When a customer wants to chat with a live agent, their interaction goes through a complex lifecycle. Here's the oversimplified version of this complexity.

1. Created > 2. Started > 3. Answered > 4. Ended > 5. Closed

Let's look at what happens in a simple scenario:

  1. The customer clicks a chat button on a website This is when a chat is in Created status.
  2. The customer fills in the pre-chat form and clicks "Start". This is when chat status changes to Started.
  3. Depending on whether you have Automatic Distribution enabled, the chat is assigned to an agent either automatically or manually. This is when chat status changes to Assigned.
  4. The agent answers the chat, and chat status changes to Answered.
  5. The customer or the agent ends the chat, and chat status changes to Ended.
  6. The agent fills in the wrap-up form and chat status changes to Closed.
  7. If there is no wrap-up form, the chat closes after the Auto-close interval set on the Agent Wrap-up page of the chat window setup.

What if you have a chatbot?

A chatbot does not significantly influence a chat's lifecycle.

  1. A chat begins with the customer clicking a chat button on a website. This is when the chat is in Created status.
  2. Chat status changes to Started after the first interaction with the chat window (customer starts typing), or if there is an auto-question when the widget opens.
    Important: Since the bot does not count as an agent who answers the customer, chat status never changes to Answered while chatting with the bot. Therefore, Answered time in the Agent Workspace will always display N/A.
  3. The customer at some point may decide to escalate the chat to a live agent. At this point, the customer may have to fill in a pre-chat form and the chat's Started time is updated. In other words, the chat is started again; this time with a live agent.
  4. From here on, the chat's lifecycle is the same: the chat is first Answered, then Ended, and finally Closed.