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In this article


It is essential to maintain seamless communication with customers. Through Channel.io, you can identify and consolidate customer information for efficient customer data management.

Records of non-member status should be unified into member information after logging in.

There are two important things we need to consider:

  • Users with the same contact information should be identified so that they are not stored separately as non-members and members.

  • When users become members after logging in to their accounts, the previous chat history of anonymous users or leads should be unified to the member’s account.

For this, Channel.io has a strong unification technology that unifies two users into the same member if there is a reasonable basis.


Unification is a function to unify anonymous users or leads into existing members.

  • When is unification allowed?

    • Anonymous User → Member (O): An anonymous user can be unified with an existing member.

    • Lead → Member (O): A lead can be unified with an existing member

    • Lead → Lead (X): A lead cannot be unified with another lead.

    • Member → Member (X): A member cannot be unified with another member.

Unification of customer information can be done automatically or by a manager manually. We will show you how unification works, and whose information is reflected first.

Priority of information being unified

  1. Which information is selected among the two users’ information when unified?

    • Verified information → Unverified information

    • Member Information → Lead, User Information

    • Information with values in fields → Information without values in fields

    • Among the same member information, the most recent information takes precedence

  2. Which areas of user profile data are unified?

    • Customer Profile Information: The collected customer information such as mobile phone number, e-mail, and company name are unified.

    • Marketing campaign exposure information: In order to avoid duplicate exposure to campaigns after unification, exposure to specific campaigns is combined.

    • User chat history: It is unified so that you can check the chat history before/after you log in.

    • Event history: It is unified so that events are recorded under one user on the website.

Example 1.

Lead with verified information + Member with verified information

  • If the verification of information of two users is the same, member information takes precedence and is combined.

Example 2.

Lead with unverified information + member with verified information

  • Verified information and member information take precedence

Example 3.

Lead with verified information + member with unverified information

  • The information verification process takes precedence over member classification

Automatic unification (when Channel.io is booted)

When an anonymous user or lead logs in to the site (or app), they are automatically unified as an existing member.

For better understanding, we have prepared an image that expresses the user's visit session as a block.

A total of 5 sessions occurred with one user visiting the site once a day for 5 days.

  • Day 1: An anonymous user visited the site and left after looking around the site.

  • Day 2: The next day, the anonymous user visited again, started the chat, and became a lead. But in the middle, the anonymous user logged in to his/her account. It turned out that he/she was already a member and member data was stored in the Channel.io Contacts.

  • Day 3: The member left the site and visited the website for the third time, the account was automatically logged in to the browser, therefore he/she shopped as a member.

  • Day 4: On the fourth visit, because the member was worried about using a public computer, he/she decided to log out. However, Channel.io leaves the member status as it is until the 30 minutes session ends.

  • Day 5: After the session ends, the user who visited again without logging in is recognized as a new anonymous user, not the user in the 1st session.

In reality, one user, an anonymous user number one, and a lead number two(yellow dotted line) are combined into a member number three (to be precise, member information logged in during the 2nd session). This is called unification.
The memberId information exists for the user number two and three, but not for anonymous user number one and lead number two. The criteria for unifying customer information in Channel.io is memberId information existence.

Even if a member logs out in the middle(4th session), until the session ends (30 minutes), Channel.io sees this user as the same user as the member just before logout and keeps chat details and profile information. If it is right after logout but is maintained in the same session, it is reasonable to judge that it is the same person.

What happens to users who are logged out and re-recognized on the site after the session ends? Instead of returning to an anonymous user who has already been incorporated into a member, you will see it as a new anonymous user.

If a customer who consulted as an anonymous user logs in as a member and continues the user chat, how will it look to the manager?

  • Anonymous users can be unified with existing members or they can be updated as new members after signup.

If the logged-in member is a member already saved in Channel.io’s Contacts

  1. Anonymous user (name : Mango 135) logged in to existing member Mark Smith during chat consultation.

  2. Mango 135 and Mark Smith have been unified. The chat history of Mango 135 is displayed in Mark Smith's chat lounge.

  3. Customer information has been unified with Mark Smith. Mango 135's chat history and event information are all collected in Mark Smith's customer information.

  4. However, the name of the customer who sent the message on the user chat consultation screen is shown respectively as Mango 135 and Mark Smith. It is displayed as the user name at the time the message was written.

    ⇒ After unification, click the name Mango 135 in the user chat message to link to member Mark Smith's customer information.

What happens if the logged-in member is a new member who did not exist in Channel.io’s Contacts?

  1. An anonymous user (Apple 246) logged in to James Dean’s account during a chat consultation.

  2. At this time, Apple 246 is stored in the Contacts as a new member called James Dean. (Unification X)

  3. So, the name of the customer who sent the message on the user chat consultation screen is changed from Apple246 to James Dean.

    ⇒ In this case, it is not unification. When a user is not in Channel.io’s Contacts, the member information will be newly updated.

Manual unification (by manager or developer’s action)

If the verified contact information is provided in Contacts and this information matches the contact information of an existing member, the manager can unify it manually.

There are two cases:

  1. The manager edits an anonymous user's or lead's customer information via CSV file upload(coming soon) or open API

  2. The manager manually edits customer information in Contacts

Edit customer information by manager

Unification is irreversible. Proceed unification process only if the contact information matches and is confirmed to be the same member.

  1. The manager can modify the contact information of anonymous users/leads at any time in Contacts or customer information in User Chat.

  2. If the information modified by the manager matches the existing member information stored in Contacts, a message requesting confirmation of unification will pop up.

  3. If the manager clicks [Apply] (Unification Approval), the information will be consolidated the next time the unification target member logs into the site.

Uploading customer information via CSV file (Coming soon)

It is scheduled to open as a beta service at the end of this year.

  • You can upload customer information to Channel.io Contacts via CSV file.

  • When you upload a CSV file, the system checks whether there is memberId information in the CSV file.

If there is memberID information in the CSV file:

  • Customers with memberId information are immediately saved as members.

If there is no memberId information in the CSV file:

  • It will be saved as a lead in the Contacts.

  • If uploaded lead information is matching with an existing member, it will be unified with that member.

What is the delayed unification status?

When the manager approves unification,

The lead's information may be unified with the member immediately, or the unification may be delayed.

  • If there is a delay in unifying accounts after the manager confirms unification

    • This happens when the leads have visited a service (website or app) before

  • If the unification happens immediately after the manager confirms unification

    • This happens when the leads have never visited a service (website or app)

Why isn't it unified right away?

This is because the lead or member may be online on the website the moment a match is found.

If the chat history is suddenly unified because the manager changes information during customer consultation as a non-member, it can be a very awkward experience for the user, such as the sudden disappearance of the conversation or chat history that did not exist.

So the next time this lead (or member) logs in to your site, the customer information will be unified.

Example 1. Delayed unification

  1. The manager edits the contact information of Lead A in the guest info tab after Lead A created a chat.

  2. It turned out that this contact is the same as member B’s contact information.

  3. The manager clicks [Apply] on the unify notification to confirm.

  4. However, since lead A is still online on the site, unification will be delayed.

  5. The next day, member B logs in. At this time, information from lead A will be unified with member B.

Example 2. Immediate unification

  1. When you upload customer information via CSV file without memberId, it will be saved as leads.

  2. At this point, it is discovered that lead C's cell phone number is the same contact as member D's. Lead C also has an email address that member D does not have. (verified information)

  3. The manager clicks [Apply] on the unify notification to confirm.

  4. Then, the information of lead C is immediately unified with member D, and the email information that was not in member D's profile is updated.

Example 3. Exception case (External messenger)

  1. The customer created a chat through Instagram messenger linked to Channel.io, customer will be shown as non-member with a random user name(e.g. Kiwi 987).

  2. If the manager obtains Kiwi 987's mobile phone number and enters it in the guest info tab, Kiwi 987 becomes a lead with verified information.

  3. After that, the same customer signed up on the website as a member named Sam Smith. A new member named Sam Smith is also saved in Channel.io’s Contacts. Sam Smith has the same mobile phone number as Kiwi 987. However, at this time, lead Kiwi 987 and member Sam Smith are saved separately.

  4. Next time Kiwi 987 inquires again through Instagram messenger, it will not be unified immediately.

  5. After the manager confirms user Kiwi 987 and Sam Smith are identical, the manager needs to change the phone number or email address of Kiwi 987. (The content needs to be changed to be recognized as a modification.)

  6. At this time, Channel.io checks and unifies the contact information of Kiwi 987 and Sam Smith.


What if a user or lead's information matches more than one member's information?

It will be unified to the member who has the most recently updated information.

Is it possible to separate members once unified into leads or anonymous users again?

No, you can't reverse the unification process once it’s completed.

What happens when you upload customer data with Open API?

If you use open API(upsert a user by memberId), the user will be registered as a member. If you want to add customer data as a lead, we recommend using Create a User(by profile) instead.

During unification, are all data moved immediately?

Customer Profile Information: Moved immediately. Marketing campaign information: Moved immediately. Existing user chat, in-service event recording, etc.: If there is a lot of information, it may continue to fetch information even after user integration. (near real-time)

When unification is delayed, can the manager check the information of members or leads?

Yes, you can check each customer profile data before unification.

What will happen to user chat customers who have been introduced to external messengers? 

If a customer chat is received as a random non-member without any information linkage from external messengers, please obtain contact information and enter it in the customer information area on the right.

If it is a member that is already stored in the Channel.io Contacts, it will be unified immediately. When a customer opens the chat lounge by pressing the Channel.io widget, they will find an external messenger icon. By clicking the icon and logging in to the external messenger, customer information from the external messenger can be linked to Channel.io even if it is not the homepage member information.