While CRM and sales automation software suites are a boon to business, they’re not without their drawbacks. Chief amongst these is the frustrating lack of automation in the software itself.

After a call with a customer, a typical CRM system requires users to manually key in detailed information about the contact or transaction, relying on them to remember the details of the call – which, considering that the bulk of sales and service transactions are made by phone seems bizarre.

The problem here lies in that the CRM system will only prove effective, for both individual and business, if this process is not only completed, but done so consistently and accurately – ideally within minutes of the phone call ending.

There is only a small window of opportunity after the call’s completion in which to enter an accurate account of the information, and it goes without saying that as time passes the specific details from a call, let alone hundreds of them, become much harder to remember.

But it’s part of the sales or service person’s job to make these notes, isn’t it? Perhaps, but it’s not realistic to expect larges teams of sales and services staff, dealing with hundreds of calls per day – each involving an ongoing trail of dialogue and follow-ups – to devote themselves to their CRM system updates. Good intentions don’t always lead to good practice.

Couple this with an unpredictable work schedule, and things are bound to get delayed. It is far more likely that staff will enter call-specific information into the system days, or even weeks, later rather than minutes – and whilst some data is better than no data, the detail of a conversation may be lost when reduced to a couple of lines of garbled notes, keyed in after the call has finished.

This leads to inaccurate and muddled records, and frustration for managers and colleagues that may have to piece together the facts from jumbled notes if the original contact person isn’t available.

No pause for thought

So why not take an alternative approach – and have a recording of the call accessible in the CRM/sales software, alongside the customer record? Having the full detail of each telephone call captured automatically not only provides a comprehensive log of transactions and issues discussed, it also cuts out of inaccuracy and ambiguity – and relieves the burden of data entry for staff.

Even better if these records can be presented in an online dashboard, and categorised by date, time, the number dialled, the employee making the call, and so on – making them easy to search and retrieve. This dashboard can be integrated into existing CRM systems using a simple interface, enabling the detail of calls to be accessed and reviewed alongside other records of contact with that customer, such as emails.

Bringing voice to CRM and sales automation means that staff no longer have to rely on memory in order to retrieve the detail of calls they’ve made. It also has the potential to increase ease of use across the business, whilst improving the quality and enriching the overall database.

Bridging the gap

It’s also of real benefit if an employee is away from the office, be it a scheduled holiday or unforeseen sick leave. In either circumstance, the responsibility of maintaining communication with an absent employee’s client-base falls directly upon his or her colleagues.

This can often pose a big problem when sales software or CRM systems contain inaccurate and inconsistent data, or at worst, have no data record on file at all for a particular client. Not only is this detrimental to the valued customer relationship, it severely limits access and utility – which isn’t ideal when the stand-in agent needs to close a deal, quickly resolve a question or handle a dispute with a key customer that involves a contentious phone call.

Having voice integrated with CRM or sales automation software enables the stand-in agent to maintain communication with the absent colleague’s clients without disruption, as records of previous calls are quickly accessed. It can also help resolve issues with clients, by providing managers and staff with real time, recorded evidence of each conversation that has taken place – which can be called upon in the event of a future query or dispute.

So when it comes to sales and services environments, where so much traffic is unavoidably phone-based, the call of duty is clear – it’s time to speak up for voice recording, to add vocal support for CRM and sales automation.