Archive for LibChat

LibAnswers 2.17 – iFrame Chat is Here!

We have some exciting LibAnswers features to share, including a new chat option to make the patron chat experience seamless, even while browsing between pages!

iFrame Chat

Picture this: you’re in the middle of guiding a patron on how to use a particular resource and poof, the patron suddenly disappears. Odds are the patron has clicked on a new link in the page, navigating away from the page where the chat was embedded. Here at Springy HQ we’ve been giving a lot of thought to how this experience can be prevented, and in that spirit we’re thrilled to bring you the brand new iFrame Chat feature. Walking patrons through complicated research questions and database searches has never been easier!

Here’s how it works: Patrons will now see a new icon in the chat window to Launch iFrame Chat – when clicked, this will relaunch the page they’re currently viewing in an iFrame, with the current chat session overlaid on top. Patrons can browse to any URL in the underlying page (or any URL you share with them in Chat) – no matter where they go, the chat window remains overlaid on top. This greatly reduces the disappearing patron effect, and make it heaps easier to walk patrons through complicated web or database searches.

Once a patron launches iFrame chat, this is what they’ll see – the page they were viewing loads within a frame, with the chat window overlaid on top. Patrons can search, click links within the frame or in the chat window, etc. – the chat window remains floating on top of the frame:

Worried your patrons won’t discover this new feature on their own? Fear not – we’ve also included a new button in the chat operator window to Suggest iFrame Chat. This button sends a prompt to the patron to Launch iFrame Chat. You’ll see an in-chat notification when the patron switches into iFrame mode.

Good to know: some websites employ iFrame busting software, which causes the patron to see a blank white screen within the frame. If this happens, the patron can leave iFrame chat mode, either by returning to the first page they started from, or popping the chat window out of the frame.

Dashboard View & Ticket Improvements

Filterable ViewsViews are one of the unsung heroes of LibAnswers – they make it easy to customize the tickets you see on the dashboard, by filtering to just the queues, tags, owners, etc. you’re most interested in. Previously, when you switched to a particular view, the filters on the dashboard would disappear. Now, when you click on a view, the filters will continue to display, meaning you can use each view as a starting point and continue to refine your options. And to make views even handier, we’ve added a new “My Tickets” view to all views, so it’s easy to jump to just your new and pending tickets.

User History – In this release we’ve also made it a bit easier to see the full history of a conversation with a specific patron, right from the ticket answer page. We’ve updated the link so it’s easier to find, and we’ve improved the modal window that displays past ticket information, so it’s easier to see all open/pending/closed tickets from the same person at a glance.

New Typeahead Menu – We’ve revamped the formatting for the predictive search dropdown menu, shared by all search boxes throughout LibAnswers. The new menu is fully accessible/keyboard friendly, and we’ve added search term highlighting to the results, so it’s easy to spot how a result relates to a search query.

Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing – Tip #1: Getting Emoji’tional

Emojis

While your library might be winding down from the hectic schedule of finals or if you’re experiencing the general slowdown of traffic and questions typical during this time period – here are some quick (and fun!) things you can do, right now.

We’ll be releasing our Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing as a blog series from now till Dec 22nd! So come back and check out our other Springy Tips.

Tip #1 – Getting Emoji’tional 😉

Emoji’s can be an effective way to communicate with patrons and coworkers. They’re fun, expressive, and most importantly – compact. Universally agreed upon emoji symbols can help us convey a sentiment, or emotion, without having to phrase it in a convoluted or ambiguous sentence. So, not only does it save you time, but it can help prevent confusion from indecipherable sentences. For example, if you write that you’re heading over to a reference desk meeting and I reply with an emoji thumbs-up 👍👍, you can ascertain that I understand and am confirming your message. All parties are on the same page! Time magazine recently reported a study by Harris Poll showing that 36% of millennials ages 18-34 who use “visual expressions” say that those images better communicate their thoughts and feelings than words do.

On the flip side, using emoji’s improperly can land you in some hot water if you’re not using emojis that everyone can understand or are universally accepted. For example, in the same example above, if I had replied to your message with a party popper 🎉🎉 – does that mean that I’m happy you’re leaving to go to this meeting? Or am I wishing you good luck? Sending a party popper to that message just doesn’t make sense. As the recipient to my ambiguous emoji reply, you’re justifiably confused.

So, like with any communication tool, it’s important to consider your message and how the recipient of your message will interpret it. When in doubt, don’t use any emojis at all.

Accessing Your Built-In Emoji Keyboard

You’re probably very familiar with your emoji keyboard built into your smartphone device. But, did you know that your desktop computer also has a built-in emoji keyboard? Well, it does! Here’s how you can access it!

Step One: Be sure your cursor is inside an editing/typing window – like LibAnswers SMS Ticket Reply, or LibCal Social Publishing Field.

Step Two: Keyboard Shortcuts for Accessing the Emoji Keyboard

Windows Users Mac Users
  • Windows Button + semicolon (;)
    or
  • Windows Button + period (.)
  • CMD + Control + Spacebar

Step Three: Double-click to select your emojis, choosing as many as you want. You’ll notice the emojis being added to your text-editor. When you’re done, click to close the emoji keyboard.

Mac Computer Emoji Keyboard

Using Emojis In Your Springshare Tools

Now that you know how you can access your emoji keyboard, let’s have fun exploring all the different ways you can use emojis in your Springshare tools.

1. LibAnswers

There are many places that you can use emojis when replying to patron inquires inside of LibAnswers. Three places that come to mind are the SMS/Text-Message Tickets, Social Media Management, and inside of LibChat.

Additionally, using emojis in more ‘informal’ communication like text-messages, and social media posts can help users feel more connected to your content. In that same Time Magazine article, they reported that “the majority of people across age groups also said they feel ‘more connected’ to people they frequently message when using emojis and GIFs.”

In Your SMS/Text-Message Replies

LibAnswers SMS ticketing functionality allows you to answer patron-initiated texts natively inside the LibAnswers platform. Bottom-line, if you can type…you can text.

While replying to a patron inquiry, consider adding an emoji! Remember, text-messaging was the original birthplace of emojis, so using emojis in your reply will appear natively in the patron’s smartphone messaging app.

Adding Emojis to your LibAnswers SMS/Text-Message Replies

 

In Your Social Media Posts/Replies

If emojis were born in text-message, they grew to adulthood on social media. In your LibAnswers Social Media Management Tool, consider adding emojis to your Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest Posts and Replies. Remember, users feel comfortable when communicating with people who use emojis. And from our recent social media post, it’s important to be authentic. Emojis in your social media posts are a great way to communicate with patrons in a casual, informal, and authentic manner.

Emojis in Twitter - LibAnswers Social Media Management Posting

In Your LibChat Messages

In case you didn’t know, LibAnswers’ LibChat comes with built-in emoji support – but it’s limited to just the smiley face emojis. Use your built-in emoji keyboard to add more visuals to your chat convos! 👍

Built-in Emoji Support in LibAnswers’ LibChat

 

2. LibCal

Your library’s calendar events are an ideal spot for integrating some emoji fun! Remember, context is important – so it’s probably not a good idea to add emojis in a calendar event advertising the library’s counseling services.

In Your LibCal Calendar Events

When advertising your LibCal calendar events, consider adding emojis to the built-in Social Media posting integration.

Social Media Integration built-in to LibCal Calendars.

 

3. LibWizard

When asking patrons to fill out Library feedback forms or surveys – consider adding emojis to the radio and checkbox options!

As a tip, don’t replace words entirely with emojis as some user’s browsers might not be able to display them. Always use them in ‘conjunction’ with text unless you’re 100% certain that the emojis you’re using are compliant across all apps.

Adding emojis to the LibWizard Choices Options Fields.

Have fun poking around your Springshare tools and explore all the ways you can use emojis! And remember to have fun! 🎊🎉🎈

 

That’s all for this edition of ‘Tis the Season for (spring)Sharing’ Tips! Come back later this week for Tip #2!

LibAnswers 2.15 Update – Redesigned Chat Widgets!

You read that right, the latest LibAnswers release includes redesigned chat widgets for your patrons, a few awesome operator side updates, and a brand new widget type, to boot! You do not need to make any changes to your existing LibAnswers widgets to take advantage of the redesign. All of your widgets have automatically been updated / settings transferred, so they now display the new layout. There are two reasons you might want to edit your widgets:

  1. Take advantage of the new functionality (outlined further below), like asking for contact info or sending a LibCal My Scheduler link.
  2. If you had added Custom CSS to a widget, you’ll need to edit that widget and redo the CSS. All class names changed in the new widgets, so CSS changes need to be redone. Until you do this, your widgets should just have the default look.
    How do you know? Edit a widget in LibAnswers > LibChat > LibChat Widgets and check out the Custom CSS box. If there’s something there, you’ll want to check out the new version and redo customizations.

And with that out of the way, let’s get into more details! We’ll start with operator side changes, so you can see them in action in the widgets later. 🙂

Operator Updates / Additional Widget Options:

When you log into your LibAnswers system, you’ll see the LibChat / Stand-by Alerts area at the top looks a bit different. We redesigned this area to make it a little clearer what was happening there. LibChat is Online / Offline: see whether or not anyone in your system is online with LibChat. LibChat: You are Online / Offline: for your account, specifically; sign in or go to the LibChat dashboard, depending on your status. Stand-by Alerts toggles stand-by alert notifications on / off.

LibAnswers Dashboard - Statuses

Did you notice the profile picture there? Set a profile pic for yourself or for a LibChat Department for use with the new widgets! Click your email address in the upper right hand corner to choose your LibApps profile pic or a generic profile pic. Edit a Department (Admin > LibChat Set-up) to set a profile pic for a department. Department profile pics are used with proactive chat, in the initial proactive window. Individual profile pics are used within the chat itself.

Have you ever been logged in at one location, then moved locations, realized you forgot to log out of LibChat, and needed to log in again? Well, now you can easily log yourself out of other locations! If you’re logged in at one location and then log in again at a new location, the error page offers an option to log other locations out of LibChat.

New chat options / widget:

  • Contact Info: Make patron follow up easy by requesting contact info (email / SMS number) right on the widget login screen or anytime during the chat.
    • On the Create / Edit Widget page, look for the “Prompt for contact info” option in the “Before the Chat” section.
    • Once selected, configure additional options: Contact Request Message (message sent during a chat) and Require contact info at start (of chat).
    • LibChat: Operator - NewOptionsWhile chatting with a patron, you can use the i icon at the top of the chat box to see if they submitted their contact info. If they didn’t, use the address card icon at the top of the chat box to request it! If you don’t prompt for name, contact, etc., before a chat begins, it will also request those fields, including custom questions.
  • Follow Up Message: New setting for the message sent if patron is inadvertently disconnected (internet connection trouble, etc.) or if they get the delayed claim message, allowing them to submit a ticket for follow up.
  • Ratings & Comments Additions: Users can now check a box to email themselves a transcript or request to be contacted for follow up right in the Ratings & Comments area! If they have not already entered contact info (email / SMS), they’ll be prompted to do so. Modify the labels on these checkboxes by clicking on that area in the widget builder preview.
  • LibCal My Scheduler: Send your patrons a link to your My Scheduler page right in your chat!
    • Update your LibAnswers profile (click your email address in the top right corner) to define your personal & system level My Scheduler URLs.
    • Also (optionally) included as a button in the proactive chat / offline chat messages. Use the widget settings to set a group / personal My Scheduler as the button link.
  • LibChat Floating ButtonsFloating Widget: A new widget type that puts a chat icon at the bottom-right of your webpage. When clicked, the widget opens to full screen height, maximizing available chat space. This widget can be minimized / maximized without losing the chat, which is especially great for mobile devices, if the patron wants to see the page behind the chat again. Like other chats, it can also be popped out into its own window, so the patron can take the chat with them.

Widget Updates

Here we are – the patron-side updates! The entire look of the widgets has changed, from top to bottom.
LibChat Floating Widget

  • Left/right side messaging, so it’s easier to follow the conversation with a familiar text-message-like layout.
  • As mentioned, profile image inclusion, to create a stronger connection with your patrons.
  • Buttons for overall widget actions, like sound, are at the top and message related actions, like file attachments, are at the bottom.
  • Feedback is integrated into the end of the chat vs. taking over the window. It also includes the option to email a transcript, so patrons don’t have to click the icon separately at the end of a chat.
  • Patrons can elect to be contacted for follow up, if that’s been enabled for the widget. Their message is submitted as a ticket in LibAnswers, which provides notifications to you however you have that set up (email, LibChat, etc.).
  • As mentioned above, if a patron happens to get disconnected, they’re able to enter their contact info and submit a ticket to the system for follow up.
  • Once a chat has ended, the x (end chat) icon changes to a reload icon, allowing the patron to start a new chat, if they wish.

We also included a helpful little fix in the mix:

  • LibChat statistics export now correctly shows the total number of chats (vs. 0). You know you chatted, LibAnswers knows you chatted, the stats show you chatted…and now the total number in the export has fallen in line to show you just how much.

We hope you enjoy these LibChat updates as much as we do! <3 🙂

LibAnswers: Social Media Management is Here!

The LibAnswers 2.8 Update is now live, and with it we’re thrilled to announce our new Social Media Management functionality inside LibAnswers.

Nowadays so much communication happens on social media hence it’s essential for libraries to effectively – and efficiently – communicate with users on social media channels, too. LibAnswers now helps libraries effortlessly manage their social media presence and communication with users. Monitor and respond to conversations happening on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Publish new posts, tweets, and pins, or schedule them for future posting. Follow relevant #hashtag conversations and measurably improve engagement with your community.

Best of all, managing your social media communication happens right alongside the existing communication channels in LibAnswers – email queries, question form responses, SMS, and real-time chat via LibChat. This way all patron communication across all channels happens within one easy-to-use platform, making it that much easier to provide best-of-the-best customer service to your users.

We really can’t wait to tell you more about it, so enough with the small talk – let’s get to it


Social Media Management

socialfeedoverview

Integrate any number of Twitter accounts, Facebook Pages, and Pinterest accounts into your LibAnswers Queues and voila – all your social media activity shows inside LibAnswers social feed. This feed becomes your social command center, and you respond and engage with users from one place – everything from Twitter mentions and Direct Messages to Facebook likes, comments, and posts and Pinterest Pins, too. If an item requires follow-up (e.g. a reference question sent via Twitter), turn it into a LibAnswers ticket with just one click. As you finish reading/replying to items, just “Mark as Read” to dismiss them from the active monitoring stream.

Facebook Messenger Integration

Facebook Messenger Screenshot

Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular social media conversation platforms. Now librarians can respond on FB Messenger directly from the LibChat operator console. Patrons can Facebook Message the library from anywhere
right from your Facebook page or using their mobile FB Messenger App. This makes the LibChat operator console your one-stop shop for all your chat needs, and it makes it incredibly easy for your patrons to reach out to librarians when they need help – as easy as communicating with their friends on the communication platform which they use all.the.time. Being so easily reachable on FB Messenger is a great way for libraries to increase the “mind-share” with patrons.

Facebook Pages Integration

Our new Facebook integration doesn’t end with Messenger – with our new Social Media Management tool, you’ll be able to view and respond to any and all patron interactions that occur on your institution’s Facebook page. View and respond to posts, comments, replies, and likes – LibAnswers collects it all and makes it easy to respond to everything, all from your social feed.

Twitter Integration – Including Hashtag Tracking

We’ve included twitter integration inside LibAnswers for a while now but this release takes it to a whole new level with a major host of updates, including:

  • Send & Receive Direct Messages – In addition to the public @mention integration, you’ll now be able to send and receive private messages with other Twitter users. Manage public and private Twitter conversations all in one place!
  • Hashtag Tracking – Keeping an eye on ALA Annual Conference Hashtag, #alaac16? Or hashtag trends that are happening in your local community like #MIT? Or even hashtags on the national or global scale like #BRexit? Track up to 5 hashtags per LibAnswers queue, and all tweets with those hashtags will automatically display in your Social Feed.
  • Improved Fetch Rates – We’re speeding up communication rates with Twitter to bring you fresh information even faster!
  • Twitter Engagement Statistics – See below on the new statistics features but suffice it to say that you will be blown away with the depth of the statistics reports offered.

Pinterest Integration

We’ve noticed libraries using Pinterest in a myriad of ways – everything from showcasing new acquisitions to highlighting unique archival collections. Libraries have a wealth of visual content, and Pinterest is the perfect medium to share that content with your community!

With our new Pinterest integration, it’s a breeze to create pins for any type of content the library wants to highlight, and schedule them to post to Pinterest at a later date. This makes it easy to create a schedule of content that posts at the ideal time to reach your patrons. How do you determine what that schedule should be? Easy – just head to your Pinterest Stats panel for an in-depth look at monthly, daily, and hourly breakdowns of likes, comments, and repins of the pins you’ve created. Plus, view your most popular pins at a glance – this helps you tailor your social media strategy so you can keep generating content that users love the most!

Schedule Social Posts

Effective and successful social media strategy requires the ability for advance scheduling of posts on any social media channels. LibAnswers has you covered – compose Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest posts right from inside your LibAnswers system. Embed live links, send Twitter Direct Messages, and post right to your Pinterest Boards. Scheduling posts ahead of time ensures that your social media channels are always buzzing with activity – even when you’re too busy to create them at that moment.

Stats, Glorious Stats

impressions

We’re harnessing the full power of the Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest APIs to bring you turbo-charged statistics on your library’s social media presence. With these new statistics your library can demonstrably measure and report on user engagement. You’ll know at a glance which of your posts generated the most likes, comments, and shares. Plus, it’s easy to get an overview of your full social media presence – everything from your number of followers to a breakdown of impressions is included!

Ready? Let’s Go!

We hope you’re as excited about the new Social Media Management tool as we are! To get started, have your LibApps Administrator authorize each app (Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest) by heading to the LibApps dashboard and selecting Admin > Social Channel Integration.

If you need help identifying your LibApps Administrator: Click the blue dropdown menu from the orange command bar and select “LibApps”. Your LibApps administrator(s) is displayed at the top of the list of sites in the center of the screen.

Additional Updates

We also rolled out several smaller updates as part of this release. These include:

  • LibChat Expanded “Information” – We’ve heard your requests to make the “Information” about new chats more obvious – this includes things like the URL of the page where the patron started the chat, their browser version info, and their responses to any initial questions. With this update, this information comes front and center – just click the “i” icon at the top of the chat pane and boom, all the info you need is at your fingertips.
  • Searchable Internal Notes – Several of you asked if the internal notes field could be indexed & made searchable (but only on the librarian side of course!), so we did just that. You can now search for keywords and content in internal notes – just use the “full text” search from the ticket knowledgebase.
  • Friendly URLs are case-insensitive – We’ve updated the behavior of friendly URLs, so they now treat capital and lowercase letters the same. This was causing isolated issues where a friendly URL had been assigned more than once (once with uppercase and once with lowercase letters), and now those issues are no more.