Zingtree Tags: customer support

Showing Context in Decision Trees: History and Breadcrumbs

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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. 

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. 

The Visual Designer: Drawing Out Your Decision Tree

Everyone prefers their own way of creating, and it can come in many forms. To address this, we built Zingtree with a few different ways to design and construct an interactive decision tree (as well as some great ways to publish them!). For the more visual learner, the Zingtree Visual Designer allows you to draw out your decision tree.

This “whiteboard” style lets users create nodes, along with their connections, and see the nitty gritty details of how the tree functions all on one screen. In terms of ease-of-use and full-scale layout views, Visual Designer really can’t be beaten.

Here’s how to get started with the Visual Designer:

1. Once you log in to your Zingtree account and start Designer, you’ll see a screen that looks like the one shown below, with one node already in place as a green box. This is the very first node your users will see and interact with.

2. Double-click on the Node you’d like to change and an edit window will pop up conveniently to dig into. You can edit the Title, Question and main Content segments to your liking, as well as add in any Data Entry fields.

3. Drag new nodes into the design area – these correspond to the pages in your decision tree. Again, select the green box to edit each node’s Question, Content, etc.

4. Add a Final Answer Node and edit to fit your needs, when you’re ready. These will appear in blue, to differentiate from your green Question Nodes.

5. Continue dragging new nodes into the design area to create these Questions & Answer Nodes, and then connect them using labeled arrows. The connecting arrows represent the button selections from each node.

6. Finish linking all of your nodes using this method, and you’ll end up with a finished product that looks something like this image below. You can click on any node or button/arrow to highlight connections and see more detail.

Please keep in mind that things can get confusing for more complex trees that require more nodes. 

BONUS TIP! Automatically re-arrange the nodes in your decision tree visually with just a single click, so you can more easily see every node and connection without constantly opening each one.

 

For a more in-depth tutorial, watch this video to see how to build the example tree above using Zingtree Designer:

 

To view more ways of building your decision trees, check out our Zingtree Design Tutorials.
 

This article was originally published on Jan 30, 2016, and has been updated for accuracy. 

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. 

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!

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. 

Industry Report: Here’s How to Improve Customer Support & Sales on Black Friday

Whether you’re an online retailer or consumer, Black Friday is a crazy time of the year. For customer support teams, in particular, the stress and demand can seem neverending – it’s not a question of if a customer will have an issue or question, but when. Adding extra layers of employees needing (and deserving) time off of work around these times and generally higher stress levels, startups and small businesses especially can feel the tension around customer support.

Black Friday On-Demand: Salesforce Industry Report

To be frank, mobile and on-demand options truly reign supreme. Customers today expect a smooth purchasing experience, fast shipping, and even faster customer support.

Salesforce combined the insights on the activity of over 500 million global shoppers and billions of transactions, millions of public social media conversations, and data from Salesforce’s annual Connected Shoppers Report to give retailers and online businesses the intelligence they need keep moving forward this holiday season.

Here’s what VP of Industry Insights, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Rob Garf, had to say:

“Just like watching television, holiday shopping has moved from an appointment based activity to an on-demand activity. Salesforce expects to see continued growth not only in mobile orders and website visits, but also in newer technologies such as mobile payments and artificial intelligence. It’s not too late for retailers to make adjustments today in order to meet consumer expectations and better compete this holiday season.”

You can read the full report and insights here.

A Better System of Customer Support for the Holidays

So, how does an online business truly prepare for holiday shopping? A new trend in customer support: self-service.

Interactive decision trees allow customers to quickly and easily navigate through processes, products, troubleshooting, and more. Setting up a completely automated, information-filled FAQ or knowledge base, simple-to-use product finder, or digestible problem-solving can solve a myriad of internal issues (and your customer’s, too!).

Our retail customers are able to solve problems and answer questions outside of regular and holiday office hours, as well as encourage more sales and truly streamline the customer support process. Take a look at some of our own resources for improving customer support here, and stop by our own decision tree-built knowledge base here.

Ready to start streamlining retail customer support for your eCommerce business? Get in touch with us, or sign up for an account. 

3 Reasons Why Retailers Need to Offer Self-Service Support Online

self_service-BLOG@2x

As Internet usage rises exponentially around the world, so does the popularity of online shopping. And naturally, as self-service shopping becomes more prevalent, the need for complementary self-service customer support becomes even more important for retail stores to introduce. Whether it’s for convenience, savings, location restrictions or any other reason, consumers are spending a lot of time and money with eCommerce retail.

Let’s take a look at some statistics:

  • Global online retail sales are estimated to top $4 trillion by 2020, making up 14.6% of total retail spending. (eMarketer)
  • Retail eCommerce sales in North America will rise 15.6% this year to reach $423.34 billion. (eMarketer)
  • The number of consumers browsing and buying online will hit 270 million by 2020, driven largely by mobile. (Forrester)
  • 72% of people think that self-service support is a fast and easy way to handle support issues. (Desk)

Is your retail store providing online, self-service support to empower customers? Here are a few big reasons to start making the change…

1. Answer Questions Outside “Regular Hours”

Your storefront hours and customer service representative availability will always have a timeframe. Meanwhile, customers are online shopping at any and all hours of the day – they are bound to run into some questions or issues while you’re away. Knowledge bases of information and thorough FAQs are critical to upkeep for online shoppers, and when you put that information into an interactive, easy-to-follow format, customers are all the more likely to find the answers they need quickly and painlessly.

Online decision trees and troubleshooters are the perfect way to set up customers for success outside of official store hours. Rather than forcing customers to search a trove of documents, by guiding end-users through a simple, click-by-click knowledge base they can easily self-solve questions about sizing charts, returns and exchange policies, gift card redeeming, credit card processing, and anything else they might need.

2. Encourage More Sales

Forrester estimates that online retail sales in the United States will grow 17% between 2016 and 2018. However, this fails to represent the huge percentage of customers who are far more likely to make a purchase (either online or in-person) after a successful online experience. In fact, offline sales that were influenced by a web-based interaction or experience hit close to $1.5 trillion just last year. Customers who purchase in your brick and mortar retail store have already looked at your website before walking in the door to buy. For this reason, creating a super-helpful online experience is just as important as the trained sales staff hired to generate interest in-person.

A self-service decision tree can also help encourage more sales online, too. For instance, our clients, Phoenix Bats, created a perfectly customized decision tree to help more customers find the exact right product to fit their needs. The Bat Selector decision tree now helps direct customers to the ideal bat, leading to an increase in overall sales.

3. Streamline Customer Communication

Your store’s website should be doing most of the work – if a customer has to hunt around in order to get some form of contact, you’re off to a rough start. Decision trees make a helpful interactive front-end for directing customers to the right page on your retail website, so people can easily get where they need to go with the power of automated filtering. Plus, they look and work great on any browser – on desktop or mobile – so customers can access a system to communicate with you anywhere with Internet access.

Once your agents are signed back online, any information submitted through your online troubleshooter decision tree during offline hours can be linked directly to any CRM (or live chat tool) your retail store is using, including Freshdesk, Zopim, Intercom, Salesforce, and others


Check out the Zingtree Gallery for decision tree examples.

Ready to start streamlining retail customer support for your eCommerce business? Get in touch with us, or sign up for an account. 

This article was originally published on March 16, 2017.

3 Helpful Tips for Live Chat Etiquette

zing-chat-etiquette

Live chat is a great communication channel, and the preferred choice for many customers when engaging with a company; some of the appeal has to do with its ease, simplicity and brevity. When agents are appropriately trained in live chat etiquette, and have access to efficient scripting tools, they are much more likely to have a successful interaction with a customer.

In a paper published by TELUS International, the company asserts that avoiding customer frustration and brand damage should be top of mind for companies when training live chat agents. Often, customers choose live chat because it’s easy and quick; if your live chat interactions are forcing customers to put forth a lot of effort in their engagement, then your company isn’t realizing the full potential of this communication channel.

To bolster its argument for minimizing customer effort, the report cited a 2010 Harvard Business Review article where the case was made that “delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty; reducing their effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved—does.”

So, how do live chat agents reduce the customer’s effort when choosing this communication channel?

1. Keep It Brief

Reducing customer effort begins with your agent’s greeting. The greeting sets the tone of the conversation, so if it’s long-winded or muddled, your agent is placing an undue burden on the customer. Once the conversation has commenced, keeping responses to the point is key to providing a positive customer experience. As mentioned earlier, being brief doesn’t mean being clipped. The goal is to provide enough information to the customer in an efficient, yet courteous, manner.

Keeping it brief is especially important when working with a frustrated customer. A simple “I’m sorry” has more impact than a convoluted, over-worded apology.

2. Make Sure It’s Concise

Concise wording will lessen the chances of misunderstanding, and providing clear answers reduces the customers’ effort. Remember that customers prefer live chat because it’s efficient, so training agents how to properly write out responses that quickly get to the heart of the issue, and using proper and robust Live Agent Scripting, are key components of efficiency.

3. Read First, Then Respond

One common problem identified by TELUS is that agents will provide quick answers without first taking the time to read or fully understand what the customer is asking – this is an efficiency killer. Whatever the reason, agents need to take the time to read what the customer has written and then respond with an answer that provides a quick solution.

Once the issue or question that the customer is getting at is identified, the agent can then provide a brief, yet concise, response that moves the conversation forward without requiring the customer to put forth much effort. This is made even simpler when using powerful scripting tools that can help the agent to stay on track and keep the engagement flowing smoothly.

This article was written by Jodi Beuder of MHI Global. Are you interested in submitting a guest blog post? Please contact us!

This article was originally published November 2, 2015.