Tag Archives: decision trees

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.

Making Dynamic Data Collection Forms

YouAsked

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

Demo

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

Setup Overview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source Code

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

Need More Info?

Questions or suggestions? Just holler!

Our Top Zingtree Updates to Start 2017

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In the last days of 2016 and the first few days of 2017, while eating and drinking like everyone else, we also spent some time making Zingtree just that much better. It’s good karma to start the new year well, right?

Here’s what’s new for 2017 (so far):

  • Update: Session List report now shows total time from first click, rather that tree launch. Also shows European time if in Europe, and removes unneeded columns (Ricardo L.).
  • Fix: Apostrophes in user names no longer cause tree preview to fail (Lauren D’A).
  • Fix: Tree names with quotes no longer break designer when being referred to in tree nodes.
  • Update: Session Details report now shows timezone of organization’s super user (Tobias H).
  • Update: Data Entry checkboxes now include option for scoring (Vanessa, David).
  • Fix: Display order in Simple Overview works properly even after “set start node” is changed in Edit Node.
  • Fix: All Agents report now includes just sessions with clicks, not ALL sessions.
  • Fix: Sessions paused and restarted now always have have proper state for restarting.
  • Fix: Fade transition effect for “all tree search” now works properly.
  • Update: Hosted tree search for “node content” now searches through page titles and questions, as well as content area.
  • Fix: Copy Node now clears clear tree cache (Arie S.).
  • Update: Now using Google CDN for more reliable loading of key included files.

Got a new year’s resolution we can help you achieve? Send us a note!

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.

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!

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

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

Reordering Nodes in Overview

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

Some caveats:

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

Tree Content Node Search

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

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

Placeholders vs. Labels in Forms

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

Here’s how a form with labels appears:

And here’s one with placeholders:

Sending Multiple Emails

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

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

Fresh Tree Updates: Document Nodes and More

This latest Zingtree update includes the new Document Node type, and a smattering of small improvements:

  • New: Edit Tree Node can now open selected tree in a new tab for editing (Paul G, Sebastian V.).
  • New: email-session-info.php has new parameters for subject, body, from, secure_data_link. You can also include multiple emails separated by commas.  Details here. (Alok)
  • New: Link nodes can now accept variables (both Data Entry Fields and Merge Variables).
  • Update: Added “Add Node” option to main tree tools page.
  • Fix: Duplicating Scoring nodes now also copies scoring branch rules.
  • Fix: Root node no longer ever appears as an Answer node, even if there are no choices yet.
  • Fix: Copy Node now works properly again from Overview (Chrissie, Admin).
  • Update: Edit Node can now set the Start node.
  • Fix: Multi-line text fields now input form data from previous form fills.
  • Fix: Edit Node preview now renders blank questions properly.
  • Fix: One across button layouts are now shorter, centered (Deb & Tif).
  • Fix: unchecking “Use Scoring” when editing buttons in Edit Node no longer keeps scoring variable.
  • Update: Now shows scoring variables for data entry fields in simple overview summary, Edit Node data entry fields summary.
  • Fix: Long feedback comments display better.
  • Update: Can now read and delete comments on Scoring nodes (Chrissie).
  • Fix: Instant preview in edit-node-content after deleting a data entry field no longer shows a blank for that field.
  • Fix: Simple overview buttons don’t wrap on smaller screen sizes.
  • Fix: Added extra capacity for servers, fixed server scaling issue.

We love feedback. Send us your ideas!

How to Improve Your Technical Writing with Interactive Decision Trees

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

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

1. Streamline Troubleshooting

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

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

2. Simulate Scenarios for Better Training Materials

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

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

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

3. Build Interactive Tutorials

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


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

Have questions? Reach out to us at any time!

Generating Custom Documents Using Document Nodes

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

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

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

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

Document Nodes Overview

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

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

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

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

Building a Tree to Generate a Document

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

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

Set Up: How to Create a Document Node

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

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

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

Using the Document Node Editor

Drag this to reorder the content:

Click this to delete the content from the document node:

Pick a variable to test:

Pick an operation:

Pick a value to test against:

Edit the contents of the included node:

Show the contents of the included node:

Try the Document Node editor with a demo page here.

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

Debugging Tip

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

Live Example

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

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