What is Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)?

Computer telephony integration (CTI) means linking a call center's telephone systems to their business applications, typically so that their business software can have more control over call management. With computer telephony integration (CTI), agents don't need a physical phone - they can perform all phone functions on their computer using on-screen controls for telephony functions such as answering and disconnecting calls, putting callers on hold, transferring calls, etc.

But computer telephony integration (CTI) does much more than adding phone controls to the agent interface. It also enables capabilities that are at the very core of running an effective and efficient call center, including:

- Call routing – computer telephony integration (CTI) facilitates data-directed call routing, performed by the automatic call distributor (ACD). Using data collected from an incoming call together with customer data from a company’s system of record such as a CRM, calls can be routed to the agent that is best skilled to fulfill the caller's needs.

- Interactive voice recognition (IVR) systems - without computer telephony integration (CTI), IVRs couldn't function.

- Enhanced reporting - CTI enhances the quality of reports by enabling phone data to be matched and included with data from business systems.

At the more micro level of agent and supervisor desktops, computer telephony integration (CTI) can improve the customer experience and make agents more efficient. Here are some examples of how:

- Screen pops - CTI enables integration of phone systems with customer relationship management (CRM) applications. This means that when an agent answers an inbound call, the system will match the caller's contact information such as phone number or email address with the customer database and automatically present a customer screen from the CRM application to the agent.

- Call monitoring – computer telephony integration (CTI) enables supervisors to monitor, i.e. listen in to live calls, so they can assist if necessary.

- Automatic record creation - that integration with CRM applications also means that call records can be automatically added to a customer's CRM record. That also includes links to call recordings.

Clearly, computer telephony integration (CTI) is vital to delivering an excellent customer experience, allowing agents to personalize contacts and providing quick access to customer history. It also improves efficiency by automating several agent tasks. Savvy call centers use CTI.

How NICE can help

NICE CXone is the market leading call center software in use by thousands of customers of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. Use of computer telephony integration (CTI) enables our solutions to help call centers maximize efficiency and improve service quality. CXone is a cloud native, unified suite of applications designed to help a company holistically run its call (or contact) center operations. CXone includes:

Omnichannel Routing – routing and interaction management that empowers agents to positively and productively interact with customers in digital and voice channels. These solutions include an automatic call distributor (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), interaction channel support and proactive outbound dialer.

Analytics – turns insights into results by making data relevant, easy to consume and actionable to drive measurable improvements and understand the omnichannel experience customers receive. These solutions include interaction analytics, customer surveys, reporting and performance management.

Automation & Artificial Intelligence (AI) – leading-edge, intuitive technology that eliminates mundane tasks and speeds resolutions of customer issues for better business outcomes. It provides self-service, agent-assisted and fully automated alerts and actions.

CXone also includes pre-defined CRM integrations and UCaaS integrations with most leading solutions on the market. These integrations provide a holistic call center software solution capable of elevating customer experiences for companies of all sizes.