Amid the flurry of announcements at SugarCon 2009, the third annual developer-and-user conference for Cupertino, Calif.–based open-source pioneer SugarCRM, one in particular may have gone almost unnoticed: Interactive voice response (IVR) specialist Angel.com has teamed with SugarCRM to launch the (creatively named) Angel.com SugarCRM Connector—a suite of fully hosted IVR solutions that will phone-enable a user's SugarCRM account.
With the Connector, users will be able to access, update, and manage their accounts, contacts, and leads—all via voice commands over the phone.
Additional voice commands will allow users to
- record notes about recently completed meetings;
- schedule follow-up tasks;
- locate and dial contacts; and
- send emails via a speech-to-text technology.
The Angel.com SugarCRM Connector also offers a host of contact center and customer support tools. Users have the ability to retrieve data about each caller in real time, thus enabling them to tailor services based on the context of the call. And, with SugarCRM Support, a caller can connect to her SugarCRM account via the phone and check the status of cases, open a case, or transfer to a live agent.
Ahmed Bouzid, director of partner solutions for Angel.com, says that it's critical for contact centers to be informed by CRM information, and suggests that this latest release is similar to the work his company has been doing for years with software-as-a-service CRM trailblazer Salesforce.com.
"Over the last two years, we learned a lot of lessons about how to connect the IVR with the CRM," Bouzid says. "Instead of building one-offs, we decided to encapsulate the best practices [and] lessons learned, and build a connector that allows you to easily connect an IVR—the Angel IVR—to your SugarCRM back end."
Bouzid says that the IVR software will clearly benefit callers—who will save themselves valuable time—but may also be a boon for companies implementing it. "Obviously there is a cost-cutting component of it for the company that is deploying the application," he says. "So the IVR, by being aware of who is calling and being aware of the context of the call...can [field] a call that would take usually three or four minutes and reduce it to 20 seconds. It's a win-win situation for both the caller and the company."
Better still, all Angel.com SugarCRM Connector applications can be designed, built, and deployed via Angel.com's Site Builder—a Web-based toolkit aimed at saving companies integrating the software even more time and money. "You don't have to install it," Bouzid says. "You don't have to code around it. All you have to do is configure it."
According to Bouzid, Angel.com will soon be building similar connectors for NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Oracle CRM On Demand. "It's basically the same story for all of them," Bouzid says. "It's basically enabling intelligence to be leveraged during the call."
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