The Loop Out of Office (‘OoO’) feature displays an out of office message warning to guests when no staff are available. Benefits include:
- Proactively managing guest expectation for staff response time,
- Facilitating Loop Messenger in hotels with limited staff resources (esp. overnight),
- Tracking employee on/off hours.
A guest sees an OoO message in their mobile browser experience only if the following is true:
- The OoO feature is enabled for the account, and
- of the associates in the Out of Office Pool (see below for concepts):
- one or more is assigned to the guest conversation, and
- all who are assigned to the guest conversation have their OoO status set to away.
The guest will see the highest priority (lowest numerical priority value) OoO message of the Assigned Associates in the Pool.
When all employees subscribed to a particular conversation (i.e. employees with visibility of the conversation in their Loop Inbox) and participating in the Out of Office pool have set their status to out of office, a message will be displayed in the guest interface indicating that employees are currently unavailable for a specified reason:
If at least one of the employees receiving the loop is online, the message will not be displayed. Employees who do not have the permission enabled do not count as “online employees” in this case (they are not in the pool).
The Out-of-Office warning messages will only be displayed for Loop Messenger loops. The messages will not interfere with guests being able to add new loops or adding comments to their existing Messenger thread. Currently, the Out-of-Office message will not be displayed for On-Demand requests when there are no Messenger text comments, but if a guest adds a new Messenger comment, the warning will start appearing.
The following concepts are important to understand:
- Assigned Associates (to a Conversation)
An associate is said to be ‘assigned’ to a conversation when one or more routing rules are true. A routing rule can be as simple as ‘Front-desk follows Hotel A’ or as complicated as ‘Engineering II follows conversations tagged Maintenance and Urgent at Hotel B’. Many associates can be assigned to one conversation. When assigned, the conversation appears in the associate’s inbox.
- Out of Office Pool
Of all Loop (associate) users, only those with the OutOfOffice permission selected are in the Out of Office Pool. Only members of the pool influence OoO behaviour. The example ‘Frontdesk’ user has the OoO permission below:
- Out of Office Message (and status)
A user selects their OoO status message when going out of office. An example is below:
This user would have the status ‘out of office’.
- OoO Message Priority
If several associates are all assigned to a guest conversation and are also all out of office, the decision of which out of office status message to show is based on the message priority:
(smaller number = higher priority)
- Associate OoO State
An associate may be Available or Unavailable (out of office message selected).
When one or more associate are Available:
- The guest UI will behave as normal (no prompts or text).
When all assigned, in-pool associates are Unavailable:
- The guest will be ‘warned’ of the associate’s out of office status by a pop-up message near their chat area (message is displayed above an on-screen keyboard (not shown)):
- Guest may still post new messages despite the warning.
- New messages will be sent to the associate’s Loop inbox, however, no notifications will be sent to an out of office associate nor will the associate be able to view the contents of their inbox while out of office.
- Notifications that would have been sent to an associate (about Loop activity, escalations, etc.) during an out of office period are not to be queued and sent later, they will be dropped.
See Escalations for additional detail on multiple associates.
- An associate begins as Available. When available, the associate has normal use of the system. All standard Loop functionality (user interfaces, notifications, etc.) is enabled.
- Through the Loop web interface (mobile, tablet, or desktop), a logged-in associate toggles their availability by selecting one of the defined Out of Office Messages. E.g.:
- Once toggled, the associate becomes Unavailable. They are now restricted from using the Loop UI and will not receive notifications of new messages or escalations.
The associate’s web interface will appear as follows when Unavailable:
An asscoiate who is unavailable cannot interact with Loop. Then they return to any Loop interface they will see a similar message. The associate must explicitly return to office (by pushing the button).
- To become available again, the associate must simply tap the ‘Return to Office’ button.
The same workflow (to become Unavailable) through the associate mobile view is:
The OoO feature is enabled at the account level by Benbria Operations.
Once enabled, Benbria or an account administrator define one or more Out of Office messages for the Account with each including the following fields:
Out of Office Message Field: Notes & Example:
- Short Name: The short-form title to appear in associate list. (e.g. “12-3 Admin Break”)
- Message Text: The guest-facing primary message (“Your eButler is having their lunch!”)
- Priority: The priority of this specific message, used to select one guest-facing message when multiple associates are engaged in a conversation and are all out of office (1,2,3, etc.)
- Enabled: On/off; when enabled the Out of Office Message is available for associates.
In addition, the following configurable text is set for the Out of Office feature at the account-level:
- Out of Office Explanation: The guest-facing secondary message meant to explain the resulting
impact to them (“Any messages sent now will be seen upon their return.”).
The above Out of Office Messages are an account-level configuration. All locations will select from the same set of messages.
The option will be available to associates only if one or more enabled Out of Office Messages are configured.
Escalations will occur as before (per the system configuration).
When an escalation happens, the effect of the escalation is two-fold: 1) to add one or more users to the conversation and, 2) to provide notification of the escalation on the timeline and through an email/SMS.
One side-effect of any escalation is that more associates may be added to a given conversation. An Out of Office message will be displayed for a Guest only if all associates who are in the Out of Office Pool who are also in the conversation are out of office. See Priority (above) for the process of selecting one Out of Office message to display to the guest.
Response Time & State Tracking
There is no change to the calculation of the Response Time metric.
User state is tracked as a ‘User Activity Event’ (on/off OofO) with the following information:
|Event||Out of Office Status Updated|
|Detail||Available (or Unavailable, Lunch/Admin/etc.)|
This information is currently not available through the Loop system.
When disabling a pre-configured Out-of-office message in the Admin “Out of Office Messages” page, the message will continue to be visible to guests if an employee is currently using the message. Employees will no longer be able to select the disabled message, and once all employees using the message have returned online, it will no longer be displayed to guests and the option will no longer be visible in the corresponding dropdown menu in the Manager Inbox.
The Admin page and Manager Inbox both support the localization of the title and messages, but the guest interface does not currently support internationalization.
Other important notes:
- When admin updates Out-of-Office permission setting for an existing user, the status is recalculated and updated for all of the conversations to which this person is subscribed. Loops, for which this person has no access, remain unaffected.
- When a new user is added and Out-of-Office permission is enabled for them, the Out-Of-Office status is recalculated for all of the loops routed to this user.
- Whenever Loop subscriptions change, Loop updates the status automatically on all of the conversations for the location to which the conversation is assigned.
Escalations are not affected by Out-of-Office, i.e. being offline will not prevent a loop from being escalated.