Over the last twenty years, business operations have become more dispersed. Most mid-size businesses have deployed some kind of “front-office” software to help coordinate. This is certainly better than the old manila client records that can’t be shared, let alone easily managed.
Anyone that has deployed one of these systems, whether it is ACT, Salesforce.com, Siebel, or a “home-grown” CRM is familiar with their greatest weakness. The systems are passive. If staff doesn’t enter notes, the system is useless. Sales teams scramble at the end of the month to enter client records so their managers can update forecasts. And that’s if you have excellent adoption.
Over the last twenty years, phones have not connected to these front-line applications. It is head-scratching to watch someone sit in front of one of these apps all day, phone glued to their ear, but the phone doesn’t connect to the app.
When you do connect phones to CRM, it can become an “active” app. The record of the call is automatically entered into the system. The data becomes real-time. Staff loves the efficiency of clicking to dial. Clients are impressed that you know who they are before you pick up the phone. Managers get their data. The system becomes powerful.
It has been hard to connect office software to office phones. Phone systems were designed by the phone company to connect phones and phone lines, not to business applications. As both software and the phone system move to the cloud, the two are finally, easily, connecting once and for all.