Ticket and Live Chat Distribution Settings

This article applies to recent versions of SmarterTrack. View articles for SmarterTrack 14.x and earlier.

SmarterTrack has two distribution models for tickets and live chats: "Pull from Queue" and "Round Robin". Each distribution method also relies on some additional settings that can help Managers optimize both the workload of an Agent as well as the level of customer service provided to Users. 

Distribution methods are handled in 2 areas: on the Agent-Group Relationship modal when editing an Agent within a Group (Settings > Groups > Edit a Group > Agents tab > Edit an Agent) and when editing an Employee (Settings > Employees > Select an Employee > Groups tab > Edit a Group). Settings made in one area will transfer to the other, so where you make distribution changes doesn't really matter.

Distribution Methods

Pull from Queue, also known as "Cherry Picking", is the default distribution method, so there is nothing to configure at the group or employee level if this is the distribution method desired. Pull from Queue essentially allows agents to pick and choose the tickets they want to work on or the live chats they take; Tickets and live chats are not automatically distributed. Pull from Queue is most often used by smaller companies with limited incoming ticket or chat activity. Larger organizations can also use this distribution method, but agents should be well-trained and monitors (in the form of idle events) should be set up so that managers can keep track of the ticket and live chat flows and be notified if either stays in the queue for too long.

Round robin distribution is a way to automatically distribute tickets and live chats to agents. Round robin essentially looks at the agents in the group and then hands new tickets or chats off to them, one after the other, based on whether the agent is in the primary or secondary Assignment Group and their Max Tickets and/or Max Active Live Chats settings. Round robin is most often used by companies with several agents per group as it is a good way to equally distribute the ticket and live chat load. However, smaller companies can use round robin as well.

Ticket Assignment Groups

Using Assignment Groups is a way that managers can better manage which agents get the majority of tickets. There are two Assignment Groups available: Primary and Secondary.

Agents in the primary group will receive new tickets or live chats first. The primary group is a good way to give the most knowledgeable agents a larger share of new tickets and chats that come into a group. Agents in the secondary group will receive tickets and chats as a backup to agents in the primary group. Therefore, secondary agents should be newer agents, agents-in-training or agents who possibly span multiple groups.

Max Ticket and Live Chat Settings

Max Tickets

Using Max Tickets in conjunction with round robin is another way that managers can control the distribution of tickets as it is a way to limit the number of new tickets that an agent receives. For the sake of clarity, a new ticket is:

  • Any active ticket created as an incoming or outgoing ticket and assigned to an agent.
  • A ticket is transferred from one agent to another and it's active.
  • A new ticket is created through email or web services and is assigned to the agent as an active ticket.
  • An existing ticket is replied to through email and it is assigned to the agent but it was assigned to someone different before.

Setting max tickets for agents will limit the new tickets they get, regardless of their assignment group. Generally, managers will set a higher max tickets number for primary group agents and a lower number for secondary group agents. Leaving the max tickets blank means there is no limit for that agent.

Max Active Live Chats

There's no doubt that Live Chat is becoming a popular method of handling customer support and customer service issues. However, in order to maximize the effectiveness of live chat, it's necessary to put some constraints on your Agents, else they become overwhelmed and your level of support decreases.

That's where being able to set the maximum number of concurrent live chats that an Agent handles comes into play. In many cases, limiting Agents to 1 live chat is a good option, especially if your Agents converse with Users in tickets, via phone calls and in live chat. However, if you have Agents who ONLY participate in live chat, they may be able to handle multiple chats at the same time, so setting their Max Active Live Chats to 3 or more may be the better course of action.

The nice thing about this setting is that it can always be adjusted as needed. In addition, it's an Agent setting, so some Agents can take multiple concurrent chats while others are limited to 1. It all depends on how your Agents work and what works best for your business.