Category Archives: For Beginners

Create Decision Trees using Google Sheets

sheets-blog

Did you know that Google Sheets can be used as a decision tree building tool? Using a specific layout, you can easily import any Sheets document into Zingtree, and turn it into a fully functional interactive decision tree.

Once you’ve successfully imported your tree, you can enhance it using Zingtree’s editing tools, which offer a lot more decision tree related functionality than Google Sheets.

Here’s how our example tree used in the tutorials appears in Sheets:

You can get started now by copying this example and modifying it:

Get Examples from Google Sheets

 

Overview

Zingtree can create decision trees from Google Sheets, or any similarly formatted tabular source. Your spreadsheets just need to be set up in a specific way for this to work.

Here are the rules:

  1. The first row is for column headings. This is important, as it tells Zingtree what type of data is in each column. Make sure to use the column headings as described below.
  2. Column A is for the node number. Usually this is sequential. It’s required. The heading must say “Node“.
  3. Column B is for the title of a node. Your trees will be easier to read if each node has a descriptive title. The heading must say “Title“.
  4. Column C is for any content that appears in the content area.  This is imported as plain text, but you can add formatting, images, and videos later using the Zingtree editing tools. The heading must read “Content“.
  5. Column D is the question that is being asked. You can leave this blank if you want an answer node. The heading must be “Question“.
  6. If you want to include node tags in your tree, insert a column with a heading of “Tags“. This is optional.
  7. If you are using a scoring variable for scoring button clicks, add a column headed “Score Variable“. This is optional.
  8. The last columns are for the button choices.  The heading over the first button column must be “Buttons“. You can have several columns of buttons.
  9. For the button columns, you can make them link to other nodes by adding the node number in square brackets.  In the above example, cell F2 has a button labelled “Yes” that links to node #2.  ( Yes[2]  ).
  10. If you’re using score variables for button clicks, you can include something like “+3” after the node number in brackets.  This would add 3 to the scoring variable mentioned in the Score variable column. (See the Advanced tab in the sample spreadsheet for an example.)
  11. If you want to add a comment to any node, insert a cell on the right that starts with an exclamation point character (!).

Note: Columns can be in any order, but the column headings must contain the proper text like “Node”, “Question” etc.

You can also make Link Nodes and Tree Nodes with special text in the content column:

  • Example: To make a Link Node that goes to Google, the content area looks like this (see cell C8 in the example):
    LINK: http://google.com
  • Example: To make a Tree Node that opens tree ID #123456789, the content area will be (see cell C7 in the example):
    TREE: 123456789
  • Example: To make a Tree Node that opens tree ID #999999999 at node #3, the content area should be:
    TREE: 999999999,3

Once you’ve finished your tree, it needs to be exported as a TSV file. This is also known as tab-separated values, or tab delimited CSV.

You can also just copy and paste cells from Sheets into Zingtree. Sheets copies tab delimited data to the clipboard automatically.

Build Your Tree

To start, open this file in Sheets, and make a copy for your personal use. You can use the Basic or Advanced tab – most people start with the basic option.

Now start modifying it.  Make sure to keep top row column headings in place. Keep questions in the question column, content in the content column, etc.

When you’re done, you can import your work into Zingteee via copy and paste, or by exporting to a tab delimited (TSV) file.

Import via Copy and Paste

This is the easiest way to import your decision tree into Zingtree:

  1. In Sheets, select the entire range of cells for your tree, and copy to the clipboard (Ctrl+C or Cmd+C).
  2. In Zingtree, go to the Import via Copy and Paste tool.  (You can also get there via My Trees, Create Tree, then select Import from Google Sheets.) A screen like this appears:

  3. Choose Google Sheets as the source.
  4. Enter a name for your tree
  5. Paste the data copied from step 1 into the data area. (Use Ctrl+V or Cmd+V).
  6. Click Import and Create Tree.

You’ll see your new tree in the Zingtree overview.

Import via a TSV file

For larger trees, you may find it better to upload a file instead of copying and pasting. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. In Sheets, go to File, Download As, and select Tab-separated values (.tsv, current sheet).

  2. In Zingtree, go to the Import File tool. (You can also get there from My Trees, Create Tree, and then choosing Import from Google Sheets.)

  3. If you want to overwrite an existing tree, select it via Replace Tree. Otherwise a new tree will be created.
  4. Click Import File, and locate the file you created in step 1.
  5. The new tree will appear in Zingtree.

Notes:

  • You can use this process to import files from any tab delimited CSV format.

Any questions? Reach out to us anytime. 

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

self-service customer support

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!

Decision Tree Analytics: About Session Matrix Reports

Zingtree has powerful built-in analytics. In this series, we’re taking a closer look at some of these in-depth reports and how they help you learn even more about how customers use your trees. 


Session Matrix Reports

The Session Matrix Report lets you view each end-user session within a given date range, including buttons clicked, as well as scoring and data entered when available. Once generated, it’s simple to see an overview of all session data. You can also export this report to Excel, Google Sheets, or any other database via a CSV file for further analysis.

To access this report, go to Overview > Reports and select Session Matrix Report from the drop-down menu. You can specify an exact date range to pull the stats from before clicking “Show Report.”

The report is built instantly, showing a complete overview of every session. Scroll through each end-user’s selections to view every node and the content they house.

Click into each session to reveal its full Session Details, including Node Titles and Button Clicks, as well as stats on Time Spent and Click Score when applicable.

With display options to show only Subtree sessions, date, or agent/source, you can customize your report view to see only the data you need to access. You can even change your view to see button text vs. score values!

See a live example of this report on the Zingtree Gallery.


Learn more about our powerful reports and analytics:

Reach out to us any time with questions!

Decision Tree Analytics: About Traffic Map Reports

adding-search-to-decision-trees-6

Zingtree has powerful built-in analytics. In this series, we’re taking a closer look at some of these in-depth reports and how they help you learn even more about how customers use your trees. 


Traffic Map Reports

The Traffic Map report shows a visual overview of the amount of traffic to each node in your particular decision tree. Set in the Zingtree Designer view, you can quickly access a complete view of the content in your decision tree nodes, as well as a breakdown of the traffic to each, shown in both number of clicks and percentage of total traffic.

To access the this report, go to Overview > Reports and select Traffic Map from the dropdown menu. You can specify an exact date range to pull the results from before clicking “Show Report.”

Because your report generates automatically in the Zingtree Designer, you can easily see how much traffic your tree nodes received at-a-glance — the thicker, heavier lines indicate more traffic, while the thinner lines show the least visited nodes.

Select “Buttons” to show or hide button labels from your view, depending on your preference.

If you’re looking at a more complex tree, get a closer or further view with the Zoom In / Zoom Out buttons.

And use the scroll bar to pan up / down or left / right as needed, which is also particularly helpful for larger decision trees.


Learn more about our powerful reports and analytics:

Reach out to us any time with questions!

It’s All About Context: Seeing More with History & Breadcrumbs

Making sure you are seeing the full context is best for complete understanding. Our interactive decision trees come with advanced hosting/publishing capabilities that allow your customers and end-users to easily see, and then understand, where they are in the process.

History: See Every Step

Our History feature allows your customers to view every step taken while using your decision tree. With this publishing option, users can easily click on a link and go back to any previous node visited.

When implemented, it will display the path history information like this:

history

Breadcrumbs: Your Tree’s Flow

Our Breadcrumbs feature shows the exact progression of nodes that appeared during your customer’s journey through your tree. With this publishing option, users can also click on any link and automatically jump back to another point in their decision tree journey.

When implemented, it will display the sequence information like this:

breadcrumbs

Setting Up History & Breadcrumbs

1. Login to your Zingtree account, go to My Trees and head to the decision tree you want to publish with history and/or breadcrumbs shown.

2. Click to open Publish.

3. Select the tabbed “Have Zingtree host your Tree” option, then click on the Advanced Hosting Options button shown below.

4. Select Show History and/or Show Breadcrumbs, depending on the information you’d like to display.

That’s it! Your customers and end-users will now see their decision tree history and breadcrumbs, and be able to easily identify where they are (and where they’ve been) in your tree.


Any questions? Please reach out anytime!

Please Note: History is available only for Zingtree-hosted trees and the Agent Portal. Breadcrumbs are for Zingtree-hosted trees only.

How to Use the Decision Tree Gallery

Zingtree-Gallery

Interactive Decision Trees can be utilized for all kinds of specific requirements, whether they concern customer support, business and marketing, training simulations, medical triage or any other use case. The difficult part isn’t figuring out what your end-goal or purpose is, it’s knowing how to get started and present information in the best way possible.

The Zingtree Gallery is our go-to resource for seeing how others build decision trees that may be similar to your application. You can copy these trees into your account to modify them, view them to see how an end-user would interact with them, and examine how they are built.  The Gallery is also a great way to explore Zingtree if you haven’t yet set up an account.

Deep Dive Into Decision Trees

The existing decision trees in the Gallery have all been created from scratch by Zingtree users. Anyone is free to examine any of these decision trees from every angle, so you can see exactly how it’s all done.

Click around to see how different types of trees look and feel, or you can use the top navigation to filter decision trees by your specific use case.

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Once you open the Zingtree Gallery, it’s easy to find the type of decision tree you’re looking for. Click the blue Play button to see the end-user experience. Or, click the orange Examine button in order to see how it’s built with the Designer or Wizard tools, check out the overview of nodes, and much more.

Copy & Customize for Any Need

While just diving in is a great way to get started, you’re also welcome to make an exact copy of any decision tree in the Gallery to modify to your liking. Once you have a free Zingtree account and are logged in, the brown Copy button adds a copy of the tree to your account.

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Submit Your Own

We made it simple to submit your favorite, most popular, or most interesting decision tree for all to see! To add your own Zingtree to the Gallery, select My Trees, navigate to the decision tree you want to submit, then select More Tools. Click to Submit to Gallery, read and accept the rules, and finally fill out the short application form to submit.


Check out the Zingtree Gallery here! Need more help or inspiration? Read out to our team today.

How to Include a Search Form in Your Trees

Your troubleshooters and FAQ-style decision trees are chock-full of answers, insight and other information just waiting to be discovered. In addition to guiding people to find answers step-by-step, you can also insert a Search Form into your decision tree.

With the functionality of a Search Form, your customers can quickly and easily search for text in the current tree, and then jump directly to that section.

Why Use a Search Form?

Our clients pointed out that, while decision trees are built for customers to navigate through, it’s often much faster to directly locate a specific piece of content. Search Form queries match text within your decision tree nodes or titles, making it easy to search for specific information in a tree.

Note: This is different from Tree Search Forms, which lets you search through all the trees in your organization. 

How to Insert Search Forms

Placing this type of form is as easy as clicking a button while creating your decision tree…

Open your decision tree of choice and navigate to Overview. Next, open “Edit” for the node you want to place it in, then select Templates in the Content Editor to insert your Search Form.

There you have it! Now your customers, employees or anyone else using your decision tree will quickly and easily be able to search for the solution they are looking for.

Ready to get started? Log in or sign up to launch your own decision trees with search capabilities today. 

Best Tips for Building Helpful, Informative Troubleshooters

Decision trees are an amazing, interactive tool for guiding customers toward a likely solution to their problem, or answer to their question. Building troubleshooter-style trees for your visitors that are customized with your brand in mind is a great way to solve problems and make customers more satisfied.

We’ve helped a lot of small businesses, large companies and even solo entrepreneurs set up helpful decision trees that are efficient and effective. Take a look at some of our top tips for building the absolute best decision tree troubleshooter possible.

Write your questions like a person would read them.

Within a troubleshooting – or otherwise more technical – decision tree, it might seem like a good plan to lay things out as specifically as you possibly can. However, using a more natural style of language makes it much easier for the average person to understand the process at hand.

One helpful thing to do is to take a step back and think about how someone you know might read through your decision tree. Would your father, your neighbor or your aunt understand what you’re saying? This can often be a good benchmark for writing content within your tree.

Use visuals and videos when appropriate.

We’ve found that there is nothing more effective than adding a short and sweet how-to, tutorial or guide video to make your point with less text. Using visuals like photos, graphics and GIFs, and adding relevant videos to your decision tree nodes is a great way to communicate a lot within a little space.

Along with providing more clear instructions or information to your users, using visuals, videos and other customizations is a great way to extend your brand and make a good impression on customers.

Take advantage of existing tools to work out the complexities.

Some decision tree troubleshooters can be larger projects to assemble than others. If you have a complex tree to build, a good tip is to prepare more than one at the same time. By containing elements in different decision trees — called sub-trees — and then linking them up into one final decision tree later, you can concentrate on one piece at a time.

When you’re mapping out your decision tree troubleshooter, you’re bound to run into a hiccup or two. If you need to connect two nodes together and get stumped, you can create a plain, undefined placeholder node to help you continue through the process; you can always go back in later and fix it up!

Grab your data before moving forward. 

It’s a best practice in any industry to collect data, and analyze it, before making any next steps in a project. Without understanding the stats behind how your troubleshooter is used, you won’t be able to make it better.

With Scoring Nodes, you can A/B test different messages, structures and offers to see which performs the best, and then optimize accordingly. Additionally, you can receive direct feedback from end-users using comments, as well as always keep track of the activity and health of your decision trees with in-depth Analytics & Reporting features.


Zingtree makes it easy to build completely custom, data-gathering question & answer style troubleshooters to satisfy your customers (and your business). Contact us to learn more or get started today!

New! Customize Your Decision Tree with Zingtree Themes

We’ve always believed in custom decision trees. It’s important to build question-and-answer style troubleshooters and FAQs as seamless extensions of your brand to not only solve customer problems, but also to make people feel more happy with your company’s identity.

While we’ve always offered ways to add your own custom CSS for personalization, we’re excited to launch a new feature that helps guide you through with a live preview. With our new Zingtree Themes, you can mix and match colors and navigation styles to create your perfect decision tree.

Here’s how to get started: 

1. Login to your Zingtree account, select the decision tree you wish to customize and then go to its Settings page.

2. Locate the Theme / CSS Customization section at the right of the page and select to Pick a Theme.

3. You’ll be presented with a live preview of your style choices within a decision tree. At the top of the window, you’ll see options for Theme (colors) and Style to try out.

4. For now, you can select a range of classic colors and pair it with your ideal navigation style – buttons or panels. For this example, we’ve chosen “Moonlight” grey with the Panels style.

5. Upon selecting either option, you’ll automatically be able to see a live preview of your customizations in the display window. Once you’ve found the perfect match, just click Save!

zingtree-themes

6. Once Saved, your selected theme will appear in the CSS file window of your Settings page.

For those who prefer an alternate way, you can still upload a custom CSS file or download our simple CSS file to modify in order to customize the colors, node styles, icons and more that appear.

Ready to get started? Log in or sign up for a Zingtree account today!

Create More Powerful Decision Trees with Integrations

We built Zingtree decision trees to play nicely with other useful, popular tools, apps and platforms; this allows you to be as flexible as possible with your trees, as well as the information being collected and measured from them.

By linking up your Zingtree decision trees with the apps and integrations used in your own business, you’ll make it easier for your customers and clients to access answers online, help your agents to keep up performance and resolve tickets faster, and simplify your optimization processes.

Here are some of the popular tools you can tap into:

With only a unique short code, Zingtree’s direct integration with WordPress allows you to directly embed any of your interactive decision trees into any web page. This makes it simple for customers to navigate through any support or troubleshooting process on your site, with a simple, customized question-and-answer style flow.

Our Zendesk app for Zingtree makes it faster to solve Zendesk tickets by giving your support agents additional background information on a customer’s specific problem. When a customer uses your decision tree and submits a support ticket, agents see helpful info from your customers in the ticket sidebar.

For contact center use, our Agent Scripting app for Zendesk gives agents a handy script to follow during the course of a call. Again, right inside of Zendesk.

With our Salesforce integration, agents can open a Zingtree decision tree within the customer’s Salesforce case. 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. On the other side, customers can navigate through a decision tree, then submit a support ticket, having the in-depth information from both connected.

For Customer Support use cases, prompt your customers to try to solve their problem with a custom decision tree. If the customer is unable to find a solution to their issue or question, they can submit a ticket to Freshdesk to automatically send over a description of their problem, along with a full Q&A transcript of their session with Zingtree. Agents can then access complete details of their ticket, and pass along to other agents seamlessly.

After configuring your integration with Slack, when an end-user visits a node in one of your decision trees, you can have that node trigger a custom Slack notification (including form variables). Once you set up Slack for your organization, any node in any tree can send a message to Slack to give you an instant update.

See all of our applications, plugins and integrations from the Zingtree Integrations page.