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Telephony Solutions For Zoho

Choosing a telephony solution for Zoho can be challenging. It’s not just about picking one but also setting it up and using it right. In this article, we provide a full breakdown of our “Telephony Solutions For Zoho” webinar, sharing our thoughts on the existing products out there and how to use the PhoneBridge via RingCentral.

Telephony Overview

Telephony within Zoho is more than just making and receiving calls. It’s about integrating every conversation into your system, keeping records streamlined, and enhancing the workflow. Let’s dive into how telephony for Zoho, particularly with PhoneBridge, can be a game-changer for your business:

Records Integration

  • The ultimate goal is simple: Whenever you call a lead or contact, or they call you, the system logs it.
  • For example, calls within a contact will appear under ‘activities’, showcasing details such as call duration, purpose, and results – critical for outbound prospecting.

Challenges with Manual Logging

  • It’s a common hurdle: getting sales reps to log their calls manually. They’re often more focused on pursuing the next lead, making manual logging a cumbersome process.
  • The solution? Integrate your existing phone system with Zoho’s telephony for a seamless experience.

Initiating the Integration Process

  • Navigate to ‘setup’ and then to ‘channels.’ Here, you’ll find the telephony channel.
  • Depending on whether you’re using Zoho One or just the CRM, the interface may differ slightly, but the functionality remains consistent.

PhoneBridge – Zoho’s Bridge to Efficient Telephony

  • PhoneBridge is Zoho’s tool for integrating various phone systems with Zoho products.
  • It’s your go-to if you’re using a PBX or contact center service like RingCentral, DialPad, Verizon, etc.
  • For those without an existing telephony provider, Zoho also offers its built-in contact center.
  • Notably, there are two distinct products here: Zoho Telephony (built atop Twilio and integrates mainly with CRM) and Zoho Voice (more feature-rich and positioned as a competitor to services like RingCentral).

The Advantage of PhoneBridge

  • PhoneBridge is designed to connect with multiple Zoho apps, making it an ideal choice for those using Zoho’s suite of products.
  • While many leading telephony providers are integrated with PhoneBridge, some might have direct integrations with specific Zoho apps rather than using the PhoneBridge API.

PhoneBridge Walk-Through

PhoneBridge in Zoho CRM, let’s see how it works in real-time. It’s essential to understand how it functions after the setup to ensure smooth operations when you’re interacting with your contacts or leads.

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  1. Receiving a Call:
    • When a contact or lead calls you and you’ve set up your preferences to receive calls in your browser, a notification will pop up on your screen. This notification will show you the name of the contact or lead if they’re saved in your CRM, allowing for quick recognition. You can then decide to pick up the call or reject it directly from the CRM interface.
  2. Making a Call:
    • When you’re on a contact or lead’s page, you’ll notice the phone number is hyperlinked. Clicking on this link will immediately initiate a call from the browser (or your chosen telephony option). The call can be tracked and recorded if you’ve set up those preferences.
  3. Logging the Call:
    • After the call is completed, Zoho CRM will prompt you to log the call. This feature ensures that every interaction is captured, allowing for better tracking and management. You can add notes, specify the call result (e.g., left voicemail, connected, etc.), and schedule follow-ups right from the call log window.
  4. SMS & Other Features:
    • If your telephony provider supports SMS, you can send text messages directly from the CRM. You’ll find an option next to the phone icon, and once clicked, you can type and send your message.
  5. Integrations:
    • Depending on the telephony provider, you might have additional features integrated into PhoneBridge. For instance, with RingCentral, you might have the ability to send faxes, set up video conferences, or access other communication tools directly from Zoho CRM.
  6. Reporting & Analytics:
    • The advantage of using a CRM-integrated telephony solution like PhoneBridge is the ability to track and analyze your calls. Zoho CRM will provide detailed reports on call durations, outcomes, and other metrics that can help improve your sales and service processes.

PhoneBridge in Action

The integration of RingCentral with Zoho CRM using PhoneBridge offers users a seamless telephony experience. Once set up, users can access their telephony services from any location. This is especially beneficial as it ensures that users can be mobile and not restricted by location-specific setups.

Key Features:

  1. Portability: Regardless of where the application is installed, users can access their telephony services from any PC. Once they log into the CRM, all the telephony services will be available, eliminating the need for reconfiguration or additional setup.
  2. Call Popup: When a call is made, the system provides a popup in the bottom right. This popup offers details about the call and provides options for further action.
  3. Integrated Access Across Apps: The PhoneBridge integration is not just limited to the CRM. Users can access it from other Zoho applications like Zoho Recruits, Zoho Desk, and BigIn. This ensures that users can manage any inbound phone call regardless of the Zoho app they are using.
  4. Efficient Call Logging: PhoneBridge allows users to log calls within any Zoho application. Even after a call has ended, users have the option to add descriptions, edit fields, or create follow-up activities directly from the popup.
  5. Versatility: Not every call pertains to sales. Sometimes, a sales representative might receive a support-related call. With PhoneBridge, they can directly create a support ticket during or after the call, ensuring efficient query resolution.

Limitations and Considerations:

  1. Not All Telephony Apps are Equal: Despite having multiple choices for telephony apps, they vary in features and functionalities. Factors like call transferring, parking, and IVR systems need to be considered.
  2. Pricing and Usage: Pricing varies across providers. Some might offer unlimited minutes for a higher monthly fee, while others might have a low monthly fee but charge per minute. This requires users to assess their calling needs and select a service accordingly.
  3. Other Features – Click-to-Call & SMS: A universal feature is click-to-call, which allows users to initiate calls directly from the CRM. On mobile, calls made from the CRM app will use the mobile provider but can still be logged in the CRM. There is also the capability for SMS, though its integration and logging might differ based on the provider.

SMS Options in Zoho CRM

Overview: When integrating SMS capabilities into Zoho CRM, users have various top-tier applications available in the marketplace. A notable observation is that two of the most prominent applications are SMS-related, showcasing the significance of SMS integration in CRM processes.

Key Applications:

  1. Sintch Message Media Smooth Messenger:
    • History: Originally named “Smooth Messenger,” it was then sold to Message Media and renamed “Smooth Messenger by Message Media.” Subsequently, Sintch acquired Message Media, giving it its current name.
    • Features: This tool integrates with Zoho CRM and provides an iMessage-like interface for SMS, allowing users to see both sides of a conversation in a visually pleasing UI. This makes it seem that one is looking directly at their phone’s message application.
    • Versatility: Users can bifurcate their services, maintaining voice services with one provider (e.g., RingCentral) and shifting SMS services to another, like Smooth Messenger. It supports multiple phone numbers and text message interactions.
  2. SMS Magic:
    • A highly regarded SMS application with functionalities similar to Smooth Messenger.
    • Suitable for businesses already using RingCentral but wanting a specialized SMS tool.

Considerations for SMS Integrations:

  1. Volume: Depending on your business’s needs, choosing an SMS provider that can handle the volume of text messages you send daily is crucial.
  2. High Volume API: Some applications, like certain RingCentral plugins, are equipped to handle large SMS volumes, suitable for transaction updates or shipping notifications.
  3. Web Hooks & Automation: Ensure your SMS provider supports these functionalities, allowing for seamless workflows. For instance, the system can send a text message if there’s no response to an email within a set period.
  4. Integration with Zoho Campaigns: Businesses using Zoho Campaigns for various communication strategies might want to integrate SMS services for cohesive outreach.

For more on SMS be sure to check out our article Getting Started with SMS Marketing For Zoho.

Billy Bates

Senior Web Developer

Billy is a Wordpress Developer with an eye for design. His knowledge will help our company website and client sites meet their goals. Billy and his young family have just moved to Ashland Oregon, and are looking forward to exploring the area’s amazing beer, wine, and food. He also has a passion for synthesizers and drum machines.

Lucas Sant'Anna


With a background in Operations Research and Data Analysis, Lucas is a Brazilian programmer that likes to get stuff done quickly and reliably. In previous jobs, he implemented industrial job scheduling, fleet management and detailed long-haul route optimization – among other data-driven processes – to reach objectives of increased profit and reduced wasted resources. His goal is to make Zoho fully automated and with more meaningful data for spot-on decisions.