Conversation segments update

Overview

In January 2023, we’ll be releasing an improvement to how conversation segments are closed (marked inactive). Customers will see the change reflected in specific inbox settings and metrics in analytics will be impacted slightly. The change will only apply to conversations that begin after the release.

When a conversation segment closes and a new segment begins is important for distinguishing different topics within a single conversation. Resolving customer concerns/questions/inquiries/projects depends on understanding when one topic ends and another begins. We’re making these improvements because the current behavior in Front fell short of properly measuring segments within a conversation.


Current Settings and Behavior

Today, a conversation segment closes only when a new segment begins, which happens only if the following 2 conditions are met:

  1. The inactivity time has elapsed.
  2. The conversation thread receives a new message after the inactivity time.

You can adjust the inactivity time for each inbox in settings as well as determine whether an inactive conversation also gets unassigned or not.

The problem with the current behavior: if a new message never comes in or the inactivity time never elapses (ex. because of a constant flow of messages), then a segment could stay open forever, or reach a point where it is too big to be factored into analytics.


New Settings and Behavior

After this new release in January, you’ll be able to select an inactivity period for when a conversation segment is closed irrespective of whether a new message comes in after the inactivity period. You’ll also be able to select a separate inactivity period for when a conversation is unassigned, but this will still be dependent on a new message arriving.

The inactivity time for a conversation will be defined using the Close conversation segment if inactive for… setting. The time dropdown for Close conversation segment if inactive for… will also now have a minimum of 10 min and a maximum of 31 days.

If you have any inbox with a current setting not in that range (10 min to 31 days), your settings will be automatically updated as follows:

  • All existing settings that are less than 10 minutes will be changed to 10 minutes.
  • All existing settings that are more than 31 days OR set to Never will be changed to 31 days.

Other important behavioral changes:

  1. Activities such as comments, tags and mentions in a conversation will now reset the inactivity period. (Previously only inbound/outbound messages would count as new activity in the inactivity period tracker)
  2. Segments will now automatically close after 6 months, and a new segment will open regardless of the inactivity period.
  3. Segments will now automatically close once 1000 activities have been recorded.

In most cases, these changes will result in more segments being closed sooner than they would have under the old settings. This is where the impact to your analytics comes in. While we expect an increase in segments in most cases overall, some of the changes will also decrease the number.

Increase:

The number of segments you see in analytics will increase because the following scenarios will ensure segments close sooner than they would have under the old settings.

  1. They will no longer wait for a new message to close after the inactivity period.
  2. They will no longer extend past 6 months.
  3. They will no longer include more than 1000 activities.

Decrease:

The number of segments you see in analytics could also decrease slightly because the following scenario will mean they stay open longer then they would have under the old settings.

  1. They will now stay open if another non-message activity occurs in the conversation (Comment, tag, mentions, etc.).
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