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CTI Connector vs. Unified Agent Desktop: Choosing the Right Solution for Your Contact Center

CTI Connector vs. Unified Agent Desktop

Contact centers today have come a long way from when they started as a means for helping customers connect with a brand over issues or concerns they have been facing. Now, contact centers are a full-fledged growth catalyst for business across the globe. And a major reason for this expedited growth in contact center frameworks and operations is the advent of technology.

While the idea of a place with dedicated agents to receive calls and resolve customer issues could go back to the invention of the telephone, the first real contact center came to exist in the 1960s. And since then contact centers have evolved to become an essential part of any well-rounded business.

The reason we are telling you all this is because we want to draw your attention to what lies at the center of contact center developments, i.e, technology. Technology nowadays has made a lot of things easier and simpler that a decade or two prior couldn’t even imagine.

And the factor that underpins this growth is the need for seamless and efficient communication.

Initially, contact centers served their purpose of connecting and helping out customers with their purchase. However, as customer service evolved the need for communication between customers and brands only intensified, bringing a boom in the rise of contact center technology.

The Importance of Efficient Communication

The importance of efficient communication can’t be stressed enough, especially in the context of a contact center. It goes without saying that when a customer connects with you, they want a quick and dedicated service and want their issues to be resolved as soon as possible.

Effective communication is the lifeblood of any successful organization, serving as the linchpin that binds teams, fosters understanding, and nurtures customer relationships. In this intricate act of information exchange, contact centers emerge as crucial facilitators. They play a pivotal role in ensuring that messages are sent and received seamlessly between customers and businesses.

A well-oiled contact center not only acts as a conduit for inquiries and problem resolutions but also serves as a beacon of efficiency. By harnessing the power of advanced technologies and skilled professionals, these centers streamline communication processes, minimizing delays and maximizing clarity.

In the contemporary landscape where the speed of information is paramount, a contact center stands as the guardian of swift and effective communication, embodying the heartbeat of a thriving enterprise.

And the ease and simplicity with which a contact center as a whole helps customers is directly proportional to the number of technologies that have been employed.

Two of the most popular and used technologies among these are CTI connector and Unified Agent Desktop.

Let’s get into more details about these two:

Understanding CTI Connector

A CTI connector is a piece of technology that brings your contact center telephony system to your CRM/EHR/ITMS or any other customer service platform’s interface. This integration helps you cut down on time and manual effort that your agents employ to make contextual calls.

CTI connectors, since their dawn, have significantly impacted contact center performance across the board. In order to understand their significance, one only needs to imagine a typical contact center without a CTI integration in place.

Here’s what it looks like: Your agents receive calls and ask your customers to hold while they toggle through windows to figure out who’s calling and what issues they are facing. In most cases, your agents ask the customers directly about their names and the predicament they are facing.

If the customer has had an interaction with your customer service earlier, chances are they have already told everything that needs to be told. Now, when they are asked to repeat the same thing over and over again, their frustration only intensifies. Not to mention, having to wait on hold is not helping with their frustration either.

On the agent’s side, the lack of a CTI connector has rendered your agents clueless. They don’t know who’s calling or why they are calling. The best they can do is ask around and jump through screens in hopes to secure the right information.

If you haven’t noticed yet, this is how a sorry state of customer service looks like. The result is uninformed agents, increased average handling time, and frustrated or unsatisfied customers.

💡 Read More | CTI Integrations for CRMs: Taking Customer Interactions to New Level

How would a CTI connector improve this situation? With a CTI connector in place, your agents get instant access to all the relevant information right on their CRM screen as soon as they make or receive a call. This convenient access to all the relevant information is brought to you by ScreenPop, an inherent feature of a CTI connector responsible for ‘popping’ relevant information to drive contextual conversations.

Your agents will also be able to make and receive calls directly from the CRM screen with the Click to Dial feature.

So, all in all, a CTI connector reduces manual labor and brings convenience to the agent experience in order to help elevate the customer experience.

Key Features and Functionalities of a CTI Connector

Key Features and Functionalities of a CTI Connector

ScreenPop

Ever wished your agents could seamlessly access customer information without juggling multiple screens? Enter ScreenPop, the superhero of CTI connectors! Imagine a world where relevant customer details from your HubSpot CRM magically appear the moment an agent makes or receives a call. No more toggling between windows – just smooth, efficient interactions.

Click to Dial

But that’s not all! Say goodbye to the tedious task of manual dialing with the Click to Dial feature. Picture this: a list of 100 leads, and instead of hours spent dialing each number, your agents effortlessly execute calls using automation. More time for quality conversations, less hassle with mundane tasks.

Call Logging

Call Logging takes the stage as another star feature. Automatic recording of all inbound and outbound calls means no more frantic note-taking. Your agents can focus on what matters – engaging conversations – while the CTI connector effortlessly keeps track of call history.

Supervisor Access

Supervisor Capabilities add a touch of control and guidance. Imagine silently listening in on calls, intervening when needed, and discreetly guiding agents for effective communication. With these capabilities, you become the maestro orchestrating a symphony of successful calls.

Productivity Add-ons

But wait, there’s more! Elevate your team’s productivity with nifty add-ons. Access a knowledge base, create tickets, personalize agent dashboards – the possibilities are endless. Tailor your CTI connector with productivity-enhancing features that align with your unique needs and industry requirements.

💡 Read More | Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) Integrations You Should be Thankful for

Understanding Unified Agent Desktop

Acting on the similar principle of refining agent experience to ultimately improve customer satisfaction, a Unified Agent Desktop is another must-have tool in a contact center.

A unified agent desktop, as the name suggests, is a consolidated platform customized and integrated to suit the particular needs of each agent. It incorporates all communication channels, applications, data sources, data analysis tools, and more in a single, unified screen.

Here’s another example to better understand a unified agent desktop:

Think of a customer care representative in a contact center. Let’s name him David (for he is required to slay the goliath of customer service). David is like many of his colleagues. He gets a certain number of tasks assigned to him every day. Moreover, he also has to take care of his monthly KRAs and of course help out as many customers as he could throughout the day.

Now, all of this is easier said than done. As an agent, one has to take care of the minute details in order to achieve bigger goals. For instance, in order to handle a single call to his satisfaction, David has to go through multiple applications while entertaining the customer so he could have full context of the customer’s current situation. And it often goes beyond CRMs. Many times other applications such as ticket management platforms and reporting tools are also at play to facilitate a smooth and satisfactory call.

With such complicated requirements, David is required to be focused, attentive, and empathetic while maintaining candor and a confident demeanor.

And this can only be attained when David has help. By help, we mean a consolidated platform that has an answer to all the questions David has or might have.

💡 Read More | Unified Agent Desktop : All You Need to Know

Key Features and Functionalities of a Unified Agent Desktop

Key Features and Functionalities of a Unified Agent Desktop

Customization

Setting up your Unified Agent Desktop should be as effortless as using it, and the key is customizability. Picture this: an interface that dances to your tune, easily tailored to meet industry standards and your unique needs. Spice it up with your company logo, fonts, and colors to make it a true reflection of your brand identity.

But that’s just the beginning! Your Unified Agent Desktop is like a chameleon, adapting to specific industry needs. Need seamless integration with medical record systems in healthcare? No problem! Templates, workflows, and industry-specific services are at your fingertips.

Unified Agent Desktop

Ready for Contact Centers

Contact center readiness becomes a breeze – easy installation, simple setup, and compatibility with third-party apps ensure you hit the ground running. Say goodbye to installation headaches and hello to a ready-to-roll Unified Agent Desktop.

Omnichannel Support

In the era of customer-centricity, omnichannel support is non-negotiable. Your Unified Agent Desktop becomes the superhero, bringing all customer interactions from various platforms to a single, sleek screen. No more chasing customer queries across channels – resolve them faster and build stronger connections.

Customer Data Consolidation

Ever wished for a crystal ball to see your customer’s history and preferences? Your Unified Agent Desktop is the next best thing. Linked to your CRM, it delivers a complete customer profile, interaction history, and contextual information, empowering agents for personalized and convincing interactions.

💡 Also Read | 6 Hidden Features of Unified Agent Desktop for Contact Centers

Routing and Prioritization

Routing challenges? Not with omnichannel routing and prioritization. Messages, calls, emails – they all find their way to the right agent based on skills and rules. It’s like having a traffic cop for your customer interactions.

Knowledge Base

Even the best agents need a knowledge boost. Enter the knowledge base – a treasure trove of information at their fingertips. Integrated into your Unified Agent Desktop, it turns your agents into knowledge wizards, armed with answers to conquer any query.

Workflow Automation

Workflow automation and task management bring a touch of magic. No more tedious manual tasks – streamline processes, save time, and boost agent productivity. Your Unified Agent Desktop orchestrates a symphony of efficiency.

💡 Download Usecase | Agent Workflow Automation for Enhanced Support Operations

Real-time Reporting

But wait, there’s more! Real-time reporting and analytics add a dash of insight. Watch your contact center’s performance unfold in real-time, armed with data to make strategic decisions and elevate long-term success.

Head to Head Comparison

Now that we’ve gotten into the details of each of these pieces of technology, let’s do a head to head comparison to ascertain the similarities and differences.

1. User Experience

When it comes to user experience both CTI connectors and Agent Desktop are simple, straightforward and easy to use. A CTI connector doesn’t offer much in terms of a user interface and that’s only for the good.

When you connect your telephony system with your CRM with a CTI connector, you get a small dialer right in your CRM interface, which is where you could make or receive calls and access other information. The rest of the CTI connector functionality is enabled in the CRM interface itself. For instance the ScreenPop feature is also made available on the CRM itself, where in, as soon as you make or receive a call, the CRM screen displays relevant customer information.

A Unified Agent Desktop, on the other hand, has user experience as an essential factor at its core. Since Unified Agent Desktops are designed to simplify the tasks of an agent, they are built to be easy to learn and operate.

Unified Agent Desktops are integrated within the contact center framework to seamlessly connect and streamline agent’s day to day operations. They can also be customized as per the unique needs of each agent and are therefore extremely adaptable to the user experience.

2. Flexibility and Customization

In terms of flexibility and customization, there is not much you can do with a CTI connector. However, that’s only for the good. A CTI connector is essentially a smaller integration that happens to solve much larger issues. Therefore, it is limited in its customization and flexibility.

A Unified Agent Desktop is built with the idea of scalability and development. As agents grow and upscale so should the tools they have been using. And with a Unified Agent Desktop, this is entirely possible. Unified Agent Desktops can be molded and scaled as per the needs of the
Agent.

3. Cost

When it comes to the cost, we have to consider both the cost of implementation and the price of maintaining the tool over the years of use. Surprisingly, both CTI connector and Agent Desktop fall pretty much in the same bracket when it comes to the overall costing.

Implementing a CTI connector with your current CRM is about as costly as it is to bring in an Agent Desktop within an ACD’s wireframe. Both CTI connector and Agent Desktop can be boiled down to similar costing, given the stock version of both.

It goes without saying that if you are looking to integrate third-party applications with your CTI connector or agent desktop, it will cost you extra.

Moreover, the maintenance cost of both the tools has little to no difference.

So, all in all, both CTI connector and Unified Agent Desktop will cost you about the same amount.

Learning Curve

Both CTI connector and Unified Agent Desktop are designed to be extremely easy and straightforward to use. Nevertheless, a certain amount of contact center and customer service exposure is essential to be able to make the most out of these tools.

There is not much of a learning curve with CTI integration. You integrate the CTI connector with your CRM and you get a small dialer right inside your CRM screen. Using this dialer, you can make and receive calls to your customers.

Some advanced CTI connectors also offer third-party integrations such as Case Management, and Knowledge Base. Any additional integration will be present in the dialer itself. CTI connector can be summed up entirely into the dialer itself.

An Agent Desktop, on the other hand, integrates into your ACD’s wireframe and can be a challenge to use if one has no prior knowledge of agent-oriented tools. Nevertheless, an Agent Desktop will roughly take you a week or two to master. After that, it should be a smoother sail.

Use Cases

At NovelVox, we have modified and deployed both CTI connectors and Unified Agent Desktops for a number of high-end and low-end clients across the globe. Let’s take a look at one such example for each of these tools and how we were able to tackle the underlying CX issues with the application.

💡 Download Whitepaper | Exploring Possibilities with CTI Connector Integrations

Smart CTI Connector: Ingram Micro

The Client: Ingram Micro is an America-based information and technology distribution firm that aims to maximize the value of technology companies across the globe make, sell, or use.

The Problem: As a firm with international presence, Ingram had to deal with a lot of customer data that came in through incoming and outgoing calls/messages on a daily basis. Due to disparate systems, the company had found it difficult to manage and move all the information without a margin of error.

The solution? CTI Connector.

The Impact: NovelVox’s Smart connectors helped bring disparate systems together to leverage operational synergies. With a consolidated view of entire information, Ingram Micro was able to streamline business processes and improve workflows. Not to mention, the single integrated environment helped save time that would otherwise be consumed in training in multiple systems and positively impacted agent productivity.

Unified Agent Desktop: Bank AlJazira

The Client: Bank Aljazira (BAJ) is recognized as one of the leading financial institutions in Saudi Arabia, client-driven and service-oriented Saudi Financial Group.

The Problem: Bank AlJazira was facing challenges with its growing customer expectations and the disoriented, unorganized data management systems only added to the predicament. The bank had separate systems for manually addressing customer queries, backend validation, and database management, which was a time consuming and error-prone process

The Solution? Unified Agent Desktop

The Impact: We implemented the Agent Accelerator to allow quick and easy access to relevant contact center data, in turn, improving response time and agent productivity.

With the implementation of Agent Accelerator, agents don’t need to jump through different applications (including core financial apps, CRMs, telephony systems, etc) as all the relevant information is unified and integrated into a single screen now.

Future Trends (The use of AI)

It goes without saying that in the coming years AI will be playing a vital role in the development of customer service. And the CTI connector and Unified Agent Desktop are no exception. We have seen many AI-related developments in recent years in both these customer service tools.

For instance, customer assist is an AI-assisted technology integrated in both CTI connectors and Unified Agent Desktops that helps simplify an agent’s task by interpreting what the customer is talking about and bringing relevant helpful information to the agent while they are on the call.

Conclusion

There you have it, a head to head comparison between a CTI connector and an Agent Desktop. Now, bear in mind that these two tools might appear similar at some instances but are very different from each other. The function they serve is different and so is how they are employed to make customer service simple and easy.

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