CRM & Skype

CRM and Skype are happy bedfellows. Many CRM’s have long had the capability to make calls directly from the contact screen, using technologies like TAPI. An extremely useful feature – no punching in or scratching around for numbers – just click on the phone number of preference in their contact screen and that’s it. Oh, pick up the handset first, unless you’re on speaker phone.

Now you can do the same thing with Skype, but with a few differences. You are now making calls – even conference calls,over the internet, using your headset or Skype phone….. to anywhere, for free, assuming the other party is also using Skype. If they’re not Skype users, you can make international calls to land lines or cell phones at local call rates.

But, apart from the convenience of dialling directly out of your CRM, you can’t ignore the importance of being Skype-accessible either. At the time of writing there have been over half a billion downloads of Skype, of which almost half have registered, ie.246 million users! You need to able to connect to these users. Skype is a free service -you don’t need to pay anything to install it, so there really are no excuses for not running Skype.

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Clients can now make free calls to you, too. They like that, and many simply prefer to use Skype. In South Africa anyway, as Skype calls sometimes have greater clarity than our conventional South African landlines.

And now, in collaboration with Logitech, Skype have announced a new version of their High Quality Video, making high definition video calls a reality. All you need to make video calls are a headset and video cam. Of concern though is the added burden the transmission of video might place on the speed and performance of the internet.

A few benefits with Skype:

  • Business travellers can call home from their hotel rooms abroad for USA 2.1¢ /min.
  • You can call from any internet cafe for the cost of a local call at home.
  • You avoid roaming charges by calling with Skype.
  • Clients and prospects can contact you easily and inexpensively.

So, if compatablity between Skype and your CRM is important, don’t forget to add that requirement to your CRM checklist when you go shopping for your CRM. Many CRM applications already integrate to Skype. Adding Skype functionality to a CRM is not too difficult, so if your CRM doen’t offer it yet, I’m sure it will in the near future if they get enough requests.

Our choices for CRM and Skype integration are Capsule CRM, via their ClickDesk plug-in (works with Google Talk, as well), and InfusionCRM, but several other CRM’s now offer Skype too.

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