Hint: There’s a Cloud-Based Phone System You Already Have (and Don’t Know About)
What phone provider should I pick? What phone system has the best reviews? What’s MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) and UCaaS (Unified Communication as a Service)? After a quick Google search, you feel like diving into the world of telephone systems is having to learn Greek! Good news, because I’m here to point out an angle that will save you time and money, meet every “must-have” and position your business for both now and the future. We do this by taking a look at a system that’s most likely already in place within your business.
What system is this? It’s Salesforce, a top performer in the CRM category and used by many sales groups worldwide to track, maintain and grow their customer relationships. The Salesforce platform has been around since 1999 and has grown and added different components (called clouds) each year. With these additions, Salesforce not only provides a platform for sales and other teams, but now for customer service, help desk and field service groups as well. And because all of your teams would be working in one system, just with different options and functions, all the information about your customers and company is visible to everyone, empowering the best decisions across the board.
All of that sounds great, but what about my phone system? Maybe you just switched to a beautiful Avaya system, or maybe you have an old PBX in a phone closet, but either way, Salesforce and their partners have several different options so that you can keep your phone number, all while increasing functionality and moving to a newer and easier cloud-based phone system.
We’ll begin with some basic tech specs around the Salesforce platform. This is not something you install on one computer and have to be at that computer to use; it’s entirely cloud-based, so all you need is the Internet to use it. It’s built on one of the most secure and trusted platforms in the world (so no worries on hackers) and there are tons of resources dedicated to constantly improving and adding to the platform. With three releases a year, you have the latest and greatest without having to buy upgrades or change systems.
Another item to note is that there are multiple ways to plug phone functionality into Salesforce. The first is the DIY approach, which can range from building custom code to using a pre-built integrator from your telephony provider. This could mean that your phone provider has their own integrator, uses a third-party app or they know how to use Salesforce’s Open CTI (which stands for Computer Telephony Integration) type connection. The second option is a new product from Salesforce, Service Cloud Voice. This is a native voice component, powered by Amazon Connect, the call center platform created by and for Amazon, using AWS infrastructure. Service Cloud Voice is the new kid on the block, launching July 21st, 2020, with a roadmap that includes other types of possible voice connection options. Let’s dive in!
Salesforce + your phone provider + their chosen method of connecting voice to Salesforce
Of the methods mentioned above that your phone provider can use to connect to Salesforce, I’m going to discuss the most generally accepted open-source model. This is using Salesforce’s Open CTI adapter to connect and enable Salesforce to work with your desktop softphone (aka using your computer as a phone). This code sits on a server in the cloud and provides a bridge between your phone and Salesforce, allowing you to make calls from right within your Salesforce instance. You can take this a step further and use a softphone that’s already part of your telephone system or one that is compatible with your current phone system. With an Open CTI option, all voice set up, billing and support is typically done by your phone or Open CTI provider.
Pros: Open source, so build to connect to almost any system and leverage existing telephony provider
Cons: Most cases won’t be able to include native functions. For example, you may not be able to attach a call recording to a contact without a manual work around or building out some further automation.
Salesforce + Service Cloud Voice (powered by Amazon Connect)
Service Cloud Voice (find the org. pre-requisites and set up steps here) is the new add-on product for pre-built, out-of-the-box telephony within Salesforce. It is the first product ever to provide voice services and call center phone system features natively inside Service Cloud, appearing on the agent console (no separate system or stand alone screen pop), but also to offer live voice transcription using Einstein (Salesforce’s AI platform and tools), for guiding agent actions and providing unprecedented detail in reporting and analytics. One exciting note about this real-time voice transcription, is that managers can monitor and support multiple calls as they happen – reading the text rather than listening live. This is a huge help while working remotely in order to support the agents, especially as it relates to whisper features.
Pros: With the combined technology powerhouses of Salesforce and Amazon, this product seems to have everything to fuel the contact center of the future, and the real-time voice transcription connecting to Einstein is reminiscent of The Jetsons! It’s also worth noting that while the telephony is powered by Amazon Connect through the Service Cloud Voice product, the billing is handled by Salesforce. In other words, if you already have Salesforce, this feature would add on to the monthly bill, helping to streamline expenses.
Cons: It’s brand new, so as we move forward, we’ll be sure to keep you updated on anything we find!
There are far too many features of Service Cloud Voice to cover here, so check back often as we share more in-depth details. For all your burning questions, shoot us a note! Let me know in the comments below your preferred telephony provider and how they integrate with Salesforce; I’d love to see all the options out there! Happy dialing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As a project manager, Rachel has worked on the Salesforce platform, and also with other CCaaS and UCaaS solutions as well, and her love of all things telephony and voice ranges from old school PBXs and punchdown blocks, to the current cloud technology of today.