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Can I answer chats from a mobile device?

1832 views   |   Last updated on Dec 04, 2018    staffing mobile

 

Since you can staff LibraryH3lp using any XMPP/Jabber client, you can staff your service from a mobile device if you so desire. Popular mobile apps include Xabber (Google Play store), IM+ (all platforms), and Trillian (all platforms) but others may work as well.

IMPORTANT! Please be aware that on mobile devices when NOT using AstraChat, operators need to manually switch to Away or Offline within the app when they wish to stop staffing chat.  Simply closing (or even uninstalling) the app does not automatically make operators unavailable for chat.  With AstraChat, fully exiting the app will disconnect the user from LibraryH3lp's servers.

For Android, the Xabber app is very nice and recommended.

For iOS:

  • AstraChat is probably the best option for iOS as of December 2018.  Unlike most other mobile XMPP options, it does not have a proxy server between the mobile device and our servers.  In our testing, it works with push notifications and shows the initial three chat messages.  There does not seem to be a way to change status, such as to Away or Busy.  Instead, when connected, the operator is in "Free for Chat" or "Available" Status.  To stop staffing, an operator must fully exit the app, such as by double-tapping the home button on an iPhone and up-swiping the app to exit it completely.
  • IM+ is available in an ad-supported free version and a paid version without ads. It seems to sporadically drop one of the initial three messages that begins a brand new chat. Those three initial messages are: guest's message, guest's queue, and magic chat management link for features like transfer.
  • Trillian may have trouble with push notifications on iOS.

Operators can seamlessly switch between desktop computers and mobile devices if they need -- even during a chat.  For example let's say that an operator answers a chat on her mobile device, then decides she wants to continue the chat on her desktop computer with the webclient in Chrome.  First, she would need to ensure she is logged into the webclient in Chrome and on Available status. Then she would switch to Away status in the mobile device chat client.  The next message from the guest would appear in the webclient on her desktop computer instead of on her mobile device.  And the opposite scenario -- taking the chat from webclient to mobile -- works similarly.  The basic process is to go to Available status on the device where you want to chat and then go to Away or Offline status on the device/computer where the chat was originally answered.

Why not use your device's browser and the LibraryH3lp webclient?

While your mobile web browser might work in a pinch or for short periods of time, it is not ideal. You really need good push (background) notifications for new chat messages, and that requires a mobile chat app. Push notifications will allow you to do things like allow the device to go idle, lock the device, make another app active, etc, while still receiving reliable alerts of new chat messages. Test your app's notifications thoroughly.

You will also have a difficult time answering questions from your guests using a web browser on a mobile device, because if you need to bring another mobile browser window to the front in the process of answering the question, you might disrupt your network connection to the chat server. 

Configuring Mobile Clients

service or protocol = Jabber or XMPP
login = your_username@libraryh3lp.com (just replace your_username with your actual LibraryH3lp username)

password is your LibraryH3lp password
host = libraryh3lp.com
port = 5222
use old-style SSL = off

If available in your app, you'll want to make sure that you have push notifications turned on for any mobile client you install. That way you'll be notified of incoming chats from guests. These clients will have have various settings you can configure for push notifications, including sounds, alerts, and badges. You might have to check in the app's settings AND in your device's general settings for Notifications (especially for iPhone and iPad).

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