User Availability and Maximum Chats

Beacon chat was designed with the customer experience in mind. Live chat is only presented as an option to your customers when a User is available to accept that chat. In addition to User availability settings, there are also a number of User presence detectors in place to help your team avoid missed chats. 

When your team is unavailable for chat, Beacon will show the Send a Message screen instead.

In this article

User Availability Settings

After you've enabled chat in a Beacon, each User can set chat availability status from their account dropdown menu in the top right corner of Help Scout. Click your User profile picture or initials to open that menu. Here’s the scoop on each status: 

  1. Available - You’re ready to accept incoming chats. You’ll appear as available to chat with customers in Beacon.
  2. Assign Only - You’re not ready to accept new chats, but your teammates can assign ongoing chats to you.
  3. Unavailable - You don’t appear in Beacon, and you cannot take on new or assigned chats. If a User is inactive or exits Help Scout, their status will automatically change to Unavailable.
  4. Custom - You want to set your availability to different statuses in different inboxes.  

When you choose Custom, you are able to choose your status for each inbox that has at least one Beacon with chat enabled. 

Presence Detection

We change a User's chat status to Unavailable when we detect they are no longer present in Help Scout. This will happen if: 

  • User has logged out of Help Scout
  • All Help Scout browser tabs or windows have been closed
  • User's Internet connection has been lost
  • The User's computer has been put into sleep or hibernate mode

Note:If Users are set to available in an inbox and a missed chat occurs because no User accepted it within 5 minutes, all Users that were set to available in that inbox are automatically set to Assign Only across all inboxes in which they were Available and a notice is shown on their screen. For more on missed chats, take a look at Chat Timeouts.

About Maximum Chats

The Maximum Chat setting defines how many chats you can handle at once. When you reach or exceed this number of chats, Help Scout will automatically change your status to Assign Only. When multiple Users are Available for chat the Maximum Chat number is the total across those Users' settings. 
  • The Maximum Chat value represents total chats across all chat-enabled inboxes. 
  • The default value is set at 3. We think 2-5 is a good number to help prevent customers from waiting, but pick a number that works for you and your team.
  • 0 isn’t a supported value. If you want to turn off chat, set yourself to Unavailable.
Head over to your Profile page to update your Maximum Chat setting.

Common Questions

Can chat be made available on a schedule or in accordance with Office Hours?
Can an Administrator change another User's availability settings?

No to both of these. As availability relies on a User's availability and detected presence, automatic schedules or the ability for an Administrator to change other Users' settings are not options. 

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