The LibAnswers 2.6.4 update rolled out this morning! This mini-update includes several awesome LibChat improvements and a new widget option to boot. It also includes a number of back-end server updates, which make LibChat even more stable and more powerful than ever before!
New Widget Option – Skip Entry Screen
LibChat provides you with tons of options to customize the Chat Entry form, i.e. what question(s) you wish to ask the patron – it could be as simple as asking for just Name, or as complex as asking them additional info (grade, initial question, desired department, etc.) – LibChat makes it possible for you to customize this form fully. But, what if you don’t want to ask any questions and would rather just have the patron start chatting anonymously? Well, now you can 🙂 We’ve added a new option to skip any questions before starting the chat.
You’ll find this option in the widget builder options to Skip Entry Screen. This option bypasses the need for patrons to click on a button to “Start Chat” – patrons who see the widget will hop straight into the chat-in-progress view. As always, all elements of this view are customizable right in the widget builder – just click on the widget preview down below to customize the language to say just what you want to say.
Good to know: widgets created that skip the login screen can’t include the same pre-chat questions that our other widgets offer (like multiple choice questions and prompting people to enter their name prior to starting the chat), and all users who chat with you will be recorded as anonymous users.
New Chat Ratings & Comments Report
One of our very favorite parts of LibChat is the ability to automatically collect quick feedback from end-users when a chat concludes. This feature is built into every chat widget by default – it’s a fantastic way to get a quick read on patron satisfaction with your LibChat service.
Up to now, the comments that each user provided were stored inside individual transcripts. We thought we’d make it easier to discover these comments along with their associated ratings, which is why we’ve added the new Chat Ratings report! To find it, head to LibChat > Statistics and select the Chat Ratings tab.
Scheduled Chat Service Log-off
We know how it is – sometimes days have a way of getting hectic, and with the million-and-one things that happen at any library service point, sometimes folks forget to log out of chat at the end of the day. That’s why we’ve added the new scheduled sign-off feature – just enter the time of day when your service should go offline, and a few minutes after the hour all librarians signed in and monitoring LibChat will be disconnected. If librarians are currently engaged in a chat, they won’t be logged off – this will just affect folks who aren’t actively chatting with patrons.
Admins – head to Admin > LibChat Set-up > Settings > Sign-off Schedule to set your logoff schedule!
Customized Chat Error Message
We’ve added a new customizable error message for folks who may be having issues connecting to your chat service. This message will display to patrons who, for one reason or another, are having trouble establishing a connection to your LibChat service – it could be they’re using an outdated browser (IE8, we’re lookin’ at you), or it could be that they’re suffering from spotty wifi or an unreliable internet connection.
When issues like this arise, LibChat will display a special error message which alerts folks to the situation and displays a link to Submit Your Question. Clicking on this link will pop open the LibAnswers question form in a new window, and any information the patron previously entered will be populated into the form. You can now customize this message – just head to the Widget Builder & edit any widget, then click the “Error Message” link.
We’ve added a new statistic – you’ll now be able to see how long each chat patron waited before a librarian chat operator claimed and replied. This gives a bit more contextual information on your chat service, & can be helpful for monitoring staffing levels. It also provides a bit more context for missed chats – did the patron wait a long time before giving up, or did they immediately navigate away (because ooo look a butterfly!). You can view this new metric listed in each chat transcript – it’s included for both successful chats as well as in the missed chats report.