Zingtree Tags: technical support

Building Troubleshooters for Complex Products & Tools

interactive troubleshooter

Interactive troubleshooters are becoming a more frequent way to solve problems involving complex, technical products.  Since most complex equipment for industries like manufacturing, videography, and hardware/software have fewer “expert technicians,” the need for more intelligent support systems has risen. Where issues and complicated instructions run rampant, the fastest way to find the solution to a problem is with interactive troubleshooters.

Caterpillar, the US manufacturer of construction and farm equipment, is using Zingtree troubleshooters in their manufacturing plant. Likewise, IT Works, the most relied-on resource for collecting information on living environments. We even got our own start by building troubleshooters for another software company, Applian Technologies.

Self-Solving with Troubleshooters

With complicated products and tools, troubleshooters aim to help find the area of the problem by narrowing down other contextual factors. By offering an interactive format to simplify the issue, you have solved part of the problem already.

For highly-specialized or complex products, it can take a while to get fixed or for the right person in the right location to come and fix it, in many cases. Troubleshooting solutions make it easier for expert technicians to judge the issue and solve accordingly, and for less-than-expert level folks to figure things out.

Success Stories: Troubleshooters in Practice

For the U.S.-based manufacturing company, Caterpillar, this rings especially true. With an array of complex (and often large) manufacturing tools in use, equipment operators across the country needed an easier way to help work through issues and find answers anywhere. When an error code comes up, operators and technicians are able to assess the problem and find a way to fix it.

The decisions behind Applian’s customer support are also powered by our troubleshooters. The results? The company saved over $30,000 on resources per year and 15 hours of support time per week.

Here’s one of the Applian troubleshooters you can take a look at:

 

 

Building an Interactive Experience

Instructions are easier to follow from an interactive decision tree if the user is being guided by easy-to-follow, bite-sized directions. With complex products and tools, there is generally a lot of important information to cover – with no real understanding of your user’s experience level, it’s better to be as user-friendly as you can. You can even include videos, images and other types of media within your troubleshooter to make things even more easy to digest.

We have heaps of information on how to get started building troubleshooters right away – there’s a method that fits just about everyone! For more ideas, tips, and inspiration, we recommend having a look at our troubleshooters on display in the Gallery, as well as checking the blog for a catalog of best tips for building. There’s something in there for every industry!

After creating your in-depth, intuitive decision tree, end users will be delighted with the ease of providing a faster solution. Ready to start your revolutionary, problem-solving troubleshooter? Take a shot, or reach out to us if you need some expert advice.

Top 4 Most Important Soft Skills of Technical Agents

Tech and product support engineers who interface with customers are often hired and trained for their technical proficiency. As customers are offered self-service options, the nature of requests coming into Call Centers are becoming more complex; in order to address this, companies must train agents to help customers with these increasingly complicated issues – but technical proficiency only goes so far.

If the agent is inefficient or ineffective at communicating clearly, customer satisfaction will dwindle. When it comes to delivering a great customer experience, a good agent will possess both technical knowledge and what are called “soft skills.” These are some of the most important skills for technicians to hone so that excellent customer service can be delivered, no matter how technical the conversation.

1. Clear Communication

Translating technical jargon into understandable and relatable phrases is arguably the most important skill for technical and support agents. For those agents working directly with end users, the ability to communicate technical knowledge into plain English is paramount. Coming across as condescending is something to be avoided; specific agent training on tone of their voice and word choices is important for mastering this soft skill.

2. Idea Presentation

Technical agents aren’t limited to communicating only with customers; often, they are required to present their ideas/findings to upper management. Presentation skills dovetail with customer communication skills, but include more than just clear speaking. Planning, organization, and subject familiarity are all essential if successful presentations are to occur.Improvement on this

3. Company Collaboration

It can sometimes be a challenge for technical experts to successfully collaborate with their colleagues; more often, technicians work in isolation and don’t regularly engage with others. Just as excellent communication skills are required for customer service, they are also necessary for working within a team. And, technical agents with the skills to work well in team settings are more likely to enjoy promotions and creative projects along the way, as well as helping the health of the organization overall with their insider perspective of support and the issues customers face.

4. Complete Honesty

Technical agents should be straightforward with customers if the problem is too complex to address over the phone; if there is no quick fix; or if the problem is beyond the technician’s knowledge. Wanting to demonstrate one’s expertise when helping others is understandable, but if promises are given that can’t be satisfied, customers are likely to feel frustrated. Overall, customers are more forgiving if agents are honest and up front.


With self-service options continuing to become the norm, it is expected that Call Centers will be handling more technical calls than ever. Hiring employees with technical expertise is the first step in delivering great customer service, but rounding out these softer skills is vital to a holistic approach of customer care.

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