FAQ content

LibChat: Create and manage chat departments

In this article

What are departments?

When you create a chat widget, you can choose to have it monitored by an individual operator or a shared department. This not only determines who can answer the incoming chats from this widget, it also determines when the widget will appear online. 

  • If a widget is being monitored by a single operator, then the chat widget will only appear online when that one person is signed in to LibChat.
    • When a patron starts a new chat, only that operator will be able to claim it -- even if other operators are signed in.
  • But if a widget is being monitored by an entire department, then the chat widget will appear online when at least one of those people is signed in to LibChat.
    • When a patron starts a new chat, any operator in that department will be able to claim it.
    • This can help you distribute the chat workload, while also making it easier to keep your chat service running longer each day.

Individual users can be manually assigned to a department or you can assign the department to one of your ticket queues. When you assign a department to a queue, every user in that queue will be able to monitor chats for that department. As you add and remove users from the queue, access to the chat department will be added and removed accordingly. Each user will have the same permissions in the department as they do in the queue. That means if a user has admin-level access to a queue, they will also have admin-level access to the department.

To manage your chat departments, go to Admin > LibChat Set-up > Departments.

Screenshot showing how to access the Departments page


Adding a new department

  1. Click on the Add New Department button.

Adding a new department

  1. Give your department a name (e.g. "Reference", "Circulation", "Tech Help", etc.).
  2. Choose whether or not to assign your department to a queue.
    • When you assign a department to a queue, every user in that queue will be able to monitor chats for that department.
    • If a user has admin-level access to a queue, they will also have admin-level access to the department, as well.
  3. Optionally, you can upload a Department Profile Image. If you're using the Autoload Delay feature of a Slide-Out or Floating widget, this profile image will display alongside the message prompting users to start a chat.
  4. You can also customize the background color of your profile image, as well. Just click in the Profile Image Background Color field to activate the color picker, or enter a hex code for the color you want to use.
  5. Save your changes.

Giving the department a name and assigning it to a queue

  1. If you chose not to assign your department to a queue in Step 3, you will then be prompted to assign individual users to the department. These will be the people who will be able to claim chats sent to this department.

Assigning users to a department


Managing departments

To manage any existing departments, use the options in the Action column:

Options for managing departments

  1. To add or remove users, click on the Add Users icon.
  2. To edit the department's name, queue assignment, and profile image, click on the Edit Department icon.
  3. To delete the department, click on the Delete icon.
    • Note: this will permanently delete the department, its statistics, as well as its archived chat transcripts.

Editing a department

The Edit Department modal allows you to make changes to the department's name, its queue assignment, and the profile image.

Options for editing a department

  1. Department Name: allows you to change the name of a chat department as it appears throughout LibAnswers and LibChat.
  2. Assigned to Queue:
    • To assign the department to a queue, select it from the list.
      • If you had previously assigned individual users to this department, or are changing queues, please note that some users may lose access if they have not been assigned to the selected queue.
    • If you no longer wish to assign this department to a queue, select None.
  3. Department Profile Image:  when using the Autoload Delay feature of a Slide-Out or Floating chat widget, the chat department's profile image will display alongside the message prompting users to start a chat.
    • By default, each department will display a generic profile image, displaying a user silhouette set against a dark background color.
    • You can choose to simply customize the background color of this default image, or upload your own image to use instead.
      Example of an autoload pop-up containing a department's profile image