Zero to Hero: Add more operators

After just two installments in this series, you already have a chat system ready to go. Congrats! Let's talk gravy.

In this installment, we'll cover the multi-operator aspects of LibraryH3lp and help you provide the best experience for your guests. Every trial starts with just one user. That makes for a lonely existence. The more the merrier!

Step 1: Log into the admin dashboard.

If you need it, there's a link at the top of this page. We're back in the admin interface again. Most everything we'll be doing today uses the admin interface since we are working on managing our chat service and not chatting with guests.

Step 2: Click on the Users button in the left sidebar.

You should see a modest list of users if you've just started your trial. Let's make more!

Step 3: Click the ; select "Add a user..."

Supply a username (first field) and password (enter the same password in the second and third fields) for your new user. All of the usernames need to be unique across the LibraryH3lp system (not just within your account). If you happen to get an error, please try a variant of the desired username.

Pro tip! You get unlimited users. Even trials. We recommend giving each of your colleagues a user account. Just because someone has a user account doesn't necessarily mean they have to chat with guests.

Step 4: Allow your new user to receive incoming chats.

To do that, we'll need to give our new user a queue assignment.

A queue? What's that? Glad you asked! Queues allow many operators simultaneously staff a single chat box on a web page. We'll talk more about queues in the next installment of this series.

Select your newly created user. You'll see all sorts of goodness appear on the right. Click "Add/Remove Assignments...". Add your queue name from the Unassigned column to the Assigned column. Click OK.

Tah-dah! Whenever a guest chats, each user (logged into a chat client) is notified. The first to respond to the guest wins the chat; the other sees that the chat was answered and by whom.

Pro tip! Users can staff multiple queues simultaneously. This allows for quite a bit of flexibility in chat workflows. More on that later.

Step 5: Buddy your users.

When staffing your chat service, it is useful to let operators chat directly. That's where buddies come in.

Above the "Add/Remove Assignments..." button you used in Step 4 is a "Manage Contacts..." button; click it. Select your users and click the "Make It So" button. (Kinda makes you feel like Jean-Luc Picard. Doesn't it?)

Pro tip! When you give all colleagues a user account and buddy everyone, you create your own private chat network.

Step 6: Create a conference room.

You're done with the Users management page for now. Let's head over to the Conference Rooms page.

Conference rooms are password-protected and are a great place for collaboration, coordination, and brainstorming among staff.

Create a conference room for your staff and assign your new users. Each assigned user will see the conference room appear in the bottom pane of the webclient; each room contains a list of participants, the conference room transcript, and the room's current topic.

Pro tip! Conference rooms are also accessible to staff using external clients like Pidgin or Adium.

Step 7: Create some canned messages.

Now, let's head over to the Canned Messages page.

Create pools (groups) of canned (pre-scripted) messages to store commonly used phrases for chat. Within the webclient for staffing, canned messages show up as type-ahead suggestions when composing replies to guests or can be inserted using the canned message button. You can also browse your assigned messages and optionally create your own private messages.

Pro tip! A single pool of messages for all staff might be all you need. But LibraryH3lp can be used across departments and beyond libraries, so different groups of operators might benefit from different pools of messages.

Step 8: Try out transfers between operators.

Any chat originating from a queue can be transferred to any other available queue or user in your account. Only users and queues with available (or chatty) status will appear as targets for transfers.

We're done with the admin dashboard for now. Let's go to the webclient!

The ability to transfer a guest to another operator is built into the webclient. To try it out, have each operator log into the webclient (there's a link at the top of this page if you need it) on separate browsers or computers and enlist a third person (using a third browser or computer) to play the part of a guest using the chat box on your web page.

Pro tip! Staff not immediately assigned to receive incoming chats can receive transfers and act as 'Tier 2' support.

In the next installment of this series, we'll talk queues.

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