The Most Simple Ways to Build an Interactive Decision Tree

Zingtree’s decision tree platform makes it easy to offer your end-users an interactive way to find answers, optimize workflows, and a whole lot more. Below, we’ll walk you through how to make a basic decision tree using our most popular methods of creation in order to help you get a closer, step-by-step look at how it’s all done.

How to Use the Wizard

The Wizard is our most-used creation tool, offering simple prompts to build your tree, question by question (and answer by answer). It’s one of the easiest ways to work through an accurate flow for your customers or users.

1. Log in to your Zingtree account, go to My Trees and select Create New Tree. Choose the option to fill out forms with the Zingtree Wizard.

2. After naming your decision tree, choosing your ideal display style and providing a description, just click the Create Tree button to move on to the next step.

3. Once you start the Wizard, you’ll see an entry screen that will prompt your first question and answer options, along with some body content to give users context.

You’ll also be able to see a live preview of what the decision tree will look like, off to the right:

When you’re finished setting up your first question, click Save and Continue.

4. You’ll next be asked to fill out an unfinished part of your decision tree. Click to Offer a Solution, and fill out the form presented to you. Since this is a solution node, you won’t need to ask any other questions.

Click Save and Continue again when you’re finished.

5. Next, you’ll continue to fill out more questions and answers to reach the end paths of your decision tree. For greater selection, try providing more answer choices.

6, Next, you’ll see a page with an overview of the sequence you’re building. In this case, choose to Offer a Solution. This will be the end of one of the paths in your decision tree for your end-user.

7. Continue to complete the rest of the forms that the Wizard prompts. When you’re all done with the interactive building process, the Overview page will appear to show you every node and path in an easy-to-digest way.

Watch our tutorial video for more information about the Zingtree Wizard. 

How to Use the Designer

The Designer tool is another great way to create decision trees in a more visual way. Presented in a white board-style screen, you can easily build out every node, connection and pathway, while being able to see a high level overview the whole time.

1. Log in to your Zingtree account, go to My Trees and select Create New Tree. Choose the option to visually draw out your decision tree with the Zingtree Designer.

2. Once you start Designer, you’ll see the white board-style screen like the one shown below. Click on the green box for Node #1. This will be your starting node – the very first page your end-users will see.

2. Next, you’ll see an edit window appear on the right hand side. Change the Title, Question and Content areas to fit your tree needs.

Next, add another question by dragging a New Question node into the drawing area. Click the green box for the new question node, and edit it like the first time.

3. Drag a Final Answer node answer node into the drawing area, and edit it.

After adding your first questions and a Final Answer node, the Designer area will show everything like this:

You can drag as many question and Final Answer nodes into the Designer drawing area as it makes sense for your needs, and label them respectively.

5. After adding the question and answer nodes to your decision tree, it’s time to link them together. Hover over node #1 until you see a large dot appear, then drag it over to its connecting node.

After finishing linking all of your nodes correctly, it’ll look something like this:

6. The next step is to create the buttons your end-users will click, by editing the connecting arrows. Click the connector – in our example, titled “Check the Weather” – and an edit form will appear. Change it to look like the form below:

After you connect the rest of the choices in your tree, and relabel the connecting arrows, your decision tree will look something like this one:

Watch our tutorial video for more information about the Zingtree Designer. 

The Finished Decision Tree

No matter the route you take to get there, you’ll end up with the same stunning, super-powerful decision tree. Click through our demo tree below, and examine it within the Gallery to check out even more.

 


Have any questions about getting started with Zingtree decision trees? We’d love to speak with you anytime!

 

This article was originally published on September 14, 2016. 

Infographic Update: How People Are Using Decision Trees

Last year, we introduced an interesting infographic to show just exactly how our customers are using their Zingtree decision trees. And, because new and updated information will always give a more accurate picture, we took the liberty of freshening it up a bit.

Since we initially “sprouted up” in late 2013, we’ve helped over 15,800 organizations everywhere to streamline support and business processes, build powerful sales funnels, help engage with customers, and a whole lot more. To put it in perspective, that’s more than double the number of organizations we had helped (to date) just last year.

Have you planted your tree yet?

How to Create a Survey with Decision Trees

By nature, decision trees are powerful tools to showcase each “decision” along with its potential outcome. While already a recognized and respected way to create interactive guides, how-tos, and troubleshooters, decision trees are also a skillful platform for building, publishing and collecting survey data from both customers and internal employees.

Why Use Decision Trees for Surveys?

The general goal of a survey is to classify a population (who you are surveying) into complete sets, depending on their recorded responses. In this light, you can both represent the survey as a descriptive or analytical tool using a decision tree platform — it’s all narrowed down to the framing of the language used and in-depth paths created.

Better than common or commercial survey platforms, decision trees are ideal for creating these complex paths in a simple-to-follow format, so you never get lost during the building process. Additionally, decision trees make it easy to:

1. Build and implement surveys for recurring needs. 

Collecting information early and often is key when it comes to improving a business or organization. Decision trees are perfect for recurring surveys:

  • HR and internal surveys
  • NPS and customer satisfaction surveys
  • Market research surveys
  • Customer feedback surveys

For example, we use decision tree surveys for gathering information in a technical support request, and for when customers request demos. A little bit of background information goes a long way.

2. Include key information and helpful media. 

Depending on the survey at hand, it can be useful to embed documentation and/or visual media to help convey information better. Using visuals like photos, graphics, and GIFs, and adding relevant videos to your survey questions is a great way to communicate clear instructions and background information within little space.

3. Use logic to jump around complex paths.

Decision trees were built to simplify complex situations, including the complicated logic jumps and survey paths that can arise when collecting information. Our multiple survey building tools (shown below) make it easy to create and visualize the survey paths, end-results, and any missed connections within the logic itself. Plus, you can start building in a spreadsheet if that’s easier to wrap your head around initially.

4. Perform A/B testing and optimize results. 

To get the most from your survey, you’ll need to perform A/B testing on areas such as how your survey questions are written, the medium from which the surveys are sent, and how many questions are included. Using Zingtree scoring nodes, you can easily A/B test surveys and determine which options are getting the most traction.

5. Customize with themes and branded CSS. 

Having a seamless look-and-feel with your own company or organization’s branding is important to how a survey is received by customers. Zingtree allows you to import your own custom CSS file to fit the design you want perfectly or choose from a selection of decision tree themes to mix and match color and style possibilities.

6. Embed surveys anywhere you need them.

Once you’ve created a survey using Zingtree, you can easily publish and distribute it through several ways. Have a web page or WordPress-hosted site you need a survey embedded on? You can do that. Need us to host a survey that you can quickly link your customers to? You can do that, too.

Getting Started: Building Your Survey

Creating a survey is easy with our toolkit, offering 3 easy-to-use options for creation.

The Wizard: The interface walks you through the decision tree building process while you provide the questions (and answers) that your end-users will see and navigate through.

The Designer: Draw out a decision tree on one screen, where you’ll be able to create the nodes and their connections to see exactly how the tree will flow.

Overview: A form-based option for creating one node at a time that consists of tools for refining your decision trees – perfect for content-heavy surveys.

Check out a real live decision tree example, showcasing a basic customer satisfaction survey template:


Zingtree makes it easy to build surveys, as well as question & answer style troubleshooters, scripts, sales filters and more to satisfy your customers, your agents and your business needs.

Contact us to learn more or get started today!

Configuring Okta Single Sign-on

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If you’re looking for a way to get started with securing your trees via Single Sign-on, you’ll first need to have an Identity Provider to manage your logins. Okta is a great service – it’s easy to set up, and very popular.  This article will show you how to get Okta and Zingtree working together.

Set Up Overview

Configuring SSO requires Okta and Zingtree to share information with each other:

  1. Okta needs information about Zingtree.
  2. Zingtree needs information about your Okta.

Once you have Zingtree and Okta successfully working together, you can mark any of your trees as “SSO restricted” via the Zingtree Settings tool to require a login to get access.

For the setup, we recommend keeping two browser tabs open – ope in Okta, and one in Zingtree.

Configuring Okta

To start, in the Zingtree top menu, go to Account, Single-Sign-on. You’ll see the parameters (specific to your organization) to share with Okta:

Let’s use this information to set up the Okta side:

  1. If you haven’t already created a free Okta account, do it now.
  2. Go to the Okta Dashboard.
  3. Click Add Applications under Shortcuts.
  4. Click Create New App.
  5. Choose SAML 2.0 as the sign-on method, and click Create.
  6. In the General Settings, give your application a name (like “Zingtree”), and click Next.
  7. Under SAML Settings, configure it as shown below.  For the Single Sign-on URL, use Zingtree’s Login URL. For the Audience URI, use Zingtree’s Entity ID.

  8. Click Next to finish the SAML setup.

Configuring Zingtree

First, let’s get some information from Okta:

  1. In Okta, click Applications from the top menu, and go to Applications.
  2. Click the new Zingtree application we created.
  3. Click Sign on, then View Setup Instructions. Keep this page open in a browser tab.
  4. Now go back to the Zingtree tab, and click Edit Identity Provider Data.
  5. For the Zingtree Entity ID, use the Okta Identity Provider Issuer.
  6. For the Zingtree Login URL, use the Okta Identity Provider Single Sign-On URL.
  7. Copy the Okta certificate into the Zingtree certificate field.
  8. Make sure Enable access restrictions on specified trees is checked in Zingtree.
  9. Click Save Identity Provider Settings.

Testing Your SSO Setup

Once you’ve set up your Identity Provider and Zingtree for SSO, you can test from Zingtree as follows:

  1. In Zingtree, go to Account, Single Sign-on.
  2. Click the orange Test Setup button at the lower right of the page.

From here. you can test logging into Okta from Zingtree.  If you’re already logged in, the test will just return your email or other identifier from Okta.  If you’re not yet logged in, the Okta’s login screen will appear, and then you will be returned to the Zingtree SSO test page after logging in.

Enabling SSO on Your Trees

Once SSO is working properly from your test, you can restrict access to any tree as follows:

  1. Go to My Trees, and select the tree that you want to require SSO login.
  2. Click the Settings tool.
  3. Check Require Single Sign-on (SSO) Login to Access.
  4. Click Update Settings.

This process has been tested, but if you’re having trouble getting Okta and Zingtree working together, please let us know!

5 Outdated Customer Support Tools You Need to Ditch

Customer service agents have always been at the heart of what makes companies, and their customer communications, so incredibly important to business success. However, certain resources aren’t always up to the job. Armed with only outdated customer support tools, it’s difficult for an agent or customer service representative to perform their tasks, and help people, to the best of their ability.

Thankfully, technology has done a great job of keeping up; there are dozens of amazing tools to help businesses small and large improve how they handle support and troubleshooting, customer interactions, and other key communications. If you’re still using an outdated tool or method like the ones mentioned here, now’s the time to make a change for the better.

Setting Up Spreadsheets to Track Issues

We’ll always love spreadsheets (heck, Zingtrees even connect with them for quick creation!), but using them as a means of manually tracking the details of tickets and inquiries is a definite resource-waster. The details of every customer call are important, so adopting a more automated way to enter key information during a call or via an online support ticket is vital to improving customer service goals. Don’t tackle it cell-by-cell. You waste precious time and this method is prone to errors.

Using Standard Email for Tickets

Using Outlook for support? Gmail? Yahoo? We certainly hope not, but if you are, there’s still time to make things right and upgrade to a real support system. A solid CRM tool like Zendesk or  Freshdesk isn’t as daunting or expensive as you might think, and can easily track and organize every incoming ticket. After getting started and connecting all of your communication channels, you can even integrate with decision trees for a completely holistic setup.

Sending Customers Through a Phone Tree

The most impersonal of all contact channels, a phone tree is as hard to set up as it is for customers to wait through. While still critical for some industries to offer in order to contact a live agent, others benefit from building a better system online and on mobile. Roughly 72% of people think self-service support is a preferred way to handle customer support, so using decision trees can help customers navigate for themselves, find answers, and contact the right department for more information.

Printing Out Call Scripts on Paper

Not only is printing bad for the environment, it’s cumbersome and unnecessary. While customer support and call center agents should be prepared with a script on hand, there’s always a technical way to make things more efficient. Taking the digital plunge and creating an online call center script for agent use will improve support KPIs, make it simple to streamline communication, and leave customers happier with every standardized, personalized interaction.


Any questions? We’re always here to help!

Zendesk Decision Tree Support App: Version 4

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Travis A., who is implementing Zingtree for a video technology company, was keen on using Zingtree to try to reduce his team’s support ticket load. He also needed to import a synopsis of the Zingtree session data into his Zendesk tickets so his tech support people could get some time-saving background information.

Travis wanted to emphasize the condensed Q&A part of the session. Done!

Here’s the new look of the Zendesk Decision Tree Support app:

Here’s what’s new in the Zendesk Support App, version 4:

  • The Q&A view is now the default.
  • Any “back” or “restart” button clicks no longer show in Q&A view.
  • The answers clicked are highlighted, so it’s easy for a support person to see where the customer went at a glance.

You can download the latest Zingtree Decision Tree Support app for Zendesk here.

Need help installing the app? Instructions are here.

Travis' photo
This is Travis.

Thank you, Travis, for the awesome suggestions!

Spring 2017 Decision Tree Updates

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In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve been busy improving Zingtree over the past six weeks. Aside from the new Single Sign-on and Dual use tree features, here are the other more subtle updates we’ve recently added into Zingtree:

  • Fix: No longer allows multiple feedback clicks on submit feedback button (Katheryn P.).
  • Update: AGENT_ and USER_ prefixes on buttons only show them in agent mode or end-user mode (Travis A.).
  • Update: Tag matching on trees (host-trees) now saves state for each tree clicked, shows marker if a session was started with that tree (for Jenn V.).
  • Update: Added nochrome=1 option to host-trees to show minimal tag matching results.
  • Fix: Using a tree node to launch a tree with a webhook in the starting node now runs webhook (Chrissie).
  • Update: Reports are now in author’s local time.
  • Update: Zendesk app version V9B now manages merge variables properly.
  • Update: Zendesk app gets ticket’s list box values instead of tags as merge variables to insert into agent scripts.
  • Fix: Form data report items now syncs with session list report (Diana T).
  • Fix: Session Matrix report now uses last click time for date ranges.
  • Fix: Scoring nodes no longer occasionally add a zero to scoring variables.
  • Fix: email-session-info script updated to handle some timing issues causing missing form data.
  • Update: Data Entry radio button fields now render using entire width of node, not half of width.
  • Fix: Date picker for subtrees works properly (Chrissie).
  • New: Sessions List has options to show first click/last click (Ricardo).
  • New: Sessions list report shows total time spent.
  • Update: Added Agent Portal Parameters option to pass custom URL values into agent portal trees (Chrissie).
  • Update: My Agents page now hides advanced options by default.
  • New: Server-side include example page.
  • Fix: Last click time in session data now always accurate (Ricardo).
  • Fix: Session form data reloads are now more reliable – fixes edge cases on timing errors (Ricardo).
  • Fix: New lines in Agent Feedback Comments now appear in emails, comment review pages (Katheryn P).
  • New: Tree Nodes and Link Nodes can now have tags (Morgan).
  • New: find_tree_sessions API (Chris P.).
  • Fix: Double quotes in session variables (via Zendesk) caused state not to get properly set (Ricardo).
  • New: API added find_agent_sessions as equivalent to original find_sessions. Makes better language since we added new find_tree_sessions API.
  • Update: get_session_data API call now includes “seq” in the path as click number (Chris P.).
  • Update: Form data, Session List reports now based off of “last click time” during a session, instead of start time (Ricardo).
  • Update: Session List report now shows an icon if the session includes form data.
  • Added demo for embedding with breadcrumbs in the container.
  • New: Import from Oracle Service Cloud XML in Create Tree.
  • Fix: FontAwesome icons updated to version 4.7 for Preview, Deploy.
  • Fix: FormData report and Session List report now use same time starting criterion.
  • Update: Added date_format option to hosting or embedded URLs to allow custom date formats in date picker (Chrissie, Jane).
  • Fix: Properly sends ampersands in subject line for email-session-info link node (Alok).
  • New: Can now see all feedback comments for a tree by clicking on comments bubble in My Trees (Guil).
  • Update: Date picker now uses user’s locale to format dates and show proper month names.
  • Fix: Emails with apostrophes now are able to be added to MailChimp lists.
  • Fix: Validates Tree IDs on spreadsheet import for tree nodes.
  • Fix: Now gets root node for tree imports as first node in list, even if not #1 (Katie).
  • Update: Zendesk agent scripting: tags prefixed with “perm_” are never removed from Zendesk once added (Jamel).

Thanks to all of our hard-core authors for suggesting most of these updates.

Got a suggestion or a great idea?  Let us know!

Is Your Customer Service Working? How to Audit & Improve Your Strategy

Customer service is at the very heart of how businesses achieve true, sustained growth. For Zingtree, it’s a top priority; we do our absolute best to keep our customers satisfied and successful with our decision tree software, and much of our customer feedback is full of amazing suggestions for how to make our toolkit even better. In other words, when our customers are happy and engaged, we’re happy.

Even companies that have been around for decades need to re-evaluate their strategies every once in a while to ensure that everything is running smoothly, that key goals are focused, and that customer service strategies are measuring up. It’s important to perform a customer service audit on your support staff, channels, and overall effectiveness. Here’s our best advice for how to approach it:

1. Ask Yourself the Important Questions

The first step of any customer support audit is to ask yourself pointed questions about the state of your support channels, ease of access, profitability, and customer satisfaction and experience:

  • Do you know the real costs behind providing support to customers?
  • Is there a well-defined point of contact for customers within your business?
  • What is the demand, or average volume, of inquiries per channel per day? 
  • Do you have well-rounded support processes internally?
  • How responsive are you to incoming customers questions and issues?
  • Is customer service an integrated part of your sales and marketing strategies? 
  • Does your staff have the tools they need to really succeed?

Performing in-depth research, and reflecting on your current and past customer service strategies and outcomes is the best way to start the process of identifying areas of improvement in your support channels.

2. Figure Out the Cost of Customer Service

One of our very first deployments, Applian Technologies, develops powerful software to record and download online streaming media, with customers all around the world. As a busy technology company with an online presence, Applian was used to using more traditional support methods to keep up with customers. After performing an audit on their customer support channels, they realized that they were spending exorbitant amounts of time, money, and human resources on every incoming support ticket and decided to make some changes.

Here are the steps they took to audit customer support:

  1. Totaled how many tickets were answered in a given month.
  2. Totaled how much was paid to support staff.
  3. Calculated the cost per ticket, by dividing the number of tickets by the amount paid to staff.
  4. Gave each technical support employee a time tracker to narrow down how much time was spent on each support-related activity per product, per support agent.

Applian now uses decision trees to streamline the entire customer support and technical troubleshooting process. After adopting the new decision tree tool, the company was able to save 15+ hours/week on support communications, reduce overall support tickets by 25%, saving more than $30,000 in resources overall, and improve customer satisfaction in the process.

3. Optimize for Your Support Goals & Key Metrics

Take a quick step back and look at the larger picture. What are your goals and key performance indicators for customer service? Do you need to shift priorities to get there? Making improvements to your support strategy as a whole is critical to bettering the experience for your customers, and ultimately becoming more profitable.

For many support teams and call center agents out there today, there are a few main KPIs to focus on enhancing:

  • First Call Resolution (FCR)
  • Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
  • Average Handle Time (AHT)
  • Agent Performance

At the end of the day, these are the tried-and-true metrics to track, measure, and optimize for. With a narrowed focus, answers to some very critical questions about the health and effectiveness of your support strategy, and new tools to help streamline the process of communication, you’ll be well on your way to a more profitable rest of the year.


Any questions? We’re always here to help!

 

Single Sign-On for Zingtree Decision Trees

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We’ve had several requests to incorporate Single Sign-on (SSO) into Zingtree, as a means of restricting access to trees.  Many customers have sensitive corporate processes or procedures encapsulated in their trees, and ensuring these trees are accessible only to certain employees can be invaluable.

Single Sign-on is a service provided by many vendors, including Okta, Microsoft (Active Directory / Azure), Google (G-Suite), Salesforce and more.  These services are known as Identity Providers.  A single log-in through an Identity Provider gives a user secure, authenticated access to applications provided by Service Providers like Zingtree.

Once you log in through your Identity Provider, you don’t need to re-enter your login credentials. SSO is a very convenient way to secure access to your applications, while not burdening end-users with extra hurdles.

Zingtree supports any service that is SAML 2.0 compliant, which is a common standard.

Set Up Overview

Configuring SSO requires your Identity Provider and Zingtree to share information with each other:

  1. Your Identity Provider needs information about Zingtree.
  2. Zingtree needs information about your Identity Provider.

SSO just needs to be set up once for your organization. Once you have Zingtree and your Identity Provider successfully working together, you can mark any of your trees as “SSO restricted” via the Settings tool to require a login to get access.

Configuring Zingtree for SSO

To start, in the Zingtree top menu, go to Account, Single-Sign-on. You’ll see the parameters (specific to your organization) to share with your Identity Provider:

Configure your Identity Provider with these parameters.

Next, click the blue button to Enter Identity Provider Data into Zingtree. The following screen appears:

Copy the rest of these settings from your Identity Provider.

If you’re ready to test, make sure Enable access restrictions on specified trees is checked.

Click Save Identity Provider Settings when finished.

Testing Your SSO Setup

Once you’ve set up your Identity Provider and Zingtree for SSO, you can test from Zingtree as follows:

  1. In Zingtree, go to Account, Single Sign-on.
  2. Click the orange Test Setup button at the lower right of the page.

From here. you can test logging into your Identity Provider from Zingtree.  If you’re already logged in, the test will just return your email or other identifier from your Identity Provider.  If you’re not yet logged in, the Identity Provider’s login screen will appear, and then you will be returned to the Zingtree SSO test page after logging in.

Enabling SSO on Your Trees

Once SSO is working properly from your test, you can restrict access to any tree as follows:

  1. Go to My Trees, and select the tree that you want to require SSO login.
  2. Click the Settings tool.
  3. Check Require Single Sign-on (SSO) Login to Access.
  4. Click Update Settings.

Release Notes

SSO has been tested with a variety of Identity Providers.  If you’re having trouble configuring with a specific service, please let us know!

Embeddable Decision Trees for WordPress

There’s no getting around it – we love WordPress! As a powerful piece of software that enables people around the world to spread and share ideas, build amazing websites and more, we understand the need to be as integrative with this ever-popular tool.

Zingtree’s robust toolkit allows WordPress users to directly embed interactive decision trees into any web page needed, making it easy for customers and end-users to navigate through any process on your site in a simple question-and-answer flow.

Many of our amazing customers are already taking advantage of this plugin, by hosting powerful, customized decision trees directly on their respective websites! See if you could survive in the wild with this interactive journey built by Live Out There, then check out a robust and helpful troubleshooter decision tree from Screen Time.

Here’s how to get started with your own WordPress-hosted decision tree:

1. Download the plugin and install it into WordPress.

2. Use your Zingtree decision tree’s specific short code (which will appear like this) in your post:

[ zingtree id=”851580502″ ]

Hint: To locate your short code, login to Zingtree and go to My Trees. The ID number to the left of the decision tree title is your code.

Installation Video

Some more examples: 

To customize with a persistent button that will immediately take the user to whichever node you’d like while displayed in “panels” style, enter a short code like this:

[ zingtree id=”148196706″ style=”panels” persist_names=”Restart|Submit Ticket” persist_node_ids=”1|5″ ]

To hide the name of the decision tree, as well as the “back” button, enter a short code like this:

[ zingtree id=”148196706″ hide_title=”yes” hide_back_button=”yes” ]

Get the WordPress Plugin!

Don’t want to embed into WordPress? Zingtree can host your decision trees for you! Learn more here or contact us today.

This article was originally published May 2015.