Zendesk Releases Advanced Voice

Zendesk today released Advanced Voice, an enhanced version of its phone support offering, embedded directly into its cloud-based contact center software. With it, companies can set up Zendesk phone support in minutes without purchasing extra equipment and can make or take calls from the same multichannel environment in which they manage all other support channels.

Zendesk's Advanced Voice offering includes multilevel interactive voice response to route customers to the right agent or department and provide recorded responses for frequently asked questions. In addition, warm transfer technology allows agents to ensure smooth handoffs, limit repetitive conversations, and speed the time to resolution.

Ryan Nichols, general manager of Zendesk Voice, sees the warm transfer functionality as one of the key features of the release. "One agent is not just blindly passing off the call to another agent," he says. "She stays on the line until the new agent picks up and then introduces the customer to the new agent."

Additional features of Advanced Voice include the following:

  • Real-time dashboards that allow managers to monitor and adapt to queue and agent activity;
  • Call data in Zendesk Insights. to track and measure operational efficiencies and understand how phone support fits into overall support strategies;
  • Customizable auto-agent wrap-up time, to provide agents an opportunity to complete work related to conversations without interruption from new calls; and
  • Multiple Schedules, which enables companies to assign specific business hours to individual phone numbers to accommodate complex worldwide operating hours.

"At Zendesk, we've been investing heavily in voice," Nichols says.

Voice, he adds, "is the fastest way for customers to get a resolution."

With Advanced Voice, Zendesk is taking the voice channel, turning it into a digital channel, and blending it with other channels, Nichols explains.

"When you get a customer on the phone, that's a moment of truth," he says. "You don't want technology or processes to get in the way."

Advanced Voice builds on the success that Zendesk has had with the Zendesk Voice offering it first rolled out a few years ago. Zendesk Voice is a cloud contact center offering with integrated voice capabilities. Running on Twilio's online communications infrastructure for voice and text applications, Zendesk Voice enables companies to create cloud-based call centers in minutes. They just need to set up phone numbers to receive calls through their Zendesk platform. With automated tracking, the solution also records voice conversations, converts the audio to text transcripts, and can even embed content from the conversation into Zendesk tickets.

Zendesk Advanced Voice enhances that product "to allow customers to provide full-fledged phone support" Nichols says. "We kept all the simplicity but added quite a lot of new functionality."

Prior to launching Advanced Voice, Zendesk piloted it with 27 companies, including Washio, providers of a mobile app for dry cleaning and laundry services in Boston, Chicago, Oakland, San Francisco, Washington, and Los Angeles.

"Voice was so simple to set up. We flipped a switch and instantly had a reliable, fully integrated phone support solution that works with all our other support channels in Zendesk," said Juan Dulanto, chief operations officers at Washio, in a statement. "The omnichannel integration Zendesk offers is especially important as we make business decisions. The comprehensive data analytics reports we receive across all our channels provides important insights we wouldn’t have had otherwise."

That simplicity is the key to the Zendesk Advanced Voice offering, according to Nichols. "It's so easy to add phone support today," he says. "A lot of companies are still intimidated by [offering phone support], but it's very easy to do. Advanced Voice makes phone support do-able for any company."

Zendesk Advanced Voice supports phone conversations over mobile, landline, and IP networks. The cloud-based solution is available on a per-user/per-month basis.