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  Article updated: October 20, 2021

Use auto responders in Sparkcentral

Sparkcentral auto responders are messages that you can create and send automatically to customers and audiences on direct messaging channels (including Facebook Messenger, Twitter direct messages, WhatsApp, In-Web, and In-App Messaging). Using auto responders can also help you decide which conversations to prioritize.

Add or edit an auto responder

To create a new auto responder, follow these steps. For an explanation of each option, see the following sections.

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Virtual Agents, and then select Auto Responders.
  2. Select Add Auto Responder at the top of the page.
  3. Enter a name. This name will appear in Sparkcentral as “{Name} VA”.
  4. Specify whether you want your auto responder to be activated as an Inception agent or a Delegation agent.
  5. Fill out the remaining fields as you like, including any scripts and handoff rules you want to add.
  6. Select Save.
  7. Scroll down to the Channel Access section, and use the toggles to select a channel or channels where this auto responder can be accessed.

Activation types

Inception: A virtual agent activated by inception automatically picks up private conversations that start in the channels it has access to. If a human agent is required, it places the conversation in the New queue. If no human assistance is required, it can resolve the conversation.

Note: To prevent conflicts, you cannot create multiple inception virtual agents that have access to the same channel.

Delegation: A virtual agent activated by delegation does not automatically pick up conversations. Instead, a human agent can give a conversation to a delegation virtual agent at any point in a conversation, at which point the delegation virtual agent takes over.

Delegation virtual agents use handoff rules to determine what should happen if a delegation virtual agent needs a human agent:

  • New Queue: The conversation moves to the New queue to be picked up by any agent.
  • Previous Agent: The conversation is assigned back to the previous human agent.

Multiple delegation virtual agents can have access to the same channel. A human agent must specifically select a virtual agent to take over a conversation.

Timeout rules

You can configure two types of contact rules for auto responders:

  • Timeout Virtual Agent: Determines when a handoff will occur if the auto responder stops responding for any reason. The maximum is 60 minutes.
  • Timeout Contact: Determines when a handoff will occur if the contact (user) stops responding. The maximum is 23 hours.


Language options

You can add auto responders in multiple languages. Sparkcentral automatically detects the user's language; a default language is used if the user's language is cannot be determined. To learn more, see Language detection in Sparkcentral.

To add a language to an auto responder, under Scripts, select the Add Translation tab, and then choose a language from the list.

Business hours

You can set one or more scripts to guide users through a conversation, both during and outside of business hours. Learn how to configure business hours by reading Business hours in Sparkcentral.

Business hours scripts can be Statements, or you can add Questions to request information from users. To request contact information, choose Question – Contact Attribute, enter your question text, and then select the contact attribute you want to collect from the list.

Script examples

Script typeMessageContact type
Question - Contact AttributeThanks for reaching out to us! To help serve you better, may I please have your email address?Email
QuestionCould you please provide a brief explanation of what you are contacting us about?(none)
StatementThank you. An agent will be with you shortly.(none)

Use quick replies

You can add quick replies to auto responders for Facebook Messenger, Twitter direct message, In-Web, and In-App channels. Quick replies are buttons that your customers can click to reply to questions.

For example, you could create a Question script with the message, "Where are you based?%[EMEA](reply:EMEA) %[APAC](reply:APAC) %[LATAM](reply:LATAM) %[NA](reply:NA)"

Prioritize important conversations

Auto responders, along with automation and prioritization, can help you prioritize important conversations based on keywords in user messages. User responses to auto responder questions can trigger automatic application of topics and priorities to conversations. Messages with the highest priority appear at the top of your queue.

To learn more, see Use automations in Sparkcentral and Sparkcentral conversation prioritization.