Understand and create work streams

Omnichannel for Customer Service is a paid add-on to Dynamics 365 Customer Service apps that use the Unified Interface. It is available only when you purchase a subscription to Chat for Dynamics 365 Customer Service or Dynamics 365 for Digital Messaging. For information about pricing, see the Customer Service page.

A work stream is a collection of routing and work distribution settings. Routing settings define how conversations should be routed to queues. Work distribution settings define how conversations should be allocated to agents within a queue.

In Omnichannel for Customer Service, you can create the following types of work streams:

  • Live chat work stream
  • SMS work stream


A work stream can belong to multiple channels of the same type, like multiple chat channels. In this case, all the conversations from these channels inherit the routing and work distribution settings of the work stream they belong to.

Create a work stream

Follow these steps to create a new work stream in Omnichannel for Customer Service:

  1. In the Omnichannel site map, go to Work Distribution Management > Work Streams.

    The Active Work Streams view is displayed.

    Omnichannel work streams

  2. On the command bar, select New to create a work stream.

  3. In the Work Distribution tab of the new work stream, follow these steps:

    1. In the General information section, provide the following information:

      • Name: Enter a name for the work stream.

      • Channel: Channel is defined as a medium through which a customer reaches out for support. For example, a customer can contact an agent through chat.

        Select a channel from the drop-down list:

        • Live Chat
        • SMS
        • Facebook
        • Entity Records

        To learn more about Entity Records, see Create entity record workstream

      • Capacity: Specify the units of capacity that are required to process a conversation for the work stream in the text box.

      • Auto-close after inactivity: Enter the unit of time after which a conversation is moved from the Waiting state to the Closed state because of inactivity.

    2. Select Save to save the work stream.

    3. In the Work distribution section, follow these steps:

      1. Select whether the Work distribution mode should be Push or Pick.

        The work distribution mode defines the experience of how agents can take up a conversation: via Push or Pick mode.

        • In Push mode, a conversation is dispatched to agents automatically via a screen-pop.
        • In Pick mode, a conversation is dispatched to agents when they explicitly pick a conversation from the Open work items in the agent dashboard.
      2. In the Notification field, select the type of notification setting from the drop-down list:

        • Directly open session
        • Screen pop with timeout
        • Screen pop with decline


        In this release, only the Screen pop with decline option is supported with a default timeout value of 120 seconds. An agent has the option either to accept or reject the screen pop.

      3. Select Allowed Presences from the drop-down list. For more information, see Configure and manage custom presence.

        New work stream

  4. View and create context variables in the Context variables tab. Context variables enrich conversations with pre-chat data, channel data, and custom context data. These attributes can then be used to define routing rules to route conversations into different queues.

    1. Select New to create a new context variable in the Quick Create window.

    2. Enter Display Name for the new variable. The Name field is populated accordingly.

    3. Select the Type of variable from the drop-down list. You can choose from Text or Number.

      New context variable

  5. Define routing rule items in the Routing rule items tab. Routing rule items are configured for each work stream, so that conversations can be routed to the correct queues. To learn how to configure a routing rule, see Create and manage routing rules in Omnichannel.

  6. Select Save to save the work stream.

Associate work streams with channel artifacts

You can associate work streams with channel artifacts so that the conversations can be assigned to agents seamlessly. For example, for a live chat widget, a default work stream is already associated in the Work stream field. You can select the search icon to associate another work stream. Select New to create a new work stream from within the live chat widget.

To learn more about how to set up channels and associate work streams, see the following topics:

See also

Automatically identify customers using pre-chat responses

Create workstream for entity record routing

Work with queues