Setting up your LibAnswers ticket queues and tags

What are queues?

A queue is like a pipeline for managing questions from your patrons. Each queue has its own dedicated communication channels, allowing you to receive questions from different sources, such as: 

  • An online question form
  • A unique email address
  • A dedicated SMS number
  • And, if you connect your social media accounts, Twitter and Facebook

Queues and tickets

When a patron submits a question via one of those communication channels, it becomes a ticket in that queue. Tickets are essentially the individual conversations you have with your patrons, starting with their initial questions and ending with your eventual answers. The entire transcript of your conversations are threaded, so you can review all of the ticket's correspondence in one place. Each ticket has a status which can be updated along the way, allowing you to easily keep track of new, open, and closed questions.

Create and manage your queues

Each LibAnswers system has at least one queue, though you do have the ability to add more to your subscription to support different workflows (contact the Springy Sales Team for info). Because each queue can have its own question form, email address, and staff roster, you could easily use LibAnswers to manage patron questions for different services or departments. For example, you could use separate queues for:

  • Reference questions, monitored by your reference librarians
  • Circulation questions, monitored by your Circulation Desk staff
  • ILL requests, monitored by your ILL department
  • Archives & special collections questions, monitored by your special collections staff
  • Electronic resources problem reports, monitored by your e-resources librarian
  • Collection development requests, monitored by your subject librarians or tech services staff
  • IT support questions, monitored by your library tech staff

The possibilities are endless! If you have a workflow that involves patron interactions or requests, then a queue is a great way to manage these more efficiently.

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Customize a queue's settings & question form

To access a queue's settings, go to Admin > Queues. Then, click on the queue's edit () icon in the Actions column. Click on the panels below to view more information about each group of settings.

Your queue's User Access settings determine who can view and reply to tickets. By default, all system-level Admin users will have full access to each queue (meaning they can view & reply to tickets, and manage the queue's settings). Regular-level users, on the other hand, must be given access to a queue before they can view tickets. Although optional, you can also choose to give a Regular user admin access to a queue, allowing them to also manage the queue's settings.

If a Regular user does not have access to a queue, they will not be able to view or reply to its tickets via their LibAnswers dashboard or Knowledge Base Explorer.

Question Form is an online form that your patrons can use to submit questions. Each queue has its own question form, with each submission creating a ticket in that queue. Out of the box, a question form will simply ask for a user's name, email address, and question. However, you can customize each queue's form to include additional text and multiple choice fields, and even allow patrons to upload files.

Question form settings
  • General question form settings
    Learn how to customize your form's success message, record user-agent and/or IP address data with submissions, and turn spam control on or off.
  • Reuse another queue's question form
    Learn how to link to another queue's question form. This can save you a lot of time if you want the question form for each queue to ask the same questions or use the same language, since you won't have to manually set that up separately in each queue. Plus, when you link to a form in another queue, any changes to the original will be reflected in every queue where it's being reused.
  • See where a question form is being used
    Learn how to see which FAQ group pages are displaying your question form.
  • Customize a queue's language options
    Learn how to customize the default text and base translation used in your queue's question form.
Question form fields and layout
  • Customize a form's Asker Info fields
    Learn how to customize the labels for the Email and Full Name fields. You can also choose to make the Full Name field required or optional.
  • Add custom multiple choice questions to a form
    Learn how to add up to three multiple choice fields to your form. These can be used to gather more info from patrons, such as their status, local branch, department, etc.
  • Add custom text fields to a form
    Learn how to add up to three single-line text fields to your form. These can be used to gather additional free-text information from patrons, such as phone number, library card number, etc.
  • Add a question routing field to a form
    Learn how to add a single question routing field to your form. This multiple-choice field allows you to assign a ticket to a specific queue and/or user based upon which option they select.
  • Customize the layout of the question form
    Learn how to organize questions into sections, change the order of questions, remove questions, and reorder the layout of your form.
  • Previewing a question form
    Learn how to preview how your form looks to the public.

Another way your patrons can ask questions is via email. Each queue can have its own customizable email address. When a patron sends a new email to that address, it will become a ticket in that queue. Replies you send to patrons will be sent from that address, as well, though you can choose to use a custom outgoing email address if you prefer.

Receiving email
Sending email
Email templates
  • Customizing a queue's email templates
    Learn how to customize the email templates used for the email notifications sent from your queue. This allows you to customize both the content and layout of your emails.

In addition to an email address and question form, 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).

  • How to find your queue's SMS number
    Learn where you can find the SMS number for each queue.
  • Customize the reply threading interval for SMS messages
    ​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.
  • Set up auto-responders for after-hours SMS messages
    Learn how to send patrons an automatic response when they text you after your normal operating hours. This can let them know that their message was received and when to expect a reply.
  • Set up 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 help you and your queue's users stay on top of tickets, you can set up various automatic notifications and alerts. For example, when a new ticket is received, you can set LibAnswers to automatically send email alerts to one or more people. That way, you can know when new tickets arrive without having to log into LibAnswers itself. You can even reply to the new ticket emails to claim the ticket and send a response to the patron.

When you connect a Twitter, Facebook, and/or Pinterest account to a queue, you'll be able to monitor and send posts to those accounts directly from within LibAnswers. Plus, incoming direct messages and mentions can also become tickets, allowing you to respond to patrons without ever having to leave LibAnswers.

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Create and manage ticket tags

Although not directly connected to your queues, ticket tags are metadata that can help organize and categorize your tickets, making it easier to:

  • Search and browse for tickets on specific topics (e.g. databases, fines, library account, etc.).
  • Create dashboard views for specific types of tickets.
  • Filter your statistics to analyze tickets by topic or type of question.
  • Identify trends within individual queues, or system-wide.

Tags are not specific to individual queues, so they can be applied to any ticket in the system.

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