Cloud-hosted VoIP from Zendesk gives citizens a new voice

By GovTechReview Staff
Wednesday, 31 October, 2012

Fresh from more than doubling customer numbers in the past year, cloud-based customer service vendor Zendesk is aiming to shake up the public and private-sector contact centre market with a voice-based contact centre solution that the company says can be set up “in minutes”.

Zendesk Voice, available as an adjunct to Zendesk’s four different subscription plans, brings voice over IP (VoIP) calling to Zendesk customer-service environments. Because all voice lines are commissioned and delivered from a cloud-based infrastructure (powered by white-label vendor Twilio), setup is managed through a simple online interface and additional lines can be added with a few clicks.

This makes it helpful, for example, for local councils and state setting up disaster response lines, or federal government agencies wanting to quickly bring on new agents to handle a surge in calls about a newly-announced policy.

The addition of voice not only lets customers reach contact-centre staff for support or ordering calls from within Web sites and other online sites, but provides an auditing trail by offering the option to record and archive calls for later review or quality-assurance efforts. Calls can be automatically transcribed into written text, with calls and transcripts stored within Zendesk tickets for future reference.

Zendesk Voice also includes the ability to forward incoming customer calls to field staff on their mobiles, ensuring citizen-support staff can stay in touch even if they’re not physically sitting in the call centre.

“The ability to tie calls together with tickets across enquiries, previously was very difficult or you needed really expensive software,” Michael Hansen, vice president and Asia-Pacific managing director for Zendesk told GTR. “We’ve made it available for anybody.”

Zendesk now claims 1400 Australian customers, including many unnameable government organisations that Hansen says have quickly become big users of the platform. That’s more than double the approximately 600 customers the company had when it opened its Australian office in September 2011.

The appeal of the solution is straightforward, Hansen says: easier commissioning and an interface that is both intuitive and powerful. “The software speaks for itself,” he explains.

“I used to work selling contact centre software, and there was nothing better than getting an order for a real call centre. You’d make millions to put in a PABX and get the software working – but nobody was really happy with it. Now, customers can have this up and running in minutes. It turns up in the top of your browser, and with a click you’re taking calls.” – David Braue

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