Once you've completed planning for Talk, you're ready to roll it out and start using it. In this article, you'll learn some great tips to help you introduce Talk into your organization, learn how to hire the right agents, and then learn tips about many of the Talk features that can help you to be more effective in helping your customers.
This article contains the following topics:
Introducing phone support
Tips that can help you as you begin to introduce phone support into your organization include:
- Start gradually
- Don’t display your phone number on your website immediately; include it on specific Help Center articles
- Share your support number only with select, VIP customers
- Use an IVR to deflect calls
- Provide recordings that answer frequently asked questions to save customers and agents time
- Deflect calls to text messages using the IVR to text feature
- Create a voicemail box
- Allow customers to leave voicemail, and follow-up when agents have time with a call, email, or text message.
Staffing and training
Even with the best technology in the world, interactions between people are arguably the most important part of the service you provide. Therefore, hiring the right people is crucial to your success. Hire people who are passionate about helping other people, and then train them both in the support products, and in dealing with customers.
Hire the right people
Train your agents to be successful
Every company and every agent might have different training needs. However, some of the basics that all of your agents will need to know include:
- Show your agents how to use Zendesk products. This might involve in-house, or external training.
- Create an internal knowledge base about your products and services so the right information is at the agent's fingertips
- Train agents on customer etiquette (also known as soft skills)
- Review your agents call recordings (see Managing recording options in Zendesk Talk)
- Provide in-the-moment feedback with call monitoring (see Monitoring calls with the Live calls dashboard)
Tips for more empathetic phone support
Make sure that your agents are aware of the following best practices for communicating with people.
- Mirroring: Listen to the customer and react accordingly. Someone in a hurry doesn’t want cheerful chatter, and someone who wants to chat doesn’t want to be rushed.
- Validating: Sometimes your answer isn’t what the customer wants to hear, even if it’s the correct answer. Let them react, listen to what they have to say, address their concerns, then repeat the correct answer.
- Acknowledging: Tell the customer you understand the problem and the reason for their call. Make sure they feel heard.
- Listening: The call will often go quicker and smoother if you just let the customer vent. Interrupting them to get the conversation back on track too often and aggressively can make the call drag on even longer. Hear what they have to say and help them.
- Summarizing: Repeat back what a customer has told you in a supportive way. This demonstrates that you understand the problem.
- Communicating: Ask permission to put customers on hold and let them know how long it will take. If it looks like it will take longer, check back in and communicate this to them. The pain of waiting can be diminished if you set an expectation of how long it will be.
Using a shared or dedicated model
For some companies, having agents skilled in one of voice calls, email support, or chat will work best. For other companies, having agents that multitask between all three will work best. Examine the volume of your calls in each channel, the number of agents you have available, and their skills to decide what works best for you.
Getting the most from Talk features
Talk has many features that help your agents better help customers. Consider implementing some of these to improve your efficiency.
This topic contains tips to help you with the following features:
- Configuring an outgoing call number
- Configuring greetings
- Configuring voicemail (Team, Professional, and Enterprise plans)
- Using an IVR (Professional and Enterprise plans)
- Routing calls to groups (Team, Professional, and Enterprise plans)
- Using callback from queue (Professional and Enterprise plans)
- Setting priority numbers (Professional and Enterprise plans)
- Using overflow and after-hours routing (Professional and Enterprise plans)
- Setting up failover (Professional and Enterprise plans)
- Blocking numbers
- Conference calling (Talk Professional and Enterprise)
Configuring an outgoing call number
Choose a specific phone number to be displayed as the caller ID when you call customers. This helps you to:
- Provide local or toll-free numbers so customers are more likely to answer calls
- Deliver on brand and localized support experiences
For details, see Standardizing your outbound caller ID.
Talk enables you to configure a wide range of greetings that your callers might hear in various circumstances. For example, you can configure greetings for voicemail, available agents, hold music, callback confirmation, and more. Tips for configuring greetings include:
- Customize your greetings. Include references to your company and services. This can help keep your messages on-brand and keep callers interested.
- Don't make greetings too long. Customers will hang up if they are forced to wait too long.
For more help, see Managing outgoing greetings.
Configuring voicemail (Team, Professional, and Enterprise plans)
When you can't answer calls, Zendesk Talk has built-in voicemail. When customers leave a voicemail, a ticket is created with the voicemail attached. Additionally, you can optionally transcribe the voicemail right into the ticket.
When prompting customers to leave a voicemail, ask them to provide the information your agents will need to best help them, such as account number, best time to call back, and the type of issue. Also, provide the customer with information such as normal business hours and other support options (like self-service) so they can make informed decisions about how to proceed.
You can also disable voicemail outside of business hours and route after hours calls to different phone numbers.
For more information, see Configuring voicemail options.
Using an IVR (Professional and Enterprise plans)
With a multi-level interactive voice response (IVR), or phone tree, you can route customers to the right agent or department, provide recorded responses for frequently asked questions, and deflect calls by allowing callers to switch the interaction to text. Tips for getting the most from an IVR include:
- Give callers the ability to indicate why they are calling. For example "Press 1 for sales, 2 for support".
- Limit the number of IVR options to around 5 and the number of levels to around 3. Customers will become frustrated if they have to spend too long in your IVR.
For more details, see Routing incoming calls with IVR.
Routing calls to groups (Team, Professional, and Enterprise plans)
Some agent groups in your organization might have skills better suited to serving specific customers. In this case, you can configure a number from which calls will be grouped only to those agents. Calls are sent to the agent that has been idle the longest
For more details, see Routing incoming calls to groups of agents.
Using callback from queue (Professional and Enterprise plans)
Enable your customers to choose between waiting on hold in a queue and requesting a callback. When customers request a callback, their places are held in the queue and their call is automatically returned when an agent is available to talk with them. This helps to:
- Manage high volumes without hiring more agents
- Avoid abandoned or repeat calls
- Boost customer satisfaction and first call resolution
For more details, see Enabling customer callback.
Setting priority numbers (Professional and Enterprise plans)
You can set certain phone numbers to be priority numbers, meaning calls received at these numbers will be sent to the front of the queue of available agents. For example, you might want to prioritize calls from actively subscribed customers over calls from trial users. This helps you:
- Differentiate service levels for VIP customers
- Prioritize urgent or emergency calls
For more details, see Managing Zendesk Talk numbers.
Using overflow and after-hours routing (Professional and Enterprise plans)
When a call cannot be taken by any agents (for example, if they are offline, or all decline the call), this is known as an overflow call. When a call is not answered or sent to voicemail, this is a bad experience for the caller.
To give a better experience, consider adding an overflow phone number to each phone number you added to Talk (not including external numbers).
When a call is not answered by an agent, and voicemail is off, the calls will be sent to the overflow number. This might be the number of an external support organization, or an on-call agent that you use outside of your normal business-hours, or during holidays.
For more information, see Managing overflow calls and after-hours routing.
Setting up failover (Professional and Enterprise plans)
- Direct the call to a voicemail box that transcribes the call and creates an email. The emails can be forwarded to Zendesk to create a ticket.
- Direct the call to a Google Voice number which can:
- Direct the call to your voicemail box which can transcribe the call, email it to Zendesk, and create a ticket.
- Forward the call to up to 6 agents desk phones so they can help customers even when Talk is unavailable.
- Play a greeting such as, “We are experiencing technical difficulties. Please visit our online Help Center for further assistance.”
- Make sure you choose a failover number that can handle your call volumes.
- Failover is automatically triggered when our voice provider, Twilio, is unable to communicate with Zendesk.
- In the event that Twilio itself experiences disruption, failover will not automatically be triggered. Zendesk can activate this manually for you though (contact Zendesk Customer Support).
For more information about configuring failover, see Managing Zendesk Talk numbers.
When you run a call center, you might need to block unwanted or spam calls. Talk gives you the capability to block either a single number, or use conditions to block multiple numbers simultaneously, saving your agents time.
For details, see Blocking unwanted callers.
Conference calling (Talk Professional and Enterprise)
Sometimes, while you are taking a call, it can be useful to consult another agent. You can put the caller on-hold while you speak to the agent, or transfer the call to the agent. Additionally, you can also invite the other agent into a conference call.
Talk enables you to include other agents, managers or external parties in ongoing calls. You can use this to:
- Consult experts or managers to help you resolve issues faster
- Help customers get help from the right person faster
To learn how to use conference calling, see Adding a third-party to a conference call.
This article is one of a series that give you best practices for using Talk. Click the links below to visit the other articles:
- Best practices for Zendesk Talk
- Best practices to plan for Talk
- Best practices for rolling out Talk (this article)
- Best practices for monitoring and maintaining Talk
To read more about Talk and it's features, see Zendesk Talk resources.