Feedback For Customers Chatting Out of Operating Hours



  • Ramin Shokrizadeh
    Zendesk Product Manager

    Hi there Simon,

    Thanks for the feedback. Can you let us know how often this is happening to you or your client?

    Currently, triggers do not work for offline messages and we have no immediate plans to change the trigger behaviour to support offline messages.

    One recommendation is to set the trigger to have a condition based on the time of day so it stops firing an hour before operating hours ends. This would prevent any new chat sessions from starting post operating hours ending. Another tweak could be to add a visitor tag for the initial trigger and then have a secondary trigger to send another message after x amount of time for visitors who have that tag saying that the team is busy and they will get back to you via email later on.


  • Simon Archer

    Hi Ramin.

    It's happened to customers twice and we've been able to reproduce it ourselves.


    The trigger based on time of day wouldn't work (at least not easily) as we have different operating hours for weekdays and Saturdays and Sundays, but also the triggers are all in UTC, which would mean we'd also have to update them for daylight savings time. This really isn't an ideal solution.

    The second one could work, but it seems a really awkward workaround, when the session should really be getting closed automatically based on operating hours.

    Is this not considered a bug?


  • D. J. TAYLOR

    I agree with Simon.  In our case, the customer initiates the chat and an agent serves the request.  Once the chat is over, the agent closes the chat.  The problem occurs if the customer sends a new chat message after operating hours have ended.  I've attached a screenshot.

    In trying to recreate the scenario, the user-facing chat box changed to the after hours message as soon as the operating hours ended so I'm not sure how the scenario in the screenshot happened.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Ramin Shokrizadeh
    Zendesk Product Manager

    Hi Darron,

    Thanks for sharing the screenshot. For Zopim, the chat session owner and how it expires is based on the visitor and not the agent.

    So in your case, the agent ended the chat but most likely the visitor was still active in the tab with the chat widget embedded and that kept the chat session alive. Subsequently, they messaged back even though the agent might have left right when operating hours ended.

    If the chat session had expired (visitor ending the chat, closing the tab, or being inactive in the window for 20min), the widget would have gone into offline mode and disappear or show the offline form (depending on your account settings).

    We don't have any plans to change the current behaviour of the chat session but we can look into better covering a scenario when a chat session is reactivated post operating hours. Will reach out if/when we have something to share with you.


  • Joel Hellman

    Any updates to this? We discovered 5 customers who had waited an hour today, thinking there were agents available on the other end. It was probably a lot more right after closing hours who waited for quite some time and were disappointed too.

    In our case, its not a proactive chat, but the customer has initiated the chat request before the end of opening hours.

    One recommendation is to set the trigger to have a condition based on the time of day so it stops firing an hour before operating hours ends. 

    I don't really understand this tip? What would it accomplish?

    The only way I see how to do this is to trigger a message using the conditions for day of week and time of day, but the trigger conditional logic is akward, so we need multiple triggers, and if its as Simon says about the daylight saving times issues, its seems like a chore to maintain. 

    If a fix is not coming soon, is there a way we could end all the chats programatically e.g. by scheduling a call to the chat api? Preferred scenario is to switch the chat widget into contact form mode.I guess we could schedule such a job so it would close any chats started on the visitor ends since it seems they can start chat at any point as long as they have an active session still. 

  • Ramin Shokrizadeh
    Zendesk Product Manager

    There has been no changes regarding changing how operating hours works with visitors waiting in the queue just before the schedule ends.

    Depending on your normal queue size and wait time, you may want to change the schedule so your agents has time to clear the queue before ending their day/shift. Ideally, if a visitor is in the queue before the operating hours ends they should be served by an agent.

    The previous trigger recommendation does not apply to you but you could modify the default Chat Rescuer trigger that has a different message if the visitor request a chat/isn't served close to the end of the operating hours schedule. We recently added an account queue condition for triggers that you could use also.

    As the chat session is owned by the visitor, there is no API that would programatically end a chat session. The widget JS API has a endChat API that would terminate the session but it requires visitor input vs. a script that would nuke a bunch of visitor sessions.



Please sign in to leave a comment.

Powered by Zendesk