Why Your Phone System Should Talk To Other Tools

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Alex Sudheim

21 Feb 2022 Clock 3 min

Most software we regularly use has moved to the cloud. Instead of installing software on individual computers, we now access most of the tools we use online. Obvious benefits: access the software anywhere and on any device. Software updates are automatic and generally don’t require buying the latest version of the software. Data security is taken care of by the supplier.

Many companies have also moved their telephones online. Initially, by connecting a physical PBX to the internet. And more recently, by connecting phones directly to the internet and a PBX in the cloud. Less capital expenditure and less hardware to maintain and worry about. As most of us are now working in one hybrid form or another, the cloud-based phone system has rapidly become indispensable.

Our telephones and telephone systems have made the evolutionary leap from hardware to software. This opens up exciting new vistas of possibility. 

When we still installed software on our machines with floppies and CD-ROMS (remember those!!) and later by downloading it, most software was siloed. It didn’t talk to other software. You had to hire expensive consultants to build, often bespoke, connections between software. 

More often than not, this wasn’t financially feasible for small to medium-sized businesses. Alternatively, you were subjected to either manually copying data from one system to the other or exporting the data from one system and then importing it into the other. Painstaking processes, full of potential for human error. It’s guaranteed systems are out of sync and data validity is questionable.

An often-overlooked advantage of cloud-based tools is that they generally ‘speak’ with other tools. The discrete siloes have been replaced by multi-lateral communication between various software applications. Most tools have some integration or another with other popular software. When choosing a new cloud-based tool, you want to make sure it talks to other tools you are already using. 

You want to avoid siloing your data at all costs, especially if you’re using the same data in different tools. E.g. customer address details in your CRM and invoicing software. Ideally, there would be a universal solution that can do it all. In reality, however, it is highly unlikely that there exists a ‘Swiss Army Knife’ solution that suits your highly particular needs and is equally good at all the things you need it to do.

So you want to look for tools that have integrations with other tools you’re already using. Another way to connect software is through their respective API’s (if available). In general, a developer can link the two systems together with relative ease. However, Zapier is a great tool to connect systems without requiring any programming skills whatsoever. Through Zapier you can connect over 3,000 apps to one another..

If you get into the habit of seeing your phone system as a piece of software, the possibilities for integration are breathtaking. By connecting Webhooks to your PBX, you can design automations where your phone system can be set to trigger just about any kind of action.

Enough about software. What about my PBX?! Well, all great cloud software can connect with other software. This includes a professional cloud-based PBX. A modern online phone system talks to other software. Either through direct, on-the-shelf, integrations, API or Webhooks. Being able to connect your phone system to other software is a real game-changer. Some of the things you can do:

  • Recognise contact on ringing with a Popup and open the contact card in your preferred CRM (eg Hubspot) 
  • Automatically route the caller to the designated account manager
  • Receive an email, SMS or Slack message when you miss a call
  • Measure inbound calls as conversions in Google Analytics
  • Push statistics about call volumes, duration, who called, who answered, transfers, missed calls etc. to your preferred dashboarding tool (E.g. Notion) or a Google Sheet. 
  • Switch on the lights or unlock the door when the designated number is called

What is possible is limited only by your imagination. 

In the age of cloud-based software, software tools – including your phone system – must be able to talk to each other. When systems are able to exchange information automatically their value increases exponentially.