Startups recognize the benefit of integrating CRM & Voice
Increasingly, businesses are realizing that integrating their phone system with their customer database helps to make both systems more powerful. M5 has been integrating voice with systems like Salesforce for several years.
New startups like Ringio are now helping small companies (<10 employees) that may not be ready for a full-featured monitored solution like M5 realize some of the benefit from integrating their systems.
Ringio taps into a companies contacts and keeps a shared call log of all calls made and received with accompanying notes. Like M5, Ringio is also trying to bring these features across platforms- working not just on the desk phone but also on cell phones and PCs.
But right now the Ringio system only works with Google contacts, meaning that most businesses with more than a few employees won't be able to integrate with their existing system. Their chairman says that integration with Saleforce and others will come soon.
A bigger problem is that as a new company it's hard to say how reliable Ringio's service is. Without testimonials from clients who have been using the service for a few years it may be a leap of faith. Since the phones are based on SIP without dedicated circuits or MPLS it means that phone calls are routed over the public internet with all the potential for dropped calls and bad quality that brings. This could be okay for a very early startup who is willing to tradeoff decreased price for these potential problems. But as those companies grow I suspect they'll grow into a more reliable system like M5.
Ringio Combines PBX and CRM Functions in Hosted "Rich Calling" Service
One big problem for companies in handling customer calls is uninformed answers. That is, the person answering the call has no idea who is calling or why. Large companies solve the problem by using call centers, which integrate high-end CRM (customer relationship management) systems with sophisticated call-handling systems. For smaller companies, integration of hosted or premises-based IP PBXes with hosted CRM services is a good solution, eliminating the need for premises-based CRM systems. And a new "rich calling" service launched by Ringio simplifies things even further.