Monthly Archives: November 2015

4 Reasons Why Call Center Scripts are the Key to Surviving the Holidays

While many associate the term “Black Friday” with the official start to the holidays, it actually refers to that time of year when many retailers see their profits go from “being in the red” to “being in the black.” Within the contact center world, only two seasons exist: pre-holidays and post-holidays. Fortunately for these centers, much of the chaos surrounding temporary agents can be minimized with personnel training and a good scripting solution.

For many organizations, this is the time of year when new relationships can be forged, giving scripts an important role in the overall customer experience. The holidays are the perfect time to show potential and returning customers the breadth of your product line, and even increase sales. Here are some of the ways that a call center scripting solution can enhance the customer’s experience (even when relying on less-trained, temporary agents):

Consistency

All of the reasons why customers may call into your contact center can be tracked and monitored, and therefore specific scripts can be created so that customers will have a similar experience, regardless of the agent who takes the call.

Natural flow

Organized like a flow chart, scripts prompt agents to probe deeper or ask new questions depending on the answers given. This allows for a more natural flow of conversation where the customer feels they are being heard, rather than an agent reading off a linear script, which can come off as not only robotic, but disrespectful.

Train agents faster

Scripts, especially for temporary staff, can help call center agents deliver better experiences with less training involved. These scripts are in no way a replacement for training, but they do provide increased flexibility, especially during the holidays.

Improve customer experience & KPIs

Scripts that incorporate best practices from top performing agents can positively impact Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). By standardizing best practices within your call center through scripts, poorer performing agents and temps can more quickly, improve their performance, and deliver more consistent customer service.

There are a number of ways that contact centers can prepare for the upcoming season, from cloud-based workforce management software and scheduling solutions to scripting. When these scripts are done right, most customers won’t even realize the agent is being guided. And, with strategic planning that starts well in advance of the holidays, there is no reason that contact centers can’t easily handle the increased hustle and bustle!

This article was written by Tamara Irminger of MHI Global. Are you interested in submitting a guest blog post? Please contact us!

Tree Search API

Some of our customers with a lot of trees have asked us to incorporate a tree search feature into Zingtree.  This is handy for both internal use (Call Centers/Agent Scripting), as well as external use (support and troubleshooting). The goal is to make it easy for someone to find the proper tree.

Our Tree Search uses two pieces of information to locate trees: the tree Name, and the tree’s Tags.  Both of these are found in Settings.

Agent Interface

For internal use, our Agent Portal now includes the ability to find trees in two ways:

  • You can filter trees by tags from a drop-down list.
  • You can enter text to search.

Zingtree Hosted End-User Interface

For external use, you can have a search form where your end-users enter a search term, and any trees with Names or Tags matching the search term are displayed as links.

The easiest way is to use a Zingtree hosted search form.  Go to your Organizations and Billing page, and locate the Hosted Tree Search link at the bottom of the page. Click this link to open the search form.  You can share this URL with your customers.

An example using the Zingtree Gallery is here.

Tree Search API

If you want to include Tree Search on your own site, you’ll need to make use of our simple API. You can see a demo of the API in action here.

The process is:

  1. Locate your API Key at the bottom of the Organizations and Billing page.
  2. Create your search form.
  3. When the search is submitted, call our API like this:
    http://zingtree.com/api/tree-search.php?apikey={your API key}&search={your urlencoded search query)
  4. The API returns a JSON object of trees that match the search query. The JSON has the tree ID, and the tree name. The data looks like this:
    {"815089605":"Agent Script - Set Appointment",
    "164166011":"Pet Rock Demo",
    "666464897":"Simple Sales Funnel Demo",
    "506992892":"Training Simulation Template",
    "867287049":"Zingtree Tour"}
  5. Parse the JSON data to make links for each tree.

We’ve built a PHP sample to illustrate one way to implement this API. Download the example source code here.

You can try the sample here.

 

Updates: Tree Search, Node Printing, and Better Internationalization

updates-blog

This Thanksgiving Week’s updates cover a variety of things, all inspired by people like you.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Email nodes now display in French, Dutch and Spanish, depending upon the preferred browser language setting (h/t Théophile).
  • Published trees: Back button just shows an arrow for non-English users.
  • Agent portal: Added search box to locate trees matching title or tags (h/t Tom S. and others).
  • New Tree Search API
  • Now properly saves non-English characters in Edit Node (h/t Ksenia)
  • New: Print node option in Overview.

Also, Ben C. helped us find and fix a rare error in recovering snapshots.

We’re thankful for our great customers who continue to help us make Zingtree better and better. Thanks guys!

Using Scoring in Form Field List Boxes

Update: We suggest using the newer Data Entry fields feature of Zingtree instead to do this.

Zingtree’s Form Fields feature for list boxes has been tied into the Logic Nodes feature.  This means that you can have your end-users use a list box control to pick an option, and then branch according to the option chosen.

For example, you may have a person select from a list of states, and based upon their selection, you would branch to the proper node.  This is a lot cleaner than having 50 buttons, one for each state.

The Small Claims Limit demo tree shows how this is done.

Implementation Details

When you add a List Box form type into your tree, you can offer several options to the end-user. If you examine the HTML code, it may look like this:


<div class="form-group">
<label class="control-label" for="agelist"> Age: </label>
<select name="agelist" class="form-control zt-data">
<option value="" score="0">- pick one -</option>
<option value="<18" score="18">&lt;18</option>
<option value="18-30" score="30">18-30</option>
<option value="31-50" score="50">31-50</option>
<option value=">50" score="200">&gt;50</option>
</select></div>

By modifying the score= attribute on each option, if that option is picked, the score increments by the value shown. In the example above, if the end-user picks 18-30, then the score for that choice increases by 18, the score= attribute.

From there, use a Logic Node to branch according to the cumulative score.

Important Tech Tip: If you use a List Box, the score for your default selection will be added to your running total at the start. (This is due to Zingtree loading the entire tree at once for performance reasons.) The best practice is to make your first option have a score=0, like this:

<option value="" score="0">- pick one -</option>

Customer Support Case Study: Applian

Here’s an example of how Zingtree’s interactive decision trees are helping to improve and advance customer support processes in a cutting-edge software company. 

Applian Technologies develops powerful, affordable streaming media recording software for the Windows and Mac user. As a bustling technology company, Applian has always used traditional support methods to stay ahead of customer communications. After performing a ticket analysis, they found that they were spending far too much time and resources on each ticket, and decided to take action.

After adopting Zingtree’s solution, Applian was able to save over 15 hours each week on support communications, $30,000 in valuable resources, and more!

You can view the case study below, and open a PDF version here.

casestudy-applian

Want to see more? Explore the Zingtree Gallery for examples of how our decision trees and interactive solutions provide value for businesses!

Adding Confirmation Messages to Call Center Scripts

Another recent goodie in the Zingtree arsenal of Call Center Agent tools is the new Require Confirmation to Continue option. If you’ve ever been on a call, and the agent says “This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes”, then you can see how this is helpful.

Agent’s View

On the agent side, they will see this:

confirmation_message_user

Clicking the checkbox will activate the Continue button, and the agent can proceed with the script.

Author’s View

On the publishing side, when in Overview, Edit Node, any question node will show this Require Confirmation to Continue option:

confirmation_message1

Click the checkbox, and a message option appears:

confirmation_message2

The message appears as a part of the agent script, and it must be clicked upon for the agent to proceed. Pretty handy, eh?

If you have any questions, please reach out to us!

Zingtree Terminology: Understanding Your Decision Trees Pt. 1

Behind every great Zingtree decision tree is a powerfully built system. Understanding how these interactive decision trees work on a more fundamental level can help you to generate more effective, better customized trees to fit your needs. If you’re new to Zingtree, this glossary of basic terms will help you understand how our system works.


Buttons

These are the clickable actions an end-user takes when interacting with a tree. You can see examples of buttons below in “buttons style” and “panels style”.

Buttons Style

Buttons are the traditional display method of your decision trees’ interface. With this design, your customers will see answer options shown as clickable buttons. Each individual button answer will lead to a separate path respectively, depending on your customer’s selection.

Link Nodes

Following up the Q&A nodes for most-utilized are Link Nodes, which can allow your customer to click through to another web page, such as a scheduling system, how-to video and more. The action of opening this new page is tracked automatically in your Zingtree Reporting for that specific tree.

Nodes

A node is a page an end-user sees while using your tree, or an action that occurs.  Question Nodes and Answer Nodes show information, and give choices where to go next. Other kinds of nodes perform actions like sending an email, linking to a web page, opening another tree, or acting upon a session score.

Panels Style

We developed a second user interface style that you can adopt for your custom decision trees. The Panels style displays the same information as the traditional Button style does, in a fresh way that is optimized for longer answers. Each panel answer will lead to the next step in the path depending on your customer’s choice.

You can try out both Buttons and Panels style in the Zingtree Gallery to see which method is right for you.

Question Nodes, Answer Nodes

Old fashioned Q&A nodes are by far the most popular. As the name implies, Question nodes allow you to ask a question to your customer and provide one or more answer buttons. On the other hand, final Answer nodes propose a solution for your customer and contain no buttons. You can add unlimited nodes and grow your decision trees as big as you want!

Trees

Interactive Decision Trees are why we’re in business. They form the logic and structure of the knowledge you wantto share with others.

Trackable, customizable and dependable, Zingtrees are set up using three basic methods: Wizard, Designer, or right from scratch. After completing and saving your custom interactive decision tree, it can be embedded in your web site, or hosted by us. You can edit, preview and update your Trees whenever you’d like.

Here’s what one of our example trees looks like:

Tree Nodes (Sub-trees)

For larger, more complex projects, Tree Nodes (or sub-trees) come in handy to break down your decision tree in a more digestible way.  Simply put, you can have a button open another tree.

You’ll find that these sub-trees can occur naturally during the planning stages of complex trees; by containing themes in different trees, and later linking them into one final tree using Tree Nodes, you can concentrate freely on one step at a time.

 


Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Zingtree Terminology series coming soon. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact the team!

Updates: Tree Node Enhancements, Server Reliability

Updates2

This week’s updates, as always, are all about YOU. Some recent customer requests that we added into Zingtree include:

  • Persistent buttons now can be accessed via keyboard tabbing (Thanks Carl!)
  • Tree nodes now have option to jump to a specific node in new tree (Thanks Oi Yee!)

And some other things that everybody wants:

  • Added some server reliability checks and redundancy. We had a little bit of down time this week, and thanks to Amazon we now have a better system in place to keep traffic away from unhealthy servers.
  • Cleaned up Tools menu colors and button positions. Hopefully this makes more sense, and you all have discovered the goodies in the More Tools menu by now.
  • There are also a few more data integrity checks when using Designer.

Our customers are always smarter than we are, so if you have a suggestion, comment or bug report, tell us here.

Updates: Collaborators and Billing

Thanks to your suggestions, we’ve had a slew of great ideas for updates. Most recently, we’ve focused on how we handle the roles of multiple people in an organization all using Zingtree. Here are the highlights:

  • Add/manage Collaborators has moved to the drop menu under This Tree, and on the main page of tools.
  • Unassign (remove myself as collaborator), is now called “Remove Me”, and it found under manage Collaborators.
  • The Collaborators screen shows YOUR permissions for the current tree.
  • For payments and billing, there is now a single person in each organization that manages that function. Just this person gets email notices of receipts, too. This “Billing Administrator” can assign the role to someone else.

We also fixed a couple of small bugs, and did some usability studies and enhancements – all very subtle.

As always, please share your great ideas with us!

 

Prepare Your Support Call Center for the Holiday Rush with Zingtree

The most chaotic season of the year is quickly approaching, and it’s more important than ever to prepare your call center staff for the impending holiday craziness. Beyond having helpful, well-trained agents at the ready, it’s smart to adopt technology to handle inquiries and get agents online faster.

Zingtree interactive decision trees are one way to avoid the headache of customer service disarray during the peak periods of November and December. With customers self-solving using customized decision trees and agents being guided with interactive scripts, your support team will have a happy holiday season instead of a hectic one.

Decision Trees for Customer Support

Happy customers lead to happy agent staff, and vice versa. Zingtree is an amazing tool for any customer support team, as it allows you to create custom troubleshooters to take customers, or agents, through the support flow step-by-step.

Organizations that deploy Zingtree troubleshooters have seen a 20% reduction in support costs on average. Customers are gently guided to answers, and, if a problem can’t be solved, your agents receive background information on the problem, saving time and resources. With no programming required, Zingtree decision trees and troubleshooters make it easy to build each step of the process so no important information is left behind.

With design customization and plugins to fit your integration needs, Zingtree can help you ramp up your support this season.

Agent Scripting Solutions

High-tech solutions can also empower your live support agents to be efficient and effective when communicating with customers. Agent Scripting is a robust tool for any company offering chat or phone support.

Scripts are easy to build using Zingtree’s tools, you’ll effectively reduce time and resources spent on holiday support. With powerful tracking and analytics, Zingtree agent scripts help companies collect useful data that can even be used to prepare for the holidays next year – we even have a direct integration with popular customer service platform, Zendesk!

Learn More

Remember – the holidays can be stressful, but with proper preparation for your call centers and support staff, you’ll make the load just a little bit lighter, and the season just a little more jolly!

Visit Zingtree.com to get started free for 30 days, and see how Zingtree will save you time and money.