Category Archives: How To

How-to and tutorial articles.

Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Zingtree: 8 Hacks For Success

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Our interactive decision tree tool is a must-have for any business looking to skyrocket their customer service through self-help, organizations hoping to logically deliver answers, and even contact centers to guide their customer-facing agents through how-tos and support.

No matter what you use Zingtree for, getting your first tree deployed can be daunting for some. So have no fear, here are our top tips for breaking into the awesomely helpful world of Zingtrees:

1. Sketch Out a Roadmap

Remember in school when you’d sit down and brainstorm out a strategy? Just like that! Whether it’s in list, mind map or spreadsheet form, getting down the touchstones you need your tree to cover before you start building your tree is crucial and will make building your nodes and connecting them in a flow much easier. Compiling an outline is essential and will make the creation much more streamlined.

2. Go With What’s Already Been Built

We’ve expanded (and promise to keep expanding) our Gallery. In here you will find a handful of pre-made Trees that you can edit and customize to fit your needs. Simply click the “Copy” button to create a replicate version. Also, see the top navigation to filter by your specific need. Check out our examples, and hopefully one will be great inspiration for you to start your own!

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3. Start With The Visual Designer

We all know that there are different styles to learning, creating, coding and strategizing. For this reason, we’ve equipped Zingtree with a robust Visual Designer that allows for a “white board” to create nodes, connections, and truly see the Tree as it’s being built. Some Zingtree builders only use this mode as a way of aesthetically assembling their decision trees. Visually, however, it can get confusing for large, complex trees – but for getting started, it’s perfect!

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4. Use Placeholders When Undecided

When you’re on a roll mapping out your decision tree you’re bound to run into a speed bump here or there, especially when dealing with conditional node flows. In practice, this means if you need two nodes connected you need to create both nodes before you create the connection between them.

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If you’re stumped on the additional nodes, we recommend that you create simple untitled / undefined nodes to help you continue through the process. You can always go back to that node and edit appropriately as needed.

5. Go Back With Snapshots

A very helpful feature we’ve built into Zingtree is Snapshots. Snapshots allow you to review edits and go back to previous versions of your tree – helpful when creating trees with multiple revisions. To find this tool, select More Tools > Snapshots. You can see any other team members’ work and revisions, not to mention, recover that past version.

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6. Make A Backup As You Go

If you’re ever nervous about losing your place or the data within your Zingtree, we recommend exporting the tree to a file on your PC or Mac. This also works well if you’re making a whole new round of edits that you’re not 100% sure about.

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Backups are a great way to not only save your work but also collaborate on different versions of the same idea, especially for teams working with multiple versions for reference and cross-examination. To find the Exporting feature, select More Tools > Export.

7. Big Copy Edits With Exporting

Another exporting trick! If you have large, bulk changes that you need to make with the text within your tree (say, a URL throughout that’s totally changed or an updated product name), simply export and open it with a text editor platform. Using the “Find & Replace” tool within the text editor, swap out the old text portion with the new.

8. Sub-Trees for Even Bigger Zingtrees

If you know you’re going to have a large project ahead of you,  prepare more than one Zingtree to ease the pain in constructing one whole decision tree. In fact, when you’re in the planning stages, you will find these sub-trees occur naturally in complex decision trees. By containing themes and varying elements in different trees, and then later, linking them up into one final tree using Tree Links, you can concentrate on one element at a time!


We’d love to hear your tricks and tips for starting a Zingtree. Feel free to share on our Facebook Page!

Making Dynamic Data Collection Forms

YouAsked

One of our larger customers requested the ability to make a list box that can change depending upon a selection made previously while using a decision tree. If you are doing data collection, this can really simplify things for your end-users.

Demo

For a demo, we’ve built a tree that asks you to select a state in the USA, and from there shows a list of cities in that state.  You can try the demo here.

Setup Overview

This tree uses Zingtree Webhooks. Here’s how we built it:

  1. We created a PHP script for our state-to-city list box generator. This script receives a state code, and returns JSON with a variable called pick_a_city that contains an HTML list box to pick a city in that state. This will be the Webhook URL. It looks like this:
    https://zingtree.com/demo/get-cities-from-state.php?state=#state#

    Substitute #state# with the 2 letter abbreviation for your state to see the results, or just use this example for Alaska.

  2. We created a new Webhook called “City/State Lookup” (under Account > My Apps) with the URL in step 1.

  3. The first node contains a list box with all of the states. The selection is stored to a variable named state. The only button in this node goes to node #2. The end-user view for node #1 looks like this:

  4. Node #2 calls the Webhook we created with the state variable from node #1. The Webhook returns HTML for a list box that replaces a placeholder in node #2 called #pick_a_city#. Here’s the content area for node #2:

    Under Advanced Options, we tell node #2 to send a message to our City/State Lookup Webhook before it loads, like this:

Source Code

  • You can see the entire tree here.
  • The PHP source code for the Webhook URL script is here.
  • The URL for the Webhook is:
    https://zingtree.com/demo/get-cities-from-state.php?state=#state#

Need More Info?

Questions or suggestions? Just holler!

Zapier Decision Tree Integrations with Zingtree

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Our Zapier app makes it easy to send data collected during each Zingtree session to more than 500+ applications supported by Zapier. In case you haven’t heard of it, Zapier is a tool that simplifies data exchange between various web applications. We’re big fans.

Here are some cool things you can do with Zingtree and Zapier:

  • Send data collected in a Zingtree session to Salesforce, Zoho, Highrise, or any other CRM.
  • Add an email address entered in a tree into Mailchimp.
  • Send  yourself an email or SMS message when a customer reaches a critical node in a tree.
  • Save new customer information in a Google Sheets row.
  • Create Trello cards from trees, and include customer notes and session data.
  • And tons more!

When using Zapier, you create “Zaps.” A Zap has a “trigger,” which is the source of the data, and an “action,” which is where the data gets sent. Most of our customers want to send data from Zingtree to another app, so we’ll demonstrate how this is done here.

Before starting, you may want to examine a demo tree from our Gallery that gathers data and sends it to Zapier, or copy it to your account.

How to Set up Zapier for Zingtree

The Zingtree Zapier app is currently invite-only. But if you’re reading this article, you’re invited!

  1. Create a free Zapier account at Zapier.com.
  2. Go here to accept an invitation to use the Zingtree app. The invitation appears:
    Accept the invite.
  3. You’ll be prompted to make a new Zap:
    Click Make a new Zap.
  4. You’ll be asked to choose a Trigger App, which is the source of the data exchange.
    Search for Zingtree, and select Zingtree (Beta).
  5. You’ll be asked to choose a single trigger.
    Click Save + Continue.
  6. Next, you’ll need to connect your Zingtree account, and a tree to Zapier.
    Click Connect a New Account.

     

  7. You’ll be asked for your Zingtree API Key, which you can find here at the bottom of this page. Also enter the Tree ID that will be sending data to Zapier.
    Click Continue when finished.
  8. Change the name of the account, then click Test.

    You should see “success.” Click Save + Continue.
  9. Next, Zapier will attempt to retrieve any variables or sample data from your tree. If this is a new tree, you may want to run through it once and gather some data.
    Click Fetch & Continue.
  10. You’ll see some of the stock data that Zingtree always provides, as well as any custom data for your tree. Again, if you don’t see all the data you expect, do a test run through your tree, and enter some data at least once. This will make the rest of the process easier.
    Click Continue.

Set up the Action App – Email Example

So now you’re done with the Zingtree part. Congratulations! Next, you need to set up an Action App, which will receive data from Zingtree. Let’s set up email delivery as an action, as follows:

  1. Search for email, and choose Email by Zapier as an action app.
    Select Email by Zapier.
  2. This app has just one action.
    Click Save + Continue.
  3. Fill in details for the outbound email. You can insert fields from Zingtree in the body of the email as well.Click Continue when the email is set up correctly.
  4. You’ll see  a preview of what to expect.
    Click Create & Continue to save the action and send a test email.
  5. You should see another “success” screen.
    Click Finish when the email appears as you like.
  6. Name your Zap Zingtree to Email, and turn it on!

Your Zapier Zap is all set.

Making Zingtree Send Data

The final step is to tell Zingtree when to send all the data collected in a session to Zapier. This can be triggered from one or more nodes, when they are seen by the end-user of your tree.

  1. From Overview, Edit Node, edit the node that you want to trigger sending data to Zapier.
  2. Go to Send Message to, and pick Zapier: Zingtree to Email. This is the new Zap you created.
  3. Click Save.
  4. Now try a test from Zingtree. Using Preview or the Publish tool, navigate your tree, and when you reach the node that triggers the send, you should see something in your inbox. IMPORTANT: Make sure to use https in your published Zingtree URL when using Zapier.

Once you get your first Zap done, it becomes easy and addictive to hook Zingtree to the other applications that your business depends upon. So keep going!

Have any questions? Contact us anytime!

Updates: Reorder Nodes, Efficient Forms, Tree Content Search and More

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The holiday spirit never quits here at Zingtree, as we’ve added some cool new features for some of our best customers.

Reordering Nodes in Overview

Tom K. (and a few other people) asked if we could reorder the nodes in the Simple Overview. And now you can! Just drag any node up or down, and it will stay in that position forever.

Some caveats:

  • The root node always appears at the top of the list. If you drag a node over the root, it will appear in position #2 the next time.
  • Some people asked about automatically re-numbering nodes.  For now, we’ve decided to keep the node numbers permanent, as there are cases where node numbers are used in links and URLs outside of Zingtree, and any renumbering would break these links.

Tree Content Node Search

Abner J. asked if we could extend our search forms to include ALL trees in the account, not just the current tree.  So we added a new form type you can insert from the content editor in Edit Node: a Tree Content Search Form:

If you have multiple trees, and you want your end-users to be able to search all nodes in those trees, this is what you can use.

Placeholders vs. Labels in Forms

Tom K. asked if we could make our form layouts more concise by offering an option to eliminate the labels in forms, and put “placeholders” in the fields instead. Done!

Here’s how a form with labels appears:

And here’s one with placeholders:

Sending Multiple Emails

For Alok: Email nodes, and the email-session-info link now can send multiple emails.  Just enter email addresses separated by commas.

Got something special on your wish list? Send it along, and our elves will start working on it!

How to Improve Your Technical Writing with Interactive Decision Trees

Hey technical writers! If you’ve ever struggled to make a linear document from something more akin to a flowchart, perhaps you need to get familiar with creating interactive decision trees as an alternative.

With no programming needed, Zingtree allows you to build custom interactive decision tree troubleshooters, tutorials, guides and other technical processes. The end-result is simple enough for end-users, yet robust enough to handle any project requirements. Here are just a few of the ways that interactive decision trees benefit you and your audience.

1. Streamline Troubleshooting

Interactive decision trees are a friendly way to guide customers toward a solution by asking questions along the way – interview style. Once you figure out all the end-result pathways, a standardized and perfected troubleshooter allows all users moving forward to find answers quickly and painlessly.

The Designer Tool allows you to construct an interactive decision tree within a “white board” style display shown below. After creating and ensuring all question and answer nodes – and their connections – are complete, publishing the troubleshooter will display like the example in this link.

2. Simulate Scenarios for Better Training Materials

Scenario-based documentation is in high-demand for many companies and organizations looking to train new hires in a standard and efficient way. Zingtree is a prime resource for creating and implementing simulations for various scenarios that you may need to communicate in a technical writing assignment.

Providing these kinds of interactive simulation tools to emulate different types of situations or end-results can prove to be incredibly important when leading trainees through complex learning environments.

Click here for an interactive example of a training simulation to see how it’s done.

3. Build Interactive Tutorials

Give readers the power of customized, interactive tutorials to better understand deeply-technical processes. With the simple question-and-answer-style flow of a decision tree, finding solutions and examining complicated workflows becomes much more manageable and easy to digest. You can add customizations and helpful visuals like GIFs, videos and still images to help display step-by-step tutorial information and lead users to a path of understanding.


Want to build your own decision tree? Start with a free trial account today.

Have questions? Reach out to us at any time!

Generating Custom Documents Using Document Nodes

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We’ve had several requests to create a final, single page document based upon answers to decision tree questions. Zingtree’s Document Nodes makes this powerful document generation capability a reality.

With the help of Document Nodes, you can now complete tasks like:

  • Making custom sales brochures.
  • Building legal agreements.
  • Generating purchase orders.
  • Creating evaluations and assessments.

For a simple example, examine our What Computing Device Do I Need? decision tree from the Zingtree Gallery.

Document Nodes Overview

Document Nodes display the content from one or more answer nodes on a single page, based upon variables and values. Variables can be from one of these sources:

  • Data Entry field values.
  • Scoring variables from button clicks.
  • Scoring variables set from Data Entry field list boxes or radio buttons.

Here’s how it looks in the Document Node editor:

Note that scoring variables are a running total.  So if you set variable v to 1 in one place, and to 2 in another, the value of v will be 1+2 = 3.

Building a Tree to Generate a Document

To build a decision tree that generates a document based on answers selected, we recommend these steps:

  1. Create your question nodes, and assign variables to your responses.
  2. Create answer nodes for all of the possible snippets of content you’ll want to show in the final document.
  3. Create a document node.

Set Up: How to Create a Document Node

Here’s how to create a fully-functional Document Node, step-by-step:

  1. From Overview, click Add Node.
  2. Select New Document Node.
  3. Add the pieces of content you want to serve to your end-users.

Each piece of content is set up like the image shown below. In this example, if the variable phone_calls equals “Yes”, we add the contents of node #6 to the final document.

Using the Document Node Editor

Drag this to reorder the content:

Click this to delete the content from the document node:

Pick a variable to test:

Pick an operation:

Pick a value to test against:

Edit the contents of the included node:

Show the contents of the included node:

Try the Document Node editor with a demo page here.

Hint: Once the content from an answer node is inserted, it won’t be inserted again.

Debugging Tip

Use a node that shows your variables while you are testing. The What Computing Devices do I Need example tree uses Node #10 as an ending piece in the Document Node so you can see the value of all of your variables.

Live Example

The What Computing Devices do I Need tree demonstrates a simple tree with a Document Node at the end.  This tree helps an end-user decide whether they needs a phone, tablet or desktop PC, based upon the answers to some questions.

Have any questions, comments, or suggestions on this feature? Talk to us on live chat or by email!

Make Tests, Quizzes, Assessments & More with Zingtree’s Scoring System

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Zingtree has the ability to create what we call evaluations. These can be interactive tests, quizzes, assessments, training simulations, or anything else that requires assigning a score to each question answered – then later acting upon the total score. Coupled with the powerful decision tree logic already present in Zingtree, this capability opens up a whole new realm of knowledge engineering possibilities.

To see a working example of an interactive decision tree quiz, try this 10-question Personality Test found in the Zingtree Gallery.

Here are the basics on how to build a tree with scoring:

  • Add a score value to each button click when designing your tree.
  • As the end-user goes through your tree, Zingtree keeps a running total of the score values of all buttons clicked.
  • When you’re ready to act upon the running total score, use a new “Score Branch Node”. From there, you can specify a range of score values which redirect to specific nodes.

Want to build your own? Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: First, go to Overview > Edit Node and open up the button editor by clicking Edit Buttons. Select Use Scoring, and enter a Score Variable Name that will be used to tally scores and branch on later.

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Step 2: Next, add your desired score values to button clicks in your lead qualification decision tree.

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Step 3: Now, add a new Score Branch Node using This Tree > Add Node. In the Score Branch Node, you can specify which node should appear next (and which to branch to) according to a range of scores.

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Step 4: Link the last button click of your test/quiz/assessment to this new Score Branch Node.

Note that the Score Branch Node never appears on screen. When you direct the flow of your Zingtree to this node, it looks at the sum total of all the button click scores, and redirects to the proper node.

Need to See More Examples? The Zingtree Gallery has three trees that use the new Scoring capabilities. You can play or examine them to see how they work.  See the Evaluations examples.

Bonus Tip! 
Want to display the score on a node? Just add the text #score# into the content area.

Other Notes:

  • You should make sure you are using the latest embed code or hosting URL for your tree.
  • If your end-user presses the back button, the running total score will adjust.
  • If the tree is restarted, the running total score resets to zero.

Any questions? Please reach out to us at any time

How To: Creating Decision Trees With the Wizard

Interactive decision trees can be an extremely simple, fun way to navigate through your information, find answers to questions and more. The Zingtree Wizard tool is one such way to build out decision trees in a clean, step-by-step process.

With the Wizard, you’ll be prompted to fill out easy forms in order to generate your tree, providing the questions and answers your end-users will see. It’s one of the most straight-forward ways to generate a Zingtree!

Here’s how to use Zingtree Wizard:

1. Sign in and click My Trees > Create New Tree.

2. Select the option to fill out simple forms, and then give your tree a name and description.

3. Once in the Wizard, fill out some body text to get started with your tree.

4. Write out your first question, then fill the Answer Options section with every answer you’d like provided. You can see a live preview appear to the right of the screen as you move forward.

5. Continue to write out the appropriate questions, answers and final path solutions until every connection in your decision tree is made.

6. When you’re finished making the nodes and connections between them, you can take a full look at your finished decision tree in Overview.

Voila! Your masterpiece is complete, interactive and highly-intelligent. You can also watch this video for a guided tutorial on how to use the Wizard tool:

To view more ways of building your decision trees, check out our Zingtree Design Tutorials.

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:

Google Analytics for Zingtree: How to Integrate Decision Trees With GA

Google Analytics is an industry-leading web analytics tool that gives you greater insight as to how users are interacting with just about any online or mobile property. Zingtree can use Google Analytics to allow you to get even more robust and powerful tracking data.

As part of this series, we will guide you through some of the Google Analytics basics, as well as information about how you can integrate Zingtree into your reporting process in a strategic way.

Getting Started

To integrate Zingtree with Google Analytics, you’ll need just two things: a Zingtree account and an existing Google Analytics account. If your organization doesn’t currently use Google Analytics, you can create a brand new account for free. Please follow these easy instructions to integrate your trees with Google Analytics:

http://blog.zingtree.com/advanced-decision-tree-tracking-with-google-analytics/

Pro Tip! If you’d like to track your trees separate from your main website or support portal data, please set up a new Google Analytics property and use that to integrate with Zingtree.

Key Metrics: Data to Track

Google Analytics offers a lot of features and functionality, some of which may not be relevant to your organization. However, there are several key metrics that are applicable to many using Zingtree.

See how users are interacting with your trees, including the total number of sessions (or visits) and time spent on each tree, by going to Audiences > Overview.

See what devices are utilizing your trees by heading over to Audiences > Mobile > Overview.

Use the Behavior > Overview report to see when your trees are most commonly visited. This will give you insight into the most common days that your decision trees are in use, and may help you bulk up your staff on days with consistently higher activity.

See your most popular tree nodes and more by visiting Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. For the most user-friendly view, we recommend switching the Primary Dimension from “Page” to “Page Title.”


Want more information about Google Analytics? Check out some of these resources:

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1008015?hl=en

https://moz.com/blog/absolute-beginners-guide-to-google-analytics

Have any questions? Please reach out to us at any time.