Monthly Archives: August 2018

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 a 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 whiteboard-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. 

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 trees within the Gallery to check out even more.

How to Import from Spreadsheets

You can also use Google Sheets or Excel to begin building your decision tree in a spreadsheet format, then importing it into your Zingtree account to customize, clean up, and publish. You’ll need to first learn more about the specific rules in place for starting the formation of your decision tree in a spreadsheet. 

Here’s how our example tree used in the tutorials appears in Google Sheets:

Here’s how our example tree used in the tutorials appears in Excel:

Once your decision tree content is looking and feeling well fleshed-out, you can easily import the file from Google Sheets or Excel into Zingtree to refine further before making it live. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. In your spreadsheet, select the entire range of cells for your tree, and copy to the clipboard (Ctrl+C or Cmd+C).
  2. In Zingtree, go to the Import via Copy and Paste tool

  3. Choose Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets as the source, depending on what you used to set up.
  4. Enter a name for your decision tree.
  5. Paste the data copied from step 1 into the data area. (Use Ctrl+V or Cmd+V).
  6. Click Import and Create Tree.

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, and has been updated to include new creation methods. 

Generating Custom Documents Using Document Nodes

Updated August 19, 2018, with PDF Generation option.

We’ve had several requests to create a final, single page document based upon answers to decision tree questions. Zingtree’s Document Nodes makes this powerful document generation capability a reality.

With the help of Document Nodes, you can now complete tasks like:

  • Making custom sales brochures.
  • Building legal agreements.
  • Generating purchase orders.
  • Creating evaluations and assessments.

For a simple example, examine the What Computing Device Do I Need? decision tree from the Zingtree Gallery.

You can also provide PDF files as a download option, or as a link to include in an email.

This companion video illustrates how document nodes work, and how to create and edit them:

Document Nodes Overview

Document Nodes display the content from one or more content nodes on a single page, based upon variables and values. Variables can be from one of these sources:

  • Data Entry field values.
  • Scoring variables from button clicks.
  • Variables set from Data Entry field list boxes or radio buttons.
  • Variables introduced from calls to Webhooks.
  • Merge Variables passed into the session.

Here’s how it looks in the Document Node editor:

Building a Tree to Generate a Document

To build a decision tree that generates a document based on answers selected, we recommend these steps:

  1. Create your question nodes, and assign Button Click Variables to important responses.
  2. Create content nodes (with no button options) for all of the possible snippets of content you’ll want to show in the final document.
  3. Create a document node that pulls everything together.

Set Up: How to Create a Document Node

Here’s how to create a fully-functional Document Node, step-by-step:

  1. From Overview, click Add Node.
  2. Select New Document Node.
  3. Add the pieces of content you want to serve to your end-users.

Each piece of content is set up like the image shown below. In this example, if the variable phone_calls equals “Yes”, we add the contents of node #6 to the final document.

Using the Document Node Editor

Drag this to reorder the content:

Click this to delete the content from the document node:

Pick a variable to test:

Pick an operation:

Pick a value to test against:

Edit the contents of the included node:

Show the contents of the included node:

Try the Document Node editor with a demo page here.

Hint: Once the content a node is inserted in the document, it won’t be re-inserted again.

Continuing On After Creating a Document

You can add a “Next” button to the bottom of the document node, and have the end-user continue on to another node after viewing the generated document. Just configure your document node like you see here:

Debugging Tip

Use a node that shows your variables while you are testing. The What Computing Devices do I Need example tree uses Node #10 as an ending piece in the Document Node so you can see the value of all of your variables.

Making PDF Versions Available

You can provide PDF versions of a generated document in two ways:

  • As a “Download PDF” button when the document node appears.
  • As a document URL, uploaded to the Zingtree servers.

Please note that any PDF file generated is charged to you at $0.01 USD per 500 Kb.

Download PDF button option

Here’s how a document node can appear with a “Download PDF” button:

This can be configured in the Document Node editor like this:


PDF URL option

The other option is to have Zingtree generate a PDF file, upload it to a server, and create a link to the PDF as a Zingtree variable. Here’s how that’s set up in the Document Node editor:

You need to do these three steps:

  1. Select Generate PDF File and Continue.
  2. Enter a PDF URL variable. This variable will contain the URL for your PDF file.
  3. Select a node to go to once the PDF has been generated.

In the above example, the variable pdf_url will contain the URL of the PDF file generated by this document node. See this article to learn how to make links in emails or content nodes to a PDF document URL.

Note that in this setup, the end-user will not see their document node until they open the PDF URL.

PDF hint: Pagination

If you want to force a page break, add ##PDF Page## anywhere in the content area of a node.

Live Example

The What Computing Devices do I Need tree demonstrates a simple tree with a Document Node at the end.  This tree helps an end-user decide whether they need a phone, tablet or desktop PC, based on the answers to some questions.

Have any questions, comments, or suggestions on this feature? Talk to us on live chat or by email!

This article was originally published on November 29, 2016, and updated on August 19, 2018.

Decision Trees that Send Notifications via Text Message, Email or Slack

notifications from zingtree

A lot of business processes can be enhanced by sending notifications to people when certain stages are reached. For example, the Zingtree Task Manager makes it easy to notify key stakeholders when a process reaches a certain point, and if they need to act upon it. Notifications are simple messages that can be triggered from any node in your decision tree.

You have these options:

  • Text Messages: You’ll receive a simple SMS message to your mobile phone.
  • Emails: A simple, text email message.
  • Slack: Send a message to any of your Slack channels.

Notifications can be sent to one or more people and can include variables gathered during your Zingtree session.

How to Add Notifications

Text messages, Emails, and Slack Notifications are available via Account > My Apps:

Here’s how to add a notification:

  1. From Account, My Apps, pick from Slack, Text Message or Email notification.
  2. Add information about the notification. Text messages notifications look like this:Email notifications like this:Slack notifications let you select a channel to post to, like this:

    Once you’ve added a notification to your organization, you can attach it to any node.

  3. Edit the node where you want to send the notification from.
  4. Click the Apps/Webhooks tab, and then Add App/Webhook.

  5. Pick the notification you added previously, and enter the message to send. In this example, we’ll choose a Slack notification, and send a message about a new blog post.

    Notice that the message above contains a variable #task_name#. You can include any variables from the Zingtree session in notification messages.

  6. Click Save Changes when done.

You can add several notifications to a node; so, for example, you could send a text message and an email all at once.

Do you have a cool application for using notifications? Please share, or contact us if you have questions or suggestions.

Showing Context in Decision Trees: History and Breadcrumbs

NL-header-updates3

Update August 2018: You can now include History or Breadcrumbs in embedded trees.

When using a Zingtree, have you ever thought how nice it would be to see some more context of where you are in the tree? Or the steps it took to get to where you are? Come and discover Zingtree’s two contextual publishing options: History and Breadcrumbs.

History allows you to see every step you took while using the tree:

Breadcrumbs show the sequence of node titles that appeared throughout your journey through the tree:

With both options, you can click on a link and travel back to any previous node in your journey. Visit the Zingtree Gallery and see for yourself what your end-users will experience.

How to Add History or Breadcrumbs

The Publishing Links tool makes it easy to add History or Breadcrumbs to your published trees. This works for both Hosted and Embedded trees.

  1. Go to the Publishing Links tool.
  2. Click Advanced Hosting Options underneath Hosted or Embedded.
  3. Select Show History or Show Breadcrumbs from the Path Options:

  4. Use the URL or embed code provided to add the option to your published tree.

Advanced Stuff: Modifying URLs Directly

You can also modify the URL for your published trees to add history or breadcrumbs.

For hosted trees:

  • Add &show_history=1 or &show_breadcrumbs=1 to the URL for the tree.

For embedded trees:

  • Add &embed_history=1 or &embed_breadcrumbs=1 to the iFrame URL.


Enjoy your history and breadcrumbs, and let us know what you think!

This article was originally published on October 23, 2015, and has been updated to reflect recent updates. 

How Do You Measure Success in BPO Call Centers?

BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) is an industry experiencing rapid growth, with predictions that it’ll reach $3 billion in the next few years. Rather than host a call center in-house, a BPO can take over many tasks for larger organizations, at a fraction of the cost. BPO’s allow for organizations with call centers to be more flexible, available, and more.

While there are many advantages for businesses, a BPO call center needs to perform a few key functions, like fast onboarding, agent monitoring, and data measuring, in order to truly be effective. BPO call centers using Zingtree experience the benefit of rapid training and onboarding of new agents, a consistent customer experience, active performance tracking, and analytics and reports that help to identify success and failure points. But, what else should an outsourced call center be keeping in mind?

A recent article from Call Centre Helper dives into the four critical measurements that should be monitored and analyzed consistently in order to determine the effectiveness of a BPO call center.

1. Service Level

As any contact center manager knows, service level is a metric composed of a pair of numbers: a percentage value and a time value in seconds. While many BPOs adopt an 80/20 service level (as somewhat of an industry standard), a Folono post on finding the right service level suggests that management should think otherwise.

2. Agent Turnover

Statistics show agent attrition rates can be as high as 20–30% annually. While the outsourced contact center can reduce agent turnover (by virtue of customer service representatives being able to work from home), it’s nonetheless important for managers to keep an eye on attrition rates. Since agents are on the front lines interacting with customers, it’s also important for managers to consider the ways agents will represent the company, motivate other agents, and regularly strive to improve their performance.

3. Performance

Getting agents to address a particular area of weakness (e.g., script compliance, product knowledge, etc.) is one thing. But the question is: How can BPOs motivate agent teams to improve their performance on an ongoing basis? A big part of this comes down to managers growing and supporting the team over time, helping them to cultivate skills, identify and execute professional development opportunities, and more.

4. Process Adherence

Today’s customers are busy and, when they encounter problems, they want them resolved quickly. So what can BPOs do to ensure that agents are handling customer concerns as swiftly and efficiently as possible? It all comes down to process.

 

Read the rest of the article on Call Centre Helper’s website here.

When you consider these key success measurements, customers will receive the best experience possible and agents will see marked improvements in performance. Companies and BPO call centers using Zingtree decision trees, agent scripts, and interactive process guides have seen a dramatically positive shift in training, onboarding, performance, and improving key call center metrics.

Ready to get more from your call center BPO? Sign up or log in and build your first interactive call center agent script!

 

Decision Trees for Business Processes – The Zingtree Task Manager Tool

Business Process Management with Zingtree

Overview

One of the more common, interesting uses for interactive decision trees is as an online task management tool for streamlining recurring business processes. These are standardized workflows that have a series of repeatable steps, which may need to involve handoffs to different people on a team or even in another department. For example, your company may have an approval process for:

  • making purchases
  • approving project budgets
  • hiring or firing employees
  • creating blog posts (like this one!)
  • and any other repetitive tasks or processes your business uses

The Zingtree Task Manager is a dashboard for guiding your coworkers through decision-tree-based processes created using the Zingtree tools.  This makes it easy for everyone to be held accountable, and to follow standard operating procedures.

Here’s a diagram of a simple purchasing process:

In this case, if the item is under $100, then the request is approved automatically. Otherwise, a manager needs to approve the order.

Set Up

Creating your first business process with interactive decision trees is not complicated. It involves these steps:

  1. Enter your “agents” – the people who act upon your processes – and assign them to groups.
  2. Create a decision tree, and assign each node (step of the process) to one of your Agent Groups.
  3. Assign your tree(s) to various Agent Groups. Only people in those groups will be allowed to start or kill a project.

This article has full details on how to set up your first business process.

The Task Manager

The Zingtree Task Manager was built with full-team functionality in mind. Anyone involved in a work process can use standardized decision tree workflows to navigate through the procedure. Certain steps can only be completed by specific people, and once you reach a step where it’s no longer your responsibility, that task is assigned to someone else.

This article has a video and full reference for the Zingtree Task Manager.

For example, in the procurement process diagrammed above, an employee creates the purchase request and a manager approves or declines it if over $100.

Here’s how the Task Manager could appear for an individual:

When someone Takes or Resumes a task, it looks like this:

Groups

Each person involved in a process (an “agent”) can belong to one or more groups. You can configure people and groups via Account > My Agents. So for example, a small team with two employees and one manager is set up like this:

Note that “Bill Zing” belongs to both the manager and employee groups.

When creating your process trees, you can tag each tree with the groups that are allowed to start the process.

Assigning Steps in the Process using Tags

Each node of your business process tree needs to include the Agent Group(s) allowed to act on that step of the process. You can see how our procurement process tree’s groups (outlined in red) are set up here:

 

The initial request step (node #1) is tagged with “employee”, so only people in the employee group can initiate a request. Node #6 – the Manager approval step – is tagged as “manager”, so only a manager can approve the purchase.

Assigning Agent Groups to a node is done using the Groups tab when editing a node. Here’s how node #1 is set up for an employee group:

 

Project Status: Success, Failure or In-Progress

At the end of a workflow, a project is either successful or a failure. When building your process tree, you can assign a result to each node in the node editor – like this:

Once a node is reached with a success or failure result, the process has ended.

Notifications

A notification can be sent when any node (process step) is reached so that the next person can be alerted and step in for their task. Notifications can be sent in a few different ways, including:

  • A text message
  • A simple email notification
  • A Slack notification
  • A customized email (using an email node)

Task Manager Operations

Your agents – people involved in your processes – can perform the following operations on each task:

  • Start: Begin a new task, and assign it a name.
  • Take: Take over the next step of a task. Only one person at a time can move a task to the next step.
  • Release: Release a task so another person can complete the step.
  • Resume: Continue with a task that you have previously taken.
  • Revisit: Go back to a previous step in the task you have permissions to act upon.
  • Reclaim: Take back a task from someone who has taken it.
  • Kill: End a task early, without following all the steps to completion.

Go here for a full reference on the Task Manager


Got questions about using Zingtree for streamlining your repetitive business processes? Reach out to our team!

Using Zingtree’s Task Manager for Your Business Processes

Business Process Management with Zingtree

Once you’ve been set up as an “agent”, you can log in and start using the Zingtree Task Manager. You can easily check for tasks that are awaiting your action, see other tasks of interest and revisit them.

Watch this video for a quick two-minute tour of Task Manager basics:

This video shows more advanced operations:

 

Task Manager Test Drive

Want to use Task Manager just like a real person?

Try a working version of the Task Manager here.

Operations Reference

Click on any operation below to learn how it works:

Opening the Task Manager

To start, open the task manager and log in from here.

The task manager appears like this:

Starting a New Project

  1. From Task Manager, click Start a New Project.

  2. Click the Start button next to a business process workflow. The Start New Project screen appears:

  3. Give the project a name, and click Start New Project.

You can now click through your task steps in the project.

Taking or Resuming a Task

The task manager shows you tasks which require your attention, under My Tasks Needing Action.

Click Take It to act upon the task. If you’ve already taken a task, you can click Resume to continue the task you’ve taken.

Releasing a Task

If you’ve previously taken a task, but now you want to let someone else in your group act upon it, you can Release it. In the above example, if you click Resume, your task screen will have the option to release the task via the orange Release Task button in the upper right:

Reclaiming a Task

If someone else has taken a task, and you want to act upon it and override them, you can use the Reclaim option. Here’s how to do it:

From Other Projects in Progress, click the info button to the right:

This opens the project info pop-over:

Click the Reclaim button to give yourself access to this task.

Killing a Project

Sometimes a task will get started, and it turned out to be a bad idea. Using the same process as above, you can click the red Kill button to kill a project.

Killed projects will appear under the Completed Projects tab in Task Manager.

Revisiting a Task

There may be times when you want to go back to a previous step in a project. For example, in the PC Purchase project, the manager may have declined a purchase and then changed her mind.

When a task is opened, the Task Progress accordion shows the steps taken previously. Click the brown Revisit button next to a step to go back to that part of the business process workflow.

Viewing the History of the Project

The Task Progress accordion also shows each step in the project, who acted upon it, and when (see above). You can get even more history by selecting Show Click Detail at the bottom of the Task progress area. This shows you EVERY operation on the project, not just the summary.

See more about our online task management tool for streamlining business processes

How to Setup Zingtree Decision Trees for Business Processes

Business Process Management with Zingtree

Getting your organization ready to use business process decision trees via the Zingtree Task Manager is relatively simple.

Here’s an overview of the process:

  1. Setup your organization to use the Task Manager.
  2. Create your “agents”, and assign them to one or more Agent Groups.
  3. Create your decision trees for the workflows your agents will follow.
  4. Assign decision trees to your Agent Groups.
  5. Assign the steps in your workflows to your Agent Groups.
  6. End the workflows with Success or Failure.

Setting Up Agents and Task Manager

To enable your organization top use Task Manager, start by going to Account > My Agents. Select Task Manager for agent logins, like this:

Next, you’ll need to add agent logins – one for each person who will be using the system. Click Add One New Agent, the enter the agent’s name, a login (usually their email), a password, and what groups they are assigned to, like this:

The groups will be used later to determine who is allowed to act on each step of the workflow. In the above example, Joe Smith is assigned to the employee group.

Assigning Decision Trees for Agent Groups

Each tree you create can be assigned to one or more groups. Any agent in the assigned group can start a new project using that tree as a business process workflow. This is done via the Settings tool.

For example, if we want Joe Smith to be able to run a procurement process decision tree, we would assign that tree to the employee group, as follows:

  1. Select the tree from My Trees.
  2. Open the Settings tool.
  3. Under the Groups tab, enter the group or groups to assign to this tree.

Here we entered the employee group:

Be sure to click Update All Settings when finished!

Assigning Nodes to Agent groups

Each step in the business process workflow corresponds to a node in your decision tree. And just like trees, you can assign nodes to agent groups. This has the effect that only agents in that group can act upon a specific node.

Here’s how to assign a group or groups to a node:

  1. Edit the node.
  2. Go to the Groups tab, and enter the group or groups that are allowed to act on this node.

It will look like this:

Click Save Changes when finished.

Now, repeat this for the other nodes in your tree.

Setting Endpoints

A project ends when you reach a node that has a “success” or “failure” result on it. You can set the result of the node as follows:

  1. Edit the node.
  2. Set the Result to Success or Failure, from here:

Handy Tips

Tip #1: The name of the current task can be used as a variable in your tree. Just enter #task_name# where you want the name of the task to appear.

Tip #2: You can see the results and the groups for every node in a tree from the Simple Overview tool. Here’s a procurement tree with the Results and Groups highlighted:

Tip #3: For all your trees, you can see the Agent Groups allowed to start a project via My Trees. Like this:

See more about our online task management tool for streamlining business processes