The Most Important Customer Support Stats for 2018

customer support stats

Customer support has changed exponentially in the last few years. Better technology, more informed consumers, and higher expectations for fast access have all shaped how support is handled in businesses today. In the last year alone, the relationship between customer support and customer experience have become much closer, and have made a much larger impact.

According to a Walker study, by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Companies and organizations will need to continue to adapt their support and experience strategies to keep customers engaged, informed, purchasing, and happy with the brand. Those who fail to do so will face more difficult competition in the market, as other brands are paving the way to success through positive customer experience. In fact, next year alone, it’s projected that 89% of businesses are soon expected to compete mainly on customer experience.

What’s to come is a direct reflection of what’s already been learned, and customer support is no different. Here are some of the most influential customer support stats of 2017 that will have an impact on what’s to come in 2018 and beyond.

Salesforce has reported that: 

  • 75% consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage (e.g., website, social media, mobile, in person).
  • 56% consumers willing to share data to receive faster and more convenient service
  • 70% of consumers say technology has made it easier than ever to take their business elsewhere.
  • 52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize communications to them.

Deloitte has reported that:

  • 62% of companies view customer experience delivered by the contact centers as a competitive differentiator.

Gartner has stated that “companies that implement customer experience projects begin by focusing on ways they collect and analyze customer feedback. This is a great starting point for meeting your customers’ expectations.” They’ve reported that:

  • In 2018 more than 50% of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations.
  • By 2020 a customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human, so make sure to give your customers the direction and tools they need to accomplish tasks themselves.

Internet Retailer has reported that:

  • Companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.

Zendesk has reported that:

  • 50% of customers think it’s important to solve product or service issues themselves.

In 2018, companies should make it a top priority that their customers can easily find answers to their questions, and solve their issues through personalized, self-service support options. Organizations that take customer support and customer experience to heart and make a real effort will have more effective strategies in the marketplace and will stand out to consumers.

In short, businesses in 2018 need to:

  1. Get set up with personalization
  2. Offer self-service, multi-channel support
  3. Use smooth UX and UI to provide a pleasant experience
  4. Know and understand your customers

Zingtree decision trees help organizations of all shapes, sizes, and industries to improve their customer experience and support channels. Build online, interactive trees that allow customers to self-solve, are easy to customize and personalize, and offer businesses the ability to collect valuable information to better understand their customers.

Get a free trial started for 2018, or get in touch with our team to learn more about how we can help.

The Top 5 eCommerce Trends for 2018 You Need to Know

eCommerce as an industry has plenty of room to grow, evolve, and become an even more powerful tool for driving all types of markets forward. Technology and the Internet have advanced to where the possibilities of achieving success as an online business are seemingly endless.

We know many valuable learnings through online shopping data, including that more than 50% of adults today are purchasing items from clothes to sporting goods to household items. As we near the end of 2017, it’s important to reflect on all of the studies that can help us improve. Here are some of the other more important eCommerce findings over the past year:

Now that we can apply these trends (and many, many more) from the past year, experts can better identify what’ll be next. Here are 5 eCommerce trends to keep a close watch on in 2018:

1. Streamlining the Online Experience

Making your eCommerce site as streamlined, user-friendly and simple to use is hands down the best way to improve both sales and conversion rates. Jessica Thiele of VL, Inc. says that “At minimum, [a streamlined retail experience] must be error-free and smooth, otherwise your customers will notice. And most of the time, they won’t say anything about it — they’ll just shop somewhere else next time around.” This couldn’t be truer in the coming years. eCommerce businesses in 2018 should be looking to make their websites easier and more interactive, products more simple to find and purchase, and support easier to get to.

2. Optimizing for Voice Search

It’s been projected that up to 50% of all search will be done through voice by the year 2020. For those in the eCommerce industry, every percentage point that goes up will greatly affect the performance of online retail stores. With advancements in speech and voice technology on smartphones, consumers are trending toward speaking into their devices to locate things rather than putting in the manual effort – another nod to the need for streamlining experiences.

To make the most of the rise in voice search, experts have recommended that eCommerce stores optimize their Google My Business listings to ensure that local pages have unique URLs and are indexed properly to include your name, address, phone numbers, and other relevant content.

3. Providing Frictionless Customer Support

Customer support can either be a great experience or a terrible one for consumers; promoting a positive support experience will always leave the customer satisfied, informed, and better connected to your brand.

Self-service support options are becoming widespread in the age of eCommerce and digital consumption, and are a favorite among millennials and online buyers of all ages. Interactive decision trees can transform any lengthy FAQ, tutorial, or troubleshooting article into an easy click-click-click experience, allowing customers to more easily self-solve and stay happy. eCommerce businesses using Zendesk or other CRM tools can also integrate them easily within their current support workflow.

4. Using Augmented Reality

While Augmented Reality (AR) hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet, it’s well on its way. Brands are already finding ways to use AR to engage with their customers and reach new audiences, as it’s an incredibly easy way to interact. Social media platforms are making moves into introducing AR experiences to allow users to project themselves virtually through an app, which are leading the way for eCommerce to make its steps as an industry.

Prominent eCommerce giants like IKEA have already begun, using AR to project their home furnishings and other products directly into the homes of consumers using their “Place” app. This “try before you buy” mentality will certainly pick up, making it critical for online retailers to consider their own options.

5. Humanizing the Brand

It’s long been understood that the more a customer trusts your brand, the more loyal they will be in the long-term. What many eCommerce businesses are finally picking up is that truly personalizing and humanizing a brand is a wholly differentiating factor with incredible potential impact.

Operating online, “humanizing” a brand involves making some very important changes. For some, this could mean interacting in social media real-time with customers and audiences, for others, it could mean imagining your brand as a fictional character with some personified qualities, or sharing photos from the behind-the-scenes at the office. Technology today is amazing and it’ll only continue to get better in 2018 – use it to your advantage and work some more personalization into your eCommerce journeys and post-purchase follow-ups.

 

2018 promises to be an incredible year for eCommerce business, and these trends are sure to help you on your way. For more information about conquering eCommerce in 2018 or how to get started with better self-service customer support, please feel free to reach out to our team.

What in the World Do You Bring to a Holiday Party?

The holidays are a particularly stressful time of the year without the added pressure of all of the holiday parties there are to attend. Between your friend, family, and office celebrations, there’s a lot of planning involved even when you’re not the host.

Lost on what to contribute to your holiday party roster this year? We thought we’d share this fun decision tree aimed to help you think a little less this season.

Fall/Winter 2017 Updates: New Improvements, Fixes, and More

Lots of small but helpful things have been added to Zingtree since our last updates post.

New Goodies

Everybody loves new features. Think of these items as an early holiday gift.

  • Option to enable Single Sign-on (SSO) for authors.
  • MailChimp App and integration.
  • Add, subtract, multiply and divide variables using a new Math webhook.
  • Added a Script Code option to Settings. Makes it easy to insert JavaScript code into your trees.
  • &keep_vars_on_back=1 parameter. (for Shawn, Raj)
  • New author timeout after inactivity option.
  • Admins can set strong password requirement for invitees.
  • Can upload and play videos via a private Zingtree server. (Customer requests for private videos.)
  • New setting for right-to-left languages for easier editing.
  • Logic/Document nodes now offer a “contains” string operation. (for Austin)
  • New Search and Replace tool. Makes it even easier to edit text in your trees.
  • &merge_vars_not_fixed parameter: Merge variables can now set data entry field defaults. (Pascal)
  • Settings / Themes picker now has an option to place question area on top or bottom.
  • Added Linked tree search to search through all trees and any linked trees via tree nodes. (Nick W.)
  • Added auth_token parameter for webhook authorization – returns X-Auth-Token in Header. (Vivek)
  • Temporary File Upload type – expires in 3 days. (Jim)

Updates to Existing Features

Some of our existing features we have made even more useful with some tweaks.

  • New Text editor. Big Improvement for editing content.
  • Single Sign-on now enabled for viewing session details.
  • Reconfigured Single Sign-on setup interface.
  • Now includes time zone UTC offset in location info variables as zt_tz and zt_tz_encoded. (Raj)
  • Duplicate (Copy) Webhook option (Raj)
  • App manager (Webhooks) now has more details, shows usage and which trees use each app.
  • Uploaded images can now be viewed in the tree. (Karen D.)
  • Added session info button to History in agent view, Zendesk Agent Scripting App. (Katie)
  • Webhooks now get a variable node_id sent by default. (Raj)
  • Added Tree Title: Show option to Publishing Links, Hosted, Advanced Options.
  • Added disable_scroll option to embedded Advanced Options in Publishing Links tool.
  • Create Tree now lets authors choose the tree’s language.
  • Zendesk Agent scripting app now passing zendesk_tags as a variable.
  • Session History stock webhook can now return plaintext data instead of HTML formatted data. (Gabe)
  • Button click variables can now be assigned text.

And Bug Fixes:

Yes, sometimes even we make mistakes or discover edge cases nobody ever thought of! We do our best to fix these as quickly as possible.

  • Ensures pop-ups always appear on top. (DT)
  • API calls with a large amount of data no longer give an error 500. (Jay)
  • Phone number validation now returns invalid if any characters or unusual punctuation is found in the number. (Jay)
  • First button with zero value no longer resets the running total score to zero. (Steve H.)
  • Now properly tracks form data from “back” buttons over logic nodes. (Mari)
  • Going “back” properly refreshes nodes that contain form data variables.
  • Email nodes now stay inside of containing iFrame after a message is sent. (Pinkesh)
  • Going back over logic nodes keeps previous scores intact.
  • Moved resources to new CDN due to them being blocked in China.
  • Tab characters in data entry fields should no longer break webhook or Zapier calls. (Alok)
  • Back button no longer removes form data items from the session. (Raj, others)
  • Doesn’t use Chinese as default language if non-Chinese is used.
  • Instant Preview in Edit Node now shows custom button styles properly.
  • Mobile pop-overs now work properly.
  • Allows special characters in merge variables. (Miguel)
  • Missing scrollbar in Agent portal for IE 11 now shows. (Mark D.)
  • Server auto-scaling tweaks to alleviate morning traffic spike congestion.
  • Transfers account status to new organizations linked to original. (Arnel)
  • Link colors in answer nodes using Default, Classic theme templates now show properly.

Thanks!

A majority of these enhancements were initiated from customer requests.

Got any suggestions for the rest of 2017, or to start 2018? Please share!

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!

Generating Custom Documents Using Document Nodes


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 our What Computing Device Do I Need? decision tree from the Zingtree Gallery.

Document Nodes Overview

Document Nodes display the content from one or more answer 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.
  • Scoring variables set from Data Entry field list boxes or radio buttons.
  • Variables introduced from calls to Webhooks.

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

Note that scoring variables are a running total.  So if you set variable v to 1 in one place, and to 2 in another, the value of v will be 1+2 = 3.

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 variables to your responses.
  2. Create answer nodes for all of the possible snippets of content you’ll want to show in the final document.
  3. Create a document node.

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 from an answer node is inserted, it won’t be inserted again.

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.

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. 

How to Use Process Flows to Build Mailchimp Lists

As end-users are using your Zingtree decision trees, you can add any information collected during the session into a MailChimp mailing list. Zingtree has a handy MailChimp App for just this purpose.

Here’s how to add data from Zingtree to a MailChimp list.

  1. In Zingtree, go to Account, My Apps, and click add Add MailChimp. The MailChimp configuration screen appears:

  2. Enter a name for this App. For example: “Add to Mailing List”.
  3. Enter the MailChimp API Key. To find your API Key, log into MailChimp, and select Account, Extra, API Keys. Generate an API key if you haven’t done so already.
  4. Enter your MailChimp List ID into the configuration. In MailChimp, click Lists, then select Settings from the drop-down next to your list. The List ID will be at the bottom of the page.
  5. Click Add MailChimp App when finished.
  6. Edit the node where you want to add to a MailChimp list. Look under Show Advanced Options, Send Message To App. Pick the name of the app you just created: “MailChimp: Add to Mailing List”.

  7. Important: The field names you are using in Zingtree must match the merge tag names in MailChimp. So if you have merge tags NAME and ADDRESS in MailChimp, you would use variables named NAME and ADDRESS in Zingtree. You can find the merge tags for each field in MailChimp from List, Settings under List fields and *|MERGE|* tags. They will appear like this:

  8. In Zingtree, the email address of the end user should be a variable named either EMAIL or email.

Once the end-user reaches the node you built in step 6, MailChimp will receive the information collected by Zingtree and add all matching fields to the list for email.

Do you have a cool application for this feature? Let us know on our Feedback page.

Managing Process Flows for Government CRM Systems

Government rules, regulations, and processes can be complicated. And while CRM systems can help manage interpersonal interactions, there’s no really good way to ensure that process flows are followed to ensure the public is getting the right information. Zingtree, combined with your CRM, can really help.

While adoption of government CRM has snowballed, the results and experiences are not as seamless as one might hope. With a lot of bureaucratic hold-ups, confidential information being passed along, and many complicated departments and processes, CRM systems can really only accomplish so much. According to a recent PC Quest article, these are the most common challenges currently facing government sectors using CRM:

  1. Stakeholder management
  2. Budget and profitability
  3. Complexity
  4. Data Management

Through these obstacles to overcome, government entities must also make sure that their CRM systems are up to par with what’s needed concerning efficiency, security, cost-effectiveness, and convenience. Unfortunately, most standalone CRM platforms can’t accomplish everything that bureaucratic systems genuinely need to manage relationships and help the people they serve.

Using Decision Trees with Government CRM

One of the most straightforward and simple ways to vastly improve existing CRMs is to integrate its features with that of a complementary tool. Decision trees connect seamlessly with any CRM system to simplify complicated processes, help citizens find solutions and navigate forms, manage data securely, and much more.

Zingtree decision trees for government are already assisting a variety of state, local and federal institutions as well as government contractors to streamline costly and confusing internal processes. Additionally, these advanced decision trees can be:

  • Embedded on any website, webpage, email, support knowledge base, and more.
  • Self-hosted on any government server to ensure that you comply with requirements for safeguarding confidential information.
  • Seamlessly integrated with tools already in use, like Zendesk, Freshdesk, Desk.com and more!

Watch our short video on how Zingtree decision trees help streamline technical support and other processes below:

Streamline Tech Support with Zingtree Interactive Troubleshooters from Zingtree on Vimeo.

You can learn more about getting started with dynamic decision trees on our blog, and see all of our CRMs and other integrations on our website.

Have any questions or want to see a personalized demo on getting set up with Zingtree decision trees? Get in touch with us at any time. 

How to Do Math Operations in Decision Trees

If you’re using Data Entry Fields or Merge Variables to bring data into your decision tree session, you may want to perform basic math operations on these variables. Zingtree offers a stock webhook option that lets you assign a new variable to the results of an addition, subtraction, multiplication or division operation. Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Edit the node where you want the new variable (the result of the math operation) to be calculated.
  2. Click on Show Advanced Options.
  3. At Send message to app, choose Webhook: Zingtree Math.

  4. In the Message, you’ll need to provide the operation, the two variables or values to calculate, and a variable name for the result. In the example above, we’re assigning a variable named result to the sum of variables a and b. Variables must be enclosed in # characters.

Example Calculations

Here are some message examples:

&op=plus&a=5&b=3&result=c
Sets variable c to 5+3

&op=minus&a=#gross#&b=#expenses#&result=net
Sets variable net to the difference of variables gross and expenses.

&op=times&a=#weeks#&b=7&result=days
Sets variable days = weeks * 7.

&op=div&a=#days#&b=7&result=weeks
Sets variable weeks = days / 7.

 

Operations Reference

You can use the following in the op= parameter:

  • plus
  • minus
  • times
  • div

Demo

The Zingtree Demo gallery has an example. You can try it and examine it.

View Demo

Prepare Your Support Call Center for the Holiday Rush with Zingtree

call center scripts

The most chaotic season of the year is quickly approaching, and it’s more important than ever to prepare your call center staff for the impending holiday craziness. Beyond having helpful, well-trained agents at the ready, it’s smart to adopt technology to handle inquiries and get agents online faster.

Zingtree interactive decision trees and call center scripts are one way to avoid the headache of customer service disarray during the peak periods of November and December. With customers self-solving using customized decision trees and agents being guided with interactive scripts, your support team will have a happy holiday season instead of a hectic one.

Decision Trees for Customer Support

Happy customers lead to happy agent staff, and vice versa. Zingtree is an amazing tool for any customer support team, as it allows you to create custom troubleshooters to take customers, or agents, through the support flow step-by-step.

Organizations that deploy Zingtree troubleshooters have seen a 20% reduction in support costs on average. Customers are gently guided to answers, and, if a problem can’t be solved, your agents receive background information on the problem, saving time and resources. With no programming required, Zingtree decision trees and troubleshooters make it easy to build each step of the process so no important information is left behind.

With design customization and plugins to fit your integration needs, Zingtree can help you ramp up your support this season.

Agent Scripting Solutions

High-tech solutions can also empower your live support agents to be efficient and effective when communicating with customers. Agent Scripting is a robust tool for any company offering chat or phone support.

Scripts are easy to build using Zingtree’s tools, you’ll effectively reduce time and resources spent on holiday support. With powerful tracking and analytics, Zingtree agent scripts help companies collect useful data that can even be used to prepare for the holidays next year – we even have a direct integration with popular customer service platform, Zendesk!

Learn More

Remember – the holidays can be stressful, but with proper preparation for your call centers and support staff, you’ll make the load just a little bit lighter, and the season just a little more jolly!

Visit Zingtree.com to get started free for 30 days, and see how Zingtree will save you time and money.

This article was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated for accuracy.