• Inok Systems

CTI, IVR and Footprints – Happily under one roof?

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CTI - Meaning Computer Telephony Integration is the common name for any technology that allows interactions on a telephone and a computer to be integrated or coordinated.

In my personal experience as a customer, 9 out of 10 helpdesk or customer service hotlines I called ask me for my details. This is the common conversation dialogue I have with the agent/IVR (Interactive voice response).


IVR: "Thank you for calling xxx helpdesk, please enter your 7digits NRIC number followed by the hex key"

Johnson: enters my IC and press hex.

IVR: "Thank you, you have entered xxxxxxx. For productA, please press 1, productB, press 2"

Johnson: press 1

IVR: "Thank you, we will route you to the next available agent"

Johnson: Waits....

Agent: "Hello, thank you for calling xxx helpdesk, may I know who I am speaking to?"

Johnson: "Errrm this is Johnson, I entered my IC number just now, is your system not working?"

Agent: "Sir, we still need to verify who you are, can I have your last name too?"

Johnson: "Ok.... Last name is Chang"

Agent: "Ok, and what is your account number with us?"

Johnson: "Isn’t there a record of my details on your system?"

Agent: "Sir, please be patient, we have a lot of Johnson Changs in our customer list"

Johnson: sighs... "ok, its 23232322"

Agent: "Thank you, I managed to fetch your records. On which product may I help you today?"

Johnson: "ProductA. I called yesterday and an agent said will get back to me but I didn’t get any calls."

Agent: "May I know which agent you spoke to?"

Johnson: Hangs up the phone and goes to search for another vendor.


This conversation might seem common for a lot of folks back in the 1980s, but technology has advanced and maybe I am a spoilt customer. I expect a phone call to be short and not 5mins wasted even before my request was even answered to. Customer service has to be improved if any business wants to be competitive.

 I really wonder why companies invest in a CTI/IVR when it doesn’t really help the customer's experience. Is that just for mgmt reporting back end? Is that just for show to the CEO that the IT department is doing their job and staying on par with the cutting edge technology? You need to put technology to good use and gel it up with the business point of view. With these 2 departments working on their own, with their own agendas, the total solution will not reap its full benefits.

 I have implemented some Footprints with CTI integration projects over the past few years and with just a simple URL passing, all the problems above can be solved:


When the phone starts ringing, the softphone should call this URL, passing the values of the DID and product selection of the customer. Footprints will then pop-up the ticket screen with the rest of the customer data auto populated based on the incoming phone number. His address, account number, name and even his history of tickets will be displayed. The conversation could have become like this:


IVR: "For productA, please press 1, productB, press 2"

Johnson: press 1

Agent: "Morning Mr Johnson, thank you for using productA with us, from my system records, it seems that you have called us yesterday and logged a ticket number 123 with us regards to the upgrading. Our agent Mary tried calling you back at 2pm but it’s an overseas ringtone and you didn’t answer. We would like to know what is a time convenient for our engineer to drop by and do the upgrade for you. I believe this phone call is regards to this issue as well?"

Johnson: "Yes you are right, I was overseas yesterday and sorry to miss the call. I am free today at 5pm, please send your engineer over, thanks"

Agent: "Will do. My name is David and you will be getting a SMS survey shortly after this call. Appreciate if you can take some time to help reply the SMS and provide us your rating. Thank you for calling!"



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