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Phone Calls with Exotel

Learn how to connect with your contacts with Phone Calls and Exotel in Vtiger CRM!
R
Ruba
27 Oct, 2022 - Updated 3 months ago
Table of Contents

Introduction

Is your office crowded with the latest phones, faxes, mobiles, etc.?

Are you finding it difficult to communicate with your customers using 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. Now, you do not have to worry about tying up with a service provider, logging into CRM, and then placing your calls.

How does Vtiger CRM’s Phone Calls feature work?  

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.
  • Use different telephony gateways, that is, connect to other hosted telephony services such as Plivo, Twilio, ViciDial, Knowlarity, and Asterisk ver. 1.4 and 1.6 (without Vtiger Connector) and Asterisk ver. 1.8 - 11 (with Vtiger Connector).

Benefits of the Phone Calls feature

There are numerous advantages of using the Phone Calls module, a few are listed below:

  • 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.
  • Optimized resources - Vastly beneficial, especially if you are a small business with a few employees and do not want to invest more 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 even when they are on the road. You can log in at different times and not worry about changes in weather or social conditions.
  • Increased volume of calls - Provides more lines of communication and enables handling a large number of calls.
  • Increased productivity and efficiency - You will have a single platform, that is your computer to track customer data and communicate with them. You don’t have to switch between multiple applications and devices to see data, which turns a phone call much more efficient. 
 

Feature Availability

Sales/Help Desk Starter

Sales/Help Desk Professional

Sales Enterprise

All-in-One Professional

All-in-One Enterprise

Feature Availability

Exotel Gateway

How does Exotel Work

Following is a simplified workflow of Exotel calls in Vtiger CRM:

  • Integration - CRM admins subscribe to the Exotel service and get their Exotel Number.
  • Adding members - CRM admins must then add their sales and support representatives as co-workers in Exotel along with their phone numbers.
  • Setting up phone numbers - Individual sales and support representatives must set up their phone number (the same number in Step 2) as their Exotel Extension Number in the CRM preferences 
  • Incoming calls - When a customer calls on the Exotel Number, the call is routed to the sales and support representatives who are added as co-workers. Any one of the representatives can attend the call.
  • Outgoing calls - When a sales and support representative calls a customer, the call is first routed to the representative’s own extension number. They must first receive the call on their extension number, after which the call connects to the customer. 


Installing Phone Calls

To use the Phone Calls module, you must first 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 CRM.
  2. Click the User Menu on the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Click Settings. 
 
  1. Look for the Extensions section.
  2. Select Extension Store.
 
  1. Search for Phone Calls using the search bar.
  2. Click Install.


After you install the module, you can see it under Main Menu > Essentials > Conversations.

Configuring Exotel

After installing the Phone Calls extension, you must configure the Exotel gateway.

Follow these steps to configure Exotel:

Perform these steps in Vtiger CRM

  1. Log in to CRM.
  2. Click on the User Menu in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Click Settings.
 
  1. Look for the Extensions section.
  2. Select Phone Configuration.
 
  1. Click +Add Gateway.
 
  1. Select Exotel from the Gateway drop-down.
  2. Select Active from the Gateway Status drop-down. This activates the gateway for incoming and outgoing calls.
  3. Set the gateway as default by selecting Yes from the Default Gateway drop-down. This step is optional.
 
  1. Enter the following details:
  1. Select Transactional from the Exotel Calltype drop-down.
  2. Choose a timezone from the Exotel Timezone drop-down.
  3. Enter the Case/Ticket Title that you want to create. 
  4. Enter the Opportunity Name that you want to create. 
  5. Choose the country from which you or your business operates from the Country drop-down.

Open Exotel in a different tab and keep both tabs open.

  1. Log in to your Exotel account.
  2. Click API from SETTINGS in the left sidebar.
 
  1. Click API Settings from the left sidebar.
  2. Copy Account sid, API KEY, API TOKEN simultaneously. Use the eye icon to disclose API TOKEN.
 
  1. Paste Account sid to Exotel SID, API KEY to Exotel API Key, API TOKEN to Exotel Token in the CRM. Make sure you disclose the token before copying it.
 
  1. Copy your Exotel number from the exophone section under the admin column.
 
  1. Paste the copied Exotel number into the Exotel Number field in the CRM. Prefix the number with 0 and remove all special characters.
  2. Click Save in the CRM.
 
  1. Click App Bazaar under ADMIN in Exotel’s sidebar.
  2. Click Create to create an application.
 
  1. Enter the App Name. For example, VtigerCRM.
  2. Click OK.
 
  1. Click Create Call App in the CALL SETUP column.
 
  1. Drag and drop the Connect applet from the right under When a call happens, what should we do?
  2. Click on the applet.
 
  1. Copy the Call Popup URL from the CRM into the textbox in Create popup.
 
  1. Scroll down and paste the copied URL into Create popup field.
 
  1. Drag and drop the Passthru applet from the right under After the call conversation ends.
  2. Click on the applet.
 
  1. Copy the Call Hangup URL from the CRM. 
 
  1. Paste the copied URL into the textbox in Passthru.
  2. Click Save.

Add co-workers and their numbers in Exotel.

  1. Click Co-workers and Groups under CONTACTS on the Exotel sidebar.
 
  1. Click +Invite Co-workers.
 
  1. Enter their name, email address, phone number, etc.
  2. Specify their role in Plivo - User, Supervisor, or Admin.
  3. Click Add.


Configure the extension number in CRM.

  1. Click the User Menu on the top right corner of the screen. 
  2. Click My Preferences.
 
  1. Click the Edit icon.
 
  1. Scroll down to Phone Preferences and enter the extension number (co-worker number added in Exotel) under Exotel Extension. Prefix 0 to the extension number.
  2. Click Save.
 

Note: To make outgoing calls from the CRM using the Exotel gateway, you must set up your KYC details in your Exotel account. You will be able to make calls only after the Exotel team approves your KYC.

Phone Calls Feature

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 or contact or 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 configured with the extension number in their preferences.  

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 or 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 or organization record by adding their phone numbers to the record.  

Follow these steps to place a call from a record:

  1. Log in to CRM.
  2. Click the Main Menu.
 
  1. Go to Essentials.
  2. Select Contacts.
 
  1. Hower on any required contact in the Listview and click on the phone icon on the available options.
 
  1. 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.

To learn more about customer sentiments, click here.  

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 CRM.
  2. Receive the call from the incoming call pop-up.
  3. Click the Transfer icon shown on the top right of the pop-up.
 
  1. Select the agent to whom you want to transfer the call.
 
  1. Add transfer call notes if any.
  2. Click Transfer call.
 

Note: You can get voicemails and voicemail transcriptions in Plivo and Twilio gateways. 

Phone Calls Logs

The log of the calls (incoming and outgoing) is 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 directions, etc.

You can create a list of all your phone calls, such as missed calls, completed calls, etc., from the ListView. 

To learn how to create a list, click here


Phone Call Status Values

Call status values to 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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