Author Archives: Amit Chatterjee

About Amit Chatterjee

Amit Chatterjee is a software professional with over 20 years of experience as a software developer and architect. He has been involved in large and complex software products for Telecommunications, B2B E-Commerce and Healthcare industries. He has founded and contributed to open-source projects since the 1990s. Currently, he leads two open-source projects, QUIK-J and CafeSip. His primary interests are in the areas of Service Oriented Architecture, Enterprise Applications, Business Intelligence and Big Data.

Customizing the Look and Feel when Ordering the QUIK Hosting Service

In this blog, I will describe how to customize the look and feel of the chat pages while ordering your QUIK Hosting service. When configured, the chat pages presented to your end users can include your company name, logo, service description and other attributes that will make the pages integrate better with the rest of your web site even though the chat service is being hosted by QUIK Computing.

First, this blog is really meant for small businesses who do not have their own web page designers. If you have web designers in your staff, they will be able to add the chat pages directly to your web site. For smaller companies, QUIK Hosting provides two pages. The first page is a “contacts” screen which generally displays your contact information and may include your company’s logo, picture, service description, contact information and a click-to-chat button. The second page is the actual chat screen. For the latter, you can currently do only minimal customization like adding a logo, company name and slogan but for the former, you have complete control of the look and feel.

When ordering the service from the QUIK Hosting Portal, you are presented a section called “Branding”. By selecting an appropriate template from here, you can customize the look and feel. Depending on the template you select, you will be presented with a set of fields specific to the template that will allow you to customize. You can use the Preview link to get a preview of how the contact page look like. Please use the Preview link to verify the look and feel before submitting the order. You can still customize the look and feel after ordering but at that point, you will have to contact our support who can help you with your customization requests. Currently, we support three templates:

  1. Basic: You should select this template if you have your own web designers and do not need to use the customization for the contacts page. But you should still enter the requested fields to customize the appearance of the chat screen. 
  2. Expert: If you are familiar with the HTML syntax, you can completely customize the appearance of the contacts page by entering HTML code directly.
  3. Small Business: If you run a small business, you can use a template that we have created for small businesses. You can  customize your contact page based on the information you provide in the fields.
Common Fields

Regardless of the template you choose, there are some common fields that you are requested to enter. The values that your provided will be used to customize the appearance. The fields are:

  1.  Language: The language in which the chat screen is displayed. You can select one of the supported languages from the drop down list.
  2. Timezone: The timezone is used to select the timezone you are based. When accessing your chat transcripts or reports from the QUIK User Portal after your chat service is activated, the system will display the date and time based on your timezone. Select a timezone from the list of available time zones.
  3. Organization Name: Enter the name of your company or organization. The name appears in the page title as well as in other sections of the pages.
  4. Organization Logo: You can upload an organization logo file which appears on the chat and the contact pages. The file can be in png, jpg or gif format. Ideally, the logo must have a dimension of 100 (width) x 50 (height) pixels. If the logo is bigger or smaller, it is scaled up or down to the ideal dimension. If you do not provide a logo, a generic logo is displayed.
  5. Slogan: Enter a slogan for your company. Example: “Best of Breed Chat Service”. The slogan appears in the chat and the contact pages.
  6. Google Analytics Tracking Key: If you want your pages to be tracked by Google Analytics, you must provide the tracking key. For more information, visit http://www.google.com/analytics/.
  7. Visitor Privacy: While requesting a chat session with your company representative, normally the visitor needs to enter his/her email address.  If you would like to make the email optional, uncheck the box.
  8. Operator Privacy: By default, during the chat session, the visitor can see the operator information including his/her email. Check the box to prevent the visitor from seeing the operator information.
  9. Operator Available Button: You can upload an image that is displayed on the contacts page when the operators are available and ready to take chat requests. The file can be in png, jpg or gif format. Ideally, the image must have a dimension of 250 (width) x 50 (height) pixels or it may not fit properly. If you do not provide an image, a generic image is displayed.
  10. Operator Busy Button: You can upload an image that is displayed on the contacts page when the operators are busy. The file can be in png, jpg or gif format. Ideally, the image must have a dimension of 250 (width) x 50 (height) pixels or it may not fit properly. If you do not provide an image, a generic image is displayed.
Expert Template Fields

The following fields are only displayed when you select the Expert template.

  1. Organization/Personal Image: If you like to display any image, you can upload it here. The image may contain a picture of you, your company, your product or any other image. This image can be referenced from the HTML field describe below. Gif, jpg and png formats are supported.
  2.  HTML: In this text area,  you must enter the HTML segment for your contact page. This is a free form editor and you can use any HTML tags to format your page in any way you want. You can refer to the other fields that you entered above using the <<name>> syntax. The following references are available.<<image>> – displays the personal image you uploaded.

    <<chat>> – displays the chat button.
    <<logo>> – displays the logo.
    <<slogan>> – displays the slogan.
    <<company>> – displays the company

    Make sure that you use the Preview link to get a preview of appearance of the page before placing the order to avoid additional support calls.

Small Business Template Fields

The following fields are only displayed when you select the Small Business template.

  1. Organization/Personal Image: If you like to display an image, you can upload it here. The image may contain a picture of you, your company, your product or any other image.  Ideally, the size of the image is 300 pixels (width) by 500 pixels (height) and can support gif, jpg or png format.
  2. Greeting Message: If you like to display a greetings message on the contacts page, enter it here. You can enter information about your products and services, store hours and any other information you wish to display to your customers.
  3. Primary Contact Number: You can provide the phone number of your business here. Alternative, you can check the “Use my Contact Number” check box and the system will pick the contact number that you provided during registration.
  4.  Alternate Contact Number: You can provide the phone number of your business here. Alternative, you can check the “Use my Contact Number” check box and the system will pick the contact number that you provided during registration.
  5. Fax Number: You can provide your FAX number here.
  6. Address: You can provide the mailing address of your business here. Alternative, you can check the “Use my Address” check box and the system will pick the address that you provided during registration.
  7. Google Map API Key: If you like to display the address you provided above in Google Map, provide the Google API key here. To signup for the Google Maps API, visit https://console.developers.google.com.Make sure that you use the Preview link to get a preview of appearance of the page before placing the order to avoid additional support calls.

Remember that you can always change the look and feel after you placed the order. Our operations staff is always ready to help you.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Using the QUIK User Portal

In this blog, I describe how to use the QUIK User Portal, a web based application for managing and monitoring operator groups for customers of our QUIK Hosting product. The portal is not a part of the Ace Operator Community Edition. Using the portal, you can handle most aspects of your day to day administration of your groups. Note that you will need special administrator accounts to be setup before you can use the Portal. Please contact QUIK Hosting team to setup the administrator accounts.

Logging in, Navigation and General Features

The QUIK User Portal can be accessed from the quik-j site by clicking on the QUIK User Portal link or using the URL provided to you by the QUIK Hosting team. From the Portal, you can manage your group users, view chat statistics and transcripts among other things. However, what functions you can access is determined by the access level granted for your administrator account. This blog assumes that you have the permissions to access the entire functionality but you access may be limited by your access level.

When you visit the portal site, you are prompted to enter your user name and password. Upon successfully entering your credentials, you are granted access to the operator groups that you are authorized to manage/monitor.  Any operation you perform from the Portal is geared for a particular group that you are authorized to manage/monitor and not all the groups you are authorized for. The group list that you are authorized for is displayed on the top right part of the screen and you can choose a group that you want to manage/monitor from the drop-down list.

After you login, the screen shows a list of operations. We refer to this screen as the Main Menu. You can always come back to this page using the breadcrumb displayed on the top left corner of the screen.

As a site wide convention, the date format that is displayed or you enter is of the format YYYY-MM-DD where YYYY is the four digit year, MM is the month and DD is the day of the month. In some cases, the time zone is also displayed.

All activities performed from the Portal is monitored and logged in the server for full accountability.

Viewing Chat Statistics

To monitor the activities of a group, click on the Chat Statistics button from the main menu. The real time statistics is immediately displayed. The real time statistics is a set of measurements for the group that is a snapshot at a point of time. The information displayed includes:

  1. Number of operators logged in and serving visitors. Note that if an operator sets the “Do Not Disturb” property from the chat screen, the operator count does not include the operator as he/she is considered to be logged out.
  2. Queue size: Number of visitors waiting in queue to be served.
  3. Whether a visitor clicking on the chat button is seeing the “all operators are busy page” because either no operators are logged in or the queue is full.

The real time statistics can be refreshed at any time using the Refresh button. If you are interested in getting a longer term view, you can click on the Historical tab. From the Historical tab, you can select a Start Date and a duration in Hours. Note that you cannot display a duration longer than 24 hours. The systems retrieves the information and displays the data in a table. Each row represents a measurements collected over a 15 minute interval. The information displayed includes:

  1. Number of operators logged in and serving visitors. Note that if an operator sets the “Do Not Disturb” property from the chat screen, the operator count does not include the operator as he/she is considered to be logged out.
  2. Number of chat sessions in progress.
  3. Missed chats: Number of visitors who got the “all operator are busy” page because the queues are full or no operators are logged in.
  4. Queue size: Number of visitors waiting in queue to be served.
  5. Wait Time: Amount of time in seconds a visitor is waiting in the queue.

By monitoring the real-time statistics, you will be able to take immediate actions like adding more operators to serve when the queue size is too large. The historical statistics is more useful for capacity planning. The Week Report that is emailed to every QUIK Hosting customer is also useful for capacity planing purposes but it does not provide the details that the historical statistics provide.

 Viewing Chat Transcripts

The Ace Operator system records all the conversations between operators and visitors. You can search them and view the transcripts at any time. You can do that by clicking on the Chat Transcripts button from the main menu. You can select the transcripts you want to view by entering a Start Date and a Duration in Hours or enter a Text String to search. If you enter the start date and the duration, the search string is ignored. If you specify the search string, the system searches the string your entered in the conversations. You can specify an operator name, a visitor cookie and/or a session ID values in the search string.  You can also specify the order in the which the transcripts are sorted and presented to you. The sorting choices include Time, Operator, Cookie (sorts by visitor) or Relevance (only applies to text searching). On submitting the request, the systems retrieves the transcript list and displays it in a table. To view a transcript, click on the Session ID for a given transcript and the transcript is popped up on a separate browser window. Note that on some browsers, you will need to turn off popup blocker for the Portal Site or the popup may be blocked.

Manage Users and Blacklist

You can administer users for your group from the portal. That is, you can add, modify or delete operators in a group. You can also manage your blacklist. A blacklist consists of a set of visitors that you want blocked from your chat service. Typically, you want to block spammers and abusers of your service. You can perform both these functions by clicking on the User Management button from the main menu.

When you navigate to the User Management screen, you are presented with a list of users for your group. You can modify the attributes of the user by selecting an user and clicking on the Change button at the top of the list. You can delete one or more users user by selecting the users and clicking on the Delete button. You can select users by clicking on the check box at the right hand side of the user icon. To create a new user, you can click on the New button. For create and modify operations, you must supply values for all the required fields and submit the request. If there are no errors, the change takes effect immediately.

To manage your group’s blacklist, click on the Manage Black List button. The blacklist management screen displays the list of blocked users. You can select one or more users and remove them from the blacklist by clicking on the Delete button. You can also add new users to the black list by selecting from a list of recent cookies or by entering a cookie name and clicking on the Add button. Note that the black list feature uses HTTP cookies and users can work around this feature by deleting or disabling cookies on their web browser. In addition, the cookies expire after one year. Therefore, after a year, you have to reenter the new cookie value if the visitor still abuse your site. You must keep you blacklist clean in order to reduce the overhead associated with blacklist look up when a chat session is being established.

Manage Canned Messages

Canned messages are a set of predefined messages that an operator can send to a visitor at the click of a button instead of having to type them in. You can add answers to frequently asked questions, frequently referred referred documents and other frequently used artifacts in the canned message list so that operators do not have to type in these messages every time a visitor requests for the information. To manage canned messages, click on the Manage Canned Messages button from the main menu. When you navigate to the Canned Message Management screen, a list of canned messages already configured for the group is displayed. You can select one or more of these messages from the list and click on the Delete button to delete these messages. You can select a canned message and click on the Change button to modify the content of a canned message. You can click on the New button to create a canned message. To create or modify a canned message, you need to enter a description and the canned message content itself. The description is displayed in the drop down canned message list in the chat applications from where operators can select a message to send. The canned message content is displayed to the visitor receiving the message. To enter the message you can enter a text message. The message may contain HTML tags. For example, to send a message containing a link, the message content can be specified with the value

<a href=”http://www.quik-j.com”>Visit our web site</a>

As you can see, using HTML tags, you can embed texts with different styles, links, images, audio, video, YouTube  videos, etc. Certain tags are forbidden for security reasons. For example, the <script> tag is forbidden. If you have a forbidden tag in your message content, the system will respond with an error message when you submit the request.. The canned message list is downloaded by the chat application when an operator logs in. Therefore, operators need to logout and log back in to see the changes.

This concludes our discussion on how to use the QUIK User Portal. Please give it a try and figure out how to use the features of the Portal to manage your click to chat service. We will be adding new features to the Portal in the upcoming releases. We will also be supporting the Portal for mobile and tablet browsers in the future. We may support multiple languages as well.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)