Tag Archives: customer support

5 Traits You Need to Be a Great Customer Advocate

At Zingtree, we take the time to be available to customers on a daily basis, whether the interactions are about new feature suggestions, questions about the possibilities or limitations of decision trees, or even just to stay within easy reach. Understanding that providing the right kind of customer support can lead to incredible relationships, ideas and growth have been fundamental in developing Zingtree.

Customer advocacy involves using a totally customer-focused support strategy and is important because it ultimately transforms loyal customers into ambassadors for your brand. When your representatives act as true customer advocates, the effect of customers acting as advocates for your business in return grows organically. We’ve seen it time and time again; actively listening to and being engaged with customers, and taking their ideas and issues to heart, comes back around to businesses in a big way.

Our experience with support has taught us that, while it may not be difficult to switch gears to a more customer-focused strategy, it requires a lot of prioritization and attention to detail in the long-run. That said, here’s what we’ve learned over the years for how to be an incredible customer advocate.

1. Responsiveness

When your customers have a question or issue, being prompt in your response is always key to starting off with a positive interaction. While speed shouldn’t be the most critical customer service metric your business is tracking actively, it contributes to the customers’ perspective that their inquiry is important to you (because it is!). Being quick on the draw with helpful, accurate information allows customers to gain more confidence in your company, leading to a much greater likelihood of an ongoing relationship with your brand.

2. Composure

Being calm, collected and easy to talk to is something that seems like it should come naturally to many people in customer service, but, in reality, doesn’t always. When support agents are able to find a natural and relaxed level of conversation, it really shows; coupled with the ability to communicate highly technical phrases in an understandable way, agents become unstoppable. Standardized scripts set in place to guide support reps through everyday interactions are the perfect way to ensure that every agent knows just what to say, and when to say it, so that customers always feel heard, understood and helped.

3. Adaptability

In the customer service field, no two days are exactly the same. Preparation, excellent (and ongoing) training, and custom scripting solutions are all in place to set customer service agents up for success, but being adaptable in new situations can be an incredible asset in times of uncertainty. Did someone discover a nasty bug in your software before the tech team? Is a customer feeling impatient about an order or a discontinued promotion? It’s important that support agents feel empowered and comfortable enough in a support situation to adapt to new or foreign scenarios.

4. Knowledge 

Having a deep understanding and breadth of knowledge where your products, services, and interdepartmental functions are concerned is always valuable to a customer. Customer-facing agents should be thoroughly trained on every facet of the company’s products and inner workings in order to provide the most helpful service possible. It’s inefficient to have to tap on the shoulder of every other department head just to answer a quick question and can be incredibly frustrating for customers to have to jump from agent to agent.

5. Proactivity

Do something for your customers before they even realize they want or need it done! When your business implements a system of proactive customer service, you’re effectively keeping customers in the loop (well in advance) when problems and notable updates arise, and are staying ahead of potential customer service failures. While proactive communication may not be possible for every scenario, when you anticipate or identify what can potentially go wrong and notify the customer early on, you boost the confidence that a customer has with your company.

 

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!

The Visual Designer: Drawing Out Your Decision Tree

Everyone prefers their own way of creating, and it can come in many forms. To address this, we built Zingtree with a few different ways to design and construct an interactive decision tree.

For the more visual learner, the Zingtree Visual Designer allows you to draw out your decision tree. This “white board” style lets users to create nodes, along with their connections, and see the nitty gritty details of how the tree functions.

Here’s how to get started with the Visual Designer:

1. Once you log in to your Zingtree account and start Designer, you’ll see a screen that looks like the one shown below, with one node already in place as a green box. This is the very first node your users will see and interact with.

2. Click on Node #1, and you’ll see an edit window pop up on the right hand side. You can edit the Title, Question and main Content segments to your liking.

3. Drag new nodes into the design area – these correspond to the pages in your decision tree. Again, select the green box to edit each node’s Question, Content, etc.

4. When you’re ready, add a Final Answer Node and edit to fit your needs. These will appear in blue, to differentiate from your green Question Nodes.

5. Continue to create these Questions & Answer Nodes by dragging new nodes into the design area, and then connect them using labeled arrows. The connecting arrows represent the button selections from each node.

6. Finish linking all of your nodes using this method, and you’ll end up with a finished product that looks something like this image below. Often times, Zingtree users only use this mode as a way of assembling their decision trees. Please keep in mind that things can get confusing for more complex trees that require more nodes.

For a more in-depth tutorial, watch this video to see how to build the example tree above using Zingtree Designer:

 

 

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

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.

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!

Live Chat Integration: Intercom and Zingtree

z-integrations-blog

Live chat is an incredibly useful way to connect to our customers, both for offering support and for getting insights into new product ideas we may never have thought of ourselves. We are happily using Intercom, which allows us to track chat and email conversations with each customer.

For technical inquiries, we use Zingtree Data Entry forms to get the tree ID, node and URL of any problem reports. To save our customers some typing, and make it faster for us to answer questions, we’ve built our own Contact page using Zingtree. For technical and sales inquiries, the decision tree leads to an end point that opens Intercom chat, with information about the problem already pre-populated.

Once you submit a technical question, here’s what appears in Intercom:

Intercom chat with Zingtree

Demos:

Requirements:

  • Your tree must be embedded on your site.
  • You need to have the Intercom chat client in place on the page that contains your tree.

How to open an Intercom chat session, and include the Zingtree transcript and data entry:

  1. Go to Overview.
  2. Edit the node you want to trigger the chat, and  set the Parent Action to Intercom: New: #session#.When a customer lands on this node, this Parent Action is triggered.
  3. On the hosting page, include this script before the </body> tag:
    <script src="//zingtree.com/api/chat/intercom.js"></script>

It’s that easy!

Source Code:

From the Zingtree Gallery, you can see two examples:

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

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

History: See Every Step

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

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

history

Breadcrumbs: Your Tree’s Flow

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

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

breadcrumbs

Setting Up History & Breadcrumbs

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

2. Click to open Publish.

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

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

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


Any questions? Please reach out anytime!

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

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!