Zingtree Tags: decision trees

4 Reasons Why Marketing & Sales Need to Adopt Decision Trees

You’ll often hear us talk about how decision trees can save contact centers and support managers valuable time and expended energy, but did you know that this interactive toolkit can also benefit those in the marketing and sales world? With a simple question-and-answer flow, it becomes much easier for marketers and sales staff to boost their own productivity and efficiency, collect business-driving information and much more.

Here are just a few of the ways that building decision trees can boost your game.

1. Streamline Lead Qualification

Every B2B marketer and sales staff is well-versed in the importance of lead generation and qualification for the continued health of a business – without new interest being cultivated, a company simply cannot grow.

Placing these leads into a robust decision tree based on key classifiers for your ideal customer ensures that the most qualified leads are quickly delivered to the right person, for faster and more accurate follow-up. Including the types of content, communications and promotions to best serve to these potential new consumers, along with the correct flow of distribution for proper sales resources, is a great way to enhance the lead qualification process overall.

2. Build & Optimize Sales Funnels

It’s incredibly important, in any business or industry vertical, to focus on the customer’s complete path to purchase; the sales funnel is, in essence, a decision tree looked at in a slightly altered way. By designing your initial sales funnel (or any other process) in Zingtree prior to consumer use, you’ll quickly be able to spot and measure any inconsistencies or trouble areas through simple user testing. If your business or organization is struggling with their current sales funnel flow, creating and testing decision trees can vastly excel the improvement process.

3. Improve Procedural Standards

Following and improving corporate procedures, including procurement processes (acquiring or purchasing products/services from an external source), are another factor that should not be overlooked. By using decision trees to build internal codifying systems, getting employees to follow corporate procedures, and continually optimizing these processes, any company can effectively boost these procedural standards.

4. Narrow Down Designs

Marketers are always serious when design is involved; after all, how something looks is directly related to how a consumer perceives a product or service offering! Companies that use decision trees as part of a decision-making process can easily generate a Zingtree based on potential design (or copy) options to gather direct feedback on team preferences. Rather than communicating in longer form, a decision tree is ideal for collecting quantitative data to drive faster decisions.


 

Ready to get started? Sign up for a free trial or contact us to see how Zingtree can help improve your sales and marketing efforts.

This article was originally published on May 11, 2016, and has been updated for relevancy.

Sending and Receiving Data from Decision Trees with Webhooks

Our larger corporate clients have asked us for a way to be able to exchange Zingtree data with other applications. Some customers want to send data from a Zingtree session to another application or include data from another application in Zingtree.

Zingtree’s data exchange feature makes use of Webhooks with JSON formatted data. In fact, a lot of the tools we utilize work the same way.

Here’s an Example

To demonstrate how to send and receive data from your decision trees, we will walk through how to build a simple tree that asks for a USA zip code, and then shows the city and state for that zip code inside the tree.

Try this demo tree in the Zingtree Gallery here.

We will send data to a custom webhook we built, which takes a parameter of a zip code. It returns a JSON structure with the city and state info.  Here’s an example of the webhook in use:

http://zingtree.com/apps/webhook/filters/zippopotamus.php?zip=94960

If you click the link above, you’ll see these results:

{"zip":"94960","state":"California","state_abbreviation":"CA","city":"San Anselmo"}

The PHP source code for the webhook URL is here.

The variables #city#, #state# and #state_abbreviation# will now be usable by Zingtree. So to show the city, just enter #city# into the content area of any node.

Webhooks Process

Here’s a summary of how this works:

  1. Add the webhook to your organization’s apps.
  2. Include a call to the webhook in a node. When the node is visited, the call is executed.
  3. Any JSON variables returned by the call become Zingtree variables.

Adding the Webhook:

  1. Go to Account > My Apps.
  2. Click the Webhook button under My Apps.
  3. Enter a name for the webhook, and the URL as shown:The URL is:
     http://zingtree.com/apps/webhook/filters/zippopotamus.php?zip=#zip#

    #zip# will receive the zip code variable entered by the end-user.

  4. Click Add Webhook. This makes the hook available to your trees.

Calling the Webhook when a node is visited:

  1. Go to Overview, and edit the node you want to trigger the webhook call.
  2. Under Send Message To, select Webhook: Zip Lookup.

Universal Parameters

Every call to the webhook URL you provide always includes the following parameters:

  • node_id
  • session_id

Adding Security/Authorization

You can add an extra layer of security to your webhooks by passing an authorization token into the URL that launches your tree. The token is passed back to the webhook URL in the HTTP header.

To send the authorization token MYTOKEN, add this to the URL that launches the tree:

&auth_token=MYTOKEN

To check the token in your webhook, look at the X-Auth-Token value in the HTTP header.

Please note: The auth_token remains the same for the entire tree session.

Credits

The demo uses the free zippopotam.us postal code lookup service.


Any questions? We’re here to help – please reach out at any time via the feedback page or the orange chat window at the bottom right of our homepage.

This article was originally published on April 28, 2016, and has been updated for accuracy. 

Generating Custom Documents Using Document Nodes

Updated August 19, 2018, with PDF Generation option.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Document Nodes Overview

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

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

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

Building a Tree to Generate a Document

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

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

Set Up: How to Create a Document Node

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

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

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

Using the Document Node Editor

Drag this to reorder the content:

Click this to delete the content from the document node:

Pick a variable to test:

Pick an operation:

Pick a value to test against:

Edit the contents of the included node:

Show the contents of the included node:

Try the Document Node editor with a demo page here.

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

Continuing On After Creating a Document

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

Debugging Tip

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

Making PDF Versions Available

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

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

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

Download PDF button option

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

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


PDF URL option

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

You need to do these three steps:

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

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

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

PDF hint: Pagination

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

Live Example

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

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

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

Showing Context in Decision Trees: History and Breadcrumbs

NL-header-updates3

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

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

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

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

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

How to Add History or Breadcrumbs

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

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

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

Advanced Stuff: Modifying URLs Directly

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

For hosted trees:

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

For embedded trees:

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


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

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

How Decision Trees for Insurance Can Simplify Policies & Procedures

decision trees for insurance

Having exceptional customer service isn’t reserved for typical B2C companies. In such a tumultuous and often scary industry (for consumers, at least), insurance companies and agents must also take a close look at how their customers are perceiving the assistance they are getting. Understanding is also a huge part of this customer experience. Why? Because insurance is complicated.

Improving Insurance Call with Decision Tree Scripts

For many insurance companies, automation is an angle that’s gaining traction for providing more streamlined and consistent customer service. Our partnership with EasyInsuranceScripts.com is a great example of how decision trees are being used to simplify.

Simply put, Ted Baker, the Founder of EasyInsuranceScripts.com, envisioned a more streamlined way to improve how independent insurance agents were being trained, guided through complicated conversations and policy selections, and processing claims. In an industry with so many small, yet important, details to be understood, these conversations and processes can become intimidating very quickly.

With our own knowledge and experience in simplifying the complex, we knew decision trees would be an ideal fit. Joining forces between Zingtree and EasyInsuranceScripts.com has allowed Ted’s services to offer the most comprehensive set of resources for independent insurance agents as a result.

“It’s amazing that I’m able to automate all of this for independent insurers,” says Ted. “For me, the ROI of decision trees is immediate. Introducing standardized decision tree scripts for insurance has allowed the insurers in my network to really thrive. With scripts for guiding conversations, interactive trees to train new agents, and the reporting that comes along with it, agents are able to provide a better customer experience that’s consistent and informative.“

Hard Numbers: Where the Data Fits In

While each insurance agent or organization may have varying experiences, industry knowledge is key in understanding how much this kind of customer service and care matters for insurance. McKinsey recently published an article on how focusing on improving customer experience has a direct effect on growth and profit in the insurance industry:

McKinsey’s global research across industries shows that improving the customer experience can do far more to drive profitable growth than raising advertising spending or lowering prices. Some executives may still see insurance as a low-engagement, disintermediated category, but analytics prove that in an industry where profits are highly concentrated, leading carriers are delivering customer experiences that inspire loyalty and attract new customers frustrated by their experiences with their current carriers.

Here’s a handy chart that helps to summarize how insurers must improve the customer journey:

 

A typical insurance carrier today delivers customer experiences via separate functions (marketing, distribution, underwriting, claims), using a website, sales call center, service department, and so on, most managed by different executives with different goals and metrics. This structure may have its purposes, but it overlooks the fact that from the customer perspective, the experience is often a single journey.

Real-World Example: Decision Tree for Insurance

Here’s a sample tree, derived from one of the Easy Insurance Scripts trees:

 

 

Have any questions? You can learn more about how to simplify insurance products and processes on our site or feel free to reach out directly.

This article was originally published on October 13, 2017.

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. 

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. 

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!