The most chaotic season of the year is quickly approaching, and it’s more important than ever to prepare your call center staff for the impending holiday craziness. Beyond having helpful, well-trained agents at the ready, it’s smart to adopt technology to handle inquiries and get agents online faster.
Zingtree interactive decision trees and call center scripts are one way to avoid the headache of customer service disarray during the peak periods of November and December. With customers self-solving using customized decision trees and agents being guided with interactive scripts, your support team will have a happy holiday season instead of a hectic one.
Decision Trees for Customer Support
Happy customers lead to happy agent staff, and vice versa. Zingtree is an amazing tool for any customer support team, as it allows you to create custom troubleshooters to take customers, or agents, through the support flow step-by-step.
Organizations that deploy Zingtree troubleshooters have seen a 20% reduction in support costs on average. Customers are gently guided to answers, and, if a problem can’t be solved, your agents receive background information on the problem, saving time and resources. With no programming required, Zingtree decision trees and troubleshooters make it easy to build each step of the process so no important information is left behind.
With design customization and plugins to fit your integration needs, Zingtree can help you ramp up your support this season.
Agent Scripting Solutions
High-tech solutions can also empower your live support agents to be efficient and effective when communicating with customers. Agent Scripting is a robust tool for any company offering chat or phone support.
Scripts are easy to build using Zingtree’s tools, you’ll effectively reduce time and resources spent on holiday support. With powerful tracking and analytics, Zingtree agent scripts help companies collect useful data that can even be used to prepare for the holidays next year – we even have a direct integration with popular customer service platform, Zendesk!
Remember – the holidays can be stressful, but with proper preparation for your call centers and support staff, you’ll make the load just a little bit lighter, and the season just a little more jolly!
Visit Zingtree.com to get started free for 30 days, and see how Zingtree will save you time and money.
This article was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated for accuracy.
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.
This two minute video shows you how Agents interact with the Agent Scripting App:
Here are the basic steps to get up and running:
Build an interactive decision tree script with Zingtree (or use one of our demos to start).
Install the Agent Scripting App (version 10) into Zendesk.
Configure the Agent Scripting app within Zendesk.
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.
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:
In Zendesk, click the Admin icon and go to Apps > Manage.
Click Upload Private App.
The Upload App page appears.
Enter “Zingtree Agent Scripting” for the App Name.
For App File, locate the filezingtree-agent-scripting-v10.zip you downloaded in step 1.
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:
Select a tree from My Trees.
Go to the Settings tool.
Enter or select a tag from the Tags field.
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_22899289as the custom field variable.
To make a button selection update a custom field, you’ll set it up in your Zingtree as follows:
Go to the Overview tool, and edit the node whose button selections will update the ticket.
Click Edit Buttons (or Add Buttons if you don’t have any buttons defined). The button editor appears:
Make sure Assign Button Click Variable is checked. This makes the other options appear.
For the Button Click Variable, enter your custom field variable from Zendesk (custom_field_22899289 in the example).
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.
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:
Enter 6a103737e44e4aa6e1e4b6b0bcb46f83 as the API key.
Make sure Match Tree Tags to Zendesk Ticket Tagsis checked.
Try entering one or more of these tags into a ticket: “zingtree”, “astrology”, “pet_rock”.
Our decision trees and agent scripts are hitting the road! The Zendesk Relate 2017 event hits New York City on October 23 – 25. As an official sponsor of the conference this year, we’re feeling a little extra excitement to be feet-on-the-ground with people and organizations that use Zendesk every day.
Here’s a little more about the event this year:
Relate by Zendesk is home to a diverse selection of expert content and deep thoughts from Zendesk. It connects the business side of what Zendesk does—create software for improving customer interactions—to the more general human desire for better relationships.
Zendesk is a platform built with ease of customer support and relationship-building in mind. Good communication means everything where customer interactions are concerned – no matter which industry you may be a part of.
The Relate Live conference series is designed to help businesses and entrepreneurs explore the complicated nature of customer relationships. It’s packed with training workshops, breakout sessions, and thought-provoking keynotes by industry leaders. Plus, there are wicked cool networking events.
Past presenters include Dr. Heidi Grant-Halvorson, author of No One Understands You and What to Do About It, Jon Ronson, writer of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, and Davy Rothbart from This American Life.
As a company with Zendesk app solutions for streamlining customer support and improving agent-based communications, we can’t wait to meet other organizations looking into improving their own support strategies.
Will you be there? Come visit us at the Startup Pavilion.
September 21, 2017 | Categories: Call Centers |
by Bill Zing
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 center scripts become important.
BPOsperform 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 call center 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
While we are highly focused on our own security and data integrity, we recognize that using a SaaS (Software as a Service) site like Zingtree may require approval from various departments. For many, the hosting of company data offsite immediately triggers a cautionary reaction.
To address these concerns, we have a completely self-hosted Zingtree version. It utilizes the same awesome tools found in Zingtree but packaged in a way that can be installed on any server with industry standard PHP and MySQL. A full source code license is included, as well as regular updates.
This self-hosted option has a lot of benefits:
Customer data remains on-site.
Data is not intermixed with other company’s data (in case of legal subpoena issues).
Full source code allows security specialists to inspect the code for any possible hacking loopholes.
The design and engineering teams can modify the code or design of Zingtree to their liking.
You can guarantee your own uptime.
Plus, we provide consulting, support and maintenance as requested.
Want to learn more about the self-hosted Zingtree Enterprise solution?
All customers calling into your contact center have one thing in common: they care enough to want to get directly in touch with your company. Whether in regards to a critical issue that needs to be resolved, a quick question regarding accounts, or a request for more information on your products and services, these customers are reaching out for one-on-one care.
Not only can Zingtree interactive decision trees guide your agents through the call, but you can also collect and verify data about the customer, including name, address, email, phone number, and anything else you like.
Customer Calls = Data Goldmines
With the right interactive scripts in place, your call center can automate the process of collecting important customer data. You can:
Fill out information about a customer’s specific problem, question or request:
Use entry fields like list boxes, check boxes, dates, text, and numbers – shown here on the backend:
And shown here how they would appear for end-users:
You can even include the collected information in other parts of the script later on!
Beyond data collection, Zingtree interactive agent scripts for call centers also allow your organization to verify customer emails and phone numbers, and even any USPS address, to completely avoid any costly errors or mistakes that can happen during the purchase or shipping process.
As you begin to enter a shipping address you’ll see every possible match appear – these options will show less and less as you type in more of the address being verified.
Once you select an address from the choices presented, the city, state, and zip code will be filled in, and the address will be checked and verified.
For the verification of customer phone numbers and emails, the process is just a little bit different to make sure that your collected data is nice and clean. In the email validation test, for example, you’ll just need to enter in the customer email address and the Zingtree will verify if that email is “High Quality” or “Unverified.”
Both phone number and email validation work worldwide. Please note: If you are entering phone numbers for people outside of the USA, you’ll need to prefix them with a +.
What is the most effective way for a contact center to increase efficiency?
This question is brought up time and time again when call centers and customer support teams are looking to make improvements; knowing where to start can be a tough call, though. Our CEO, Bill Dettering, is an expert when it comes to this. He recently gave some insight and tips to the folks at CallMiner.com, along with two dozen other contact center experts.
Here are some of our favorite quotes from the article that fill in the blank on,“the number one way to increase efficiency in a call center is by…”
Being responsive and getting back to potential customers in a timely manner. Prospective customers like to feel like they matter. Being responsive, setting follow-up reminders, and doing what you say you are going to do increases customer acquisition and helps the center run more efficiently. – Rachel Ivers, 8z Real Estate
To implement continuous training. Most centers do front-end training and that’s pretty much it. They don’t do anything else except maybe monitor a few calls and give some feedback. When it comes to contact centers, a huge amount of money is lost when someone has an undeveloped skill. If someone is making a mistake for two months waiting for his/her quarterly coaching session, thousands of dollars can be lost. Continuous coaching and training helps mitigate this risk. – James Pollard, The Advisor Coach
Using your wealth of customer data to give contact center reps every opportunity to connect with their callers. One of the most common complaints about contact centers is that the customer has to repeat their problem to multiple agents. Make sure you have software in place that gives all agents access to the same customer information, then give them the training they need to use it quickly and efficiently. Cutting out repetitive conversations will alleviate most customer service complaints and allow your agents to focus on resolving the issue at hand. – Paul Faust, RingBoost
Live chat is a great communication channel, and the preferred choice for many customers when engaging with a company; some of the appeal has to do with its ease, simplicity and brevity. When agents are appropriately trained in live chat etiquette, and have access to efficient scripting tools, they are much more likely to have a successful interaction with a customer.
In a paper published by TELUS International, the company asserts that avoiding customer frustration and brand damage should be top of mind for companies when training live chat agents. Often, customers choose live chat because it’s easy and quick; if your live chat interactions are forcing customers to put forth a lot of effort in their engagement, then your company isn’t realizing the full potential of this communication channel.
To bolster its argument for minimizing customer effort, the report cited a 2010 Harvard Business Review article where the case was made that “delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty; reducing their effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved—does.”
So, how do live chat agents reduce the customer’s effort when choosing this communication channel?
1. Keep It Brief
Reducing customer effort begins with your agent’s greeting. The greeting sets the tone of the conversation, so if it’s long-winded or muddled, your agent is placing an undue burden on the customer. Once the conversation has commenced, keeping responses to the point is key to providing a positive customer experience. As mentioned earlier, being brief doesn’t mean being clipped. The goal is to provide enough information to the customer in an efficient, yet courteous, manner.
Keeping it brief is especially important when working with a frustrated customer. A simple “I’m sorry” has more impact than a convoluted, over-worded apology.
2. Make Sure It’s Concise
Concise wording will lessen the chances of misunderstanding, and providing clear answers reduces the customers’ effort. Remember that customers prefer live chat because it’s efficient, so training agents how to properly write out responses that quickly get to the heart of the issue, and using proper and robust Live Agent Scripting, are key components of efficiency.
3. Read First, Then Respond
One common problem identified by TELUS is that agents will provide quick answers without first taking the time to read or fully understand what the customer is asking – this is an efficiency killer. Whatever the reason, agents need to take the time to read what the customer has written and then respond with an answer that provides a quick solution.
Once the issue or question that the customer is getting at is identified, the agent can then provide a brief, yet concise, response that moves the conversation forward without requiring the customer to put forth much effort. This is made even simpler when using powerful scripting tools that can help the agent to stay on track and keep the engagement flowing smoothly.
This article was written by Jodi Beuder of MHI Global. Are you interested in submitting a guest blog post? Please contact us!
This article was originally published November 2, 2015.
What this means to the end-user or customer is that, while they may be receiving some level of service and support, they are never talking with a human representative. For call centers, the results are cost-effective and time-saving, but never a 100% complete solution for automating customer service.
“Typically, customer service chatbots answer questions based on key words. The most basic systems are actually document retrieval systems. Sometimes this is frustrating. Think of the times you may have asked Siri or Alexa a question and received the wrong answer. The computer recognizes key words but may not recognize the context in which they are being used. In other words, the computer doesn’t recognize the way people naturally speak. This causes the customer great frustration. However, these systems (including Siri and Alexa) have come a long way and continue to improve.”
The article goes on to mention that “for at least the foreseeable future, chatbots won’t be replacing humans in contact center jobs.”
AI-Lite: Automation Without Machine Learning
The machine learning put into place can gather piles of raw data on customers at the drop of a hat, as well as attempt to build relationships through key phrases and automated messages, but they can be expensive to create, maintain and fix over time – all costly and important factors. A decision process that’s been compiled from raw data using a neural network like this is almost impossible to tweak and change.
Rather than using machine learning to magically divine relationships in this way, interactive decision trees are human built, and make it much easier to tweak and debug processes. Still an automated, time-saving process, we like to think of it as “AI-lite” for call centers and businesses.
Automated & Interactive Solutions for Call Centers
Interactive agent scripts and decision tree troubleshooters guide support reps and customers to the right solutions and answers — whether it be related to a technical issue, routing to the correct department, or managing important customer data. They can help assist call centers in a multitude of ways:
Self-Help & Troubleshooting: Build custom, branded decision trees that allow customers to find answers themselves.
Measuring Effectiveness: Access reports that actively check how effective troubleshooters and support decision trees are, and identifies other key metrics through extensive analytics.
Tracking Agent Performance: Monitor the overall performance of customer service agents to track interactions.
Analyzing Trends: Export key data to import into any AI software being used for full analysis of key customer and internal call center data.
While AI and automated tools will never replace human interaction or the need for call center agents, the technology can aid call center managers in routing calls, managing experiences, and understanding customers and agents. The end result is a more productive and effective call center, as well as improved customer satisfaction.
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.
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:
Edit the node with the form you want to make repeating.
In the Data Entry Fields area, click the Repeat Form option:
Enter the maximum number of items to repeat (up to 50):
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.