Ask an Expert: How cloud telephony integrations pave the way to unified communication and happy customers

Phone calls are one of the most important customer communication channels for businesses, but many businesses still haven’t integrated calls into their tools and workflows. We asked Sanjeeth Kumar, Chief Marketing Officer at Exotel, about the importance of cloud telephony in delivering seamless customer experiences and how it can help businesses implement unified communication for their customer-facing teams.

1. What is unified communication and why should businesses care about it?

Businesses are increasingly using multiple tools to communicate, both internally to enhance workforce collaboration and externally to communicate with customers. But most of these tools exist in silos. There is no information being shared between them, making it difficult for agents to stay abreast of what’s happening across these channels. More often than not, this isolation leads to bad customer experience. It also results in loss of productivity and causes inefficiency at work.

Unified communication, or UC, aims to combat this. Unified communication refers to creating a common interface for accessing data by integrating the various customer-facing tools that your team uses. UC eliminates context-switching and allows users to work effectively.

It is important to understand that unified communication is not about having a single tool that does it all. Rather, it is about ensuring that customer data is not lost in translation between the various touchpoints.

2. Why is it important to integrate calls with your ticketing system or CRM? How does cloud telephony help enable this?

Phone calls have been and continue to be one of the most important customer communication channels for businesses. Prior to cloud telephony, this channel was rigid, stand-alone, and difficult to monitor and track.

However, the virtualization of telephony has opened up a host of opportunities for businesses. One of the major benefits of cloud telephony is the fact that now businesses can integrate their phone system with other software, making it easy to track and access.

Cloud telephony is an important piece of the unified communication puzzle. It enables companies to fetch valuable data from one of the most important customer communication channels—phone calls—and view it contextually within other dashboards, like helpdesk software or CRM tools. This gives users better context and accessibility, enabling them to be more efficient. For instance, integrating  Exotel and Zoho CRM helps improve agents' productivity and provides you with call logs within Zoho for tracking, monitoring, and training purposes.

3. What are the benefits of unifying communication for customer-facing teams?

The two teams that communicate with customers the most are sales and support teams. Unifying communication for them means integrating the tools they use (CRM and helpdesk) with the communication channels they use the most (such as phone calls). Exotel’s integration with Zoho Desk does that and enables a uniform support experience for both the customers and the agents. Here are the top three benefits of the integration:

a. Increased productivity: Exotel’s integration with Zoho Desk gives agents access to features like click-to-call, automatic ticket creation for missed calls, and the ability to answer calls from the helpdesk dashboard. These features save agents countless hours of switching between tools and ensure that they never miss a customer call.

b. Enhanced customer experience: Every time a customer calls, a pop-up is displayed on the agent’s screen with all the relevant information about the caller. This way, they know who’s calling and are aware of the context (such as any open tickets) even before speaking to the customer. Having this information handy enables agents to personalize their communication, leading to better customer experience.

c. Better visibility: An integration between your helpdesk and your phone system means that you don’t have to look for data in separate places—the information isn't fragmented. Call details including audio recordings can easily be associated with each ticket, so everything is available in a single place. You can also generate multiple reports that include information from both tools for better visibility and insights.

4. How can Exotel help create consistent messaging? Why is this important?

People tend to assume that the marketing team is the custodian of your brand image — defined by your website, advertisements, and your taglines. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A brand is what the customer experiences with your company at each point of interaction, and sales and support teams form an important part of this experience. That is why consistent messaging is needed across these interactions.

Exotel’s integration with Zoho Desk makes it easier for your agents to access the information they need to adhere to your messaging guidelines. This ensures that your customers’ experience with your brand is consistent at each touchpoint. For example, every time a customer calls up your support team to follow up on an open ticket, they shouldn’t have to brief the agent on the issue all over again. Your support desk already has all the details your agent needs to speak to the customer contextually. But if this information is isolated, the agent either has to scramble for context or ask the customer for the information again. Either way, customer experience takes a hit.

By keeping your phone system and your CRM/helpdesk isolated, you create the conditions for a broken customer experience. When you integrate these two systems, all your agents are empowered to give your customers the best experience possible. A unified communication system is one of the biggest factors that influences the customer’s perception of the brand.

5. What are some direct and indirect benefits of integrating Exotel with Zoho Desk and CRM?

The direct benefit is the increased productivity of your agents. The indirect benefit is the unified, contextual experience for your customer. A great customer experience moves multiple metrics for a company—it increases brand value, reduces churn, and also becomes a great acquisition strategy. There is nothing better than happy customers referring your product to other customers.

Try Exotel for Zoho CRM and Zoho Desk

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