October 31, 2017 | Categories: Use Cases |
by Bill Zing
Scheduling medical appointments can be a stressful and complicated process for both patients and healthcare practices. With the evolution of software and other technologies, setting the right appointment with the right doctor has improved, but hasn’t yet truly progressed into a digital, streamlined way — interactive decision trees as an appointment scheduling tool are the wave of the future.
The Future of Medical Appointment Scheduling
The Spokane Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic is a large group practice with multiple office locations and a firm understanding of the quality patient care; this includes quickly getting their patients set up with the right doctor. Spokane ENT’s decision tree appointment schedulers allow the clinic to evaluate patients and ensure they are paired with the correct specialty every time. Efficiency and productivity are through the roof!
Decision trees are a super-streamlined approach to gathering pertinent, sensitive medical information and routing patients to the correct specialists or department in just a few clicks. With every question and answer the patient is guided through, more critical and standard information is revealed and stored in a HIPAA format.
When the appointment has been scheduled, this collected information can also be distributed and delivered to the right office securely.
Dr. William Schmitt of Spokane ENT (along with the rest of the staff) have optimized and standardized every medical scheduling tool across office sites, saving the medical practice and its customers an overwhelming amount of time. With their medical scheduling decision trees in place, the clinic has streamlined more than 18,000 patient calls and counting.
With customized solutions and real-time 24/7 access, every patient will benefit from what interactive online appointment scheduling has to offer. Rather than calling during practice hours and navigating a phone tree, or waiting on hold with a busy administrative staff member or receptionist, busy patients can self-solve and lead themselves directly where they need to go.
With a simple question-and-answer style flow, patients can feel more comfortable sharing private medical details and locate the correct specialist that they need in just a few minutes. This process also streamlines things once the appointment takes place, as all of the patient’s history, symptoms, and other information can already be collected in a secure digital format.
October 26, 2017 | Categories: Just for Fun |
by Debbie McCormick
It’s Halloween time again, and we all know what that means — fun, fright, and SO many decisions!
From what kind of candy to get for trick-or-treaters, how much, what kind of decorations to put out, and what other kinds of plans to make, there’s a lot to juggle. The pressure of finding the absolute perfect costume can be a stressful addition to Halloween life, but have no fear! (Well, except for the appropriate amount…)
We have carefully selected costumes for many occasions, so whichever road you find yourself down on the day of the dead then you’ll be perfectly prepped.
What are you wearing this October 31st? Drop your ideas in the comments below!
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.
There’s one aspect of insurance that everyone can come to the same conclusion about: it’s complicated. Whether you’re talking about home insurance, life insurance, travel insurance, property insurance, or any other type you can name, the same issues around complexity arise. In an industry so deeply-rooted in lots of paperwork, fact-checking, and claims processing, important and confusing details of all sizes are plentiful.
Agent scripts are one solution that has really helped to simplify these types of everyday insurance processes. In today’s digital world, however, the traditional call script is being replaced with something even more effective and easy-to-use. Interactive decision trees and agent scripts for insurance make it easy to pick products, follow processes, and collect important data.
Leading companies and independent insurance agents worldwide use interactive decision trees for insurance to streamline and simplify every detail – meaning more people helped, more money saved, and more consistently-positive interactions reported. Here’s how some of our insurance-based customers are taking advantage of interactive decision trees:
Case 1: AFLAC
AFLAC, a leading insurance provider in the US, is using interactive decision trees for insurance to guide their insurance sales agents in order to locate and offer the best possible policies for prospective customers.
Case 2: Zudy
Zudy, a no-code enterprise platform, works with insurance companies to provide interactive insurance scripts around their most important and complicated topics, including claims processing.
Case 3: Easy Insurance Scripts
Easy Insurance Scripts partners with Zingtree to deliver powerful agent scripts to insurance agents, along with its roster of equally helpful tools and resources for agents.
While the use cases and exact results may vary from agent to agent, organization to organization, the benefits really boil down to 3 main things:
Let’s take a closer look…
Details in the insurance industry are more than important – they are absolutely vital to the integrity of the practice itself. With so many critical details and rules within every claims process, consistency in the information and experience provided cannot be overlooked.
To ensure consistency, interactive decision trees and agent scripts are completely standardized across the board. For real-time conversations, training scenarios, and processing situations, having a consistent and reliable script can help to achieve the intended goals.
In many insurance interactions – training or otherwise – interactive, step-by-step guidance can be incredibly useful. Insurance agents and organizations are using interactive decision trees to guide customers to the best products for their needs, as well as guide agents in exactly to say next.
Ted Baker, Founder of Easy Insurance Scripts finds that “with scripts for guiding conversations, interactive trees to train new agents, and the reporting that comes along with it, agents are able to provide a better customer experience that’s consistent and informative.“
Making things more simple is usually the best route to go. When you’re talking about insurance, however, the details that are being simplified still need to maintain their integrity. Interactive decision trees for insurance allow agents to ask a few pointed questions, collect the necessary information, and file what needs to be completed all in one streamlined format.
By asking a few questions and simplifying each task through a series of easy-to-follow, guided steps, decision trees and agent scripts for insurance ensure the correct process is followed for recommending policies and processing claims every time.
These 3 digestible, yet extremely powerful benefits of interactive decision trees are enough to make every customer interaction more positive and productive. Have any questions? You can see live examples and learn more about our solutions for insurance agents and organizations on our site, or feel free to reach out directly.
If you’re a Zendesk user in a Contact Center environment, you’ll want to be using our Zendesk Agent Scripting app. This makes it easy to guide, train and onboard agents and is a huge productivity booster for everyone.
The Agent Scripting app appears as a button in the right-hand panel:
Click Open Script, and you’ll see your decision tree in a pop-over like this:
If another agent picks up the ticket, they return to the last viewed node, and can see each step taken previously by opening the History:
Benefits of the Zendesk Agent Scripting App
Standardization: Show a guided path for each ticket, so that Agents follow the proper operating policies or troubleshooting procedures.
Pause and Resume: If a ticket is transferred, the supervisor or new agent is taken to the last place in the script, and can see the history of the previous steps taken.
Automatic Script Selection: The Agent Scripting App can choose a script based on the Zendesk brand, Zendesk ticket tags, or the value of a custom field.
Agent Feedback: Agents can send feedback directly to the authors of the decision trees with a single button click. Feedback is delivered to each author’s email, and includes the tree ID and node number where the feedback was sent from.
Zendesk Ticket Data in your Scripts: Values in any custom field, as well as Zendesk ticket tags and user tags, are transferred into your script so you can echo them, or use these variables to branch via Logic Nodes.
Automatic Ticket Updating: Tags and custom fields in the ticket can be updated from actions in the script – either via buttons clicked in the script, or from data entry collected.
New Features in Version 10
If you’re using a previous version of the Zendesk Agent Scripting app, you may want to upgrade to take advantages of these new benefits:
Pop-overs: Scripts now appear as pop-overs, rather than being constrained to the right-hand panel.
Ticket Updating: Your tickets can automatically update by navigating the script, or by entering data into Zingtree Data Entry Fields. For example, the start of your script could offer the agent a choice of a product, and the “product” field in your ticket will be automatically selected when the agent makes a choice.
Note: Don’t remove the current version of Agent Scripting until you are ready to make the switch. Versions 9 and earlier may not be updated going forward.
This two minute video shows you how Agents interact with the Agent Scripting App:
Here are the basic steps to get up and running:
Build an interactive decision tree script with Zingtree (or use one of our demos to start).
Install the Agent Scripting App (version 10) into Zendesk.
Configure the Agent Scripting app within Zendesk.
If you want to have your decision tree scripts update your Zendesk tickets, you’ll need to add variables and/or tags to your Zingtree tree to match your Zendesk setup.
If you want to enable automatic script selection, you’ll need to add tags to your trees in Zingtree and configure the Zendesk Agent Scripting app properly.
Installing the Agent Scripting App into Zendesk
Download and configure the Zendesk Agent Scripting App version 10 like so:
In Zendesk, click the Admin icon and go to Apps > Manage.
Click Upload Private App.
The Upload App page appears.
Enter “Zingtree Agent Scripting” for the App Name.
For App File, locate the filezingtree-agent-scripting-v10.zip you downloaded in step 1.
Click Upload, then confirm if necessary.
Configuring the App
Once you’ve uploaded the app, click App Configuration to see the configuration screen:
Here’s what each item does:
Tree ID: This is the default tree that appears when agents click “Open Script”. (You should always have a default tree.)
Hide Integration Setup Info: When you are setting up Agent Scripting for the first time, you may need some information about your Zendesk setup to take advantage of automatically updating ticket fields. An “Integration Setup Info” link appears by default when you first install the app, and ticking this option hides it.
Match Tree Tags to Zendesk Brand: If this option is checked, the subdomain of the selected brand will be matched to a Zingtree tree tag. Any matching tree or trees will appear. For example, if the brand subdomain is xyz.zendesk.com, any trees tagged as xyz (using the Zingtree Settings tool) will appear.
Match Tree Tags to Zendesk Ticket Tags: If checked, the values in the Zendesk ticket tags will be matched with your Zingtree tree tags (set via the Zingtree Settings tool) to show one or more matching scripts.
Match Tree Tags to values in a Custom field: If you want to use a custom field value to show matching scripts, enter the Zendesk custom field identifier here. The field name can be found using the Integration Setup Info link that first appears in the sidebar when you install the app.
Zingtree API key: Each organization in Zingtree has an API key, which is used to match scripts. If you’re using one of the tag matching options, this is required. Your API key can be found at zingtree.com under Help, API.
Enabling Automatic Script Selection
Automatic Script Selection works by matching tree tags you set in Zingtree to values in the Brand, Tags, or a custom field in a Zendesk ticket. For example, if a tree is tagged with “astrology”, and the ticket tags include “astrology”, then that tree appears. If several trees match, then they will all appear, and the agent can choose one.
To open a script based upon Brand:
Add tags to your trees for each brand you want to match. So if one of your brands is xyz.zendesk.com, use xyz as a tree tag in Zingtree for all the trees you want to show.
Make sure Match Tree Tags to Zendesk Brand is checked in the App Configuration.
To open a script based upon Zendesk ticket tags:
Add tags to your trees for each tag you want to match. So if one of your ticket tag possibilities is “billing”, use billing as a tree tag in Zingtree for all the trees you want to show.
Make sure Match Tree Tags to Zendesk Ticket Tags is checked in the App Configuration.
To open a script based upon a custom field:
Add tags to your trees for each possible custom field value you want to match. So if one of your custom field values is “billing”, use billing as a tree tag in Zingtree for all the trees you want to show.
Make sure the proper Zendesk field variable name is entered for Match Tree Tags to values in a Custom Field is checked in the App Configuration.
Adding tags to a tree in Zingtree is done like this:
Select a tree from My Trees.
Go to the Settings tool.
Enter or select a tag from the Tags field.
Click Update Settings.
How to Configure to Update Ticket Fields
As agents navigate through your trees, their use of the decision tree scripts you create can automatically update any custom fields in that ticket. This can be done in two ways:
By clicking a button in a script
By entering data into Zingtree data entry fields.
The key is to use variable names in your Zingtree that match the ones used in Zendesk.
First of all, determine the names of the variables in Zendesk by clicking the Integration Setup Info link in the Agent Scripting app. You’ll see something like this:
You’ll see the label for the field as it appears in Zendesk’s ticket form, and the Zendesk variable next to it. In the above example, the Product custom field variable is custom_field_22899289. This is a drop-down selector, and the Zendesk values for the field options are astrology and insurance.
For the rest of this example, we’ll use custom_field_22899289as the custom field variable.
To make a button selection update a custom field, you’ll set it up in your Zingtree as follows:
Go to the Overview tool, and edit the node whose button selections will update the ticket.
Click Edit Buttons (or Add Buttons if you don’t have any buttons defined). The button editor appears:
Make sure Assign Button Click Variable is checked. This makes the other options appear.
For the Button Click Variable, enter your custom field variable from Zendesk (custom_field_22899289 in the example).
For each button option, enter the value of the variable under Score/Value. If this is a drop-down list in your Zendesk ticket, you’ll need to make sure the Score/Value entered matches one of the drop-down option values as shown in the Integration Setup Info.
Click Save Changes when you’re done configuring buttons.
Bonus: Adding Tags via button clicks:
Button clicks can also add tags to a ticket. In the above example, clicking Something Else adds the tag other_tag to the ticket. Just include the tag name with two colons after the button text. So entering a button like Something Else::other_tag will add the tag other_tag to the ticket if this is clicked, but agents will only see Something Else as an option.
Using Zingtree Data Entry Fields to Update Tickets
Just like the above example, you can also use Zingtree for data entry, and have that data automatically transferred to your ticket. The key is to use the same variable name in Zingtree as you used in Zendesk. The Integration Setup Info link in the sidebar will give you those Zendesk variable names.
Example: If you have a text entry field in Zingtree you want to update into the Zendesk field custom_field_1234, you would set up the variable name as follows:
Try It with Example Data
You can use trees from the Zingtree Gallery to see how the Agent Scripting app works.
For a single tree, enter ’14’ as the Tree ID. This will show an Astrology website troubleshooter example.
For multiple trees, see how a tree can be selected by tag by doing the following:
Enter 6a103737e44e4aa6e1e4b6b0bcb46f83 as the API key.
Make sure Match Tree Tags to Zendesk Ticket Tagsis checked.
Try entering one or more of these tags into a ticket: “zingtree”, “astrology”, “pet_rock”.
Our decision trees and agent scripts are hitting the road! The Zendesk Relate 2017 event hits New York City on October 23 – 25. As an official sponsor of the conference this year, we’re feeling a little extra excitement to be feet-on-the-ground with people and organizations that use Zendesk every day.
Here’s a little more about the event this year:
Relate by Zendesk is home to a diverse selection of expert content and deep thoughts from Zendesk. It connects the business side of what Zendesk does—create software for improving customer interactions—to the more general human desire for better relationships.
Zendesk is a platform built with ease of customer support and relationship-building in mind. Good communication means everything where customer interactions are concerned – no matter which industry you may be a part of.
The Relate Live conference series is designed to help businesses and entrepreneurs explore the complicated nature of customer relationships. It’s packed with training workshops, breakout sessions, and thought-provoking keynotes by industry leaders. Plus, there are wicked cool networking events.
Past presenters include Dr. Heidi Grant-Halvorson, author of No One Understands You and What to Do About It, Jon Ronson, writer of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, and Davy Rothbart from This American Life.
As a company with Zendesk app solutions for streamlining customer support and improving agent-based communications, we can’t wait to meet other organizations looking into improving their own support strategies.
Will you be there? Come visit us at the Startup Pavilion.
Having exceptional customer service isn’t reserved for typical B2C companies. In such a tumultuous and often scary industry (for consumers, at least), insurance companies and agents must also take a close look at how their customers are perceiving the assistance they are getting. Understanding is also a huge part of this customer experience. Why? Because insurance is complicated.
Improving Insurance Call with Decision Tree Scripts
For many insurance companies, automation is an angle that’s gaining traction for providing more streamlined and consistent customer service. Our partnership with EasyInsuranceScripts.com is a great example of how decision trees are being used to simplify.
Simply put, Ted Baker, the Founder of EasyInsuranceScripts.com, envisioned a more streamlined way to improve how independent insurance agents were being trained, guided through complicated conversations and policy selections, and processing claims. In an industry with so many small, yet important, details to be understood, these conversations and processes can become intimidating very quickly.
With our own knowledge and experience in simplifying the complex, we knew decision trees would be an ideal fit. Joining forces between Zingtree and EasyInsuranceScripts.com has allowed Ted’s services to offer the most comprehensive set of resources for independent insurance agents as a result.
“It’s amazing that I’m able to automate all of this for independent insurers,” says Ted. “For me, the ROI of decision trees is immediate. Introducing standardized decision tree scripts for insurance has allowed the insurers in my network to really thrive. With scripts for guiding conversations, interactive trees to train new agents, and the reporting that comes along with it, agents are able to provide a better customer experience that’s consistent and informative.“
Hard Numbers: Where the Data Fits In
While each insurance agent or organization may have varying experiences, industry knowledge is key in understanding how much this kind of customer service and care matters for insurance. McKinsey recently published an article on how focusing on improving customer experience has a direct effect on growth and profit in the insurance industry:
McKinsey’s global research across industries shows that improving the customer experience can do far more to drive profitable growth than raising advertising spending or lowering prices. Some executives may still see insurance as a low-engagement, disintermediated category, but analytics prove that in an industry where profits are highly concentrated, leading carriers are delivering customer experiences that inspire loyalty and attract new customers frustrated by their experiences with their current carriers.
Here’s a handy chart that helps to summarize how insurers must improve the customer journey:
A typical insurance carrier today delivers customer experiences via separate functions (marketing, distribution, underwriting, claims), using a website, sales call center, service department, and so on, most managed by different executives with different goals and metrics. This structure may have its purposes, but it overlooks the fact that from the customer perspective, the experience is often a single journey.
Real-World Example: Decision Tree for Insurance
Here’s a sample tree, derived from one of the Easy Insurance Scripts trees:
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.
In order to make decision trees that can help solve real-world problems, sometimes you need the ability to do more than just choose a path based upon a finite set of choices. For these reasons, we’ve introduced Logic Nodes into Zingtree.
In addition, we’ve found that many of our customer’s integrations are passing data variables into Zingtree, and there are situations where they would like to act on the value of those variables. Logic Nodes make this easy.
If you’re an existing Zingtree author, Logic Nodes replace Scoring Nodes from previous versions. Any tree that is using Scoring Nodes is automatically migrated to this new system, without losing any functionality or you having to do any updating of your trees.
Here’s How Logic Nodes Work
When you edit or create a Logic Node, you’ll see something like this:
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. You can also assign a default node to jump to in case no rules apply.
In the example above, if the variable fruit equals banana, then Zingtree will open node #8, the “Banana” node. If fruit is watermelon, then the default “Something Else” node opens.
Variables can be numeric or text, and the comparisons work for either data type. You can bring variables into your trees in several ways:
Note: Your choice of variables is shown in a drop-down list. If Zingtree hasn’t encountered a variable yet in one of the above scenarios, then it won’t appear as an option.
When editing your Logic Nodes, you can edit your rules as follows:
Reorder rules by dragging them up and down with this tool:
Delete a rule by clicking on this:
Select any existing variable from the Variables drop-down.
Select an operator (=, ≠, <, >, ≤, ≥ ).
Enter a value to perform the test upon.
You must also enter a default node to jump to if no conditions are met.
Zingtree Logic Nodes give your decision trees a bonus option for adding extra intelligence to your processes and troubleshooters. Do you have a cool application for Logic Nodes you’d like to share with us? Reach out and tell us your story!
This article was originally published on May 8, 2017.