This priceless database can be regarded as the memory, the brain, of your business.
But a brain in isolation is of limited use, and that CRM needs a way to connect and communicate with the outside world, with those very data subjects who are your lifeblood. So, you can regard your cloud-phone solution as the central nervous system, which supports the continual flow of information in and out of your CRM at all times.
It is vital therefore that the two integrate thoroughly and perform as a single organism, because the right cloud-phone solution can make your CRM so much more than a place to gather data efficiently. You don’t want any neurons misfiring, or failing to pass the necessary information in both directions immediately and completely. By enabling visualization and analytics to inform strategy and growth, this complex interplay of functionality is fundamental to the healthy success of your business.
When you’re choosing a cloud phone solution to work with your CRM, you should look out for the following three essential factors:
1. Native integration for deep collaboration
Ringover’s cloud phone system integrates directly with the following market-leading CRMs:
All of these are regularly identified by analysts and researchers as being among the most highly effective central databases for any customer-centric operation, combining powerful processing and awarding winning user interfaces to make data collection, lead-nurturing and deal-closing as easy and intuitive as possible for support and sales professionals.
When you add your calls data directly as a live source of information, you put the power of the CRM on steroids.
It only takes a few minutes to set up the integration with Ringover by simply signing in to your CRM, then configuring it directly from the Ringover dashboard. You have complete and granular control over how the integration works according to your preferences, and you can tweak it from the dashboard at any time — such as the choice to synchronize contact information, in either direction or both.
APIs extend the power
These native integrations are built to support the most popular and powerful CRMs that serve the needs of Ringover’s customer base, but there are many more CRM-as-a-service solutions out there, catering to different niche industries and audiences with unique requirements.
The good news is that even if there is not a native integration provided between the Ringover and your organization’s ideal ‘brain’, you can create your own — completely customized to your workflow and requirements.
Firstly and most straightforwardly, even a non-technical user can create powerful bespoke integrations using Ringover’s integration with Zapier. This nifty and affordable tool enables anyone to build workflows visually, between literally thousands of different applications, to set your data to work for you in automated myriad ways.
If you can think of an automation you need and describe it in terms of ‘if this thing happens on a Ringover call, I want it to trigger that thing to update in my database’, or indeed the other way around, then chances are you can build it with Zapier. Just add Ringover and the other app within Zapier (which I recently learned rhymes with ‘happier’, incidentally, for such is their wish for you!), and then you can build, customize, and test your own ‘Zap’.
But if that isn’t powerful enough, Ringover also provides a public API key which your developer can use to build two-way integrations with just about any tool that provides webhooks — in a secure, bespoke, and powerful way, enabling the creation of completely customized inter-application workflows which will boost your customer relationship management to undreamed of heights.
2. Mobility means flexibility
Events of 2020 have changed the way we work forever, and today’s knowledge workers have truly embraced the power of location-independent working.
They expect to be closing deals and responding to customers from just about anywhere, and that is completely in line with customer expectations for 24-7 service and connectivity: the coincidence of events aligns with a convergence of trends both technical and social, which drive ever more demanding consumer requirements.
We’re used to immediate, in-the-moment and totally user-driven interactions with our friends — and increasingly, we expect no less from the brands we buy too. We also expect them to ‘remember’ us — not in the same way our Facebook and WhatsApp buddies do, of course, but to create an illusion of the same, by ‘knowing’ who we are when we get in touch with them via different channels at different times.
In other words, we don’t want to have to tell them things more than once.
There’s a fine line here between removing friction for the customer and crossing the uncanny valley into creepy territory, and one important factor in overcoming that is speed — such as being able to trigger an email with support instructions, immediately following a call to a helpline or a tweet to a dedicated account.
That’s why it’s essential that the information stored in your CRM solution can be accessed instantly from anywhere, and that your cloud phone system integrates seamlessly with it via powerful native mobile apps. Enabling your team to click to call customers directly from the CRM app or browser, record calls for training or reference, or switch seamlessly from voice to video, all lend that sense of ‘we’ve got your back’ connectedness, which flexible working facilitates.
For this reason, it’s vital to look for powerful mobile features when choosing a cloud-phone solution for your CRM, and to configure the integration thoughtfully. Simply having both apps on the same phone won’t facilitate the kind of rapid switching needed, to respond appropriately and fast, in our omnichannel world… so make sure you have a real integration working for you.
Your location-independent workforce
And another important point regarding mobility, is that these features support your team to work together seamlessly as well, wherever they are located.
Knowing that the Ringover IVR is routing the right calls directly to their own device to ensure their greatest opportunities for successful resolution, along with complete context and background information at their fingertips, makes for contented and productive sales and support colleagues who feel like they’re truly part of a team — whether they can see the rest of that team physically or not. And the ability to flexibly respond to calls on their computer or mobile — even to switch between the two without the customer being aware — gives them complete mobility and flexibility, to work in the way which best suits their lifestyle and professional commitments.
This is important in the days when sales and support teams are unlikely to be located in the same large call center for health and hygiene reasons, but still deserve to benefit from cultivating that energy and camaraderie which comes from sharing space and generating a buzz around your calls — celebrating each others’ wins and successes, motivating and encouraging each other when you get a run of bad luck.
You could even use Zapier (see above) to build your own motivational tools, such as a sales leaderboard — pulling data from your cloud phone system and CRM together into a single screen to encourage and unite your team via a powerful and fun dynamic visualization, boosting your team’s sense of competitiveness and co-operation, even when they’re physically distant from one another.
3. All the latest updates and security ‘as a service’
If you’re still relying on a clunky on-prem PBX for your business phone system, you might be able to make it connect to your CRM. The kind of API wizardry touched on above is mighty in the right hands, and you never know what kind of solutions could be lashed up at a pinch.
But if different people have joined your organization at different times, new lines have been installed using different standards, some people prefer to keep the same desk phone they have had for six years as it still works fine for them thank you very much, and others are forwarding to their mobile because that’s the only way for them to work from home… Well, you can see where this is going.
All that frictionless flow of data between your phone system and your CRM ceases to be possible on a live and in-the-moment basis, and instead you end up with a mess of interrupted information: Please update Customer X’s new home address in the database, when you have a moment, scribbled on a post-it note for an admin colleague... Too bad Customer X called back again before anyone actioned this, and had to complain again about the incorrect delivery.
Going back to our biological metaphor of our customer relationship strategy as a central nervous system, this is equivalent to a self-inflicted neurological disorder.
Instead, when your CRM and your phone system are wholly cloud-based, everything updates in real-time — as fast as your internet connection.
Security and software
It’s not only the data that is continually updated, when your CRM and communications are powered by the cloud.
Every day bad actors attack application stacks — systematically, continually, and relentlessly.
Your CRM is not only a vital repository for your own business, it also contains an intrinsically valuable ‘honeypot’ of personally identifiable information, from consumer behavior to payment details. Your business has a legal and moral responsibility to protect that data from loss or theft, and while breaches are sadly all too common these days, their cost to the enterprises concerned is of that most vital and intangible factor: trust.
Like every system, your information security strategy is only ever as good as its weakest link. This is why cloud-based communications systems are delivered ‘as a service’, ensuring that every user is running the very latest version at all times, with updates pushed centrally to each application and device. Whenever a new threat is detected — such as a new piece of malware that’s suddenly propagating around the world — a patch can be created and sent out instantly, protecting all of your users… and therefore protecting your customers.
By outsourcing this risk to your cloud service provider, your data protection officer and your chief of information security can sleep better, knowing that every risk is mitigated in real time.
Flexibility and scalability
That ‘as a service’ model also helps your business in changeable times, with predictable billing and immediate scalability.
If your CRM data analytics suggest that more support staff are needed to respond to a surge in incoming calls, you can quickly spin up new virtual numbers immediately, or add new seats to existing plans — even new mobile or international numbers.
No messing around with installing new lines and handsets, or checking whether that dusty equipment in the back of the storeroom is compatible.
And for outboundcalls, you get the most affordable and fair calling plans, whether on a per-user-per-month basis, or according to the number of minutes used. No surprises for the finance team, even when users are working flexibly on their own devices.
For some industries, they way they make calls must adhere to strict procedures and protocols, depending on the content of the calls and the different regulators involved. This might be because advice and information has to be given in a very precise way, such as when selling financial products and services, or perhaps the content of the call is simply very sensitive and personal, like medical records and procedures.
When your business uses a cloud-based phone system with an integrated CRM system, you can select features like call logging and archiving, as well as supervision and training protocols, to ensure that the organizations legal and procedural responsibilities are being fulfilled, and also that any retrieval for dispute resolution is easily centralized and delivered.
This is ever more important with the introduction of distributed working, and more and more sales and support professionals preferring to use their own devices. Locking down the applications themselves and the protocols under which they are used becomes increasingly vital, for organizations to ensure their regulatory compliance at all times.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a cloud-phone system for your CRM to work with, but powerful native integration, mobile functionality, and granular as-a-service options are the first things you should investigate.
Your organization’s needs will be unique, and you deserve software which will work with you and grow with you.
Talk to Ringover today, to get your free trial started, and put the power of a cloud-phone integrated CRM to work for your business.