VoIP and CRM: A Powerful Approach to Data Management

91% of mid-to-large-sized companies use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to house customer data. This impressive figure is likely due to CRM systems’ flexibility, which allows them to integrate with the majority of modern business tools and platforms. More remarkable, however, is how CRMs can integrate with VoIP telephony services.

In this article, we dive into why combining your VoIP system with a CRM platform can be a game-changer for your business.

If you’d like to learn more about VoIP technology, what it is and how it works - our article ‘What is VoIP?’ has everything you need to know.

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What is a CRM?

CRM tools allow businesses to store customer data. They are generally used to track and manage how you communicate with current and potential new customers. They act as a centralised location of customer data, allowing your workforce to access it during calls, team meetings, and collaborations.

So, what makes CRMs different from other databases? Well, in addition to storing your customer data, they also allow you to analyse it, giving you insight and trends around which to base your communication and services in the future. 

Popular models include Salesforce, which currently ranks as the 61st largest company in the world. Like many of its competitors, it stores, manages, and analyses data while also being able to automate certain tasks. Alongside being fast and powerful, it also offers many third-party add-ons and integrations, making it one of the most flexible and adaptable CRMs on the market.

Why Integrate Your VoIP Service With a CRM?

Combining your VoIP system with a CRM can work wonders for your business processes and customer relationship management. Let’s explore some of the ways this innovative pairing can help you do what is best for the people you serve.

Helping you be more accurate and consistent

Many VoIP systems can log calls and capture relevant data during those calls. Integrating your system with VoIP allows you to capture this information directly into your CRM, reducing the need for manual data entry and the risk of human error.

This also means that any changes or notes made during the customer calls can be instantly reflected in your CRM. You’ll then have access to consistent data across your workforce, helping to eliminate misunderstandings and inaccuracies.

Improving your customer insights

Want to understand your customers better or retain more than you lose? By combining VoIP and your CRM, you can log emails, calls, and meetings in one place, allowing you to monitor customer needs and behaviours more accurately.

By storing all communication data in your CRM, its advanced analytics features can help you break down areas like call duration and volume to identify how your customers feel about your service.

Supporting productivity and efficiency

Most CRMs are incredibly intuitive, allowing you to access features and save your time easily. This includes making calls within your CRM platform, reducing time switching between systems and improving productivity.

Your CRM systems can also be set up to trigger automated follow-up actions based on call outcomes. This protects your reputation, with less chance of not following up on a call, or forgetting it all together. These same triggers can be set up to automate everyday manual tasks, allowing your workforce to be more productive and prioritise important tasks.

Making sure you’re compliant and secure

VoIP’s call logging features allow you to maintain up-to-date records, supporting you in complying with various regulations. This includes GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which upholds laws around how you use, process, and store your customer’s data. By pairing your VoIP system with up-to-date and accurate data on your CRM, you can reduce non-compliance due to inaccurate or incomplete customer records.

CRM systems and their VoIP counterparts are also security-friendly. They can incorporate measures like encryption, which only allows users with an encryption key to access protected data. It’s a protocol that works to protect sensitive customer information and ensure the integrity of your data.

Personalising your customer experience

Whether it’s better quality customer calls or giving your workforce easier access to customer data, prioritising your customer journey is essential. Let’s look at how combining your CRM with VoIP can boost your customer experience.

Getting to know your customers

Not having the relevant data available when speaking to customers can put unnecessary pressure on your staff and lead to confusion or misunderstanding. VoIP and CRM integration allows you to build customer profiles, including interaction history, preferences, and previous issues. 

Features that facilitate this

VoIP features like click-to-call allow your agent to call customers from within their profile on your CRM system. It enables your call agents to start customer calls with a complete understanding of the customer’s interactions. 

Alongside other features like automated call logging and real-time data access, it allows rapid problem resolution and personalised follow-ups - showing customers that you’re attentive to their needs. 

Your VoIP system can also trigger an on-screen popup inside your CRM displaying the caller’s details and history. If you’re looking to gain insight into how calls went, you can set up your VoIP system to trigger post-call surveys. These surveys can be integrated with your CRM, allowing you to gather and analyse customer feedback related to their interactions with your customer service team.

Unified Communications

Uniting features in this way is often considered Unified Communication; a type of VoIP system that combines all your communication tools into one platform, including phone calls, video calls, messaging, and email, all accessible through a single interface.

Our article ‘What is Unified Communication?’ is a great place to start learning about unified communication platforms like T2K's 3CX system.

Together, these features enable you to have smoother, more personalised conversations - building trust with your customer base. 

Not leaving your customers waiting

Some VoIP systems have or can integrate with helpdesk software, which allows you to create and manage support tickets. This means that if your customers need to report an issue or contact you, it can be tracked, stored and resolved promptly via your CRM. 

As we mentioned earlier, you can log these issues against your customer records for future reference. This allows you to be mindful of the problems certain customers have faced and tailor your service to them.

Potential Challenges of Integrating Your VoIP with a CRM

It’s important to take a balanced approach when integrating any platform with your CRM. While there are many upsides, there are also a handful of challenges to consider. Let’s explore them while also looking at potential solutions.

Compatibility Issues

If you’re unfamiliar with the technical side of system compatibility, finding the right match between CRM and VoIP may be a little intimidating. This can be amplified in some instances where you may have to deal with different suppliers and system types.

What’s the solution?

It’s worth investing in systems that offer robust and wide-ranging APIs. APIs are like bridges that allow different software applications to talk to each other. If you can find CRM and VoIP solutions with APIs that can integrate with a range of popular platforms and tools, there’s far less chance of experiencing compatibility roadblocks.

Ineffective Training

Most of us have likely struggled with new processes or systems at some point. The unfamiliar can feel overwhelming and intimidating. This is often the case with business employees who struggle to adapt to new systems, leading to a drop in productivity and an increase in mistakes.

What’s the solution?

Make sure that the training you provide matches the learning curve of the system you’re using. CRM systems have a lot to offer, so it may be worth breaking the training down over a longer period. 

This makes it manageable while also allowing your employees to let what they’ve learned sink in. You may also want to look at who is delivering the training and how they do it; with hands-on practice often being the best way to learn new skills.

Cost of Integration

With 25% of business software budgets going towards managing license complexity, investing in new technologies can be expensive. In addition to initial equipment and software costs, there are often additional costs for software licenses and integration services. For some businesses, this may be too hefty to afford at once.

What’s the solution?

If your business is finding it hard to budget for integration upfront, it might be worth putting together a plan. Plot out your integration in phases, making sure to include any hidden costs and being mindful of any potential disruptions it could cause.

Another cost-saving option might be to consider cloud-based VoIP solutions. These options are often cheaper and less time-consuming to use because your VOIP provider takes care of security and any technical problems.

To learn more about cloud-based VoIP, read our article, ‘Which cloud phone system is right for your business?’

Scalability Issues

Picture it. You’ve bought what you thought was the ideal VoIP or CRM system, only to find out that it doesn’t work with any of the tools or platforms you currently use. You then have to spend time researching what it is compatible with and investing in new tools. Not ideal or financially beneficial.

What’s the solution?

Research is key here. Many VoIP systems, like T2K’s Gamma Horizon, are flexible, allowing integration with almost all of today’s most popular business tools. However, some systems offer limited integration scope, leaving you to rely almost entirely on your VoIP system for every aspect of your operation.

When you’re shopping for your system, think ahead. What will you use it for? What are the tools you’ll need to be successful? Can your VoIP system accommodate them? Once you’ve done so and are happy, you’ll be able to invest in a system that can grow alongside your business. 

Data Integrity and Quality

In scenarios where using a CRM is new to your business, it’s a good idea to be mindful of how data transfer affects your operations. For example, suppose you’ve used an internal CRM or another database and are merging this with a new standalone CRM. In that case, there is a risk of data integrity issues, like duplicates, inconsistencies, and outdated information.

If data is not up to date, these issues can strain your system capacity, cause regulatory problems and lead to misunderstandings when speaking with customers. 

What’s the solution?

Certain CRM systems, like Salesforce and Hubspot, have data cleaning and deduplication tools that you can use before integration. These tools allow you to merge your databases without duplicating or losing essential data. If your CRM system doesn’t have this, there is external software and other tools available that can perform the same role.

It’s also important to have ongoing quality management practices in place. By creating a system for regularly auditing your data, you can increase its integrity and accuracy, especially after merging databases.

System Downtime and Disruptions

As we’ve already covered, integrating systems can sometimes lead to downtime and disruptions to your daily operations. This interruption in communication with your customers can be costly, both financially and reputationally.

What’s the solution?

We mentioned earlier that you should put together a plan to spread out integration costs. If costs aren’t the issue, you may want to consider integrating your VoIP and CRM systems during off-peak hours to minimise disruption. If you do choose to do this, it’s worth informing customers beforehand of any potential changes to service.

Is it a Good Idea to Combine my VoIP system with a CRM?

If your business is struggling to manage customer data or simply looking to bridge the gap between said data and your phone system, the answer is an assured yes.

Bringing these two powerful systems together allows you to capture call data directly into your CRM, reducing manual data entry and errors while enjoying consistent customer interaction. 

It’s also fantastic for gathering customer insights, helping you understand and respond to customer needs in a timely manner.

You can also tighten your internal processes with features like automated call logging, real-time data access, and personalised follow-ups, which save time and lead to improved productivity. And let’s not forget how easy the pairing makes maintaining up-to-date records for compliance with regulations. 

In short, combining your VoIP and CRM systems just works. You’ll be able to provide your customers with next-level service while also storing, organising, and having instant access to your data when you need it the most.

If you’d like to find out more about integrating your VoIP system with your CRM, reach out to T2K today.

Lee Clarke
Sales Director

Having worked for T2k for nearly 25 years, it's fair to say that Lee is an expert when it comes to all things telephony and business communications. Overseeing the commercial side of the business, he has helped the company evolve and grow through the decades. In recent years, and with the advent of VoIP and hosted telephony, Lee has made sure that T2k is at the forefront of technological developments. With a firm interest in helping businesses navigate the world of telecoms, Lee is responsible for the majority of the content on this website.

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