Why Does Your Business Need CTI?
By Matt Goldman
Technology has advanced almost miraculously over the last several decades; unbelievably, there are now thin and flat televisions that hang on living room walls like pictures and smartphones that put major computing power in the pockets of over 90 percent of America’s citizens.
The rapid pace of technology has led to many improvements in both everyday living and how business is done. Particularly impactful for business is Computer Telephony Integration (CTI). At its core, CTI is computer-telephony integration linked with CTI ports and (sometimes) a CTI route point. CTI provides businesses with a more efficient and less costly way of handling incoming and outgoing calls. Let’s take a closer look at CTI technology, how it works, and how it can benefit a business.
What is a CTI port?
CTI ports are virtual ports, but they are similar to trunk lines in classic PBX systems. They are the link that allows access to the combined system. By connecting telephone lines through a computer, businesses can streamline their offices and IT maintenance staff. Particularly useful for call centers, it enables full computerization and greater capabilities. CTI makes calls more efficient. For incoming calls, interactive voice response (IVR) can be added that routes calls to the appropriate division for better customer service. In call centers, auto dialers help personnel take or make more calls and more effective calls. The computer is faster and more accurate and frees up personnel for other tasks.
When a CTI system is implemented, some thought should be given to configuring CTI port access, as the business can add other functionality to alleviate pressure on personnel. Elements like voice or video conferencing management, fax message routing, caller authentication, and even setting up a computer agent to provide service to customers, are possible.
How is a CTI Port Different From a CTI Route Point?
A CTI route point is another useful virtual device; this one can receive multiple calls at once, and efficiently distribute them to the various CTI ports. The manner in which the calls are distributed is based on application-controlled redirection. Think of the last phone call you made to your utility company or a government entity. Were you on hold for what seemed like forever to speak with a human being, or was your experience better than that? Did the company ‘answer’ with a computerized human voice and begin gathering information to help with your situation, before routing you to the right person? This type of service is only available by marrying a CTI route point and at least one CTI route port, though typically there are many. It’s the technology most successful call centers currently use.
How Does CTI Help Businesses?
CTI is a huge level-up for call centers that are doing things manually, without the benefit of any computerized connection. Connecting telephones to a computer allows a wealth of information to be displayed on agents screens—much of it automatically and almost instantly. With CTI configured properly and connected to a business’ customer relationship management (CRM), customer information is retrieved based on Go to the full article.