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Auto Answers: Visitor self-service

Auto Answers is a self-service support feature that provides visitors a way to browse questions and answers before chatting live, deflecting common or repetitive engagement from operators.

When enabled, Auto Answers provides visitors a way to browse questions and answers before chatting live, deflecting common or repetitive engagement from operators. The feature is configured per chat window definition, which allows you to differentiate and customize visitors' chat experience on your site.

Requirements

  • An Enterprise subscription
  • Only available for layered windows – Not available for pop-up windows

How do visitors experience Auto Answers?

The typical engagement sequence for visitors is as follows.

Tip: Click each step to see a screenshot.
  1. The visitor asks an initial question
  2. The visitor browses and rates the available answers
  3. The visitor initiates live chat if the issue persists
Note: Operators can track visitors' Auto Answer browsing history as well as their feedback once the live chat is started (click to see screenshot). You can also run reports on Auto-Answers from https://reports.boldchat.com/ and check our available reports

Step One: Populating the answer pool

Auto Answers utilizes canned messages to present the most relevant answers to visitors based on various factors, such as frequency of use, popularity, visitor rating and key terms.

You can populate the pool of questions and answers using either the BoldChat Client or via API calls.

  1. Adding Canned Messages using the BoldChat Client
    1. Go to Setup > Account Setup.
    2. Select Chats > Chat Canned Messages.
    3. Select the folder where you want to store messages for Auto Answers. If you haven't created a designated folder yet, right-click Chat Canned Messages in the left pane and choose New Folder.

      Note: You can organize messages for Auto Answers in folder trees as well as multiple folders, but it is good practice to keep messages intended for Auto Answers in dedicated folders.

    4. Select the Auto Answers folder and click New in the top menu.
    5. Fill in the mandatory fields below and click Save.

      Field Description
      Name Never visible to visitors and used only for referencing and as an identifier.
      Subject Shown as the answer's label in the visitor's search result list.
      Message The message is a HTML snippet that can be formatted with valid HTML markup, just as any other canned message.
      Tip: Not familiar with Canned Messages? See Setting up Canned Messages to get started.

    Your message is ready to be used with Auto Answers.
  2. Managing Canned Messages via API

    This method is the preferred way to import large amounts of data, such as an entire knowledge base or FAQ to be used with Auto Answers.

    1. Option. Use Canned Folders CRUD Methods to organize and set up Chat Message folders.
    2. Prepare your content.

      • HTML markup and simple CSS formatting are supported.
      • Images must reside on a location accessible to BoldChat and should be referenced using fully resolved URLs.
      • Individual messages are limited to 65,535 bytes (HTML source). We strongly recommend that you split complex and/or lengthy content into smaller chunks to improve user experience.

    3. Import the corpus using Canned Folders CRUD Methods.

Step Two: Configuring the Chat Window

Fine-tune Auto Answers to show content depending on your preferences. For example, when do you want to show Auto Answers to visitors? Will they be forced to read answers, or can they bypass them before engaging with an operator?

  1. In the Desktop Client, go to Setup > Account Setup.
  2. Select your chat window definition you want to use with Auto Answers under Chats > Custom Chat Windows and click Edit in the top menu.

    If you haven't set up your chat window yet, you can learn more under the Building Block: The Chat Window Definition section.

  3. Go to the Auto Answers tab and select Enable Auto Answers for this chat window.
  4. Use the Auto Answer Status and Auto Answer Type options to adapt Auto Answers to your needs.
    1. Set Auto Answer Status.

      Option Description
      When Operators are Available: Show Auto Answers before chat When agents are available, visitors are always shown Auto Answers before reaching an agent.
      When Operators are Available: Show only if chat queue reaches % of limit While the queue size stays below the defined threshold, Auto Answers is not available and visitors can initiate live chat in the usual manner. Requires Automatic Chat Distribution (ACD) to be switched on with a maximum queue size greater than zero.

    2. Set Auto Answer Type.

      Option Description
      Optional

      Visitors are free to use Auto Answers or engage in live chat with an operator anytime.

      Mandatory

      Visitors must ask questions or click responses a certain number of times (Required Visitor Actions) before they can initiate live chat with an operator.

      Adaptive

      Visitors are free to use Auto Answers or engage in live chat with an operator while the visitor queue size stays below the defined threshold. When the threshold is exceeded, visitors must ask questions or click responses a certain number of times (Required Visitor Actions) before they can initiate live chat with an operator.

      Notes:

      • Requires Auto Answer Status to be Always on. In contrast with the Selective option, Auto Answers behavior is different in Adaptive mode:
        • Auto Answers is always available for visitors before live chat, regardless of queue size limits.
        • When the queue size threshold is exceeded, visitors must use Auto Answers and cannot immediately chat live with an operator.
      • Requires Automatic Chat Distribution (ACD) to be switched on with a maximum queue size greater than zero. Learn more about ACD under How to automatically activate chats (Automatic Chat Distribution).

  5. Configure how answers are displayed to visitors.
    • Response list content: Determines whether the first two lines of answers are displayed in the result list
    • Response list length: Maximum number of query results displayed
    • Chat queue timer: Once the operator responds, the amount of time a visitor can browse answers before being redirected to live chat.
    • Ignore voting...: When enabled, the order of results is only determined by the visitor's query. Previous customer votes are ignored, and do not affect the sorting of answers.
      Note: Subsequent visitor votes are still recorded, and will be taken into account once this option is turned off.
  6. Select the message folders to be used with your chat window under Canned Message Folders for Auto Answers.
  7. Click Save.
The Auto Answers feature is configured and enabled for your chat window.
Tip: Use the Data Extraction API to gain insight into how your visitors use Auto Answers via the getAutoAnswers method.