Category Archives: For Beginners

Create Decision Trees using Microsoft Excel

decision tree excel

If you’re comfortable using Microsoft Excel, you can build the first draft of your Zingtree decision trees in Excel using a spreadsheet, and then easily import them into Zingtree. Once you’ve successfully imported your tree, you can modify it and enhance it using Zingtree’s editing tools, which offer a lot more decision tree related functionality than Excel.

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

Overview

Zingtree can create decision trees from Excel, or any similarly formatted tabular source. Your spreadsheets just need to be set up in a specific way for this to work.

Start now by downloading and modifying this example .XLS file:

Download Examples for Excel

Note: This spreadsheet has two tabs: Basic and Advanced.

Here are the rules:

  1. The first row is for column headings. This is important, as it tells Zingtree what type of data is in each column. Make sure to use the column headings as described below.
  2. Column A is for the node number. Usually, this is sequential. It’s required. The heading must say “Node“.
  3. Column B is for the title of a node. Your trees will be easier to read if each node has a descriptive title. The heading must say “Title“.
  4. Column C is the question that is being asked. You can leave this blank if you want an answer node. The heading must be “Question“.
  5. Column D is for any content that appears in the content area.  This is imported as plain text, but you can add formatting, images, and videos later using the Zingtree editing tools. The heading must read “Content“.
  6. If you want to include node tags in your tree, insert a column with a heading of “Tags“. This is optional.
  7. If you are using a scoring variable for scoring button clicks, add a column headed “Score Variable“. This is optional.
  8. The last columns are for the button choices.  The heading over the first button column must be “Buttons“. You can have several columns of buttons.
  9. For the button columns, you can make them link to other nodes by adding the node number in square brackets.  In the above example, cell F2 has a button labeled “Yes” that links to node #2.  ( Yes[2]  ).
  10. If you’re using score variables for button clicks, you can include something like “+3” after the node number in brackets.  This would add 3 to the scoring variable mentioned in the Score variable column. (See the Advanced tab in the sample spreadsheet for an example.)
  11. If you want to add a comment to any node, insert a cell on the right that starts with an exclamation point character (!).

Note: Columns can be in any order, but the column headings must contain the proper text like “Node”, “Question” etc.

You can also make Link Nodes and Tree Nodes with special text in the content column:

  • Example: To make a Link Node that goes to Google, the content area looks like this (see cell D9 in the example):
    LINK: http://google.com
  • Example: To make Tree Node that opens tree ID #123456789, the content area is this (see cell D8 in the example):
    TREE: 123456789
  • Example: To make a Tree Node that opens tree ID #999999999 at node #3, the content area should be:
    TREE: 999999999,3

Once you’ve finished your tree, it needs to be exported as a TXT file. This is also known as a tab delimited CSV.

You can also just copy and paste cells from your Excel document into Zingtree. Excel copies tab delimited CSV data to the clipboard automatically.

Build Your Tree

To start, download our “what to wear” example tree, as an Excel.XLS file.

Open this file in Excel, and start modifying it.  You can use the Basic or Advanced tab – most people start with the basic option. Make sure to keep top row column headings in place. Keep questions in the question column, content in the content column, etc.

When you’re done, you can import it into Zingteee via copy and paste, or by exporting to a TXT file.

Import via Copy and Paste

This is the easiest way to bring your decision tree into Zingtree:

  1. In Excel, 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.  (You can also get there via My Trees, Create Tree, then select Import from Microsoft Excel.) A screen like this appears:

  3. Choose Microsoft Excel as the source.
  4. Enter a name for your 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.

You’ll see your new tree in the Zingtree overview.

Import via a TXT file

For larger trees, you may find it better to upload a file instead of copying and pasting. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. In Excel, go to File, Save As, and select Text (Tab Delimited) as the type.

  2. The file name will become the name of your tree. Click Save when finished.
  3. In Zingtree, go to the Import File tool. (You can also get there from My Trees, Create Tree, and then choosing Import from Excel.)

  4. If you want to overwrite an existing tree, select it via Replace Tree. Otherwise, a new tree will be created.
  5. Click Import File, and locate the file you created in steps 1 and 2.
  6. The new tree will appear in Zingtree.

Notes:

  • You can use this process to import files from any tab delimited CSV format.

Any questions? Reach out to us anytime. 

This article was originally published January 26, 2017.

Make Tests, Quizzes, Assessments & More with Zingtree’s Logic Nodes

adding-search-to-decision-trees-6

Zingtree has the ability to create what we call evaluations through the use of logic nodes. These can be interactive tests, quizzes, assessments, training simulations, or anything else that requires assigning a score to each question answered – then later acting upon the total score.

Coupled with the powerful decision tree capabilities already present in Zingtree, logic nodes opens up a whole new realm of knowledge engineering possibilities. To see a working example of an interactive decision tree quiz using logic, try this 10-question Personality Test found in the Zingtree Gallery.

Here are the basics on how to build a tree with logic nodes:

  • Add a value to each button click when designing your tree.
  • As the end-user goes through your tree, Zingtree keeps a running total of the score values of all buttons clicked.
  • When you’re ready to act upon the running total score, use a new “Logic Node”. From there, you can specify rules which redirect to specific nodes.

Want to build your own? Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: First, go to Overview > Edit Node and open up the button editor by clicking Edit Buttons. Select Score Button Clicks, and enter a Variable Name that will be used to tally scores and branch on later.

581d3092c6fe48-46396098-359664

Step 2: Next, add your desired score values to button clicks in your lead qualification decision tree.

button-scoring

Step 3: Now, add a new Logic Node using This Tree > Add Node. In the Logic Node, you can specify which node should appear next (and which to branch to) according to rules you create.

Step 4: Link the last button click of your test/quiz/assessment to this new Logic Node.

Note that the Logic Node never appears on the screen. When you direct the flow of your Zingtree to this node, it looks at the sum total of all the button click scores and redirects to the proper node.

Need to See More Examples? The Zingtree Gallery has three trees that use Scoring. You can play or examine them to see how they work. See the Logic Demos.

Bonus Tip! 
Want to display the score on a node? Just add the text #score# into the content area.

Other Notes:

  • You should make sure you are using the latest embed code or hosting URL for your tree.
  • If your end-user presses the back button, the running total score will adjust.
  • If the tree is restarted, the running total score resets to zero.

Any questions? Please reach out to us at any time

This article was originally published August, 2015.

Need a Creative Boost? Our Top Decision Tree Examples

Interactive decision trees can be incredibly powerful tools for technical support, troubleshooting, call centers, corporate procurement, purchasing and processing, scheduling, and so much more. The possibilities are endless for businesses, and even individuals, but it can often be a little difficult gathering the right inspiration to get started.

Our blog, gallery, website, and tutorials are full of decision tree examples to help you start off on the right path. In fact, we built our Gallery for exactly this purpose: To arm you with all of the tools and examples you might need. With the gallery, you can explore and examine decision trees to see how they are built for different functions, test out different themes and styles, and even duplicate existing decision trees so you don’t have to start from scratch.

We’ve hand-picked a few favorites to show just how dynamic these trees can be. Plus, we offer up some tips on customizing and personalizing decision trees to make them look and feel exactly how you want.

Great Decision Tree Examples

Basic Support Example

Click here to examine this decision tree example. 

Content Marketing Example

Click here to examine this decision tree example. 

HR Questionnaire Example

Click here to examine this decision tree example.

Personality Test Example

Click here to examine this decision tree example.

Appointment Scheduler Example

Click here to examine this decision tree example. 

Customizing Your Decision Trees

Personalizing and customizing decision trees is a fun way to inject a little character into your interactive experience. Once you’ve got those creative juices flowing, give some of these custom tweaks a try:

1. Use a Zingtree theme to mix and match different styles and colors.

2. Insert your own custom CSS to perfectly match your business or organization’s branding.

3. Add video, GIFs, and images to help support your questions, and add new visual elements to your decision trees.

4. Include icons (or even emojis) in your page titles and buttons.


Ready to get started? 

Check out the Zingtree Gallery for even more creative inspiration, and log in to work on your own. 

Must-Have Support Tools for a Successful Startup

support tools for startups

Often strapped for time and funding, small businesses and startups can be faced with a difficult decision — how do we spend our resources and manpower on our product, website, marketing, and customer relationships equally? Having a well-rounded customer support strategy isn’t always easy to keep up with. However, taking the time to make the right optimizations to your support system will help you retain customers, gather more helpful feedback for your growing company, and keep everyone happy.

Who says startups can’t offer an exceptional customer service experience? Here are our favorite customer support tools to help you make the most of your service.

Intercom

Having a live chat support functionality built into your website is an incredibly useful way to connect with customers who have any questions or issues to address. As a small business ourselves, we love using Intercom because it allows us to automatically track both chat and email interactions with each customer, as well as provide completely personalized one-on-one support.

The convenience factor can be huge in a customers’ decision to either get help or quit using your product/service. Intercom allows small businesses and startups of all sizes to engage with customers quickly and directly, without taking out a lot of time in the normal work day.

Bonus Tip: Link up Intercom with Zingtree to get background information from your customers before you start a live chat.

Zendesk

Everyone’s favorite support software earned the title for good reason. Zendesk provides a cloud-based customer service platform that’s been specifically designed to bring businesses and customers together, having all conversations and support requests centralized, searchable and totally organized.

There’s often not a lot of time in a day for startup workers to evaluate new software, but finding the right kind of CRM is important to scale. Developing a hyper-efficient CRM process can take a little time to prepare, but is guaranteed to help you build and maintain great relationships with people.

Bonus Tip: Integrate Zendesk with Zingtree to give customers a decision tree for self-solving, or allow them to submit a Zendesk ticket with their full tree history if they can’t find a solution.

Zingtree

Online knowledge bases and FAQs are a must-have for any startup or small business. But, customers searching for specific answers or step-by-step solutions to a technical issue, these knowledge bases of articles can be intimidating and frustrating. Zingtree allows you to create customized, interactive decision trees and troubleshooters to provide always-available, guided help to your customers.

Our platform lets you add visuals like GIFs and videos to provide more context, and has publishing tools to let you embed your trees into WordPress or any other website page for seamless integration with your existing online presence. Plus, you can gather feedback through comments to make optimizations even easier.

Bonus Tip: We integrate with a ton of other helpful tools and apps for startups and small businesses, so you can easily link up and share information between platforms.

Twitter

More than just a social media platform or means of distributing your business’ content, Twitter is an incredibly helpful medium for basic support communications. So many consumers are turning to the ease and accessibility of social media to share issues and ask questions, and startups can offer up ultra-fast, bite-sized responses to solve problems through replies and more lengthy direct messages.

Not just for the youngsters anymore, adults of many ages are now using Twitter to keep up with their interests, as well as brands they love. It’s free, fast, personalized enough to please consumers, and simple enough for even the smallest of startups to lend resources to.

Bonus Tip: We’re also on Twitter – follow us and ask us anything!

Grasshopper

Sometimes customers just want a direct line, straight to the source of the information. For startups working with the elderly, those with poorly-functioning Internet, or otherwise technically-challenged customers, having a phone can be a huge benefit. Grasshopper allows you to make a new business-only line from your own personal cell phone, so you can easily field questions anywhere, anytime.

Perfect for startups with remote (or distributed) teams like us, Grasshopper is a cool way to stay in contact with customers while keeping your existing number, and even allows you to send texts through your business number to work through things with clients and customers on-the-go.


Ready to help make your startup even more customer-friendly? Get a free Zingtree account today

Update: Import from Excel, Google Sheets

NL-header-updates3

In spite of the fact that Zingtree has some really great ways to build interactive decision trees, we still get a lot of requests for making the process of creating trees even easier.  Many people are particularly comfortable working inside their favorite spreadsheet program, so we’ve created an easy way to use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to create new decision trees.

Once imported, the Zingtree editing and management tools can be used to refine and enhance your trees.

Here’s how our tutorial example appears in Google Sheets:

Details on this new feature:

Note that the same process for importing from Excel or Sheets can be used to import any tab delimited CSV file from any other program.

Other Updates

  • Update: Added ##ALL DATA## as a template for showing a summary of all data entry fields collected (h/t Sebastian, Logan). Details here.
  • Update: Added custom date range shortcut option to All Agents report. (h/t Allen J.).
  • Fix: Changing organization in All Agents report works properly now.
  • Fix: Restart function in older Zendesk Agent Scripting app installations now works properly again (Jamel).
  • Fix: Editing nodes from subtrees while using Preview now works properly (Jamel).
  • Update: Preview no longer automatically scrolls to the top of content.
  • Fix: Scoring uses numeric value of variables, not string value (Matt B.).
  • Update: All Agent report link added to My Agents page(Allen J.).
  • Update: Agent report now has quick date links.

Can we make your tree creating experience even easier? Just let us know!

Create Decision Trees using Google Sheets

sheets-blog

Did you know that Google Sheets can be used as a decision tree building tool? Using a specific layout, you can easily import any Sheets document into Zingtree, and turn it into a fully functional interactive decision tree.

Once you’ve successfully imported your tree, you can enhance it using Zingtree’s editing tools, which offer a lot more decision tree related functionality than Google Sheets.

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

You can get started now by copying this example and modifying it:

Get Examples from Google Sheets

 

Overview

Zingtree can create decision trees from Google Sheets, or any similarly formatted tabular source. Your spreadsheets just need to be set up in a specific way for this to work.

Here are the rules:

  1. The first row is for column headings. This is important, as it tells Zingtree what type of data is in each column. Make sure to use the column headings as described below.
  2. Column A is for the node number. Usually this is sequential. It’s required. The heading must say “Node“.
  3. Column B is for the title of a node. Your trees will be easier to read if each node has a descriptive title. The heading must say “Title“.
  4. Column C is for any content that appears in the content area.  This is imported as plain text, but you can add formatting, images, and videos later using the Zingtree editing tools. The heading must read “Content“.
  5. Column D is the question that is being asked. You can leave this blank if you want an answer node. The heading must be “Question“.
  6. If you want to include node tags in your tree, insert a column with a heading of “Tags“. This is optional.
  7. If you are using a scoring variable for scoring button clicks, add a column headed “Score Variable“. This is optional.
  8. The last columns are for the button choices.  The heading over the first button column must be “Buttons“. You can have several columns of buttons.
  9. For the button columns, you can make them link to other nodes by adding the node number in square brackets.  In the above example, cell F2 has a button labelled “Yes” that links to node #2.  ( Yes[2]  ).
  10. If you’re using score variables for button clicks, you can include something like “+3” after the node number in brackets.  This would add 3 to the scoring variable mentioned in the Score variable column. (See the Advanced tab in the sample spreadsheet for an example.)
  11. If you want to add a comment to any node, insert a cell on the right that starts with an exclamation point character (!).

Note: Columns can be in any order, but the column headings must contain the proper text like “Node”, “Question” etc.

You can also make Link Nodes and Tree Nodes with special text in the content column:

  • Example: To make a Link Node that goes to Google, the content area looks like this (see cell C8 in the example):
    LINK: http://google.com
  • Example: To make a Tree Node that opens tree ID #123456789, the content area will be (see cell C7 in the example):
    TREE: 123456789
  • Example: To make a Tree Node that opens tree ID #999999999 at node #3, the content area should be:
    TREE: 999999999,3

Once you’ve finished your tree, it needs to be exported as a TSV file. This is also known as tab-separated values, or tab delimited CSV.

You can also just copy and paste cells from Sheets into Zingtree. Sheets copies tab delimited data to the clipboard automatically.

Build Your Tree

To start, open this file in Sheets, and make a copy for your personal use. You can use the Basic or Advanced tab – most people start with the basic option.

Now start modifying it.  Make sure to keep top row column headings in place. Keep questions in the question column, content in the content column, etc.

When you’re done, you can import your work into Zingteee via copy and paste, or by exporting to a tab delimited (TSV) file.

Import via Copy and Paste

This is the easiest way to import your decision tree into Zingtree:

  1. In Sheets, 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.  (You can also get there via My Trees, Create Tree, then select Import from Google Sheets.) A screen like this appears:

  3. Choose Google Sheets as the source.
  4. Enter a name for your 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.

You’ll see your new tree in the Zingtree overview.

Import via a TSV file

For larger trees, you may find it better to upload a file instead of copying and pasting. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. In Sheets, go to File, Download As, and select Tab-separated values (.tsv, current sheet).

  2. In Zingtree, go to the Import File tool. (You can also get there from My Trees, Create Tree, and then choosing Import from Google Sheets.)

  3. If you want to overwrite an existing tree, select it via Replace Tree. Otherwise a new tree will be created.
  4. Click Import File, and locate the file you created in step 1.
  5. The new tree will appear in Zingtree.

Notes:

  • You can use this process to import files from any tab delimited CSV format.

Any questions? Reach out to us anytime. 

How to Offer Always-On, Self-Service Customer Support

self-service customer support

Self-service is a win-win for rapidly-growing (and exceedingly busy) businesses, pleasing the majority of customers while at the same time providing an efficient, always-available support medium for customer service teams. Empowering customers to solve problems and answer their own questions means less work for support teams, and overall more satisfied consumers!

Don’t believe us? Here are some statistics about customer support self-service from our friends at Desk.com:

  • 72% of people think that self-service support is a fast and easy way to handle support issues
  • 40% of customers place a call after already looking for support or answers themselves
  • 91% of customers would regularly utilize an online, self-service support center if it was tailored to their needs

Your business doesn’t have to get swept up by the new wave of customer service; get your support team up-and-running with self-service support options with these 3 steps.

1. Bulk Up Your Knowledge Base & FAQ

It all starts with your FAQ and knowledge base of information — 56% of customers cite a lack of information as their reason for abandoning a website, so it’s critical to make sure that the content in your support center is totally user-relevant, helpful and currently up-to-date. Revisit and revamp knowledge base articles, FAQ answers and other support-related content on your site on a regular basis (quarterly or even monthly), to provide your customers with the most important, accessible information possible; both your customers and your team members will certainly thank you for your proactive customer care!

2. Implement Interactive Troubleshooters

It’s pretty amazing that in today’s world, you can easily provide 24/7 access to support without doling out for any extra staff members. Creating and integrating interactive, customer support troubleshooters makes it easy to help your customers even when no one is there for a one-on-one. Additionally, Zingtree decision trees make it possible to quickly gather customer background information in case a support ticket is submitted, so you have all of the key information you need in one place.

Pairing your existing knowledge base with interactive decision trees is the best way to cover every base where support is concerned, and simplifies the process of finding real solutions. In fact, organizations that use these decision tree troubleshooters have spent an average of 20% less on support costs overall.

3. Reach Out, and Be Easy to Reach Out To

When a customer is having a major issue, or really just prefers a good old fashioned human interaction, it’s always a good idea to provide a way to get in contact with a real live person. Make it as simple as possible to reach out to your support staff, sales team, or anyone else who could help out – having this kind of clear pathway laid out on your website can mean the difference between a super happy customer, and one that is completely stressed out by your online presence.

Better yet is the idea of reaching out to your customers before they have the chance to have a problematic situation occur; this makes people feel at ease whenever something does inevitably come up, and sets a positive tone for any future communications.


Zingtree makes it easy to build customized, informative decision trees to satisfy your customers and your business. Contact us to learn more or get started today!

Decision Tree Analytics: About Session Matrix Reports

Zingtree has powerful built-in analytics. In this series, we’re taking a closer look at some of these in-depth reports and how they help you learn even more about how customers use your trees. 


Session Matrix Reports

The Session Matrix Report lets you view each end-user session within a given date range, including buttons clicked, as well as scoring and data entered when available. Once generated, it’s simple to see an overview of all session data. You can also export this report to Excel, Google Sheets, or any other database via a CSV file for further analysis.

To access this report, go to Overview > Reports and select Session Matrix Report from the drop-down menu. You can specify an exact date range to pull the stats from before clicking “Show Report.”

The report is built instantly, showing a complete overview of every session. Scroll through each end-user’s selections to view every node and the content they house.

Click into each session to reveal its full Session Details, including Node Titles and Button Clicks, as well as stats on Time Spent and Click Score when applicable.

With display options to show only Subtree sessions, date, or agent/source, you can customize your report view to see only the data you need to access. You can even change your view to see button text vs. score values!

See a live example of this report on the Zingtree Gallery.


Learn more about our powerful reports and analytics:

Reach out to us any time with questions!

Decision Tree Analytics: About Traffic Map Reports

adding-search-to-decision-trees-6

Zingtree has powerful built-in analytics. In this series, we’re taking a closer look at some of these in-depth reports and how they help you learn even more about how customers use your trees. 


Traffic Map Reports

The Traffic Map report shows a visual overview of the amount of traffic to each node in your particular decision tree. Set in the Zingtree Designer view, you can quickly access a complete view of the content in your decision tree nodes, as well as a breakdown of the traffic to each, shown in both number of clicks and percentage of total traffic.

To access the this report, go to Overview > Reports and select Traffic Map from the dropdown menu. You can specify an exact date range to pull the results from before clicking “Show Report.”

Because your report generates automatically in the Zingtree Designer, you can easily see how much traffic your tree nodes received at-a-glance — the thicker, heavier lines indicate more traffic, while the thinner lines show the least visited nodes.

Select “Buttons” to show or hide button labels from your view, depending on your preference.

If you’re looking at a more complex tree, get a closer or further view with the Zoom In / Zoom Out buttons.

And use the scroll bar to pan up / down or left / right as needed, which is also particularly helpful for larger decision trees.


Learn more about our powerful reports and analytics:

Reach out to us any time with questions!

It’s All About Context: Seeing More with History & Breadcrumbs

Making sure you are seeing the full context is best for complete understanding. Our interactive decision trees come with advanced hosting/publishing capabilities that allow your customers and end-users to easily see, and then understand, where they are in the process.

History: See Every Step

Our History feature allows your customers to view every step taken while using your decision tree. With this publishing option, users can easily click on a link and go back to any previous node visited.

When implemented, it will display the path history information like this:

history

Breadcrumbs: Your Tree’s Flow

Our Breadcrumbs feature shows the exact progression of nodes that appeared during your customer’s journey through your tree. With this publishing option, users can also click on any link and automatically jump back to another point in their decision tree journey.

When implemented, it will display the sequence information like this:

breadcrumbs

Setting Up History & Breadcrumbs

1. Login to your Zingtree account, go to My Trees and head to the decision tree you want to publish with history and/or breadcrumbs shown.

2. Click to open Publish.

3. Select the tabbed “Have Zingtree host your Tree” option, then click on the Advanced Hosting Options button shown below.

4. Select Show History and/or Show Breadcrumbs, depending on the information you’d like to display.

That’s it! Your customers and end-users will now see their decision tree history and breadcrumbs, and be able to easily identify where they are (and where they’ve been) in your tree.


Any questions? Please reach out anytime!

Please Note: History is available only for Zingtree-hosted trees and the Agent Portal. Breadcrumbs are for Zingtree-hosted trees only.