How to use the new LibChat dashboard: chatting, claiming tickets, and customizing settings

LibChat is an online chat platform that's built right into your LibAnswers system. This allows you to embed chat widgets (using our easy widget builder) into your LibGuides, library website, or other webpages, which patrons can use to chat with you and other library staff. You can set these widgets up to be monitored by individual users, or entire departments (e.g. everyone in your Reference Department could monitor all chats coming from a specific widget).

When a staff member signs into LibChat, they can monitor their assigned departments, claim & reply to chats, and even keep an eye on incoming tickets, SMS messages, and Facebook messages. Chats can easily be transferred to other online staff members or departments, too, so you can ensure that patrons are matched with the right people to answer their question.

You can even use LibChat to chat with other online staff members, entire departments, or all online staff at once -- no need to use a separate messaging app like Slack, Google Hangouts Chat, or Microsoft Teams to keep up with your team.

Before you can start chatting

This Springboard will guide you through the basics of chatting with patrons. Before you begin, though, your LibAnswers Admin will first need to set up LibChat for your system (if they've not already). The Springboards below can help them to get started, if needed:

  • Create and manage LibChat departments & settings
    Departments allow multiple users to collaboratively monitor and claim chats from a single widget. In order to monitor chats in a department, an Admin user must first assign you to it. This springboard will explain how to create departments, as well as how to configure additional LibChat admin settings.
  • Create LibChat widgets
    Widgets are what allow patrons to chat with you. This springboard will guide you through the various widget types and options.

Optional: customize your personal LibChat settings

Each user has the ability to customize their own personal LibChat settings and defaults. Although optional, you may find that these enhance your overall experience. Check out the links below if you're interested in learning more.

  • How to display a nickname instead of your real name in LibChat
    By default, the first and last name from your LibApps user account will display when chatting with patrons. If you would prefer to display an alias instead of your real name, you can set a nickname in your LibAnswers account settings.
  • Customize your personal LibChat profile image
    When chatting with patrons, an avatar will display next to each message sent. For patrons, this will always be a generic avatar of a person. Chat operators, however, have a choice: they can either display that same generic avatar, or use the current image uploaded to their LibApps user profile. This gives staff the ability to add a personal touch to the chat experience and help patrons put names with faces.
  • Customizing your personal default LibChat settings
    Although you may be assigned to multiple chat departments and ticket queues, you may not necessarily want to monitor them by default when each time you sign into LibChat. If you would only like to monitor specific departments and queues by default, look no further than the LibChat Settings in your LibAnswers account.
  • Create personal canned messages
    Canned messages are pre-written chunks of text that you can insert into your chat messages. This can be a huge time saver for quickly answering frequently-asked questions or providing commonly-requested info or links.

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Signing into LibChat

In order to begin monitoring LibChat and chatting with patrons, you must first sign into the LibChat dashboard. Once signed in, any widgets that are monitored by you or one of your assigned departments will appear as online to patrons.

  • Signing into the LibChat
    Learn about the different options for signing into the LibChat dashboard.
  • The new vs. classic LibChat dashboards
    Unless your LibAnswers admin has switched your site exclusively to the new dashboard, you will be able to use either the new or classic dashboard for chatting with patrons. This article explains how to access the new dashboard.

Please note that all of the help articles in the Ask Springshare site are for the new dashboard only. For more information on using the classic dashboard, please see our Using the classic LibChat dashboard guide.

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Monitoring departments, chatting with patrons, and claiming tickets

The LibChat dashboard is like your chat command center: this is where you'll monitor departments, claim chats, reply to patrons, and even monitor incoming tickets, SMS messages, and Facebook messages from your assigned queues.

The LibChat dashboard

Dashboard settings

Under the  Settings tab of the dashboard, you'll find several options for customizing chat notifications, which departments you're monitoring, and how chat windows are displayed.

Chatting with patrons

Under the  Chats tab of the dashboard, you'll be able to monitor your assigned departments and manage your claimed chats.

Claiming tickets, SMS, and Facebook messages

Under the  Tickets tab of the dashboard, you'll be able to monitor your assigned queues and claim new tickets, SMS messages, and Facebook messages (if the queue has a connected Facebook account). With SMS and Facebook messages, you can even reply directly within the LibChat dashboard -- just like you were chatting with the patron using a LibChat widget!

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Chatting with other online staff members

In addition to chatting with patrons, you can also use LibChat to chat with other online staff members! Internal chats can be one-on-one with another user, or you can chat as a group with an entire department or all online users. All a user needs is a LibAnswers user account in order to access LibChat.

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Signing out of LibChat or setting your away status

Whether you're done for the day, or just stepping away for a minute, LibChat makes it easy to set your status accordingly.

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After chatting: transcripts, missed chats, and stats

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Related Springboards