hardware that’s relatively cheap.
A small office system of a membership organisation with one BT phone line wanting to expand to three extensions – all able to call out or receive incoming calls simultaneously.
Assuming the use of CiviCRM to manage contacts/memberships and payments, we would use VOIP telephony for an additional two lines. Costs: about £650 in hardware and £850 in setup costs and training. Plus ongoing costs of under £50 a month for the additional two IP lines, our monitoring service and support. (Phone calls over IP will not be included this but will cost less than BT.)
A small business with 3 offices and four phone lines in each using vTiger as the sales CRM.
We would reduce the phone lines to two in each office, install a PBX in one office and set up numbers on the phones to be extensions of the same system.
In this way, calls between offices are free and with some hunt group setup, a call that is unanswered in office B can be picked up in office A.
Costs: around £1,500 in hardware and £1350 to set up. Plus ongoing costs of less than £100 a month for the six IP lines, our monitoring service and support. Offset the reduction of six BT phone lines and remember that phone calls over IP will not be included in this but will cost less than BT.
Proprietary PBX setups
If you are running a Nortel or Cisco PBX we can still achieve the same results via a 3rd party application and integrate with these CRM systems. You would still have to pay your ongoing support and lease costs to the PBX supplier.