What is Rander – Call-Center, Communicator or CRM?

Positioning and Functionality

Currently, there are a lot of different terms defining CTI (computer-telephone integration) applications. The ones used most often are Call-center, Contact-center or CRM.

What is what and what is it all for? For a lot of people the answers to these questions don’t seem to be evident.

I will present my point of view on it. In my opinion there are five main classes of systems which integrate information and telecommunications environment in that way or another:

  1. Communicator
  2. Call-center or Contact-center
  3. Traffic accounting and cost calculation systems
  4. CRM
  5. Hotel software
Each system has its own purpose.
  1. Communicator mainly includes such functions as connecting clients, partners and company employees. It’s often referred to as a “Ringer”. That is its main purpose. A communicator should include the following features:

    1. Outgoing calls
    2. Incoming calls
    3. Hold, redirection and conference call functions
    4. Call routing
    5. Call registration
    6. Monitoring
    7. Statistics
    Another must-have feature is integration with other systems such as Call-center, CRM etc.
  2. What are the Call-center functions? I would define them as maximum performance assurance for a group of operators handling incoming calls. Telecommunications structure of any company looks as showed at fig.1. It is clearly seen that front-office incurs the main informational pressure. Its aim is not only to shape clients loyalty by courteous call handling and pleasant voice but also not to miss a single incoming call, not to lose a single potential customer.

  3. Thus Call-center’s task is supporting the company’s front-office operation. This requires the presence of the following features:

    1. Information on the incoming call and the caller
    2. Information on call distribution priorities for a particular caller
    3. Information on main and standby destinations availability for the call
    4. Call redirection to destination (including drag-and-drop by a mouse)
    5. Call status control
    6. Client loyalty functions, such as:
      1. Putting the call in queue
      2. Calls queue processing
      3. Calls queue depth regulation ability
      4. Interactive voice menus
      5. Ability to record a voice message in case of long waiting or operators and destination occupancy
      6. Informing call-center manager on lines and operators load
      7. Ability to manage resources amount needed for Call-center operation. Ability to change the number of lines and operators to effectively handle all incoming calls
      8. Operator identification by PINs.
      9. Operator presence control
      10. Call recording
      11. Operators performance reporting
      12. Ability to support several call-centers by a single telecommunication system
      13. Ability to dynamically reallocate resources between call-centers

  4. CRM is customer relations management system. Its main function is to provide complete on-line information on a client, his orders, discounts, products received, software licenses, software upgrade history.

    All these data should by managed in the context of time, in history view, by each client, product, license key, software version and any other categories of information received during communication with the client.

  5. Traffic accounting system is required by any company to receive information on calls made. Such information is useful for employee performance analysis, company telecommunication resources effectiveness analysis and solving conflicts that arise between the company and service provider or customers.

    At the same time, traffic cost calculation is only required for companies who sell communication services to their customers. These are mainly landlords, hotels, telecoms operators etc.

    The main problem of these systems is constant change of tariffs and area codes. Currently such changes occur several times a month. That means that purchase of billing software without subsequent informational support is pointless. Some people are not fully aware of that.

    In many countries the law demands that companies selling communication services certify the billing programs they use in special authorities similarly to cash registers. Collecting payments for traffic without certification may be illegal. This is another serious issue solving which leads to billing systems cost increase.

  6. Hotel software stand aside from the listed systems but combine several hotel functions, such as:

    1. Registration/leaving
    2. Cleaning/mini-bar
    3. Waking up
    4. General waking up
    5. Emptying mailbox after leaving
    6. Limiting direct exchange facilities in case of credit exceeding

    Besides mentioned functions hotel software also include call-center functions for handling incoming calls, traffic accounting and traffic cost calculation features. Hotel software is usually integrated into general hotel management system and doesn’t come as a separate application.

From this classification we can draw a conclusion that Rander CTI applications family mostly fits into communicator class with client-server architecture. Besides Rander has fully-fledged traffic accounting features but without traffic cost calculations. To some extent this is done on purpose. To meet the complete set of communicator qualifying standards next version of Rander should be complemented with statistics and analysis functions.

To implement call-center functions in Rander a complete operator and call-center manager workplace should be created. In such case Rander will meet the requirements for three main systems:

  1. Communicator
  2. Call-center
  3. Traffic accounting system

Integration features with CRM using COM and with billing systems present in Rander SMDR allow for seamless integration of Rander with any customer application.

For implementation of some hotel software functions a fundamental change in systems structure is required which is quite time-consuming. This is due to the fact that such functions cannot be implemented using TAPI protocol with PBX manufacturer TSP driver. However these functions can be implemented via CSTA protocol at hardware level, which may be fulfilled in future.

Andrey Rabchevskiy,
Ranat Ltd. Director