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LibraryH3lp is software used by libraries, educators, and non-profits for better customer service.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Time to go home? Time for your FAQ to go work!

It's time to call it a day and your virtual reference service has gone offline. But alas, it isn't the end of the day for your website. The poor thing works 24/7 including holidays, never taking a vacation. Might as well get that work-a-holic answering virtual reference questions!

One simple and effective recipe for after hours virtual reference combines two ingredients - a populated FAQ and a customized offline chat appearance. Fill your FAQ with answers to commonly asked questions and the built-in search will handle the rest. Be sure to configure the FAQ's e-mail integration to point to your library's e-mail or contact page in case patrons can't find what they need.

Then head over to the Services tab in the admin site* and update your service's offline appearance to include an image that links to your FAQ or even an embedded search box. Since you can plug in any code you'd like for offline appearance, it can be as simple or as fancy as you'd like.  Or if you happen to use a DIY code snippet instead of a service, you'll need to update the offline div element.

Now head home and enjoy the rest of the day knowing your website and your FAQ are hard at work, providing after hours virtual reference self-help for patrons. And if a patron can't find what they need while you're away, an e-mail will be waiting in the morning.

Haven't created a FAQ site? Your LibraryH3lp subscription includes unlimited FAQ sites.  To get going, head over to the Faqs tab in the admin site, create a FAQ, and start adding questions.

And if you'd prefer to have your patrons continue to receive great live assistance from real librarians when your own staff aren't available, check out ChatStaff!

* If you are using an iframe to embed a LibraryH3lp widget in your web pages, you'll want to switch to a service. You'll keep your current embedded widget look while adding the ability to point to your FAQ when offline.

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