Tag Archives: customer service tools

5 Outdated Customer Support Tools You Need to Ditch

Customer service agents have always been at the heart of what makes companies, and their customer communications, so incredibly important to business success. However, certain resources aren’t always up to the job. Armed with only outdated customer support tools, it’s difficult for an agent or customer service representative to perform their tasks, and help people, to the best of their ability.

Thankfully, technology has done a great job of keeping up; there are dozens of amazing tools to help businesses small and large improve how they handle support and troubleshooting, customer interactions, and other key communications. If you’re still using an outdated tool or method like the ones mentioned here, now’s the time to make a change for the better.

Setting Up Spreadsheets to Track Issues

We’ll always love spreadsheets (heck, Zingtrees even connect with them for quick creation!), but using them as a means of manually tracking the details of tickets and inquiries is a definite resource-waster. The details of every customer call are important, so adopting a more automated way to enter key information during a call or via an online support ticket is vital to improving customer service goals. Don’t tackle it cell-by-cell. You waste precious time and this method is prone to errors.

Using Standard Email for Tickets

Using Outlook for support? Gmail? Yahoo? We certainly hope not, but if you are, there’s still time to make things right and upgrade to a real support system. A solid CRM tool like Zendesk or  Freshdesk isn’t as daunting or expensive as you might think, and can easily track and organize every incoming ticket. After getting started and connecting all of your communication channels, you can even integrate with decision trees for a completely holistic setup.

Sending Customers Through a Phone Tree

The most impersonal of all contact channels, a phone tree is as hard to set up as it is for customers to wait through. While still critical for some industries to offer in order to contact a live agent, others benefit from building a better system online and on mobile. Roughly 72% of people think self-service support is a preferred way to handle customer support, so using decision trees can help customers navigate for themselves, find answers, and contact the right department for more information.

Printing Out Call Scripts on Paper

Not only is printing bad for the environment, it’s cumbersome and unnecessary. While customer support and call center agents should be prepared with a script on hand, there’s always a technical way to make things more efficient. Taking the digital plunge and creating an online call center script for agent use will improve support KPIs, make it simple to streamline communication, and leave customers happier with every standardized, personalized interaction.


Any questions? We’re always here to help!

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!

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!

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.

8 Call Center Technologies to Improve Your First Call Resolution

Is your call center using the most up-to-date software and tools to improve KPI’s? Zingtree was recently featured in TechSee‘s list of the best technologies to improve first call resolution, among other important customer service stats.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“First call or first contact resolution (FCR) is the golden lariat of the customer service sphere. Handling your customers’ problems the first time they call in, and making sure they remain satisfied, loyal customers has to be the defacto aim for customer support and retention teams. 

There are many significant metrics which contact centers need to monitor: Average Handling Time, Abandon Rate, Customer Satisfaction and other operational performance metrics need to be factored in when measuring your customer service performance. 

But, FCR is the most important and only KPI that addresses both ends of your contact center functionality in a single measure. First Call Resolution measures both productivity (getting the problem solved) and customer experience (solving it in the most efficient way for the customer). It’s this KPI that connects the dots in your organization.”

Read the full article on TechSee.me >>

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!

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!

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. 

Zendesk Agent Scripting App – Version 6

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Zendesk continues to surge in popularity, and we’re finding that a lot of our customers are using it, especially for Call Center agent scripts.  Over the past weeks, we’ve had a lot of great conversations with our clients using Zendesk, and have come up with a big update to our Agent Scripting solution!

Update: Watch this 3 minute video to see the Zendesk Agent Scripting App in action:

Here’s an example of what you’ll see in the right side of Zendesk when opening a ticket.

New and Notable in Version 6:

    • We’ve included Agent Feedback (the orange chat bubble) – now, an agent can send notes to the Authors of the tree from any node – this feedback loop helps authors continually improve the tree scripts.

 

    • You can now have multiple scripts run from within the app.  First, you’ll need to set up Zendesk Brands. When a ticket is opened or the brand changes, the app locates a tree associated with that brand (h/t Dave T).

 

    • There is no more custom field needed – this was causing an extra “Zingtree Agent Scripting” field to appear in mobile ticket forms (h/t Emanuela).

 

  • All the latest publishing features are present in the app, including Scoring nodes.


Installing the Zendesk Agent Scripting App:

  1. Download the app from here.
  2. In your Zendesk Admin, go to Apps, Manage, and click Upload Private App.
  3. Enter a name for the App, like “Agent Scripting.”
  4. Click Choose File, and locate the file you downloaded in step 1.
  5. Click the Upload button.
  6. The App Settings screen will appear.
  7. Enter the Tree ID of the script you want to appear by default.
  8. If you want the tree to display in Panels style, check Display in Panel style. Otherwise, the tree will display in Buttons style.
  9. Optional: To take advantage of having the Agent Scripting App choose a tree according to brand, check Open script based upon Brand. Then, enter your API Key located in Zingtree, under Account, Organizations and Billing at the bottom of the page.
  10. Click Install.

Making Trees Trigger According to Zendesk Brand:

Using Zingtree’s Tree Tags, your App can select the tree that corresponds to the current Brand in use on a Zendesk ticket. Switching Brands will also switch the tree script displayed. Here’s how to set this up:

  1. In Zendesk Admin, go to Manage Brands, and locate the subdomain of the brand.  For example,  if the brand is listed as myproduct.zendesk.com, the subdomain is myproduct.
  2. In Zingtree, go to the Settings tool for your tree, and add the Zendesk subdomain as a Tree Tag.

Bonus: Insert Agent Name into Your Script

Many call center scripts start with something like “Hello, this is ______” .  You can automatically insert the name of the agent into your script simply by adding #agent# anywhere you want the agent name to appear.

Any questions? Please reach out to us any time!

Customer Support Case Study: Applian

Here’s an example of how Zingtree’s interactive decision trees are helping to improve and advance customer support processes in a cutting-edge software company. 

Applian Technologies develops powerful, affordable streaming media recording software for the Windows and Mac user. As a bustling technology company, Applian has always used traditional support methods to stay ahead of customer communications. After performing a ticket analysis, they found that they were spending far too much time and resources on each ticket, and decided to take action.

After adopting Zingtree’s solution, Applian was able to save over 15 hours each week on support communications, $30,000 in valuable resources, and more!

You can view the case study below, and open a PDF version here.

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Want to see more? Explore the Zingtree Gallery for examples of how our decision trees and interactive solutions provide value for businesses!