Tag Archives: customer service

Avangate Startup Interview: Let’s Talk About Zingtree

Recently, our fearless leader, Bill Dettering, sat down with Avangate to talk about the ins and outs of what makes Zingtree such an effective SaaS tool. Check out some of the highlights from the interview below, and check out the entire thing on the Avangate blog!


Q1: Please tell us a bit about Zingtree. When and how did the company get started?

Zingtree was first sprouted in late 2013 by Tom Mayes and myself, the founders of Applian Technologies. We were seeing a lot of inefficiency in supporting Applian’s software products, and as such the first Zingtree-like troubleshooters were hard coded into the support path. After seeing a big reduction in support emails, we knew we had a winner, and so Zingtree was started.

Seven months later, the embedded troubleshooter concept was turned into a toolkit that anyone could use. With lots of testing and feedback, the Visual Designer and Content tools came to life, reporting was added, and Zingtree was ready to branch out to real customers. Since releasing, we’ve had a lot of interest from companies operating Call Centers, so we’ve gradually built more live support options into the product.

Q2: Meeting a real business need you’ve experienced firsthand gives you a major advantage. 

What does Zingtree do differently from alternatives in the market?

Incredibly, there are very few alternatives in our space, especially when the need for a product like Zingtree is so obvious. Technically, we offer unique features like “subtrees,” which allow decision tree publishers to easily reuse content across multiple knowledge areas. Our customization options are advanced as well.

Our experience in operating a B2C company for 20 years gives us an advantage in making Zingtree – a B2B company – incredibly accessible – our site has numerous example trees, and a prospective customer can try all of the tools and use the trees without even having to sign up for an account. It’s interesting when we demo for large companies, and they ask about “training.” We chuckle and tell them this has never been necessary since Zingtree is designed to be easy to use.

Our pricing model is also unique, in that it’s built around “pay for what you use.” Our confidence in Zingtree is really high, so we can offer this sort of value proposition to our customers and keep a profitable business model.

Keep reading the interview right here >>

Ready to get started with your own decision tree? Sign up or log in here.

Must-Have Support Tools for a Successful Startup

support tools for startups

Often strapped for time and funding, small businesses and startups can be faced with a difficult decision — how do we spend our resources and manpower on our product, website, marketing, and customer relationships equally? Having a well-rounded customer support strategy isn’t always easy to keep up with. However, taking the time to make the right optimizations to your support system will help you retain customers, gather more helpful feedback for your growing company, and keep everyone happy.

Who says startups can’t offer an exceptional customer service experience? Here are our favorite customer support tools to help you make the most of your service.

Intercom

Having a live chat support functionality built into your website is an incredibly useful way to connect with customers who have any questions or issues to address. As a small business ourselves, we love using Intercom because it allows us to automatically track both chat and email interactions with each customer, as well as provide completely personalized one-on-one support.

The convenience factor can be huge in a customers’ decision to either get help or quit using your product/service. Intercom allows small businesses and startups of all sizes to engage with customers quickly and directly, without taking out a lot of time in the normal work day.

Bonus Tip: Link up Intercom with Zingtree to get background information from your customers before you start a live chat.

Zendesk

Everyone’s favorite support software earned the title for good reason. Zendesk provides a cloud-based customer service platform that’s been specifically designed to bring businesses and customers together, having all conversations and support requests centralized, searchable and totally organized.

There’s often not a lot of time in a day for startup workers to evaluate new software, but finding the right kind of CRM is important to scale. Developing a hyper-efficient CRM process can take a little time to prepare, but is guaranteed to help you build and maintain great relationships with people.

Bonus Tip: Integrate Zendesk with Zingtree to give customers a decision tree for self-solving, or allow them to submit a Zendesk ticket with their full tree history if they can’t find a solution.

Zingtree

Online knowledge bases and FAQs are a must-have for any startup or small business. But, customers searching for specific answers or step-by-step solutions to a technical issue, these knowledge bases of articles can be intimidating and frustrating. Zingtree allows you to create customized, interactive decision trees and troubleshooters to provide always-available, guided help to your customers.

Our platform lets you add visuals like GIFs and videos to provide more context, and has publishing tools to let you embed your trees into WordPress or any other website page for seamless integration with your existing online presence. Plus, you can gather feedback through comments to make optimizations even easier.

Bonus Tip: We integrate with a ton of other helpful tools and apps for startups and small businesses, so you can easily link up and share information between platforms.

Twitter

More than just a social media platform or means of distributing your business’ content, Twitter is an incredibly helpful medium for basic support communications. So many consumers are turning to the ease and accessibility of social media to share issues and ask questions, and startups can offer up ultra-fast, bite-sized responses to solve problems through replies and more lengthy direct messages.

Not just for the youngsters anymore, adults of many ages are now using Twitter to keep up with their interests, as well as brands they love. It’s free, fast, personalized enough to please consumers, and simple enough for even the smallest of startups to lend resources to.

Bonus Tip: We’re also on Twitter – follow us and ask us anything!

Grasshopper

Sometimes customers just want a direct line, straight to the source of the information. For startups working with the elderly, those with poorly-functioning Internet, or otherwise technically-challenged customers, having a phone can be a huge benefit. Grasshopper allows you to make a new business-only line from your own personal cell phone, so you can easily field questions anywhere, anytime.

Perfect for startups with remote (or distributed) teams like us, Grasshopper is a cool way to stay in contact with customers while keeping your existing number, and even allows you to send texts through your business number to work through things with clients and customers on-the-go.


Ready to help make your startup even more customer-friendly? Get a free Zingtree account today

Why Millennials Want Independence in Customer Support

(Image via Gen HQ)

Customer service delivery preferences are rapidly changing. This is in part due to technological advances, but also the customers themselves —particularly millennial customers. This demographic cohort increasingly prefers to take CS employees out of the equation completely and simply do it themselves. Whether it’s purchasing groceries or other goods online, the millennial generation is antsy to self-serve.

As customer demands have evolved over the years, so too has self-service. Many businesses offer only limited self-service choices, which can quickly frustrate their millennial customer base. If your company’s self-serve options are restricted to general tasks, it’s time to explore how you can make this feature more comprehensive to meet the demands of millennials.

The Hard Facts of Millennial Customer Service

Numerous studies conducted by various firms have repeatedly shown that millennials prefer to self-serve and self-help rather than interact with a company representative, and the numbers really speak for themselves. In fact, in a comprehensive study, it was discovered that:

  • Nearly 70% of millennial females are comfortable resolving CS issues on their own, without having to interact with a company representative.
  • 64% of millennials prefer self-service, whereas only forty-seven percent of baby boomers do.
  • 56% of millennials moved their business elsewhere as a result of poor customer service.

One reason for the popularity of self-service in this demographic group is that they can remain in control of online purchasing and other habits. Millennials expect efficient, 24/7 access to any online support decision, whether it’s updating an account profile or making a purchase. Self-service in modern times is more than an FAQ; the future of customer service will be much more customizable, interactive, and will put the customer in the driver’s seat.

Contact Centers Still Matter

Providing more self-directed features doesn’t make a call center obsolete, but it does change its function. Contact centers will need to handle more sophisticated and technical inquiries and will have to hire, train and staff to address this need. If companies don’t adapt to meet current and future customer demands, they’ll likely frustrate customers and risk losing business.

Companies can no longer rest on the laurels of their brand, product or service; they must stay ahead of the curve and understand that how customers interact with them is often more important than the product itself. Self-service is looming large on the horizon of customer service delivery preferences – don’t fade into the sunset because you missed the boat on where the industry is headed! The future of customer service will be more self-controlled, but ready with agents to help guide customers to success.

This article was written by Tamara Irminger of MHI Global. Are you interested in submitting a guest blog post? Please contact us!

This article was originally posted on Jan 12, 2016.

Zapier Decision Tree Integrations with Zingtree

zingtree zapier integration

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!

The Best Ways to Make Customer Support Profitable

To the untrained eye, customer support is merely a means of communication and troubleshooting. Experts and strategic decision-makers, however, have seen the incredible impact that customer service can have in all areas of business — including improving revenue.

Your success as an organization relies on providing an exceptional experience throughout the entire purchase and post-purchase process; it’s so much more than just offering a support system. At Zingtree, having great support has been key to our success. In spite of the fact we have lots of information in the form of decision trees, articles, and our FAQ, over 90% of our new customers have interacted with us via email, chat or voice.

What it takes to actually deliver excellent customer service is simple: put your customers at the center of your business initiatives and take them into consideration before any decision is made. Once you figure out how to implement this magic formula into your day-to-day processes, you’ll be well on your way to making customer support a major profit-generator.

The Real Value of Customer Support

Heard any customer support horror stories recently? Poor interactions with customers happen more often than you’d think, and they have a direct negative effect on your annual revenue. According to a Gartner study, as much as 86% of consumers quit doing business with a company completely because of a single bad customer experience, and 51% said they would only try to reach support once before giving up on a purchase. These statistics in mind, your margin of error is incredibly small.

On the positive side of things, however, great customer support leads to a direct increase in annual revenue. So, if you can focus on how to make customer service better (for both your customers and representatives), you’ll be opening your doors to even more potential sales. Research from the Harvard Business Review has shown that “not only it is possible to quantify the impact of customer experience — but the effects are huge.”

After looking at two separate companies with different revenue models, and comparing customer feedback with data on future spending by customers, HBR found that “after controlling for other factors that drive repeat purchases in the transaction-based business (for example, how often the customer needs the type of goods and services that the company sells), customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience.”

In our own experience working with industry-spanning organizations large and small, we’ve also seen the effect that amazing customer support can have in all other areas of business; in fact, it’s a big reason why we started Zingtree to streamline the support process. So now that you understand the possibilities, what are some simple ways to improve support and make customer service more profitable?

Show Empathy & Understanding

At the end of the day, your customers are humans. Showing compassion for their problems, and taking the time to really understand the areas of disconnect, can go miles for brand loyalty. Put the customer first always, and bend the rules when and if you can — your customer will give your company extra kudos for being flexible, and will more than likely come back again and again.

Display Multi-Channel Support

What kind of documentation do customers expect? Knowledge base articles, tutorial and demo videos, blog posts, and live agent chats are just a select few different channels of support that many people search for. Offering multiple channels of support is the only way to discover the channels you truly need, versus the ones that may be more of a “nice-to-have.” With this information under your belt, it’s easy to remain in contact with your customers, as well as to weed out and remove the unnecessary support channels to save time and money.

Have a Fast Response Time

If you have a complex product or service or don’t have all of the available knowledge base material available online, chances are that customers will want to get in touch. Self-service support can only go so far with certain issues, so it’s incredibly important to offer other ways to talk to a representative; be it through live chat, a phone call or simple back-and-forth email communication.

Hire the Best People (And Train Them Well)

It may seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating: amazing customer service agents with exceptional training is absolutely necessary for a successful customer support strategy. And, the better your representatives are at helping customers, the more likely those customers are to make additional purchases! By taking the time to hire great people, and training them with the proper technical and soft skills, you’ll set up your support department to bring in more revenue than you thought possible.


Ready to get more from your customer support? Sign up or log in and start your first interactive decision tree!

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!

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

feshdesk_zingtree

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.

How Customer Support Data Can Help the Value of Your Business

zingtree-banner-startup-_4_

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!