Category Archives: Zingtree News

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.

Insights Success Interview: The 10 Most Innovative Contact Center Solution Providers 2018

Insights Success is “The Best Business Magazine” in the world for enterprises. Being a platform, it focuses distinctively on emerging as well as leading fastest growing companies, their confrontational style of doing businesses and the way of delivering effective and collaborative solutions to strengthen market share.

Zingtree was recently featured in the Insights Success roundup of the most innovative contact center solution providers of 2018, where our co-founder and CEO, Bill Dettering, was able to share some of the ideas and momentum behind Zingtree, as well as what makes it such a powerful tool. Here’s just a portion of the article below:


The Incredible change that led to the Birth of their Flagship Online Toolkit 

Zingtree was initially borne by an existing consumer software company that Bill had founded in the early 2000’s. While looking at ways to address the rising cost of customer support and repetitive tickets that were delivered on a daily basis, the company decided to hard code decision tree troubleshooters as part of its online support process.

What happened next was an incredible change and improvement in the support efforts; immediately, they saw a 25–30% reduction in the number of tickets received. This drastic reduction led them to the conclusion that many customers preferred to self-solve their inquiries and issues at any time, provided a guided online solution. This “Aha” moment initiated the development process of a simple-touse toolkit that allowed anyone to build their customized decision trees.

Easy-to-Use Characteristic to soar its Popularity 

Coming from a consumer background, Zingtree focused on developing a platform that does not require IT involvement. With its online-toolkit, content, and support, managers can easily build and manage their decision trees and agent scripts without the need of back-end developers and technical knowledge. Zingtree has received numerous comments from customers as to how fun and easy Zingtree’s solution is for creating, customizing, publishing, and managing decision trees online. From the initial launch of Zingtree, they discovered very quickly that customers had many and varied customer support needs that could ultimately be streamlined, simplified, and improved.

The idea of interactive troubleshooter-style trees for selfhelp technical support quickly expanded into other exciting areas. Call center companies started engaging with Zingtree for building, and testing guided agent scripts for their teams. Currently, 50% of the Zingtree customers are either call center companies or businesses that have employees who specifically use Zingtree for agent scripting purposes. As businesses see the benefits of a script as a guide for their agents, as well as an excellent tool for training and onboarding, they delve a little deeper into the use of customer-facing decision trees. This theme has become more common as companies are looking to streamline all organizational processes including the ability to provide immediate and unattended answers for self-solving.

Pick up the latest Insights Success to for more, or read the full article on their website here. 

Ready to get started with your own decision tree? Sign up or log in here.

4 Customizations to Make Self-Service Support More User-Friendly

When developing a customer-facing decision tree, an important piece is to add some personality, brand identity, and industry-relevant knowledge to allow end-users a more user-friendly customer support experience.

Implementing a personalized or branded color scheme, along with icons that relate to your company, will keep an easy-to-follow and digest structure throughout your support process. An interactive decision tree is the easiest way to help a user with visuals, where they can follow the trees effortlessly while being able to really learn from the guided instructions.

We’ve detailed each customizable element – and examples of how to use them correctly – to make your end-users even happier about their customer service experience!

1. CSS & Personal Style Customizations

Colors and icon choices communicate in subtle ways and can reinforce your brand and mission. Here are some ways to manage these:

Custom colors

We made it easier to adapt your decision tree to your personality or brand when customizing so your tree can fit your desired color, custom CSS files being the main one. Once you have created your ideal profile, you can simply add it to your decision tree product finder which will help reveal your true brand identity.

Animated themes

We had feedback from our users suggesting that it would be more user-friendly if we included a feature of animated themes, including colors but remaining easy-to-use. Our design team and engineers set out to create this recommendation with the main goal of making tree color customizations easy.

See the endless possibilities in this quick, fun video:

Color buttons and icons

Here’s the feature that will allow you to build your own personalized color buttons, icon imagery or even to include emojis within your page titles and buttons. To customize the style of your buttons, all you need to do is prefix the button text with special classes. For example, for your color buttons, choose:

  • .btn-blue
  • .btn-yellow
  • .btn-sky
  • .btn-purple
  • .btn-pink

To add an icon that helps guide your customer but also helps reveal your brand personality, add one or more of these classes:

  • .btn-yes
  • .btn-careful
  • .btn-arrow
  • .btn-thumbs-up
  • .btn-question

2. Visual Features for Creative Support

Video content is shaping user satisfaction across the internet. And with many uses and forms, this is something that more people are demanding, which is why video is the best way to improve your user experience. GIFs are also actively being incorporated into decision trees making the user experience more rewarding. A short clip of a difficult instruction, being repeated several times after 3 seconds or so makes the process of self-service a lot easier to follow.

When including still imagery, diagrams or other graphics into your customization, you are allowing the customer to be at the same pace when working towards a solution. Having reminders follow your tree also makes the service more user-friendly.

There are two main features when using visual aids with a decision tree, one is the effectiveness and the second is interactiveness. It’s so easily done, you can add it to any node you want.

3. Easy Data Collection and Presentation

The use of document nodes can be used for specific types of customized documentation that prove highly beneficial to the self-service aspect of support. Documentation can include building legal agreements, generating purchase orders or even a lead to a returns label that the user has personally generated. 

4. Messaging & Translations for Understanding

When publishing across multiple languages, creating a decision tree that works interactively for these can become complicated. With the translation customization, you can reach a larger user base who need the language localized. With localization management software, along with other custom support features, your users will find your platform much easier to follow. You can follow our instructions here on how to translate your decision trees.

It all starts with a good base of messaging, however. When communicating throughout your decision tree, you should write well and use industry language that is helpful and informative. For nodes with poorly descriptive language, it creates confusion and incomplete results. Here are some of the basics of writing effective nodes that will help you write informative questions that lead to a better, more personal experience. 

Make questions concise by focusing on one subject at a time and structuring to an easily absorbed manner.

What not to do:

If our system of tutorials and articles hasn’t been helpful, do you think you would consider switching service providers?

What to do:

Would you consider another provider if you were not able to self-solve using our knowledge base?

Use the right language so that every user can navigate through your tree knowing the subject and words being used. 

What not to do:

What kind of issue or problem is happening with your account? 

What to do:

How can we help? Please select a category.

Focus on an active voice so you can communicate areas appropriately that identify awareness of the issue within that action. 

What not to do:

Our recommended guidelines and instructions for solving your issue should be followed as written below.

What to do:

Follow our recommended guidelines below to solve your issue!

When navigating through the creation of your decision tree, have the customer at the forefront of your mind, and keep questioning the end user experience. If you need any other assistance, reach out to us so we can assist you with the best self-service solutions.

 

This article was originally published on November 14, 2017, and has been updated for accuracy. 

Customer Service Automation: How Far is Too Far?

Customer service automation

Customer service automation isn’t your average trend – quickly and surely, the use of automation tools are changing the way customer support teams and companies operate, communicate, and learn about customers over time. Specialized support software that allows organizations to build custom chatbots, launch interactive knowledge bases, trigger segmented emails, and many more automated services, have become as widely used around the world in order to improve customer service and experience.

A recent article from Harvard Business Review dives into the areas of customer service that are paving the way for future automation innovations, as well as ones that should remain untouched by automation. As some of their most innovative examples of automation in customer service today:

Various Silicon Valley startups have deployed robots that make pizzas, craft salads, and assemble artistic bistro sandwiches. In Boston, a robot works with labor nurses to schedule baby deliveries. Waiterless restaurants in China permit customers to order and pay through the WeChat app and feature robot servers that dispatch trays of food to the appropriate tables. In Japan, a robot named “Pepper,” that was conceived in part as a companion for the elderly, has honed its skills in a variety of service roles, ranging from retail assistant, to waiter, to Buddhist priest.

While these benefits are well-known and can be attributed to many improvements in customer satisfaction, experience, and personalization, there is always a point at which automation simply cannot do what a person can. The real question is: how much automation in your customer service strategy is too much? The experts at HBR have recognized in their article that:

For starters, the economics of service automation aren’t universally rosy. When a nationwide retail bank introduced online banking, customers who adopted it increased their total transaction volume and began visiting and calling the bank more, increasing costs and decreasing overall profitability. Similar dynamics can be observed in health care. Patients who adopted e-visits, for example, actually began showing up at the doctor’s office twice as often. One explanation for this pattern is that current technology is functionally limited, requiring people to seek out in-person help in addition to using automated services. But as innovation progresses, functional limitations are bound to fall by the wayside.

So, what is a company to do? First, it’s important to pay attention to the areas of successful innovation that customer service automation provides.

1. Automating transactional interactions, while facilitating human connections.

2. Supporting employees without getting in their way.

3. Enhancing customer and employee engagement.

4. Engaging customers in ways that won’t make human service providers cringe.

Read the full article on Harvard Business Review here

 

Customer service automation – while highly advanced – can only grow and evolve into more useful ways. At Zingtree, we’re looking forward to continuing to provide a versatile platform that allows companies to automate customer service, support, and the overall experience even further, without sacrificing personalization or ease-of-use.

3 Massive Ways Decision Trees Are Improving Process Flows

We understand how key well-laid out process flows are for mapping each stage of the business processes our customers deal with every day. Traditionally crafted up using expensive software or other somewhat clunky online formats, process flows should be a core practice within any industry in order to better standardize every phase and minute detail of how your business is run.

Interactive decision trees are quickly becoming a preferred solution for improving process flows, providing a powerful, yet simple platform for building and running through any process, click-by-click.  Below we’ve outlined some of the biggest ways that decision trees can improve process flows in many major departments or areas of focus for your business.

3 Uses of Decision Trees for Process Flows

1. Streamlined Scheduling

Whether you’re referring to scheduling patients or customers for an appointment, internal meetings, or production planning, an interactive environment is one that can do it all. Already a comprehensive platform for clicking through predefined paths, decision trees allow businesses and organizations to schedule and collect any associated data needed.

In the case of Spokane ENT (a specialty medical practice in Washington), decision trees for scheduling have enabled them to optimize scheduling, help agents intelligently pre-diagnose patients and collect key medical information in a secure environment, and ultimately eliminate unnecessary appointments.

Pro Tip: Integrate decision trees with Calendly to make scheduling simpler.

2. Improved Procurement

Procurement is another process that, when well-defined and executed internally, helps keep business operations purring away soundly. However, procurement is an intensely in-depth, complex business function that requires a lot of careful planning and powerful technology in order to perfect. Improving procurement can mean a myriad of things – chiefly that your organization will save money, grow revenue and business opportunity, and create a more sustainable environment for managing purchases and delays.

For PMI, utilizing decision trees to improve the procurement process flow has been an incredible asset, as they allow employees to be guided through complicated purchasing journeys effortlessly. PMI’s decision trees have automated process flows with a standardized approach to ensure one set of procedures are being followed for every purchasing decision.

Pro Tip: Use logic nodes in decision trees to assign a series of rules based on specific conditions being met. 

3. Better Communications

CRM and other communication systems are the ideal way to guide potential new customers, manage and maintain relationships, and communicate directly about important or relevant company updates – this is one business process flow that should never be left cooling down on the backburner. One of the most straightforward ways to improve existing CRMs (like Zendesk, Freshdesk, etc.) is to integrate its features with decision trees.

Interactive decision trees connect seamlessly with any CRM system to simplify complicated processes, help customers find solutions and navigate complicated forms, and more. For companies using an email communication tool to get in touch with new, existing, or old customers, Zingtree decision trees can also be linked up with MailChimp in order to make the steps from entering an email address to add any information collected during a session into an email list.

Pro Tip: Create a master tree to link all individual trees to one centralized location.  

 

Having a firm grasp on your businesses processes and a well-ironed out process flow for each main area will only help to make your company that much stronger. Armed with decision trees that can simplify, streamline, and reduce friction within many process flows, any area of focus – from customer service to procurement management – can be vastly improved on.

Ready to improve process flows within your business or organization? Please get in touch with us!

Industry Leaders Weigh In: Here are the Top Strategies for Customer Retention

We’re incredibly invested in the customer support industry, its processes, and all of the other key business functions that affect it. Customer retention is one such area that is directly intertwined with that of customer support – so much so that these strategies should be intertwined as well. The vast majority of customers will abandon loyalties and switch brands or providers due to poor customer service; to manage retention and reduce churn, customer support efforts need to be a top priority.

The customer relationship is far from over after they make a purchase, and strategic businesses are aware that retaining a happy customer in the long-term is much more valuable than getting a one-time buy. NGData used their resources to reach out to dozens of the industry’s top-ranking customer retention experts to gain more insight into what businesses can do to foster these long-lasting customer relationships.

“What’s the #1 way organizations can improve customer retention?”

Create a good experience, that’s consistent and predictable, and you have a shot at customer retention.

The root of retention and loyalty comes service, which actually starts at the top, with the leadership determining if they want a customer-focused culture. That culture is what drives the customer experience. The way leadership treats employees drives the customer experience. The way employees treat each other drives the customer experience. In short, what is happening on the inside of an organization is felt by the customers on the outside. It’s on the inside of the company where customer retention begins.

– Shep Hyken, Shepard Presentations

 

Hire the right employees.

How can you retain top notch customers if you can’t retain top notch employees? It’s infinitely more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing customer happy. The best way to keep a customer with you is to hire (and retain) the right Customer Service Representatives to provide a consistent level of five-star service and support.

– Patrick Clark, Hyrell

 

Be responsive.

If employees are trained to truly listen to the customer and give them what they want and or need, organizations would see a measurable improvement in their customer loyalty numbers.

In an effort to reduce costs and to deal with a large number of customers (with minimal staff), organizations have tended to streamline their processes and train their customer service staff to give customers a pre-determined or “canned” response. There are companies who actually limit the amount of time a customer service representative can spend with a customer, regardless is the problem has been resolved or not.

– Janet Boulter, Center Consulting Group

 

Customer retention is a mixture of art and science.

On the art side, you need to be able to create and foster a meaningful relationship with all of your customers individually (in a B2B setting), putting in the required time and effort to go above and beyond what the customer’s expectations are.

On the science side, it’s important for sales to coordinate closely with marketing to provide automatic follow up with the customer. Having consistent, useful communication with the customer is vital to establishing trust in your brand and guaranteeing continued business.

– Raphael Ventura, The Expert Institute

 

Simply care about the customer as a person, not a sales generating object.

It is business 101, but organizations have a tenancy to think about customers as data and widgets in the technology age. When you ask the question “how do I want customers to talk about my company in a year?” it forces you to see them as a human with actual thoughts and as a long term relationship to care about.

Irasema G. Jeffers, Online Amiga

 

To foster better relationships with their customers by providing:

  • a frictionless user experience, and
  • actionable insights for three transaction criteria: recency, frequency, and value.

– Zach Goldstein, Thanx

 

Through the carefully combined efforts of better personalization, ongoing communication, high-quality employee training, and a customer-centered strategy, customer retention is one business metric that can steadily be improved. Businesses who are looking to boost up their customer support and customer retention strategies can try out powerful technologies and tools that can be used to streamline these processes. Perfect for contact centers, eCommerce businesses, and startups of all sizes, interactive decision trees are the most flexible, easy-to-customize solution for providing personalized customer experiences.

This post was updated on February 19, 2018, to include a quote from Patrick Clark, Hyrell. 

An Interactive Guide for How to Deal With Angry Customers

The hectic holiday season means a stressful time for customers, business, and support representatives at all levels. While we have our own great tips for how to improve the functionality and flow of support during the holiday season, we thought we’d round up some high-level communications to help navigate some of the trickier situations.

Before the thick of the holidays are upon us, take a quick interactive course on how to deal with some of the most common scenarios where a customer could become upset, angry, or frustrated. Good luck!

 



 

Want to see more amazing user-generated decision trees? Check out the Zingtree Gallery!

Decision Tree Customizations – Animated Themes and Custom Colors

One of the most common requests we have had from customers is to make it easier to make Zingtree decision trees look even more awesome. So our design team and engineers worked together to make new animated themes, some colorful static themes, and an easy-to-use mechanism to make tree color customizations easy.

You can try this now on one of your existing decision trees. Go to the Settings tool, then click Display, Pick a Color Theme. If you don’t have a tree built yet, try it using one of our Demo trees.

Once you launch the customizer, you can choose from various themes, and also customize the color scheme used in each theme. The control panel is easy to use – it looks like this:

This video shows some of the capabilities:

Here are a couple of examples of what your decision trees can look like:

Default View with Panels

Animated Radio Buttons View with Panels

Advanced Customization – Technical Details

Zingtree’s theme and color customization scheme works by generating a CSS file, which controls how your decision tree appears. If you want even more customization, you can:

  1. Extract the CSS file that Zingtree builds – this is in the Custom CSS URL field in Settings. (Just open that URL in your browser.)
  2. Modify the file in any text editor.
  3. Upload the modified file to your own server. (Note that this file must be accessible via an https URL. If needed, we can host it for you. Just ask!)
  4. Enter the URL of the new file in the Custom CSS URL field in the Settings tool.

Like this? Love this? Have a suggestion to make customizations even better? Let us know!

Credits: Iggy made the animated themes, and McDeb did some tweaks and cleanup to make them work with our customization scheme. Great stuff, people!

Zingtree Enterprise: Self-Hosted Decision Trees

enterprise-BLOG

While we are highly focused on our own security and data integrity, we recognize that using a SaaS (Software as a Service) site like Zingtree may require approval from various departments. For many, the hosting of company data offsite immediately triggers a cautionary reaction.

To address these concerns, we have a completely self-hosted Zingtree version. It utilizes the same awesome tools found in Zingtree but packaged in a way that can be installed on any server with industry standard PHP and MySQL. A full source code license is included, as well as regular updates.

This self-hosted option has a lot of benefits:

  • Customer data remains on-site.
  • Data is not intermixed with other company’s data (in case of legal subpoena issues).
  • Full source code allows security specialists to inspect the code for any possible hacking loopholes.
  • The design and engineering teams can modify the code or design of Zingtree to their liking.
  • You can guarantee your own uptime.
  • Plus, we provide consulting, support and maintenance as requested.

Want to learn more about the self-hosted Zingtree Enterprise solution?

Please contact us with licensing questions, or to get started with your self-hosted Zingtree Enterprise solution.

This article was originally published on September 28, 2015, but the information is still just as relevant! 

Publishing Pop-Up Decision Trees

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

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

    

 

Here’s how to set up pop-up overlays:

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

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

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

Send us feedback and let us know what you think!