In today’s business world who does not have a mobile/cell phone? Whether it be a company-provided device or increasingly a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) user's own phone being used. Either way, this poses a challenge for businesses relying increasingly on data insights and technologies such as CRM to power their business success.
Of course, Salesforce itself is mobile friendly and you have Salesforce1 and other mobile applications. These, however, require manual keying (at least for today) and are used mostly, in my long experience as a Sales Leader, on the road as a tool to lookup data and information and rarely for logging all key new information (after all the small touch keyboard does not facilitate this). If a user is mobile making and receiving customer calls, they often are on the move, in a position where using the keypad to make notes (even if willing and intending to) is not practical or legal. The intention to do it later is also applauded, but often not delivered upon as our fast-paced world blurs this intention into ‘I forgot’.
Historically it has been hard enough to capture telephony activity data. Click to Dial we can all do, Wrap-up codes and taking notes into the backend system from the CRM is commonplace, although we argue some do it far better than others for the users. But these are based around web phones, softphones and desk phones which are easier to access and control from such technologies.
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Introducing the mobile phone brings new challenges; How do you log calls made from the mobile phone, record those calls and the harder, one capture inbound calls to that mobile phone. With an increasingly mobile workforce, how do you capture the activity levels of these employees? and how do you capture that data into the CRM to give insights and visibility of what is really going on?
As a Salesperson do you want to know all you can about your own business’s interactions with your client. If you are managing an important client relationship, do you want to know that this customer was speaking to finance yesterday for 45 mins before you go in for an on-site meeting today? surely so!
This is the easy part. For example, with Natterbox, even if your finance team is not on Salesforce, we can log the (non-mobile at this point) inbound or outbound conversation into Salesforce as a call made (60+ data points are captured automatically about the call with no user intervention or action, such as length of call, transfers, who called, who to, etc) with an optional call voice recording captured and logged into Salesforce against the customer record. Thus, by seeing this on the account or perhaps through having a customized alert in Salesforce on your accounts, you now know about that call having taken place and have the option to speak to your finance team before your client meeting to ask what the 45-minute call was about and hence go into the customer informed and avoiding any embarrassing surprise discussions!
So how do you achieve a similar level of logging and visibility when the calls are from or to your employee’s mobile phones? Well, first it is important to understand the challenge. On a desk or webphone, the inbound and outbound call is being routed through your company PBX (sort of your telecoms server), a traditional telephony approach to routing calls and thus allowing the capture of data on these calls in a consistent centralized approach. This gives the ability for this call data to be added to your Salesforce CRM records. (Do check however that this is what you are getting as more often the telephony provider whilst collecting this data, is NOT putting it in your CRM, but is storing it in their own separate proprietary database. This means a separate portal and reporting engine which makes it hard to correlate and report alongside ‘real; client data. Yes, you can try to merge the two data sets, but in our extensive experience this is cumbersome, error-prone and very rarely happens. (and by the time it does it is out of date – so much for big data!).
Back to the issue of mobile users on their cell phones. Capturing outbound calls your users make from their mobiles requires the user to utilize an app on their phone that directs the call traffic via the cloud telephony service, allowing that service to capture the call data, who made the call, who to and length of call, etc, automatically logging this data in the CRM (and if opted, to also record the call using the same record policies as for the office users). This is because if not, the native dialer on the phone will route the call via the cell provider's service and thus out of the control of any 3rd party telephony/PBX or Salesforce integration provider, it’s simply how the cellular networks architecture operates.
This can typically be achieved by using an easily downloadable softphone onto the mobile phone and entering some configuration settings provided by the provider (such as Natterbox). You then need to instruct the user to make business calls using the softphone and not the native phone dialler on their phone. Some businesses advise their users to make personal calls using the native phone so they are not logged or recorded and business calls via the softphone. Others have gone as far as mandating that the company will not pay the phone bill for native calls, as softphone calls are treated as data package usage and not native cell calls (going over the 3/4G data network or WIFI). As softphone calls when the user is on WIFI are routed across that network they save not only call costs but also on the cellular data charges. Thus, it is feasible to achieve a strong commercial saving on calls across your users if a lot of your users are connected to WIFI when making a portion of their calls.
Capturing Outbound call data and recordings is the easy part of the puzzle. The hard part is how do you capture the inbound. If a customer, for example, has the employees’ mobile number, perhaps from their business card or is calling them back, this goes directly over the cellular network and to that user’s mobile device, thus bypassing any 3rd party services and logging capabilities. Increasingly businesses want to capture and gain insights from having the most complete picture of data possible. There are a couple of options to achieving this within the limitations imposed by the cellular network technologies. The ideal method would be for the cellular operator to allow configuration of call routing or to capture this data as it transits their network and to allow (through API’s) for a customer to route this data as a service to their chosen data service / CRM or such system. Unfortunately, this is not something on offer or seen in the market and would also require the operator you use to provide this, meaning all cellular providers would need to take part or you would need to move your provider to the one that did! Natterbox achieved this with one major operator by embedding our own technology into the cell providers data center networks allowing call recording to take place, but this is an impractical approach on wholesale as it would require this to be achieved in as many cell providers as possible across the globe, and for the provider to externalize the ability to move that data outside of their network. No mean feat and one that no one has shown any signs of getting any traction towards.
So, this being the case, how do you implement a solution that best encompasses cellular/mobile phones alongside your landline provisioning, to ensure logging and recording of business calls into your CRM alongside CTI/desktop calls and other activities. Getting the true 360-degree view of client interactions has always been the CRM panacea, but yet who truly achieves it? Every time there is a manual requirement of the user to make the data entry or for a synching or export/import of data, the chance diminishes!
So, what are the panacea needs requested;
- you need a user to be able to make calls from their mobile and have the action of the call, time, length, etc captured and ideally, a recording of the call captured into the CRM with no user interaction
- You want an inbound call to the user to be captured and recorded in the same manner
- You ideally want the user’s personal calls to be excluded from this logging
And how might you achieve this;
1) To ensure outbound calls from mobiles are logged automatically (who called by who, call time, length of the call, etc) and where required voice recoded into the relevant CRM record containing that number than;
a. a softphone/calling App needs to be installed on the user’s mobile device which the user uses and thus directs the outbound calls made via the telephony providers system and onto the recipient customer.
b. The user needs to be mandated to make outbound business calls from and via this softphone and to NOT use the native phone dialer application on the device.
In this way, outbound mobile calls are data captured and recorded automatically.
2) For inbound calls to cellular devices;
a. Firstly purchase a new pseudo mobile number for each user (in some regions this can be another actual mobile number that is not SIM related, in some this may not be possible and you would use a normal number (non-cellular) to become the Pseudo mobile number for each user), this will become their new ‘public’ mobile number – This number is configured at the telephony provider (Natterbox) to direct the call onto the users ‘true’ mobile number. In this way, anyone calling the users mobile on the new number is automatically directed via the telephony provider and on to the user’s mobile device, thus allowing logging and recording of the call as above into the company system (Natterbox).
b. Publish this new number on business cards and email signatures. Consider asking users to not answer calls directly to their mobile number for an introductory period to encourage existing clients to call this new number. Perhaps put on their voicemail ‘please call this new mobile number XXXX for me now’. Even if you start to capture 80% of calls this way you are 80% better off than a nothing to/from mobiles is being captured.
c. A bi-product of this process is that if this customers number is in the CRM rules can be applied automatically such as;
i. When directing the call to the users mobile, before connecting the calling machine whisper the customer name; ‘this is customer ABC calling’, so they can answer more informed, even if that client’s number is NOT stored in their mobile phone!
ii. Automatically have rules set for example that when the person is on holiday it re-directs the inbound call to their sales admin, their PA, etc to help the customer advising the customer automatically, ‘<Name> is on Holiday this week, well direct your call to Paul in the office to assist”, instead of simply letting the call go to the mobile voicemail, where often they have forgotten to edit the message to say they are on holiday.
There are several additional benefits of this approach;
- It separates business and personal calls, meaning that you get a more distinct cellular breakdown of the % of associated costs
- It supports BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) well. Often today an employee either uses their own phone and number or is issued a company phone and ends up carrying around 2 mobile phones, meaning out of work it is easy to leave work behind, taking only the personal mobile! Another challenge of the BYOD approach is that if you put the users ‘own’ mobile number on their cards, when they leave customers may still be calling directly to your ex-employee, perhaps now at a competitor!
- With this new approach, you can allow an employee to use their own phone and mask that number with your business owned one, meaning if they leave calls still come to you and you can even easily re-direct all calls to another individual or group. Better still you can re-allocate that personal accounts and set a rule centrally to direct the calls to the relevant new account manager and electronically whisper to that person before the call is put through that this is one of (LEAVERS_NAME) accounts calling and being diverted to you!
- It also means that for the user claiming calls back from the company is simpler as they simply claim back data costs and mobile outbound calls from the native phone/number are treated as their personal calls.
As Salesforce is emphasizing themselves, it is time to bring voice into the Salesforce data stream, to capture as automatically as possible voice interaction data into the 360 view of your client, whilst minimizing the work of your staff to do so, be it sales or support staff or phone agents in a contact or call center.
Blog Resource: natterbox