How to automatically activate chats (Automatic Chat Distribution)

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

For example, you can automatically invite customers to chat with an agent 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 customers in queue and the agent's workload in order to keep the rate of invitations at a maintainable level and the agent's chat queue saturated.

  1. In the Web Admin Center, go to Channels > Chat > Automatic Distribution.

    Result: The Automatic Distribution for Chat window is displayed.

  2. Select Enable automatic distribution.

    Result: This activates ACD at the account level.

  3. Select the following options:
    Option Description
    Initial assignment delay When Automatic Chat Distribution is enabled, you can delay the automatic assignment of chat sessions by the defined time. This way, you can keep chats in queue - in unassigned status - for an extended period.
    Reassign unanswered messages (seconds) When selected, chats are reassigned to another agent when the originally assigned agent does not answer the chat session within the specified period. In practice this means that a chat is answered by another agent when the originally assigned agent fails to respond.

    An agent who fails to answer in time is set to Away status to prevent new chats from being assigned. The agent must then explicitly set their status to Available.

    Reassign messages after agent disconnected (seconds) When an agent disconnects (for example, after logging out), Automatic Distribution reassigns all active chats to other agents after the defined period of time. When the agent disconnects due to network connectivity issues, chats are reassigned after at least two minutes. Therefore, even if you set the Reassign messages after agent disconnected value to 30 seconds, chats will only be reassigned after two minutes. Keep in mind that if no agents are available to take additional workload then chats will be placed in queue and their waiting time will be counted from the time the customer started the chat.
    Concurrent chat limit When selected, the number of chats that can be assigned to each agent is limited. When an agent reaches the chat limit, they are no longer assigned new chats. This limit setting can be overridden at an individual agent level. Chat and discussion difficulty affects this limit.
  4. If you choose to limit concurrent chats, the following options are also available:
    Option Description
    Show queue position When no agents are eligible to receive new chats (all have reached their maximum concurrent chats limit), then new chats are placed in a queue. When selected, customers see their position in the queue in the chat window. Agents can manually start chatting with the next customer in queue as described in How to manually start chatting with the next customer in queue.
    Estimated wait time With this option it is possible to display the approximate waiting time to visitors who are waiting in the queue for agent chat. This option can be enabled if the Show queue position option is active. The estimated wait time is calculated based on previous wait times and the visitor's position in the queue.
    Enable exit from queue When selected, customers in the waiting queue are presented a button that cancels the chat and displays the unavailable form (if enabled).
    Queue length limits

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

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

    Invitation throttling

    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 customers accept invitations than agents 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.
    Allow customers to enter queue upon Available click Decide how to handle new chat sessions when a customer clicks a button shown as Available, but meanwhile all agents become unavailable. You can override other queue limits and allow them to enter the queue according to the following limits:
    • Max. in queue upon Available click: Allow the queue to reach this limit before preventing new chat sessions.
    • Concurrent chat limit upon Available click: Allow agents to reach this limit before they are no longer assigned chats.
  5. Define the difficulty level for chats and discussions. These limits are used to calculate agent chat capacity when concurrent chat limit is enabled.
    Note: You can change chat difficulty at department level only.
    How is agent chat capacity calculated?

    Suppose concurrent chat limit is set to 3, chat difficulty has a multiplier of 1, and chat discussion difficulty has a multiplier of 0.5. When an agent has two ongoing chats (counts as 2 x 1 concurrent chats) and a chat discussion (counts as 1 x 0.5 concurrent chat) then the concurrent limit is 2.5. In this case, - since chat capacity is 0.5 - the agent can still receive an additional discussion task, but cannot receive new chats.

  6. When there are fewer incoming chats than what agents could handle, some agents will be waiting for an assignment. Chats are assigned to highest ranked agents first, but you can choose an assignment method for agents of the same rank. See How to assign chats to certain agents before others (ranking within department).
    Option Description
    Agents waiting for assignment

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

    • Least Busy. Assign the next incoming chat to the agent who has the fewest active chats and has waited the longest. This naturally means that if you have multiple agents available with no chats, ACD will assign the next incoming chat to the agent who has been in Available status for the longest period of time.

      Choose this to balance the chat workload between agents.

    • Most Busy. Assign chats to your busiest agents. The next incoming chat is assigned to the agent who is handling the most chats until their limit is reached, and thereafter to the agent who has been idle for the shortest period of time. Choose this option if your agents 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 agent, make sure concurrent chat limits are set.
    • Round Robin Rotate chat assignment among all available agents 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 agent. Lower ranked agents will only be assigned a chat if all higher ranked agents have reached their limit.
    Note: If you are using difficulty-based distribution, chats are assigned to the agent 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 agent handling one difficulty 3 chat before an agent who is handling four difficulty 1 chats.
  7. Under Manual reassignment, tell Bold360 how to place customers into the queue when they are reassigned by an agent rather than ACD.

    You can set this option independently for customers 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, customers always maintain their place in the queue.
    • To place customers 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 customers in the queue based on time already spent waiting, select Maintain place in queue (time is preserved)
  8. Save your changes.

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