Monthly Archives: March 2017

Smart Decision Tree Powered Scheduling for Healthcare

Have you ever scheduled a medical visit with a clinic, only to find that the doctor you were paired with was the wrong specialist for your condition?

This was happening too often for the Spokane Ear Nose and Throat clinic, making patients unhappy, and wasting valuable doctor time. This happens all over the world in hospitals, clinics, and large medical practices. To solve this problem, Spokane ENT created a pre-diagnostic and appointment medical scheduling decision tree with Zingtree that their schedulers now use when a patient calls in to set up a visit; their medical office is now more productive and efficient than ever.

In order to deliver quality medical care, and keep patients and staff happy while maintaining profitability, it’s critical to develop a smart scheduling system. For this reason, introducing an updated process with Zingtree’s interactive decision trees is an intelligent, efficient way to get patients paired with the right doctor the first time.

Simplify Scheduling

Healthcare facilities have a need for a more optimized process of scheduling patient appointments. Clinics can provide an online scheduling tool allows patients to quickly and easily schedule appointments from their desktop or mobile device — anywhere and anytime — without the need to pick up the phone and connect to an operator.

On the operator and physician side, a lot of time is saved that would otherwise be spent taking calls and correctly routing a patient to the medical department they need. Using decision trees for scheduling appointments lets clinics automatically set patient visits depending on key criteria such as:

  • Level of urgency
  • Amount of complexity
  • Anticipated length of appointment
  • Required specialty

Pre-Diagnose Patients

Medical diagnosis is, in itself, a complex troubleshooting process that requires patients and physicians to work together. Interactive decision trees that act as diagnostic schedulers can also integrate critical medical triage questions; by asking a few pointed questions and follow-ups, a medical professional can more quickly narrow the possibilities of what’s affecting a patient and rule out any certain healthcare scenarios.

This symptom checker functionality within a scheduling script allows practices to simultaneously set up an appointment and intelligently pre-diagnose, so that medical professionals can gather information ahead of time and patients can more easily be scheduled with the right specialist – a huge time-saver for everyone involved.

Streamline Care

By saving time through a better, more streamlined medical scheduling and pre-diagnosis system, patients are automatically set up for receiving faster and more personalized healthcare. For clinics with multiple locations or larger hospital networks, this is even more beneficial; setting up every care center with the same system provides agents with a single, seamless scheduler tool.

Zingtree offers the kind of standardization and customization to help medical facilities in different geographic areas stay on track with one another, as well as provide a warm and professional environment for patients to get what they need as soon as possible. And as we all know, better and faster care leads to happier and healthier patients overall.


See the Zingtree Gallery for decision tree examples for all kinds of uses.

Ready to set up a Zingtree decision tree for your medical practice? Contact us with any questions, or get started today.

Decision Trees for Medical Scheduling: Spokane ENT Case Study


Spokane ENT + Zingtree

Improving medical care through intelligent medical scheduling

 

Spokane ENT is a certified division of the Columbia Surgical Specialists based in Spokane, Washington. With over 20 years offering excellent professional ear, nose and throat care to local residents, the highly-specialized clinic works tirelessly to help patients of all types experience life to their absolute fullest.

Spokane ENT’s Challenge

As a large group practice with multiple locations and specialties, Spokane ENT needed to optimize its appointment scheduling process. With specific areas of diagnosis and treatment, the clinic realized that they required a better way to ensure patients were scheduled with the proper specialists.

Zingtree’s Solution

Implementing appointment scheduling decision trees for the clinic’s call center agents has allowed Spokane ENT to optimize its scheduling across locations. Agents navigate decision trees to pre-diagnose patients, which eliminates a lot of unnecessary doctor visits.

“Our scheduling agents are faced with the task of matching patients to one of 11 doctors, each with a specific area of practice and treatment,” says Dr. William Schmitt of Spokane ENT. “Decision trees have allowed us to collect patient symptoms and quickly schedule them with the correct physician and accompanying testing.”

Key Statistics: 

  • 18,000+ Calls: More than 18,000 patient calls assisted
  • 2,400 Days: Over 2,400 operator days and counting

About Zingtree

Zingtree is the most user-friendly platform for creating and implementing interactive decision trees that deliver answers faster. Quickly create a decision tree that your site visitors, leads, trainees and/or customers navigate by clicking buttons to answer questions, and receive detailed analytics on how trees are being used. Zingtree makes it easy to guide anyone through complicated processes – there’s no better way to help people get answers and solve problems.


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

Using Decision Tree Scripts to Make a Better BPO Call Center

Call centers are the epicenter of many customer service interactions, and many have hundreds of representatives who take customer calls and solve problems in real-time. However, not every company has the bandwidth, resources or infrastructure to run their own call center — that’s where BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) call centers become important.

BPOs perform all call center-related activities for another organization. For a BPO call center to be effective, it needs to onboard new agents quickly, and ensure that every agent is following the proper processes and procedures of the sourcing company. There’s an inherent disconnect when internal processes are outsourced, and that’s where Zingtree interactive decision tree scripts can prove invaluable.

1. Standardizing for Best Practices

Written in the company’s voice and adhering to its own processes, agent scripts make it easier for support reps to solve customer problems as effectively as possible. With standardized interactive decision tree scripts to guide a BPO call center agent through each conversation, every agent will know precisely what to say (and when to say it).

2. CRM & Help Desk Integration

Zingtree decision tree scripts are easily integrated with any CRM tool used by call center agents, including Salesforce, Desk.com, Zendesk and others. By connecting agent scripts to a CRM platform and passing data using Merge Variables, BPO call center representatives can see customer information inside the script, and logic decisions can also be made depending upon data imported from the CRM. With Zingtree’s pause-and-resume feature, the most recent node and session history are saved with the ticket. This is handy if another agent takes over a ticket, or to see what happened during each call. All steps taken are clearly visible.

3. Rapid Training & On-Boarding

Getting agents up and running quickly, armed with the necessary knowledge, is an absolute requirement when outsourcing. Some BPOs use interactive scripts as a training aid, and others as a template to follow during each conversation. No matter how they are used, interactive scripts are an essential part of getting new agents online and scaling quickly.

4. Analyzing, Optimizing & Doing Even Better

After deploying a standardized agent script, reports and analytics can show how scripts are performing, and identify any areas of improvement. Interactive agent scripts allow you to automatically track each and every call center agent interaction and each customer’s reason for requiring support, as well as see how your script is being used (in aggregate or by individual agents). With these reports, the sourcing company and the BPO call center can easily locate pain points, check on agent performance, and even keep track of progress with call center KPIs.


Getting Started with Zingtree Call Center Agent Scripts

Follow our in-depth instructions for building your interactive agent script. Once your script is ready, you can:

  • Host on any web page or browser for easy access.
  • Integrate with Help Desk and CRM systems.
  • Get complete analytics and reports for optimization.
  • See full Q&A transcripts of every call for better understanding.
  • Keep track of agent performance.

Check out this short video to learn more about how Zingtree Agent Scripting can improve your call center BPO:


Ready to get more from your call center BPO? Sign up or log in and build your first interactive call center agent script!

3 Amazing Ways to Use Interactive Decision Trees With Your CRM

Zingtree-Banner-Startup-4

Positive, effective customer support and relationships are key to building a solid business foundation in any industry or field. With the potency of today’s CRM systems and integrative technologies, almost anything is possible in the realm of streamlining customer-based operations.

Introducing interactive decision trees as a unified part of your CRM platform — like Salesforce, Desk, and Zendesk — is an effective way to simplify the customer support and relationship process, and their continued optimization. Zingtree provides powerful tools for agents, customers and the measurement of both.

1. Customized Agent Scripts

Agent scripting solutions allow support agents to have a live, customized script to use as a guide when communicating with a customer. They are written in the brand’s own voice and follow personalized standards that make it much simpler for agents to portray the correct information and provide help to the customers.

Scripts help agents deliver more consistently positive experiences with less training, using prompts to follow along with; new questions will be presented depending on the answers given. This type of organized conversation makes the customer feel (and know) that they are actually being heard and understood.

2. Interactive Self-Help Troubleshooters

Zingtree is a powerful tool for building custom interactive decision tree troubleshooters – these allow customers to follow a path of questions and answers that lead to a final most-likely solution, and are especially helpful for more technical issues or questions. Additionally, when a customer’s data is imported into the CRM platform, agents can attach the full Q&A transcript of their decision tree session to keep every piece of relevant information in one useful place — with the Zingtree API, this information retrieval is automatic.

For organizations taking advantage of live support chat systems, Zingtree integrates directly with chat platforms to allow simple extraction and presentation of data. Our software allows Zingtree to open a Zopim or Intercom.io chat with the customer, gather information before the chat begins, and include a full transcript of the decision tree session as a part of the chat so that agents are provided with a holistic picture of the customer’s issue.

Companies that integrate Zingtree troubleshooters into their customer support processes have seen, on average, a 20% overall reduction in support cost and a measurable improvement in the volume of tickets. Using support decision trees based on customer-facing knowledge base data makes it easy to provide help across a variety of areas, become more efficient and save resources, while in turn cultivating long-term customer relationships.

3. Analytics & Customer Data

At the end of the day, the numbers reveal all. With built-in, real-time analytics and powerful usage reports, organizations can view the direct impact of their implemented Zingtree decision trees.


By introducing decision trees based on company knowledge base and agent information, implementing customized agent scripts and continually measuring the data behind both, organizations will best utilize their CRM and other support processes to benefit the customer and company.

Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact our trusty staff!

This article was originally posted on March 17, 2016, and has been updated for accuracy and freshness.

3 Reasons Why Retailers Need to Offer Self-Service Support Online

self_service-BLOG@2x

As Internet usage rises exponentially around the world, so does the popularity of online shopping. And naturally, as self-service shopping becomes more prevalent, the need for complementary self-service customer support becomes even more important for retail stores to introduce. Whether it’s for convenience, savings, location restrictions or any other reason, consumers are spending a lot of time and money with eCommerce retail.

Let’s take a look at some statistics:

  • Global online retail sales are estimated to top $4 trillion by 2020, making up 14.6% of total retail spending. (eMarketer)
  • Retail eCommerce sales in North America will rise 15.6% this year to reach $423.34 billion. (eMarketer)
  • The number of consumers browsing and buying online will hit 270 million by 2020, driven largely by mobile. (Forrester)
  • 72% of people think that self-service support is a fast and easy way to handle support issues. (Desk)

Is your retail store providing online, self-service support to empower customers? Here are a few big reasons to start making the change…

1. Answer Questions Outside “Regular Hours”

Your storefront hours and customer service representative availability will always have a timeframe. Meanwhile, customers are online shopping at any and all hours of the day – they are bound to run into some questions or issues while you’re away. Knowledge bases of information and thorough FAQs are critical to upkeep for online shoppers, and when you put that information into an interactive, easy-to-follow format, customers are all the more likely to find the answers they need quickly and painlessly.

Online decision trees and troubleshooters are the perfect way to set up customers for success outside of official store hours. Rather than forcing customers to search a trove of documents, by guiding end-users through a simple, click-by-click knowledge base they can easily self-solve questions about sizing charts, returns and exchange policies, gift card redeeming, credit card processing, and anything else they might need.

2. Encourage More Sales

Forrester estimates that online retail sales in the United States will grow 17% between 2016 and 2018. However, this fails to represent the huge percentage of customers who are far more likely to make a purchase (either online or in-person) after a successful online experience. In fact, offline sales that were influenced by a web-based interaction or experience hit close to $1.5 trillion just last year. Customers who purchase in your brick and mortar retail store have already looked at your website before walking in the door to buy. For this reason, creating a super-helpful online experience is just as important as the trained sales staff hired to generate interest in-person.

A self-service decision tree can also help encourage more sales online, too. For instance, our clients, Phoenix Bats, created a perfectly customized decision tree to help more customers find the exact right product to fit their needs. The Bat Selector decision tree now helps direct customers to the ideal bat, leading to an increase in overall sales.

3. Streamline Customer Communication

Your store’s website should be doing most of the work – if a customer has to hunt around in order to get some form of contact, you’re off to a rough start. Decision trees make a helpful interactive front-end for directing customers to the right page on your retail website, so people can easily get where they need to go with the power of automated filtering. Plus, they look and work great on any browser – on desktop or mobile – so customers can access a system to communicate with you anywhere with Internet access.

Once your agents are signed back online, any information submitted through your online troubleshooter decision tree during offline hours can be linked directly to any CRM (or live chat tool) your retail store is using, including Freshdesk, Zopim, Intercom, Salesforce, and others


Check out the Zingtree Gallery for decision tree examples.

Ready to start streamlining retail customer support for your eCommerce business? Get in touch with us, or sign up for an account. 

Avangate Startup Interview: Let’s Talk About Zingtree

Recently, our fearless leader, Bill Dettering, sat down with Avangate to talk about the ins and outs of what makes Zingtree such an effective SaaS tool. Check out some of the highlights from the interview below, and check out the entire thing on the Avangate blog!


Q1: Please tell us a bit about Zingtree. When and how did the company get started?

Zingtree was first sprouted in late 2013 by Tom Mayes and myself, the founders of Applian Technologies. We were seeing a lot of inefficiency in supporting Applian’s software products, and as such the first Zingtree-like troubleshooters were hard coded into the support path. After seeing a big reduction in support emails, we knew we had a winner, and so Zingtree was started.

Seven months later, the embedded troubleshooter concept was turned into a toolkit that anyone could use. With lots of testing and feedback, the Visual Designer and Content tools came to life, reporting was added, and Zingtree was ready to branch out to real customers. Since releasing, we’ve had a lot of interest from companies operating Call Centers, so we’ve gradually built more live support options into the product.

Q2: Meeting a real business need you’ve experienced firsthand gives you a major advantage. 

What does Zingtree do differently from alternatives in the market?

Incredibly, there are very few alternatives in our space, especially when the need for a product like Zingtree is so obvious. Technically, we offer unique features like “subtrees,” which allow decision tree publishers to easily reuse content across multiple knowledge areas. Our customization options are advanced as well.

Our experience in operating a B2C company for 20 years gives us an advantage in making Zingtree – a B2B company – incredibly accessible – our site has numerous example trees, and a prospective customer can try all of the tools and use the trees without even having to sign up for an account. It’s interesting when we demo for large companies, and they ask about “training.” We chuckle and tell them this has never been necessary since Zingtree is designed to be easy to use.

Our pricing model is also unique, in that it’s built around “pay for what you use.” Our confidence in Zingtree is really high, so we can offer this sort of value proposition to our customers and keep a profitable business model.

Keep reading the interview right here >>

Ready to get started with your own decision tree? Sign up or log in here.

How to Use Existing Login Credentials to Restrict Access to Decision Trees

security-blog

Some of our customers have asked for an extra level of security for their trees, such that only people authenticated via a corporate intranet can access it. This article shows how it’s done, for ANY login system on ANY intranet.

Universally restricting access is accomplished by having an internal server access the tree via a server-side include, rather than via a user’s browser via embedded code in the page. This means that all accesses of the tree come from a single corporate IP address or range. Zingtree has an IP filtering option for any tree, so it’s easy to restrict access and use whatever authentication processes are already in place on the corporate intranet.

The method described here can work with organizations using SSO (Single Sign On), or any other login system.

Here are the basics:

  1. Restrict access to your tree to just the IP address of your server(s). This is done via Zingtree’s Settings tool.
  2. Create a web page for the tree to display on your internal server. This page will include the necessary JS and CSS files to show the tree. Load your tree using a server-side call, instead of embedding it into an iFrame or linking to a URL hosted at Zingtree.com.

Examples

Here’s PHP source code for a simple server-side include.

See how this page appears.

Technical Details

The example above is written using PHP, but any server-side scripting language can be used.  Our demo is a template around which a URL for a tree can be loaded. This template contains all the CSS and JS files needed to display a functioning Zingtree decision tree.

Zingtree is built on top of Bootstrap 3, so the basic Bootstrap files are loaded.  There are a few custom controls as well included in the template.

You can swap out the PHP with Python, Ruby, Perl, or any other scripting language you choose.
Have any questions or comments about making your trees more secure? Talk to us!

How To Use One Tree for End-Users and Employees/Agents

updates-blog

We’ve had requests to make it easy to use one tree for both end-user support and internal agent usage. Rather than maintaining two separate trees, being able to have one source of content and show (or hide) parts between agents and end-users can be extremely helpful. So, we’ve introduced two new template tags that allow this to happen.

Demo

The Dual Use Agent and End-User Example Tree from the Zingtree Gallery shows how this type of tree is built and operated. You can switch between End-User and Agent views by opening the Show More Display Options link.

Creating Agent-Only or End-User Only Buttons

The first node in the demo has a button labelled “Other Options for Agents only”.  This button only appears when agents are viewing the tree, but not for end-users.  Here’s how this magic is done:

  • If you prefix the button label with AGENT_ , only agents will see that button.
  • Prefix a button with USER_ to show it to just end-users.

Creating Nodes with Dual Content

In the content area for any node, you can insert special tags that make the text visible to just agents, or just end-users.

To show content for agents only:

Surround the content with [[AGENT-ONLY]] and [[/AGENT-ONLY]].

To show content for end-users only:

Surround the content with [[USER-ONLY]] and [[/USER-ONLY]].

You can access these template tags from the content editor in any node:


Example

If your node content area looks like this…

This is the content for a node.

[[AGENT-ONLY]]Agent stuff shows here[[/AGENT-ONLY]]

[[USER-ONLY]]User content shows here[[/USER-ONLY]]

An end user will see this…

This is the content for a node.

User content shows here

And your agents will see this…

This is the content for a node.

Agent stuff shows here

How to Preview

The updated Preview tool lets you see content views for agents or end-users:

Implementation

Your agent-only content will appear in trees accessed via the Zingtree Agent Portal. You can also make this content appear by adding the following parameters to the URL for Zingtree hosted or embedded trees:

&agent_mode=1&apikey=YOUR_API_KEY

Substitute your API key for YOUR_API_KEY in the URL. You can find the API Key from the API page, or if you have multiple organizations at the bottom of the Organizations and Billing page.


Do you like this new feature? Or have any other comments? Please share with us!

Procurement Case Study: Philip Morris International

Philip Morris International + Zingtree

Streamlining complex operations processes in an interactive environment

Philip Morris International is the world’s leading global tobacco company, representing six of the world’s top international brands that span more than 180 markets. Largely focused on Research & Development, the company employs over 400 dedicated scientists, engineers, and technicians who work to develop less harmful alternatives to cigarettes.

P.M.I.’s Challenge

With the highly-regulated environment of R&D, strict guidelines for every process is necessary to mitigate risk and reduce error. PMI recognized a need to have clear, guided solution to ensure that every procurement was handled efficiently and accurately, without implementing a cumbersome system for employees to navigate.

Zingtree’s Solution

Interactive decision trees have allowed PMI to automate complicated procurement processes that follow stringent company regulations. By using standardized trees, the organization has minimized the risk of error while at the same time streamlining efficiency and reducing stress for their employees.

“Structured decision trees lead to increased efficiency, avoid constant repetition of efforts and also lead the users to increased autonomy and consciousness,” says Olivier Raffi, R&D Manager at Philip Morris International. “This type of automation allows free time and extended availability to deal with complex conditions with less time stressed support teams.”

About Zingtree

Zingtree is the most user-friendly, business-ready platform for creating and implementing interactive decision trees that deliver answers faster. Quickly create a decision tree that your site visitors, leads, trainees and/or customers navigate by clicking buttons to answer questions, and receive detailed analytics on how trees are being used. Zingtree makes it easy to guide anyone through complicated processes – there’s no better way to help people get answers and solve problems.

View the full Philip Morris International + Zingtree case study and download the PDF here


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

Must-Have Support Tools for a Successful Startup

support tools for startups

Often strapped for time and funding, small businesses and startups can be faced with a difficult decision — how do we spend our resources and manpower on our product, website, marketing, and customer relationships equally? Having a well-rounded customer support strategy isn’t always easy to keep up with. However, taking the time to make the right optimizations to your support system will help you retain customers, gather more helpful feedback for your growing company, and keep everyone happy.

Who says startups can’t offer an exceptional customer service experience? Here are our favorite customer support tools to help you make the most of your service.

Intercom

Having a live chat support functionality built into your website is an incredibly useful way to connect with customers who have any questions or issues to address. As a small business ourselves, we love using Intercom because it allows us to automatically track both chat and email interactions with each customer, as well as provide completely personalized one-on-one support.

The convenience factor can be huge in a customers’ decision to either get help or quit using your product/service. Intercom allows small businesses and startups of all sizes to engage with customers quickly and directly, without taking out a lot of time in the normal work day.

Bonus Tip: Link up Intercom with Zingtree to get background information from your customers before you start a live chat.

Zendesk

Everyone’s favorite support software earned the title for good reason. Zendesk provides a cloud-based customer service platform that’s been specifically designed to bring businesses and customers together, having all conversations and support requests centralized, searchable and totally organized.

There’s often not a lot of time in a day for startup workers to evaluate new software, but finding the right kind of CRM is important to scale. Developing a hyper-efficient CRM process can take a little time to prepare, but is guaranteed to help you build and maintain great relationships with people.

Bonus Tip: Integrate Zendesk with Zingtree to give customers a decision tree for self-solving, or allow them to submit a Zendesk ticket with their full tree history if they can’t find a solution.

Zingtree

Online knowledge bases and FAQs are a must-have for any startup or small business. But, customers searching for specific answers or step-by-step solutions to a technical issue, these knowledge bases of articles can be intimidating and frustrating. Zingtree allows you to create customized, interactive decision trees and troubleshooters to provide always-available, guided help to your customers.

Our platform lets you add visuals like GIFs and videos to provide more context, and has publishing tools to let you embed your trees into WordPress or any other website page for seamless integration with your existing online presence. Plus, you can gather feedback through comments to make optimizations even easier.

Bonus Tip: We integrate with a ton of other helpful tools and apps for startups and small businesses, so you can easily link up and share information between platforms.

Twitter

More than just a social media platform or means of distributing your business’ content, Twitter is an incredibly helpful medium for basic support communications. So many consumers are turning to the ease and accessibility of social media to share issues and ask questions, and startups can offer up ultra-fast, bite-sized responses to solve problems through replies and more lengthy direct messages.

Not just for the youngsters anymore, adults of many ages are now using Twitter to keep up with their interests, as well as brands they love. It’s free, fast, personalized enough to please consumers, and simple enough for even the smallest of startups to lend resources to.

Bonus Tip: We’re also on Twitter – follow us and ask us anything!

Grasshopper

Sometimes customers just want a direct line, straight to the source of the information. For startups working with the elderly, those with poorly-functioning Internet, or otherwise technically-challenged customers, having a phone can be a huge benefit. Grasshopper allows you to make a new business-only line from your own personal cell phone, so you can easily field questions anywhere, anytime.

Perfect for startups with remote (or distributed) teams like us, Grasshopper is a cool way to stay in contact with customers while keeping your existing number, and even allows you to send texts through your business number to work through things with clients and customers on-the-go.


Ready to help make your startup even more customer-friendly? Get a free Zingtree account today