Availability rules & Live Chat rotation based on agent's response lag
Good morning everyone,
I currently manage a Live Chat team comprised of 14 part-time agents. The idea was to have these agents take on live chat responsibilities while still managing their inbound calls. Here's a summary of how the chatflow is set up:
- During business hours:
- The bot will check if at least one team member is available.
- If someone is available, it will ask the user for their email, name, and question.
- The bot then assigns the chat to an available user based on the routing rules.
- Outside of business hours:
- The bot will let the user know that no one is available
- It will ask the user if they'd like a rep to follow-up with help the following day.
- If the answer is "yes" then the user will be able to submit their question, name, and email.
- Business hours set-up: because we operate across the US, and because there's no way to customize business hours based on members of the team, we had to stick to 7 am CST to 7 pm CST to provide full coverage across the three timezones.
As you might have guessed by now, multi-tasking calls and live chats can be quite tricky sometimes. Add to that instances of agents forgetting to update their availability when they're actually away.
- East coast reps leave for the day and forget to update their status to "away"
- Around 6 pm CST several chats come through.
- The West coast reps are all handling the incoming chats.
- Because of the routing rules, and how busy the West coast reps currently are, additional chats are assigned to the East Coast rep(s).
I tried solving this with different approaches to no avail. The availability rules are set by inbox and not team, otherwise, I would have broken the team into 3 based on the timezone. And unless I'm missing something, creating 3 inboxes to manage the same pages can be tricky.
Which brings us to today and why I'm writing this novel. This whole conundrum could potentially be solved with smart rules governing an agent's availability and chat assignment. Here's a couple that frequently comes to mind:
- If an agent doesn't respond to a chat in [time period], rotate the chat to the next available agent.
- Mark that agent as "away" and send them a notification about the change.
- Allow agents to create availability rules for themselves. Example: "Mark me as available from 8 am to 5 pm." If we can make the timezones personalized, then gravy! otherwise, the agents can work with the portal's timezone.
- Bonus idea contributed by @Chris-Higgins: Adding calendar integration to the ruleset tool. "In theory, this could work exactly as it does in the Meetings tool. If a team member has meeting in their calendar between 10 am and 11 am, their chat availability should automatically toggle to away, and then back again at the end of the meeting."