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Goal of this blog: To answer common customer inquiries concerning multiple user sessions within the Interaction Center.

Service organizations, like contact centers, for example, can require the ability to handle multiple interactions with customers simultaneously. Some highly skilled agents, for example, could handle up to five chat sessions at once! A more common scenario could be that an agent or user requires the ability to work on a chat in one session, reply to a pushed email in another session, while still having the option to answer an incoming call in a third session if this event should occur.

Is multi chat available in SAP CRM?

Multi-chat is standard functionality for the SAP CRM Interaction Center as of SAP CRM version 2007, SP02. Please see a video blog I published late in 2008 showcasing this functionality here.

Here is a screen shot showing multi-chat. Notice that three tabs at the top left of the screen shot.

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What if I want our agents to be able to use different channels, like chat, email, telephone, etc. simultaneously to support customers?

Channel blending (multiple sessions) is available for customers as of Enhancement Pack 1 (EHP1) for SAP CRM 7.0. This functionality will allow agents to support multiple customers, via multiple communication channels, in separate tab sessions of the same browser window. This functionality is similar to the existing multi-chat capabilities delivered with CRM 2007 SP02. The current channels supported are chat, email, telephone, plus manual (non-channel, therefore manual account identification).

Additionally, configuration using IDI events to achieve some basic time reporting in multi session environments is possible on a project basis. However, please make a note that calculating handling times, if this is your requirement, could need extra configuration for desired reporting results. For example, if an agent toggles between multiple sessions, the handling time ‘keeps running’ for all sessions, regardless of which session an agent is currently working actively. Therefore, there are some new IC Events as part of SAP CRM EhP1, i.e. ‘EnterSession’ and ‘LeaveSession’ that can be used with IDI Event Reporting to facilitate recording handling times per session if this is your requirement. Below is a screen shot illustrating Multisession Event ID’s.

IC_Event.JPG

In the past, an agent would need to finish sending an email interaction with one customer before accepting a telephone call from a second customer. This was true regardless if the email is received via a real-time screen pop push (via the ICI interface) or if the email is pulled manually from the Agent Inbox within the Interaction Center (via the SAPConnect interface).

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  The first session on the left is a manual session, and the second is an Inbound chat session.

What is the maximum amount of sessions that agents can use?

For CRM 2007, SP02 (or greater) an agent can use up to six sessions, for multi chat only.

For CRM 7.0, an agent can use up to six sessions, for multi-chat only.

For CRM 7.0 EHP1, agents can have up to six sessions. For example, depending on your requirements, agents can open up to five non-CTI sessions, say, for manual work, but the sixth session is reserved in case a call, email, or chat arrives via your CMS systems, so an agent always has a free session to accept it. Putting this another way, you can have six chat sessions, or three chat sessions plus two push emails plus one phone call.  However, the amount of sessions allowed greatly depends on your CMS system and what they offer in terms of multiple sessions handling via their CMS system configuration. Check with your CMS vendor for what they allow in terms of session handling, per channel (chat, email, telephone) first.  In a non-CTI scenario, an agent can have up to six manual sessions. For example, an agent could have three manual sessions, each for email pull scenarios, plus also three additional manual sessions either for an Inbound calls (again, non-CTI) or customer research as part of back-office work.

Can I configure more than 6 sessions?  What are the multiple sessions configuration steps required?

The six session limit is hard coded, therefore more than six sessions cannot be configured. Additionally, based on your requirements and implementation, it may be important to review SAP Note 1597836. This note describes additional ICM kernel parameter adjustments for total number of HTTP(s) sessions allowed. As one example, if you use multiple sessions, but also you launch transactions via transaction launcher within the Interaction Center, this could cause you to go over the default limit of 6 HTTP(s) sessions allowed. Read the note carefully for instructions and options, but basically this note describes the ability to increase the amount to a maximum of 12 HTTP(s) sessions which could have many benefits depending on your implementation and which processes the IC agent follows. Again, this HTTP(s) ICM kernel session parameter is separate from the hard coded multiple session limit for agents within the Interaction Center and the above mentioned note provides the appropriate information to make this adjustment.

What is a manual session?

A manual session is one started by the agent, and is not a CTI session. This basically implies that in a manual session, the Account Identification process is performed manually by the agent, and the account and/or contact is not determined automatically by an email address, or via IVR, etc. A manual session can be started via the Communications Toolbar button ‘New Session’, which is available depending on your toolbar configuration.

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Does each session have its own interaction record? I’m asking also in terms of reporting requirements.

Yes, each session is treated as exactly that, a separate session, with its own interaction record, and therefore each session would be treated also separately with regards to reporting. However, reporting will vary depending on whether you use CTI or not for channel integration, and depending on which CTI vendor is used, and handling time requirements could require extra IC Event configuration as stated above.

Which CTI vendors support multi-chat and multi-channel?

Since vendor offerings change so quickly, it is advised that you check with your CTI vendor, or potential CTI vendor(s) how they support multiple channels in general. We can always assist with questions concerning SAP’s CTI vendor, SAP Business Communications Management (BCM), if necessary.

Have you implemented multiple sessions as part of your contact center agents’ business process within the Interaction Center? Which CMS system are you using and do you have feedback for SAP CRM Solution Management? We would like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment below or email kimberly.davis@sap.com.

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31 Comments

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  1. R J

    Hi Davis,

    Thanks A lot for the Blog………. 🙂

    I was really searching the whole SDN and doing many postings for the Chat Process. At last I got this blog.

    In our Scenario we have CRM- BCM Integration and I am new to this. Inbound/Outbound Call, Email are ok but I am unable to test the “Chat Scenario”.I need your help in this regard can you please provide me your skype id/gmail id so that I can contact you.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Raj

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  2. A. de Wit

    Hello Kim,

    We are currently implementing our scenario CRM – BCM and are looking at multiple session management. Our requirements perfectly match what you describe in your blog here so I am going to see if we can implement this now.

    Best regards,

    Tamara

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  3. A. de Wit

    Hello Kim,

    I have sent you the question below also by separate mail but will post it here for reference for others :

    One of our requirements is to have 1 session open for receiving incoming calls, and 1 session open for processing items from the Inbox. This corresponds very good with what you describe here. However, I now have a question: is it possible to have a different IC profile for the Manuel Session? The reason for asking this is as follows:

     

    Session 1 for telephony: start with Account Identification screen. When clicking ‘End Interaction’ you return to the Account Identification screen.

    Session 2 for manual processing of items from the Inbox. When clicking ‘End Interaction’ we need to return to the Inbox instead of Account Identification. 

    Can you please help answering this question / if this is possible?

    Many thanks and best regards,

    Tamara

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    1. Pardeep Bhatia

      Hello Kim,

      We also have the same requirement. We have the mult session activated. Users should eb able to set one session specific to E-mail and another session for phone. Users will be always in E-mail channel and when a call comes it should open anew session for the incoming call. This should happene irrespective of weather the user is iding in the first session. Current solution only create a new tab sessio if the first session have an active interaction.

      Would you please give some guideline on how to achieve this functionality with multi channle functionality.

      Regards,

      Shajil Pathu

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    2. Igor Spector

      Hello Tamara.

      We also have the same requirement.

      How are you solved this problem?


      Our idea was open a new business role without CTI,only for Agent Inbox Email List.

      But minus is two business roles of every agent.


      Thank you and best regards,

      Igor



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  4. Arun Iyer

    Hi Kim,

    Have you implemented multiple session for phone and emails for any clients. I am asking because we are implementing this functionality for a client and  the multiple session with cti connection does not seem to be working well.

    I have configured multiple session for my interaction centre which is also connected to a contact centre. Now when I start transferring one call across multiple agents, after second transfer the contact state for the agent is corrupted. I have raised oss messages regarding this issue and have received oss notes like 1764696 released as late as 14th september. This note has only partially resolved our issue and there are stil major bugs to be resolved.

    This is why I am curious to know have you implemented multiple session with cti connection for any client so far.

    Cheers,

    Arun   

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  5. R J

    Dear Kim,

    In our scenario we are using ICI Emails which are routed from BCM.

    When we are trying to forward/transfer these emails to another queues/ agents in the another queues the pop-up message which shows up while transfering the emails is empty and the agent cannot transfer this email.

    Please let me know if there are any explicit settings should be made on the CRM side to make them work.

    Transfering Incoming Email.jpg

    Best Regards,
    Raj

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  6. Francesc Orfi

    Hi Kim,

    Thanks very much for your really helpful article.

    I would like to know if it is possible to close these manual sessions once the work has been finished.

    Normally agents work using a single session, but in some cases they need to open a new session in order to take a new call. After this call has finished, they don’t need that session opened anymore and it should be closed but no button seems to exist for that.

    Could you please help me find a way to do it?

    Thanks!

    Best regards,

    Francesc

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    1. John Burton

      Hello Francesc,

      This is John Burton from the SAP  CRM Product Management team. The new session(s) will be automatically closed by the system when the call is over after the agent presses the End button.

      Regards,

      John

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      1. Francesc Orfi

        Hello John,

        Thanks for your quick reply.

        When a Manual Session is created using the “New Session” button, a new tab appears at the top of the screen so the agent can start working on another customer in parallel.

        After that work has been finished, the new created tab is not closed even when the End button is pressed.

        Should this work like that? Maybe I’m missing some configuration steps.

        Best regards,

        Francesc

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        1. John Burton

          Hello Francesc,

          I am not aware of any (missing) configuration that would cause the system to behave like this. Clicking the End button should end the manually opened session. I would recommend to log a support ticket.

          Best regards,

          John

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          1. Francesc Orfi

            Hi John,

            Regarding this multisession scenario with different tabs. Is there a way to customize the name of the tabs?

            When a Contact Person is confirmed the name of this person is displayed and I would like to know if it is possible to show the Customer’s name instead.

            Thanks a lot.
            Regards,
            Francesc

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            1. John Burton

              Hello Francesc,

              Not that I am aware of. However, you might try posting your question to the Interaction Center discussion and answer forum on the SAP Business Process Expert (BPX) community to see if anyone has done so on a project basis.

              Best regards,

              John

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  7. Margarida Isabel Ramos

    Hello Kimberly.

    First, thank you very much for this articule, it’s very helpful.

    I would like to know if is possible the user say the account identification confirmed is not the real client and search for a new one, without lose the chat session.

    I would like to know, too, when a client is unknown, how multi channel works.

    Thank you very much.

    Best regards,

    Margarida

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    1. John Burton

      Hello Margarida,

      I’ve taken over this topic from Kimberly here at SAP. To answer your first question, it is possible to reset the confirmed business partner without losing the telephone call, chat, or email both in the standard and in the multi-session feature as well. Regarding your second question, it also works the same in the multi-session feature as in the standard when an incoming business partner is unknown: the agent simply needs to do a manual search for the business partner and then either manually confirm the existing business partner or else create a new business partner record. There is no added complexity when using the multi-session feature. Hope this helps.

      Regards,

      John

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  8. Jose Manuel Molina

    Hello, Kimberly

    Is there a chance for a multisession scenario in CRM IC in case of phone calls?.

    The former information, very interesting by the way, is related to a phone and chat multisession scenario (mixed).

    We have configured SAP CRM and SAP BCM multisession scenario but it doesn´t work fine or at least as we expected.

    When a direct call is being processed by an agent in CRM IC, meanwhile the agent is talking, if another call arrives to the same agent it is displayed in CDT  but its information doesn’t reach to CRM IC. so we don´t recieved any NOTIFICATION to handle the call through CRM.

    So the scenario we need is:  Answer an incoming telephone call and to be NOTIFIED when the second telephone call arrives in SAP CRM IC in a new tab.

    Many Thanks in advance.

    Best Regards.

    (0) 
    1. John Burton

      Hello Jose,

      We have tested the multi-session feature of the Interaction Center and it does appear capable of receiving multiple inbound telephone calls — though we of course don’t recommend this practice as the agent has to manually toggle through the two live phone calls. Also please note that while the Interaction Center itself and the ICI (Integrated Communication Interface) of CRM both support multiple inbound telephone calls, this feature may not be supported by the current version of the CTI software. I am actually not aware of any CTI vendors (including SAP BCM) who currently support this scenario.

      Warm regards,

      John

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  9. Kenneth Shung Lai Wu

    Dear John/Kim,

    This is a very nice passage. My company lately is planning to implement the multisession features on CRM WUI. We have a query that is there any configuration to change and focus when a new interaction coming in? For example, if I am having a eMail session, and a call comes in, a new session will be created and blink on top right? Could we setup the system such that it not just blink on top, but also change the focus to the new incoming interaction? So agent do not have to press to change the session manually? I tried to search over on web/SCN with no luck on this.

    Thanks a lot,

    Regards,

    Kenneth

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    1. John Burton

      Hi Kenneth,

      Actually, auto-navigation only occurs when the user manually clicks the create new session button. If the session is created due to an inbound interaction (telephone call or e-mail), then the auto navigation is not applicable. There is no forced navigation to the new tab because this would interrupt the current action that the agent is performing in his/her current session. Instead, the navigation to the new session is left as a decision to be made by the agent as this would not disrupt his/her current session’s interaction. There is no configuration option to change this behavior; rather it would require custom coding.

      Regards,

      John

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    2. Igor Spector

      Hi Kenneth,

      We also have the almost  same requirements,


      Are you solved your issue?


      We need automatically open new session for new inbound call without click on the phone number.


      Thank you and best regards.


      Igor

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  10. Carrie Veitch

    Hi John

    I’m currently looking into CIC Multi-Sessions as a fix to a problem we’re having.

    At the moment the Team have an issue where notes are copying from one case over to a new case. E.g. If the team are typing up notes on a open case and receive a call (this is with a manual session created) the notes copy over into the new follow-up details.

    I’ve had a look and activated the multisessions in the communication management software profile and assigned that to the business role. I’ve also added the ‘New Session’ button to the toolbar, but when this is selected the notes are still copying over. Are you aware of anything we can do to prevent this?

    Thanks
    Carrie

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    1. John Burton

      Hi Carrie,

      Hmm, I guess I would have a few questions. It sounds like you aren’t using any CTI integration? Is that correct? You mention that a new call arrives and that the agent clicks the New Session button to create a manual session; if there was CTI integration the new session would automatically open.

      Also you talk about using “cases”. I just want to confirm that you are actually talking about Case Management and that you are not using the standard Service Request object which is typically used in most scenarios? The Case business object is usually reserved for industries like Law Enforcement or Insurance where you need to collect and store lots of documents that are all related to e.g., an investigation or insurance claim. Otherwise, for most other industries, SAP recommend to use the Service Request/Incident object which is built on the so-called “One Order” concept. The reason I ask if because the Case object is not built on the One Order concept and is actually something inherited from ERP; as such, the Case object has quite a few limitations and lacks standard CRM features like copy control, automatic partner determination, ERMS integration, etc. And although I am not aware of any limitation that would prevent the Case object from working with the new multi-session functionality, that could very well be the case (sorry for the inadvertant pun).

      I would recommend that you open a support ticket and provide as much information as possible including the exact steps to produce the problem, the business object involved (Case for Service Request), whether you have CTI integration, etc.

      Best regards,

      John

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