Category Archives: Business

How to Create a Survey with Decision Trees

By nature, decision trees are powerful tools to showcase each “decision” along with its potential outcome. While already a recognized and respected way to create interactive guides, how-tos, and troubleshooters, decision trees are also a skillful platform for building, publishing and collecting survey data from both customers and internal employees.

Why Use Decision Trees for Surveys?

The general goal of a survey is to classify a population (who you are surveying) into complete sets, depending on their recorded responses. In this light, you can both represent the survey as a descriptive or analytical tool using a decision tree platform — it’s all narrowed down to the framing of the language used and in-depth paths created.

Better than common or commercial survey platforms, decision trees are ideal for creating these complex paths in a simple-to-follow format, so you never get lost during the building process. Additionally, decision trees make it easy to:

1. Build and implement surveys for recurring needs. 

Collecting information early and often is key when it comes to improving a business or organization. Decision trees are perfect for recurring surveys:

  • HR and internal surveys
  • NPS and customer satisfaction surveys
  • Market research surveys
  • Customer feedback surveys

For example, we use decision tree surveys for gathering information in a technical support request, and for when customers request demos. A little bit of background information goes a long way.

2. Include key information and helpful media. 

Depending on the survey at hand, it can be useful to embed documentation and/or visual media to help convey information better. Using visuals like photos, graphics, and GIFs, and adding relevant videos to your survey questions is a great way to communicate clear instructions and background information within little space.

3. Use logic to jump around complex paths.

Decision trees were built to simplify complex situations, including the complicated logic jumps and survey paths that can arise when collecting information. Our multiple survey building tools (shown below) make it easy to create and visualize the survey paths, end-results, and any missed connections within the logic itself. Plus, you can start building in a spreadsheet if that’s easier to wrap your head around initially.

4. Perform A/B testing and optimize results. 

To get the most from your survey, you’ll need to perform A/B testing on areas such as how your survey questions are written, the medium from which the surveys are sent, and how many questions are included. Using Zingtree Logic Nodes, you can easily A/B test surveys and determine which options are getting the most traction.

5. Customize with themes and branded CSS. 

Having a seamless look-and-feel with your own company or organization’s branding is important to how a survey is received by customers. Zingtree allows you to import your own custom CSS file to fit the design you want perfectly or choose from a selection of decision tree themes to mix and match color and style possibilities.

6. Embed surveys anywhere you need them.

Once you’ve created a survey using Zingtree, you can easily publish and distribute it through several ways. Have a web page or WordPress-hosted site you need a survey embedded on? You can do that. Need us to host a survey that you can quickly link your customers to? You can do that, too.

Getting Started: Building Your Survey

Creating a survey is easy with our toolkit, offering 3 easy-to-use options for creation.

The Wizard: The interface walks you through the decision tree building process while you provide the questions (and answers) that your end-users will see and navigate through.

The Designer: Draw out a decision tree on one screen, where you’ll be able to create the nodes and their connections to see exactly how the tree will flow.

Overview: A form-based option for creating one node at a time that consists of tools for refining your decision trees – perfect for content-heavy surveys.

Check out this real live decision tree example, showcasing a basic customer satisfaction survey template.

 


Zingtree makes it easy to build surveys, as well as question & answer style troubleshooters, scripts, sales filters and more to satisfy your customers, your agents and your business needs.

Contact us to learn more or get started today!

Single Sign-On for Zingtree Decision Trees

security-blog

We’ve had several requests to incorporate Single Sign-on (SSO) into Zingtree, as a means of restricting access to trees.  Many customers have sensitive corporate processes or procedures encapsulated in their trees, and ensuring these trees are accessible only to certain employees can be invaluable.

Single Sign-on is a service provided by many vendors, including Okta, Microsoft (Active Directory / Azure), Google (G-Suite), Salesforce and more.  These services are known as Identity Providers.  A single log-in through an Identity Provider gives a user secure, authenticated access to applications provided by Service Providers like Zingtree.

Once you log in through your Identity Provider, you don’t need to re-enter your login credentials. SSO is a very convenient way to secure access to your applications, while not burdening end-users with extra hurdles.

Zingtree supports any service that is SAML 2.0 compliant, which is a common standard.

Set Up Overview

Configuring SSO requires your Identity Provider and Zingtree to share information with each other:

  1. Your Identity Provider needs information about Zingtree.
  2. Zingtree needs information about your Identity Provider.

SSO just needs to be set up once for your organization. Once you have Zingtree and your Identity Provider successfully working together, you can mark any of your trees as “SSO restricted” via the Settings tool to require a login to get access.

Configuring Zingtree for SSO

To start, in the Zingtree top menu, go to Account, Single-Sign-on. You’ll see the parameters (specific to your organization) to share with your Identity Provider:

Configure your Identity Provider with these parameters.

Next, click the blue button to Enter Identity Provider Data into Zingtree. The following screen appears:

Copy the rest of these settings from your Identity Provider.

If you’re ready to test, make sure Enable access restrictions on specified trees is checked.

Click Save Identity Provider Settings when finished.

Testing Your SSO Setup

Once you’ve set up your Identity Provider and Zingtree for SSO, you can test from Zingtree as follows:

  1. In Zingtree, go to Account, Single Sign-on.
  2. Click the orange Test Setup button at the lower right of the page.

From here. you can test logging into your Identity Provider from Zingtree.  If you’re already logged in, the test will just return your email or other identifier from your Identity Provider.  If you’re not yet logged in, the Identity Provider’s login screen will appear, and then you will be returned to the Zingtree SSO test page after logging in.

Enabling SSO on Your Trees

Once SSO is working properly from your test, you can restrict access to any tree as follows:

  1. Go to My Trees, and select the tree that you want to require SSO login.
  2. Click the Settings tool.
  3. Check Require Single Sign-on (SSO) Login to Access.
  4. Click Update Settings.

Release Notes

SSO has been tested with a variety of Identity Providers.  If you’re having trouble configuring with a specific service, please let us know!

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.

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

Decision Trees for Business: How to Streamline Procurement

Having a well-defined, charted procurement process is vital for company operations in any industry to run smoothly. The proper purchasing of necessary materials can often mean the difference between a successful company and one that ultimately falls due to unsustainable costs or purchasing delays.

For Zingtree customer Phillip Morris International (PMI), standardizing procurement with decision trees has helped keep costs in line and the process consistent for many disparate departments. Anyone buying anything at PMI can now adhere to the company-approved process. This results in employees getting the tools they need faster and more efficiently.

Optimizing the Procurement Process

Is procurement working effectively to support your company’s over-arching strategy?

Without the proper processes set in motion, your organization may be losing out on a lot of revenue and opportunity for growth. And, while the entire process of making an inefficient procurement system better may be complicated, and ultimately take time for decision-makers to come around to, there are platforms to help simplify and understand. After revisiting current processes and looping in the necessary departments, selecting the right kind of technology is key in the optimization process.

Without a mature, strategic procurement function to influence, control and report on organizational spending, it is impossible for a business to fully leverage its total purchasing power and create the value and service levels required from third party suppliers.” – PwC

Structure, sequence and regular analysis are crucial for an effective procurement process. For PMI, using Zingtree decision trees to guide the procurement process has proven to be an enormous help, allowing buyers to follow complicated processes in a lean, interactive environment that greatly reduces the risk of human error.

Balancing complexity and control with ease, PMI’s decision trees have automated processes with a clearly-defined and company-compliant approach. Plus, management now has real-time usage data to assist in further optimization. By utilizing a guided process of procurement internally, any business can standardize best practices to ensure that every purchase process is handled exactly the way it needs to be.

Ready to start streamlining your procurement, or other business processes? Please get in touch with us!