Handle SMS

Agents receive SMS interactions via chat queues they are serving. To receive or send SMS messages using the8x8 Contact Center app, you must:

  • Be a member of the queue to which the SMS is routed.
  • Place yourself in Available status.

What is a typical inbound SMS flow?

When an SMS is offered to an available agent, a notification displays prompting the agent to accept or reject the interaction.

  1. In the 8x8 Contact Center app, click the Change status menu option and change your status to Available. The interaction notification in the app indicates an incoming SMS request.
  2. Preview the record details and click to accept the SMS. Accept it before the acceptance interval lapses.
  3. Note: The reject interaction icon is disabled if your contact center administrator has not granted you permission to reject calls.

  4. If the incoming interaction is from an existing customer, the customer or case record pops for preview. The screen pop behavior may vary based on the admin configuration settings.
    If the request is from a new customer, a New Case record entry form pops. Enter the details of the new customer, and save the customer record.
  5. Type your message in the chat window. The chat window capacity is 1500 characters.
  6. Click to send your message.
  7. After finishing the interaction, click . The timer indicates the time for wrap-up.
  8. Note: If the post-processing countdown interval reaches zero, 8x8 Contact Center automatically sets your status to Available.

  9. If required, select a disposition code.
  10. Note: The 8x8 Professional Services team may provide customization for disposition codes.

  11. Click Wrap up.

At the termination of the interaction, a chat log may pop. The chat log is saved as a task and it includes information about the time the SMS was initiated, accepted, terminated, along with the chat transcript.

What is the screen pop behavior for SMS interactions?

When an SMS is offered, the 8x8 Contact Center integration app searches the Salesforce CRM for a matching phone number. The number of matching records is displayed in the call panel and in the customer’s avatar after accepting the interaction.

Depending on the situation, the search could return:

  • No matching records: The search yields no results for the customer and the CRM screen pops a New Case tab for you to fill in with relevant information.
  • A single matching record: The search yields a single matching record and screen pops the customer information. After the interaction ends, a chat log pops in a new tab. The log is saved as a task in Salesforce.
  • Multiple matching records: If the search yields multiple search results there is no screen pop. In this case, you need to click the avatar and manually select the customer record to link the new case to. Select the correct customer from the list, and click to return to the interaction in the 8x8 Contact Center app panel. By default, the CRM matches the case to the first match in the list. After the interaction ends, a chat log pops in a new tab. The log is saved as a task in Salesforce.

Handling multiple SMS interactions

8x8 Contact Center agents can handle multiple SMS interactions at the same time. Interaction requests continue to be offered until you reach the maximum allowed customer interactions configured by the admin. If necessary, as an agent, you can select the Stop new option from the 8x8 Contact Center app to prevent receiving new customer interactions. This option allows you to control the flow of incoming interactions when you need time to focus on the current ones.

When a new SMS request is offered, a notification appears indicating an incoming SMS request. The icons for accepted interactions display on the left side of the 8x8 Contact Center app and are listed in the order they were accepted, with the oldest interaction being displayed at the top. Select the desired icon to reply to the interaction.

To ensure you are replying to customers in a timely manner, the icons may display the following visual alerts:

Icon Description
Indicates that a customer message has arrived. It also indicates that the agent replied and is pending a response from the customer.
Indicates that the customer message that arrived is past the targeted service-level agreement (SLA).
Indicates that the customer has sent a new message and is waiting for the agent to respond. The number in the orange circle indicates how many unread messages were sent by the customer since the last reply.
Indicates that the customer has sent a new message and is waiting for the agent to respond. The red circle indicates that the response is past SLA, and the background blinks orange until the agent accesses the chat.
Indicates that the chat message failed to be delivered to the customer.
Indicates that the chat interaction ended and is now in post-processing. The background blinks red until the agent completes the wrap-up process.

Send new SMS

Whether you want to send a confirmation of an order placed or share some instructions about fixing something, as an agent, you can send SMS messages to customers and keep them informed. You can initiate an SMS with a click and communicate with customers quickly.

To send an SMS message:

  1. In the 8x8 Contact Center app, click Add interactions , and select SMS.
  2. Select a number from which to send the SMS.
  3. Enter the customer's phone number .
  4. Type a message or click to add an FAQ response from the Knowledge base.
  5. Note: If you selected to add a message from the Knowledge base, select a message from the list of messages available. You can send an FAQ response as a link or text.

  6. Click to send the SMS . A notification displays indicating that the message was sent successfully.
  7. If required, select a disposition code.
  8. Click Wrap up.

The CRM screen pops the customer information for existing records or a New Case for new customers, and the chat log in separate tabs.

What happens to the response from the customer?

When an agent sends an SMS, the customer may respond to the SMS in real time. If the agent ends the conversation before the customer responds, the reply message gets routed to the channel from which the agent sent the initial message and gets delivered to an agent assigned to the SMS queue. Note that the same agent who sent the initial message may not receive the customer response unless the queue is dedicated to the agent.