Zingtree Tags: Support

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.

Integrating Zingtree with Freshdesk

feshdesk call center scripts

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

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.

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!

3 Best Tips for Excellent Communication with Customers

Providing amazing customer service is more than lending an ear and a smile; it’s about having an ongoing communication that is fruitful for both the customer and the company!

According to some recent customer service statistics, 55% of consumers have intended to make a purchase, but backed out because of frustration or poor customer service – that means that over half of these opportunities to gain a new customer are held back by bad communication. On the other hand, 52% of consumers have made more purchases from a company after having a good customer service experience.

These days, adopting a system of unbeatable customer communication is critical to company success. The real cost of bad customer service and poor interactions often aren’t noticed until it’s difficult to turn things around.

Here are our best tips for how to develop great communication habits.

1. Always be straight-forward and concise.

At first glance, it may seem simple to keep this short and sweet; in reality, it’s a process that takes some practice to make perfect.

Start out with your first draft response, then go through it again and eliminate any unnecessary words. Then, go through again with an even finer-toothed comb to get rid of anything repetitive or extra that does not support your main concept. Providing emphasis when needed (for instance, bolding important information) can also go a long way when attempting to give succinct, clear instructions.

2. Provide helpful visuals when you can.

Words can often convolute more complicated processes and explanations. Not only are visuals nice to look at, they can convey information to a customer better than text in many cases.

Try using screenshots marked up with arrows, descriptive tutorial videos, or simple GIFs to help get the message across. Using visual aids to break up often text-heavy customer communications is not only pleasing to the eye, but also helps the customer to understand more easily and absorb the process they are looking at.

3. Reduce the effort of communication for everyone.

Providing multiple channels of contact is crucial to having truly well-developed communication with customers. No matter their demographics, psychographics or geographic location, your customers have to be able to reach you in the medium that is most convenient for them. For instance, having easy access to online chat, phone, and email support is incredibly important to cater to everyone’s needs.

Additionally, it’s important that your customers have access to ways of self-help. With a robust knowledge base of information, along with customized troubleshooter decision trees, customers will find it easy to find the answers they are looking for and walk away with a smile on their face!

Have any more unmissable tips on providing amazing customer support through communication? Send them our way!

How to Train Customer Service Agents for Success

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No matter the reasons why a customer chooses to reach out to you, it’s important that each agent is professional, knowledgeable, courteous, and can offer expedited assistance. Training targeted specifically to areas of competency, efficiency and customer service best practices are all requirements to delivering excellent customer care.  

Training alone is not enough to account for consistent customer service delivery, though; the software that customer facing agents rely on is equally important. The technology surrounding CRM platforms is evolving and nowadays it is easier to stay nimble thanks to cloud technology. Another big change in software is the analytic capabilities that allow companies to incorporate some pretty nifty features such as customized scripts (like Zingtree!) and persistent ticket tracking, which allow for better customer experiences.

Let’s review a few training tips to take your customer service from good to awesome.

Use Your Knowledge

Customers are coming to you with a lot of product awareness, but they still expect your representative to be the expert. Customer facing agents should be trained thoroughly on all of the products and services they are responsible for representing, in addition to knowing where to quickly send a customer if s/he requires help or service from another department. Beyond product knowledge, training should be comprehensive regarding the software/hardware platforms the agent is working with.

Always Be Professional

Training customer facing agents how to handle frustrated and irate customers is key for employee morale and low turnover. If agents aren’t fully and properly trained in working with upset customers, you can plan on a revolving door in your contact center. Customer facing agents who can remain professional, even when tested, will reflect well on your company. Training agents to remain professional whenever they’re representing your company should be ongoing – there is always room for improvement!

Remain Courteous

The push and pull of a profitable company call center requires agents to efficiently resolve a customer’s issue, while also remaining polite and courteous. Training agents in how to be polite and productive is a practiced skill. As more customers demand personalized care, agent training that teaches manners and personalization techniques will be rewarded with customer loyalty.

Have Departmental Knowledge

Before an agent is allowed to work with customers, he or she needs to be broadly aware of the functions and roles of the other customer-serving departments. The next step is to ensure proper training in how to patch a customer through to the right person; this is where the need for an omni-channel strategy comes in. It’s easy to see how frustrating it can be for customers to start with one agent, then get transferred to another while having to start over at the beginning if your software doesn’t track a customer through different channels or departments.

As with all training programs, it should be relevant, easy to absorb, and appropriate to the learner. Making training tools available for various types of learners is important if what is being taught is to be incorporated into the workplace.

Customer facing agents are under a lot of stress and pressure but a good training program that is ongoing pays off in that employees are more satisfied in their jobs, which ultimately translates to more satisfied customers!  

 

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

Decision Tree Uptime & Downtime with System Status Page

Zingtree is an ultra-reliable tool and we believe that the transparency to view the real-time status of your decision trees is incredibly important.

With our new System Status page, you can quickly access a running report of Zingtree’s server availability, including a real-time breakdown of uptime percentage, downtime in minutes and seconds, number of downs, and a digestible downtime summary. To locate this page, just select “More” from the Zingtree website menu, then “System Status.”

We use a dependable, scalable architecture built on Amazon Hosting, so no matter how much traffic we receive, we can always launch extra servers to keep things running smoothly for your hosted trees. In the rare case of temporary shutdown or maintenance, we will always be sure to let you know in advance.

To learn more, check out our FAQ, or contact our Tech Support team.