Because contact centre staff spend their time interacting with customers, be it by phone, SMS, email social media or webchat, the contact centre is uniquely positioned to gain valuable insights into how customers feel about a company’s products or services. However, to take advantage of this unique position it is important that information about these interactions is made available across the business to power decision-making processes, spot trends and highlight service or product issues.
Most contact centres these days are probably capturing information from customer interactions using computer telephony integration software (CTI). What’s probably not so common is good integration between these CTI systems and the wider business enabling the free flow of data throughout an enterprise.
This is where the use of application program interfaces (APIs) come into play. An API is a set of software routines, protocols and interfaces for building data connections between software applications. Basically, an API specifies how software components should interact, the security protocols that must be met and the information that can pass between them. In general, APIs offer companies the opportunity to scale, foster innovation and reach a wider audience. As Forbes puts it, “How a business wins or loses is increasingly dependent on how well they connect to external party apps, devices and services.”
At Telnet, we manage the capture of customer interaction data using our in-house developed CRM called ContactSuite. We’re now using APIs to integrate ContactSuite with our clients’ systems, enabling them to benefit from the rich information gathered by us during customer interactions. Integration using APIs usually only requires minimal effort by our clients and opens up a range of benefits for them. For example, a new order received at the contact centre can be immediately updated using an API to the client’s order entry system to start the fulfilment process, or real-time reporting data delivered via API can be used to power business analytics with no need for any manual data exchange processes.
API data exchanges are much more secure than data file exchanges. A business can therefore ensure that their information security policies are met when outsourcing processes. APIs are also easy to enhance, meaning that new or changed data requirements can be catered for quickly, improving our clients’ speed to market. APIs easily allow data to be consumed or published by multiple, disparate devices and systems (websites, mobile devices, kiosks, CRM, ERP, BI, communications systems), providing a way to closely integrate an outsourced contact centre operation with in-house systems and processes, removing the traditional barriers that can arise when a business outsources its customer-facing processes.
To find out more about how Telnet’s APIs can help to power your business, please contact us here.
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