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Phone Calls with Twilio

Learn how to connect with your contacts with Phone Calls and Twilio in Vtiger CRM!
S
Sabqat Ruba
12 Feb, 2021 - Updated 2 months ago

Introduction

 
Is your office crowded with the latest phones, faxes, mobiles, etc.? Are you finding it difficult to communicate with your customers with these multiple devices?

What if your laptop or desktop had a single app that could connect you to a customer with a single click?

Well, there is - the Phone Calls module in Vtiger CRM!
With the Phone Calls module, you can connect with your contacts by simply placing a call directly from your laptop or desktop by clicking the phone call icon. You do not have to worry about tying up with a service provider, logging in your credentials in CRM, and then placing your calls.
So, how does Vtiger CRM’s feature work? Let us see... 
 With the Phone Calls module installed, you can:
  • Place calls directly from your desktop or laptop. 
  • Integrate services such as Live Chat, email, call logging, purchase history, feedback surveying, support tickets, and many more.


You can also use different telephony gateways! With the Phone Calls module, you can connect to other hosted telephony services such as Plivo, ViciDial, Knowlarity, Exotel, and Asterisk ver. 1.4 and 1.6 (without Vtiger Connector) and Asterisk ver. 1.8 - 11 (with Vtiger Connector).

 
The Vtiger Phone Calls Advantage!

Look at the benefits of using our Phone Calls module:
  • Lower investments - Integrated telephony (web-based) comes at a cheaper cost both in terms of hardware and handling, as calls are routed through your internet.
  • Reduced resources - Vastly beneficial, especially if you are a small business with a few employees and do not want to invest heavily in communication.
  • Better control and coordination - You can control and coordinate your communication with a single platform. No more worries about trying to work with too many devices and losing out on a contact. 
  • Flexibility - Call from anywhere and anytime. You or your employees can work from the office or home or when they are on the road. You can log in at different times and not worry about changes in weather or social conditions.
  • Large volume of calls - More lines of communication and handle a large number of calls.
  • Increased productivity and efficiency - You will have a single platform, your computer, to track customer data and communicate with them. You don’t have to switch between apps and devices to see data and make that all-important phone call. 


Also, you can set up two types of gateways:
  • Normal gateway - To set this up, you must configure an extension phone number in the agent’s preferences. When you call a client, it connects to the extension number first. Agents must receive the call on the extension number to connect with the client.
   
  • Client gateway - Outgoing calls directly connect to the clients when you use client gateways. You can set up client gateways only with Twilio and Plivo.
 

Feature Availability

Sales/Help Desk Starter Sales/Help Desk Professional Sales/Help Desk Enterprise All-in-One Professional All-in-One Enterprise
Feature Availability
Twilio Gateway
 

Installing Phone Calls

The Phone Calls module is available when you install it from the Extension Store. You can access the Extension Store if you are an Admin user. 
 Follow these steps to install Phone Calls:
  1. Log in to your CRM account.
  2. Click the User Menu on the top right corner of the CRM screen.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Look for the Extensions section.
  5. Select Extension Store.
  6. Search for ‘Phone Calls’ using the search bar.
  7. Click Install
  8. Click Yes to confirm.
 After you install the module, you can see it under Main Menu > Essentials > Conversations.

 

Configuring Twilio 

You can configure Twilio and other gateways only if you are an Admin user. Let us look at the procedure of setting up Twilio as a normal and client gateway.
 
Note: Log in to your Twilio account and keep both Vtiger and Twilio tabs open to set up the gateway.

Normal gateway

Let us first see how Twilio works as a normal gateway.

  1. CRM admins must subscribe to the Twilio service and get their Twilio Number.
  2. Individual sales/support members must set up their Twilio Extension Number in their CRM preferences. 
  3. Incoming calls - When a customer calls on the Twilio Number, the call is routed to all the sales/support members. One of the members can attend the call.
  4. Outgoing calls - When a sales/support member calls a customer, the call is first routed to the member’s own extension number. The sales/support must receive the call on the extension number, after which the call connects to the customer. 

Follow these steps to set up Twilio as a normal gateway:

Perform these steps in Vtiger CRM.
  1. Log in to your CRM account.
  2. Click the User Menu on the top right corner of the CRM screen.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Look for the Extensions section.
  5. Select Phone Configuration.
  6. Click +Add Gateway.
  7. Select Twilio from the Gateway drop-down.
  8. Select Active from the Gateway Status drop-down. This activates the gateway for incoming and outgoing calls.
  9. Set the gateway as default by selecting Yes from the Default Gateway drop-down. This step is optional.
 Keep both Twilio and the CRM tabs open.
  1. Log in to your Twilio account.
  2. Copy Account SID from the Twilio Dashboard to Auth ID in the CRM.
  3. Copy Auth Token from the Twilio Dashboard to Auth Token in the CRM.
  4. Click All Products & Services from the left sidebar in Twilio.
  5. Select Phone Numbers (# icon) > Active Numbers.
  6. Copy your Twilio number and paste it under Twilio Number in the CRM. Remove spaces and the country code from the number.
  7. Click on your Twilio number.
  8. Scroll down to Voice & Fax.
  9. Select the following:
    • Voice Calls under ACCEPT INCOMING
    • Webhooks, TwiML Bins, Functions, Studio, or Proxy under CONFIGURE WITH
  10. Copy Callback URL from the CRM.
  11. Paste the Callback URL in the following fields:
    • A CALL COMES IN
    • PRIMARY HANDLER FAILS
    • CALL STATUS CHANGES
  12. Click Save.
 Go back to the CRM tab.
  1. Choose the following for incoming calls:
    • Welcome Message Type - This is an audio message that is played while a client is calling you. You can choose,
      • Message - Type the message, which is transcribed into an audio message.
      • URL - The audio on the URL is played as the audio message.
    • Closed Message Type - This is an audio message that is played when a client calls you during your non-business hours and you are unavailable to receive calls. You can choose,
      • Message - Type the message, which is transcribed into an audio message.
      • URL - The audio on the URL is played as the audio message.
    • Busy Message Type - This is an audio message that is played when a client calls you during your business hours, but you cannot receive calls.
      • Message - Type the message, which is transcribed into an audio message.
      • URL - The audio on the URL is played as the audio message.
    • No Answer Timeout (sec) - The period after which a client’s incoming call must be disconnected before you receive it. For example, 60 seconds.
    • Language for IVR messages - The language in which the Welcome Message must play.
    • Business Hour Name - Select the agent's business hours. 
    • Voicemail Email ID - When clients leave a voicemail message, it is sent to the email address you specify here. 
    • Voicemail Transcription - Choose None if you do not want a transcript of the voicemail. Choose Auto if you need a transcript.  
    • Wait Music URL - The music that must play when a client’s call is being connected.
    • Recording - Choose Yes if you need a recording of the call. Otherwise, choose No.
    • Recording Message - When recording is enabled, the recording message is played before the system starts recording the call.
    • Ticket/Case Title - Enter the case title. Vtiger CRM does not consider this value.
    • Opportunity - Enter the case title. Vtiger CRM does not consider this value.
  2.  Click Save.
Configure the extension number in the CRM.
  1. Click the User Menu on the top right corner of the screen.
  2. Click My Preferences.
  3. Click the Edit icon.
  4. Scroll down to Phone Preferences.
  5. Enter the extension number under Twilio Extension. Prefix your country code to the extension number.
  6. Click Save.
 

Client gateway

You don’t need an extension number to use client gateways. 


Follow these steps to set up Twilio as a client gateway:
  • Perform Steps 1 to 9 mentioned in the Normal Gateway setup.
  • Keep both Twilio and the CRM tabs open.
  1. Log in to your Twilio account.
  2. Copy Account SID from the Twilio Dashboard to Auth ID in the CRM.
  3. Copy Auth Token from the Twilio Dashboard to Auth Token in the CRM.
  4. Click All Products & Services from the left sidebar in Twilio.
  5. Select Programmable Voice > TwiML > TwiML Apps
  6. Click the + icon to add Vtiger as an app.
  7. Add a name to the app under FRIENDLY NAME.
  8. Copy SID from Twilio to Twiml App Sid in the CRM.
  9. Copy Client Callback URL from the CRM to REQUEST URL in Twilio.
  10. Click Create
  11. Click All Products & Services from the left sidebar in Twilio.
  12. Select Phone Numbers (# icon) > Active Numbers.
  13. Click on your Twilio number.
  14. Scroll down to Voice & Fax.
  15. Select the following:
    • Voice Calls under ACCEPT INCOMING
    • TwiML App under CONFIGURE WITH
  16. Click Save.
  • Perform Steps 18 and 19 mentioned in the Normal Gateway setup.
 
Tips
  • When you set up a client (Twilio or Plivo only) gateway, you can see a Dialer shortcut on top of your CRM screen. You can directly dial a number and call from the shortcut. 
  • After you finish configuring, you must share your Twilio number with your customers for them to contact you.
  • Admin users can restrict other users from making or receiving calls through Profiles.
 

Phone Calls Features

The Phone Calls module provides the features below.


Incoming Call Pop-up

Vtiger CRM users are notified about incoming calls in the form of pop-up messages. 
So how does this feature work? Incoming calls are matched with the lead, contact, or organization records in the CRM by matching caller numbers with numbers in the CRM. 
  • If a matching number exists, then the lead/contact/organization's name is displayed in the pop-up.
  • If a matching number does not exist, you are prompted to enter the caller's email ID in the pop-up to create a new contact record.
  And if you have multiple users manning your phone calls, say a customer care team, then the incoming call pop-up is shown to all the users -
  • For normal gateways, the incoming pop-up is shown to all the users who have configured the extension number in their preferences
  • For client gateways, the pop-up is shown only to the first 10 users who have installed and configured the Phone Calls extension. 
When a user answers a call, the pop-up disappears for other users.
 
So, how is this incoming call pop-up helpful to you? Well, from the pop-up, you can:
  • Search/Create a contact if there is no matching contact for an incoming call.
  • Create a deal or a case from the incoming call pop-up.
  • Transfer calls to other agents or reps.
  • Add call notes.
 Also, you can view recent call logs in related touchpoints of the contact’s record.

 

Click-to-Call for Outgoing Calls

This feature is available for all outgoing calls. You can directly call your contacts from the contact/organization record by adding their phone numbers to the record.
 Follow these steps to place a call from a record:
  1. Log in to your CRM account.
  2. Click the Main Menu.
  3. Go to Essentials.
  4. Select Contacts.
  5. Click on the phone number of a contact under the Phone column in the List View.
  6. Choose a gateway (if multiple are configured and active).
 The call is connected automatically. The outgoing call pop-up has a dialer icon that can be used for IVR messages. 
 
Note: You can also call your contacts from the following screens -
  • Contacts’ List View
  • Contact Summary View
  • Actions
  • Related organization record
  • Related deal record


Call Notes

You can add notes while on a call or after the call to follow up with customers. These notes are available in the phone call records. You can also access these notes for reference whenever you call the customer again.

Customer Sentiments

After a call is completed, you can rate the customer’s experience of talking with you using one of the five sentiments: Very Negative, Negative, Neutral, Positive, and Very Positive. Recording sentiments helps you improve customer experiences in the future.

Call Recording

You can automatically record all incoming calls to ensure you don't miss out on the important points you discussed with your contact. You can listen to these calls later to make notes or to review what you have discussed.


Transfer Calls

Do you have a team of sales reps or customer reps handling calls in your business? Then the Transfer Call feature is perfect for you. If some of your sales reps or customer reps are busy, they can transfer the call to other agents from the incoming call pop-up with just a click. This facility is available for Plivo and Twilio users.
 For example, if Chris is busy on a call with a customer and receives another, he can immediately transfer the second call to James, another sales representative.
 Follow these steps to transfer a call:
  1. Log in to your CRM account.
  2. Receive the call from the incoming call pop-up.
  3. Click the Transfer icon shown on the top right of the pop-up.
  4. Select the agent to whom you want to transfer the call.


Setting up Voicemails

Are all your sales reps busy? Don’t miss a customer's call - set up a voicemail!
You can have your customers leave a message if all support representatives are busy? Or away from work. The voice will be recorded and sent to the owner’s primary email address, which you must specify during the setup.
Also, did you know that you can create a transcript of your voicemail messages?
 Simply enable the Transcript field under Phone calls. You can also send the transcript of the call to your customer. This transcript is emailed to the owner’s primary email address.
 
Note: Transcript might not always provide an accurate representation of the audio. Transcription is available only in Plivo and Twilio.


Link Phone Calls to Business Hours

What if a customer calls when you are having an extensively busy day or your business is closed for the holidays or if it is your day off? Not to worry, you can now link your phone calls to your business hours by setting up a voicemail. Just record your message, and it will be played out. Customers will have the option of leaving you a message on the completion of your voicemail.
For example: 
  • If a customer calls and all the agents are busy, a 'busy' message is played out. 
  • If a customer calls on non-working hours or a holiday, an 'away' message configured with the phone calls is played out.
 
Note
  • The Voicemail, Transcript, and Business Hours features are available only in Plivo and Twilio.
  • You can record Interactive Voice Response (IVR) messages in any of the languages supported in Plivo and Twilio integrations.
 

Phone Call Logs

The log of the calls (incoming and outgoing) are listed under Main Menu > Essentials > Phone Calls. You can view the following details on this screen:
  • Call status, customer number, which agent or rep handled the call (mentioned in Handled By and Assigned To fields), call duration, etc.
  • Details for each call can be seen when you open the call record, such as -
    • Links to the voice recording
    • Call notes
    • Call transfer details
    • Call direction, etc.
 You can create a list of all your phone calls such as missed calls, completed calls, etc. from the List View. 
To learn how to create a list, click here.

 

Phone Call Status Values

Call status values define the status of the calls being handled. You can see the following call statuses in the CRM.
  • Ringing: For inbound calls, before the call is routed.
  • In-progress: For inbound calls, after an agent or a rep picks up the call. For outbound calls, when a rep initiates a call.
  • Completed: For inbound and outbound calls, after a call is completed.
  • Voicemail: For inbound calls, if a call went to voicemail.
  • Hang-up: For inbound calls, if a customer hangs up the call before it is routed to a rep.
  • No-answer: For an outbound call, when it is not answered and there is no voicemail.
 

Other Telephony Gateways in Vtiger CRM

Vtiger CRM’s integrated telephony helps to connect with the following:
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