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  Article updated: May 09, 2022

Hootdesk quick start guide - for agents

As a Hootdesk agent, you manage your workflow and handle conversations all from one central location. In this guide, you’ll find out how to set your availability, learn about asynchronous conversations and service-level agreements (SLAs) in the queue, and take a brief tour through the rest of the agent workspace.

Set your availability

When you first sign in, you can set your availability as Available or Away. When you’re available, you’ll be given the first conversation waiting in the New queue. Not ready to start handling the queue? Change your status to Away (you may have other choices, depending on your organization’s settings).

The status menu with sample away status options.

To change your default availability preference, follow these steps:

  1. Under Inbox Settings, select Personal Preferences.
  2. On the General tab, under Default availability, select a status, and then select Save.

The next time you sign in, this will be your default status.

Understand asynchronous conversations

In Hootdesk, you engage with all your contacts from one streamlined queue that consists of conversations in different states. There’s no need for you and a contact to constantly be engaged in a conversation—instead, conversations happen asynchronously.

Each conversation workflow consists of three states, which correspond with the three queues:

  • New - The conversation is either new or has a new reply from the contact and needs follow-up.
  • Pending - The conversation is waiting for the contact to follow up.
  • Resolved - The conversation has ended and requires no further action.

The New queue is the only queue that needs your consistent attention. Here’s why:

Conversations from all channels you have access to appear in the New queue.

Conversations that were previously in the Pending queue automatically move back to the New queue when a contact gets back to you.

Watch for SLA breaches

A service-level agreement, or SLA, is an agreed-upon measure of the response times of your team. When a conversation isn’t answered by the time specified in your SLA, it’s considered “breached.” The queue displays colored icons​​ to warn you of upcoming breaches. Gray and orange icons show the time left before the SLA is breached, and red icon shows how long a breached conversation is overdue.

Learn more about the SLA status.

Explore the conversation view

The conversation view is the main area of Hootdesk where most of your work takes place, and where all conversation history is viewed and recorded. When a message comes in, a conversation is started.

The conversation view with a sample conversation between a contact and an agent.

The header at the top of every conversation includes labels for topics, contact groups, the state of the conversation, and the channel name. You can add a topic manually or set automated topics.

Each message within a conversation includes the type of message (private message, Facebook post, Twitter direct message, etc.), a link to the social network for public messages, the message sender, and a timestamp.

Interact with messages

Select any message in the New queue and move your mouse to the right of the message to show a menu of options, such as Reply, Quote, Like, and Retweet.

Note: Replies to public messages appear with the original message embedded.

Show or hide audit trails

Audit trails show the actions performed on a conversation, who performed the action, and when the action was performed.

An example audit trail showing conversation assignment and bulk resolution events.

You can show or hide audit trails by using the check box at the top of the conversation view. Select Conversation view, and then select or clear the Audit trails check box.

The Conversation menu showing Autdit trails being selected.

Add internal conversation notes

You can add internal notes to messages in a conversation by selecting Add note. Notes are highlighted and include your name and a timestamp. You can edit or delete them at any time.

The Add note option and an exmple of a previously added note in a conversation.

Respond to conversations

The Reply box is where conversations take place.

The active channel identifier highlights the account you’re using to reply.

Assign conversations

If you want to assign the conversation to another agent, you can search or scroll for their name. The assigned agent receives a notification that a message has been assigned to them.

The location above the Reply box where you can assign the conversation to another agent or team.

To learn more, read Set conversation ownership in Hootdesk.

Change message status

  • Pending – Select Pending when you're waiting for more information from a contact or if you need to do additional work. The conversation moves to the Pending queue.
  • Resolved – Select Resolve when the contact’s issue is resolved or their questions are answered. The conversation moves to the Resolved queue.

Set a boomerang

When a conversation requires follow-up later, you can use a boomerang to move it back into the New queue after a chosen period of time. Select the clock icon next to Pending or Resolved.

You can also add a quick note or reminder about why you set the boomerang.

The Pending with Boomerang box, where you can set the boomerang clock and add a note.

For more information about boomerangs, see Manage conversations in Hootdesk.

Use contact attributes and saved replies

The Contact and Saved replies tabs are located to the right of the conversation view.

Contact tab

The Contact tab contains contact attributes, which are contextual details about a contact, such as email address, first and last name, account ID, etc. The tab is populated by agents or automatically by the system. You can read, enter, and store information on this tab during or after conversations to help you:

  • Understand who you’re talking to
  • Easily spot VIPs
  • Update relevant customer information

The Contact tab, showing a sample contact with an account number, an email address, a language, and a membership.

To learn more, see Review and edit Hootdesk contact information.

Saved replies tab

The Saved replies tab stores pre-written responses that you can send to contacts. You can choose responses from your team’s collections, or add your own personal collection of responses. When you select an item from a collection, it appears in the Reply box, ready for you to send or make edits as needed.

The Saved replies tab, showing 2 collections, one called Personal and one called Support.

Learn how to use saved replies.

 

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