Computer Telephony Integration refers to technology that enables computers and telephones to interact with one another. CTI is used extensively in contact centers to improve productivity and deliver a better customer experience.
CTI applications offer a wide range of capabilities, including:
- Screen Pops (display caller information on answering agent's computer screen)
- Automated Dialing (used for outbound telemarketing)
- Click-to-call (used in many applications and websites)
- Intelligent Call Routing (route call to the best destination based on time of day, phone number etc.)
- Caller Authentication (validate caller's details against a database)
- Voice Recognition (can be used for security purposes or to control menu selections)
- Interactive Voice Response (provide self-service features to callers)
- Conferencing (use computer to control voice or video conferences)
- Call Reporting (provide detailed statistics and analysis on inbound and outbound calls)
- Call Monitoring (display number of calls waiting in the queue and average wait time etc.)
In contact centers that handle large call volumes, CTI delivers increased efficiency and ensures that calls are answered quickly and appropriately. Intelligent skill-based call routing delivers the call to the agent best suited to handle the issue, meaning customer needs are met quickly and resources are used effectively.
CTI enables contact center agents to easily manage calls from their computers, and ensures that agents have all relevant customer information at their fingertips without having to dig through databases and business apps to find the caller's details. This eliminates one of the biggest customer headaches having to repeat personal information over and over again each time they call. With CTI, agents know exactly who's calling before they answer the phone, allowing them to greet the caller professionally by name.
Controls like answering and transferring calls, placing calls on hold or mute, recording calls and updating customer details can be carried out using the mouse and keyboard. If the agent is using a softphone, then a physical telephone handset is not required at all.
Call recording and monitoring applications give team leaders and managers valuable insight into how agents are performing and whether customers are satisfied with the experience. Managers can also use CTI to listen in on calls and offer real-time advice to agents.
Outside the contact center, CTI allows many telephony devices to integrate and communicate. Telephones, cellphones, fax machines, voicemail systems and email applications can all benefit from CTI. Features such as listening to an email message and responding with a voice message, or clicking a 'Live Chat' link on a website and being answered by an agent, would not be possible without computer telephony integration.
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