Integrating Live Answering Service with an Existing CRM Platform

Integrating Live Answering Service with an Existing CRM Platform

Table of Contents

A live answering service can prove invaluable to companies that do not have sufficient staff to manage the phones during and after business hours. And in some situations, integrating a live answering service with an existing CRM platform can improve customer service, boost sales, and more. The big question is how you go about integrating the two.

Let us discuss the two most popular means of integrating live answering services and CRMs. Note that both answering services and software developers have their own ways of doing things. How integration might be achieved in your situation would depend heavily on both your CRM platform and the company you choose to supply answering services.

Direct API Integration

There is something in the software world known as the application programming interface (API). An API is essentially a small piece of software that links multiple hardware or software components so that they can communicate properly.

Many live answering service providers offer direct API integration with the most popular CRM platforms. With direct API integration, you get more than just answering services that can connect to your CRM. You also get seamless data exchange across the entire CRM environment.

Note that direct API integration requires a bit of technical expertise. You might not be able to manage it without the help of your live answering service provider. You might also have to contact your CRM developer for assistance.

CRM Integration Tools

Certain CRM platforms offer third-party tools capable of connecting with live answering services. The tools are often presented as software addons or paid apps. The best among them offer features designed to improve workflow, add automation capabilities, and more.

The main benefit of CRM integration tools is user friendliness. More often than not, implementing such a tool requires little more than installing an add-on and then providing access to your live answering service. The biggest downside is that such tools do not offer the same level of integration as direct API access.

Important Integration Considerations

Regardless of a company’s integration preferences, there are some important considerations to account for when making the choice. The first is compatibility. Not all live answering services are compatible with every major CRM platform, and vice versa. Likewise, APIs offered by your preferred live answering service may be incompatible with your current CRM.

Compatibility issues might possibly be worked around, but workarounds often cause more problems than they solve. It is best to make sure both answering service and CRM are fully compatible before moving forward. Also consider:

  • Customization Potential – Many companies are swayed toward one CRM or another by the ability to customize according to their needs. A company that has already customized its CRM may require customized integration with a live answering service. Not being able to customize could force the company to change the way it currently operates.
  • Cost and Pricing Structure – Cost is an obvious consideration. But so is the pricing structure. Will integration be based on a one-time flat fee, or will there be a monthly subscription involved? How about upgrades?
  • Data Security – It is absolutely imperative that a company fully understand all the security measures employed on both sides before integrating. Both the live answering service and CRM platform should be utilizing the latest and best security practices to protect data against hackers.

Integrating a live answering service with an existing CRM is not only possible, but it also offers a ton of benefits. It’s just that integration isn’t necessarily easy. There are a lot of things to consider, from how integration will be achieved to how customer data will be protected.

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