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  Article updated: September 13, 2021

Sparkcentral Admin Quick Start Guide

Sparkcentral aims to help you improve your customers' experience and streamline your service operations. You can use Sparkcentral to manage all your social and asynchronous messaging channels with human and virtual customer service agents.

Get started

To get started, open a Chrome browser and log in.

US platform app.sparkcentral.com
EU platform app-eu.sparkcentral.com

Next, connect to all your social media channels. For each network, follow these steps:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Channels & Business Hours, and then select Channels.
  2. Select Add Channel.
  3. Select a channel, and follow the instructions provided.

To configure your platform to enable your agents to work as efficiently as possible, follow these three steps:

  1. Set up automations and bots
  2. Configure routing and prioritization
  3. Configure engagement options

1. Set up automations and bots

Sparkcentral includes options for business and agent working hours, as well as settings for language, customer attributes and segmentation, topics and tags, and virtual agents.

Set working hours

The first thing you should do is set up away state options and business hours.

Away states

As an admin, you can customize away states, allowing you to better track how agents spend time when not engaging with customers. This feature helps you gain insight into agent productivity, provide better forecasting, and schedule adherence reports.

An agent's current status, with away state options shown in a menu

To add an away state:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Agent Workspace, and then select Away States.
  2. On the Away States page, select Add Away State.

Business hours

Business Hours are the scheduled hours that agents are available to answer customers. These can be set per channel. Settings business hours allows you to enable auto responder scripts for during and outside of business hours and helps provides insight into team performance.

To set business hours:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Channels & Business Hours, and then select Business Hours.
  2. On the Business Hours page, select Add Business Hours.
  3. Enter a name, select hours and holidays, and apply channels as needed.

Define your scope

In this part of the configuration, you’ll organize your platform to help your agents understand more about who they’re talking to and what they’re talking about.

You’ll do that using the following features:

  • Language detection
  • Contact attributes
  • Customer segments
  • Topics and tags

Language detection

Sparkcentral supports more than 60 languages. When a customer sends you a message, Sparkcentral automatically detects their language. The detected customer language is added to the customer profile as a contact attribute. Customer service agents always have the option to set a language manually.

Language detection has the following benefits:

  • Auto responders can respond to customers in their language.
  • Conversations can be routed to teams with specific language skills.
  • Reports can be run on the languages used by your customers.
  • You can store a customer's language in your CRM.

Language detection is disabled by default. When enabling this feature, you'll decide which languages you want to detect automatically. The fewer languages you select, the better it will function. We recommend selecting no more than ten languages.

To enable language detection:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Routing & Automation, and then select Language Detection.
  2. Use the toggle to enable language detection, and select the languages of your choice.

Contact attributes

The Contact view is where agents see everything they need to know about a customers. This information helps agents provide personalized responses and build stronger relationships.

To configure the Contact view:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Agent Workspace, and then select Contact Attributes.
  2. Select Add Attribute to add a new field.
  3. Select Reorder to organize the existing items by dragging.

Customer segments

Customer segments are based on contact attributes and can help you to offer a more tailored customer experience. They can be entered manually, automatically retrieved from a CRM system, or populated by the channel (such as number of Twitter followers).

To configure customer segments:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Routing & Automation, and then select Customer Segments.
  2. Select Add Customer Segment.
  3. Give the segment a name, and then set a rule by selecting a contact attribute definition, an operator, and a custom variable.

Topics and tags

You can apply topics and tags to your conversations manually or automatically to help organize your team's conversations and produce meaningful reports.

  • Use topics for routing, prioritization, and reporting on a conversation level.
  • Use tags for reporting on a message level (part of a conversation).

To add a tag or topic:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Routing & Automation, and then select either Topics or Tags
  2. Select Add Topic or Add Tag to add items relevant to your service operation. We recommend adding topics that match the structure within other aspects of your business, such as your website structure, IVR menu, option or FAQ topics.

Configure virtual agents

To help relieve your human agents of repetitive tasks and information collection, you can configure auto responder scripts or connect any chatbot platform by adding custom virtual agents.

Auto responders

Auto responders can ask predefined questions when a customer initiates a conversation. Answers given by a customer can automatically be stored as contact attributes. If a contact attribute is already filled, the question will not be asked again.

To add an auto responder:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Virtual Agents, and then select Auto Responders.
  2. Select Add Auto Responder.
  3. Give the auto responder a name, specify when it should be activated (Inception or delegation), and build your auto responder scripts with statements and questions.
  4. Select Save.

For more details, see Use auto responders in Sparkcentral.

Tips:
  • Use Question – Contact attribute to let the auto responder automatically fill out a contact attribute.
  • Create different scripts for inside and outside of business hours.
  • Create translations for different languages.
  • For Twitter and Messenger channels, you can set up buttons for quick replies.

Custom virtual agents

You can connect your bot platform Sparkcentral by adding a custom virtual agent.

To add a custom virtual agent:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Virtual Agents, and then select Custom Virtual Agent.
  2. Select Add Custom Virtual Agent.
  3. Fill out the fields to add and connect your bot to Sparkcentral.

2. Configure routing and prioritization

You can use the automation, prioritization, and auto-resolve tools, as well as agent settings and conversation routing, to help you more effectively manage your queues.

Automation

Using automation rules in Sparkcentral gives you the ability to asses conversation context and decide what actions to take. You can automatically:

  • Apply topics – The topic of choice will be applied to the conversation.
  • Apply tags – The tag of choice will be applied to the message.
  • Resolve conversations – The conversation will be automatically resolved.

To configure automation rules:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Routing & Automation, and then select Routing & Automation.
  2. Select Add Automation.
  3. Configure If, And, Or, and Then rules as needed.
  4. Select the channels for which you want to activate the automation.
  5. Select Save.

For more details, see Use automations in Sparkcentral

Prioritization

You can configure priority weight to cause conversations to be placed higher or lower in the queue. Priority weight is calculated by adding the number of Priority Topics, Priority Customer Segments, and Priority Channels. Each matched topic has a weight of 1, and the queue is arranged based on the priority weight from highest to lowest.

To configure prioritization:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Routing & Automation, and then select Prioritization.
  2. Select topics that are high priority, and then select Add as Priority Topic.
  3. Select customer segments that are high priority, and then select Add as Priority Customer Segment.
  4. Select Add Priority Channel, and then select a channel and conversation type that are high priority.
Important: When topics are added or removed from the priority list, the priority score of a conversation already in the new queue will only change after a change in the status of the conversation (such as when it moves from New to Pending or Pending to New).

Queue management

To keep your queues clean and uncluttered, you can use the Auto-Resolve Conversations feature, which automatically resolves conversations after 30 days. For the Pending queue, 1 day is the most popular setting.

You can find this feature in Settings by expanding Queue and selecting Preferences.

Agent management

As a platform admin, you can add and manage the agents in your account. Agents in Sparkcentral can have different permissions, according to their roles. Permissions allow assigning admin and agent permissions.

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Agents and Teams, and then select Agents.
  • To add an agent, select Add Agent and fill in the appropriate fields. The email address must be deliverable, so the agent can receive an automated email with password initialization instructions.
  • To manage an agent, select the Edit icon next to the agent's name.

Conversation routing

You can assign permissions based on channel access or team membership. You'll need to decide whether you will route your conversations to the agents based on channel access or based on skills within specific teams.

Channel Based Access

Assigning access based on channels means the agent will have access to all conversations in the assigned channels.

While assigning channel access to an agent, you can select the relevant role for that channel. Three roles can be assigned:

  • Viewer – Allow the agent to read the conversations in this channel.
  • Contributor – Allow the agent to respond to conversations in this channel.
  • Supervisor – Allow the agent to respond to conversations and access reporting for this channel.

Team Membership

Assigning an agent to a team means the agent will have access to all conversations that match a set of skills assigned to the specific team. Within the team, the agent can again have the viewer, contributor, or supervisor role.

To create a team:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Agents and Teams, and then select Teams.
  2. Select Add Team.
  3. Select any topics and customer segments skills for the team as needed.
  4. Optional: Toggle Enable conversations not being routed to another team off if you want this team to receive all conversations that are not matched to a team based on topic or segment skills.
  5. Select Save.
  6. Assign channel access to the team.
  7. Add members to the team.

For more information, see Skill set routing in Sparkcentral.

Important: The Members list consists of agents created on the Agents page.

3. Configure engagement options

You can customize the agent and customer engagement experience by using the Knowledge Base for pre-written responses, service-level agreements (SLAs) for performance measurement, and resolve reasons for insight into customer satisfaction.

Knowledge Base

In Sparkcentral, there's no need for agents to type the same things repetitively. The Knowledge Base stores pre-written responses that can be sent to customers. Each team member can add a personal collection of responses, in addition to using the team library.

To create a collection:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Agent Workspace, and then select Knowledge Base.
  2. Select Add New and choose Collection.
  3. Give the collection a name, and then match channels to the collection.
Tip: We recommend a collection structure that matches your company structure or FAQ topics.

Next, you can add snippets and articles to your collections. A snippet is a often called a "canned response." Agents can click or drag snippets into the reply box, and then alter the text as needed before sending it. An article can contain formatted text. Articles are sent as URLs and will take the reader to a separate page. Agents cannot change the text of an article.

  • To a dd a new snippet, select Add New and choose Snippet.
  • To add a new article, select Add New and choose Article.

For more information about collections, snippets, and articles, see Sparkcentral agent Knowledge Base.

Service Level Agreements (SLA)

You can define service-level agreement (SLA) service targets in Sparkcentral so that you and your agents can monitor your service-level performance and meet your service-level goals. Sparkcentral highlights conversations that fail to meet service-level targets so that you can promptly identify and address problems.

To add an SLA:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Queue, and then select SLA Policies.
  2. Select Add SLA.

To enable the SLA feature in your instance, you'll first need to configure the following:

  • SLA policies - Define how quickly you would like to respond to your customers.
  • Business hours - Set the times your team is available to help customers.
  • Prioritization rules - Change the order of the queue depending on priorities you set.

You may want to set different SLA policies for private and public messages.

To learn more about setting up SLA policies, see Sparkcentral service-level agreements (SLAs).

Resolve reasons

For insight into the outcome of the conversations your team has, you can use resolve reasons. At the end of a conversation, agents have the option to specify why a conversation is resolved.

Resolve reasons are disabled by default.

To enable resolve reasons:

  1. On the Settings tab, expand Agent Workspace, and then select Resolve Reasons.
  2. Under Enabled Resolve Reasons, select the resolve reasons you want to use, and then choose which channels to apply them to. For example, you might want to enable this feature for WhatsApp and Twitter private messages but not for Twitter public posts.

To learn more about using resolve reasons with reporting, bulk resolves, and channel-specific settings, see Sparkcentral resolve settings .

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys

To use the CSAT feature, you must first enable resolve reasons. Only conversations resolved with resolve the reason Resolution provided are surveyed.

You can use surveys across all channels and create them in multiple languages. You can create multiple surveys if you want to send different versions depending on the channel.

To a dd a new survey:

  1. On theSettings tab, expand Virtual Agents, select CSAT Surveys, and then select Add CSAT Survey.
  2. Give the survey a name, and then configure the following:
    • Enter the percentage of contacts you want to survey.
    • Choose whether to send the immediately survey after closing a conversation, or after a specified period of time. Then, to avoid sending the same survey multiple times to the same user, select the frequency at which your survey will be sent.
    • Optionally, set a minimum length of the response sent to a customer to trigger a survey. For example, you might not want to send a survey if an agent response was very short.
    • Optionally, select to send a survey in the customers’ language only.

Default survey questions and options are provided for you, including a default initial question and user keywords that trigger automatic responses. Select any of the fields to edit any of the content or settings.

Finish creating your survey by enabling it on one or more channels.

To learn more about CSAT surveys, see Customer satisfaction surveys in Sparkcentral.