How to automatically activate chats (Automatic Chat Distribution)

Use Automatic Chat Distribution (ACD) to automatically place operators in an active chat session without operator interaction.

Note: A Premier or Enterprise subscription is required.

For example, you can automatically invite visitors to chat with an operator when they have been on a particular page for a certain time, clicked a link or revisited a URL. Automatic Chat Distribution balances the number of visitors in queue and the operator's workload in order to keep the rate of invitations at a maintainable level and the operator's chat queue saturated.

  1. From the main menu of the operator client, go to Setup > Automatic Distribution > Automatic Chat Distribution Setup.

    Result: The Automatic Chat Distribution Setup window is displayed.

  2. Select Enable automatic distribution.

    Result: This activates ACD at the account level.

  3. Select options:
    Option Description
    Reassign if not answered in X seconds When selected, chats are reassigned to another operator when the originally assigned operator does not answer the chat session within the specified period of time. In practice this means that a chat is answered by another operator when the originally assigned operator fails to respond.

    An operator who fails to answer in time is set to Away status to prevent new chats from being assigned. The operator must then explicitly log back in as Available.

    Limit concurrent chats to X When selected, the number of chats that can be assigned to each operator is limited. When an operator reaches the chat limit, they are no longer assigned new chats. This limit setting can be overridden at an individual operator level.
  4. If you choose to limit concurrent chats, the following options are also available:
    Option Description
    Inform visitor about position in queue When no operators are eligible to receive new chats (all have reached their maximum concurrent chats limit), then new chats are placed in a queue. When selected, visitors see their position in the queue in the chat window.
    Enable link to cancel chat When selected, visitors in the waiting queue are presented a button that cancels the chat and displays the unavailable form (if enabled).
    Disable chat when queue size is X When selected, chat is unavailable to visitors when the chat waiting queue reaches the specified limit. Setting this to zero prevents new chat sessions when there are no eligible operators in your account.
    Queue length limits

    Maximum chats in queue: Do not allow new chat sessions when the total queue size reaches this number.

    Average in queue per available operator: Disable the Chat Button when the total number in the queue divided by the number of available operators reaches this number.

    Invitation throttling

    For Enterprise subscribers only. The invitation throttle controls the balance between the number of invitations sent and the risk that your target queue is exceeded. This helps you avoid long queues of unassigned chats when more visitors accept invitations than operators can handle.

    Throttling options:

    • Target queue size. The target number of chats that you are willing to leave queued for assignment. The invitation throttle adjusts the number of invitations sent in order to optimize queue size.

      Note: The target queue size is independent of the Disable chat queue size setting. Chat becomes unavailable when the target queue size reaches a number equal to or less than the Disable chat queue size. You are recommended to set a higher threshold for the Disable chat queue size setting than your target queue size.
    • Expected acceptance rate. The expected likelihood that an invitation will be accepted. You can choose your own percentage or use the calculated value, which is based on a moving average of the actual acceptance rate over approximately one week for the given account or department.

    • Throttling rate. This is your willingness to risk that more invitations will be accepted than your target queue size. When you choose a lower risk option, fewer invitations are sent, thus decreasing the potential number of acceptances. The options represent a 50%, 5% and 0.1% probability that you will exceed the target queue size, assuming that the expected acceptance rate is accurate.

      Note: For optimal results, make sure that the expected and real acceptance rates correlate closely. If the rates diverge, either you will not be sending out as many invites as you are able to handle, or your target queue size will be frequently exceeded.
  5. When there are fewer incoming chats than operators would be able to handle, some operators will be waiting for an assignment. Chats are assigned to highest ranked operators first, but you can choose an assignment method for operators of the same rank. See How to rank operators.
    Option Description
    Operators waiting for assignment

    To determine which waiting same-rank operator gets the next chat, choose an assignment method:

    • Least Busy. Assign the next incoming chat to the operator who has the fewest active chats and has waited the longest. Choose this to balance the chat workload between operators.
    • Most Busy. Assign chats to your busiest operators. The next incoming chat is assigned to the operator who is handling the most chats until their limit is reached, and thereafter to the operator who has been idle for the shortest period of time. Choose this option if your operators must manage non-chat tasks along with their chat related work. Those who are chatting will stay busy chatting, while others can stay focused on non-chat tasks. To prevent overload on a single operator, make sure concurrent chat limits are set.
    • Round Robin Rotate chat assignment among all available operators regardless of waiting time or number of active chats (until their concurrent limit is reached). Choose this option to balance the number of chats assigned per operator. Lower ranked operators will only be assigned a chat if all higher ranked operators have reached their limit.
    Note: If you are using difficulty-based distribution, chats are assigned to the operator within the same rank who is working on chats with the lowest total relative difficulty. For example, an incoming chat will be assigned to an operator handling one difficulty 3 chat before an operator who is handling four difficulty 1 chats.
  6. Under Visitor queue time upon manual reassignment, tell BoldChat how to place visitors into the queue when they are reassigned by an operator rather than ACD.

    You can set this option independently for visitors reassigned within a department (From same department) as opposed to between departments (From other departments).

    Note: For answered items that are manually reassigned, the queue time is always reset. For automatically assigned items, visitors always maintain their place in the queue.
    • To place visitors at the end of the queue regardless of how long they have been waiting, select Move to end of queue (time is reset)
    • To place visitors in the queue based on time already spent waiting, select Maintain place in queue (time is preserved)
  7. Save your changes.

    Result: Settings are applied to your entire account except where overridden at the department or operator level.