Category Archives: Customer Support

How to Offer Always-On, Self-Service Customer Support

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Self-service is a win-win for rapidly-growing (and exceedingly busy) businesses, pleasing the majority of customers while at the same time providing an efficient, always-available support medium for customer service teams. Empowering customers to solve problems and answer their own questions means less work for support teams, and overall more satisfied consumers!

Don’t believe us? Here are some statistics about customer support self-service from our friends at Desk.com:

  • 72% of people think that self-service support is a fast and easy way to handle support issues
  • 40% of customers place a call after already looking for support or answers themselves
  • 91% of customers would regularly utilize an online, self-service support center if it was tailored to their needs

Your business doesn’t have to get swept up by the new wave of customer service; get your support team up-and-running with self-service support options with these 3 steps.

1. Bulk Up Your Knowledge Base & FAQ

It all starts with your FAQ and knowledge base of information — 56% of customers cite a lack of information as their reason for abandoning a website, so it’s critical to make sure that the content in your support center is totally user-relevant, helpful and currently up-to-date. Revisit and revamp knowledge base articles, FAQ answers and other support-related content on your site on a regular basis (quarterly or even monthly), to provide your customers with the most important, accessible information possible; both your customers and your team members will certainly thank you for your proactive customer care!

2. Implement Interactive Troubleshooters

It’s pretty amazing that in today’s world, you can easily provide 24/7 access to support without doling out for any extra staff members. Creating and integrating interactive, customer support troubleshooters makes it easy to help your customers even when no one is there for a one-on-one. Additionally, Zingtree decision trees make it possible to quickly gather customer background information in case a support ticket is submitted, so you have all of the key information you need in one place.

Pairing your existing knowledge base with interactive decision trees is the best way to cover every base where support is concerned, and simplifies the process of finding real solutions. In fact, organizations that use these decision tree troubleshooters have spent an average of 20% less on support costs overall.

3. Reach Out, and Be Easy to Reach Out To

When a customer is having a major issue, or really just prefers a good old fashioned human interaction, it’s always a good idea to provide a way to get in contact with a real live person. Make it as simple as possible to reach out to your support staff, sales team, or anyone else who could help out – having this kind of clear pathway laid out on your website can mean the difference between a super happy customer, and one that is completely stressed out by your online presence.

Better yet is the idea of reaching out to your customers before they have the chance to have a problematic situation occur; this makes people feel at ease whenever something does inevitably come up, and sets a positive tone for any future communications.


Zingtree makes it easy to build customized, informative decision trees to satisfy your customers and your business. Contact us to learn more or get started today!

The Top 3 Ways to Improve Customer Service This Year

How do your customers rate your service? Often times, companies become so focused on developing a valuable brand that customer service can be placed on the back burner; looked at as a necessary-but-time-wasting activity. However, it’s a brand new year, and a fresh start for your business to put a larger focus on communication, solving problems, and building a brand that’s seen as helpful and knowledgable.

Here are the top three easiest ways to greatly improve your customer support efforts, and truly strengthen relationships with consumers this year:

1. Focus on Self-Service Support

Customer service should never turn off when the lights to your office do — building out a complete system of self-service support options is critical for your customers to find the right information right when they need it! 72% of customers prefer self-service support options to resolve their issues over the more traditional methods of calling or sending an email, which is a huge majority of those seeking help.

Providing multiple ways for customers to find answers to questions, understand technical processes and troubleshoot issues doesn’t have to be a laborious task, but it will vastly improve how you serve your customers on a daily basis. We always recommend coupling traditional support methods with fully-stocked FAQs, up-to-date knowledge base articles, and question-and-answer style troubleshooters that can help lead customers in the right direction… even when you’re offline.

2. Work on Language & Soft Skills

If your team is interacting directly with customers then “soft skills” are equally as important as the important technical skills being used to solve problems. Some of the major soft skills that everyone working in customer service should employ are communicating as clearly as possible, collaborating with other team members, presenting ideas and solutions in a productive way, and utilizing transparency and honesty in all conversations.

Training customer-facing employees with technical expertise is the first step in providing support, but developing softer skills is a necessary part of a completely holistic customer service approach. Having excellent communication with customers should be a main goal for your company or call center staff, and can always be improved upon.

3. Integrate Support Tools (and Data)

With the business world as digitally-connected as it is in this day and age, you can bet there are amazing integrations to link many of the tools and services you’re already using. Zingtree features integrations with a large roster of CRM and Help Desk apps, and other useful tools that allow businesses to access a ton of amazing features and powerful data sets. You can integrate Zingtree decision trees with:

  • Zendesk and Zendesk Chat
  • Salesforce
  • Freshdesk
  • WordPress
  • Any app supported by Zapier
  • and just about any other CRM system you can think of!

Check out all of our apps, plugins and integrations from the Zingtree Integrations page.


Ready to get started with an amazing year of customer support? Reach out to us with any tips, questions or comments on how to make 2017 even better.

How Customer Support Data Can Help the Value of Your Business

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For most small businesses and startups working with a customer-facing product, the people making the purchases are at the heart of what’s most important. Customers are the lifeblood of businesses, which is why it’s so critical to keep up with the data, learnings and optimizations to keep things moving forward in the best direction.

  • Do you know how much value your customer data is lending to your business? 
  • Is your customer support data truly being used to make improvements?
  • Do your customers feel connected and/or loyal to your business? 

These are just some of the questions that every kind of company should be asking themselves, and then acting upon on a regular basis. We shouldn’t have to say it, but we will: information is power! Having a high level of customer knowledge and understanding can help make your business smarter, faster and better placed among competitors.

If you’re already using Zingtree for your interactive customer support needs, you can collect and access relevant, accurate and in-depth customer data at any time, so you can make more intelligent business decisions.

1. Collecting Customer Information

Gaining a customer base is one thing, but effectively capturing important information from that customer base is critical to sustainable growth as a business. Without collecting and tracking key variables, demographics and levels of satisfaction, how can you really understand where your company is headed?

With built-in data entry forms for decision trees, you can automatically collect data from your customers as they navigate through your interactive knowledge base. Once gathered, you can pass this information along to any CRM service easily, making the support process much simpler and more valuable for your business, your support staff, and (most importantly) your customers.

2. Building Brand Loyalty

When customers engage with your business, they expect that communication to accurately reflect the brand they know (and hopefully love). It’s become the standard preference among customers that the more personalized, customized and informative an interaction is, the happier they are with the support they received and the company itself!

Integrating custom self-help solutions like troubleshooter decision trees is a great way to not only solve customer problems, but also to test and track your own customers’ preferences where customer support is concerned. After all, understanding what your customers prefer is the best way to serve them well and build up their loyalty.

3. Offering Flexible Solutions

2 out of 3 consumers prefer self-service versus speaking with a person for customer service inquiries, but this statistic leaves behind the remaining third who want to deal with support on different terms. Emails, phone calls and live chat are all used widely, and serve their own functions separate from self-help support.

Offering flexible, multi-channel support is the only way to truly identify what your own customer base is looking for, and then effectively optimize for those channels. By narrowing down the specifics of what support solutions your customers want to tap into, you’ll be able to weed out others that don’t work and enhance the efforts of those that do, saving your business a ton of time, money and human resources.

4. Tracking & Analyzing Results

The month-to-month performance results of your customer support efforts help to lay the foundation for all of your customer communications to come, so it’s absolutely necessary to stay on top of the numbers and take note of any irregularities, improvements, etc.

Are your customer call resolutions taking more time than they should or have in the past? Do your customers consistently get hung up on one area of your product or service? Getting to the root of any underlying problem, as well as identifying any particularly stellar performance analytics, can help your business optimize interactions — support-related or otherwise.


Zingtree makes it easy to build customized, informative decision trees to satisfy your customers and your business. Contact us to learn more or get started today!

Hectic Holidays: A Simple Guide for Improving Customer Support

As families everywhere are winding down for the holiday season, support teams are just ramping up. This time of year can be especially strenuous for small businesses that want to continue to provide amazing customer service and support seasonal promotions, while at the same time allowing staff members to take some much-needed vacation time.

Customers can often have raised expectations for support during the holidays, and we all understand it. With the right support strategy and preparation in place, staff and agents can be well ahead of any issues, and customers can get exactly what they need. Here are our top tips for keeping things streamlined in your support department this holiday season:

1. Empower Agents

A good amount of customers still enjoy traditional support methods, like simply calling you up on the phone. For this reason, it’s incredibly important to empower the people who are answering those calls. Agent empowerment can come in many forms: in-depth training, up-to-date knowledge, freedom to make key decisions. By preparing agents with the tools they need to succeed, and giving them the power and confidence to make judgment calls, they will be ready and able to tackle any customer need!

Agent scripts allow support reps to have a real-time, custom script to easily guide them through a customer communication. Crafted to fit the business’ own “voice,” scripts follow personalized support standards that make it simple for agents to help customers with the best information possible. The best part about agent scripts for the holidays is that, because they convey the most accurate information and natural flow, it’s possible to hire last-minute seasonal help while ensuring your high standards of customer service are still met.

2. Provide Self-Service

According to a 2013 Forrester report, roughly 72% of customers actually prefer self-service support options to resolve their issues over calling or sending an email. For the holiday season, this is excellent news. The more you provide self-service support, the less questions and issues your support team has to field — it’s a win-win!

As far as self-service options go, pairing your existing knowledge base, FAQ and/or tutorial videos with interactive troubleshooters is the best way to cover all of your customer service bases. With the question-and-answer-style of a decision tree troubleshooter, finding solutions becomes much more manageable (for customers and support staff). In fact, businesses that use these troubleshooters have seen an average 20% reduction in support costs, some saving upwards of 15 hours per week on customer support.

3. Create a Holiday Tree

Not quite the tree that’s traditional to the season, holiday-specific decision trees are also a great idea if you’re running any promotions, offering special deals of any kind, or need to answer common shipping questions. By anticipating questions ahead of time and building a simple, interactive how-to or troubleshooter can help to solve seasonal problems.

Our friends at Desk.com shared a helpful list of some common holiday-related questions to address:

  • What are your hours during the holidays?
  • Did you release a new version of the product during the holidays? What’s different about it from the older version?
  • Are there any discount codes available? Please explain.
  • What are the shipping policies?
  • Do you have rush order? 
  • What are your return/exchange/cancellation policies?

Zingtree makes it easy to build customized, informative decision trees to satisfy your customers, and your business) during the hectic holiday season. Contact us to learn more or get started today!

Live Chat Integration: Intercom and Zingtree

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Live chat is an incredibly useful way to connect to our customers, both for offering support and for getting insights into new product ideas we may never have thought of ourselves. We are happily using Intercom, which allows us to track chat and email conversations with each customer.

For technical inquiries, we use Zingtree Data Entry forms to get the tree ID, node and URL of any problem reports. To save our customers some typing, and make it faster for us to answer questions, we’ve built our own Contact page using Zingtree. For technical and sales inquiries, the decision tree leads to an end point that opens Intercom chat, with information about the problem already pre-populated.

Once you submit a technical question, here’s what appears in Intercom:

Intercom chat with Zingtree

Demos:

Requirements:

  • Your tree must be embedded on your site.
  • You need to have the Intercom chat client in place on the page that contains your tree.

How to open an Intercom chat session, and include the Zingtree transcript and data entry:

  1. Go to Overview.
  2. Edit the node you want to trigger the chat, and  set the Parent Action to Intercom: New: #session#.When a customer lands on this node, this Parent Action is triggered.
  3. On the hosting page, include this script before the </body> tag:
    <script src="//zingtree.com/api/chat/intercom.js"></script>

It’s that easy!

Source Code:

From the Zingtree Gallery, you can see two examples:

The Most Essential Applications & Tools for Your Startup

Chances are, if you’re running or working for a startup, you’ve got less than no time to deal with a lot of things. No matter the industry you’re running in, you need a diverse, comprehensive toolkit to help you accomplish your goals, stay productive, and keep customers happy.

We’re a startup ourselves. We get how messy, brilliant, mind-numbing and rewarding every step of the way is, and have found some of the best apps and tools available today to help make things just a little smoother.

1. Zapier

Zapier is one of those digital wonders that’s still vastly-underrated, in our opinion. With the ability to automate actions across applications that you already use, it enables you to expand the potential of all of your resources. So far, Zapier has 500+ apps it can connect with, including Trello, Gmail, Mailchimp, WordPress, and Evernote.

2. Zendesk

Sometimes you need some help from companies that know exactly what they’re doing. Zendesk is a cloud-based, customer service software company that allows businesses of all sizes to develop super efficient, customer-centric CRM processes that — above all else — help you build and maintain great relationships with the people who are buying your product or service.

3. Intercom

Live chat interactions are one of our favorite ways to provide real-time, one-on-one support and service to customers. Intercom is on our all-star list of great live chat systems to implement online. Those with quick questions really appreciate the convenience and engagement with a real person, and businesses can provide fast assistance while staying productive.

4. Slack

Internal communication is just as important as the interactions with your customers; the rate of efficiency can either hurt or help your business. Slack exists to help startups like us keep in touch, collaborate, and stay organized as a whole team, even in those crunch-time moments. When in doubt, you can share reminders and other important notes to Slack as well; with powerful search features, it’s basically impossible to lose a text-based detail.

5. Zingtree (that’s us!)

Providing always-on support access might sound like a daunting task — any truly valuable automation can — but, the long-term benefits that businesses see from implementing these kinds of processes is astounding. Zingtree allows you to build customized, interactive decision trees online (and even embedded into your own website) that help customers help themselves, day or night.

BONUS! Zingtree integrates seamlessly with every app and tool listed above, allowing your startup access to even more amazing, time-saving, productivity-boosting features:


Ready to help make your startup more efficient, effective and ROI-driven? Get a free Zingtree account today

8 Easy Ways to Improve Your Customer Support Game

Your support team is the first (and often only) point of contact between you and your customers. In reality, they hold one of the most important roles in your entire business. The bottom line is that a positive customer experience is defined by the skill, quality and knowledge of the support they receive.

So, how can you strengthen support efforts and improve your business overall? Here are some of our best tips for boosting how you serve your customers, and improving your internal customer support in the long-term.

1. Help Customers Help Themselves

It’s proven that people today aren’t thrilled with more traditional support methods, like calling your company up on the phone or sending in an email. Creating and maintaining an up-to-date knowledge base of information online, along with tutorials, FAQs and other valuable resources, allows your customers to proactively search for answers to the questions they may have and effectively self-serve their own needs.

2. Create Active Communities

In many cases, businesses are finding that creating actual communities online has been a powerful way to engage customers. By providing them with exclusive resources, updates, sneak peeks and contests, you’ll build up better rapport with your active community members, allow customers to communicate with each other to solve problems, and help improve your presence online.

3. Communicate Like People

Even though digital is really the way to go, at the end of the day your customers want to feel like they have access to real people, too. Offer up easy ways to get in contact, whether it be through email, phone or live chat capabilities. Social media is also a valuable tool to keep in touch with customers, help answer questions, and share updates on your business (and the people within it!) in general.

4. Take Advantage of Helpful Visuals

Words can sometimes get in the way, especially when dealing with visual learners and more complicated issues. Using the help of annotated screenshots, tutorial videos, how-to GIFs and other images to communicate a message makes things easier for everyone. Not only are visuals nice to look at, they are experts at conveying information, directions and context to a customer better than text alone.

5. Start Engaging Employees

If you’re running a business with a staff of employees at hand, be sure you’re paying them enough attention. You can have the best skills and support training in the industry, but if your agents aren’t happy or motivated, it won’t mean a lot. Getting your support staff energized and engaged with their role (and with helping others) is a great way to make sure customers have positive experiences all around!

6. Build Personalized Experiences

Your main support channels, like your support staff, are extensions of your company and brand as a whole. Having a support experience that feels out of place in association with your core message, product or service offering can throw customers off. Make sure that your knowledge base and other channels of information are customized and personalized to make your customers feel right at home.

7. Give Agents Custom Scripts

Once you find your magic formula for customer phone calls, you will be amazed what it can do to improve the effectiveness of your support staff and the happiness of your customers. Standardized agent scripts are a super easy way to guide reps through a natural, productive conversation and make sure customers are feeling heard, getting help and leaving the interaction worry-free. And management can see the various pathways that agents take through these scripts too.

8. Offer Always-On Access

In the digital age, it’s possible to give 24/7 support access to your customers without paying staff for any overtime. Building interactive, customer support decision trees and troubleshooters based on knowledge base data makes it incredibly easy to provide help to your customers across any or all areas of your business, even when no one is available to help one-on-one.

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 number of tickets coming in.

Ready to improve your customer support efforts? Get started with Zingtree today!

Updates: Browser Back Button, Scoring Enhancements

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Up until today, people using your decision trees needed to click the Back button inside of the tree itself in order to move to the previous step.

For short content embedded on a web page that was doable, but for longer content or Zingtree-hosted decision trees the natural inclination was to click the browser’s Back button to view the previous page; this would not act as the end-user expected.

Today’s update makes the browser’s Back button work exactly as you’d expect:

  • For Zingtree hosted trees, or our Agent portal, clicking Back goes to the previous node.
  • For trees embedded in your web site, you can select the new “Make Browser’s BACK Button go to Previous Node” option in the Advanced Publishing Options area of the Publish page. This will give you new embed code to use to activate this feature.

We also added some enhancements to Scoring:

  • We increased the maximum number of buttons per node from 30 to 50. This is especially helpful for those with complex scoring scenarios.
  • The Simple Overview shows what variable is used in the scoring process for each node.
  • Editing scoring nodes with incomplete links or ranges from 0 to 0 saves properly.

Now that we’ve made back work properly, we’re looking ahead. If you have suggestions for us on how to make Zingtree better, please let us know!

The Top Words You Should Avoid in Customer Service

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We have all been on the other end of a horrendous, perhaps even downright disastrous phone call or email with a customer service representative that is just plain untrained. We’re willing to bet that at least one of 8 words, or a derivative tone that one of those 8 words produces, were conveyed that left you with the feeling of being unheard.

It’s not uncommon, but it can (and should) be avoided — especially when its your own support staff committing the faux pas. Here’s our shortlist of words that are guilty of severe harm and worthy of making our blacklist of words and phrases to never use in your customer interactions.

1. “Can’t”

This one really needs no explanation, but nothing says “I’m unwilling to help you” better than this one.

2. “Rules,” “Protocol” or “Policy”

Any of these ridiculous words mean the same – “We have this wall in place so that I can’t or won’t help you.”

Sure there are certainly guidelines to follow, there are even situations that warrant hard and fast rules. Regardless, the customer does not need to feel that those rules were there to punish them personally!

3. “No”

We just abhor this word. Tell us “It’s a bit tough, but I can assure you that I will do my best to work with you.”

Anything but NO!

4. “Sir/Ma’am”

No other naming formality sends you to the bus of condescending “know-it-alls” than addressing someone this way. This is unfortunate because, personally, some of us like to address people this way as a form of respect. The problem is less about what is said and more about what is implied. There are too many grey areas and it would be best to avoid them if you are unsure.

5. “Wrong”

We have actually heard representatives say this one. “You are wrong.” Or, how about “You are wrong, Sir or Ma’am”… must we continue? Remember the mantra “the customer is always right?” It stands true.

6. “Job”

There’s very little worse than telling a customer what is and is not part of your job description. Don’t do it. We certainly know that it is not the job of the customer to know this. A simple, “I will work with so and so to get this matter handled” will suffice.

7. “Unreasonable”

It’s probably hard to imagine, but we have been on the receiving end of “that’s unreasonable.” Even if you sell ice cream and someone asks you to “throw in” sneakers… Ok, that’s probably unreasonable…BUT the point is that your tone can deliver a message of “work-with-it-ness”  in a way that your customers leads themselves to that realization or discovery without you even saying it at all!

8. “I’m losing ____ on this…”

Yes, this is not a word, but it deserves a spot on the list. No customer wants to hear a passive aggressive rant about how much your company is losing on the deal or I will make an exception to the rule, just for you.” Again, this one’s about tone and not so much about letting a customer know that something will be tough. See #s 2,3 and 7.


It’s not always easy identifying how words or tone may sometimes pull from the same box of taboo while dealing with your customers. And at the end of the day, implementing standardized Agent Scripts is an ideal way to avoid this in the long-term. We hope this list has given you or your team some things to keep in mind during key communications!

Ready to streamline your customer service efforts? Get started. 

Why Your Support Representatives Need Interactive Scripts

Customer service is more than just answering questions and escalating serious issues; it’s a long-term, relationship-building process that requires excellent care and consideration to thrive.

Your agents and representatives are the face (or rather, voice) of your company. By providing them with the right tools to help guide customer conversations, you’ll be able to make sure that every interaction has a productive and positive outcome – Agent Scripts are used to help with exactly this.

Written in the company’s tone of voice and adhering to its own best practices, Agent Scripts make it much easier for support representatives to express information correctly and assist customers in any way. Among other benefits, these scripts allow agents to:

1. Standardize to promote best practices

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel and run the risk of failure in each customer interaction. Once you find your magic formula, stick to it and you’ll find that your support agents are much more effective at delivering consistently great experiences (your customers will take notice, too).

With standardized scripts to guide your team through the interaction, it’s easy to ensure that every support agent will know precisely what to say and when to say it. A natural flow to a conversation is often the best way to make sure a customer is feeling heard and helped!

2. Analyze effectiveness and performance

After implementing a solid, standardized script (or scripts) for use in your business, it’s important to keep up with how well they are doing so you can continue to make the process even better.

With our Agent Scripting tool, you can easily track each agent interaction and each customers’ reason for needing support, as well as access awesome analytics and reports on how your decision tree is being used, in aggregate or by individual agents.

You can also go straight to the source and gather comments from your support agents themselves – this way, the original Author receives actionable feedback that makes it easy to continue to improve upon.

3. Integrate with existing resources

Zingtree integrates directly with many of the popular, useful services that are used by support teams today, including Slack, WordPress, Salesforce, Freshdesk, Zopim, Intercom and more. By linking up your agent scripts to your CRM platform or tool of choice, support representatives can do a whole lot more with the information they’re given.

For CRM integrations, when a customer uses your decision tree and submits a support ticket, your agents will see helpful information in the ticket sidebar. Additionally, the most recent node and buttons clicked during the tree session are always saved with the ticket, so if another agent takes over, previous steps taken are clearly visible.

Curious to see how it all works? Check out this short video:


Ready to improve your customer support efforts? Get started with Zingtree Agent Scripting solutions today!