Key Concepts
  • 20 Nov 2020
  • 20 Minutes To Read
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Key Concepts

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Gladly is leading the charge on reimagining how Customer Service is delivered. And because Gladly is built around the Customer, we introduce some concepts that are defined differently from systems you’ve used in the past, especially to concepts related to ‘ticket/case-based’ systems. To help you get the most of Gladly, take a moment to review these key concepts. They will help you get familiar with features and help you understand reports.


Agents are the front line of a company’s Customer Service Center and the champions of providing a great Customer experience. In Gladly, this means:

  • Agents handle Conversations and their Contacts.
  • Agents are used to staff Inboxes, and Agents can be assigned to multiple Inboxes at a time.
  • A single Conversation can be handled by multiple agents over time but a Conversation can only be Assigned to a single Agent at a time.
  • Agents can be assigned multiple Conversations at a time, especially in messaging Channels.


Assignment is a process that helps ensure that Customer requests are handled properly. There are a few things to know about Assignments and other related concepts:

  • Customers can be assigned, and reassigned manually by Agents, or automatically, by Rules.
  • Customers are always assigned to an Inbox. Once they’re routed, Customers are also assigned an Agent in that Inbox.
    • At a technical level, Conversations are the entities that are assigned, but since a Customer can only have one open Conversation at a time, you can think of that Customer as being Assigned to that Agent.
  • Calls and messages contained within a Conversation inherit assignment from the Conversation. This means a chat message or email can’t be assigned on its own; the entire Customer and Conversation are.
  • Tasks are different. They are also always assigned to one Inbox, and to an Agent when routed, but a Customer can have multiple open Tasks at a time.
  • Over its duration, a Conversation may be assigned to more than one Agent (e.g. it starts with one then is reassigned to another). Those Assignment changes are reflected as Attribution in relevant reports. Since Conversations can contain multiple Contacts, each contact can be attributed to a different Agent.


Conversations provide a more natural way of handling communication as Conversations always provide a holistic view of who the Customer is, the Channels they use to communicate, along with quickly seeing past Conversations. It is also comprised of all Contacts, and Messages that a Customer has with you.

Here are other things to take note of regarding Conversations:

  • A Conversation can span across multiple Channels.
  • A Conversation stays in a single Inbox and Agent at a time.
  • A Conversation can have different Contacts on different Channels.
  • A Conversation can be assigned one or more Topics so you know the matter being discussed.
  • A Conversation may go through a series of statuses:
    • New –Unassigned, after a new Contact just came in
    • Open –Assigned to an Agent
    • Waiting – An Agent has responded to the Customer and is waiting for their response
    • Closed – Solved and require no further action. It can be reopened if a Customer responds to a closed conversation within a specified time window.

Conversations in Gladly is a concept that is much different from the traditional concept of ‘tickets’ or ‘cases’. Some of the other key differentiators to take note of are:

  • Customers are never assigned a ‘case/ticket number” in Gladly.
  • A new Conversation is never opened every time a Customer contacts you (unlike cases/tickets).
  • Conversations can cross multiple Channels (e.g. SMS, chat, voice, etc.) where cases/tickets are normally restricted to the type of Inbound Channel used. This omnichannel capability in a Conversation environment allows you to easily meet your Customers when and where they want to be met.
  • A Customer can only have one Conversation open at any given time which prevents duplication of requests.


Gladly defines a Contact as a phone call, a messaging session, an email, or a voicemail. Contact can be defined as an Inbound (started by the Customer) or Outbound (started by Agents) activity. Contact can contain one call or multiple messages (individual chat messages, SMSs, etc.). Contact is also part of a Conversation.

  • A Contact is a phone call, a chat session, a messaging session, an email, or a voicemail. Contact can be an Inbound (started by the Customer) or Outbound (started by Agents) activity.
  • A Contact can contain one call or multiple messages (individual chat messages, SMSs, etc.)
  • The linear sequence of Contacts and Tasks, and their Assignment and Routing actions, comprises the Conversation timeline.


Customers are people who have a connection with your company because they are interested in your products and services or are an existing Customer. Customers in Gladly could also have a history of Conversations that may span across multiple Channels.

A Customer will have a single Profile in Gladly that contains information about them. Sometimes, a Customer may have multiple Profiles (e.g. if they contact you using a different email address, phone number, etc.) that may exist. Customer profiles should be merged in this situation.

Customer Profiles

Think of a Customer Profile as a one-stop-shop for everything related to a Customer.

On the left of the Customer Profile, you’ll find the Customer Details pane, with the Customer’s name, contact information, a list of their past Conversations with your company, and even a section for Customer notes - a handy place to store important details about them like an upcoming anniversary or golf trip. Your company can also customize the kind of information that gets pulled in here; so if you work at an airline, you might see a Customer’s upcoming flight details, or maybe their past purchases if you work in retail. 

On the right of the Customer Profile, you’ll see the Customer Timeline, which is a complete history of interactions - regardless of the Channel used - between you and the Customer. The Timeline includes internal actions as well, like when and by whom a Task was created, who the customer was routed to, and Notes left by you or your fellow Agents. 

The more you interact with and learn about a Customer, the more you can add to their Customer Profile, helping to paint a full, rich picture of who your Customer is, what makes them tick, and how you can help them have the best experience possible.

Customer Match

If a Customer has reached out to your company before, they should have their very own Customer Profile in Gladly. That means that when they reach out again, Gladly can direct you straight to that Customer Profile using any matching identifier (like their email address, phone number, or Facebook ID), so you know the when, where, and what, of their previous interactions with you. 

We call that matching process Customer Match.  

Users and Roles

A Gladly User And anyone else in your company who uses Gladly to help Customers resolve their issues, manage teams of Agents, or even manage Gladly. 

Every User has at least one assigned Role, which helps define the types of permissions they have, and the actions they can take in Gladly. There are eight main roles in Gladly: Liveboards Only, API User, Answers Administrator, Task User, Agent, Agent Plus, Team Manager or Administrator.

Liveboards Only

The Liveboards Only role was born out of the desire our Customers had for a dedicated account just for keeping track of the important, real-time metrics in the contact center. Use the Liveboards Only account to screen your metrics on a big screen that Agents, Team Managers, and Administrators alike can monitor.

API User

The API role enables users to access Gladly APIs. This role must be assigned in combination with one (or more) other Roles; it can’t be used on its own.

Answers Administrator

Some Customers have employees whose sole job in Gladly is to write, edit, and maintain Answer content. This role gives these employees access the Answers admin pages. While the Answers Administrator role is limited, it can be combined with other roles, such as Agent, to create a broader role. 

Task User

Context is everything when it comes to helping Customers, and that applies even if you're helping behind-the-scenes. Task Users aren’t able to communicate directly with Customers but they are able to access the powerful data that lives in Gladly. Task Users can see a Customer’s Profile, create Notes and Tasks, view Answers and  Liveboards 


Agents are the frontline of a company's support team. They interact with Customers, helping to answer their questions and resolve issues. 

Agent Plus

An Agent Plus has broadly the same role and permissions as an Agent, save for one thing: they can also assign a Dedicated Hero.  

Team Manager

A Team Manager works behind-the-scenes to keep the contact center humming. Depending on your organization, Team Managers can interact with and assist Customers directly but are usually focused on the more administrative functions of the contact center.


A Gladly Administrator can use every one of Gladly’s features. While they can work directly with Customers when needed, their main responsibilities lie in monitoring teams and analytics and making sure the platform is working the way it’s needed. 

For more specific details on each of these roles, check out the Managing Users and Roles section of the help docs


Agents in contact centers are often grouped by Channel, skill, location, product expertise, and more. Gladly’s Teams feature, gives Admins and Team Managers the flexibility to segment Agents into groups, so they have better visibility around how each team is performing via Liveboards and Reporting. And teams can be defined without the need to adhere to any strict hierarchy. Group any Agent across your contact center, regardless of geography, Channel, or organizational structure. 


A Channel is a method a Customer uses to communicate with your company. Currently, we support all Customer communications from the following Channels: 

  • Email
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Voice calls
  • Live chat


Conversations can have different types of Contacts (e.g. Chat, SMS, Voice, etc.) in the same thread. If there are at least two different types of Contacts from different Channels, this is known as Multiple Channel.

Entry Points

Think of a Channel as the main street a Customer gets on to reach you. An Entry Point would be the bystreet that helps direct them to the exact destination - or department - in your company. 

For example, while a Customer might use email as the Channel to reach out, the Entry Point would be the specific address they send that email to (eg. or Entry Points are essentially the phone numbers, email addresses, Facebook pages, or chat widgets a Customer uses to contact you. 


Inboxes are used to Assign (often called ‘Route’ in other systems) Customers to the right Agent for assistance. The Inbox concept is the closest to a traditional ‘queue’ that you will find in Gladly, except Inboxes provide other benefits not found in a traditional ‘queue’ world: Some of these benefits are:

  • A Customer can only be Assigned to one Inbox at a time. This removes the possibility of having duplicate requests for any Customer.
  • Gladly’s Routing engine smartly Assigns Conversations to the Agents who are Available in each Inbox.

Inboxes serve two main purposes in Gladly.  

On a personal level, every Agent has their own individual inbox (known as My Inbox) containing all the Conversations they’re working on (or have worked on), and any Tasks assigned to them.

On a company level, Inboxes are used to direct and organize incoming Conversations based on certain characteristics. This could be the Entry Point that a Customer uses to reach out, the issue they’ve reached out to you for, or a custom Rule your company might have set.  

Let’s assume your company directs Customers with billing issues to one inbox (‘Billing Inbox’), and Customers with warranty issues to another. If a Customer reaches out with a question on their last bill, that request would be automatically routed to the Billing Inbox, and then assigned to the next available Agent servicing that inbox.

My Inbox

My Inbox is where you’ll find all your assigned Conversations, as well as the Tasks you need to complete for Customers. 

You can think of it as your home base or center of operations, and it’s where you’ll spend most of your day as you help resolve your Customers’ issues.

Customer Cards 

A Customer Card is how Gladly represents - in a visual format - the Customer that’s been routed to you. Clicking on a Customer Card takes you directly to that Customer’s Customer Profile.

Each Customer Card is meant to give you a snapshot of the key information and status of a Customer and the Conversation, including: 

  • The Customer’s name and contact information
  • The Topic(s) of the Conversation
  • When the response is due
  • The Channel that was last used
  • The last interaction with the Customer
  • When the Conversation was created
  • The Inbox the Conversation belongs to
  • When the Card was last updated


Tasks are work items that need to be accomplished for a Customer or other Customer related items. Some other things to note about Tasks in Gladly are:

  • Tasks are associated with the Customer and can be found in the Customer’s Profile.
  • Tasks appear in the Customer Profile and Customer Conversation timeline but are not Contacts.
  • Tasks can be Opened or Closed at a given time and include a due date.
  • Tasks can be Assigned to either an Inbox or a specific Agent in an Inbox.

Here are examples of just some of the Tasks you can set in Gladly:

  • Set a Task for yourself, as a reminder to call a Customer back in a week to confirm her return was processed
  • Assign a Task to your company’s design team to work on a layout for the Customer by the end of the month
  • Assign a Task to your Team Manager or Administrator to ask their advice on a particularly tricky Customer issue

Task Cards

Task Cards are, for the most part, almost identical to a Customer Card. But instead of Customers, they represent the Task that you’re assigned.

Each Task Card should give you a quick snapshot of the key information and status of a Task, including:

  • The Customer’s name and contact information
  • When the Task is due
  • Details of the Task
  • Who created the Task
  • Who the Task is assigned to, and when it was assigned


Routing is the term we use to describe how Customers are directed to Agents in Gladly. 

Rather than having you choose who to help, or be assigned a Customer by an Administrator or Team Manager, Gladly’s intelligent routing system automatically routes the most urgent Customer in an inbox to the next available Agent. 

Our routing engine works on the following basic principles, which helps ensure that Customer issues are handled in the fastest and most efficient way: 

  • Voice, SMS, Chat and Social Media Customers are routed ahead of Email, Voicemails and Tasks 
    • Customers who reach out on real-time Channels like Voice Chat, SMS and Social expect to wait minutes — not hours — to speak with an Agent. That’s why our routing engine directs these Customers ahead of those who reach out over email, or those who previously left an agent a VoicemailThat means even if you’ve made yourself available for both voice calls and emails, you’ll only be routed voice call Customers for as long as they’re calling in and waiting to be helped. Only when all the voice calls have been cleared, will you then be routed to the Customers who reached out via email.
  • Conversations that are closest to, or which have gone over their SLA will be routed first
    • In keeping with our philosophy of routing the most urgent Customers first, Gladly will always route Conversations that are closest to exceeding their SLAs ahead of Conversations that are less urgent. So between an SMS that’s just come in (with an SLA of 3 hours) and an email that came in yesterday (with a remaining SLA of 4 hours), the SMS will be routed ahead of that email, even though it came in later.
  • Customers are routed to the Agent waiting longest
    • When multiple Agents are available to help a Customer, Gladly will route them to the Agent who has been waiting and available the longest. This helps ensure that work is distributed as evenly as possible between team members, and gives you the chance to take a breather before jumping on the next Conversation.  
  • When an Agent logs out, Customers in their inbox nearing their SLA will be routed to the next available Agent 
    • There are only so many Customers that you can help in a day. When it comes time to log out, Gladly will automatically route the Customer whose Email, Voicemail, or Task is closest to reaching its SLA\ to the next available Agent. After an Agent goes offline, Messaging Conversations are placed back in the Inbox and are routed to the next available Agent. This helps ensure that customers get a timely response to their issues, even when you’re not available to help them.   
  • Where possible, Customers are routed to the same Agent they spoke with before
    • Gladly will always try to route a Customer to the last agent they spoke with. This helps give Customers a sense of familiarity and comfort with an Agent, and a chance to build rapport. However, if the Agent isn’t able to help the Customer — for example, they’re not set up to handle the Channel the Customer reaches out on — the Customer will be routed to another Agent instead. 


Rules are a set of conditions that, when met, can trigger actions and/or responses in Gladly. For example, you can set a Rule to route all incoming emails with the word ‘Returns’ in its subject to an inbox that deals just with Customers wanting to return items. It’s an easy way to automate workflow, saving time and effort for the more common actions your team takes.

Rules can only be applied to incoming emails and SMSs and can be used to:

  • Add Topic(s) to a Conversation
  • Assign an Agent to a Conversation
  • Assign a Conversation to a particular inbox
  • Send an auto-reply to Customers

Service Level Agreements (SLA)

A Service Level Agreement (or SLA) is the ideal length of time defined by an organization until a Customer is responded to. This includes when a Conversation is marked as “No reply needed”. There a few other important things to note about Service Level Agreements in Gladly:

  • The SLA Achievement for a given time period or Channel is the percentage of Inbound Contacts that have been responded to within the defined timeframe.
  • SLAs can be broadly defined for a Channel, more specifically for an Inbox, or down to specific Conversations, via Rules.
  • Gladly currently uses the SLA for the most recent Contact within a conversation to prioritize Customers within an Inbox. In more concrete terms: the closest a Contact is to its defined SLA (or the more above it), the higher it is in the priority list.
  • The SLA is set (the ‘stopwatch starts’):
    • For a Call, when the Customer completes the IVR session and is forwarded to an endpoint.
    • For a Message, when it’s received by Gladly.
    • For a Voicemail, when the Customer finishes leaving their message.
  • The SLA is fulfilled (the ‘stopwatch ends’ and there is "no reply needed")
    • For a Call when it’s answered (or forwarded from the in-queue IVR).
    • For a Message or Voicemail when it’s responded to (it doesn’t matter the response Channel).


With Gladly, you can decide when to make yourself available, and for which Channel(s).

Depending on which Channel you’re ready to take on, you’ll select the corresponding Availability button which turns green to signify that you are ready. Gladly will then route you the next most urgent Customer on that Channel.  

Note - Gladly doesn’t automatically push new work for the Mail + Tasks Channel. Agents must select Next or Close & Next in order to receive new Mail + Tasks items.


Away allows you to step away from helping Customers. You must select a reason for stepping away.

Status / Activity

Your Status reflects what you’re doing on Gladly at any given time.

Gladly Liveboards track each Agent’s status throughout the day, providing Administrators and Team Managers valuable Agent utilization and productivity metrics they can then use to better manage their team and resources. 

Gladly will automatically detect and record when, and for how long, an Agent is in the following states: 


You’ll be considered Working if you’re working with a Customer, or otherwise using Gladly.


If you need to take a break from work, go ahead and set yourself as Away so you’re not routed any Customers in the meantime. You will also be automatically set as Away if you’ve been inactive for at least 10 minutes (or whatever the length of time determined by the company).  

Composition Screen

A WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor where messaging, emails, chat, and Answers text is written. It also contains a set of text editor features similar to what you'll find in word processing applications like Google Docs and Microsoft Word.


Every company has a database of ‘model’ responses for Agents to leverage when responding to Customers. At Gladly, we call that database Answers. 

Answers are knowledgebase articles that Agents use to quickly relay information to Customers. It is also accessible to Customers for self-service through Sidekick and the Help Center.

You’ll find four types of Answers in Gladly: Reference Answers, Email Answers Messaging Answers, and Public Answers. 

Reference Answers - Serve two purposes, depending on whether they are “internal” or not. ‘Internal’ Answers are meant to be for the Agents’ eyes only, they provide context and guidance to Agents about how and when to use the Answer. When not marked ‘Internal’, Reference Answers can be shared with the Customer, and are a useful resource for Agents responding to Customers over the phone. 

Email Answers - Should be used when replying to Customers over email. These answers are usually longer and more detailed than Message Answers.    

Message Answers - Shorter answers that should be used for Channels like SMS or Chat, where Customers don’t have space (or appetite) for extraneous detail.  

Public Answers - Aren’t used by Agents to communicate with Customers directly but are seen by Customers who are leveraging self-service.

While all users can access and use Answers, only Answers Administrators, Team Managers, and Administrators can create and edit them.


You can think of Variables like cheat codes that help you personalize your responses with the information you have about your Customers. When a response with a Variable gets sent, that Variable gets replaced with the corresponding information from your company’s database. 

While you can certainly insert Variables into your responses, you’ll encounter them most often in Answers since they’re usually drafted generic enough to be used across support teams.

You can find the following Variables in Gladly:  

  • Customer Full Name
  • Customer First Name
  • Customer Last Name
  • Customer Email
  • Customer Phone Number
  • Agent Name

You can also find the full list of Variables in the Variables section of the Answers page. 

But there will be times that you won’t have all the information you need to replace those Variables - you may know the Customer’s name, for example, but not their loyalty number. In those cases, your Agents Plus, Team Managers, or Administrator should have set a default value in its place, to replace that Variable if it can’t be resolved. 


An Answer can also have Placeholders, which are mandatory fields you’ll need to fill out before you can send the Answer out to a Customer. 

For example, an Answer could have a Placeholder that requires you to insert a confirmation number, or name of the item purchased, to help provide personalized context to a Customer.


Topics are what we use to classify or disposition Conversations in Gladly — they’re labels you can attach to a Conversation that helps identify the issue a Customer’s reaching out to you for. 

Each Topic also gets reflected in Gladly’s Liveboards and Reports, providing Administrators and Team Managers an overview of the kinds of issues Customers are reaching out to the company for, and what’s causing the most pain.  


Sometimes you just need to find a particular Customer fast. Or maybe you just want to see how other Agents have handled issues in the past. Whatever the reason, Gladly’s Search lets you sift effortlessly through past Conversations and Customer information — company-wide — so you can find what you need, when you need it. 

It’s basically Gladly’s internal Google.


Teams are configured as a group of people that may have certain skills, be in a particular location, or be based on an organizational structure. Agents can be grouped into Teams for reporting purposes.

  • Agents can be grouped into Teams for reporting purposes
  • Teams can reflect things like:
    • Your organizational structure
    • In-house vs outsourced teams
    • Different locations


Liveboards - as the name suggests - are live, real-time measure of how your contact center is running. Liveboards make it easy for Administrators and Team Managers alike to keep track of important metrics, at that very instant, like: 

  • How many Agents are working and available?
  • How long are Customers waiting before they speak to an Agent?
  • What percentage of SLAs have we met so far? 
  • What type of issues are Customers reaching out for?

There are three types of Liveboards in Gladly: 

  • Summary Liveboard
  • Agent Liveboard
  • Topic Liveboard

Reporting Data Dictionary

The Reporting Data Dictionary provides definitions of Gladly reporting metrics that appear in reports and report CSVs.

Work Session

A Work Session represents a period of time that an Agent spends working with a Customer on a given Channel, during a given Contact (messaging exchange, phone call, etc.).


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