Four weeks with Freshfone

The story of how our phone channel improved our support process

Written by on March 26, 2014

Sometime back in December, we got a new toll-free number for our support hotline. After testing it out for a few months, we decided to retire the old one and move over to the new number completely. Here it is again:

+1 (866) 832-3090

Why is this important? Because this isn’t just any ordinary number. It’s the number we bought using our own phone channel.

It might have slipped past your radar, but we recently moved the phone channel from “beta” mode into active status.  Which means not only did all of our customers gain access to it, but our support team also made the switch from physical phones to a call center on the clouds.

That’s right, instead of connecting to the phones that litter our cubicles, our built-in phone channel patches calls right over to our helpdesk. That’s all the capabilities of a call center, without any of the expense, hassle or hardware. So, no matter where we are or what we’re doing, we’ll be able to jump in and start supporting without any problems. Compared to our previous process, which involved Grasshopper, this is worlds apart.

There are no additional costs get the phone channel and it is available even on our Sprout plan. You’ll just have to pay for the minutes you use and a dollar, a month, for a number in the US.

And here’s how it has (already) revolutionized our support process:

1) IVRs are our new best friend: We’ve set up IVRs to direct users to the team that they want to talk to (Sales, Customer Service, whatever rings your bell). The best part is, even if John isn’t at work, we can forward the call to his mobile phone so that the customer’s query gets resolved quickly.

2) Contextual conversations: The word “context” will never be the same to us again. Now, whenever someone calls us, we can quickly see their support request history and recorded conversations. This way, all it takes is two seconds for us to know who’s calling, why they’re calling and how we can help them.

3) Accountability: Because tickets are like time bombs, phone conversations no longer get lost when they go from our support team to the product management, bug-fixing or operations desk. They get assigned away just like every other ticket.

4) Hold times are down: Every time the browser rings, the call is automatically patched over to an available agent (a hurray for Round-Robin!). So, previously while our customers had to wait for our lines to get freed up, now every support guy on shift is a potential door for them. And it doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing as long as we’re logged into our helpdesk.

5) Call transfers are now a piece of cake: The ability to seamlessly shift calls between phones and browsers is a godsend. The fact that it’s now free is icing on the cake.

6) Feedback: Ever since we started using our phone channel, the higher ups (and by that, we mean our support head and our CEO) have started running through call logs and actual recorded conversations to make sure we’re up to scratch. If something does feel off, they make sure to bring it up at the next Support meeting.

7) Ideas, ideas everywhere: Ever since our “call center” took to the clouds, every phone call that comes into our hotline gets converted into a ticket. So, every discussion – whether it’s a bug fix or a demo, is logged in our system for scrutiny. Not only does this hold us accountable for everything we say (and promise) but, for our product managers, it’s a veritable goldmine of information as well. Feature ideas have been popping up left, right and center.

The good news is that, by now, phone channel is available across all of our plans, to all of our users. So go ahead, don’t be shy, take a look at our Phone guide and jump headfirst into the magic that is our cloud-telephony integration. If you’ve gotten a head start, tell us about how it’s made your support better.

 

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  • Dan

    I already have a support number and it’s very built into our systems. I would like to utilize freshfone, but I want to use my existing SIP system to do it.

    How can this be done?

    • freshdesk

      Hi Dan,

      You can setup your existing telephony service to forward calls to a Freshfone number. That way, you’d be able to keep your phone number and be able to take calls and inside Freshdesk too.

  • Jochen Czwalina

    too bad I cannot use it with a german number … when will Germany be added to the list of available Freshfone countries?

    • freshdesk

      We are still waiting on our provider to start supporting German numbers. We’ll add it to our list as soon they become available!

  • jake

    It still lacks a basic yet crucial feature: What extension/number the caller is calling. If we have 2 brands that our team handles and we have the same people answering calls for support/billing/sales etc. there is no way for our staff what brand/extension the caller is calling to hence making the product useless for larger size companies.

    • freshdesk

      Hey Jake,

      We allow our customers to setup IVRs inside Freshfone. You can simply create a rule to have calls assigned to a group of agents in your team based on a keypress.

      You could also dedicate separate phone numbers for Billing or Sales and assign incoming calls by default.

      This is what we’ve done with our primary number:

      • Eric

        I think what he’s referring to is a “whisper” that a contact center phone system uses. What this means is when an incoming call is routed to an agent, the phone system says (or whispers) what the customer selected. For example, if the IVR tells the customer to press 1 for Acme company or press 2 for Generic company, the phone system will say what the customer pressed in the agents ear before the call is connected so the agent can answer the call like “Thank you for calling ACME company” instead of Generic company for branding. Another example would be if multiple numbers ring to one support group, they know which number is calling so they can appropriately answer with the proper greeting, especially when each number represents a different brand.

  • I’d like to be able to use another application to take and receive calls than my web browser (my web browser uses my sound card for music). I guess I’d add Freshfone to my mobile as well.

    If it helps anyone, here’s my notes on setting up Freshfone as a long time Freshdesk admin. Really easy.

  • elina

    is there a way to forward the calls to some sort of answering machine – while we have no agents available?