Today, we've just introduced a new ingredient to the recipe! Now, you can staff your LibraryH3lp service from any XMPP (Jabber) account, not just your LibraryH3lp account. So not only do you have an array of clients available to use when staffing LibraryH3lp, you now have an array of accounts to choose from as well.
Use your own XMPP server. If your institution has its own internal XMPP server, you can use your internal chat accounts to answer LibraryH3lp chats. This way, your librarians can use their institutional account to do their chat work, but you can also take advantage of LibraryH3lp widgets, multi-operator routing, IM gateways, and other features. You could even opt to store chat logs only on your own server, leaving transcript storage disabled on the LibraryH3lp server, for reasons of internal data storage policies. And, since we have SSL, you can opt to encrypt all of your widget chats over HTTPS if you wish, leading to a very secure chat solution.
Staff from other XMPP accounts. You can use any other XMPP account, such as Google Talk inside Gmail.
|LibraryH3lp chat for the 'pamq' queue arriving via Google Talk in Gmail.|
Greater mobile staffing flexibility. Use mobile apps on iPads, other tablets, or smart phones connected to your LibraryH3lp account or any other XMPP account that you have. For mobile apps with XMPP support, we really like both IM+ and OneTeam; they're nice apps with reliable push notifications.
How do I set it up? Using the admin site, admins can add external accounts for their users in the Users tab. Each user now has an option for External Staffing. You just need to supply the JID (Jabber ID) for the external account. Remember that a JID always includes a domain. For example, the JID for a regular Google Talk account is firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I test it out? Once the external account has been added as an external staffing option via the admin site, you're ready to test. Sign in to the external account using the chat client of your choice and look for the prompt to authorize the contact request or buddy request for chat.libraryh3lp.com. Once that is approved and the chat.libraryh3lp.com contact appears online, you can use a LibraryH3lp widget to send your first test chat. Once you approve the request for the incoming chat, you'll be able to see your guest's status and carry on a regular LibraryH3lp chat.
The usual statuses apply. Set yourself to Busy or Do Not Disturb to continue working with active chats but not be routed any new ones. Set yourself to Away to deflect incoming chats for queues.
Some Q & A:
- Can I still transfer chats if I'm using an external account? Yes, absolutely. You'll get the regular link to the LibraryH3lp chat management page at the start of each chat. From there, you can transfer, send the patron a file, or email a transcript of the chat.
- Can I still receive transfers using an external account? Yes. For transfers, you'll appear to other users under your regular LibraryH3lp account. So if you are pamsessoms in LibraryH3lp and that is linked to email@example.com, you'll continue to show up as pamsessoms in the transfer lists even if you're using firstname.lastname@example.org to staff the service.
- What if one of my users leaves him/herself logged into an external account by accident? You can opt their account out of any queues from within the admin site to prevent them from holding any queues open.
- Can I login with both my LibraryH3lp account and the linked external account at the same time? Yes. In fact, that brings up a neat use case. Let's say you started to answer an interesting in-depth question using your mobile device, and you want to continue it on a computer with a regular keyboard. You can easily login with your LibraryH3lp account in our webchat client (or any other client) and continue the chat from there, where it is easier to type. No need to transfer the chat. Set yourself to 'away' on your mobile device, and when the guest sends the next message, you'll receive it at your new location.
- Can I somehow auto-approve the buddy request on incoming chats? For now, only if your chat client or your external XMPP server has such a setting. Some clients, such as Adium, have this setting as an option, and others do not. Since you're using someone else's XMPP server, that standard behavior will probably be in effect. It usually just takes one click/tap to approve these requests. However, we have future plans to work around this by having you pre-approve a few guest aliases that will be recycled.
- Will I see my usual LibraryH3lp buddy list when using an external account? No. Buddy lists are per-account, so you'll see the buddy list associated with the account on the server you are using. However, since XMPP works cross-domain, you can certainly buddy any LibraryH3lp accounts you'd like by adding them in the usual way (email@example.com).
- I don't want my staff to do this. How can I prevent them from enabling this feature? The ability to add external accounts is limited to admins. Your users won't be able to set this up on their own unless they have admin rights in your LibraryH3lp setup. The admin can add an external account for any user.
This feature is available on the main (US) server now; coming to the servers in Canada, Europe, and Singapore soon.