For those that are part of the quickly growing community of CRM users via Mobile (more specifically, your phone and the CRM Mobile App), calling one of your contacts is pretty easy using the default tap to dial functionality from your Smart phone.  But when your contact has an extension, that’s where things start to get complicated.  You either need to have a good memory to dial the extension when appropriate or be proactive with the copy/paste feature on your phone.

Let’s start off with a couple common examples of phone number formats.

I’ll assume you’ve found a person within CRM through your normal means of locating your business contacts in CRM for Mobile.

  1. Typical 10 digit phone number:

(864) 555-1234

  1. 10 digit phone number with extension (Common examples) in the same field:

(864) 555-1111 ext. 123

(864) 555-1111 x123

  1. 10 digit phone number with extension (Preferred method):

(864) 555-1111; 123

Example #1 above is the ‘Control’ or ‘easy path’ sample.  From a phone using CRM for Mobile, this functions as expected when tapping to dial.  The phone’s operating system (iOS, Android, etc) will prompt you to dial the number (as seen below).

Note: In all examples, CRM’s default out of box functionality will automatically create a Phone Call task during this process.

Note 2: All screen shots are from an Apple iPhone 5S.

CRM Mobile App Blog 1

The examples for #2 are the most common examples that I have seen with clients and their data.  Aesthetically, there is nothing wrong with these examples, the issue is how your phone processes the request (“the tap”) to dial.  It assumes you want to dial the entire string of characters, including the letters and extension, at the same time.  1 of 2 things usually result from this:

  1. The extension is dialed long before the number you are calling is ready to receive it.

Or

  1. The call fails due to too many digits/characters being dialed at once.

CRM Mobile App Blog 2

 

Let’s talk about the preferred method, using the semicolon. 

Background:

The format for dialing phone numbers using special characters dates back several decades for use with modems, long before smart phones and apps ever became commonplace.  The use of semicolons (;) and commas (,) to separate digits in a phone number signify much more than a visual identifier to separate groups of numbers.  A semicolon represents a hard “Wait” command and a comma represents a soft/temporary “Pause” command (typically 2-3 seconds).  Either can be used in our example above, the trick with the usage of commas is to know (or guess) how long of a pause is needed. 

This is a more automated method, but it may take some trial and error to get it right.  The semicolon will let you choose when to tap (to dial) the extension.

Example #3: Using a semicolon:

When you tap on this phone number, your phone will know to wait until you want to dial the extension.  See screen shots below.

CRM Mobile App Blog 3

 

CRM Mobile App Blog 4

 

Notice the DIAL “123” option above.  This option will be available once a connection is made to the number being called.  You have a one touch option to dial the extension when it’s appropriate.  This also works with leading or trailing pound sign (#) and asterisk/star (*), if needed.

For clients that will be migrating a large set of data that may have extensions included, I advise them to reformat the extension part of phone numbers to use the semicolon as part of the migration plan/process.  Teaching end users to use this format when creating or updated new phones for contacts/companies is also very important.

Pro tip:

Do you call into the same teleconference line (with extension/meeting code) routinely (daily, weekly, etc)?  Set up the conference number as a contact on your phone (but not in CRM, because that would be silly) using the semicolon or comma(s) to make dialing in easier when you’re on the road.  If you’re the organizer of the meeting (depending on the type of invite used), use that format in the Location field or Notes section of your calendar invite.

Happy Dialing!

Ready to have a conversation about how you can improve the way you’re using CRM? Reach out to Hitachi Solutions today!

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