Tag Archives: customer service

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.

Integrating Zingtree with Freshdesk

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Freshdesk is one of our most popular integrations, so we’ve made sure it’s easy to import Zingtree session transcripts into a Freshdesk ticket. With the integration in place, support staff can see all of the steps a customer went through in a decision tree before needing to ask for help – it’s a huge time-saver for agents!

When the integration is set up, agents will see a Zingtree transcript with each ticket, like this:

Requirements:

You will need the Estate or Forest plan from Freshdesk to accomplish this integration.

Overview:

You’ll first need Freshdesk Admin privileges to complete the process. This method will create a new field called Zingtree Session Datait gets hidden from the customer, but it appears for the agent answering the ticket. It includes the entire Q&A transcript of the user’s Zingtree session prior to opening a new ticket in Freshdesk.

Here’s how to set up the Freshdesk side:

  1. In Freshdesk, go to your Admin panel, and select Ticket Fields.
  2. Create a new “Multi Line Text”  ticket field named Zingtree Session Data. (This field must be set up as “display to customer” and “customer can edit”, but will be hidden from the end-user once you implement step #7 below. Trust us!) The properties will look like this:
  3. Click Done.
  4. Click Save to add the field.
  5. Next go to Admin, Portals, and click  Customize Portal next to the portal that will receive Zingtree data.
  6. Go to Layout and Pages, Portal Pages.
  7. Click New Ticket, then add this code to the new ticket edit area:
    <script src="//zingtree.com/api/freshdesk-new-ticket.js"></script>

    This is what it looks like (new code outlined in red):

  8. Click Save and Publish.

On the Zingtree side:

You see to make Link Nodes that go to your Freshdesk New Ticket form, and add ?session_id=#session# to the end of the URL. Example:

If this is the link to your ticket form:
http://support.mycompany.com/support/tickets/new

Use this URL within a Zingtree Link Node to go to the ticket form, and have the Zingtree session transcript transferred:

http://support.mycompany.com/support/tickets/new?session_id=#session#

We’ve set up a sample Gallery tree (“Freshdesk Integration example”) for you to examine here. You can copy this tree, and then change the URL link to point to your own Freshdesk domain.

Follow these steps and in 15 minutes or less you’ll have a powerful integration between Freshdesk and your Zingtrees.

Any questions? Reach out to us anytime.

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!

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!

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!

Zendesk Agent Scripting – Version 8 Update

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A quick update for our Zendesk Agent Scripting users: You now have the ability to see any form data entered in Zingtree during the session.

If data is present, a “Show Script Data” link will appear in the History area. Click it to see anything entered during the session, as shown below.

You can download the latest Zingtree Agent Scripting app here to easily see script data.

Thanks to Michael R. for the idea!

Do you have a great idea or suggestion to improve Zingtree? Please feel free to get in touch!

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. 

Embedding Zingtree Decision Trees in Salesforce

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If you run a Call Center or do live support, and you use Salesforce, being able to link a Zingtree script or troubleshooter to each case is really handy. Not only does this give agents a guide to follow when helping customers, but if a case is transferred or reopened, the last viewed node in the Zingtree reappears, and the entire history of the session is available as well.

Inside of Salesforce, we’ll create an Agent Script button, accessible from each case. Clicking this button will open an Agent Script, built with Zingtree:

Here’s how to set up Salesforce with an embedded Zingtree:

  1. Go to Salesforce.com, and log in to your account.
  2. Click Setup on the top right of the screen.
  3. Select Build > Customize > Cases > Buttons, Links and Actions in the left panel.

  4. Click New Button or Link.

  5. We’ll modify the New Button form to look like this:

  6. Make the Label “Agent Script”.
  7. Make the Name “Agent_Script”. (The name cannot have space characters, so we use an underscore here.)
  8. Select Detail Page Button.
  9. The Behavior is Display in New Window.
  10. The Content Source is URL.
  11. For the URL, make it look like this (substituting the tree ID of your script for #########):
    https://zingtree.com/host.php?tree_id=#########&style=panels&show_history=1&persist_names=Restart&persist_node_ids=1&agent_mode=1&nopermalink=1&source={!Case.OwnerEmail}&session_id=#########-{!Case.CaseNumber}
  12. Click Save.
  13. Next, we have to add the custom button to the Case page layout. Within Setup, go to Build, Customize, Cases, Page Layout.
  14. Click Buttons.
  15. Drag the Agent Script button into the custom buttons area, like this:

  16. Click Save.

Now, when your agents are in a case, they can click the Agent Script button, and walk through your Zingtree troubleshooter with the customer. Awesome!


Customization Notes: You can use the Zingtree Advanced Hosting Options to customize the display of your tree within Salesforce by modifying the URL. Once you’re done, take the hosting URL, and add the following to it (substituting your tree ID for #########):

&source={!Case.OwnerEmail}&agent_mode=1&session_id=#########-{!Case.CaseNumber}