Customers love love love the instant results they get when you provide real-time support through Live Chat. eDesk’s Live Chat is simple to set up for your customers, and it empowers your team to resolve issues quickly and efficiently, boosting customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.

This help file explains how eDesk’s Live Chat works for your team and your customers.

Before you start

  • You’ll need to have a Live Chat widget on your website or webstore. To find out how to do this, click here.
  • An Admin user in your business needs to give Chat permissions to the Support Agents that will be supporting customers through Live Chat. To find out how, click here.

01 eDesk Live Chat

With eDesk’s Live Chat:

Your team will oversee and participate in customer conversations via the Chat section in eDesk. The Chat section is available only to users that have been given permissions for Chat by an Admin user. For details, see here.

Your customers will see a Chat icon on your website or webstore. You can customize its colour to suit your own branding. The button is displayed only if the Chat widget has been installed on your website or webstore. For instructions, see here.

02 Using Live Chat

So how does it work? Read on to learn more.

Step 1: Customer initiates the chat

When a customer wants to chat, they’ll select the Chat icon, which will open a chat box if there are Agents online (if there are no Agents online, and the widget is enabled, a contact form will open instead. See below
Again, the colour and messaging of the chat is customizable.  

The customer completes the following fields in the chat box:
  • Name
  • Email address
  • Additional Custom fields and Tags can be added which the customer must complete to start the chat. Note: These are not available on the Growth plan. For features and pricing, please click here
  • To find out how to add these Tags, click here.
  • To find out how to add these Custom fields, click here.
They then type their initial question or comment into the chat box and hit Send.

Step 2: The chat appears in eDesk

At this point, the chat conversation is added to a list of Unassigned conversations in your team’s eDesk. An unassigned conversation is one that hasn’t been claimed by a Support Agent. To alert the online Agents to the new chat, a red circle icon is displayed by the Chat icon in the left-hand pane, and a sound alert occurs.

Inside the Chat window, you will see the Unaassigned section with a number representing the unassigned conversations.

When the Agent clicks the Unassigned link in the Conversations section, they’ll see a list of unassigned conversations displayed in the middle pane. Each conversation in the list shows how long the customer has been waiting for a response. When the customer name is selected in the middle pane, the chat messages for this conversation are displayed in the Conversation tab in the right-hand pane.

Step 3: Now the chat conversation needs an Agent to claim it.

While waiting for the Chat to be claimed, the customer will receive an automated messages which you can set in your Settings.

To claim the conversation, click Claim conversation at the bottom of the right-hand pane. As soon as you claim a conversation, the chat box that’s displayed to the customer updates to say “[Agent name] has joined this session”. In eDesk, the chat conversation is moved to the Open list of chats.

Step 4: Start chatting! 

Enter your responses into the Reply field in the right-hand pane. As you type, the customer’s chat box indicates that you are typing. When you hit [return] on the keyboard, your message is displayed in the customer’s chat box. eDesk will also indicate when the customer is typing and you’ll see their messages displayed as the chat progresses . 

You can also: 
  • Use snippets in your replies, by typing # into the message and then selecting the snippet. To learn more about snippets, click here.
  • Upload files to the conversation by clicking the paperclip icon. The permitted file types are CSV, DOC, DOCX, GIF, JPEG, JPG, PDF, PNG, TXT, XLS, and XLSX.
  • Attach orders to the conversation (seen only by Agents):
  • Add internal notes to the conversation (seen only by Agents). To learn more about internal notes, click here.
  • Mention another Agent (seen only by Agents). To learn more about mentions, click here.
  • Add tags to the chat conversation (seen only by Agents). To learn about Tags, click here.
  • View the details of the customer, such as email address:
  • Hide or show the URL that the customer is chatting from, by selecting Options > Show/Hide chat source. 
  • Join another open chat conversation. Select the chat from the Open list and start chatting. You can own multiple chats if configured to do so. See below.
  • Claim another Unassigned chat conversation. You can own multiple chats if configured to do so. See below.
  • If another Agent has joined the chat, you can leave the chat conversation by selecting Options > Remove me from the chat.
  • Close the chat after the customer has closed the chat from their end.

Customers can also:
  • Upload files by clicking the paperclip icon in their chat box. The permitted file types are CSV, DOC, DOCX, GIF, JPEG, JPG, PDF, PNG, TXT, XLS, and XLSX.
  • Close the chat.

Step 5: Closing the chat

The chat conversation is closed either by the customer, who clicks the Close button, or by the Agent, who selects Options > Close this chat > Turn chat into a closed ticket or Options > Close this chat > Turn chat into a To Do ticket. When the chat is closed, a new ticket is created in eDesk. 

The ticket contains a transcript of the chat conversation, any uploaded files, and any orders that were linked to the chat by the Support Agent. The ticket has a Closed or To Do status. See here to learn more about ticket status. A transcript is emailed automatically to the customer’s email address. The chat conversation is moved to the Closed list in the Chat section.

Step 6: Feedback

If configured (see Section 3, step 2 here), a message is displayed in the customer’s chat box that asks the customer to rate their chat experience.

Once the customer selects a rating icon, completes the text field (optional), and clicks Send, they see a thank you message. They are then expected to close the chatbox. The customer’s rating is added to the ticket in eDesk.

03 How do Support Agents access Live Chat in eDesk?

If your account has permission to access Live Chat, you’ll see a Chat icon in the left-hand menu in eDesk. 

Click this to open the Chat section. This is where you will manage all of your Live Chats.

If you don’t see the Chat icon, contact your Admin user who will need to assign a role to your account that includes the chat permission. To find out more about this, click here.

04 Your Live Chat status

If you’re a Support Agent, your chat status can affect what the customer sees when they click the Live Chat button on your website. 
  • If at least one Agent has a chat status of Online, the Live Chat box will display for the customers. 
  • If all Agents have a chat status of Offline or Away, then a Contact form will open for the customers, unless you’ve selected the option to hide widget in Settings → Smart Tools → select a Widget → toggle off Widget Enabled

You can set your chat status yourself, and eDesk can also update your chat status automatically.

05 Automatic updates to your Live Chat status

In eDesk, you can set up Chat Hours, which are a daily cutoff time for your live chat. When the cutoff time occurs each day, your chat status is set to Offline or Away automatically.  To set your own Chat Hours, go to Settings → My Account → Chat tab. If you don’t want to set Chat Hours for yourself, that’s fine too!

Note: eDesk will never set your chat status to Online automatically.  This is a safety measure to make sure your chat status is not set to Online when you are away from your desk, which could leave customers with unanswered chats.

Once your Chat Hours are set, your chat status will be updated automatically as follows: 
  • If your chat status is Online but you have no activity in eDesk for 15 minutes,  your status is changed to Away automatically.
  • If your chat status is Away, the current time is inside your Chat Hours, and you perform an action in eDesk, your status is changed to Online automatically.
  • If your chat status is Online and your Chat Hours End time occurs, then your status is set to Away automatically.
  • If your chat status is Away and your Chat Hours End time occurs, then your status is set to Offline automatically.
Note: Business hours (Settings → Company Settings → Business hours) do not affect your chat status. It’s fine for Agents to offer Live Chat outside business hours.

06 Changing your Live Chat status yourself

Change your own status:
  • To set your status, click your avatar and select Online or Offline from the menu. Your avatar is in a green circle if you’re currently online, or a red circle if you’re offline.

Change another teammate's status:
  • To set a teammate's status to Online, Offline, or Away, select Agents in the Chat section. In the list of Agents, select the ellipsis (three dot menu) for the agent and select the new status.

Note: In order to change your teammate's status, you need to have the Change user chat status permission enabled on your profile. Contact your admin user to give you access. To find out more, click here.

07 Setting the maximum number of chats

If you want to be able to handle more than one chat at a time, set a maximum number of chats for your account.
  1. Go to Settings → My Account → Chat. 
  2. In the Max concurrent chats field, enter the maximum number of live chats that you want to be able to join at the same time.
  3. Save your changes.

08 Other useful Live Chat information

The left-hand menu in the Chat page in eDesk offers a number of useful views:
  • Select Agents to see a list of all the Support Agents that can access live chat, together with their recent activity and whether they are currently offline, away, or online.
  • Select Open to see a list of the chats in progress. Click on a chat in the list if you want to spectate the chat. The customer will not be aware that any other Agents are on the chat.
  • Select Closed to see a list of the completed chats. From here, you can view the ticket created after the chat has finished.

Further Readings

If you want to find out more about Website Contact Forms, click here.
Interested in learning more about helping your customers to self-serve? Click here.