A man in a call center sits at a table in front of a sleek silver computer monitor and keyboard and talks into a headset microphone. The man wears a tan sweater over a checkered collared shirt. He uses his right hand to hold the microphone in place as he talks into it with a smile. In the background, out of focus, a woman wearing a similar headset sits at a similar computer monitor.
If their software is integrated with your company's CRM, a call center agent will be able to record notes about customers and interactions for you to reference later. — Getty Images/Charday Penn

Businesses support clients with call center software and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. When used separately, communication silos occur that negatively impact customers. Conversely, integrated services enable excellent experiences by allowing employees to view comprehensive customer histories.

Leaders should understand how the tools perform separately and together to see how the functions and outcomes differ. Explore ways to sync your call center and CRM software and learn how three CRM vendors handle communication connections.

CRM vs. call center software

CRM platforms record all customer interactions. In many businesses, the CRM is a single source of truth for everything customer-related. Indeed, it’s a staple technology platform used by sales, customer service, and marketing teams.

Call center services can be handled in-house or outsourced. Sales and customer support teams use it. Call center software typically relies on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, also the standard for business phone systems. However, call center software generally provides more advanced features than office setups, like advanced call routing, call queues, and supervisor dashboards.

While CRMs and call center tools serve customers, the former manages records, and the latter facilitates communication. Where CRMs track retention and conversion rates, call center software monitors average wait times and first-call resolution rates.

The two tools are different, yet both help businesses support customers. Moreover, CRMs and call center tools can boost productivity. Still, companies realize the most benefits by integrating their systems.

[Read more: 12 Most Common CRM Questions]

Benefits of integrating call centers and CRMs

With an integrated system, your call center agent can leave notes on a contact record about a customer’s recent call, tag them for follow-up, or add them to a client segment. Seconds later, a marketing or sales representative can use this data to deliver the appropriate message at the right time.

But a CRM is only as effective as the data put into it. To get the most out of your CRM, consider connecting it to your customer support channels, including call center systems, live chat software, email services, and help desk tools. Likewise, anyone making or receiving calls benefits from having accurate, real-time data on their screen without unnecessary clicks or app switching.

As a result of integrating call center software with your CRM, you can:

  • Improve employee experiences: Giving staff the tools to do their jobs well is crucial to employee retention. Integrated systems allow employees to spend more time on core tasks, whether making sales or answering support calls.
  • Increase productivity: Integrations reduce app switching and automate repetitive tasks and workflows. Sales and customer service representatives can often view all customer data from a single tool, before answering the call.
  • Retain more customers: Combine call center and CRM tools to ensure seamless handoffs when escalating issues. Integrated technologies can display real-time data, leading to less miscommunication, which is a huge customer turnoff.
  • Boost sales: Sales and marketing teams can use CRM and call center interaction data to understand customers better. The analytics and insights can inform product recommendations, upsell opportunities, and messaging.
  • Personalize customer experiences: Call center software users have on-screen access to detailed client records, including their current situation and call history. Agents can personalize their greetings and approach based on notes, demographics, and more.

To get the most out of your CRM, consider connecting it to your customer support channels, including call center systems, live chat software, email services, and help desk tools.

Features of CRM and call center system integrations

When choosing a CRM or considering phone system options, consider current and future use cases. For optimal integrations, look for ways that workflow automation and call management tools can streamline call center experiences. Many vendors document how integrations work and what features you can access in the CRM vs. call center software.

Actual features and functionality depend on your platforms. However, many integrated systems include the following:

  • Click-to-call: Contact customers within your CRM with one click.
  • Screen pop: View client history before answering the line.
  • Call capture: Automatically log calls on customer records.
  • Recordings or transcripts: Attach audio conversations or transcripts to contact histories.
  • Calendaring: View schedules for internal meetings and appointment bookings.

[Read more: How to Predict and Meet Modern Customer Expectations]

Syncing call center software and your CRM

Compatible tools sync data and allow users to perform similar tasks in both systems. Out-of-the-box integrations are pre-built connections. Many vendors display these options on app marketplace pages or within administrative dashboards. Follow the integration instructions to connect your CRM to your call center software.

Alternatively, you can use a CRM computer telephony integration (CTI). It uses application programming interfaces (APIs) and VoIP technologies. Businesses can integrate the CRM into the call center software, so agents work within the system. Or you can configure the CRM to manage calls without leaving the CRM platform.

Both models are effective and offer similar features. But you may select one option or another due to software limitations, security standards, or to better fit existing workflows.

Salesforce call center integrations

With Salesforce call center integration, businesses choose apps from the Salesforce AppExchange or use the built-in integration with Amazon Connect. It provides a unified customer view across digital channels, including phone, SMS, Facebook Messenger, and your website. Artificial intelligence (AI) tools analyze conversations and produce summaries based on caller sentiment and intent.

Monday.com call center integrations

Monday.com has a built-in integration with Aircall. Alternatively, you can use Zapier or Integromat to pull call records into Monday.com. The Aircall connection supports custom automations. You can assign new tickets or send follow-ups. Whether teams work on campaigns, help tickets, or deals, Aircall and Monday.com allow staff to tag calls, and administrators can view associated conversations.

[Read more: Customer Service Strategies That Boost Sales]

HubSpot call center integrations

Connect with a third-party calling provider on HubSpot’s App Marketplace or use the calling extension software development kit (SDK) to link to your own calling app. While on a call, you can perform several actions without leaving HubSpot, such as taking notes, putting the customer on hold, or transferring the call. After the call ends, users save the information to the record’s timeline.

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