Archive for LibChat

LibAnswers Update: Chat Improvements and More Coming Soon!

The LibAnswers release is on its way and will be released to all regions by the end of the day on Thursday August 9th. This release is chock full of chat dashboard stability and UI improvements – read on for the full scoop!

New Chat Dashboard Updates

We’ve heard your early feedback from using the new and improved Chat Operator Dashboard, and are excited to bring you several key updates and new features, including:

  • FAQ Search – It’s back! We’ve added the ability to search FAQs and share them with patrons and internal chats. You’ll see this FAQ search ability available from any chat area, including all internal and personal chats – this offers a quick way to search for existing help documentation from your site, and share it with patrons lickety split. And even better, we’ve improved the “share a link” functionality – now, instead of needing to copy and paste the link, you can just click the link icon from within the list of results and you’re off to the races.
  • Current Operator Shown In All Operators List – We heard from several folks that it felt more intuitive to show the current operator in the all operators list, so we made it happen! Even better, in addition to just showing your name in the operators list (which makes it easy to keep an eye on your current chat status), when you click on your name, you’ll find a chat entry area that’s personalized for you! Use this space as your personal notes area – you can use it to create draft messages, or search FAQs, or write yourself reminders, etc.
  • Responsive Design Elements were improved with this update, so the new chat dashboard will respond better for tablets and other smaller screens. Optimizing the chat dashboard for mobile devices will be coming in a future release.
  • Less Clicks Required to Close Chat – We’ve updated the various end chat behaviors to reduce the number of clicks – now, when you go to end a chat, you’ll have just one click to end, instead of needing to navigate through an additional dropdown menu.

Improved Chat Stability

In this release we’ve made several big under the hood improvements to help make the LibChat infrastructure as reliable and fault tolerant as possible. One of the biggest visible improvements is something we’re very excited about – in the new chat dashboard, if something inadvertently causes the chat operator to go offline for a moment – ex if the internet blips out momentarily, or if you accidentally navigate away from the chat pane and then hit the back button – you won’t lose any current chats in progress.

Full Admin Side HTTPS Support – No Action Required!

In this update we’re also introducing full HTTPS support for the admin side of your system, for all sites! This change means all of the admin side interactions in the system – from replying to tickets to answering chats to viewing statistics and running reports, every action you take on the admin side is now run via HTTPS enabled pages, so all system communication is more secure.

Please note that this update automatically updates every site’s admin-side pages to HTTPS. To update your public side pages to HTTPS (which we highly recommend doing!), check out our instructions available at https://ask.springshare.com/libapps/faq/596.

Plus Bug Fixes and More!

  • Accessibility Improvements have been implemented for chat widgets – we’ve made them more screen reader friendly, so users with all types of assistive devices will have a smooth chat experience. We’ve also updated aria information in several key places
  • Remove the “Welcome to the New Chat Dashboard” message – For sites that have chosen to upgrade to the new chat operator screen, you’ll no longer see the “Welcome to the New Chat Dashboard” message each time you log in.
  • Character Escaping Improvements were made in a couple of places – now, if a patron shares a URL that contains an & in the pre-chat questions, or if you create a “Contact Us” link that contains an &, these will be rendered properly right from the get go.
  • Chat Links Open in New Window – We discovered a bug with the new chat operator interface where, if a patron shared a URL in one of the pre-chat question areas, those URLs were not opening in a new window. Now, all URLs shared via chat will open in a new window, so you won’t inadvertently navigate away from the chat pane.

Tips for Promoting Internal Staff Communication, Collaboration, and Community

Are you engaged?

It’s funny to say, but people are always talking about communication. In every relationship dynamic, the secret…is always communication — with your child, with your clients, with pets, with other countries, with your barista. Are you communicating effectively? Even more to the point, how can you communicate better?

This has always been a trending topic and it’s even more of a challenge now. With so many ways to reach out and because the traditional work environment is morphing with flex hours and telecommuting, virtual possibilities, it helps to reboot the conversation.

The one thing you will learn quickly is that it’s all about engagement. You have to be engaged in the solutions you put forth or the team won’t be either. So, if you really care about boosting internal staff communication to improve collaboration and create a sense of community, then you’re already on the right track. You care. The sooner we stop talking about communication and make improving it a real priority, the sooner we will see the wonderful effect it has on team productivity and morale.

The leaders have to lead.

If you want to encourage active internal communication amongst the staff, you’ll want to get in the mix. There are teams all over the world who find themselves with new directives sprinkled with enthusiastic words about the new intranet tool that has been licensed — so the company can better connect. It improves efficiency, they’re told. And, while this may be true, so many of those sharing the new mandate will never be seen actively participating in the intranet. They say the best way to lead is by example. Well, whether you intend to or not, you’re always leading by example. So get in there and show them how it’s done!

LibGuides CMS has Groups functionality. Combine that with its Access Controls feature and you can create a locked down group and use it as a staff intranet! Many libraries are starting to do this as it’s super convenient.

  • Your internal group in LibGuides CMS can be a place where you get to know each other better. You can have each team member build a guide where s/he shares not just education and work experience, but also hobbies and interests, favorite TV shows and go-to Karaoke songs, photos of family or pets or a favorite vacation vista and more.
  • You can facilitate collaboration on projects that should be tackled next or get feedback on your latest instruction session idea by enabling Discussion Boards. You can engage with your team right in your site by encouraging open discussions or you can post specific questions. Remember, you can enable Discussion Boards on as many guides in your intranet group as you wish!

  • Cultivate a fun internal voice by using the blogging tool. Maybe your library organized a particularly successful event recently. Or, maybe you had excellent reviews on a recent class you offered. Have the folks in charge write a blog post about it. This gives staff a chance to share and shine!
  • It’s your intranet, what do you want to use it for? Ensuring an actively accessed intranet is about making it a “place” you’d want to hang out. Of course, you can build guides that hold documents and files and links and images pertaining to a current project. But alongside those, be creative about your guides. Perhaps the Director wants to build a guide about what’s on the horizon with tabs for each quarter? Give your retiring colleague an opportunity to build a farewell guide! Maybe you should start a staff book club or book review guide! Have fun! This is where communication leads to community.

The new water cooler.

Do offices even have the proverbial water cooler anymore? At Springshare, we’re chatting all the time, but from our desks or devices. Don’t curtail the chatting. Instead, foster it. It’s much faster than opening/sending/replying to emails. LibChat, a component of the LibAnswers Platform, not only helps you answer your patrons efficiently, it also allows you to chat amongst yourselves.

  • You can transfer questions from patrons to another operator. This is useful if there is someone better suited to answering the question online with you or in case you are about to go on your break and you need to start feeding questions to the next person on duty.
  • You can ask a colleague a question — behind the scenes — to help you answer the patron.
  • You can chat with all LibAnswers colleagues that are online at the time or initiate a chat with someone in particular.

A mixed bag is good. People will chat with each other about projects, ask for feedback, share an experience. But they’ll also send a birthday shout out and ask each other about playlists that move the day along. The important thing is that it’s a happy work environment. People who know and like each other want to collaborate.

Plus, the LibChat Operator Console was just updated with an entirely new interface making internal/staff-only chats that much easier.

Check in — so they don’t check out.

You can set up tools and you can implement strategies to improve communication in your workplace, but one of the best things you can do is frequently check in with the team. Use LibWizard to create an anonymous survey and ask folks if something is missing from the intranet. See if there’s a page they never use. Use the multi-select checkbox field to ask them which portions of the intranet they find most useful or interesting.

Not only will it help you improve by filling in the blanks or kicking out stuff that’s just taking up space, but it lets your team know you really do care about nurturing a productive and supportive and — dare we say — fun workplace.

LibAnswers Update – New Chat Operator Interface is Here!

The new LibChat Operator console will be released to all regions by the end of the day on Friday June 29th, 2018. But, keep in mind that we are not changing the current console to this new version just yet – we’re making the new chat operator console available to everyone to test it out, try things, get accustomed… and then when you are ready to switch to the new console on the system level, your LibAnswers system administrator can make the new console the default for everyone, in system settings.

When you login to LibChat, you will still see the current/existing console by default. To use this new console instead, head to LibChat -> New Chat Dashboard and you can switch back and forth between the current and the new chats on different days – until you are fully comfortable making the new chat interface the only one to use for the entire site.

The new Chat Operator console makes it easier to hold multiple chats with patrons, to chat with individual colleagues – or all colleagues from a department – all from one place! Words don’t do justice to this new console, so instead let’s just take a look:

 

  • List View of All Chats – The new chat UI utilizes a standardized list view of all ongoing chats, so it’s easy to keep track of all of your conversations without having to move and resize boxes.
  • Expanded Chat Pane – Now you have a much more spacious area for each chat conversation you’re part of. We’ve also made a number of quality of life improvements inside the chat pane for operators, including left-orienting all of the chat conversations, adding clearer indicators of who said what, better timestamps and improved “Patron is typing” notifications, etc.
  • Conversation history with Patrons – If you choose to do so, you can view the history of conversations (both chats and tickets) from the patron you’re chatting with. Of course we’re fully aware of the privacy concerns as well, so this tool will only return chat and ticket history from the time period inside your privacy scrub window. The privacy scrub is a standard feature of LibAnswers – it’s run on a monthly basis, and you get to choose the number of months for which you’d like to retain data prior to the scrub – contact our support team to set this up for your site.
  • Dedicated Department Chats – We’ve added dedicated chat channels for each department you monitor, so everyone who monitors a department can be part of the same ongoing internal conversation. Use these new department chats to discuss and strategize around chat question trends, staffing coverage issues, or the latest departmental happenings – it’s up to you!
  • New Internal Note Field for a Chat – A new operator-side internal note feature displays at the end of each chat session. It’s a handy way to communicate high level information about the chat with admins or other staff members who may be reviewing the chat transcript after the fact. Any internal note you add will be appended to the chat transcript itself, keeping all the information in one tidy place.
  • Answer Tickets from the LibChat Interface – As with the existing chat interface, you can respond to SMS, Twitter and Facebook messages right from the new chat dashboard, so it’s super easy to keep on top of all instantaneous methods of communication. In the future we’ll also be working on a way to answer all tickets from this pane, making LibChat a one stop shop for all communication!

To give the new chat interface a spin head to the orange command bar and choose LibChat > New Chat Dashboard. The new chat dashboard is fully linked to your existing department affiliations, so it’s easy to try out answering patron questions right from the get go. Just be aware, internal department chats between users on the old and new chat dashboard won’t work (though you can still talk with individual librarians between the old and new chat). Once you’re ready to fully make the switch for your whole site, admins can head to Admin > LibChat Setup > Settings to switch everyone over to the new dashboard.

Additional Updates and Features

But why stop there – we have several additional LibAnswers updates and features to share, including:

  • SMS Macros – We’ve added the option to create macros that are specific for SMS messages – these macros don’t contain any HTML, so they’re perfect for sending to SMS users! To create an SMS macro, head to Admin > Macros > Create SMS Macro.
  • Edit FAQ Info from the Knowledge Base Explorer – We’re adding the ability to edit high-level information about an FAQ – including its group assignment, assigned topics, keywords, and status – right from the KBE, instead of having to navigate to each individual FAQ. Head to the FAQ Knowledge Base and click the edit icon to give it a spin.
  • FAQ Topic Multi-Select – We’re making it loads easier to apply multiple topics to an FAQ – now, instead of selecting each topic individually from a drop down list, we’ve updated these menus to support multiple selections and easy keyboard navigation. To see it in action, head to the edit FAQ page.

LibAnswers 2.20 Coming Soon

The LibAnswers 2.20 release is on its way, and will be live in all regions by end of the day on Thursday May 24th. We have several great features to share, including GDPR privacy updates and an exciting announcement about upcoming changes to the Chat Operator screen!

GDPR & Privacy Related Updates

We’ve worked on a number of issues to help get LibAnswers ready for the impending GDPR changes. In case you missed it, check out our full GDPR post. Here are the tools we’re rolling out in this update:

Public Cookie Notice and Privacy Statement – We’re adding an optional, dismissible notice to alert users about the use of cookies and IP address collection on LibAnswers public pages. To turn on this notice and customize its text, admins can head to Admin > System Settings > Privacy Settings.

Data Submission Notices – We’re also adding an optional data submission notification, to help you alert your patrons to what personal information you collect in order to submit a question or idea to LibAnswers. This gives you an opportunity to let your patrons know why you collect particular data in forms, what that data is used for, etc. To turn on this notice and customize its text, admins can head to Admin > System Settings > Privacy Settings.

Expanded Privacy Scrub – We’re expanding our current privacy scrub options so that now, in addition to scrubbing patron name and email address, you can also choose to scrub all possible identifying information from both ticket interactions and/or LibChat transcripts on a rolling basis.

This new privacy scrub option will remove the entire contents of a ticket conversation and/or chat transcript – all of the messages that were exchanged between librarian and patron will be removed, and replaced with a short indicator message: [Removed during Privacy Scrub]. This option will also remove all of the patron’s responses to question and chat forms, so all possible identifying information will be removed.

With this new scrub option, your site will still retain usage data, so you’ll still be able to see things like how many chats or tickets came in by month, day, and hour. All potential identifying information will be removed and cannot be restored. Once the scrub is run, your tickets and/or chat transcripts will look like the following:

To enable the privacy scrub for your site, get in touch with our awesome support team and let them know whether you’d like to scrub just name, email, and SMS number, or whether to scrub the entire contents of the conversation for tickets and/or chat transcripts. Please also let us know how many months of data you’d like to retain before running the scrub.

Additional Updates and Fixes

  • We’ve added a new “Link to FAQ” option on the Add/Edit FAQ page, so it’s easier to add links to related FAQs when building an FAQ. To use this option, head to the Add/Edit FAQ page > Add/Edit Links.
  • We’ve added a Keyword Filter on the FAQ Entries Knowledge Base Explorer page, so it’s easy to filter results by a particular keyword. To try it out, head to the Knowledge Base Explorer and filter by Keyword.
  • We fixed a bug where Topic List Widgets weren’t opening links in a new window when that option was selected (now they will!).
  • We fixed a bug with the Helpful Tools search box on the Ticket Answer page – now, if you search for a public FAQ on this page, the results will open in a new window so you can easily browse existing FAQs.

And Coming Soon…Chat Operator Redesign!

We’re also hard at work behind the scenes to bring you a really exciting update – this summer, we’ll be rolling out a brand new interface for Librarians monitoring and responding to chats! This new interface will completely streamline the process of responding to patron chats – we’re moving away from having each chat open in its own window, and moving toward a list view of all of your chats in progress. Active chats are listed on the left, and each chat conversation is displayed on the right, so it’s worlds easier to manage multiple conversations without needing to rearrange chat windows. We’re also adding a host of frequently requested chat features with this update, including things like improved Group chats, improved alerts (including a nicer alert tone when new messages arrive), better integrated user history, and so much more!

Needless to say, we are super excited for the new chat update, but we also recognize that the new UI is a big departure from the existing chat UI. For this reason, the new chat UI will initially be an opt-in update – once it rolls out, all librarians at your site will be able to try it out live before you make the switch. Once your site is ready, your site admins can officially switch everyone to the new interface. If you have ideas or suggestions about what you’d like to see in the new LibChat Operator screen, please let our support crew know and they will relay the message to the LibAnswers product team.

LibAnswers 2.18 Release – Patron Contact Cards and More

The Springy release-a-palooza continues – the LibAnswers 2.18 is on its way and will be released to all regions by the end of the day on Friday, February 2nd.  This release contains two big new features – the Patron Contact Card, and better email search indexing!

Patron Contact Card

The Patron Contact Card builds on the User History feature. Previously, User History connected tickets from the same source in a single channel – e.g. for an SMS question we connected all of the previous tickets from that SMS number. For emails, we connected all tickets from that same email. The Patron Contact Card combines different channels a single patron might use – this includes up to 2 unique email addresses, an SMS number, a Twitter handle, and a Facebook profile. With this, you can connect the communication dots for a unified view of how a single patron is communicating with your library, whether by email, SMS, chat, Twitter or Facebook. You’ll now have the full context of a patron’s conversations with your librarians, on any channel.

Whenever possible, we’ll attempt to automatically match a patron’s contact info from an existing Patron Contact Card. When auto matching isn’t possible, you can manually connect the patron’s different types of contact info via the User History screen.

How it works: SMS, Twitter, Facebook and Email

For tickets that patrons send in via SMS, Twitter, Facebook and Email, you can match these tickets to the Patron Contact Card via the User History link on the ticket answer page. Click on the User History link in the SMS ticket, select the new option to “Associate this contact with a known patron”, search for the patron’s email address, or enter a new address and click Associate. This connects their SMS number with prior questions from that email address, and you can now view the user history from both of these streams!

For Twitter, Facebook, and second Email connections, the procedure works the same way – once the patron shares their relevant contact info, head to the ticket screen, click on the User History link, and choose Associate this contact with a known person. Search for their email address, and if the patron’s email is found from prior conversations, just click Associate to connect the dots!

How it works: LibChat

If you ask for patron’s email in a pre-chat form the given LibChat transcript is automatically connected to  a Patron’s Contact Card happens automatically! If during the course of chat, the patron provides their email in the contact info field, we’ll automatically associate that transcript with the Patron Contact Card, so the full history of chats and email tickets can be viewed in one place.

A Word on Patron Privacy

The Patron Contact Card will be a powerful tool in connecting patron communication across contact streams. We also know how important preserving patron privacy is, so now may be a good time to mention the various patron privacy protections available in your system. We already take steps to ensure that patron identifying data is encrypted in our databases. But for sites that prefer an additional layer of privacy protection, you have the option to sign up for our monthly privacy scrub. You can choose to remove patron identifying information, including patron email address, phone number, IP address, and/or name. You can also choose how many months to keep data before it’s scrubbed from the server. Once this data is scrubbed from the server, scrubbed tickets will no longer display in the User History thread (as they’re no longer associated with the patron’s contact info), but the ticket itself will remain in the system (so it still counts toward aggregate stats, etc.). To sign up for a privacy scrub, contact our awesome support team and let them know how long you’d like to retain the data prior to scrubbing from the system.

Improved Email Search

You may have noticed that, when searching for prior tickets based on a patron’s email address, you have to search for an exact email address to see results. This happens because, for privacy reasons, we encrypt the email field in our database, so search indexing works a bit differently for that field. In this release, we’re introducing a new index just for email domains – now, you can run a search based on a patron’s email domain (ie everyone from mail.myschool.edu, or everyone from gmail.com) to see all users who’ve sent in tickets from that domain.

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 – Guided Chat Mode

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.