Monthly Archives: July 2017

Publishing Pop-Up Decision Trees

Zingtree makes it fun to include decision trees on your site by enabling them to appear on top of any page, simply by clicking a button. We call this publishing method a “pop-up overlay.” You can easily customize the button color, text, and look of the trees.

You can also include multiple trees on one page. Try these examples:

    

 

Here’s how to set up pop-up overlays:

  1. Click the My Trees button at the top of the screen.
  2. Choose the tree to embed.
  3. Select Publishing Links.
  4. Click Pop-up Overlay via Button Click.
  5. Copy the default button code to your web site, or click the Advanced Options button to do some cool customization.

Shortcut: Go here to create a button that launches a pop-up overlay for your tree.

We think this is yet another cool way to incorporate interactive decision trees into your web site. Do you like it? Or have a better idea?

Send us feedback and let us know what you think!

Using a Timestamp Variable in your Decision Tree

Some of our customers have asked for a way to display the current time/date/day of the week in a node, set the time zone, and custom format it. There’s a predefined Zingtree Webhook to do just that!

This webhook sets a variable named #timestamp# which you can use in any part of your decision tree, format it in a variety of ways, and even perform logic operations on it. Click through below to see our demo of how it all works…

 

Example uses:

  • Display the day of the week.
  • Use a Logic Node to route customers to different nodes for work hours, after hours or weekends.
  • Show the current date and time, display it in a node, and save it as a part of your session.

How to Set Up Timestamps

  1. Edit a node, and open the Show Advanced Options link.
  2. Under “Send Message to App”, select Webhook: Zingtree Timestamp.

  3. You can also include an optional timezone or a date format as parameters to sent to the webhook. (More details below). It looks like this:

  4. In the content area for your node, the timestamp will appear wherever you enter #timestamp#.
  5. Click Save Changes when you are done.

See the “Timestamp Webhook Demo” tree from the Zingtree Gallery.

Customizing

In the Message area, you can include two parameters:

  • &tz= to set a time zone.
  • &format= to set a custom date format.

Example message area customizations:

&tz=America/New_York&format=F j,Y h:i:s A
This sets the time zone to Eastern Time (USA), and makes the timestamp variable look like ” July 25, 2017, 11:37:27 AM“.

&tz=Australia/Sydney&format=d/m/Y
This sets the timezone to Sydney, Australia, and makes the date appear as “25/07/2017”.

&format=l
This sets the #timestamp# variable to the day of the week.

See the “Timestamp Webhook Demo” Gallery tree for other examples.

Reference

The full list of timezones is here.

The full list of date formatting options is here.

How to Display a Session Summary in your Trees

We get many requests to make it easy to show a session summary inside of a node. This can be helpful for an end-user to see how they reached a certain decision while traveling through the tree.

This is accomplished using the Zingtree Session Summary webhook. It loads the transcript of the session into a variable named session_history. You can also display any data entered or collected in the session using the variable data_entered.

Try this quick demo from the Zingtree Gallery to see how this works:

Configuring a Node to Show the Session Summary

This requires two pieces:

  • Sending a message to the Zingtree Session Summary webhook at the end of the session.
  • Inserting #session_history# into the node where you want to show the session history.

Optional: To show any data collected via Data Entry fields, you can include #data_entered# in the content area as well.

Step by step:

  1. Edit the node where you want to show the session summary.
  2. Click Show Advanced Options.
  3. Under Send Message to App, choose Webhook: Zingtree Session Summary.

  4. Insert the text #session_history# (or also #data_entered#) into the content area of the node.
  5. Click Save Changes when finished.

The Session Summary Demo gallery tree demonstrates this. Look at node #5 for specifics.

Advanced: Adding a “Copy to Clipboard” Button

To make it easy to copy data to the clipboard, do the following in HTML code view:

  1. Surround the area you want to copy with <div id=”zt-summary> and </div>.
  2. Add this code for the “Copy to Clipboard” button:
    <a class=”btn btn-orange” onclick=”copyToClipboard($(‘#zt-summary’)); return (false);”>Copy  to Clipboard</a>

Node #5 in the demo has this in place for you to examine.

Pro Tip: Returning a Plaintext Summary.

If you want your variables to be formatted as text (instead of HTML), add &formatted=2 to the Message field – like so:


Any questions? We’re here for you

3 Helpful Tips for Live Chat Etiquette

zing-chat-etiquette

Live chat is a great communication channel, and the preferred choice for many customers when engaging with a company; some of the appeal has to do with its ease, simplicity and brevity. When agents are appropriately trained in live chat etiquette, and have access to efficient scripting tools, they are much more likely to have a successful interaction with a customer.

In a paper published by TELUS International, the company asserts that avoiding customer frustration and brand damage should be top of mind for companies when training live chat agents. Often, customers choose live chat because it’s easy and quick; if your live chat interactions are forcing customers to put forth a lot of effort in their engagement, then your company isn’t realizing the full potential of this communication channel.

To bolster its argument for minimizing customer effort, the report cited a 2010 Harvard Business Review article where the case was made that “delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty; reducing their effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved—does.”

So, how do live chat agents reduce the customer’s effort when choosing this communication channel?

1. Keep It Brief

Reducing customer effort begins with your agent’s greeting. The greeting sets the tone of the conversation, so if it’s long-winded or muddled, your agent is placing an undue burden on the customer. Once the conversation has commenced, keeping responses to the point is key to providing a positive customer experience. As mentioned earlier, being brief doesn’t mean being clipped. The goal is to provide enough information to the customer in an efficient, yet courteous, manner.

Keeping it brief is especially important when working with a frustrated customer. A simple “I’m sorry” has more impact than a convoluted, over-worded apology.

2. Make Sure It’s Concise

Concise wording will lessen the chances of misunderstanding, and providing clear answers reduces the customers’ effort. Remember that customers prefer live chat because it’s efficient, so training agents how to properly write out responses that quickly get to the heart of the issue, and using proper and robust Live Agent Scripting, are key components of efficiency.

3. Read First, Then Respond

One common problem identified by TELUS is that agents will provide quick answers without first taking the time to read or fully understand what the customer is asking – this is an efficiency killer. Whatever the reason, agents need to take the time to read what the customer has written and then respond with an answer that provides a quick solution.

Once the issue or question that the customer is getting at is identified, the agent can then provide a brief, yet concise, response that moves the conversation forward without requiring the customer to put forth much effort. This is made even simpler when using powerful scripting tools that can help the agent to stay on track and keep the engagement flowing smoothly.

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

This article was originally published November 2, 2015. 

Amplifying Your Call Center with AI & Automation

Forbes recently published an article titled AI And Chatbots Are Transforming The Customer Experiencewhich details how Artificial Intelligence is changing the way that customer service is offered and improved through complete automation.

What this means to the end-user or customer is that, while they may be receiving some level of service and support, they are never talking with a human representative. For call centers, the results are cost-effective and time-saving, but never a 100% complete solution for automating customer service.

“Typically, customer service chatbots answer questions based on key words. The most basic systems are actually document retrieval systems. Sometimes this is frustrating. Think of the times you may have asked Siri or Alexa a question and received the wrong answer. The computer recognizes key words but may not recognize the context in which they are being used. In other words, the computer doesn’t recognize the way people naturally speak. This causes the customer great frustration. However, these systems (including Siri and Alexa) have come a long way and continue to improve.”

The article goes on to mention that “for at least the foreseeable future, chatbots won’t be replacing humans in contact center jobs.”

AI-Lite: Automation Without Machine Learning

The machine learning put into place can gather piles of raw data on customers at the drop of a hat, as well as attempt to build relationships through key phrases and automated messages, but they can be expensive to create, maintain and fix over time – all costly and important factors. A decision process that’s been compiled from raw data using a neural network like this is almost impossible to tweak and change.

Rather than using machine learning to magically divine relationships in this way, interactive decision trees are human built, and make it much easier to tweak and debug processes. Still an automated, time-saving process, we like to think of it as “AI-lite” for call centers and businesses.

Automated & Interactive Solutions for Call Centers

Interactive agent scripts and decision tree troubleshooters guide support reps and customers to the right solutions and answers — whether it be related to a technical issue, routing to the correct department, or managing important customer data. They can help assist call centers in a multitude of ways:

  • Self-Help & Troubleshooting: Build custom, branded decision trees that allow customers to find answers themselves.
  • Measuring Effectiveness: Access reports that actively check how effective troubleshooters and support decision trees are, and identifies other key metrics through extensive analytics.
  • Tracking Agent Performance: Monitor the overall performance of customer service agents to track interactions.
  • Analyzing Trends: Export key data to import into any AI software being used for full analysis of key customer and internal call center data.

 

While AI and automated tools will never replace human interaction or the need for call center agents, the technology can aid call center managers in routing calls, managing experiences, and understanding customers and agents. The end result is a more productive and effective call center, as well as improved customer satisfaction.

Lrarn more about tools for agent scripts:https://zingtree.com/application/call-center.php

Learn more about tools for end-user support:https://zingtree.com/application/support.php

Marketing Case Study: Global Players

Here’s an example of how Zingtree’s interactive decision trees are helping to improve online marketing efforts in a real education abroad organization.

Global Players helps to place student-athletes in their perfect study-abroad fit, promoting awareness and cultural education as well as athletic endeavors around the world. As an organization growing in popularity, Global Players was in search of finding a streamlined, self-service way to placing students in their ideal location abroad.

Since adopting Zingtree’s solution to integrate their “Program Match” decision tree, Global Players has been able to place over 1,000 students so far, increased the likelihood of a visitor to contact the organization by 5 times, and more!

You can view the case study below, and open a PDF version here.

casestudy-global_players copy

Want to see more? Explore the Zingtree Gallery for examples of how our decision trees and interactive solutions provide value for businesses!

This case study was originally published January 19, 2016.

Repeating Forms in Decision Tree Data Gathering

Our call center customers are so enthusiastic about Zingtree that we get some awesome feature requests. In particular, more and more operations are using decision trees for collecting data. One essential part is to be able to collect information on an indeterminate number of items.

For example, an insurance application may need to collect names and ages of each family member – be it one or twenty. Zingtree’s Repeating Forms capability fulfills this need.

How Repeating Forms Work

Quick dive: Try this demo tree from the Gallery.

The details: A node can collect multiple forms, one at a time. First, the agent starts with one form:

The agent can click Add Another to enter a second family member:

This can continue for multiple family members. At the end of the process, when the agent clicks the Continue button in this tree, the tree’s session will data variables set for each family member, like so:

Configuring Forms for Repeat Entries

When editing a node, there’s an option in the Data Entry Fields part to configure repeating items. Here are the details:

  1. Edit the node with the form you want to make repeating.
  2. In the Data Entry Fields area, click the Repeat Form option:

  3. Enter the maximum number of items to repeat (up to 50):

  4. Click Save Changes to save your work.

That’s all you need to do! The data variable names for your repeating forms will have an underscore and an item number at the end. So, in the example above, the variables for name and age will be name_1 and age_1,  name_2 and age_2, etc.

Thanks again to Tom K. for the great feature suggestion. While your trees can gather repeating items, great ideas like this need to be repeated only once to make it into the product.

So if you have a killer suggestion, please share!

Customer Service Skills for the Next Generation of Support

As opposed to the traditional support methods focusing on being reactive, being proactive is the new way to control and scale your customer care. Beyond a customer service strategy in itself, proactive customer support is the one true driver of retaining customers and building relationships.

What does this mean for customer service teams? Anticipating customer issues and addressing them in engaging, informative, easy to understand ways. Luckily for agents and teams today, this can be done in a number of helpful formats – through tutorial videos, interactive knowledge bases, FAQs, decision tree troubleshooters, and other instructive media.

Beyond providing excellent self-service customer support methods, it’s still important to have basic contact information ready to go and easy to find, even in today’s digitally focused world. Studies show that 41% of companies currently don’t make this information visible or quick to locate – to be the best, you should always balance interactive decision trees and other helpful media with any and all platforms of communication available.

The Next Generation of Customers

Millennial customers today are like an entirely new category in their own light. Where previous generations prefer more one-on-one connection and personal relationships, young people today lean towards self-help solutions and fast-paced interactions.

In recent studies, it was found that nearly 70% of millennial females are comfortable resolving CS issues on their own, and 56% of millennials moved their business elsewhere as a result of poor customer service. With the trend continuing toward self-service support and easy, positive experiences, it’s more important than ever for businesses to be thinking about the next generation of forward-thinking, self-solving customers.

The 4 Most Important Customer Service Skills to Master

Your business’ millennial customers today will bring about the next generation of confident and well-researched purchasers. In terms of customer service skills, and in our own experience, here are the top few that agents need to truly master before that next generation comes.

1. Professionalism

The face of your business relies on the tone, grammar and writing style across digital ways of communication, as well as the professionalism and conciseness of any phone interaction. Some rules for professionalism in email or chat customer service: no abbreviations or lingo, check your information, and definitely never be pushy or leading.

Being understanding, friendly, informative and quick to respond to any customer service interaction is the best way to remain professional and help a customer resolve any issues with lightning speed. When in doubt, one of the best ways to promote better professionalism is to craft standardized decision trees and agent scripts that follow your company’s voice and brand perfectly.

2. Empathy

Every customer wants their issue to be understood and cared for. Customer service agents need to put themselves in the customers’ shoes and broaden their perspectives (and vocabularies, in some cases) to understand where the issue came from and how it can be resolved.

Everyone involved in a customer service interaction is a person — showing compassion and empathy in genuine ways for the problems they are facing, or relating on a more positive note, shows that you care and builds loyalty with the customer.

3. Assertiveness

With professionalism and empathy comes a need to be assertive in customer service situations. Now, we don’t mean aggressive — we mean being completely clear, confident and direct with the information provided and support offered. Taking control of a customer service interaction in a calm and helpful way by asking appropriate, direct questions will help guide support agents to the right conclusion far easier and faster, and the customer is much more likely to feel that the agent they spoke with is the right person for the job.

4. Expertise

32% percent of those surveyed in a recent State of Social Customer Service Report found the phone to be the most frustrating way to engage customer service (ConverSocial).

Without your customer service agents fully mastering the ins and outs of your business and product or service offering, they’ll never feel 100% comfortable and confident helping customers, and in return, customers will be more frustrated. Customer-facing agents should always be trained experts on every relevant inner working, allowing them to be more empowered to answer questions accurately and directly.


The main goal of customer service skills for the next generation is to make it easier for customers to solve problems, access help themselves, and feel totally satisfied with their relationship with your company. With Zingtree decision trees built for your business’ needs and scripts customized to your brand’s voice, customer service agents (and your customer service strategy overall) will become more effective, efficient, and automated.

Take a look at our Gallery to get more customer service inspiration, or get started with your own interactive decision tree or agent script to help streamline your customer service team. 

7 Tips for an Effective, Interactive Knowledge Base

Interactive Knowledge Base

These days, there are quite a few solutions for improving customer service and support in completely digital ways. Customer-friendly knowledge bases are one tried-and-true way to present every bit of important information, tutorials, and how-to’s in a completely categorized display. Your typical, traditional website knowledge base can’t compare to the power and effectiveness of a fully interactive knowledge base, however.

Armed with guided instructions that are compacted into smaller, more digestible pieces, interactive knowledge bases allow customers to quickly troubleshoot, find answers, and solve complex issues, all without calling your business up on the phone. Zingtree enables organizations and businesses of all sizes to create and integrate a customized, easy-to-use, interactive knowledge base into their support system, so every customer gets the answers they need. In fact, we host our own Zingtree FAQ on the Zingtree platform itself!

Here are just a few of our best tips for building the best interactive knowledge base you can.

1. Nail down your categories and main topics first.

Start with an outline of the topics you want to cover, as well as the categories of topics that they belong to. Having this thoroughly laid out before you set in will help you visualize your completed knowledge base, as well as make sure that you’re not missing any key topics, tutorials, or FAQs.

Here’s an example of how we have our own interactive knowledge base set up:

2. Always add a search bar.

The key to having a fully automated, interactive knowledge base is to make it as easy as possible for customers to direct themselves to the correct article or tutorial. Adding a search bar to the top of your knowledge base will prompt any unsure customers to see if they can quickly pull up the answers or information they need. It’s a simple tip, but one that your customers will absolutely appreciate!

3. Start with your favorite tool.

It’s important to work with the decision tree-building tool that works best for you, personally. We offer up a few different ways to get started:

  • Overview: Build your trees from scratch, piece by piece (or rather, node by node).
  • Visual Designer: Draw out every node, connection, and final result in one visual space.
  • Wizard: Quickly create by answering a series of questions and answers that ultimately build the final tree.
  • Spreadsheets: Start creating in Excel or Google Sheets and import for refinement.

4. Word everything carefully and concisely.

Beyond the general advice to keep wording (especially complex wording) to a minimum, it’s important to carefully craft each question, how-to, or other information to be perfectly clear, and never use phrasing that could steer customers down the wrong path. Keeping the decision tree questions and information presented in your interactive knowledge base as simple as possible and structuring them in an easy-to-absorb way is the best way to help customers get the help they need.

5. Use videos and animated GIFs strategically.

Visuals are proven to aid in information retention, plus they are fun to look at and are easy for customers to save to their respective desktops for future use! An interactive knowledge base built with decision trees allow for businesses to embed documentation and/or visual media to help convey information better. Using photos, graphics, and GIFs, and adding relevant videos to your questions is a hugely productive way to communicate instructions within limited space.

Here’s an example GIF that clearly shows how to connect nodes in our Visual Designer:

6. Link to more in-depth information where it’s needed.

There’s a lot to be said about going with a more streamlined, bite-sized approach to your support articles – something that our decision trees help a lot of businesses with. When in doubt, it’s always better to keep things short and to the point while linking out to further information or details when needed. Our decision trees allow you to use what we call “link nodes” to easily open up into a new window.

7. Integrate with CRM systems and other platforms.

One of our best tips for building a great interactive knowledge base is to make sure that it’s all linked up to CRM. Zingtree decision trees integrate directly with Freshdesk, Salesforce, Zendesk, and just about every other CRM out there to make the sharing of information fast and easy. With these integrations in place, support staff will have a much better look at where customers are getting held up, and can quickly send a full decision tree transcript over to their CRM for fast access.


Head over to the Zingtree FAQ to see how we set up our own interactive knowledge base with decision trees, or check out the Gallery to get inspiration for your trees!

Anything else? We’re always here to help you get started, offer advice, and answer any questions.