Starting with the basics: terms for newbies

Integrated CRM and telephony programs can be intimidating for the uninitiated.  Programs are often full of acronyms and may feel overly technical.  The customizable options are exciting for seasoned professionals, but potentially overwhelming to first time users.  So what does someone fresh to the field really need to know about CRMs and telephony to get started and to make the programs work well for their business?

The Basics

CRMs: Customer Relationship Management programs
These help document, monitor, and track a company’s interactions, primarily with its customers.  The most popular CRMs right now seem to be the web-based programs.  There are lots of great CRM programs out there, and we’ll get to those in a later post.

Telephony
A word for a phone system or a bunch of phones networked together.  If your office has a phone system with extensions, or if you need to do something like “press 9 for an outside line” then you something about telephony.

A few important terms and features:

VoIP:  Voice over Internet Protocol
This means speaking through the internet rather than through phone lines.  The most well known VoIP provider is probably Skype, which allows users to download it’s software for free, make calls between web-based Skype users for free, and make calls from web-based Skype users to landlines for reduced prices.

SIP: Session Initiation Protocol
This is a standard internet language for calling via voice and video.  I don’t really think it is important for the lay person to understand.  It might be important to know whether you are connected to a SIP based service provider.

IP: Internet Protocal
Internet language – or – how information is sent and received over the internet.  You may need to know something called your IP Address, which is a string of numbers separated by dots.  This is the location of your machine on the internet, just like your home address is the location of your house in the world.

T1
This is a kind of phone line.

Call waiting
The ability of the phone to signal that another call is trying to access your line while you are on a call.

Conference call
A call involving more than two parties.

Screen Pops
This is like caller ID for computers, except that instead of just the number showing up on your phone’s screen, the contact information about how to make your own websiteInGenius Connector Plugins can help your CRM “pop” screen identify additional information such as your history of calls with that phone number and notes made about that phone number, in addition to the number itself

Toast Pops
Ha!  No really, this is a thing.  Actually, it’s the same thing as above, except maybe the ‘pop’ isn’t the whole screen but rather a smaller window that appears from another application.  Like toast.  Coming out of a toaster.  Get it?

CLID or CID:  Caller ID
Why don’t we just call this  ‘Caller ID,’ which everyone understands?  I don’t know. Caller ID means that you can see who is ringing your phone before picking up.

Call Logs
These are records of inbound and outbound calls, or, all of the calls made from your phone.  InGenius Connector Plugins will help your CRM log calls and attach records or notes to those calls.  This is helpful for remembering each step of the sale or interaction and making sure that tasks do not fall through the cracks.

Cloud Based
When a program is based in the ‘cloud’ it means that there is nothing stored on your hard drive or local server.  People appreciate that they do not need to download or install anything onto their computers, and that their data can be accessed from anywhere.  Salesforce is known for being a cloud based CRM.

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Things are evolving fast and different stuff is appearing all the time.  Are there any other terms that you think are important for beginners? Are there other important features that you use currently, or would like to see in the future?

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