Triggering live chat sessions from the bot

We put conversation automation first. It means that any new visitors will start their conversations with your virtual assistant first, and the live chat can be accessed only if a specific conversation is escalated to one of your human agents.

To connect your customer to a live chat agent, use the LIVE CHAT block in the conversation builder. The block settings are quite simple – it allows you to choose a specific agent or group to assign that chat to and defines the message that will be displayed to your customer while the agent is picking up the chat.

If the chat was not attended by a live agent, the “Error” exit from the “Live chat” block will be triggered after 180 seconds (default, can be changed in the block settings) so that you can still handle this situation automatically and not make your customer wait forever.

How to disable live chat during non-working hours and on weekends

This part of the manual requires some background with our visual flow builder.

Please refer to the 'Building automations visually' section of the manual first.

Most live chat platforms offer quite limited customization options for situations when your agents are not available (on weekends or during non-working hours, for example). Activechat's advanced visual conversation builder makes it extremely easy to build almost any scenario for these (and many others!) situations.

Below is a simple example of a customized /_start_live_chat skill that will disable live chat on weekends and between 6 pm .. 9 am, asking customers a series of questions instead.

Here's a brief overview of what's going on in this skill:

  • The CATCH block is triggered when the skill is started

  • The first SWITCH block checks if it's Saturday or Sunday. If so, the first message is displayed, and then the custom '/support_afterhours' skill is triggered. The current day of the week is accessible as $_day system attribute (0 - Sunday, 1 - Monday, etc).

  • The second SWITCH block checks if the current time is before 9 am or after 6 pm. If so, the second message is displayed, and again the '/support_afterhours' skill is triggered. The current time (in GMT) is accessible as $_hour system attribute.

  • If both SWITCH blocks conditions fail, the LIVE CHAT block is triggered to assign the current conversation to an agent. If the agent does not pick up the chat before the timeout, the "ERROR" node is triggered and two more messages are sent. After this, the same '/support_afterhours' skill is triggered.

  • The '/support_afterhours' is a simple custom-built lead generation skill that gets contact details and the issue description from the customer and then triggers a notification for live chat admin.

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