what is CTI

What is CTI?

CTI stands for Computer Telephony Integration or Computer Telephone Integration. In practice, CTI means ‘computerizing’ or ‘automating’ some part of a phone call.

The purpose of CTI is making call handling simpler and more efficient.

Early deployments were complex and had fairly limited uses. However, the technology has grown alongside digital technology and is now the norm for telephony.

What is CTI for?

There is a large (and growing) list of use cases for CTI.

The early use cases included:

  • Accepting, rejecting or starting a call directly from a computer. One use case in this category is ‘click-to-call’, starting a phone call by clicking a contact’s number within a computer application.

  • Controlling other elements of a call like starting or stopping a recording, selecting numbers to transfer to or merging calls for on-the-fly conference calls.

  • Receiving data linked with a phone number as a call begins. This is often called a ‘screen pop’ by call center professionals. Screen pops are usually used to provide customer data that can inform agents.

Modern users are familiar with services like Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime, etc. These tools bring a high level of phone-like functionality to tablets and computers, without making the user think about CTI.

However, businesses often have more detailed needs from CTI.

In general, any core business system needs some level of integration with telephony. This includes systems like Helpdesk, CRM and IVR which need to integrate in order to provide the basic services listed above.

How does this work in modern systems?

Modern telephone systems provide features like screen pop or click-to-call as standard. The rise of IP phone systems has made it much easier for businesses to integrate their processes. That’s because IP phones already use an internet-based, digital signal.

Now, call centers focus on achieving more complex integrated processes across telephony and other core business systems.

State of the art call center platforms can expose and record every event on a call, like transfers, IVR selections or updated customer data. Then, that event can impact other integrated systems.

For example: Your systems might automatically identify a caller by the phone number and route them as a priority customer. Then, when the agent records the call outcome, that triggers an automated SMS message tailored to their profile.

A complex, beginning-to-end journey like that is only possible with sophisticated CTI.

babelforce approaches this using API integration. APIs help businesses to integrate practically without limit, creating any complex call center services.

Any business that wants the ability to integrate and automate well needs a CTI strategy, like API integration, that ensures virtually no barriers to CTI at all.