By MAE KOWALKE
TMC net Associate Editor for Channels
Computer telephony integration is a somewhat fancy sounding term for any technology that ties together a telephone and a computer. Computer telephony integration is used to enhance many business tasks, especially those associated with customer service. With today’s digital technologies, computer telephony integration usually refers to the combination of all customer service channels (fax, Web, voice, e-mail, etc.) with a computer system.
The origins of computer telephony integration lie in “screen pop” technology. Before the more robust computer telephony integration known today, screen pops let users query telephony databases and enter data on a computer screen. This computer telephony integration function is often performed by accessing customer information associated with a Caller ID record.
Computer telephony integration has become much more powerful, but this “screen pop” functionality still helps customer service agents get quick access to client information in order to provide more targeted assistance.
Today’s computer telephony integration technology makes possible some pretty sophisticated functions. As described above, computer telephony integration can be used to automatically display caller information on a computer screen. Computer telephony integration can also be used in the call center to perform automatic dialing.
Even more complex tasks can be performed with computer telephony integration, too. A computer telephony integration system can coordinate phone and data transfers between two users, and to perform phone control tasks such as answer, hang up and hold, letting a user with a headset keep working without having to reach for the handset.
Computer telephony integration technology also can be set up to perform reporting function, call routing, automatic desktop activities. Further, computer telephony integration is useful for blending requests associated with multiple channels (phone, e-mail and Web).
At the most basic level, the term “computer telephony integration” refers to the physical link between telephony and a computer server. In other words, computer telephony integration refers to the connection between a private branch exchanges (PBX) and computers or computer applications. The increasing use of software-only telephony solutions has blurred this definition of computer telephony integration somewhat, but it remains a good image to use when understanding how the technology works. Why has computer telephony integration.
Mae Kowalke previously wrote for Cleveland Magazine in Ohio and The Burlington Free Press in Vermont. To see more of her articles, please visit Mae Kowalke’s columnist page