Chat Process Tutorial

Chatting with Userlike offers much more than the possibility to type and hit “send” until all questions are answered. This tutorial will guide you through the basics of the chat process. Furthermore, in this guide we’ll cover the characteristics and rules of the chat process itself. Our aim is to provide you a broader insight into the logic that stands behind our chat system, so that you can get the most out of it.

How chats are distributed to Operators

The routing of your incoming chats depends on the status and availability of your Operators. When a chat session is started the chat is connected to an Operator based on the following rules:

  • The incoming chat is sent to the Operator that has the most free chat slots at that moment.
  • In case all Operators have same as many free slots, the chat is directly connected to the Operator that didn’t have a chat for the longest time.

The chat routing works differently when a chat session is started with a Webvisitor that had a chat on the website before. In this case your Webvisitor will be connected with the same Operator that he had a chat with earlier, given that this Operator is online and has any free slots.

Different chat routing modes

You can further specify how your chats get distributed among your Operators by configuring your Chat Widgets' routing modes:

  • "Default" - the chat is being distributed among the Operators of the Chat Widget's Operator Group, following the aforementioned rules.
  • "Group Select" - your Webvisitors can pick from a list of Operator Groups that have been pre-selected by you. Chats are then distributed according to the aforementioned rules.
  • "Skills" - the chat is being distributed among Operators that posses a set of Skills required by your Chat Widget.

To learn more about the different chat routing modes, read our Chat Routing Setup Tutorial.

Dealing with large amounts of traffic

For less experienced Operators it's advisable to reduce the number of Chat Slots. Especially if the traffic runs so high that your Operators have trouble answering incoming chats in time or appropriate quality.

The amount of concurrent chat sessions per Operator can be set in the "Chat Panel" section in your profile settings. This option allows you to designate the sum of free chat slots at the same time. The figure of available chat-slots can vary between 0 slot and 10 free slots. Furthermore, the number of chat sessions that can be received by your Operators is indicated by the amount of your free slots.

Pitfalls of having only one slot

Be aware that the slot maximum can be reached earlier than expected when the chats are not explicitly closed. A chat will continue to run until the inactivity timeout is reached, by default, after 3 minutes. You can adjust this time in your Widget Editor in the section "Chat" > "Advanced".

Please keep in mind, if you have only one chat slot open it is not possible to receive another chat during this timeout period. Therefore, we recommend to close every chat session manually.

To end a chat properly before the timeout is reached, it is necessary to close the chat session after your chat with your Webvisitor by clicking the "x" on the chat tab or choosing "Quit session" in the "Actions" menu. In the Chat Panel, closing a chat tab counts as an explicit ‘close’ command. When you are using an external IM client, you will have to use the command "$quit" at the end of the chat to free the chat slot right away.

When the Chat Widget is offline

Assuming your Chat Widget is considered "offline", then it is possible to display it in three different modes. It is also possible to display the chat button despite offline status. When a Webvisitors click on it, you can either present them with an offline message form or a notification window.

  • Hide chat button if no Operator is available for a chat.
  • Show offline message form when all Operators are offline.
  • Show notification window when all Operators are offline.

Fixing unwanted offline status

The most common reason for a Chat Widget being offline while an Operator is online is the Operator being placed in an Operator group that is not connected to the right Chat Widget.

  • A Chat Widget is considered "offline" when no Operator is online in the Operator group that is connected to the Chat Widget.
  • A Chat Widget is considered "busy" when no Operator has a free chat slot in the Operator group that is connected to the Chat Widget.

You can define a Widget’s Operator Group in the Widget Editor’s "General" tab. Enter an Operator’s profile settings to select the Group you want that Operator to be in. If this issue persists or if you experience others, check out our help section or start a chat with us.