Zingtree Tags: tips and tricks

Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Zingtree: 8 Hacks For Success

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Our interactive decision tree tool is a must-have for any business looking to skyrocket their customer service through self-help, organizations hoping to logically deliver answers, and even contact centers to guide their customer-facing agents through how-tos and support.

No matter what you use Zingtree for, getting your first tree deployed can be daunting for some. So have no fear, here are our top tips for breaking into the awesomely helpful world of Zingtrees:

1. Sketch out a Roadmap

Remember in school when you’d sit down, brainstorm a strategy, and whip out the perfect outline for getting started? It’s just like that! Whether it’s in list, mind map, or spreadsheet form, getting down the touchstones you need your tree to cover before you start building your tree is crucial and will make building your nodes and connecting them in a flow much easier. Compiling an outline is essential and will make the creation much more streamlined.

2. Go with What’s Already Been Built

We’re continuously updating the decision tree examples present in our Gallery. Here you’ll find a huge variety of pre-made decision trees for various use cases and industry-specific needs that you can edit, adjust, and customize to fit your needs. 

Simply click the “Examine button to take a closer look, and the “Copy” button within that to create a replicated version that you can adjust as needed.

3. Use the Right Building Tool

We all know that there are different styles of learning, creating, coding and strategizing — for this reason, we’ve equipped Zingtree with a robust set of tools fit for everyone.

Visual Designer allows for a “white board” to create nodes, connections, and truly see the decision tree as it’s being built. Some Zingtree builders only use this mode as a way of aesthetically assembling decision trees.

Importing from spreadsheets lets you start the process in Excel or Google Sheets and then upload it all into Zingtree. A perfect solution for spreadsheet lovers!

The Wizard tool is ideal for anyone who likes simple question-and-answer style forms and will get you up-and-running after collecting some key information.

Learn more about how to create a decision tree using our methods here.

4. Use Placeholders When Undecided

When you’re on a roll mapping out your decision tree you’re bound to run into a speed bump here or there, especially when dealing with conditional node flows. In practice, this means if you need two nodes connected you need to create both nodes before you create the connection between them.

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If you’re stumped on the additional nodes, we recommend that you create simple untitled/undefined nodes to help you continue through the process. You can always go back to that node and edit appropriately as needed.

5. Use Sub-Trees for More Complexities

If you know you’re going to have a large project ahead of you,  prepare more than one Zingtree to ease the pain in constructing one whole decision tree. In fact, when you’re in the planning stages, you will find these sub-trees occur naturally in complex decision trees. By containing themes and varying elements in different trees, and then later, linking them up into one final tree using Tree Links, you can concentrate on one element at a time!

 

6. Go Back With Snapshots

A very helpful feature we’ve built into Zingtree is Snapshots. Snapshots allow you to review edits and go back to previous versions of your tree – helpful when creating trees with multiple revisions. To find this tool, select More Tools > Snapshots. You can see any other team members’ work and revisions, not to mention, recover that past version.

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7. Try Logic Nodes for Test, Questionnaires & More

Moving from A-to-B as easily as possible is our most base-level goal. Going a bit deeper, however, many businesses, educators, and other types of users benefit from having logic steps involved to quickly jump end-users to where they need to be, collect values associated with each selection, and more.

Logic Nodes test the value of your Zingtree variables with a series of rules and jump to a node when a condition is met. The rules are applied in order, so once a rule condition is met, the node assigned to the rule opens next.

8. Customize and Personalize Away!

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — customization is key. That’s why we make it easy to add in color and style wherever it’s needed! Need a pop of branded personality or just want to showcase your information in a visually-stunning way? No problem. With options to insert custom CSS files, adjust the appearance of buttons, and add videos, GIFs and other types of media, you can get as customized as you want.


We’d love to hear your tricks and tips for starting a Zingtree. Feel free to share on our Facebook Page!

This article was originally published in 2015 and has been updated for relevancy. 

The Top Words You Should Avoid in Customer Service

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We have all been on the other end of a horrendous, perhaps even downright disastrous phone call or email with a customer service representative that is just plain untrained. We’re willing to bet that at least one of 8 words, or a derivative tone that one of those 8 words produces, were conveyed that left you with the feeling of being unheard.

It’s not uncommon, but it can (and should) be avoided — especially when its your own support staff committing the faux pas. Here’s our shortlist of words that are guilty of severe harm and worthy of making our blacklist of words and phrases to never use in your customer interactions.

1. “Can’t”

This one really needs no explanation, but nothing says “I’m unwilling to help you” better than this one.

2. “Rules,” “Protocol” or “Policy”

Any of these ridiculous words mean the same – “We have this wall in place so that I can’t or won’t help you.”

Sure there are certainly guidelines to follow, there are even situations that warrant hard and fast rules. Regardless, the customer does not need to feel that those rules were there to punish them personally!

3. “No”

We just abhor this word. Tell us “It’s a bit tough, but I can assure you that I will do my best to work with you.”

Anything but NO!

4. “Sir/Ma’am”

No other naming formality sends you to the bus of condescending “know-it-alls” than addressing someone this way. This is unfortunate because, personally, some of us like to address people this way as a form of respect. The problem is less about what is said and more about what is implied. There are too many grey areas and it would be best to avoid them if you are unsure.

5. “Wrong”

We have actually heard representatives say this one. “You are wrong.” Or, how about “You are wrong, Sir or Ma’am”… must we continue? Remember the mantra “the customer is always right?” It stands true.

6. “Job”

There’s very little worse than telling a customer what is and is not part of your job description. Don’t do it. We certainly know that it is not the job of the customer to know this. A simple, “I will work with so and so to get this matter handled” will suffice.

7. “Unreasonable”

It’s probably hard to imagine, but we have been on the receiving end of “that’s unreasonable.” Even if you sell ice cream and someone asks you to “throw in” sneakers… Ok, that’s probably unreasonable…BUT the point is that your tone can deliver a message of “work-with-it-ness”  in a way that your customers leads themselves to that realization or discovery without you even saying it at all!

8. “I’m losing ____ on this…”

Yes, this is not a word, but it deserves a spot on the list. No customer wants to hear a passive aggressive rant about how much your company is losing on the deal or I will make an exception to the rule, just for you.” Again, this one’s about tone and not so much about letting a customer know that something will be tough. See #s 2,3 and 7.


It’s not always easy identifying how words or tone may sometimes pull from the same box of taboo while dealing with your customers. And at the end of the day, implementing standardized Agent Scripts is an ideal way to avoid this in the long-term. We hope this list has given you or your team some things to keep in mind during key communications!

Ready to streamline your customer service efforts? Get started. 

Custom Styling for Your Decision Trees

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Here at Zingtree, we believe flexibility is everything.

The power of your dynamic decision trees – for automating complex, repetitive tasks and business processes – wouldn’t be what it is without Zingtree’s ability to merge seamlessly with your existing tools and practices. At each and every phase of Zingtree’s development, we’ve taken steps – like building WordPress and Zendesk integrations – to ensure maximum compatibility with the tools you’re already using.

But, the ability to work with other platforms is just one aspect of Zingtree’s flexible nature. In this age of design-first thinking and unified branding, Zingtree also gives you the ability to customize the style, look, and feel of your trees for integration into any brand.

For example, you can turn the default Zingtree Panels style into a page that looks like this:

Applying your brand’s styling to your Zingtrees is easy using custom CSS – just follow these steps:

  • Create a Zingtree or choose an editable Zingtree template from the Gallery. Build or edit the tree to your satisfaction.
  • While managing your Tree, click Publish, and use the Advanced options for Zingtree hosted or embedded trees. When you’re done customizing deployment options, copy your iframe code into any webpage or use the Zingtree-hosted link provided.
  • A simple CSS file for Zingtree styling you can easily modify is available here. Download this file, and open it in any text editor. Note that the CSS file has a section for Panels style, and a section for Buttons style.
  • In Panels style, edit the CSS below from the sample file you downloaded, and change the colors to your liking:

     /* node title */
     .panel-primary>.panel-heading {
     /* Set Font Color */
     color: #ffffff;
     /* Set Background Color */
     background-color: #CC1D1D;
     /* Set Border Color */
     border-color: #CC1D1D;
     }

Colors are set using Hex Values (a pound sign ‘#’ followed by 6 characters). Check out this site for Hex color reference.

  • To style the heading text of question nodes in Panels style, edit the CSS below from your .css file:

     /* question area for panels style */
     .list-group-item-question {
     background-color: #CC751D;
     }

  • For Panels style, you can also customize the answers area. You can choose from hundreds of icons in the FontAwesome tool kit and include them in your own trees. Simply head over to FontAwesome, choose the icon you want to use, and copy its Unicode value. Once you find the icon you want and copy its Unicode, you can edit that part of the custom CSS file we’ve been working on:

     /* icon to left of answers in Panels Style */
     .fa-chevron-right:before {
     /* paste your icon’s unicode between the quote marks below */
     content: “\f069”;
     }

  • For Buttons style, you can customize the button colors editing the CSS below:

     /* custom buton color for buttons style */
     .btn-primary {
         color: #ffffff;
         background-color: #CC1D1D;
         border-color: #CC1D1D;
     }

  • Once you’ve styled all the elements of your tree to match your brand, save your .css file, then upload it to a publicly accessible URL on your server. 
  • Open the link to your uploaded CSS file in your browser to test it, and make sure it appears.
  • Go to your tree’s Settings, and look for “CSS Customization URL”. Paste the link to your new .css document here. Scroll to the bottom of the page and hit Update Settings.

That’s it – all the power of dynamic decision trees made to blend right into your site or brand’s look and feel. 

Happy Zinging!

Divide & Conquer!

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Use Sub-trees For Tackling The Trickiest Trees

Have you had trouble developing intricate, multi-step trees? Is maintaining an easy flow for your users throughout a complex decision process a challenge? Are you having issues scaling your trees up to accommodate more users and use cases?

If you know you’re going to have a large project ahead of you, planning is crucial. You’ll want to break up your larger tree into individual threads and themes. Once they’re broken up, you can refine the smaller pieces until they’re perfected, and then create discrete, small to medium sized trees. Finally, once your sub-trees are ready and working properly by themselves, you can use Tree Nodes to connect them into your finished, mega-Zingtree.

While in the planning stages of complex decision trees, many users find these sub-trees occur naturally. So pause your active tree development (just for a minute) in Wizard or Designer, make an outline of your tree and its constituent sub-trees.

Try using sub-trees for your most intricate trees today.

T.E.E.L: An Acronym to Remember

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Who doesn’t love a helpful acronym? Here’s one I love to use while interacting with customers of all attitudes: T.E.E.L.

Take your time

Check your Ego

Use Plain English

Let Your Customer’s Tone Shape Yours

 

Take your time

There’s no race to see how “short”a response can be. This obviously does not mean using ten words when one will suffice (see Ego Check); besides, a well-intended, presumably benign, curt answer can come across as an ego-laden insult. It is always best to take your time and even throw in a sincere acknowledgmentof the frustration that the person on the other end may be experiencing. Trust me, taking your time and checking your Ego work beautifully well together.

 

Ego Check

Even though a certain level of “expertise”is assumed based on your position, your customers are also using your product in a way that can only be accomplished as a user! Based on this alone, the type of relationship between customer and customer service demands mutual respect and understanding. The fact is that it is up to the unique Support Representative to uphold the agreement. And yes, this especially true if the very first contact from your user seems to be disrespectfulto you or your product or overall service.

 

Use Plain English

Technical jargon can safely be reserved for when only and totally necessary. If you’re using an acronym (something other than “T.E.E.L.”, of course), also provide the expansion and explanation. For instance, I’ve used SSO to describe Single Sign On at least once, but typically expand upon the abbreviation. It’s not the time to provehow much you know by flooding your end user with a bunch of thick terms. I’m constantly amazed by folks that are able to speak about something highly specialized in a very “natural”way, which demonstrates an even higherlevel of understanding that individual has about the specialty.

  

Let Their Tone Shape Yours

Based on how a message is submitted, a lot can be learned. As support professionals, we often receive messages that are difficult to gauge where a person may be coming from.Typically it’s the rushed and frantic users that are looking for help, but misspelled words and blame shifting camouflage their motives.This does not necessarily mean the person’s a jerk. Set the tone by Taking Your Time to concisely summarize what you “think”you’ve read and offer your suggestion(s) based on that. Being careful to adjust your Ego and using Plain English to communicate in a warm, yet professional tone.

Using Decision Trees for Marketing

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While a lot of our discussion here on the blog is focused on Zingtree as a tool for customer support, call centers, and self-help FAQ-style solutions — there’s an unlimited amount of uses for Zingtrees. Today, we’ll talk about using trees as marketing vehicles to better explain your product and engage potential customers.

 

Clicky Quizzes

If you’ve learned anything from the blatant excessiveness of online click-bait of quizzes, then you’re aware that they are a harmless and popular way to get people’s attention. Try creating a quiz-type formula to attract customers. For example, if you sell a range of products, simply get people to walk through “What ____ Fits You Best”. Using repeating nodes and multiple end-points to your products, you can entice a customer to go from general curiosity to purchasing in a snap!

Service / Product Tutorials

In the same way that you would use Zingtree to guide customers through support issues, you can lead new visitors through your services. By asking potential customers what they might find and experience with your product or service, you are assisting them to make an educated decision about how to spend their money or time… with you!

Feedback For Improvement

Sometimes your current customers are the best way to find out what is and isn’t working with your marketing efforts. By simply creating a multi-choice Zingtree, you can figure out how they heard about you, why they purchased, and general feedback on their experience. We always recommend looking into your Net Promoter Score for a good question template. As a marketing tool, finding your “promoter” strengths allows you to use the positive qualities in future advertising.

Testing Campaigns

Running a full marketing and advertising campaign can be risky when you’re first starting out. Making a tree to find out who responds to what creative and copy is a fantastic litmus test for launching that hilarious banner ad versus the serious commercial spot. Creating a tree to explore your options before you set that million dollar marketing budget shows where customers are likely to get the most out of your efforts.

Fun Overall!

Taking even the silliest subjects and themes to make them interesting and funny in a Zingtree is a great way to engage customers in a different way. It shows off your sense of humor and keeps them clicking through for more. Thanks to the added visual element, incorporating images are an especially helpful way to have fun. For a perfect example, see our Pet Rock Zingtree.

Let us know how you like to use Zingtree by reaching out to us. Or you can write to us through Facebook, or find us on Twitter.