If your team handles high conversation volumes, your support team’s workload can quickly become uneven and disorganized. With workload management, you can ensure workload is fairly distributed across teammates.

With workload management, you can:

  • Choose how conversations are assigned to a team inbox (manually, by round robin or balanced assignment)

  • Control how many conversations a teammate is assigned at one time

  • Get a quick view of inboxes approaching or hitting their assignment limits

Note: Workload management is only available on certain Intercom plans. See our plans and pricing here.

Create a balanced workload for teammates

To apply balanced assignment to a team inbox, go to ‘Settings’:

Then, click ‘Teams’:

Next, choose a team inbox: 

You can choose to assign conversations to this team in one of three ways:

  • Manual -  conversations will not be automatically assigned to individual teammates (unless they match one of your assignment rules). This is the default setting. 

  • Round robin - this helps sales teams share new leads evenly across teammates. Conversations are assigned to teammates in sequential order. A teammate’s conversation volume is not taken into account. 

  • Balanced - This helps support teams distribute conversation volumes fairly. Conversations will be assigned to teammates with the fewest open conversations first.

Note: If you choose balanced assignment, and no teammates are online to be assigned conversations, they will remain in the team inbox. As soon as a teammate comes online to receive conversations, those that are waiting will be assigned to them.

Control your teammates’ conversation volume 

Once you’ve applied balanced assignment to an inbox, you can also limit the number of conversations that can be assigned to teammates in that inbox. If all teammates reach your assignment limit, conversations will be assigned to your team inbox. They won’t be distributed amongst teammates. 

In the Inbox, select Automation. Then, choose ‘Workload management’:

Here, you can set an assignment limit for teammates in any inbox with balanced assignment enabled:

Note: This limit only applies to conversations automatically assigned using balanced assignment. Teammates can still exceed the assignment limit by manually assigning conversations to themselves or others. 

Within each inbox, you can also enable volume control. When switched on, this will stop customers from sending new conversations through the Messenger to this team, if all teammates are have reached their assignment limit or are set to away. 

The ‘New conversation’ button in the Messenger will disappear for customers who match your team inbox’s assignment rules.

Note: If you have Intercom Articles and your Help Center is enabled, the Messenger launcher icon will change to a “search” icon when customers are unable to start a new conversation. Your other Messenger colors and styles will still apply:

You can also set the order of importance for each inbox. This ensures that teammates who are members of multiple teams will automatically receive conversations from the highest priority inbox first.

How can I check balanced assignment in the Inbox?

When a conversation is automatically routed to a team using balanced assignment, it will be assigned to a teammate with the lowest count of open conversations and fill until they are equal to the next lowest count within the team. Conversations will continue to be distributed until every teammate in that team inbox hits the assignment limit. Teammates who have reached their limit are highlighted in red:

When a teammate reaches their assignment limit, they will be removed from distribution until they are below the limit again. If volume control is not enabled - conversations will be held in the team inbox and only sent to teammates when they are no longer at the limit. 

For example, the conversation pictured below is assigned to the ‘Customer Success’ inbox. However, both teammates in this inbox have hit their assignment limit of 2. 

This conversation will be automatically assigned to the teammate who reduces their conversation volume first. 

If volume control is enabled, and all teammates are at their limit - the ‘New conversation’ button in the Messenger will be blocked for conversations matching the assignment rules of this team inbox. You’ll be able to see when this is happening for a specific inbox here:

Note: When using balanced assignment, conversations will be assigned in the following priority: 

  • Conversations that are marked as priority 

  • Conversations that are closest to breaking an SLA

  • Conversations waiting for the longest time

What’s next?

Here are more ways to better manage your conversation volume: 

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