Monthly Archives: April 2018

How Decision Trees for Insurance Can Simplify Policies & Procedures

decision trees for insurance

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:

 

 

Have any questions? You can learn more about how to simplify insurance products and processes on our site or feel free to reach out directly.

This article was originally published on October 13, 2017.

How to Pick the Best Live Chat Solution

We’re huge fans of live chat – at Zingtree, it has been a terrific way for us to get to know our customers and their needs. Not only is live chat proven to be the most sought-after way to contact a company, it also is a sound way to respond to site visitors and potential customers in a quicker and more personalized way. With many viable solutions out on the market, it can be difficult to narrow down your options to find the best possible one for your use case. For Zingtree, Intercom chat has been a gamechanger (you can read all about how we use Intercom and what it’s best features are here).

To nudge companies in the right direction, Practical eCommerce came up with a list of live chat features that should always be at the top of the list. Here’s just a sampling of their article that we thoroughly enjoyed:

Phone, email, and web support still rank as important when it comes to instilling trust. But the presence of live chat exceeds them all — even if shoppers don’t use it. Compared to other methods of communication, 92 percent of consumers prefer communicating via live chat. Roughly 80 percent prefer communicating via social networks.

Via MarTech

Here’s why live chat appeals to shoppers.

  • Quicker than any other method.
  • Allows visitors to multitask.
  • Instills trust.
  • Helps reduce the language barrier.
  • Can be implemented proactively.

The list that Practical eCommerce included is a great checklist to keep in mind when shopping around for a live chat support tool. From the complete list, we hand-picked some of the top live chat features you need to look out for:

  1. Canned responses
  2. Knowledge base or frequently-ask-questions integration
  3. File upload support
  4. Support and agent ratings
  5. Visitor tracking
  6. Chat tags and keywords
  7. Analytics integration

Self-service support is hugely popular among the majority of consumers – the ability to integrate with knowledge base customer support tools, like interactive decision trees, tutorials, and FAQs, is the perfect way to streamline support efforts and link online support systems together better. We use it ourselves to make sure that our support presence is simple, straightforward, and always helpful. Whenever customer data is collected through a decision tree form, this information can be stored and sent directly to the live chat window in order to fill in information gaps, as well as give you a better understanding of who you are talking to and what issues they are dealing with.

Keep reading on the Practical eCommerce blog for the rest of their recommended live chat implementation features, and get in touch with us to talk about how to get the most from your live chat and knowledge base integration.

5 Essential Customer Support Tools That We Love

customer support tools

As a B2B company, we’re no strangers to providing service and finding customer support tools that can improve how we identify issues, stay in contact, and share important information with those who need it within the company. As it’s well known in any industry out there, poor customer service experiences really do stay with the customer, and they can essentially erase all of the hard work and effort it took to get them in the door in the first place.

A recent survey reports that customer service is the number one priority for small business owners, and we at Zingtree are no exception. We’ve experimented over the years with the best ways to help combat support issues that can lead to even more damaging, long-term problems and promote better understanding, access, and customer experience.

Below are 5 incredible customer support tools that every support team can easily master, leading to more efficiency, streamlined communication, and happier customers.

1. Intercom

Perfect for: being more available to your customers 

Intercom has a complete suite of messaging-first products that all modern internet businesses can use to accelerate growth across the customer lifecycle — covering acquisition, engagement, and support. In essence, Intercom offers an all-in-one communication platform for live chat, email support, targeted messages, and more. We use Intercom for all of these great uses, which helps us stay connected with our customers as they are on our website, and set up automated emails for specific segmented customers to deliver tailored content.

Some of Intercom’s best features include:

  • An operator bot that can send qualified responses to customers in live chat when you’re away.
  • A flexible API so you can customize with integrations, keep everything in sync, and aggregate data more easily.

Here’s more information on how Intercom and Zingtree work together for even more customer support power. 

2. Basecamp

Perfect for: organizing internal teams and projects

Basecamp is a real-time project management system and team communication platform rolled up into one nice package. Used primarily for resource planning and long-term scheduling, it has awesome features for teams to keep track of project priorities. Whenever we get a new feature request, we log this straight into Basecamp, along with the contact info of the customer; and, as we do updates, we also use the platform to notify every customer who requested the feature. Not only does this process breed loyalty, but Basecamp makes it easy for us to log and organize all of our feature requests. We keep a continually evolving roadmap of what to do next, and it’s 99% customer driven.

Some of Basecamp’s best features include:

  • A full schedule display to see every to-do, timeline, and deadline in a calendar format.
  • The ability to forward important emails from your inbox straight to your account, where it can be discussed and specifications can be laid out.

3. Reply (by Buffer)

Perfect for: social media listening and support

Reply by Buffer is a fabulous tool that displays your tweets in what they refer to as “a real-time tweet inbox” that lets you streamline social media conversations in one centralized location, and then assign tasks and respond. While they boast the ability to connect social messages from Facebook and Instagram as well, we’ve primarily used it to keep things moving on our Twitter account – a real lifesaver when you’re working with someone on an issue or question.

Some of Reply’s best features include:

  • Automatically identifies any past conversations you’ve had with a user, so you never forget a detail.
  • GIF, image, and emoji support to keep things light and provide more context when needed.

4. Zingtree

Perfect for: building out the ideal knowledge base

Our very own Zingtree toolkit is also a powerful customer support tool to add to the list. Providing a fully-interactive environment for guiding customers through troubleshooters, FAQs, product support, process guides, and more in a simplified way, it’s perfect for support teams in companies of all sizes. There’s no technical know-how or coding required to get set up with using decision trees for support, and can be embedded directly into any website using just a small piece of HTML – even in emails! We use Zingtree internally to manage our knowledge base of information, as well as set up demo requests, and even provide end-to-end technical support.

Some of Zingtree’s best features include:

  • Robust integrations with email, live chat, CRM, and Helpdesk systems like Zendesk, Salesforce, and others.
  • Collecting data, feedback, and other key information from customers to streamline the support process.
  • Analytics and reports that can help track the performance of a decision tree, examine traffic patterns, point out demographic data, and more.

Here’s more information on how Zingtree integrates with other customer support tools like Zendesk, Salesforce, and more. 

5. Calendly

Perfect for: simple and straightforward scheduling 

Calendly is your source for ending the dreaded email tag loop, allowing you to share availability for meetings or appointments of any kind just with a quick link. Our business revolves around building relationships; we want to make sure each potential user knows how to extract the most out of Zingtree, and to get their implementation questions answered before they really start building decision trees. By automating the scheduling of meetings and demos, we save a lot of time in back-and-forth, get to know customers well, gather up great ideas by talking to people, as well as receive fewer support requests in the long run.

Calendly is integrated into our “Request a Demo” decision tree, which gathers information from our clients. In our calendar, we get a nice summary from the Zingtree session of what each prospective customer is looking for, which helps us set up the most relevant demo beforehand.

Some of Calendly’s best features include:

  • Integrates with most major calendar services, like Google Outlook, Office 365, and iCloud.
  • Detects which time zone a user/invitee is in and presents them with the correct one.

Here’s more information on how Calendly and Zingtree work together to create a more seamless user experience. 

 

Check out some of our other great posts around improving customer support:

 

Any questions on getting started with Zingtree customer support tools for your business? Get in touch with us!

Decision Tree Creator: How to Make Great Interactive Knowledge Bases

Decision Tree Creator

For businesses in fields like eCommerce, technology, and insurance, building your own decision tree creator from scratch is costly and time-consuming. That’s why we created Zingtree, so non-technical people can build and maintain their own custom interactive decision trees to function as troubleshooters, call center scripts, product finders, interactive flowcharts, lead qualifiers, process flows, or other procedure-based knowledge. Managing this type of interactive content doesn’t require a developer or extensive technical know-how.

It’s helpful to understand what makes a well-designed decision tree. At Zingtree, we define a well-built decision tree as being:

  • Informative
  • Engaging
  • Visual
  • Intuitive
  • Useful
  • Concise

Zingtree is the leading decision tree creator tool, making the process of building, customizing, and deploying guided decision trees super simple. That being said, there are some general rules and best practices to keep in mind when using our decision tree creator.

1. Have a purpose, and define it well.

Every great project begins with a solid goal, and your decision tree is no exception. Using a decision tree creator without realizing the purpose of putting one together is an aimless task that can leave you confused and your decision tree over-complicated; it’s very important to lay out WHY you are creating the tree in the first place.

Are you trying to simplify an internal business process to promote best practices?

Are you revamping your whole customer support knowledge base system?

Do you need a platform for gathering key customer or client feedback?

These are all credible use cases that can require different specifics to be added into your decision tree, so it’s always good to figure this out first. For instance, an organization that is setting up an interactive knowledge base would need to consider how to link different decision trees together (using master trees), while one that is focusing on troubleshooting complex products would need to think about where screenshots, videos or diagrams come into play.

2. Outline your questions and answers.

Once you have your purpose defined, having a basic idea of the structure of your questions and answers is a natural next step that allows you to finesse the main flow of your decision tree. Just as you would do for an upcoming press release, how-to article, or internal memo, jotting down what you need to cover first will ensure that you don’t miss any important information in the final version.

A good tip for outlining here is to not forget about visuals. Any helpful media (including video, GIFs, photos, and illustrations) can be inserted into the Zingtree decision tree creation tools in order to convey more information in less space, so keep them in mind as you write up the copy for your tree. With our decision tree creator, you can also conveniently use Excel or Google Sheets to draft up what your questions and answers will be, then import them directly into Zingtree to clean up and launch.

3. Consider color psychology.

The world doesn’t exist in black and white, and neither should your interactive decision trees. What colors you choose to use for your final decision tree really does matter to the end-user – certain shades and tones can convey certain feelings and emotions, and evoke different responses from people. For example, studies have shown that some people looking at the color red saw an increased heart rate, which leads to more adrenaline being pumped into the bloodstream. On the other hand, cooler colors like blue and purple have shown to bring on feelings of calmness.

While we hope that you’ve done some testing to figure out what your current audience thinks and feels about your own branding and color schemes already, it’s still important to mention the science behind it all. Our decision tree creator comes fully-loaded with configurable Themes, the ability to upload custom CSS, and other customizations so that you can integrate brand elements, as well as influence the thought patterns of some of your end-users using the power of color.

4. Try not to over-complicate.

The purpose of an interactive decision tree in many use cases is to make things concise, easy, and straightforward. As such, it’s important that when using a decision tree creator you do your best to keep things simple. Drafting up perfect questions and answers in your outline is a great start for this, as you can use the time to cut down on copy and simplify the text as much as possible, without losing meaning or context. The decision tree creator tool provides several foolproof ways to help out so that you don’t over-complicate things:

  • If you have a lot of sub-processes, use a Master Tree to link to separate, discrete decision trees.
  • Shorter question and answers are easier for end-users to navigate, and they also make your reports more manageable.
  • Make use of the content area to explain things. This helps to make shorter questions and answers.
  • Add in icons, images, and other types of media to help point end-users in the right direction with ease.

5. Revisit and improve over time.

One huge factor in what makes a decision tree go from “usable” to “amazingly helpful” is the use of data and feedback to go back and make it every better. Our decision tree creator makes it easy to optimize your guided experiences over time, so you continually get the most from the platform. For instance, using Logic Nodes you can quickly set up A/B tests for experimenting with different messages, flowchart structures, and other offers to see which performs the best, and then optimize accordingly. Additionally, you can get set up to receive direct feedback from end-users on how useful your decision tree is, as well as always keep track of the activity patterns of your decision trees with in-depth reports.

When you follow some of our tried-and-true rules for how to best use a decision tree creator tool, you’ll be able to produce some incredibly powerful interactive decision trees which will delight your end-users. You can always take a look at our industry pages for Retail, Insurance, Customer Support, and more to find out just exactly how the Zingtree decision tree creator will work for you, or take a look at some real-live decision trees in the decision tree example Gallery.

Any questions along the way? We’re always here to help you make the most out of Zingtree for any use case. 

February/March 2018 – Decision Tree Updates

We’re still getting a ton of great ideas from our customers, as well as the occasional “I can’t do this” message. The last couple month’s updates primarily focus on the little details that set Zingtree apart from any other solution, but there are a few new goodies as well.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Settings/Data has options to include these variables in the session: tree_id, tree_name, last_tree_id, last_tree_name (for Tal)
  • Agent Feedback option for sending agent feedback emails to a specific address, instead of all authors. (Tara)
  • Agent Alerts
  • New API call get_session_data_pure – removes “back” and “restart” clicks from session path.
  • ##library tag to load content from another node.
  • Agent Portal specific login page
  • Deleting agent feedback comments now has an option to send a message as well (Tara).
  • Kustomer integration now adds tags to nodes (Katie)
  • Added full-width textbox data entry field type (Lasse)


Some updates to existing features:

  • Reorganized Settings/Data tab area.
  • Logic Node editor now has tabs – just like content editor.
  • Added “Export to CSV” checkbox option in main reports tool page.
  • Session List report now shows lookup credits used (if any were used).
  • Session List report: If no sessions appear for DEV version, we now show a button for LIVE version reporting.
  • Session detail report now shows questions by default, not page titles.
  • Logic nodes now show variables from trees linking to and from the current tree, up to 8 levels.
  • No longer adds “score” as a score variable for Email, Link, Tree nodes
  • Tags now allow Unicode characters (Alfred G.)
  • Google sign-on now allowed for agent portal (Kwame)
  • Asks new users to confirm T&C and Privacy Policy (GDPR compliance)
  • Better color palette in node editor (Dean S.)
  • API JSON now returns in pretty-printed format for easier readability
  • Feedback comments now show in user’s timezone (Ian M.)
  • Patched security vulnerability in session tracking
  • Added session_notes to available Zapier data (Alok)
  • Hyphens now allowed in tags (Isaac W.)
  • Using Zingtree CDN for fonts (Roger A.)
  • Added tags as tag_ classes to node rendering (John H.)
  • Allows locale= parameter to be sent along in host.php to override browser’s default locale (Alok)
  • Now sends organization name into agent portal as a variable (for Ted B.)
  • Persistent buttons now spaced farther apart
  • Hosting lots of assets at assets.zingtree.com for faster browser load speed. (Roger A.)


And some fixes and performance enhancements:

  • Agent feedback messages no longer include slashes before apostrophes in the message text.
  • Organizations being paid for by another org now can enable the referral icon in Settings. (Alfred G.).
  • No longer does address verification lookups when loading tree with preloaded addresses (Jay H.).
  • Form data report now faster (Kyra).
  • Sessions List report now faster.
  • Should see fewer 504 or 524 errors on big reports since we increased the server time-out.
  • Extra spaces in list box data entry fields get removed properly (Nellie).
  • get_session_data API call would occasionally show wrong questions when a subtree was involved (Mark C.).
  • Webhooks mechanism disallows null values and arrays in return data (Daniel)
  • Centering or right aligning images in text editor now renders properly. (Chris)
  • Source list drop-down in Sessions List report no longer missing some agents (Chrissie)
  • Disabling Push Live still loaded Live tree in Agent Portal, messed up tag matching. (Alexandra R.)
  • Ill-formed taglist macros no longer cause deploying trees to hang. (Tara D.)
  • Button override colors work properly in all cases.
  • Button override class markers (like .btn.red ) no longer show in history display
  • Animated templates now wrap buttons properly in IE.
  • Importing CSV spreadsheets no longer allows variables with space characters in them (Daniel)
  • Single quotes in button click variable values now works properly (Isaac W.)
  • Dynamically generated list boxes from webhooks can now retain their previous selection after “back” is clicked (Raj P.)
  • ##treetaglist and ##taglist macros can now be properly combined in a page (Lasse)
  • get_session_data API calls now removes style prefix (i.e. .btn-red) from button text
  • JSON export no longer loses last character on occasion, output is more readable (Alfred G.)
  • Pressing BACK from root node no longer erases merge variables. (Jay H)
  • Copying trees now includes placeholders, hidden fields (Jay H.)
  • Edit node error message no longer goes to 404 page (BD)
  • Super-user with no trees now can see trees by other authors and assign themselves rights.
  • keep_vars_on_back=1 parameter no longer erases form data if a “back” was hit after first node (Jay H.)
  • Improved XSS detection so that formatted data isn’t changed (Michael B.)
  • Jumping to a tree node now keeps the form data stack properly in sync (Lazarus P.)
  • Can now update the Google Analytics account by erasing it (Josh)
  • Empty drop list data entry variables no longer throw an error.
  • Messages from overview.php now display properly.
  • Login forms ensure cookie is set and present.
  • Tree names with single quotes no longer cause browser error.
  • Clicking tree nodes in Zendesk app now updates Zendesk variables properly.
  • Patched author and agent logins to prevent CSRF attacks (logins into an unexpected account).
  • Going back over scoring nodes with a subtree jump now works properly. (Katie)
  • Now properly scrolls Thumbnails overview to last edited node.
  • Browser back button now works properly in Preview tool.
  • Alert messages with @ in them now show (introduced from security fix).
  • Agent Portal – Hides DEV version of a tree if a live version is present (Matthieu).
  • Security Fix: Prevented URLs that can change emails or passwords of logged-in users.
  • Security fix: Locked down alerts system to display validated Zingtree-generated messages only.
  • Confirmation emails now use https for verification links.
  • Wizard tutorial page now up-to-date.
  • Uses new LIVE version of Designer help (with embedded video)

Got a suggestion for us? Just chat us up.

How to Reduce Agent Turnover in Call Centers

Keeping your customers happy is only half of the battle in call centers today – making sure that your call center agents and supporting employees are happy, productive, and well-informed is another huge piece of the customer service battle. Agent turnover (also known as agent attrition) has a dramatic effect on how call centers can ultimately perform and have been a problem for decades.

Let’s say that one of your best up-and-coming agents – we’ll call her Sally – has decided to quit her role as a call center agent after about a year. The next steps of the process include some familiar actions: processing paperwork through HR, closing out payroll, and beginning the process of finding a new hire to replace her. What comes next is a series of interviews, more paperwork, and then an in-depth training period in which to get the new agent up to speed. When all is said and done, your call center has lost thousands in time, human resources, and repetitive training efforts; and, if the new hire doesn’t end up working out, you’re back at the beginning.

Tips for Lowering Agent Attrition

A recent article from Contact Center Pipeline goes into more detail on how call centers can effectively lower attrition rates: using proper recruiting techniques, investing in training programs, evaluating key metrics, and more. Here’s what the article had to say about one of the biggest factors in agent turnover – training programs:

This is one area that no company should ever try to scrimp on. Inadequate training can leave agents lacking confidence and feeling frustrated on the floor because they are ill-prepared. All employees should have substantial communications and product training before they are even allowed to talk to one of the customers of the company.

And it does not end there; managers should recognize that some agents need more intensive training compared to others. Managers should coordinate with the training department about continued customized training and coaching for each individual agent.

By personalizing the training and development of agents, you are addressing their specific needs based on their current level of competence. This way, those who need the most attention get it without holding others back.

Your agents are not the only ones who need training; your supervisors and managers should be trained as well. In fact, a lot of agent attrition can be attributed to mismanagement.

Provide your supervisors and managers with skills on how to identify the level of help needed by their agents, how to provide constructive feedback, and proper coaching skills that can elevate not only the agent’s skills but confidence as well.

Competent managers and supervisors will reduce frustration from your workforce and should inevitably reduce resignations.

Setting Up Simple to Use Process Flows and Knowledge Bases

Making it easy for your agents to follow procedures and find information goes a long way towards reducing on-the-job frustration; this is one area where Zingtree shines. By guiding agents step-by-step through processes, and eliminating unnecessary content by showing just the information needed at every step, agents will be able to follow standard operating procedures successfully, every time. Zingtree decision trees make creating these sort of process flows a snap.

Developing Training Programs That Work

Industry-wide experience shows having a consistent training program that follows industry and internal best practices is one of the most powerful ways to lower agent turnover rates. 7 out of 10 people say that training and development opportunities influence in their decision to stay with a company – why wouldn’t you want to address that with proper, consistent training?

One of the simplest ways to introduce a better training program into a call center environment is the use of interactivity for greater engagement and retention. Rather than relying on pages long PDFs that detail company processes and in-depth guidebooks for handling everyday occurrences, interactive decision trees for training cut down on the bulk of need-to-know information and presents materials in a digestible format.

Guided decision trees are quickly becoming a go-to resource for implementing easy-to-follow procedures and simulations that make training more streamlined, effective, and enjoyable. Some of the best training features found in Zingtree decision trees include:

  • Allowing employees to provide Agent Feedback on every training decision tree to involve employees in the overall process more.
  • Being able to emulate different potential scenarios to lead trainees through new or complicated learning environments.
  • Asking questions in an interview-style way, which helps to keep things moving quickly and keep employees more engaged.

 

You can read more of the Contact Center Pipeline article here, and take a closer look at how to create an interactive training program using Zingtree here. Any questions? Reach out to us anytime you need.

How to Create a Master Decision Tree

Many of our customers with large decision tree systems in place ask for guidance on how to make a “master tree” which links to individual trees for troubleshooting or other processes. This is especially helpful for organizations that use Zingtree to build and publish completely interactive FAQs. In this article, we’ll discuss how it’s done.

Building a Master Tree

Creating a Master Tree is a simple, yet powerful process that consists of two over-arching steps:

  1. Build the individual decision trees.
  2. Build a Master Tree with one node, using a “blank starter tree.”

After building your individual trees and troubleshooters, there are a couple of distinct ways to build a Master Tree. We’ve created an example Master Tree for a few of our Gallery product finders.

Method #1 – Using Tree Tag Lists

1. Use the Settings tool to add tags to the trees you want to include in the Master Tree. For this example, we added the tag “master_finder” to our product finder decision trees.

2. Create a new decision tree to act as your Master Tree.

3. In the Master Tree root node’s content area, include a tree tag list. For our example, we tagged our trees with “master_finder,” so the tree tag list looks like this:

#‌#treetaglist-any: master_finder##


Method #2 – Using Tree Nodes

1. In the Master Tree, add tree nodes for each tree to link to.

2. In the root node of the Master Tree, create a button for each tree node. This will allow an end-user or customer to quickly jump to any other relevant decision tree from the Master Tree.

Example Master Tree

Here’s a look at our Master Tree in action:

 

Want more tips? Our blog is chock-full of them. Any questions? We’re always here to help

 

This article was originally published on Nov 7, 2017, but is just as accurate as ever!