The Overlap of CRM and Call Center Software

by Jackson Weber

As technologies continue to develop in the areas of communications and customer support, different types of software and hardware systems have begun to overlap due to integration. Previously independent of each other, the roles of customer relationship management (CRM) and call center software have definitely begun to overlap. In general, CRM software is used to help manage relationships with both current and future customers. The inner workings of the system can vary, but CRM can automate and examine specific details such a sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support. This certainly helps operations function without there being an overwhelming amount of moving pieces to pay attention to. Call center software is often used to provide tools for collaboration between center employees, information about customer details, and queues for open cases and tasks. Obviously related, these two important technologies are becoming integrated more due developments. Integration is the Future Over the next five years and possibly sooner, CRM and call center software will continue to become even more integrated with each other. This is largely due to the fact that both now depend on each other to be success and are related to the overall customer service experience. Because of this relationship between CRM and call center software, the companies Oracle and Salesforce have the potential to become leaders in this industry between the next five to ten years. Salesforce Leads CRM-Call Center Integration The recent products of Salesforce's AppExchange, Voice Advantage and Outband Advantage, are managed applications that can be used to optimize customer service through an integration of CRM and call center software. Managed applications can be used by partners of Salesforce to distribute apps and services to customers. Unmanaged apps are used to distribute open source products and the basic building blocks of an application project to developers. The managed applications such as Voice Advantage and Outband Advantage can now be used to offer cloud contact center resolution centers. Through cloud computing, collaboration and customer support can all be managed from a single, universal location that is accessible to everyone with the proper credentials. Other cloud services on the AppExchange include Five9, inContact, New Voice Media, and Corvisa Cloud. In a particular case, a salesperson may be working with a customer that is using CRM such as Salesforce's ServiceCloud that functions with a call center solution using CTI. In its current state, this system does not work at its full potential because CRM and call center software have not been fully integrated with each other. An upgraded license can be used to remedy the problems with the current system and improve efficiency. With the upgraded system, features such as live web chat, social customer support, and an integrated knowledge base can all be utilized. Aging voice technologies can also be released by cloud-based applications that are available. Integrated Services Are Beating Traditional Ones When placed to head to head with the traditional telephony services that have been used for customer support and in call centers for years, the integrated services that utilize both CRM and call center software are winning. The overlap in these two areas has definitely improved efficiency and contributed to their successes. Since CRM can provide the non-voice features such as SMS, social support, email, and webchat, the combination with cloud-based call center software can help shrink the communications gap between the two aspects of customer service. There are many contact center vendors that claim that some of their services are better than the integrated versions offered by companies like Oracle and Salesforce. These dedicated services accurately suggest that they can provide more powerful routing engines, but they also suggest the less accurate statement that their voice and non-voice services are better. Since Salesforce has actual stats provided by New Voice Media to back up claims that integrated systems can perform at a higher standard, the claims made by contact center vendors are still up in the air. Regardless of these cloud contact center vendors' claims, these same companies consistently purchase unmanaged and managed apps from Salesforce. In the long term, these smaller vendors will likely contribute to the growth of Salesworth and Oracle over the next ten years. The overlap of CRM and call center software for customer service is definitely ongoing and will continue due to the benefits of a more integrated and efficient system.

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