Zoho Desk with Accessibility UI and Blended ConversationsZoho has announced the latest release of its flagship customer services application, Zoho Desk. Zoho Desk is an online customer service desk. It is used by over 100,000 businesses worldwide. This latest iteration sees the introduction of Blended Conversations. It combines Guided Conversations with the Instant Messaging (IM) Framework.

Guided Conversations enables customer services teams to build self-service interactions with customers using the Zoho low-code platform. Blended Conversations, enables customer services teams to extend those interactions across various social media platforms.

The result is that it enables organisations to engage with customers on their channel of choice. Currently, supported platforms include WhatsApp, Telegram, Line, WeChat, Messenger, and Instagram, in addition to the Zoho solutions. The enhanced solution has deeper integration with other Zoho solutions, such as Zoho’s CX Platform Zoho CRM Plus, enabling users to build even stronger customer self-service conversations.

Sridhar Iyengar, head of Europe and UK, Zoho (Image Credit: LinkedIn)
Sridhar Iyengar, head of Europe and UK, Zoho

Sridhar Iyengar, Managing Director of Zoho Europe, commented, “During these challenging economic times, the best companies are doubling down on customer retention while simultaneously trying to do more with less. Great service experiences address this by forming the bedrock of sustainability through economic downturns. Blended Conversations in Zoho Desk addresses exactly this outcome by cleverly combining human and bot agents while also reducing friction, frustration, and costs-to-serve.”

Customers already see the benefits of Guided Conversations. Josh Benfield, Director of Technology and Training, NAF commented, “With Guided Conversations, our customers feel like they have another avenue to reach out and get support, and it gives them additional confidence in us to get the answers they’re looking for.”


The second and possibly more interesting component of this upgrade is the enhancement to the user interface. Zoho has introduced changes to support a wide range of disabilities, including:

  • Cognitive and dyslexia challenges
  • Visual impairments, including astigmatism
  • Animation reduction for those with seizure disorders
  • Customisation capabilities for colour-blindness

Options include the ability to switch colour themes, and there are three modes for appearance: light, night and auto (based on the time of day). Additionally, users can change the font type and font size for their screen as well.

The new features are already bringing benefits to organisations. Kunal Rijhsinghani, IT System Administrator, GPRS commented, Our Zoho experience has been great. When we used a different system, our team would routinely ask about task automation and customization, and we mostly had to tell them, ‘No’ because we were limited in functionality.

“Now, with Zoho Desk, we can. People have already started personalizing their home-screen and taking advantage of Zoho Desk’s organizational capabilities. The new interface that Zoho Desk has upgraded is very much appreciated by the users and an anticipated change.

“It always feels good when you see your feature requests becoming real. Our people have started personalizing their home screens, and there are many users who are a part of multiple departments, so that color distinguished between the tickets has been helpful to them.

“Zoho Desk was the first whole product that we initially started using as we were looking for a new ticketing system. And we liked how the whole product worked for us and the support that we received. So, we started using Site 24/7, Zoho Assist, Zoho Forms, and Zoho Projects—and all of them are eventually linked to Zoho Desk, so it has been an overall great experience for us.”  

Zoho Desk charges forward

Zoho Desk achieved 45% year-over-year revenue growth for the past five years. In achieving it, Zoho has established a loyal and enthusiastic customer base that delivers a higher value of customer service experience. At a time when DEI is becoming an important metric that organisations, as flagged by a Mckinsey report “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters”, the ability for customer service agents to have a solution that works for them is important.

Blended Conversations enable organisations to build simple and more complex conversation workflows. These enable chatbots to deliver rapid and accurate customer service to customers. They are also able to hand over to human agents when required. As more conversations are built, it enables organisations to scale without having to hire new staff.

Furthermore, they can deliver a consistent and timely customer experience using a mix of questions, graphics and information. For example, a conversation might ask which device the customer is using. Rather than list ID codes that mean nothing, it will display images that make it simple for the customer to reply quickly.

Zoho has also extended the options available for customers. It has introduced Zoho desk Express, which includes ticketing, social media and analytics. It is available for £7 per month, or £60 for an annual charge per user and for companies with up to 5 licenses.

Other levels include Standard at £12 per month (billed annually), Professional at £18 pupm billed annually, and Enterprise at £35 pupm billed annually. Only the Enterprise version includes Guided Conversations, presumably Blended Conversations, as the latter is not listed. However, Professional does include access to Instant Messaging.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

While Zoho focuses more on the Blended Conversations part of the announcement, its canned analyst comment came from Liz Miller, VP and Principal Analyst with Constellation Research. Miller commented, “CX is too often boiled down into big campaigns or journeys, when in reality the most impactful moments of experience happen when a customer’s expectations are met in a micro-moment of need.

“Zoho’s Blended Conversations empowers agents to exceed expectations by putting powerful tools from contextual customer data to meaningful ML tools to assist in offloading mundane processes at an agent’s fingertips. It does what so many organisations are working towards today: providing an exceptional employee experience so that their people can deliver exceptional experiences to customers.”

It is the accessibility options that seem to go beyond what many other vendors are doing. What wasn’t made clear is how the UI changes relate to all the conditions listed, but it will be interesting to find out. Regardless the personalisation changes are a good step forward and will no doubt become available across all the Zoho applications.


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