Many of the recent posts have been focused on the Chat Channel within the Omni Channel Engagement Hub. You may have been wondering what other channels are available within the application. The channel which has the most confusion is the Entity Channel. What does this even do? This post walks through exactly what it is and how to set this channel up.
The Entity channel is for routing an entity which that enabled for Queues and for Routing to be able to be automatically send to an Omni Channel Queue and then get pushed out to an available agent based on their skill via the associated work-stream.
What this feature enables is not just conversations to be automatically assigned to users in the Omni Channel Engagement App but also entities too. The most applicable out of the box entity for this behaviour is the Case entity, that is enabled for queues and routing by default (and also is the most entity that makes sense given it’s the core of the Customer Service App).
What is exactly an ‘Omni Channel Queue?’
An Omni Channel Queue is defined as a Queue (using the standard Queue entity) where the field ‘Is Omni Channel Queue’ equals yes. This view and a new Omni Channel Form for the Queue entity is visible in the Omni Channel Administration App.
Create your Entity Channel for your Case
Only one entity channel can exist for an entity at any one time. To create a Channel for the Case Entity, in the Omni Channel Administration App, navigate to Channels, Entity Records and create a new record. Choose the entity from the drop-down list, which will only display those entities enabled for Queues.
An entity is designed to be routed using the related Routing Rule Set together with Skill Based Routing Rules once it hits an Omni Channel Queue. This means it would get automatically assigned to an agent based on skill and availability in the same way other channels would do.
You might already be familiar with the Routing Rule set and this is the same feature we are familiar with from the Customer Service application, and re-imagined for the Unified Interface. The Routing Rule feature can be used outside of Omni Channel Engagement via the Customer Service app using the feature ‘Save and Route’ and ‘Apply Routing Rule’ on a view to route the Case entity based on the configured rules.
Some important considerations
There are some important considerations when working with Entity Channels. Omni Channel Queues behave a bit differently than expected and some behaviour can lead to the entity never being assigned or worked upon by an agent, orphaned. This behaviour is based on a different components configuration:
- Work Distribution Type of a work-stream
- Routing Rule Set action if routing to a User or a Queue
- Queue behaviour if ‘Automatically Apply Work Distribution’ field is set to Yes
Based on these features, different behaviour will occur when applying routing rule sets and using the Entity Channel. They can be broadly specified into four behaviours.
The routing rule set is configured to be applied directly to a user via the ‘Owner’ field
This is standard behaviour of a queue and a routing rule set you may be familiar with already and you can utilise this for Omni Channel Queues as well. This means an entity can be created and routed where the owner field is updated to the user specified in the routing rule, appearing in the owners ‘My Active Cases’ view (or your custom entity). The downside is an Omni Channel user would not see this on their Dashboard under ‘Open Work Items’ via the Omni Channel app. This dashboard only displays work items from conversations linked to an omni channel queue. The user would need to open a new tab whilst in the Omni Channel App using the Multi Tabbed View in the Omni Channel App, open the Case View and find the Case there, working on it that way.
The routing rule set is configured to a Queue which is configured for automatic distribution, Work Distribution is set to Push and No Skills are applied
The behaviour in this scenario results in an entity being routed, creating a Queue Item in an inactive states, creating a Session and Conversation and stopping. Nothing else happens – this is really where I would describe the functionality as not configured correctly for the intended behaviour and risks the entity not being found or worked on. Due to the work distribution expecting an item to ‘push’ to a user, and no skills are applied, nothing happens.
The routing rule set is configured to Queue, Automatic Distribution, Work Distribution is Pick and No Skills are Applied
The behaviour here is similar to the above, except there is intended behaviour. The difference is the work distribution is set to Pick instead of Push. The Queue Item is created and is immediately inactive, triggering the creation of a Session and Conversation which is visible as a Work Item to be ‘Picked’ manually. This means you can utilise this behaviour for work items for where you want to route work to Omni Channel agents which they can pick up themselves when they are available. This is a great feature to supplement automatic distribution.
A note – it can take up to 5-10 minutes for cases to appear in the work items Omni Channel Agent Dashboard, refresh the page and wait a short while until they appear.
The routing rule set is configured to Queue, Automatic Distribution, Work Distribution is Push and Skills are applied
What happens from the behaviour is the work item is created, a session and conversation is created as a placeholder, the work item triggers the skills via the associated work-stream which checks skills and availability and pushes it to the available agent. This is the full, intended behaviour of automatic distribution for Omni Channel Queues.
I hope this demystifies what the Entity Channel can do and how routing an entity enabled for queues and routing can supplement an Omni Channel user’s workload.