Mastering Customer Calls: Advanced Telephony Technology in Salesforce

Although every aspect of doing business is moving toward digitalization, the role of phone-based customer interactions continues to be a critical factor in building lasting customer relationships. People still like to talk to humans. Yet, many businesses face challenges when it comes to call quality, admin- and user-friendliness, system integrations and analytics. These challenges can hinder your team’s efficiency and impact the customer experience.

Embracing the evolution from on-premise telephony to the cloud with integration of AI and Machine Learning, companies move from traditional, agent-dependent call centers to advanced customer interaction systems. Let’s dive into the possibilities of advanced telephony technology integrating with Salesforce CRM.

The Evolution of Telephony in Customer Service

Voice communication has been a cornerstone in customer service for decades. Before diving into today’s possibilities, let’s understand how phone conversations have shaped customer experiences throughout this time – and how we got to where we are today.  

The Genesis: First-Generation Contact Centers

In the beginning, customer service via phone was a straightforward affair. It was the era of first-generation contact centers, where the experience was entirely dependent on the agent handling the call. There were notable limitations:

  • No records of previous calls, leading to a lack of personalized service.
  • Being disconnected meant starting the process all over again.
  • Operations were tied to complex on-premise telephony systems.
  • Large, centralized contact centers were the norm.
  • Absence of CRM integration, leading to siloed information.

Advancements in the 20th Century: The Rise of CTI

As we stepped into the 20th century, the introduction of Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) marked a big leap. This technology began addressing some of the earlier challenges:

  • Identification of the caller became possible, personalizing the experience.
  • Calls could be transferred to the right agent, improving efficiency.
  • Introduction of screen pops and logging features.

Despite these advancements, the systems were still on-premise and expensive. And – we hate to admit it – many companies remain stuck in this phase of development, relying on pop-ups and simple call routing to manage customer inquiries. 

The Game Changer: OpenCTI in 2015

The introduction of OpenCTI in 2015 was a game-changer. It brought forward a more integrated approach:

  • Calls were routed based on agent skills.
  • Quick access to customer data eliminated the need for ‘swivel chairing’.
  • The shift to cloud telephony integration allowed for more flexibility.
  • The concept of dynamic routing and democratized access to technology emerged.

As of 2020: A Comprehensive Voice-driven Customer Experience

The year 2020 marked the beginning of a new era in customer service, where voice drives the entire call cycle. This was the year when Salesforce introduced the next level telephony integration with Service Cloud Voice.

  • Introduction of speech-driven IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems for better customer interaction.
  • The use of bots to query about open cases.
  • Real-time call transcription, allowing agents to focus more on the customer.
  • In-call assistance from supervisors, facilitated by AI and Machine Learning.
  • The ability to glean insights from conversations to improve future interactions.
  • A holistic approach to call analysis for better overall customer experience.

The old way of handling calls, characterized by screen pops, has given way to a more sophisticated approach. Now, we see the integration of self-service options, AI and bots, real-time transcription, and conversation analyzers throughout the call cycle.

The Current State of Telephony and CRM Integration

By bridging the gap between voice communication and customer data, businesses can deliver personalized customer experiences. The integration of telephony solutions with CRM systems, like Salesforce, represents a significant leap in how businesses manage customer interactions.

Integrating Salesforce through Salesforce’s Service Cloud Voice with Vonage provides a host of tools and features that enhance the customer experience:

  1. Setup Telephony: You can now purchase, configure, and set up cloud telephony directly within Salesforce, eliminating the need for separate systems. This integration ensures that your agents have all the necessary tools in one unified platform.
  1. Telephony Services: With intelligent Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and call routing, calls are directed to the right agents based on specific criteria. 
  1. Omni-Channel: Calls are integrated into the agent workspace, allowing agents to manage calls alongside other customer interactions, providing a comprehensive view of customer engagement.
  1. Call Transcription: Real-time call transcription captures the content of the call automatically, aiding in record-keeping and enabling real-time analysis and insights.
  1. Agent Automation: AI-powered recommendations and workflow automation, with the assistance of Salesforce’s Einstein, help agents streamline tasks, saving time and ensuring consistency in customer interactions.
  1. Omni-Channel Supervisor: Supervisors can monitor calls in real time, offering coaching and support to agents, ensuring high-quality customer interactions.
  1. Conversation Analyzer & Call Analytics: Out-of-the-box call center dashboards, customizable with Tableau CRM, provide valuable insights into call metrics and customer sentiment, supporting data-driven decision-making.

Image: Combining Service Cloud Voice and Vonage: How it works

As a result of these new capabilities, users can now instantly access all phone call recordings directly within Salesforce. They have the ability to analyze fully transcribed calls, for example, by conducting sentiment analytics. Additionally, users can seamlessly integrate their CRM into the voice channel, allowing for functionalities like utilizing bots to answer straightforward queries (such as: „When is my product delivery planned?“).

Example: What Advanced Telephony in Salesforce Look Like in Action

To illustrate the capabilities of advanced telephony technology integrated with Salesforce, we can look at a real-world example. Our customer Qredits, a microcredit provider and SME advisor in the Netherlands, recently transitioned to advanced telephony technology by integrating Salesforce CRM with Vonage’s telephony solution. 

As an example, let’s assume that Sarah, the owner of a small business who has been a Qredits customer for years, reaches out to Qredits for assistance regarding a loan inquiry. This is what the call could look like today:

  1. Sarah dials the Qredits support line. A bot asks whether she is calling about the already open case and after saying ‘yes’ her call is automatically routed to the appropriate agent.
  1. The agent, Jane, receives a notification on her softphone about the incoming call. She immediately sees Sarah’s profile, including her previous interactions and loan history, on her screen.
  1. Jane greets Sarah by name and inquires about her needs. She can view Sarah’s recent loan applications and payments, providing context for the conversation.
  1. As the call progresses, Salesforce’s AI analyzes Sarah’s history and suggests tailored loan options that match her business’s needs. Jane discusses these options with Sarah.
  1. During the call, the conversation is transcribed in real-time. This transcription ensures that every detail is accurately recorded and can be referenced later.
  1. Jane can see that her supervisor, Alex, is available for monitoring. If she encounters a complex issue, she can request Alex’s assistance without putting Sarah on hold.
  1. After the call ends, all the call data, including the transcription and recommendations, is integrated into Salesforce’s Service Cloud Voice. This data can then be used to refine services and customer support strategies.

Qredits partnered with BRITE and Vonage to implement this transition successfully. Wondering how such a system could improve your own customer interactions? Talk to us! 

Challenges and Best Practices for Implementation

Setting up an integrated cloud telephony system doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, we’ve looked at various solutions that integrate seamlessly with Salesforce CRM and consider Vonage to be the best solution out there. Call quality is top-notch, features are abound and the intuitive user interface makes it easy to set up workflows and pull data.

Important key decisions are:

Decision 1: Transitioning Phone Numbers

One of the initial decisions is deciding what to do with existing phone numbers. Companies must weigh the options of retaining their current phone number provider or switching to a company like Vonage. This mainly has to do with how these numbers will be used as part of your implementation scope (see challenge 2).

Decision 2: Implementation Scope

Companies must decide whether to roll out the new telephony and CRM integration system company-wide or team by team. Each approach has its pros and cons, and the choice may depend on factors like organizational structure, size, and the readiness of different teams.

Ultimately, these points aren’t insurmountable – especially when an experienced partner like BRITE guides you through the process. Some of the best practices we suggest sticking to are: 

Tip 1: Detailed Call Plan

Create a well-defined call plan that outlines the workflow for handling calls and thus details the steps a customer can take in the phone system. Consider factors such as call routing, IVR setup, and automation rules. A clear call plan ensures that everyone in the organization understands the new system’s functionality and purpose and depicts the customer journey.

Tip 2: Comprehensive Training

Invest in comprehensive training for employees who will be using telephony and CRM integration. Provide hands-on training sessions, access to documentation, and ongoing support. Ensure that users are comfortable with the system before full deployment.

Tip 3: Pilot Phase

Consider implementing a pilot phase with a smaller team or department. This allows you to identify any potential issues or areas for improvement before rolling out the integration company-wide. Use feedback from the pilot phase to make necessary adjustments.


In summary, advanced telephony technology integrated with Salesforce is transforming customer interactions for the better. It has evolved from traditional contact centers to AI-driven customer service, improving voice communication and data integration.

Are you ready to upgrade to clearer call quality, streamlined administration, and calls that are transcribed and analyzed right within Salesforce? Partnering with an experienced provider like BRITE, well-versed in telephony and CRM integration, can ease the transition. We won’t let challenges like transitioning phone numbers and implementation scope get in your way. Talk to us today!