Community Knowledge Base

Live Chat Distribution Methods

There are two basic ways live chats are handled, which essentially mirrors ticket distribution methods: agents can manually Pull from Queue or chats can be automatically distributed based on whether an agent is in a primary or secondary group. Individual agents can be set up so that each has a different way chats are handled. That gives managers the flexibility to have agents take back up roles as needed for times when live chats are particularly heavy. Chat Handling is set up for each agent on the Agent-Group Relationship modal by navigating to a Group, selecting the Agents tab, then double-clicking on an agent.

Pull from Queue

By selecting this option, the agent will not receive live chats automatically for the group. The agent will still be a member of the group, so they will be able to see live chats come in for the group, receive chat transfers, cherry-pick chats, etc. but they will not receive any live chats automatically. Instead, they'll have to take them from the queue. This setting is good for managers, who are acting as back up, or agents-in-training who want to participate in the group but may not have the skill, experience, or knowledge to be handed chats automatically just yet.

Administrators that choose this distribution method should note the following:

  • Live chats are never assigned to agents automatically.
  • An audible alert will notify agents when a live chat is in the queue. The basic notification sound can be configured in the same manner as the other chat sounds.
  • If there are no agents receiving live chats, the system will treat chat as offline.

Automatic Chat Assignment

Most companies will use this distribution method for live chats because it attempts to give all of the agents an equal percentage of the workload. Under this distribution method, each agent has a Max Active Live Chats setting (which is available by going to Settings > Employees, selecting an employee and clicking on their Live Chats tab) that sets the max number of concurrent chats they can work on at a time. When a new live chat is initiated, the system checks the active agents within the live chat group to determine which agents have not met their maximum limit. The live chat is then assigned depending on the number of live chats the agent is working on and the amount of time that has passed since a live chat was last assigned to the agent.

For example, assume a company has three agents, Joe, Bob, and Sue. Sue is very experienced and can handle up to five chats at once. Joe and Bob are relatively new, and can handle one and two simultaneous chats at once. If none of the agents are engaged in a live chat when a new live chat is initiated, the system will perform the following checks to determine which agent will receive the live chat:

  1. The system will first check to see who has the lowest percentage of capacity.
  2. The system then checks to see which agents have the lowest number of live chats.
  3. Finally, the system checks to determine which agent has the earliest Last Chat Ended time.

So in the example above, the agents with the lowest percentage of capacity are Sue, Bob, Joe. All of the agents have the same number of live chats (none), but the most time has passed since Joe participated in a live chat. Therefore, the system will assign the live chat to Joe.

The automatic distribution of chats is also based on whether the agent is part of the Primary or Secondary group:

  • Primary Group - Agents in the primary assignment group will be the first to automatically receive live chats as they come in, via round-robin distribution. Agents in this group can include specialists for the group, senior agents or other "go to" individuals for the group.
  • Secondary Group - Agents in the secondary group will receive automatic round-robin distribution of chats only after the primary group has met their max ticket limit (either the overall or group-specific ticket limit). Secondary group members act as failover agents for the primary group. Agents in this group can include agents-in-training, part-time agents or others.