Zingtree Tags: self service

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

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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.

Marketing Case Study: Global Players

Here’s an example of how Zingtree’s interactive decision trees are helping to improve online marketing efforts in a real education abroad organization.

Global Players helps to place student-athletes in their perfect study-abroad fit, promoting awareness and cultural education as well as athletic endeavors around the world. As an organization growing in popularity, Global Players was in search of finding a streamlined, self-service way to placing students in their ideal location abroad.

Since adopting Zingtree’s solution to integrate their “Program Match” decision tree, Global Players has been able to place over 1,000 students so far, increased the likelihood of a visitor to contact the organization by 5 times, and more!

You can view the case study below, and open a PDF version here.

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Want to see more? Explore the Zingtree Gallery for examples of how our decision trees and interactive solutions provide value for businesses!

This case study was originally published January 19, 2016.

Must-Have Support Tools for a Successful Startup

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

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

Intercom

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

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

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

Zendesk

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

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

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

Zingtree

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

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

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

Twitter

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

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

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

Grasshopper

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

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


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

Why Millennials Want Independence in Customer Support

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Customer service delivery preferences are rapidly changing. This is in part due to technological advances, but also the customers themselves —particularly millennial customers. This demographic cohort increasingly prefers to take CS employees out of the equation completely and simply do it themselves. Whether it’s purchasing groceries or other goods online, the millennial generation is antsy to self-serve.

As customer demands have evolved over the years, so too has self-service. Many businesses offer only limited self-service choices, which can quickly frustrate their millennial customer base. If your company’s self-serve options are restricted to general tasks, it’s time to explore how you can make this feature more comprehensive to meet the demands of millennials.

The Hard Facts of Millennial Customer Service

Numerous studies conducted by various firms have repeatedly shown that millennials prefer to self-serve and self-help rather than interact with a company representative, and the numbers really speak for themselves. In fact, in a comprehensive study, it was discovered that:

  • Nearly 70% of millennial females are comfortable resolving CS issues on their own, without having to interact with a company representative.
  • 64% of millennials prefer self-service, whereas only forty-seven percent of baby boomers do.
  • 56% of millennials moved their business elsewhere as a result of poor customer service.

One reason for the popularity of self-service in this demographic group is that they can remain in control of online purchasing and other habits. Millennials expect efficient, 24/7 access to any online support decision, whether it’s updating an account profile or making a purchase. Self-service in modern times is more than an FAQ; the future of customer service will be much more customizable, interactive, and will put the customer in the driver’s seat.

Contact Centers Still Matter

Providing more self-directed features doesn’t make a call center obsolete, but it does change its function. Contact centers will need to handle more sophisticated and technical inquiries and will have to hire, train and staff to address this need. If companies don’t adapt to meet current and future customer demands, they’ll likely frustrate customers and risk losing business.

Companies can no longer rest on the laurels of their brand, product or service; they must stay ahead of the curve and understand that how customers interact with them is often more important than the product itself. Self-service is looming large on the horizon of customer service delivery preferences – don’t fade into the sunset because you missed the boat on where the industry is headed! The future of customer service will be more self-controlled, but ready with agents to help guide customers to success.

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

This article was originally posted on Jan 12, 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

1. Bulk Up Your Knowledge Base & FAQ

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

2. Implement Interactive Troubleshooters

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

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

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

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

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


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

How Personalized Customer Experiences Promote Brand Loyalty

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When customers interact with a company, they expect the communication to be a reflection of that company itself. These days, it’s becoming increasingly more popular among customers to prefer experiences that are both personalized and helpful.

It’s simple — superior customer experiences breed brand loyalty in ways that your product or service alone cannot. In fact, according to a recent study from Verint, 89% of consumers agree that good service makes them feel more positive about the brands they engage with.

Tapping into the more personal, positive and proactive side of customer service will allow your customers to feel a stronger, more long-term connection to your company. In turn, this will help your business thrive, especially among the competition.

Create Signature Moments

Companies can often take the little things for granted; often, it’s those small acts that make customers feel completely welcome and satisfied. Sending personalized messages to follow up after an issue or with a lead, interacting on social media and remaining available for your customers are all huge for creating those signature moments. For support agents, customized agent scripts are an amazing tool for finding and maintaining your ideal brand voice that will keep your customers happy and loyal.

Foster Real Relationships

Direct communication with your customers is like having access to your own database of information; you can understand how they think, feel and share your company’s products or services, often just through a simple conversation or survey. It’s important to take the time to foster relationships with your customers so that they feel they are being heard, and are a part of, the whole process.

Customize Self-Help Tools

It’s largely understood that these days everyone — especially millennials — prefer to access self-service support in order to figure out answers to their questions, or solutions to their problems. Building customized self-help solutions for your customers, such as troubleshooter decision trees created with your brand in mind, is a great way to not only solve their problems but make them feel more satisfied with your company overall.


By creating personalized communications, maintaining happy relationships and enabling people to self-help in a customized way, you and your organization will be well on its way to building amazing, strong brand loyalty among customers.

Contact us today to get started with customized support tools for your company.

3 Best Tips for Excellent Communication with Customers

Providing amazing customer service is more than lending an ear and a smile; it’s about having an ongoing communication that is fruitful for both the customer and the company!

According to some recent customer service statistics, 55% of consumers have intended to make a purchase, but backed out because of frustration or poor customer service – that means that over half of these opportunities to gain a new customer are held back by bad communication. On the other hand, 52% of consumers have made more purchases from a company after having a good customer service experience.

These days, adopting a system of unbeatable customer communication is critical to company success. The real cost of bad customer service and poor interactions often aren’t noticed until it’s difficult to turn things around.

Here are our best tips for how to develop great communication habits.

1. Always be straight-forward and concise.

At first glance, it may seem simple to keep this short and sweet; in reality, it’s a process that takes some practice to make perfect.

Start out with your first draft response, then go through it again and eliminate any unnecessary words. Then, go through again with an even finer-toothed comb to get rid of anything repetitive or extra that does not support your main concept. Providing emphasis when needed (for instance, bolding important information) can also go a long way when attempting to give succinct, clear instructions.

2. Provide helpful visuals when you can.

Words can often convolute more complicated processes and explanations. Not only are visuals nice to look at, they can convey information to a customer better than text in many cases.

Try using screenshots marked up with arrows, descriptive tutorial videos, or simple GIFs to help get the message across. Using visual aids to break up often text-heavy customer communications is not only pleasing to the eye, but also helps the customer to understand more easily and absorb the process they are looking at.

3. Reduce the effort of communication for everyone.

Providing multiple channels of contact is crucial to having truly well-developed communication with customers. No matter their demographics, psychographics or geographic location, your customers have to be able to reach you in the medium that is most convenient for them. For instance, having easy access to online chat, phone, and email support is incredibly important to cater to everyone’s needs.

Additionally, it’s important that your customers have access to ways of self-help. With a robust knowledge base of information, along with customized troubleshooter decision trees, customers will find it easy to find the answers they are looking for and walk away with a smile on their face!

Have any more unmissable tips on providing amazing customer support through communication? Send them our way!

Divide & Conquer!

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Use Sub-trees For Tackling The Trickiest Trees

Have you had trouble developing intricate, multi-step trees? Is maintaining an easy flow for your users throughout a complex decision process a challenge? Are you having issues scaling your trees up to accommodate more users and use cases?

If you know you’re going to have a large project ahead of you, planning is crucial. You’ll want to break up your larger tree into individual threads and themes. Once they’re broken up, you can refine the smaller pieces until they’re perfected, and then create discrete, small to medium sized trees. Finally, once your sub-trees are ready and working properly by themselves, you can use Tree Nodes to connect them into your finished, mega-Zingtree.

While in the planning stages of complex decision trees, many users find these sub-trees occur naturally. So pause your active tree development (just for a minute) in Wizard or Designer, make an outline of your tree and its constituent sub-trees.

Try using sub-trees for your most intricate trees today.

How To Write Effective Nodes

 

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So, you’ve spent some time building the basic elements to your tree? Now you find yourself in a bit of a pickle –

  • What do I say in the Question or Answer Node?
  • Should I use the Link Node or should I just provide all of the information without linking?
  • How do I even begin tying Nodes together so that their function is truly realized?

Writing Nodes can be a bit challenging. This is because oftentimes writing nodes requires you to teardown your product or service in ways that you may not have EVER done before or maybe it has been a very long while since you have. Either way, there are four key tools to help you accomplish this! In this session, we will couple these tools along with fresh look inside the support that you dream of providing to your users.

 Learn about our methods to write the best nodes! (more…)