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Queues: Set up a queue's SMS settings (e.g., threading, auto-responders for after-hours messages, & automatic keywords)

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Each queue can be assigned its own SMS number. This is used to both send and receive SMS messages. When a new message is received, it will create an SMS ticket. All replies sent to the ticket will be sent to the patron as SMS messages, though you can also set up auto-responders for SMS messages that contain certain keywords (for example, if someone texts "HOURS", you can auto-reply with a message listing your library hours).

Please note that your SMS number cannot receive voice calls -- only text messages.

To access a queue's SMS settings go to Admin > Queues > Edit Queue () icon for the queue > SMS tab.

Find a queue's SMS number

A queue's SMS number can be found in two locations:

  • From the Admin > Queues page.
Screenshot highlighting the manage queue page
  • From the Admin > Queues > Edit Queue () icon for the queue > SMS tab > Your local SMS Phone Number box.
Example of an SMS number

Each queue has an annual number of SMS credits, which limits how many messages you can send and receive from that queue. Contact Springy Support if you ever want to check on your balance.

Message reply threading

Unlike emails, SMS messages contain little to no metadata. This makes it difficult to determine if a patron's SMS message is really a new ticket, or a reply to previous one. As a result, LibAnswers will use your Reply Threading Interval to determine whether or not a message should create a new ticket, or be added to the thread of an existing one. If a patron sends a message within your chosen interval, it will be added to the thread of their most recent message.

For example, let's say you set your Reply Threading Interval to 24 hours. If a patron sends a message at 10:00 am and you send a reply at 11:00 am, any message received from that patron by 11:00 am the following day will be added to that ticket's thread. Otherwise, it will be treated as a new ticket.

To adjust this interval:

  1. Select your desired timeframe from the Reply Threading Interval dropdown. You can choose from:
    • 0 hours (if you select this option, all SMS messages will be treated as new tickets)
    • 1 hour
    • 3 hours
    • 6 hours
    • 12 hours
    • 24 hours
  2. Save your changes
Example of the message reply threading option

Auto-responders setup

The Auto-responders setup allows you to send an automatic reply to patrons when they text you outside of your operating hours. You can tell LibAnswers which hours your SMS service is available each day of the week. If a patron sends a message outside of those hours, then LibAnswers will automatically reply with a customizable message. This is a great way to let patrons know that their message has been received and when to expect a reply.

To set this up:

  1. Enter the hours that you are open or available from Monday to Sunday.
    • Enter your times using a 24-hour format with only whole numbers (so no half or quarter hours).
    • Separate your times with a hyphen (e.g. 8-17). If you have different availability times during a single day, separate each period with a comma (e.g. 8-12, 13-17).
    • For example, if you are available on Monday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., you would enter 9-22.
    • If you are closed for a particular day, enter 24-24.
    • To disable auto-responders for a particular day, just leave that day blank.
  2. Enter the text you want to display in the Autoresponder Text field. (Remember: SMS messages have a maximum of 150 characters.)
  3. Save your changes.
Note: every auto-responder message counts towards your annual SMS credits.
Example auto-responder setup

SMS automatic keywords

SMS Automatic Keywords allow your users to text a word or phrase to your SMS number and immediately receive a text with relevant information. For example, if someone texts the word "hours" to your SMS number, they could receive a text listing your library hours. Or if they text "location, they could receive a text with your library's street address.

To create a new automatic keyword:

  1. Click the Add New Keyword / Term button.
Screenshot highlighting the options for adding, editing, and deleting keywords
  1. On the Add/Edit SMS Keyword modal, in the Keyword / Term field, enter the keyword or phrase that will trigger this response to be sent.
  2. Enter the message you want to send to the patron (up to 150 characters) in the Responder sms1 field.
  3. If you'd like to also send a second message (giving you an additional 150 characters), enter it in the Responder sms2 field.
  4. Save your changes.

If you ever need to change an automatic keyword:

  1. Click on the Edit () icon to modify the keyword or messages.
  2. Click on the Delete () icon to remove the keyword.
Example of adding a new keyword
Note: every automatic keyword message counts towards your annual SMS credits.