Fine Tuning is a day-long discussion about a specific topic, hosted by a member of the Customer Success team.
This Fine Tuning session is about phone support and Zendesk Voice, including:
- The value of phone as a channel
- Optimizing your Zendesk Voice configuration
- Enhancing Zendesk Voice Quality
Katie Winn is a Customer Success Manager at Zendesk. She comes with a strong background in consumer tech, and enjoys educating new Zendesk customers on ways they can best utilize the product to meet their business needs and keep their own customers happy.
See all the Fine Tuning series discussions .
Part 1: The value of phone + optimizing your Zendesk Voice configuration
Providing phone as an available support channel for your customers can seem daunting, expensive, and unscalable - not to mention outdated. Does anyone want to discuss support issues over the phone anymore? But surprisingly, even in this digital age, customers prefer phone support over all other channels - and by a large margin. Not only that, but telephone customer service has the highest satisfaction compared to other online customer service channels, at 69% (according to a Forrester survey).
An oldie but a goodie, phone support is here to stay. Now the challenge is in which tools to use to offer this channel to your customers, and how to use them effectively.
For those of you who are brand new to phone as a channel, we have a great, thorough article about how to get started with phone support in our resource center that will walk you through all of the steps you should follow.
About Zendesk Voice
Zendesk Voice is a ready-to-use, beautifully simple phone support experience built right inside Zendesk. It’s easy to set up, and there’s no extra equipment required, so you and your team can start providing quick, personalized phone support within minutes -- right from your Zendesk browser. All call activity automatically creates tickets, so you can manage phone support alongside all other support channels.
Zendesk Voice has lots of other helpful features your support team needs, from call transcription and agent forwarding to call routing and monitoring.
Integrating Zendesk Voice into your existing support strategy should be simple, but there are a few tips and tricks that will make your experience (and your agent and customer experience) even better.
Zendesk Voice Configuration Best Practices
Use Your Zendesk Voice Number as Your Main Support Number
For the best call quality, we recommend porting your existing customer service number to Zendesk. The more “jumps” a call has to make between phone systems can reduce call quality and increase wait time for the customer. See Using an existing phone number .
Ticket Creation Once a Call is Answered
Voice allows for the seamless integration between ticket creation and phone calls. Agents are able to take notes and gather customer information live while on the call, as well as hang up and return customer calls from the ticket interface.
Call Transcription Gives Historical Context to Voice Interactions
Providing call recordings and transcriptions right in the support ticket allows agents to have full context of customers’ issues before engaging with them again, if needed. Everyone hates having to re-explain the problem they’ve encountered to multiple people on your support team, and in-ticket recordings and transcription help prevent that.
Tip: Use transcriptions to help your support team quickly gain insight into issues that came in via voicemail outside of business hours, and then route issues to the appropriate team faster.
Set up a forwarding number when agents are unavailable.
Be sure to set up Confirmation when Forwarding in the Voice admin settings, so the call goes to the right place when forwarded, and doesn’t end up in the wrong voicemail.
Tip: If you are forwarding calls from your Zendesk Voice to an agent cell phone or landline, increase the allowed wait time to at least 2 minutes. This gives more time for the call the route and agent to accept before putting the caller into voicemail.
Route calls to a specific agent or group.
Use your pre-determined Groups to route incoming calls. See Routing calls to specific groups .
Tip: The Zendesk Support team uses a Trigger to set voicemail tickets to “high priority”. Select “Ticket Channel is Voicemail” to create a similar Trigger.
After Hours Workflow
Make sure to determine an after hours workflow. It’s super important to design the experience you want your customers to have when they call in outside of business hours.
Make sure you have Business Hours (Professional and Enterprise) enabled in your Zendesk so that calls received outside of your set business hours go directly to voicemail, instead of keeping your customer waiting on the line. See Setting your business hours and holidays .
You may want all customers who call in after hours to go directly to voicemail, or to an agent on call that routes to a specified after hours phone number. You can use Voice forwarding to set this up. Be sure to check out this Voice forwarding video .
Admins have the ability to switch out different voicemail greetings. You can use one as your default and then have a second greeting for after hours or holiday announcements.
See the example below of what conditions an after hours voicemail Trigger would have.
Manage call volumes and queues with reporting dashboards.
Having visibility into agent availability and call volumes is very valuable for both support managers and agents. Use the call monitoring dashboards to get insight into Voice activity in the last 24 hours.
Review your average talk time and average wait time to look opportunities for efficiency improvements.
Tip: If an agent forgot to log off before the end of the day, the admin is able to sign off on their behalf in the Voice dashboard. No more bounced customer calls!
Agent Best Practice: Merging tickets
If a customer calls to check on an already existing ticket, after the call we can merge the newly created ticket into the existing ticket they called to talk about. The recording of the call then attaches to the original request giving the agent a full history on the customer’s issue.
Tip: Remember to merge tickets after the Voice call, in order to not lose the recording.
Agent Wrap Up
Use Agent Wrap Up to give agents time to finish making notes in a ticket before they take another call. Agents can take as much time as needed, then click an option in the call console when they are ready to become available for another call.
When this option is disabled, agents are immediately available for the next call when they finish a call.
What are your Zendesk Voice, or general phone support tips and best practices? Share or ask questions in the comments below.
Part 2: Enhancing Your Zendesk Voice Quality
It is important to think about how your external call environment will affect your use of Zendesk Voice. The below outlines a few important factors to consider in order to make sure you get the best call quality.
Go Wired and Dedicated
Always be conscious of how good your internet connection is--this is crucial! A hardwired connection to your network will provide optimal results. Wireless internet connections can work, but with this setup there are obstructions between you and the access point, which can produce reductions in call quality.
For the best result, set up a dedicated network for your Voice calls, as that will remove the impact of other applications and services using a shared network. For all of you techies out there, you should have 80kbps per concurrent voice session available for Zendesk Voice to work at its best.
Thinking about bandwidth is especially important in a growing organization.
Use a Wired Headset
I can’t stress what a huge difference using a wired headset will make! We recommend that agents use one of the following headsets, in order of best call quality:
- Analog Headsets - These are the 3.5mm headphone and mic sets. Not to be confused with cell phone headsets which do not offer the best connection when used on a PC. A dedicated headset for a voice call works the best.
- Wired USB headset - This is the runner up for the best call experience.
- Bluetooth / Mobile phone headphones - As a last resort these headphones will work but expect to experience some issues with call quality.
Open the complete range of listed ports for Zendesk Voice
Network ports are used by programs and protocols to send and receive information.
Specific ports for Zendesk voice need to be open to best ensure that the data you are sending from your network during a phone call will reach the recipient on the other end.
Zendesk Voice passes traffic using a protocol known as UDP. By default, many routers block this traffic in an effort to protect your computer. For Zendesk Voice to function at its best, however, these ports must be open.
Imagine the ports like a bunch of little doors -- if they’re closed, the voice data cannot be passed through, leading to issues with call quality. Allowing these ports to be opened for outbound traffic, though, lets traffic through from your end.
Check out these great port resources:
- Configuration instructions to open the correct UDP port range
- Video tutorials on opening up your computer ports
Tip: Since this is network specific, if you work from a different network (like working from your home network) these ports will need to be open.
Use the recommended browser, if you can
Our Zendesk support team always directs people to use Chrome as their default browser.
Chrome has been using WebRTC (web real-time communication) the longest and our customers see the best user experience with this browser.
What external considerations do you take to make sure that your phone support runs smooths? Share your tips, or learnings in the comments below.
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