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LibraryH3lp Blog

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tracking Chats Tagged for Followup

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
When chat originates over a queue, you can tag that chat for follow-up -- even if the chat has already ended. Usually a chat is tagged for follow-up because the guest cannot be fully helped immediately and some sort of follow-up action is required.  Most commonly, chats are tagged for follow-up via email. However, LibraryH3lp also offers a DeskTracker integration that works with tag for follow-up.

How do I find out which chats were tagged for email follow-up?

You can see which chats were tagged for email follow-up from the Chat History page in either the dashboard or webclient for staffing with the Tags column.  By default, the Tags column is hidden since not everyone uses the tag for follow-up feature, but it is easy show it using the drop-down menu in any of the column headings.
Click the Columns... item from the Column Settings drop-down menu to access the Metadata Column Settings. Click the checkbox next to Tags and then OK and you're set.  
Any chat tagged for follow-up via email will have a "follow-up" entry in the Tags column as part of its metadata.

How do I tag a chat for follow-up?

In the webclient for staffing, there is a tag for follow-up button that is included with every chat over a queue.
Operators using an external client such as Pidgin or Adium should click on the "chat management link" that displays at the top of each chat and begins, "For transfers, etc..." to tag chats for follow-up.

Still using the old /webchat/ client?

Don't worry, chats tagged using the old, original /webchat/ client will still be tagged as usual and you'll get the expected email with the chat transcript and operator note.  But, chats that are tagged by operators using that legacy /webchat/ client will not be identifiable in the Chat History area as described above.  

If you're still using the legacy /webchat/ client, keep an eye on its login page for news of its long-awaited retirement.  And in case you missed it, the modern webclient now has an option for the familiar individual floating, draggable, resizable chat windows, so it's easier to switch than ever.

Not sure which LibraryH3lp client you're using?  You can look at the URL in your web browser and look for the word "webchat" or "webclient."  And have a look at the login screen:

Not sure which client you're using?  Check the login screen appearance.

Monday, July 10, 2017

More options when downloading chat metadata and transcripts

Monday, July 10, 2017
Hi all!  The updates continue.  This time we've got the Activity page (available in both the admin dashboard and webclient for staffing) in our sights.  There are a few minor aesthetic changes but the big news is that you have more control over your downloads of chat metadata and transcripts.

As before, you can select which chats to download by clicking the checkbox for a chat in the metadata table.  Or if no chats are selected, all chats displayed in the metadata table are downloaded.

We've consolidated the separate download metadata and transcript buttons into a single button that covers it all.  It is the blue button you see above that has a cloud with a down arrow.

Download selected chats button

Click that button to unlock the goodness.

New "Download chats" dialog for metadata and transcripts
Using the Download chats dialog, you can:
  • Download metadata, transcripts, or both.  If you opt for both, you'll get a CSV file with transcripts included.  Otherwise you get a CSV file for metadata only and a ZIP file for transcripts only.
  • Select which metadata columns to include in the CSV file.
  • Optionally scrub the operator name from transcripts.
  • Combine related transcripts when downloading transcripts only.
  • Arrange transcripts in folders by queue or profile when downloading transcripts only.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Back to the Future: Floaty Chat Window Option in Webclient

Sunday, July 9, 2017
There's a new option for manual chat window layout now available within the webclient for staffing. Those who have used LibraryH3lp for many years and are familiar with the original version of the webclient for staffing will already know this feature well.

By default, the webclient for staffing automatically lays out chats in Hollywood Squares format.  That is, each open chat takes up the maximum possible real estate without overlapping another open chat. We've made automatic layout the default since it is a timesaver, allowing the operator to focus on the guest instead of window management.

However if you prefer to prevent that automatic layout from happening and would rather manage your own chat space, head over to your webclient preferences and uncheck the "Automatically arrange and size chat windows" option.

Here's an example of what you would see when there are two chats with automatic layout:

And below is what those same two chats look like with the manual layout.  The grey area is the chat space and the chats are floaty windows that live inside that chat space.  You can move and resize chat windows at will and move them around all willy nilly by grabbing anywhere in the chat window title bar.  The resize handle is located in the bottom right-hand corner of the chat window.

To ensure your browser grabs the latest version of the webclient for staffing, click the reload button while holding down the SHIFT key to clear cache before logging in.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Coming soon! Updates to the webclient for staff

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
We've been hard at work on updates to the webclient for staff based on user feedback. This updated webclient retains the current webclient's basic layout and workflows, and so it will feel immediately familiar to most operators. We plan to release these updates on January 29, but for now we invite everyone into the late-stage beta testing phase. You can readily switch back and forth between the production and beta versions as desired. If you'd like to give the beta version a try, follow the link provided from the webclient login page.

And without further ado, let's run down the list of changes and improvements!

Menu Layout

The navigation menu has moved from the top to left sidebar, which opens up the space for your custom status (more on that below).

Left: older layout with navigation at top.  Right: updated layout with navigation along left sidebar.

Custom status for colleagues more conveniently located

Provide short custom status lines shown only to your colleagues (guests won't see this).  Previously, custom status was set through the Availability drop-down menu.
Setting a custom status

Canned message improvements

Canned message behavior has been redesigned.  Now in addition to or instead of the type-ahead menu, you can use our canned message selector to visually browse and filter all canned messages within each chat.
Visual canned message browser.

And, for those that prefer an approach that doesn't require use of the mouse, canned message type-ahead matching remains, with a couple of usability improvements to make it less aggressive:
  1. Matching begins after three matched letters.
  2. Matching occurs only at the beginning of words.
Type-ahead matching begins at three letters now.
Type-ahead matching can be enabled or disabled in Preferences.

Emoji picker

No need to memorize the key combinations for the available emoji. There is a handy "insert emoji" button that comes with every chat. Click the "insert emoji" button to review the available choices and then click the desired emoticon to insert it.

Emoji picker available via the "insert emoji" button for a chat

In-place profiles

If you staff a collaborative service, you're probably very familiar with queue profiles.  These function as staff "cheat sheets" and provide useful context-sensitive shortcuts for staffers.  

Queue profile displays as an overlay and can be detached into a separate window.
Queue profiles display as a convenient overlay now, instead of always opening in a new tab.  And, if you need continued access to a profile, you can detach into a separate tab at any time by clicking the icon in the profile overlay title bar.

Performance improvements for very busy services

We suggest Chrome for the best experience if you have a high-volume chat service and often chat with many guests simultaneously.

Conference rooms

If you use conference rooms, you'll notice a few changes to the layout:
  1. There are no longer options to join or to leave the conference room. Both actions are done automatically for you as you log into and out of the webclient.
  2. If you have more than one conference room available to you, the rooms be listed vertically to the left of the conference room messages.  Previously conference rooms were listed horizontally across the top of the conference room area.

Detachable Chat History and Profiles

Chat History and Profiles are both available for browsing at any time within the webclient.  And if you need to have them available in their own, separate browser windows while you're chatting, you can detach them easily.

Detachable Chat History
Detachable Profile Browsing
Open Chat History and/or Profiles in their own separate browser window or tab.

Desktop visual alert improvements

Desktop alerts notify the user visually of new chat messages, even if the webclient itself is minimized or otherwise not at the top of the user's desktop.  This is especially handy in situations where sound must be disabled on the staffing computer.

In any browser that supports desktop notifications, you will be proactively prompted for permission to display the notifications if permission is not currently granted to the webclient.

You can control the duration of these visual alerts if you're in Chrome.  So you can set a lengthy duration if you're worried about missing a notification when your attention is away from the computer for a few minutes.
Configurable persistence of desktop alerts available in Chrome ONLY.

Auto-logout also available in Preferences now

Auto-logout is a very handy feature that prevents you from leaving your chat service falsely online if you forget to logout and then step away for a meeting or for the day.

Change your auto-logout preferences at any time, not just at the time of login.
As before, the opportunity to adjust your auto-logout setting continues to be offered each time you login, so that you can flexibly change your auto-logout trigger if needed based on how long you expect to staff in that particular session. But now, you can also visit and change your auto-logout setting in your Preferences.  

Monday, July 25, 2016

Updated look for the staffing client and admin dashboard

Monday, July 25, 2016
Hope everyone is having a great summer!  Quick heads up that we pushed out some aesthetic changes to the webclient for staffing and the admin dashboard recently.  Though we've modernized the look and feel, there are no major changes to the underlying functionality for this latest update.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ask a Librarian spit and polish

Monday, July 11, 2016
Hi folks!  We are solidly into summer and we all know what that means...  It's time to re-group and shore up for the next academic season.  To help you get the most out of your Ask a Librarian service when students return, we've dusted off and updated our checklist from last year with some new ideas.

Ask a Librarian Check List

  • checkboxIs help available anywhere a patron might need assistance?  
    • Action item: Check all the usual places: website, subject and course guides, catalogs, databases, mobile apps.  Don't forget your 404 (not found) page!
  • checkboxCan patrons easily locate chat and FAQs on your web pages with just a glance?
    • Pro tip: Aim for a consistent, highly visible place where patrons can always find help.
    • Action item: Ask a friend to play the part of a patron and see how long it takes them to find help without intervention.
  • checkboxDo you proactively invite patrons to chat?  
    • Action item: If a patron has been sitting on a page for a while, they might be stuck.  Add a proactive chat invitation to your web page and ask them if they need help. 
  • checkboxAre patrons getting the help they need?
    • Pro tip: You can search the chat metadata on the Activity page to find unanswered chats and evaluate wait times.
    • Action item: Create canned messages for librarians to use when responding to patrons.  This saves a lot of redundant typing and speeds up response time.
    • Action item: Do you find yourself always asking patrons for the same info? Set up a concierge auto-responder which immediately triggers a request for that info so the librarian has what they need up front to better serve the patron.
  • checkboxCan patrons get help after hours?
    • Action item: When chat is offline, point patrons to your searchable FAQ.  (Don't have a LibraryH3lp FAQ, email us and we'll create and customize one to match your website for free!)
    • Consider back-up staffing: Our partner, Chatstaff, provides responsive, high quality back-service 24/7 or for select hours.

Text a Librarian Check List

  • checkboxDo patrons know about your Text a Librarian service?
    • Action item: Advertise on your website and make it easy for patrons to use.  Here's a handy HTML example:
      <a href="sms:15555551234">Text us at 1-555-555-1234!</a>
    • Action item: Advertise on all printed promotional materials and during tours and instruction sessions
    • Action item: Encourage patrons to add the library to their contacts list for later use.
  • checkboxDouble-check your offline auto-response.
    • Action item: Pretend you are a patron and text your service when it is offline.  If the offline auto-response misses the mark, email us with a new auto-response 140 characters or fewer.

Email a Librarian Check List

  • checkboxIs email reference integrated with the rest of your virtual services? 
    • Action item: Activate the 3mail module to integrate email into the staffing workflow. 3mail is a simple email system that makes the LibraryH3lp webclient one stop shopping for answering chat and email questions. 
    • Action item: Train staff to use Tag for Follow-up.  When chats can't be answered right away and you need to get back to the patron, tag for follow-up automatically sends email to pre-designated addresses with transcript attached.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

You may be surprised at what you can do with an API

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
We enjoyed meeting many librarians at Code4Lib last week! While LibraryH3lp of course has oodles of standard features available through our graphical management interfaces, we wanted to take a moment to open up the hood and illustrate some of the things we can offer to those interested in diving a bit deeper.

The LibraryH3lp REST API provides programmatic access to resources (like users, queues, chat box skins, code snippets, FAQs) included with your subscription or trial and makes it easy to write and test custom scripts to manage your account.

You can use your browser to access URLs and make use of pretty much any HTTP client in any programming language.  If you happen to dig Python, we have a ready-made SDK available under @libraryh3lp on GitHub.

But when there’s so much flexibility, sometimes it is hard to know where to start!  Here are some ideas to get you started…

Account Management

  • Create a new user, automatically adding her to queues, conference rooms, canned message pools, and buddying her with colleagues. 
  • Perform a search/replace operation across FAQs.
  • Bulk import questions and answers into a FAQ.
  • Edit questions or templates in the console. Because consoles rock.


  • Display staff chat status as an in/out board. 
  • Count the number of active chats and the number of operators currently staffing chat.
  • Receive reports when too few operators are staffing.
  • See if chat is online and, if not, why not. 
  • Somebody forgot to log out.  Opt that operator out of staffing so guests don't think you're available.
  • Update staffing assignments on a schedule.
  • Create a chat bot to answer basic guest questions.


  •  Forward all of yesterday's chats to your inbox.
  •  Get a summary of last week's activity. 
  •  Delete last month’s transcripts. 
  •  Download chat transcripts for import into Excel.
  •  Download a record of FAQ views and searches.


  •  Poll 3mail for new messages and send notifications via chat or email.