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Live Chat Distribution Methods

There are two basic distribution methods for live chats: the default distribution and Round Robin distribution, and the method used is determined by administrators when configuring the Live Chat settings. On the Options tab in the Live Chat settings, if the box next to "Distribute chats via Round Robin" is checked, then that distribution method will be used. If it is unchecked, live chats will follow the default distribution model.

Default Distribution

Also known as "cherry picking," under the default distribution method, all live chats are directed to the queue and agents must manually select the live chats to participate in. This model is typically preferred by smaller companies with lower volumes of live chats.

Administrators that choose this distribution method should note the following:

  • Live chats are never assigned to agents automatically.
  • An audible alert will notify agents when a live chat is in the queue. The basic notification sound can be configured in the same manner as the other chat sounds.
  • If there are no agents receiving live chats, the system will treat chat as offline.

Round Robin

Most companies will use this distribution method for live chats because it attempts to give all of the agents an equal percentage of the workload. Under this distribution method, each agent has a maximum number of live chats that he/she can work on at a time. When a new live chat is initiated, the system checks the active agents within the live chat group to determine which agents have not met their maximum limit. The live chat is then assigned depending on the number of live chats the agent is working on and the amount of time that has passed since a live chat was last assigned to the agent.

For example, assume a company has three agents, Joe, Bob, and Sue. Sue is very experienced and can handle up to five chats at once. Joe and Bob are relatively new, and can handle one and two simultaneous chats at once. If none of the agents are engaged in a live chat when a new live chat is initiated, the system will perform the following checks to determine which agent will receive the live chat:

  1. The system will first check to see who has the lowest percentage of capacity.
  2. The system then checks to see which agents have the lowest number of live chats.
  3. Finally, the system checks to determine which agent has the earliest Last Chat Ended time.

So in the example above, the agents with the lowest percentage of capacity are Sue, Bob, Joe. All of the agents have the same number of live chats (none), but the most time has passed since Joe participated in a live chat. Therefore, the system will assign the live chat to Joe.