Category Archives: Business

Industry Report: Here’s How to Improve Customer Support & Sales on Black Friday

Whether you’re an online retailer or consumer, Black Friday is a crazy time of the year. For customer support teams, in particular, the stress and demand can seem neverending – it’s not a question of if a customer will have an issue or question, but when. Adding extra layers of employees needing (and deserving) time off of work around these times and generally higher stress levels, startups and small businesses especially can feel the tension around customer support.

Black Friday On-Demand: Salesforce Industry Report

To be frank, mobile and on-demand options truly reign supreme. Customers today expect a smooth purchasing experience, fast shipping, and even faster customer support.

Salesforce combined the insights on the activity of over 500 million global shoppers and billions of transactions, millions of public social media conversations, and data from Salesforce’s annual Connected Shoppers Report to give retailers and online businesses the intelligence they need keep moving forward this holiday season.

Here’s what VP of Industry Insights, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Rob Garf, had to say:

“Just like watching television, holiday shopping has moved from an appointment based activity to an on-demand activity. Salesforce expects to see continued growth not only in mobile orders and website visits, but also in newer technologies such as mobile payments and artificial intelligence. It’s not too late for retailers to make adjustments today in order to meet consumer expectations and better compete this holiday season.”

You can read the full report and insights here.

A Better System of Customer Support for the Holidays

So, how does an online business truly prepare for holiday shopping? A new trend in customer support: self-service.

Interactive decision trees allow customers to quickly and easily navigate through processes, products, troubleshooting, and more. Setting up a completely automated, information-filled FAQ or knowledge base, simple-to-use product finder, or digestible problem-solving can solve a myriad of internal issues (and your customer’s, too!).

Our retail customers are able to solve problems and answer questions outside of regular and holiday office hours, as well as encourage more sales and truly streamline the customer support process. Take a look at some of our own resources for improving customer support here, and stop by our own decision tree-built knowledge base here.

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

Building Troubleshooters for Complex Products & Tools

interactive troubleshooter

Interactive troubleshooters are becoming a more frequent way to solve problems involving complex, technical products.  Since most complex equipment for industries like manufacturing, videography, and hardware/software have fewer “expert technicians,” the need for more intelligent support systems has risen. Where issues and complicated instructions run rampant, the fastest way to find the solution to a problem is with interactive troubleshooters.

Caterpillar, the US manufacturer of construction and farm equipment, is using Zingtree troubleshooters in their manufacturing plant. Likewise, IT Works, the most relied-on resource for collecting information on living environments. We even got our own start by building troubleshooters for another software company, Applian Technologies.

Self-Solving with Troubleshooters

With complicated products and tools, troubleshooters aim to help find the area of the problem by narrowing down other contextual factors. By offering an interactive format to simplify the issue, you have solved part of the problem already.

For highly-specialized or complex products, it can take a while to get fixed or for the right person in the right location to come and fix it, in many cases. Troubleshooting solutions make it easier for expert technicians to judge the issue and solve accordingly, and for less-than-expert level folks to figure things out.

Success Stories: Troubleshooters in Practice

For the U.S.-based manufacturing company, Caterpillar, this rings especially true. With an array of complex (and often large) manufacturing tools in use, equipment operators across the country needed an easier way to help work through issues and find answers anywhere. When an error code comes up, operators and technicians are able to assess the problem and find a way to fix it.

The decisions behind Applian’s customer support are also powered by our troubleshooters. The results? The company saved over $30,000 on resources per year and 15 hours of support time per week.

Here’s one of the Applian troubleshooters you can take a look at:

 

 

Building an Interactive Experience

Instructions are easier to follow from an interactive decision tree if the user is being guided by easy-to-follow, bite-sized directions. With complex products and tools, there is generally a lot of important information to cover – with no real understanding of your user’s experience level, it’s better to be as user-friendly as you can. You can even include videos, images and other types of media within your troubleshooter to make things even more easy to digest.

We have heaps of information on how to get started building troubleshooters right away – there’s a method that fits just about everyone! For more ideas, tips, and inspiration, we recommend having a look at our troubleshooters on display in the Gallery, as well as checking the blog for a catalog of best tips for building. There’s something in there for every industry!

After creating your in-depth, intuitive decision tree, end users will be delighted with the ease of providing a faster solution. Ready to start your revolutionary, problem-solving troubleshooter? Take a shot, or reach out to us if you need some expert advice.

3 Reasons Why Insurance Agents Need Interactive Scripts

interactive scripts for insurance

There’s one aspect of insurance that everyone can come to the same conclusion about: it’s complicated. Whether you’re talking about home insurance, life insurance, travel insurance, property insurance, or any other type you can name, the same issues around complexity arise. In an industry so deeply-rooted in lots of paperwork, fact-checking, and claims processing, important and confusing details of all sizes are plentiful.

Agent scripts are one solution that has really helped to simplify these types of everyday insurance processes. In today’s digital world, however, the traditional call script is being replaced with something even more effective and easy-to-use. Interactive decision trees and agent scripts for insurance make it easy to pick products, follow processes, and collect important data.

Leading companies and independent insurance agents worldwide use interactive decision trees for insurance to streamline and simplify every detail – meaning more people helped, more money saved, and more consistently-positive interactions reported. Here’s how some of our insurance-based customers are taking advantage of interactive decision trees:

Case 1: AFLAC

AFLAC, a leading insurance provider in the US, is using interactive decision trees for insurance to guide their insurance sales agents in order to locate and offer the best possible policies for prospective customers.

Case 2: Zudy

Zudy, a no-code enterprise platform, works with insurance companies to provide interactive insurance scripts around their most important and complicated topics, including claims processing.

Case 3: Easy Insurance Scripts

Easy Insurance Scripts partners with Zingtree to deliver powerful agent scripts to insurance agents, along with its roster of equally helpful tools and resources for agents.

While the use cases and exact results may vary from agent to agent, organization to organization, the benefits really boil down to 3 main things:

  1. Consistency
  2. Guidance
  3. Simplification

Let’s take a closer look…

Consistency

Details in the insurance industry are more than important – they are absolutely vital to the integrity of the practice itself. With so many critical details and rules within every claims process, consistency in the information and experience provided cannot be overlooked.

To ensure consistency, interactive decision trees and agent scripts are completely standardized across the board. For real-time conversations, training scenarios, and processing situations, having a consistent and reliable script can help to achieve the intended goals.

Guidance

In many insurance interactions – training or otherwise – interactive, step-by-step guidance can be incredibly useful. Insurance agents and organizations are using interactive decision trees to guide customers to the best products for their needs, as well as guide agents in exactly to say next.

Ted Baker, Founder of Easy Insurance Scripts finds that “with scripts for guiding conversations, interactive trees to train new agents, and the reporting that comes along with it, agents are able to provide a better customer experience that’s consistent and informative.“

Simplification

Making things more simple is usually the best route to go. When you’re talking about insurance, however, the details that are being simplified still need to maintain their integrity. Interactive decision trees for insurance allow agents to ask a few pointed questions, collect the necessary information, and file what needs to be completed all in one streamlined format.

By asking a few questions and simplifying each task through a series of easy-to-follow, guided steps, decision trees and agent scripts for insurance ensure the correct process is followed for recommending policies and processing claims every time.

These 3 digestible, yet extremely powerful benefits of interactive decision trees are enough to make every customer interaction more positive and productive. Have any questions? You can see live examples and learn more about our solutions for insurance agents and organizations on our site, or feel free to reach out directly.

Zendesk Agent Scripting App – Version 10

If you’re a Zendesk user in a Contact Center environment,  you’ll want to be using our Zendesk Agent Scripting app.  This makes it easy to guide, train and onboard agents and is a huge productivity booster for everyone.

The Agent Scripting app appears as a button in the right-hand panel:

Click Open Script, and you’ll see your decision tree in a pop-over like this:

If another agent picks up the ticket, they return to the last viewed node, and can see each step taken previously by opening the History:

 

Benefits of the Zendesk Agent Scripting App

  • Standardization: Show a guided path for each ticket, so that Agents follow the proper operating policies or troubleshooting procedures.
  • Pause and Resume: If a ticket is transferred, the supervisor or new agent is taken to the last place in the script, and can see the history of the previous steps taken.
  • Automatic Script Selection: The Agent Scripting App can choose a script based upon the Zendesk brand, Zendesk ticket tags, or the value of a custom field.
  • Agent Feedback: Agents can send feedback directly to the authors of the decision trees with a single button click. Feedback is delivered to each author’s email, and includes the tree ID and node number where the feedback was sent from.
  • Automatic Ticket Updating: Tags and custom fields in the ticket can be updated from actions in the script – either via buttons clicked in the script, or from data entry collected.

New Features in Version 10

If  you’re using a previous version of the Zendesk Agent Scripting app, you may want to upgrade to take advantages of these new benefits:

  • Pop-overs: Scripts now appear as pop-overs, rather than being constrained to the right-hand panel.
  • Ticket Updating: Your tickets can automatically update by navigating the script, or by entering data into Zingtree Data Entry Fields. For example, the start of your script could offer the agent a choice of a product, and the “product” field in your ticket will be automatically selected when the agent makes a choice.

Note: Don’t remove the current version of Agent Scripting until you are ready to make the switch. Versions 9 and earlier may not be updated going forward.

Demo Video

This two minute video shows you how Agents interact with the Agent Scripting App:

 

Getting Started

Here are the basic steps to get up and running:

  1. Build an interactive decision tree script with Zingtree (or use one of our demos to start).
  2. Install the Agent Scripting App (version 10) into Zendesk.
  3. Configure the Agent Scripting app within Zendesk.
  4. If you want to have your decision tree scripts update your  Zendesk tickets, you’ll need to add variables and/or tags to your Zingtree tree to match your Zendesk setup.
  5. If you want to enable automatic script selection, you’ll need to add tags to your trees in Zingtree and configure the Zendesk Agent Scripting app properly.

Installing the Agent Scripting App into Zendesk

Download and configure the Zendesk Agent Scripting App version 10 like so:

  1. Download the Agent Scripting app here.
  2. In Zendesk, click the Admin icon and go to Apps > Manage.

  3. Click Upload Private App.

  4. The Upload App page appears.

  5. Enter “Zingtree Agent Scripting” for the App Name.
  6. For App File, locate the file zingtree-agent-scripting-v10.zip you downloaded in step 1.
  7. Click Upload, then confirm if necessary.

Configuring the App

Once you’ve uploaded the app, click App Configuration to see the configuration screen:

Here’s what each item does:

Tree ID: This is the default tree that appears when agents click “Open Script”.  (You should always have a default tree.)

Hide Integration Setup Info: When you are setting up Agent Scripting for the first time, you may need some information about your Zendesk setup to take advantage of automatically updating ticket fields. An “Integration Setup Info” link appears by default when you first install the app, and ticking this option hides it.

Match Tree Tags to Zendesk Brand: If this option is checked, the subdomain of the selected brand will be matched to a Zingtree tree tag.  Any matching tree or trees will appear.  For example, if the brand subdomain is xyz.zendesk.com, any trees tagged as xyz (using the Zingtree Settings tool) will appear.

Match Tree Tags to Zendesk Ticket Tags: If checked, the values in the Zendesk ticket tags will be matched with your Zingtree tree tags (set via the Zingtree Settings tool) to show one or more matching scripts.

Match Tree Tags to values in a Custom field: If you want to use a custom field value to show matching scripts, enter the Zendesk custom field identifier here. The field name can be found using the Integration Setup Info link that first appears in the sidebar when you install the app.

Zingtree API key: Each organization in Zingtree has an API key, which is used to match scripts. If you’re using one of the tag matching options, this is required. Your API key can be found at zingtree.com under Help, API.

Enabling Automatic Script Selection

Automatic Script Selection works by matching tree tags you set in Zingtree to values in the Brand, Tags, or a custom field in a Zendesk ticket. For example, if a tree is tagged with “astrology”, and the ticket tags include “astrology”, then that tree appears. If several trees match, then they will all appear, and the agent can choose one.

To open a script based upon Brand:

  • Add tags to your trees for each brand you want to match. So if one of your brands is xyz.zendesk.com, use xyz as a tree tag in Zingtree for all the trees you want to show.
  • Make sure Match Tree Tags to Zendesk Brand is checked in the App Configuration.

To open a script based upon Zendesk ticket tags:

  • Add tags to your trees for each tag you want to match. So if one of your ticket tag possibilities is “billing”, use billing as a tree tag in Zingtree for all the trees you want to show.
  • Make sure Match Tree Tags to Zendesk Ticket Tags is checked in the App Configuration.

To open a script based upon a custom field:

  • Add tags to your trees for each possible custom field value you want to match. So if one of your custom field values is “billing”, use billing as a tree tag in Zingtree for all the trees you want to show.
  • Make sure the proper Zendesk field variable name is entered for  Match Tree Tags to values in a Custom Field is checked in the App Configuration.


Adding tags to a tree in Zingtree is done like this:

  1. Select a tree from My Trees.
  2. Go to the Settings tool.
  3. Enter or select a tag from the Tags field.

  4. Click Update Settings.

How to Configure to Update Ticket Fields

As agents navigate through your trees, their use of the decision tree scripts you create can automatically update any custom fields in that ticket. This can be done in two ways:

  • By clicking a button in a script
  • By entering data into Zingtree data entry fields.

The key is to use variable names in your Zingtree that match the ones used in Zendesk.

First of all, determine the names of the variables in Zendesk by clicking the Integration Setup Info link in the Agent Scripting app. You’ll see something like this:

You’ll see the label for the field as it appears in Zendesk’s ticket form, and the Zendesk variable next to it. In the above example, the Product custom field variable is custom_field_22899289. This is a drop-down selector, and the Zendesk values for the field options are astrology and insurance.

For the rest of this example, we’ll use custom_field_22899289 as the custom field variable.

To make a button selection update a custom field, you’ll set it up in your Zingtree as follows:

  1. Go to the Overview tool, and edit the node whose button selections will update the ticket.
  2. Click Edit Buttons (or Add Buttons if you don’t have any buttons defined). The button editor appears:

  3. Make sure Assign Button Click Variable is checked. This makes the other options appear.
  4. For the Button Click Variable, enter your custom field variable from Zendesk (custom_field_22899289 in the example).
  5. For each button option, enter the value of the variable under Score/Value. If this is a drop-down list in your Zendesk ticket, you’ll need to make sure the Score/Value entered matches one of the drop-down option values as shown in the Integration Setup Info.
  6. Click Save Changes when you’re done configuring buttons.

Bonus: Adding Tags via button clicks:

Button clicks can also add tags to a ticket. In the above example, clicking Something Else adds the tag other_tag to the ticket. Just include the tag name with two colons after the button text. So entering a button like Something Else::other_tag will add the tag other_tag to the ticket if this is clicked, but agents will only see Something Else as an option.

Using Zingtree Data Entry Fields to Update Tickets

Just like the above example, you can also use Zingtree for data entry, and have that data automatically transferred to your ticket. The key is to use the same variable name in Zingtree as you used in Zendesk. The Integration Setup Info link in the sidebar will give you those Zendesk variable names.

Example: If you have a text entry field in Zingtree you want to update into the Zendesk field custom_field_1234, you would set up the variable name as follows:

 

Try It with Example Data

You can use trees from the Zingtree Gallery to see how the Agent Scripting app works.

For a single tree, enter ’14’ as the Tree ID. This will show an Astrology website troubleshooter example.

For multiple trees, see how a tree can be selected by tag by doing the following:

  1. Enter 6a103737e44e4aa6e1e4b6b0bcb46f83 as the API key.
  2. Make sure Match Tree Tags to Zendesk Ticket Tags is checked.
  3. Try entering one or more of these tags into a ticket: “zingtree”, “astrology”, “pet_rock”.

Any questions? We’re always here to help

How Decision Trees for Insurance Can Simplify Policies & Procedures

decision trees for insurance

Having exceptional customer service isn’t reserved for typical B2C companies. In such a tumultuous and often scary industry (for consumers, at least), insurance companies and agents must also take a close look at how their customers are perceiving the assistance they are getting. Understanding is also a huge part of this customer experience. Why? Because insurance is complicated.

Improving Insurance Call with Decision Tree Scripts

For many insurance companies, automation is an angle that’s gaining traction for providing more streamlined and consistent customer service. Our partnership with EasyInsuranceScripts.com is a great example of how decision trees are being used to simplify.

Simply put, Ted Baker, the Founder of EasyInsuranceScripts.com, envisioned a more streamlined way to improve how independent insurance agents were being trained, guided through complicated conversations and policy selections, and processing claims. In an industry with so many small, yet important, details to be understood, these conversations and processes can become intimidating very quickly.

With our own knowledge and experience in simplifying the complex, we knew decision trees would be an ideal fit. Joining forces between Zingtree and EasyInsuranceScripts.com has allowed Ted’s services to offer the most comprehensive set of resources for independent insurance agents as a result.

“It’s amazing that I’m able to automate all of this for independent insurers,” says Ted. “For me, the ROI of decision trees is immediate. Introducing standardized decision tree scripts for insurance has allowed the insurers in my network to really thrive. With scripts for guiding conversations, interactive trees to train new agents, and the reporting that comes along with it, agents are able to provide a better customer experience that’s consistent and informative.“

Hard Numbers: Where the Data Fits In

While each insurance agent or organization may have varying experiences, industry knowledge is key in understanding how much this kind of customer service and care matters for insurance. McKinsey recently published an article on how focusing on improving customer experience has a direct effect on growth and profit in the insurance industry:

McKinsey’s global research across industries shows that improving the customer experience can do far more to drive profitable growth than raising advertising spending or lowering prices. Some executives may still see insurance as a low-engagement, disintermediated category, but analytics prove that in an industry where profits are highly concentrated, leading carriers are delivering customer experiences that inspire loyalty and attract new customers frustrated by their experiences with their current carriers.

Here’s a handy chart that helps to summarize how insurers must improve the customer journey:

 

A typical insurance carrier today delivers customer experiences via separate functions (marketing, distribution, underwriting, claims), using a website, sales call center, service department, and so on, most managed by different executives with different goals and metrics. This structure may have its purposes, but it overlooks the fact that from the customer perspective, the experience is often a single journey.

Real-World Example: Decision Tree for Insurance

Here’s a sample tree, derived from one of the Easy Insurance Scripts trees:

 

 

Have any questions? You can learn more about how to simplify insurance products and processes on our site or feel free to reach out directly.

Frictionless Data Collection: The Easiest Way to Get Customer Information Online

We really can’t emphasize enough how important customer data is — for any company in any industry. Gathering data from customers should be easy for them, and it should lead to accurate information for you. Without collecting key information, you can never truly understand your current and potential customers and their desires. How long do you think your company could survive without good data?

Frictionless Data Gathering

Interactive decision trees simplify the process of collecting information on any web page that customers land on first. Just by prompting customers to click a button in a decision tree, you’re collecting data!

Once you get customers engaged with a decision tree, they’ll be hooked. You can then ask for name and contact information using data entry fields. This data is easily sent to you via email, viewed with Zingtree’s reports, or exported into any database or CRM system. Zingtree can validate this data as well.

Case Study: Zingtree

We use this technique ourselves – the Zingtree “Request a Demo” button on our Contact Us page is an example that asks some questions, and then leads to this form:

Before our potential customers see this form, they have clicked some buttons to answer a few basic questions. And at the end of the process, we get an email with all of their information and can schedule a demo with the right expert. It’s an awesome source of leads for us.

The emails we receive at the end of the process look like this:

XYZ Corp requested a demo

Zingtree session data:

Q: I would like to:
A:  Request  a Demo
Q: Next:
A: Continue
Q: How will you be using the Zingtree decisions trees you build?
A: External Use
Q: Are you looking to integrate Zingtree with other applications?
A: Yes
Q: Next:
A: Continue
Q: Are you interested in self-hosting Zingtree?
A: No
Q: Next
A: Continue
Q: Finish:
A: Send Demo Request

score: 0 
zt_browser_language: en 
zt_browser: IE 
zt_country: United States 
zt_regionName: California 
zt_city: San Diego 
zt_zip: 92121 
zt_ip: 208.87.212.000 
zt_isp: Surfer
zt_org: surfer.com 
name: Jane  
company: Customer 
email: jane@xyzcorp.com 
contact_number: 8882121000 
integrations: Looking to retrieve all data points and button elections in a spreadsheet  
send_out: 1


Step 1: Build a Tree, and add a  Data Collection Form

Ready to put this technique to use?

First, engage your customers with some questions answered as button clicks in an interactive decision tree, and at the end of the process ask for more info via a form. It’s easy for customers, and they are providing you fantastically helpful data.

What needs are you filling? Depending on the goal, you’ll want to be collecting different customer information. You can even automatically gather customer location, language, region, browser and more.

Step 2: Refine and Distribute Data

Before you send or publish any decision trees with forms, be sure to check your writing. It’s an often overlooked aspect of surveys, questionnaires and other means of data collection, but contributes greatly to the value of the information gathered.

Step 3: Analyze and Verify Collected Information

If you’re collecting certain information such as a customer’s shipping address, email, or phone number, validating that information before putting it to use can save you a lot of time and money. Bad information wastes valuable resources! Our interactive decision trees allow you to validate information using built-in data cleansing.

When all is said and done, Zingtree’s analytics and reports or API will help you collect and analyse key data directly from your customers themselves.

 

Take a look at the Gallery for a more in-depth look at how data entry forms work in different scenarios. Any questions? Reach out to us anytime.

Create a Product Finder to Improve eCommerce Conversions

For businesses with lots of product SKUs, helping customers find the right product is a sure-fire way of increasing sales and conversion rates; Zingtree is a perfect solution. Guided product selection is a new kind of strategy that allows customers to help themselves, self-solve, and locate exactly what they need as quickly as possible.

From picking out the perfect pair of sunglasses to the right kind of bike, to figuring out the ideal package of services, these “product finders” can help customers locate the right product in the easiest way possible.

The Facts: Customers Want Easy Access

Key metrics and figures in the eCommerce world only work to confirm what we know: simple, guided product finders are the wave of the future where customer journey and improving conversion rates are concerned. Let’s take a quick look.

Stat #1: On average, people spend about 51% of their time on their mobile phones.

It’s incredibly convenient for buyers to browse your store on mobile in short, quick, sessions during the spare pockets of time they have throughout the day. Online stores should always be optimized for quick shopping experiences that help customers find what they need within the fastest possible route. If they can’t find what they need, they’ll move on.

Stat #2: 94% of companies see “higher engagement and conversion rates” as benefits of a commitment to customer experience.

Customer experience is all about personalization. When you take the time and effort to customize an experience to specific people, they are far more likely to enjoy it and walk away feeling positive. Without any personalization, consumers can quickly jump to the assumption that those products or brand are not for them.

Stat #3: 74% of online shoppers rate product selection as important during the online search process.

That’s right — about 3/4 of all online consumers consider product selection as one of the most important parts of the search and purchase process. When you think about it, it really makes sense; making it as simple as possible to locate the right product is critical to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

What Are Product Finders?

Product finder decision trees are the perfect way to set up customers for success in a personalized, self-solving, mobile-friendly environment. Instead of the traditional eCommerce site boasting pages and pages of products, product finders allow customers to take the lead using well-thought out, pre-programmed guidance.

Nationally-recognized baseball bat manufacturer, Phoenix Bats, is a perfect example of how product finders have a direct impact on happy customers and better conversion rates.

After building and implementing a custom decision tree bat selector tool on their website to guide customers to the perfect bat for them, Phoenix Bats saw vast improvements to overall sales and revenue. Read the full case study here.

Tips for eCommerce Product Finders

No one product finder should look or feel the same — each eCommerce business’ brand should always shine through. Here are our top 3 tips for creating interactive product locators that are as helpful as they are nice to look at:

1. Create pop-up trees.

Just a few short lines of code can allow you to publish and present decision tree product finders as fun pop-ups! Shown as a button as popping up in a clean overlay window, it’s one of our many publishing options to fit any eCommerce business needs.

2. Customizations are key.

We make it easy to inject some personality a few different ways, custom CSS files being the main one. After having a designer create the perfect file, just add to your decision tree product finder to ramp up the style — take a look at one of our customer’s awesome uses of this. You can also do things like build color buttons, add images and videos, and insert GIFs for something extra informative.

3. Use for support improvements.

Interactive decision trees aren’t just for helping guide customers to the right products, they are also used for helping guide customers to the right answers and solutions. Any FAQ item, tutorial, or troubleshooting article can easily be reformatted as a decision tree, allowing customers to more easily self-solve and stay happy.


You can check out our Gallery of examples for even more inspiration.

Have any questions or want help getting started? We’re always here for you.

Repeating Forms in Decision Tree Data Gathering

Our call center customers are so enthusiastic about Zingtree that we get some awesome feature requests. In particular, more and more operations are using decision trees for collecting data. One essential part is to be able to collect information on an indeterminate number of items.

For example, an insurance application may need to collect names and ages of each family member – be it one or twenty. Zingtree’s Repeating Forms capability fulfills this need.

How Repeating Forms Work

Quick dive: Try this demo tree from the Gallery.

The details: A node can collect multiple forms, one at a time. First, the agent starts with one form:

The agent can click Add Another to enter a second family member:

This can continue for multiple family members. At the end of the process, when the agent clicks the Continue button in this tree, the tree’s session will data variables set for each family member, like so:

Configuring Forms for Repeat Entries

When editing a node, there’s an option in the Data Entry Fields part to configure repeating items. Here are the details:

  1. Edit the node with the form you want to make repeating.
  2. In the Data Entry Fields area, click the Repeat Form option:

  3. Enter the maximum number of items to repeat (up to 50):

  4. Click Save Changes to save your work.

That’s all you need to do! The data variable names for your repeating forms will have an underscore and an item number at the end. So, in the example above, the variables for name and age will be name_1 and age_1,  name_2 and age_2, etc.

Thanks again to Tom K. for the great feature suggestion. While your trees can gather repeating items, great ideas like this need to be repeated only once to make it into the product.

So if you have a killer suggestion, please share!

4 Steps to Creating a Scalable Customer Support Strategy

While you can choose to pool all of your energy into development or marketing to get your product/service alive and out into the world, you’ll only ever see some of that potential return. After all, what is a reliable product without a reliable company behind it?

Investing the time and resources into building a solid, scalable customer service strategy is necessary to creating a brand that’s both profitable and sustainable. According to a recent Customers 2020 report, experts predict that customer experience will soon surpass price and product as the key differentiator from one brand to another. In other words, how you handle customer service matters.

When Applian Technologies was working on improving their processes and becoming more streamlined, they performed a support audit of their channels and found a lot of inefficiencies. Their goal was to scale up as a startup, and their human labor intensive customer support strategy was holding them back. From our experience with Applian building customer experience, we came up with a few pointed steps to lead to a scalable support roadmap.

1. Find the Perfect Help Desk Platform

After performing a full-fledged audit of your customer service efforts, it’s time to adopt a help desk solution if you haven’t already. And, if you have, it might be a good time to refresh things or even look into new platforms if things aren’t scaling up as quickly as you’d hoped.

The right help desk solution will centralize your communications across email, chat and social media, and be easy to manage day-to-day. With a platform like Zendesk, Freshdesk, or Desk.com, support teams can quickly identify repetitive issues, respond to customers and solve problems, and access key analytics to help optimize further along the way.

2. Offer Multi-Channel Customer Service

Offering multiple channels of access to support is the best way to keep customers happy 24/7; with the tools available today, it’s possible to provide consistent customer service without outsourcing live support or keeping agents up at all hours. The basic minimum multi-channel support platforms include:

  • Live chat support
  • Phone number
  • Helpdesk or CRM
  • Knowledgebase and FAQ
  • Interactive troubleshooters

While agents are offline, interactive knowledge bases, FAQs, and troubleshooters can offer customers access to many answers and solutions. Zingtree integrates with any CRM (like Zendesk and Desk), as well as live chat tools (like Zopim and Intercom) and publishing platforms (like WordPress), so you can strategically connect the dots with your customer service strategy, and help to streamline the entire process as you scale up.

In fact, when Applian technologies set up an interactive support system, they saw a 20% overall reduction in support cost and a huge reduction in the volume of back-and-forth support tickets overall.

3. Train Your Support Agents Early and Often

Onboarding new agents early and training (and re-training) them often is a hallmark of any company that truly understands how the knowledge of their employees can impact performance, satisfaction, and motivation. As customers are more empowered in their control of purchasing when, where and how they choose, so too should customer service agents be; training should always include a tutorial on how and when to go above and beyond for consumers.

Interactive training programs, much like interactive knowledge bases, are an ideal way to share information. With an online, standards-and-scenarios based training program, support staff can continue their company education in an easy-to-digest format, with complete information available on every facet of the business that they might need to know.

4. Keep up With (and Analyze) Reports

At the end of the day, the numbers and data surrounding your support strategy won’t lie. Set up your CRM tool to dole out automated reports based on the key statistics and indicators you need to keep track of, as well as for Twitter, Facebook, and any other platform you’re communicating with customers through. Aggregating and analyzing this data can help you to consistently improve as you scale up, identify any bottlenecks or trouble spots, and prove to the board that your strategy is really working.

Zingtree offers powerful analytics and reports to help make pulling data every month as simple as possible. Depending on how your interactive decision trees are set up, you can quickly see high-level usage stats, breakdowns by agent, overall traffic, and much more. Additionally, Zingtree works with Google Analytics to allow you to get even more robust and powerful tracking data.


How scalable is your current support strategy?

Start a new interactive decision tree to start streamlining, scaling up, and saving time and money. 

Any questions? We’re always here to help you get started. 

Simple Software: How to Start a Training Program with Decision Trees

People are what make businesses move, grow, and flourish; investing in your live human resources is always a smart decision. However critical to success, training programs don’t have to feel stuffy and laborious. A great training process shouldn’t feel like unwanted homework, it should inspire knowledgeable, motivated employees that are comfortable and confident.

Is your company using an effective training program? Are you training enough, and regularly? Outdated methods of a VHS tape and a conference room doesn’t count. These training statistics from Shift start to tell a tale of why an investment into employee training and engagement is so key:

  • Out of nearly 4,300 workers, 74% felt they weren’t achieving their full potential at work.
  • Companies with 100-500 employees only have 6 minutes of training every 6 months, on average.
  • 1 out of 3 employees said that uninspiring training content is actually a barrier to learning.
  • 7 out of 10 people said that training and learning opportunities influence their choice to stay with a company or leave.

Employee training programs, when executed well, can turn around the most effective, productive, and happy staff a business has ever seen. By setting up an interactive training program using online decision trees, you’ll provide a powerful platform for staff to learn from anywhere, and much more easily.

Guided Training Sessions

All businesses will typically have a training guide set in place; a long PDF or thick stack of bound papers to house the important items, manuals, and other key employee information. The problem with these long-form training guides? They’re time-consuming, mind-numbing, and never an accurate representation of the company’s brand or personality.

Interactive decision trees are a more friendly way to guide people through a training session by asking questions in an interview-style way, which helps to keep things moving quickly and keep employees more engaged with the important information being presented. You can even add customizations and visuals like GIFs, videos, and photos to help display step-by-step information and lead workers to a path of understanding.

Online Situational Simulations

Scenario-based documentation is in high-demand for many companies and organizations looking to train new hires in a standard and efficient way; different situational training always varies, for every type of industry. Whether your business is in retail, tech, healthcare, customer support, insurance, or even if you’re a governmental department or non-profit organization, your training simulations should be able to easily match your audience (employees).

Decision trees are a perfect digital resource for creating and implementing simulations online, for any kind of scenario that you may need to communicate in a training session. Providing interactive simulation tools to emulate different potential work scenarios can prove to be invaluable when leading trainees through new or complicated learning environments. Click here for an interactive example of a training simulation to see how it’s done.

Interactive Knowledge Base

Employees and customer-facing agents should be trained on every area of a businesses’ inner workings in order to provide the best work and the most helpful service. If staff were to ask questions to supervisors or other departments multiple times a day, a lot of bottlenecks and frustration would start to occur.

While customer-facing for our purposes, we host our own Zingtree FAQ on the Zingtree platform itself. We’ve found it’s a great way to organize based on different categories of information and quickly lead customers to the right answers to their questions. These knowledge base decision trees can be used in the same way for internal employees, offering a robust FAQ on everything from procedural standards to procurement processes.


Ready to improve your employee training and evaluation process? 

Get started with Zingtree!