Phone bars and CRM

CTIeCRMAmong the essential tools to get the full control of the Contact Center, the Phone Bar is the application, also known as agent, installed in the operator terminal that allows to effectively manage inbound & outbound calls. Moreover, the Phone Bar exploits the potentiality arising by CTI (Computer Telephony Integration), the increasingly integration between the phone, the pc and the CRM application. In the following article I’ll show the general features and the benefits of a CTI platform fully integrated with the CRM application, then I’ll focus on SugarCRM and the various Phone Bar market solution with which we can integrate it.

From the Phone Bar to the Multichannel Bar

Having a Phone Bar installed on the PC within the Contact Center’s CTI infastructure is equivalent to have the ability to fully manage and distribute the calls flow among all the operators. The Team Leader usually configures rooms and operators organization, sets the rules and the calls distribution criteria, monitoring the activities, the stasistics and the system status in every single time.

The typical activities made by the operator when interacting with the Bar are:

  • inbound: receiving the call, before asnwering, informations about the call and the caller are automatically shown on the Bar for the operator, and when the call is hold by the operator, a pop-up is opened including the entire client persona data i ticket and the eventual ticket submitted – customer recognition takes place on the basis of the caller id or a code submission by IVR;
  • outbound: as soon as the operator comes into contact with the client, the personal data form is shown and the first question to make by the operator – this is a CATI (Computer Aided Integrated Interview) system – is ready for the customer;
  • overall colleagues status vision, before transferring a call;
  • received, made, lost calls history consultation;
  • click-to-call: starting a call by a simple click;
  • calls queue status vision, to have the perception of the load of the calls queue for the system.

Activating the internet communication channels, the Phone Bar turns into a multichannel management system. Web functionalities allow to manage customers calls Le funzioni Web della Barra Telefonica permettono di gestire le chiamate dei clienti, regardless of the used channel: chat, email or phone.

CTI – CRM integration: architecture, functions and benefits

It has become a common practice in recent years for Contact Centers to use CTI platforms closely integrated with CRM application: there is nothing more natural to make multichannel commnunication converge with systems born to support the company to better perform its operations towards acquired and potential customers.


A typical platform of this kind, deliberately oriented to open source technologie, can be outlined as in the following figure:


Obviously CRM role at the Server level can be played by SugarCRM. Moreover: it’s the Phone Bar that is easily integrated at the Client level: the agent leve. The “CRM access” role at the Client level is equivalent – in the modern Bars – to have a direct view of CRM data available in the Agent user interface. Throughout API interfaces, phone call events are sent to the CRM platform together with the call properties important for the customer management context.

At the same time, the CRM application is able to send and make it show all the customer data (personal data, service tickets, multichannel relations history, proposed offers and services, marketing campaigns and responsiveness level, closed contracts, retention activities and so on) on the caller or called ID basis.

As API are now available from all major CTI vendors (Cisco, Avaya, Genesys, Asterisk, Fonality, Reitek, ecc., and obviously from SugarCRM), for us it is no more than develop just the needed set of calls in order to create the integration layer, but we may also search for a third party library.

The CRM application allows the operator to:

  • manage customer’s personal data
  • open a new issue
  • searching through opened issues
  • assign issues to other operators
  • solve and close the issues
  • manage issues workflow

And thanks to the CRM system, the operator is able to:

  • track the client’s history
  • track the trouble ticket history
  • manage the knowledge base
  • track the customer satisfaction

In addition, it is possible to desing and manage tele-marketing campaigns:

  • customer selection on the basis of specific personal data property
  • managing outbound calls on custom clients lists
  • customized scripts creation
  • customizable CRM definition of memo fields used to store interviews to customers
  • work-load balancing on the operators
  • reporting and statistics on the outbound calls outcomes

Huge benefits are available thanks to the integration between CTI and CRM: not only companies are able to have the full control of the system and of the clients, they can analyze, through reporting and dashboard available from the CRM, status and process trend in order to apply the right fixes and to make better decisions.

SugarCRM and Contact Center solutions

Let’s start my brief overview suggesting the two official references:

who wish to go on can start from here.

I’d like to focus instead a couple of advanced and interesting Phone Bar applications and for which integration solution with SugarCRM are available.

The Genesys Phone Bar, allowing the operator to manage the following channels on a single page: voice, instant messaging, chat, email, facebook, fax, twitter, webcallback, webform, workitem, sms.


The operator can see all the customer data (one of the four tabs of the operator’s managing panel, together with contact, responses and web activity) is named sugarcrm and, selecting the appropriate agent-related function, can invite him to a thematique webinar.

Avaya Phone Bar IP Agent is a full featured Phone Bar usable in Contact Centers. Operators can use it in different ways:

  • On-site, for the Contact Center;
  • On-site or off-site using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP);
  • Off-site using analog connection on fixed lines (PSTN).

Advanced features of IP Agent Bar are managed through direct link to Avaya communication server.


I’d like to mention two companies that have released the best CTI integration tools for SugarCRM:

With these last informations I stop here. And invite those of you interested to set up the next CTI-CRM integrated Contact Center structure, obviously using SugarCRM!


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