Forums/Documentation/Agent Guide

Taking inbound telephone calls with Zendesk Voice

Anton de Young
posted this on September 02, 2011 11:02

After your voice channel has been set up and enabled by an administrator (see Setting up Zendesk Voice in the Zendesk Administrator Guide), you are ready to accept live phone calls and voicemails.

The incoming call workflow: how live calls and voicemails become tickets

All of the agents that make themselves available to take calls are added to a pool of available agents. Calls are queued and routed according to the following rules.

  1. If a new incoming call exceeds the maximum queue size (see Enabling the voice channel and configuring the general settings in the Zendesk Administrator Guide), the total number of calls that are allowed to wait in the queue, the caller is sent to voicemail.
  2. If a new incoming call is within the limits of the maximum queue size, the caller is queued for the next available agent. If you've configured that number to be routed to a specific group or set of groups, the caller must wait for an agent in that group to be available. The caller can dial 1 at anytime to leave a voicemail.
  3. If all the available agents are busy with other calls, callers are queued up to the maximum queue wait time (see Enabling the voice channel and configuring the general settings in the Zendesk Administrator Guide). Once they exceed that wait time, callers are sent to voicemail.
  4. The next available agent is the one who has been available the longest without accepting a phone call (the most idle agent). This is the agent that receives new incoming calls first.
  5. If the most idle agent does not answer the phone within 30 seconds or declines the call, it is placed back into the queue to wait for the next most idle agent. This continues until all available agents have accepted calls. Once this occurs, new incoming calls are handled based on the queue settings, as described in the previous steps.

Until an agent picks up the call, the caller hears the available agents and wait greetings (see Selecting voice greetings in the Zendesk Administrator Guide).

Making yourself available to receive calls

By default, each agent's availability is set to Not Available for live phone calls. When no agents are available, all calls are sent to voicemail and new tickets are automatically created for each. You can review these and complete and assign the tickets based on your workflow.

When you're ready to accept live phone calls, you can make yourself available to answer phone calls within Zendesk and your web browser.

Instead of answering calls via the browser, you can forward calls to the telephone number in your user profile. To add an agent forwarding number to your profile, click your name in the upper-right corner, and then click Add Number next to Agent Forwarding. Zendesk Classic: Click Edit in your profile page and add your number.

To make yourself available to receive calls and notifications
  • Click the Voice icon in the top toolbar, then hover your mouse over the Offline button and it will change to Online. Click the button to go online.

    Zendesk Classic: Click the Voice icon in the top toolbar, then select an Available option. You can choose to answer calls via the browser or via your personal phone (if you've added the number to your profile).
    Notice that the Voice icon () in the top toolbar appears to indicate that you are available for calls.

To enable voice notifications

When you're available to receive calls, your browser will request permission to show you notifications. You should click Allow or Show, depending on your browser.

In Chrome, the request looks like the following example:

In Firefox, the request looks like this:

Receiving and accepting a call

If you're in Zendesk and receive a call, the call console appears in the upper-right corner.

If you're not in Zendesk but are in another browser window and have enabled voice notifications, you can click the notification that appears in the upper-right corner of the screen to get to your Zendesk and the call console.

To take a call
  • Click Accept in the call console that appears under the Voice icon in the top toolbar.
    Zendesk Classic: Depending on how you are receiving calls, click Accept in the call console or answer your personal phone and follow the voice prompt. If you forwarded the call to your phone, you might also need to click Accept in the call console, depending on how your administrator set up Voice

    If you don't answer within 30 seconds or decline the call, it is placed back in the queue to wait for the next available agent.

When you accept the call, the call console begins recording the call and a ticket is created. While speaking with the caller, you can enter information as needed as a comment in the newly created ticket. The call console remains available at the top of the ticket. During the call you can mute and unmute as needed by clicking the microphone icon in the call console. While on a call, you can put the caller on hold so that you can consult with another agent or track down other information.
To put a caller on hold
  • Click the pause button on the lower-right side of the call console.

    While on hold, the caller hears the on-hold music and you hear a beep every 15 seconds. Click the pause button again to take the caller off hold.

Identifying the caller and handling new user accounts

Calls received from new, unknown users generate new user accounts that are identified only by the telephone number they are calling from. To communicate via email with these users going forward, you need to ask your callers for their email address while you're on the call with them and then add it to their new user account.

Each user must have a unique telephone number; this is how Zendesk Voice identifies them when they call in. Therefore, the user's profile phone number must be their direct line. If the user hasn't already done so themselves, you should verify that the number they are calling from is their direct line and then select the Direct Line option in the user profile, as shown here:

Setting a telephone number as a user's direct line means that the number cannot be used by any other users in the account.

If the caller is an existing end-user and their number has been added to their profile as their direct line, their name is displayed in the call console.

Unknown users can also actually be existing users if they're calling from a telephone number that they haven't added to their user profile. In this case, you can merge the new user account with their existing user account. For more information, see Merging a user's duplicate account.

Ending a call

To end a call
  • Click Hang up in the call console at the top of the ticket. Or, if you've redirected the call to your telephone you can end the call by hanging up.
    Zendesk Classic: Click Hang up in the call console.
In this state, with the call ended and the ticket still open, you're considered to be in wrap up and are unavailable to take more calls. This allows you to complete annotating and setting the ticket properties before moving on to the next call. When you are ready to go back into the pool of available agents, you can make yourself available.
Note: If your administrator has disabled agent wrap-up, then you are immediately available for another call when you finish a call; you do not need to make yourself available.
To make yourself available for another call
  • In the Voice console, click Available to take new calls.

    If you do not see this option, then your administrator has disabled agent wrap-up. This means you are immediately available for another call when you finish a call.

Completing the new voice ticket

When you accept the phone call a new ticket is created. You can add a comment to the ticket and update the ticket properties while you speak with the caller.

By default, when you answer a call you are assigned to the ticket. This overrides any triggers you have that also set the assignee.

When a ticket is created, a private comment is immediately added that includes the following call information:

The user won't see this comment of course, because it's private, but creating a new ticket fires the Notify requester of received request trigger and sends the user an email notification confirming that a ticket was created. This only occurs if the call is from a known user whose account contains their email address. If the caller is unknown, email notifications aren't sent until you've updated their user profile with their email address.

In the first case you might not want an email notification to be sent until you've updated and submitted the ticket. This can be done, by an administrator, by editing the Notify requester of received request trigger to exclude tickets received from the Phone call (incoming) channel. For more information, see Setting up business rules to track and manage voice tickets in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

When you update the ticket by clicking Submit, the recording of your conversation is added as a new public comment. If you added a public comment with a summary of the support issue, both public comments are added at the same time.

Since two public comments were added, two ticket notifications are sent to the user. Your voice channel can be configured to prevent users from accessing the live call recordings (see Enabling the voice channel and configuring the general settings in the Zendesk Administrator Guide). If your administrator has allowed the recordings to be accessible, the user can click a link to the recording from the notification email or by accessing the ticket from the Web portal.

Note: Unlike voicemail tickets, live call recordings do not include a transcription.

When the caller leaves a voicemail

When no agents are available or the incoming calls exceed the maximum queue size or wait time, callers are sent to voicemail. Each voicemail message automatically becomes a ticket. If the call is from a new or unidentified existing user, a new user account is created (you can merge the new account with the user's existing account). Tickets generated from a voicemail message contain the voicemail recording and a transcription. Voicemail messages can be up to 3 minutes long.

In this example the caller is unknown and only identified by their telephone number; therefore they will not receive the received request email notification because the new user account doesn't contain their email address. Existing users who leave voicemails receive a notification just as if they had submitted a supported request via the other ticket channels.

To track all calls that have resulted in voicemails, you can set up a view (see Setting up business rules to track and manage voice tickets in the Zendesk Administrator Guide).

You can either manually, or using business rules, update voicemail tickets as needed and then respond to the caller.

Note: Zendesk Voice does not support making outbound calls.

Merging tickets when a new call is about an existing ticket

You may often find that callers are contacting you about an issue for which a ticket has already been created. To handle this situation, just conduct the call and add comments as needed to the new ticket. You can then merge the new ticket with the existing ticket.

For information about merging tickets, see Merging tickets.

Forwarding calls to a different phone number

In addition to answering calls via the browser, you can select to forward calls to your office or mobile phone.

To add a agent forwarding number

  1. Edit your user profile by selecting the User menu, then clicking View profile page.
    Zendesk Classic: Click your name in the upper-right corner, then click Edit in your profile page.
  2. Add your telephone number, including a plus (+) sign and the country code, to the Agent forwarding option.

    If your telephone number includes an extension, add it to the extension field. If you also use additional key presses, you can also add those to the extension field. For example, if a caller must dial '123' followed by a pound ('#') key, enter '123#'.

    Zendesk Classic: In Zendesk Classic, you can also click Test Forwarding to call the phone number you entered and make sure forwarding is working.
  3. Click Save to save your user profile.
    Zendesk Classic: Click Update.

Searching for voice tickets

You can search for tickets that were generated from phone calls and voicemails. You can also search for a user's tickets using their phone number.

Using theviakeyword in a search you can search for either phone call or voicemail tickets, as in the following examples.

via:voicemail
via:phone_call_inbound
If you want to search for a user's ticket using their telephone number, you can use a search statement like this:
requester:+14154187506 status:new

For more information about searching the data in your Zendesk, see Zendesk search reference in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

 

Comments

User photo
Bob Childress
I get the popup with instructions to allow call (Twilio) and then almost instantly I get another pop-up that says "Zendesk voice has gone offline". I can't click on the first pop-up because the second pop-up takes precedence and only option I have on second pop-up is to close it and that closes the first pop-up instantly. Therefore I can never set it to allow calls.
September 12, 2011 11:33
User photo
Bob Childress
Graphic for my comment above.
September 12, 2011 11:34
User photo
Jon Dale
I've got the same issue...using Chrome on a mac.
September 12, 2011 11:35
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Bob, Jon, looking at your issues now.

September 12, 2011 11:36
User photo
Bob Childress
ok it's a Chrome issue. IE works
September 12, 2011 11:37
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Thanks for letting me know Bob.

September 12, 2011 11:38
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Jon, Bob, can you both let me know what versions of Chrome you are using?

September 12, 2011 11:38
User photo
Jon Dale
It's working fine in firefox...so it appears to be a bug with Chrome.
September 12, 2011 11:44
User photo
Jon Dale
September 12, 2011 11:45
User photo
Bob Childress
Chrome 15.0.874.5 dev-m Now that I can do the checkbox in IE and have it say I can accept calls, it's saying no agents are available. I guess that's because I'm an admin and not an agent.
September 12, 2011 11:45
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

@Bob, @Jon -- it looks like you guys are both on beta versions of Chrome -- the latest versions we tested with were 13.x, so I can definitely see that there may be issues.  We'll have to do some more testing on these edge versions to understand what the issue is, it may be a Chrome issue.

@Bob, once you enable Flash to use your computer's mic, you should be able to take phone calls.  Both admins and agents can both take phone calls.  If you're having issues with this I'd be happy to help you troubleshoot further.

September 12, 2011 11:54
User photo
Dustin Trapani
Ya, the current version of Chrome (13.something) on my Mac (10.7.1) seems to be working fine. Great product, Zendesk!
September 12, 2011 12:28
User photo
Bob Childress
We already record calls and don't need that but saving the time on lookup of the customer would be nice but not worth .05/minute. Any chance of a version that just does the lookup?
September 12, 2011 12:36
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Bob, we do plan on enhancing our API to make phone-type integrations easier.  For example, you could use our search API to lookup tickets by requester phone #, is this what you are after?

September 12, 2011 18:13
User photo
Jason Howard
livescribe
I do not see the ability to make outbound calls - any plans to support that in the future?
September 12, 2011 20:54
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Jason, nothing yet on outbound but that's high priority on our roadmap.

September 12, 2011 21:40
User photo
Jonathan
beyondpay
If a user has more than one direct line, how do we enter that? For example, they may call from a cell phone or an office number?
September 13, 2011 08:51
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Jonathan, unfortunately there's no solution for that right now -- we only support one phone number field in Zendesk.

September 13, 2011 09:08
User photo
Samuel L.
canadabicycleparts

+1 for outbound calls. An integrated way to return voicemails would really be nice. We will be adding voice as soon as Outbound is supported.

September 14, 2011 19:32
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Samuel, outbound is definitely on our list.

September 14, 2011 20:57
User photo
Jackson Chung

Having problem with playing back the voicemail or greeting voice on Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv:1.9.2.21) Gecko/20110830 Ubuntu/10.10 (maverick) Firefox/3.6.21 . I have the noscript extension but it is not blocking the page.

It is ok on rekonq (my chrome has other issues)

On another note, any plan on adding more default greeting voices/tones?

September 16, 2011 16:46
User photo
Lucas Jans

Is there a way to transfer a call to other agents?

Is there a way to send sales phone calls to a different phone number (outside this system?)

How about a phone tree options where only support rings to the agents, and others ring elsewhere?

September 19, 2011 12:12
User photo
Lucas Jans

What'st the cost? Same as Twillio's rates?

September 19, 2011 12:16
User photo
David

How do I add a land line so I can answer phone calls through that line but still be integrated with my zendesk?

September 22, 2011 12:53
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

@Jackson, thanks for highlighting the Linux issue.  We haven't done any testing on Linux/Ubuntu as it's not an officially supported platform of ours.  No plans at this time to add default greetings voices/tones, but if you're looking for a professional recording, I learned about fiverr.com (I'm at Twilio Conference right now) for getting inexpensive voice recordings from professional voice actors/actresses.

@Lucas, there is no way to transfer calls or IVR functionality at the moment.  In this first version we provide a basic call queueing and call routing workflow.  Look for more enhancements in upcoming releases.

@David, you can add a land line in your agent user profile and this will show up in the phone availability menu along with the embedded phone client (browser) option.

September 22, 2011 14:35
User photo
Aaron Pewtherer
Zendesk

1. Voicemails are limited to 2 minutes.
2. You can also search for phone numbers in Mange > People search box with "phone:+1##########"

September 23, 2011 11:42
User photo
Jeice

I just have a question regarding zendesk voice, basically we want to calculate the stats of each agent, we tried to compute using minutes and seconds from "Phone call caller (xxx-xxxx)" notification but it does not match with the total we got from Call history.

What is the process if we wanted to check the total of monthly stats (total minutes) per agent? Is Call history accurate or is call activity (or some other way) better to check it?

October 03, 2011 04:39
User photo
Aaron Pewtherer
Zendesk

@Jeice At the moment, Voice calls are calculated as soon as they arrive in your Zendesk, in addition to the number of minutes your agent is on the call, plus wait time. Voice calls are not tracked for total talk time.

October 05, 2011 11:44
User photo
Harrison Perl

hey guys - we currently use cisci desktop agent for our call management solution.  This software also allows us to choose skill levels for our agents which are linked to a phone tree for different types of issues (Ex. Press 1 for password reset, press 2 for claim status...).  Does this feature allow for the same type of call triage?  If not, is this something that might be rolled out some time soon?

October 06, 2011 11:28
User photo
Aaron Pewtherer
Zendesk

@Harrison No triage or IVR at this time. It's something we are looking into.

October 06, 2011 11:29
User photo
Jon Dale

Have you considered integrating directly with skype so that a skype in number isn't required...just a skype username?  That would be really nice.

October 06, 2011 11:38
User photo
Aaron Pewtherer
Zendesk

@Jon Voice currently uses Twilio for Voice Integration which doesn't offer an integration with Skype API. That's a great idea though, as Skype does have API as well.

October 06, 2011 13:24
User photo
Beth Goodsell

Another vote for outbound calls.  We're using voice now and this is a definite need. 

November 02, 2011 18:16
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Beth, thanks for voicing that, it's high on our list as well.

November 06, 2011 19:13
User photo
Juli Fischer
bellbusinessappsstore

One more vote for outbound!

November 08, 2011 10:07
User photo
Tom Corbett
dotmailer

Great feature

I assume at the moment it picks an agent as random to be the first one on the call rota and then cycles through available agents?

I notice if i decline the call it bounces to the next availble member of staff.

Is it possible to have all the agents called at once and not end on 30 seconds? Can we set up the call rota to say ring the phones in this order instead of the random order. i assume it looks at who last accepted a call and select the agent who hasn't had the most recent. Ideally have the call bounce through to an available agent is good but very easy to miss as it only rings for 30 seconds and then moves to next agent especially if using the available at this direct number option.

What further ideas are being looked into on this channel as we are going to be logging and recording alot of inbound traffic if we look to go ahead with this.

for example the reporting page /voice/settings#call_activity showing the amount of calls waiting be great if that was external page.

November 11, 2011 04:48
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Tom, currently, as you have discovered, we route to the next most idle agent first.  Currently we only support simple routing (one agent at a time) but we're interested in hearing how you prefer to route to agents.

There are a number of things we are interested in adding, including outbound calling, IVR, and multiple phone lines.  As you can see in our forum, we are releasing this feature for UK numbers next month.

November 11, 2011 16:35
User photo
Jonathan
beyondpay

Our big features we would like to see are:

Ability to transfer calls

Setup "groups" to have specific people responsible for answering phones first

Have all numbers in "group" ring at the same time.  First response wins.

Outbound calling.

I think Skype integration would be awesome, since Skype has these features, and works very well already.  But I'd happily replace skype/google voice with your offering if it had the features we were looking for.

November 12, 2011 04:42
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Thanks for the feedback Jonathan.  

Unfortunately Skype keeps their platform pretty closed, so we won't have the ability to forward calls to their platform and take advantage of their features.  If you have found otherwise, please let me know.

November 13, 2011 22:17
User photo
Tom Corbett
dotmailer

Hi Steve

I like it routes to my most idle agent, could way to balance the work load.

So things i would like or would be cool:

  •     The ability to have multiple direct lines for end users as we commonly have them call from different landlines in there office or mobile phone numbers.
  • Transfer between agents - eg from 1st line to second line support groups , this would then transfer the ticket created.
  • Filtering - based on tags so certain users may have a specific agent they liaise with with a custom message for that tag
  • Reporting - live reporting boards - so enhancing what is shown here /voice/settings#call_activity


I assume this will mean more reporting views will be made available, such as calls accepted by agent by hour vs the total calls that came in that hour.

November 14, 2011 02:31
User photo
Jackson Chung

trying to setup a direct line as an end user for testing.. it seems a bit odd that one would have to go to "edit" to add a phone number, then go to the profile main screen ( /users/<id>) and click on "make direct line".

can't this be simpler?

And in fact, still as an end-user, trying to set direct line from the profile page failed with "Cannot update direct line". So only admins/agents could update this? So if I have a thousand (ok i don't, but if :) ), does that mean i have to go through each user and "make" it? (any batch api?)

November 17, 2011 16:42
User photo
Aaron Pewtherer
Zendesk

@Jackson. 1) When a Voice call creates a ticket, you can merge the phone number profile into an existing enduser profile, and that would make the phone number direct. 2) Correct. Only Admin/Agents can make a direct line. Having an enduser set a direct line would open up your Zendesk; an Enduser could incorrectly set their number, and begin receiving other enduser tickets.

November 17, 2011 17:04
User photo
Taryn Lazarus

This is a really disappointing implementation of Voice.  We have enabled it to test it and now we are going to have to disable it because of its inadequacies.

1) No outbound calling.  Come on! Are you serious?

2) Every single inbound call creates a brand new ticket! Are you kidding me? Sure you can merge the tickets but the ticket you merge with drops all of its attachments including VOICE MESSAGES!

3) User identification does not work.  We have Direct numbers enabled and when a person calls in, the system recognises their number but simply does not relate it to the existing user, so not only is a brand new ticket created, essentially a brand new user is too.

4) In the event that Direct numbers worked, the ability to set as a direct number can only be done by Admins or full agents - not light agents, placing an enormous administrative overhead on the people who should be doing support not system administration.

If you are going to charge more than twilio, at least offer us something that resembles it.

It really is a great idea, but it is incredibly disappointing to read the marketing be sold on it, and then find it is so poorly implemented and basically may as well not have even been done.  Please get it working properly.

November 25, 2011 11:59
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

HI Taryn, thanks for the thorough feedback.  To answer each of the items you have listed:

1) Outbound calling: this is high on our roadmap for Q1 of next year.

2) I'm curious on what you would rather have happen here.  We did extensive beta testing with an implementation that allowed support agents to link a phone call to an existing support ticket, and saw a real problem with adding additional process to the support agent's workflow -- in our conversations with beta testers, we learned that their #1 priority is helping the customer and getting calls out of the queue, not figuring out where a call recording should go.  As for the ticket merge functionality, I agree we can get the recording as part of the last comment merged.

Something that we could also do is create a "Call" object that is not a ticket, and show these separately in Zendesk.  This would be a major departure from our ticket-based model that we have now, however.

3) Can you let me know which ticket # you observed this on in your account?  This should not be the case.

4) Light agents: Unfortunately as part of our Enterprise functionality, light-agents cannot edit any aspects of an end-user profile.

Please let me know what you think about #2.

November 25, 2011 12:30
User photo
Jared Shusterman

Steven,

Can you provide rough timing on when you will start to support multiple phone lines? We'd need a few for US, Canada and UK right now in order to move forward.

Jared

December 11, 2011 08:11
User photo
Jared Shusterman

Here are some issues we have in testing out voice - this could be an extremely powerful feature - but we can't use it because of the following reasons:

1. When receiving the call through a browser, in both Firefox and Chrome, when the call alert is coming in, if the agent navigates away from the current page (such as click on the links in the alert before taking the call), the pop-up completely disappears even with the sound of the alert still ringing. There is no way for the agent to recover the call. Note: this is prior to actually taking the call - in this case, I understand the need for not navigating away from the page.

2. Why is a new ticket created automatically on call-in? The agent should have the choice to understand what the user is calling in about, and choose whether to engage a new ticket or load the call-in as a comment into an existing ticket. Otherwise, we are inflating our support tickets and associated reporting.

3. Our customers often have more than one direct line - work, home and cell. End-users should be able to have multiple identities for phones similar to e-mails. 

4. We need a mute (or on-hold) functionality for our call-ins.

**** MOST IMPORTANT BELOW **** 

5. Our biggest issue with the current implementation is that everything the agent has to do relating to ticket management and confirming end-user identity, once the call is answered, is cumbersome and kludge.

Steven, In response to your comment:

 "We did extensive beta testing with an implementation that allowed support agents to link a phone call to an existing support ticket, and saw a real problem with adding additional process to the support agent's workflow -- in our conversations with beta testers, we learned that their #1 priority is helping the customer and getting calls out of the queue, not figuring out where a call recording should go."

I understand the premise above, but if the agent has to create a brand new ticket, you have to remember that a good percentage of call-ins (for many businesses like ours) are related to existing tickets. Therefore, most call-in tickets will ultimately be merged with another ticket. To Taryn's point, when you merge a ticket, the voicemail message in the comment trail doesn't show up unless you click on the old ticket link. This becomes cumbersome to manage over multiple call-in conversations.

For our business at least, we have to understand who we are talking to first - this includes looking at the end-users identity, notes and ticket history before we engage in a conversation.

It is really important to be able to immediately marry a caller up to an existing end-user when they are calling from a non-direct number OR the system doesn't recognize the caller, for whatever reason. The lack of multiple phone number identities, as well as a difficult, non-intuitive user experience, makes this process inefficient.

I'd rather keep my calls coming in via regular phone so duplicative end-users and tickets don't get created - it ultimately just creates more work for managing everything, not to mention skewing the data.

FYI on out Set-up / configuration - We are using SSO to establish our end-user accounts, but we lack the phone number information for most of our call-ins. 

December 11, 2011 13:50
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

@Jared, to answer your first question, multiple phone line support likely won't come until the middle of next year (2012).

Thanks again for the detailed feedback, I can tell you and others really want this to work for your business.  I think a short term way to address some of the issues you are running into is to add multiple phone identity support and include the call recording in the merge comment.

As for adding a call to an existing ticket, I can provide a bit more detail to my previous comment.  Right now, in Zendesk there's no other object besides a Ticket.  This is the only place a phone call can be recorded and surfaced to the agent, and it's important we never lose a phone call due to the agent accidentally closing a browser window, etc.  This is the reason why a ticket is created with every phone call today -- it's our currency of customer interaction.

Having said that, in Zendesk we do keep a record of every call (it's how we generate the Call History page).  To support your use case of linking to existing tickets, we would probably want to to elevate a Call as another type of object in Zendesk.  You could receive a Call, either create a new ticket out of it or link to an existing ticket.

December 12, 2011 00:08
User photo
Jonathan
beyondpay

For what it is worth, I agree with his use case.  Have a new object called call that works similar to a ticket, but can be elevated to a ticket, or merged into a ticket (with actual recordings/notes, rather than a link to the call/ticket).  


I also find the direct dial phone number requirement inefficient.  A vast majority of our end-users have extensions or share phone numbers.  A pop-up of a search for that phone number, or in the case where a duplicate is found, both numbers to choose from would be more important.  Rather than the ticket screen, I would prefer to instantly see a summary of the user calling with their open tickets, notes, details, and information right there.  Then have the option to create or add the call to an existing ticket.  

I think it is fine to make a voicemail become a ticket, on the other hand, since it needs to be dealt with.  But a phone call might be in reference to a different ticket, and I don't like the system automatically creating a new user every time it doesn't recognize the phone number and a ticket linked to an unknown new user.  It is hard enough to keep the system updated with valid user data as-is.

So I agree that a call should be a separate type of object from a ticket, and it can become a ticket, or be added to a ticket when we choose a ticket or create one from the call, or it is a voicemail.

And instead of creating a ticket when a call comes through, a screen-pop of a search on that number, where if only one number is found, it jumps to that end-user's "People" overview page.  We can easily see details and notes on that person and organization, see the tags they have, see open and recent tickets, etc.  That would be awesome.
December 12, 2011 04:46
User photo
Norman

What bothers me most is when i get a ticket with a voicemail attached, i cannot quickly assign that voicemail to an existing user - or i missed something.

 

I listen to the voicemail and hear the customer say their email. Then, i need a simple feature to type in that email and lookup my existing sd users. if none is found, then i click "create new user with this email that i just searched for and save ticket with that user".

While testing, i had to click 3 levels away from the ticket to finally be able to type in an email address for the new user that was created for that ticket! Frustrating!

December 16, 2011 07:31
User photo
Norman

^nevermind! i missed the "merge" link next to the "user profile" link! ignore the last comment please!

December 16, 2011 07:35
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

That's good feedback Norman!  We could make that more visible for voicemail tickets.

December 16, 2011 08:11
User photo
Juli Fischer
bellbusinessappsstore

Any update on outbound calling and hold capabilities?

January 11, 2012 15:06
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Julie, we're planning more feature enhancements for the first part of this year with respect to both of your requests.  I can't offer a more detailed timeline beyond this at the moment.

January 24, 2012 22:20
User photo
Thorleif

Hope that there will be support for German telephone numbers, soon. 

February 25, 2012 11:21
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi everyone!  We're looking for beta testers to help us test our upcoming international, toll-free and multiple number features.  If you're interested, please email voice-beta@support.zendesk.com.  

March 06, 2012 17:01
User photo
Ryan Engley

Hi Steven - the screenshot at the top of this article implies that an agent can be available via browser or at an alternate phone number.  Am I interpreting that correctly?  If so, can you point me toward some instructions to enable availability at an alternate phone number?  I haven't been able to track anything down.  Thanks! 

March 21, 2012 11:39
User photo
Ryan Engley

Nevermind - I saw that I can add a phone number under my agent profile which then populates the "Available at..." option.  Thanks again.

March 21, 2012 11:59
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Ryan, looks like you found it.  Thanks for pointing that out, we can make our documentation more clear.

March 21, 2012 12:27
User photo
Vincèn PUJOL

Unable to keep Voice features active in Firefox on Mac ! I just activated a phone number in my Zendesk then I clicked on the grey handset in menu bar, and select Avalaible via Browser (first time it displayed the regular Flash popup to grand authorisation), the handset becomes green and as soon as I click on something in zendesk (change of page, or check tickets), I get a popup that displays very briefly stating from what I can read: I went offline, and in fact handset becomes grey :( did I miss something ?

Is it planned to be able to transfer an existing phone number to Zendesk ? as I'd like not to change phone number that all my customers know :)

March 27, 2012 22:41
User photo
Carsten Falborg
IKEA

I am running an internal helpdesk and having some issues with how Zendesk treats new numbers. I would very much like it to NOT create a new user every time a caller comes in. The reason is that my end users is calling from department phones and not individual numbers.

It would be great to simply have an option in settings to make this not happen. Basically making it necessary for the end user to give an email address or name up front before we can create the ticket.

If not, it would create a lot of work for us merging or reassigning tickets thus making Zendesk Voice almost completely useless!

March 28, 2012 04:44
User photo
Roy Platje

Thank you for rolling out in the Netherlands. I created a numer but am not able to click "enable" in the Flash pup-up. Neither in Chrome or FireFox on mu Mac. Is there a workaround?

March 28, 2012 06:20
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Roy, can you tell me what version of Flash you have?  This is usually related to having an older version of Flash.  Try upgrading to the latest version on your machine.

March 28, 2012 06:54
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Carsten, I'm very interested in your use case.  Specifically: "Basically making it necessary for the end user to give an email address or name up front before we can create the ticket".

If your customers are calling from department phones, their tickets will create a user profile for every department phone number and new tickets will be created with this user profile ass the requester.  You could rename these user profiles to help identify additional callers who call from these numbers, and then change the ticket requester when you finally identify the user.

March 28, 2012 06:54
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Vincen, we've identified the issue and have a patch deploy ready.  We'll release it some time today, and I will let you know of its progress.

March 28, 2012 06:55
User photo
Vincèn PUJOL

Thanks Steven for quick fix :) Is it planned to be able to port an existing phone number to Zendesk ? as I don't want to change my support phone number everyone knows already !

March 28, 2012 07:00
User photo
Carsten Falborg
IKEA

@Steven With the amount of people changing departments within the company or leaving the company that would be almost impossible to implement.

I agree with @Jared - and your reply to him. I think the best way to do this would be to have something other than a ticket to hold the call until we have found the correct user or existing ticket.

It seems to me (without actually having tested it) that the way you have chosen, with the merging of tickets and users, is not very "agent" friendly. From a system that i have come to love for its complex simplicity and userfriendliness this setup seems "wrong" :-)

March 28, 2012 23:18
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

I appreciate the feedback Carsten.  The fact that tickets are the main currency in Zendesk, and need to be used to support various channels which may have different needs, is a challenge.  The implications of introducing calls as a first class resource in Zendesk are far reaching.

For example, what happens if you create this resource which represents a call?  We have to consider things like how these tie into triggers, automations and email notifications.  The last thing we want to introduce is another thing outside the ticket workflow to keep track of, which is a complaint from our users about how we handle suspended tickets today.  We do recognize the problem and we're thinking hard about how to solve it.

March 29, 2012 00:05
User photo
Jonathan
beyondpay

I know nothing is "simple", but wouldn't it be relatively simple to add an additional ticket type, called "call" or something like it, and allow us to filter and setup our own rules on how these are displayed?  Then let us decide how they are handled.  

We can "sort of" do this now with tags, but they still tend to show up in our views.

We could then prevent notifications from going out automatically on "calls", and choose to hide them from any of our views.  And even auto-solve them so they don't cloud up our helpdesk.

I still agree that the user management caused problems autocreating on every new phone number that came in.  And there is no handling of shared (non-direct) numbers, or when users call from multiple phone numbers.  Perhaps it is complicated system-wise, but that is the way people use phones, so the system needs to handle it well/better.  If there is no match of a number, or the same number is found for two users, have a place on the screen where it guesses who the user might be and allow us to select it.  

I have less of an issue with the system auto-creating users, and more of an issue that there is no way to handle numbers we know should tie to a specific user, but can't because you only get one DID, and it can't be shared/must be unique.  

Have you considered tying phone numbers to organizations... then let us select the user/create a new one?  

We haven't been able to use it internally for these reasons, and the lack of ability to transfer calls. (My apologies if this is a feature now!)

I think it is close though...

March 29, 2012 04:56
User photo
Aaron Pewtherer
Zendesk

@Jonathan Tying phone numbers to an "organization" is possible, when you make the shared phone number a unique enduser profile, created after the first call. As long as you don't associate the enduser "organization" profile with an email address, no notification would go out, and the CallerID would reference the organization on the popup.

Adding the feature of allowing organizations to have phone numbers could be an option, except who would be the owner of the the ticket that is being generated? Having a "phone call" ticket type could work in this scenario, but as Steven specified, Zendesk is built around actual tickets, rather than objects.

Notes
1) Phone calls (and voicemails) are a "Ticket Channel" and can be tagged upon ticket creation, and used in triggers/automations/views.

2) Being able to merge Voice tickets with the recording being included in the comment is an option, only if the recording comment is the last comment.

3) Internal routing is on the roadmap; no timetable yet.

4) The mute button is available when answering through the browser; Hold music is being considered, but not planned. 

March 29, 2012 08:27
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

@Vincen, the fix for your Firefox issue was deployed.  With respect to porting numbers into Zendesk Voice, it's not something we officially support but it can be done.  If you're interested please contact support@zendesk.com.

March 30, 2012 18:45
User photo
Vincèn PUJOL

Thanks Steven for the fix, it works :) email sent to support for porting numbers ;)

March 31, 2012 00:19
User photo
Shaun

A Zendesk agent had mentioned earlier in this forum that Outbound calls were planned for Q1. Any update on this? We have just started using Zendesk and are really enjoying it, and are getting ready to move our entire support site (support.oprius.com) over to Zendesk's forums and also integrate the Voice feature instead of our current VOIP solution. 

Also is there any update on an easy way to deal with merging inbound calls to existing users?

April 11, 2012 17:11
User photo
Shaun

Also, are there any plans for the option for users to enter an extension for a forward to a different number while they are waiting on hold?

April 11, 2012 17:15
User photo
Ryan Engley

I'd be thrilled to see more sophisticated options for messaging.

For example, I change our voicemail message for holidays which means that I need to upload a new mp3 for the holiday message. When the holiday is over, I have to go back and upload our regular mp3.  I would prefer to have a list of my messages to pick from rather than uploading a new message each time i change it.

As a next step, it would be great to set timing for messages that would change automatically.  For example, change Voicemail greeting to message X from Friday 5pm to Monday 8am. -- kind of like how Gmail handles out of office greetings.

April 11, 2012 17:25
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

@Shaun -- outbound is on the horizon for Q2.  As for merging inbound calls to existing user, we do have a user merge functionality to do this -- if you merge the phone number profile of a new call into a user, the tickets from that phone number will follow.  Would this work for you?

Shaun, can you also clarify what you mean by "user to enter an extension for a forward to a different number" -- do you mean being able to dial a phone menu to direct you to different groups in Zendesk?

@Ryan, sounds like you need configurable call flow capability and ability to play different messages by business hours.  So you could have a control in the call flow which says, "if within business hours, play greeting #1", "if outside of business hours, play greeting #2".

April 11, 2012 18:45
User photo
Shaun

I actually wouldn't want the phone menu to necessarily direct within Zendesk. We would just much rather have one phone number on our website. 95% of calls we receive are for support, so that is great, but we do have some business partners and other callers that have the direct extensions to some of our directors (not support agents), so it would be great if they could dial the same number, enter the appropriate extension, and then have Zendesk Voice forward those calls to those directors' direct lines. 

Does that make sense now?

April 12, 2012 02:50
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Shaun, makes sense.  So you want to enable the call workflow to transfer to a phone # outside of Zendesk.  It's technically feasible for sure.  It probably won't be included in the first release of call flows but we'll consider it moving forward.

April 13, 2012 16:27
User photo
Vance Hendley

Any update on the outbound calls?  It's great to be able to answer the calls through the browser, but not being able to dial back out in the same manner really defeats the purpose of the browser capabilities.

May 30, 2012 05:46
User photo
Vance Hendley

Also, a call tree feature would be nice with the ability to add extensions.  Right now we have to have a second service to handle the call tree and have our support option point to our Zendesk Voice number.

May 30, 2012 05:50
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Vance, we're currently working on outbound and call flow options.  Outbound will be available within the next quarter.

May 30, 2012 08:24
User photo
Peter Saville

Any idea on when Australia will get this functionality?

June 12, 2012 08:43
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Peter, we're working closely with Twilio to provide Australian numbers.  My best estimate right now is Q4 at the earliest.

June 12, 2012 08:52
User photo
Henrik Heusala
pepron

@Steven "@Ryan, sounds like you need configurable call flow capability and ability to play different messages by business hours.  So you could have a control in the call flow which says, "if within business hours, play greeting #1", "if outside of business hours, play greeting #2"."

Second this, this is a high priority issue for our business as well and shouldn't be hard to implement as there already are three messages present and lots of logic for providing email at within and out of business hours.

Can you provide some schedule when to expect this functionality?

And we definitely also need the ability to transfer calls between agents, are there any updates on when to expect this functionality?

Thank you for great answers in this threat

July 06, 2012 12:07
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Henrik, I don't have any hard timelines to provide to you at this time, however both the business hours and agent call transfer are features we plan to offer this year.

July 08, 2012 16:10
User photo
Jason Lloyd
isams

Hi

Is it possible to create hunt groups for the incoming calls? 

Thank

Jason

July 13, 2012 08:05
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Jason, we don't support hunt groups quite yet, we do have plans to provide this in the future.

July 13, 2012 08:43
User photo
Jason Lloyd
isams

Ah, ok thanks Steven.  That is a shame

July 16, 2012 00:50
User photo
Manny Perez

Where can I go to see the most recent capabilities of Zendesk Voice and any future updates?  I would also like to record outgoing calls in a ticket, is this a possibility yet through Zendesk voice?

July 19, 2012 16:16
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

Hi Manny, you can find the most recent capabilities here in this article.  Outgoing calls is under development and will be available soon.

July 19, 2012 21:45
User photo
Thorleif Wiik [BCIX]

What about support for Germany +49 ?

August 03, 2012 14:31
User photo
Jared Shusterman

Hi Steven,

Any updates to my comments back in December - specifically referring to creating another object so it doesn't create a ticket everytime the caller calls in?

Is this currently in progress? Can we expect this during the course of this year?

Jared

August 03, 2012 14:39
User photo
Steven Yan
Product Manager

@Thorleif, German +49 numbers are challenging to get because of the legal address requirements in Germany.  Twilio is working hard on making this possible but I can't offer an ETA on this at this time.

@Jared, it's still something we're interested in providing, however I think it's something we're going to try to accomplish while preserving the ticket as the main vehicle for recording customer activity.

August 07, 2012 10:32
User photo
Brian Epstein

I see that outgoing dialing is still not available?  If that's the case, is there a way to maybe use a VoIP phone system or service like JaJah to dial into the helpdesk and then bridge to the customer?  If so, any way to do this so that we're not now paying for 2 calls?  Thanks!

August 14, 2012 15:23
User photo
Aaron Pewtherer
Zendesk

@Brian. You are correct. Outbound dialing is still in development; no timetable yet. As a workaround, some customers have had success of using outbound calling service that calls you first. In this scenario, the VoIP provider will call your Zendesk Voice number, then an available agent would recognize the CallerID, accept the call, and proceed with speaking to the caller. The recording would become part of the ticket, and the agent could change the requester to the dialed enduser to become part of the enduser profile.

The limitation of this workaround is that Voice routes to agents based on "longest idle time," meaning, having control of which agent completes the outbound call would require coordination amongst the agents to accept/decline as needed.

August 15, 2012 08:30
User photo
Regina Dunklebarger

Any updates on outbound calling?

August 28, 2012 07:55
User photo
Kristian Blackburn

We are using Zendesk voice with 2 agents and on the whole is works very well for us.

We gave up on answering this within the browser due to quality issues and the fact that you needed to keep the browser on top or a set of headphones on your ears to know that a call is coming through!

So we have the calls terminating on 2 landlines.

The issue is that we quite often need to transfer calls between ourselves. We do this using the phones, however the call needs to be left open on the desktop of the originator, so they cannot take anymore calls until the other person has finished.

The only alternative is for us to terminate the call and then get the other agent to call the customer back, which obviously increases our costs.

Ideally what we require is within Zendesk to be able to transfer the call to the other agent and freeing the original agent up to take another call. We need this to be expandable to be able to add to any agent who is available.

It appears that people have been requesting this functionality for over a year - what are your plans?

August 29, 2012 07:52
User photo
Jared Shusterman

@Kristian we were going to use our phones due to limitations in the browser but it doubles our phone costs. Also, with previous issues I have reported...........

Its crazy how slow this product has been to develop based on what people have been asking for. ZenDesk could probably double their revenues with us just on the sheer volumes of calls for customer service we have per month.

August 29, 2012 07:58
User photo
Carsten Falborg
IKEA

@Jared I dont think Zendesk are being slow on purpose here. My experince with zendesk is that they simply dont like to release anything thats not working as good as they like them to. Besides they are working with an external company on this product - Perhaps its them thats not fast enough.

And i am absolutely sure that they would love to get some more revenue out of you if they could ;-)

August 30, 2012 00:05
User photo
Kristian Blackburn

As far as I can see, the API with Twilio includes the functionality for transferring calls. 

August 30, 2012 01:24
User photo
Pierre-Andre Manseau

We would like to have Zendesk for support and also our sales but outbound is mandatory.

Do you have an ETA for this feature or can we be a beta tester ?

September 13, 2012 11:11