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Contact Center Chat and Email: Queueing and Failover

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When you set up your ShoreTel Connect Contact Center Chat and Email, there are a number of key things you can do. I’m going to put to rest some myths and give you some important information for your “ditty bag”.  

Contact Center Chat

Chat sessions can use the Contact Center (CC) Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to provide scripted messages that are timed to make sense to listeners and give them enough time to read and react. Creating a logical pace is very important. Does it make sense to wait some number of seconds before we start “pre-apologizing” with “your inquiry is important to us, we know you’ve been waiting”? Of course it does and yes we can.

The following example is a way you can pace the introduction messages and offer a link to click on at a comfortable readable pace. The second step offers “www.shoretel.com”.

 First you’ll see the messages available that are built into the CC Director:

ShoreTel Contact Center Director

The URL as part of the messaging is set right in the GCCS. It’s a very simple process:

ShoreTel Contact Center Director

The following is a diagram of the CC Director Chat Messages:

ShoreTel Contact Center Director Chat Messages

The “Wait” widget (clock icon) is set for 3 seconds. When I experimented and set it for 5 seconds, it felt slow. Three seconds was a better pace that was not too fast and not too slow:

ShoreTel Contact Center Wait Widget

So now the chats queue and are “just like a call”. But here’s where we can do something very clever. Chats do not use IVR ports and neither do emails. Depth of interactions for chats is handled in CC Director:

ShoreTel Contact Center Chat and Email

Email is different and has some other clever rules to manage queueing. A max of 100 emails may be queued for agents. Additional emails arriving in an incoming email account must wait for processing as backlog. When an agent becomes available and answers a queued email, the number of queued emails drops to 99, and the next highest priority email is selected from the backlog and submitted to ECC for routing. Higher priority numbers signify higher priority.

To prevent email account starvation, where emails from one account are never processed because the system is processing emails from a higher priority email account, ECC processes one email by earliest arrival time for every nine emails processed by priority. And they do not use IVR resources either.

It is possible in the base system to have 10 agents on calls, 30 queueing for voice, with a selected number as high as 999 for chats, and up to 100 emails awaiting response. That’s a lot, folks. It also adds a lot of value and makes it “brilliantly simple” to expand into multi-media routing with tiny licensing needs (a single Chat or Email license is $400). This is a huge benefit for capacity and customer contact on the business side.

So what’s this all look like in ShoreTel Connect? Chat is handled within the browser as is Monitor Coach and Barge:

ShoreTel Connect Contact Center

When an Agent Requests help, the Supervisor would see it in the Agents List (only Sups see this) and then the assistance can begin:

ShoreTel Connect Contact Center Agents List

Email will pop into your email application (it could easily be browser-based such as Gmail, Outlook Web or any IMAP compliant application). When “send” is hit after the email is concluded, the CC will know and send you into Wrap. Add a code and onto the next interaction(s) you go.

So what about Failover? Another good question we’re going to settle. There is a text file called redundancy.txt in the WEB-INF sub-folder of the ECCChat and the WebCallback folders of the Chat server. The file contains the IP address of the secondary ECC server. This file is automatically created when Chat is installed for a redundant ECC system. Nothing needs to be done, other than making sure the Secondary IRN is created. Email polls the email server so you don’t have to do much. Emails can be delayed as Primary might have already claimed an email when Secondary takes over. A 20 minute timer has to expire to release the claim and the email can be grabbed by the other server. Brilliantly simple.

Remember that the CC Failover Server license is a one-time purchase. You can scale from 10 to 1000 agents and basically never have to deal with upgrading or changing licensing on that Failover server. This is without a doubt something that all ShoreTel ECC or Connect Onsite customers should invest in. After all if it’s continued precise multi-media routing, reporting and consistency for customers and agents alike, the Failover Server is the ONLY way to do that. Failover for agents and the system might be a few minutes and while calls in progress remain connected, queued calls do not. Chats and emails that are queued stay queued and are not dropped.

So what’s a ditty bag?  It is a noun: ditty bag; plural noun: ditty bags; noun: ditty box; plural noun: ditty boxes

  1. a receptacle for odds and ends, especially one used by sailors or fishermen.