Though customer support channels today include live chat, social media, and texting, more than 50% of consumers say phone support still provides the fastest resolution.
With over 200,000 users including Uber, Shopify, and Slack, Zendesk is one of best-known customer support software solutions on the market today.
However, less is known about Zendesk Talk, a cloud-based phone support system that works alongside your existing Zendesk ticketing system to enhance the overall customer experience and boost internal workflow.
Read on to learn more about Zendesk Talk’s available features, pricing, and overall user experience.
Table Of Contents:
- What is Zendesk Talk?
- Zendesk Talk Pricing
- Zendesk Talk Partner Edition
- Zendesk Talk Features
- Who Should Use Zendesk Talk?
- The Downsides of Zendesk Talk
- Zendesk Talk FAQs
Zendesk Talk is a VoIP call center calling solution that integrates with your Zendesk Support Suite. With Talk, agents can offer phone helpdesk support within the same interface they use to connect with customers across multiple communication channels.
Some companies use Talk to provide customer phone support for the first time, while others rely on it to improve telephone support efficiency and increase customer satisfaction.
Users can choose to integrate Talk into an existing call center platform or to rely solely on Talk for voice calling. No matter which option you choose, Talk provides all the information your agents need to provide more efficient customer support within one interface.
Communicate via softphone in your preferred web browser, your smartphone on the mobile app, or business desk phone.
According to the Zendesk website, the software has helped clients reduce their call abandonment rate by 50% and has allowed for 80% of incoming calls to be answered in under one minute.
Zendesk Talk currently offers one free plan and three paid plans, along with a free trial that includes a phone number and 50 minutes of call time.
Note that you cannot use Zendesk Talk without first purchasing a Zendesk Support or Support Suite plan.
With basic Support plans, which range in price from $5.00/user per month to $199/user per month, agents can only use the free Talk Lite plan. However, the Support Suite plans, available for $89.00/user per month and 149.00/user per month, include both the basic Talk Lite plan and the Talk Partner Edition plan.
Both annual and month-to-month payment options are available. The pricing table below outlines the costs and features of each Zendesk Talk plan. These prices do not include usage costs, which include phone numbers, call minutes, text messages, and an optional voicemail transcription add-on.
|Features||Lite Plan||Team Plan||Professional Plan||Enterprise Plan|
|Price||Free||From $19.00/user per month||From $49.00/user per month||From $89.00/user per month|
|Automatic Ticket Creation||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Click-to-Call From Ticket||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Voicemail and Voicemail Transcription||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Mute and Call Forwarding||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Inbound Caller ID||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Queue Size and Wait Time Updates||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|After-Hours Call Routing||X||X||✓||✓|
|Call Hold and Warm Call transfer||X||✓||✓||✓|
|Audio Conference Calling||X||X||✓||✓|
|Outbound Caller ID||X||X||✓||✓|
|Call Monitoring and Call Barging||X||X||✓||✓|
|SMS Text Messaging||X||✓||✓||✓|
|Automated Text Notification Triggers||X||✓||✓||✓|
|Real-time Agent Activity and Queue Level Reports||X||X||✓||✓|
|Calling Web Widget||X||X||✓||✓|
|Callback from Queue||X||X||✓||✓|
|Priority Phone Numbers||X||X||✓||✓|
|99.95% Uptime SLA||X||X||X||✓|
The Lite Plan is best for: Startups looking for a free plan that need only one line and don’t rely heavily on phone communication
The Team Plan is best for: Small businesses that need more basic call transfer and call control features not available in the free plan, but don’t need advanced features.
The Professional Plan is best for: Midsize businesses that want to give customers better callback options and want access to audio conference calling.
The Enterprise Plan is best for: Nationwide and international corporations/Fortune 500 companies that need advanced calling options and reporting tools along with guaranteed uptime and a Service Level Agreement.
In addition to Talk’s out-of-the-box telephone software, the Talk Partner Edition API allows users to integrate Talk with their preferred third-party call center platform.
Featured telephony partners include Five9, NICE inContact, Amazon Connect. The Partner Edition also integrates with more than 90 CRM, communication, and collaboration tools such as Zoho CRM, Slack, Salesforce, Zapier, and more.
The CTI toolkit gives developers the chance to add any additional features and integrations they can dream up.
Note that the Talk Partner Edition is required in order to create support tickets from any third-party call center software.
The Partner Edition allows agents to continue to use the tools they’re comfortable with while still benefiting from Zendesk’s multichannel capabilities. It also prevents agents from having to switch between multiple interfaces and tools when resolving a customer support issue.
As of this writing, pricing for the Partner Edition is not publicly available on Zendesk’s website. Note that features of the Partner Edition will vary according to your chosen call center software provider.
In adding phone capabilities to Zendesk, Talk allows agents to pick up right where they left off on conversations, regardless of which communication channel they’re using.
A conversation that begin via phone support with one agent can be picked up by another on social media messenger, with all communication history synched in a singular interface.
Support ticket generation automation makes it much easier to keep track of customer requests.
Though Talk can be customized with apps and more, it comes with an excellent set of standard features. These include:
- Call management features
- Interactive Voice Response
- Business Text Messaging
- Call Recording
- Dashboards and reporting
Below, we’ll offer a breakdown of what sets these features apart from Zendesk’s competitors.
Call Management Features
Talk’s call management features allow agents to forward calls from their desk phones to their personal smartphones, home landlines, or any other number, allowing for greater employee flexibility.
Most importantly, past customer data automatically pops up when an inbound call comes in, so agents are properly prepared for the call. Plus, each call automatically generates a support ticket after it’s finished.
Additional call management features include:
- Call queues
- Round-robin call routing
- Hold music with pre-recorded greetings and information spliced in
- Caller ID
- Call barge/whisper
- Conference calling
- Warm transfers
- Set business hours
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated calling phone tree menu that guides customers to the right agent/department based on their support request.
Multi-level IVR menus can also answer many frequently asked questions or allow callers to take advantage of self-service without ever having to connect to a live agent.
IVR call routing options can vary based on business hours, customer requests, and more. Recently, Zendesk updated its IVR options to include multiple ring group assignments. This means instead of forwarding calls to one department, forcing the caller to leave a voice message if no agents in the group were available, admins can now transfer calls to another group.
This means faster ticket resolution and gives customers a higher chance of reaching a live representative on their first call.
As with any phone systems, customers can leave voicemails for departments and agents when not able to reach a live person.
They can also elect to be directed straight to a representative’s voice mailbox as opposed to waiting in long call queues.
Record customized greetings that can direct callers to additional phone numbers or let clients know when you’re out of the office.
Smaller companies that can’t support a complete contact center can use Talk as a voice message inbox to keep track of tickets. Every voice message generates an automatic ticket, ensuring that no request gets lost.
Voicemail transcription allows admins to create triggers based on set words like “callback” “refund,” or “bill pay,” ensuring that these calls are routed to the correct agent/department.
Business Text Messaging
In addition to making phone calls with Talk, agents can also communicate via SMS text message using the same Talk phone number they make voice calls with, or any other business SMS platform.
Send standard live SMS messages to clients or send automated texts when a customer requests support, creates an account, or takes another action.
Text messages are typed within the Talk interface as opposed to smartphones. Best of all, SMS texts generate automatic support ticket, making it much easier to communicate across multiple channels seamlessly later on.
Agents can also receive text notifications on Talk and external phone numbers when a ticket needs attention or if a priority support request comes in. Admins can set the conditions of these text triggers.
Zendesk lets agents send a maximum of 250 simultaneous text messages per Talk phone number. Note that as of this writing, Zendesk texting doesn’t support MMS messages or shortcodes.
Talk includes call recording capabilities with advanced features such as allowing callers to opt in or out of being recorded and the ability to pause and resume recordings at any time during a call.
This makes it easier for managers to evaluate overall agent performance and identify areas of support that need improvement.
Calls are recorded on both softphone web browser, agent forwarding numbers, or business calls transferred to an external phone.
Admins can download these recordings, or choose how long they’d like to recording to be stored for. Automatic recording deletion is also available to protect customer privacy.
Dashboards and Reporting
Talk offers insight into some of the most important historic and real-time call center metrics including call abandonment rate, average number of inbound and outbound calls over a set period.
It also provides customizable real-time dashboard and historical reports that measure omnichannel support network engagement, so you can determine where your customers are the most likely to reach you.
The dashboard gives admins the functionality to filter data according to four main tabs:
- Calls Tab: Call data available according to date, call type, Talk telephone number, ring group, and more.
- Efficiency Tab: Data on average call duration, answer time, queue wait, average hold times
- Agent Activity Tab: Agent-specific data on accepted, missed, and declined calls. Also shows calls routed to agents by date, agent activity, and agent ranking.
- Quality Tab: KPIs related to customer feedback, audio quality and network issues.
As stated earlier in this post, a large portion of Zendesk Talk’s customer base are small-to-midsize companies introducing phone support for the first time.
Many of these companies offered exclusively email support in the past, but have known grown their client list to a level where email alone is no longer a sufficient customer service communication channel.
It’s also ideal for businesses looking to do more direct research into the efficiency of their current level of customer service.
Detailed customer service surveys and follow-up emails make it easy to compare CSAT scores across multiple communication channels, while analytics and reporting tools allow managers to identify common customer questions — improving agent trainings and call scripts as a result.
More specifically, financial agencies use Talk’s automated IVR system to allow customers to pay bills, check accounts, and even answer basic loan application questions over the phone. This either eliminates the need for these customers to connect with a live support team representative, or ensures that they connect with the best agent based on their loan qualifications or account inquiries.
Government agencies, schools, and healthcare facilities have used Talk to streamline and speed up telephone communications impacted by COVID-19 regulations, closures, and contact tracing. Users can call in to get up-to-the-minute updates regarding possible exposure, test results, or even to report cases.
Online retailers rely on Talk to update customers about their order status and delivery times, transfer callers to the right product specialists, and to connect with vendors and suppliers when inventory is running low.
The biggest drawback to Talk is its price.
Users not only must have a Zendesk Support plan on some kind to access Talk at all, but they also have to purchase a Zendesk Talk subscription — which doesn’t include any call minutes. In order to get access to even basic call routing and monitoring features, users need to purchase one of the more expensive plans. Additionally, live chat support is not available without the purchase of Zendesk chat.
Plus, if users want any third-party software integrations?
If they have only a basic Zendesk Support plan, they’ll need to pick up the Partner Edition, too.
Therefore, Talk isn’t the right choice for companies that aren’t ready or able to dedicate a good amount of money to including phone communications within their omnichannel communication plan.
Small businesses and startups with relatively few employees and less frequent customer service requests will not need many of the features Talk provides, and may therefore prioritize a lower-cost VoIP provider.
Talk also isn’t a good fit for companies that do not have sufficient staff to successfully implement omnichannel customer service, nor is it right for companies with a high volume of international clients.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular Zendesk Talk Frequently Asked Questions.
Q: What are the Talk network and system requirements?
A: Users need an Internet connection with a bandwidth of at least 80 kbps per session, though 500 kbps is the recommended amount. For best results, use Chrome and Firefox browsers. Talk is not compatible with a VPN or MPLS. To learn about additional requirements, click here.
Q: Does Zendesk Talk offer number porting?
A: Users can only port in existing numbers if they are a paid Zendesk Talk subscriber, and the process can take anywhere from 1-6 weeks. Note that these numbers must be ported to Twilio, which is Zendesk Talk’s service provider. In order to port out a number, users must complete an application.
Q: For how long and where are call recordings stored?
A: Recorded calls are encrypted and stored within your cloud, and can be manually deleted or automatically deleted after a set time limit. There is no pre-set time limit on the amount of recording storage. See our post on recording laws to ensure compliance.
Q: What types of phone numbers does Zendesk Talk offer?
A: Users can purchase local and toll-free numbers, as well as international phone numbers from over 70 countries. Users with international calling enabled may also add external numbers with talk Professional and Enterprise plans.
To learn more about alternatives to Zendesk talk, check out our interactive call center software table to compare features and plans of top providers like Five9, Genesys, Dialpad, and Nextiva.