Enterprise Apps


New CRM Chat Tools Give Instant Gratification

Recent announcements in the CRM space have been all about crossing bridges to streamline customer contact functions and making customer service representatives’ lives easier and more productive. And all it’s taking is a click of the mouse.

LiveChat, a developer of real-time software and Web analytics tools for e-commerce sales and support teams, has given word that it is rolling out a new Facebook Connect integration capability. With this new feature, customer support and online sales services can instantly access a more detailed and comprehensive view of the customer to improve online interactions at the beginning of a LiveChat engagement.

Greater Efficiency

The process is simple. When a Web visitor requests a LiveChat session for the first time, a pop-up appears with a prompt to sign up via Facebook Connect. The LiveChat operator who comes on board already has information on the visitor’s name, picture, email and personal preference data. A customer who signs into LiveChat using Facebook credentials will automatically be recognized by a service representative on any website that has installed LiveChat.

LiveChat adoption has been growing exponentially as customer support services look for more efficiency in their call center environments, CEO Mariusz Cieply told CRM Buyer.

“First of all, one agent can talk to up to five customers at a time, and users love having a way to chat via instant messaging,” he said.

Facebook Connect promises to increase that efficiency even more, Cieply added.

“Customers won’t have to be asked preliminary questions before the chat begins,” he pointed out. “The representative can simply get the pictorial ID of who that person is. Early indications show a definite increase in conversion rates and the quality of online service.”

Productivity Boost

M5 Networks a provider of VoIP managed services, has partnered with LinkPoint360, a provider of enterprise email integration software applications to the CRM industry, to develop a new telephony integration capability for M5 customers from the LinkPoint360 Outlook Add-in. This new integration bridges what the company calls “the formidable gap” between Microsoft Outlook and CRM programs like Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SalesLogix.

Users can now view contact information from their CRM application within Outlook for each email recipient, then click-to-record the email to create contact, lead, opportunity or support cases. The added automated functionality means users can respond to a customer email query and create a record of the call without leaving Outlook, as well as post a completed call activity directly into the CRM program.

The plug-in can deliver a significant productivity boost for sales personnel, Brent Barbara, vice president of client solutions and alliances for M5 Networks, told CRM Buyer.

“It’s a simple solution that addresses an important need,” he said. “A lot of sales and service teams are tied to Outlook and still spend a lot of time toggling between that and their CRM data. Now they can connect their phone to their customer information and emails and contact them by phone with one click.”

Stronger Integration

The motivation behind integration with Outlook is twofold. “One sales manager I spoke to said they just don’t want their representatives doing data entry,” said Barbara. “Let’s take that off their plate. Something as simple as click-to-dial [from Outlook] in the telemarketing world could save a person 30 to 45 seconds of time per call. If that person made 100 calls a day, that translates into 30 to 45 minutes. The savings can get into big numbers in highly productive environments.”

This is just one of an increasing number of integration initiatives that are transforming efficiency for customer service and sales staff, he added. “Cloud models and other Web-based applications are ripe for this type of integration because they have remarkably easy APIs. Applications like Salesforce.com are doing all sorts of mashups with calling and instant messaging. And we’re only beginning to see how Facebook APIs can be used to help the business community.”

Denise J. Deveau is a seasoned freelance writer based in Toronto, Ontario. She has more than two decades of experience in business- and technology-related subjects.

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