Help Scout (Help Desk Software)
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Help Scout is a web-based help desk software and email management tool. It includes reporting capabilities, an integrated knowledge base, an embeddable search widget, and customer ratings. It was launched in 2011 by Help Scout (the company, formerly known as Brightwurks) and is being developed and offered in a SaaS (software as a service) business model.
Customer support professionals use Help Scout as a single point of contact to manage email support tickets/conversations. Help Scout is used by over 7000 companies in over 140 countries. This customer support software has been mistakenly referred to as a single word: HelpScout.
Help Scout operates as an invisible web-based help desk. This software is used for one-to-many communication. Responses to customers through the Help Scout application will look like regular email correspondence rather than a traditional ticket system. Help Scout users handle customer questions by logging into Help Scout using any web browser or by logging into Help Scout’s iOS and Android apps. Users of Help Scout have access to shared Mailboxes that are conducive for multiple teammates. Help Scout displays an Avatar with a reading or replying indicator whenever a teammate is handling a customer conversation. User interface tools include keyboard shortcuts, canned responses, and tags.
Help Scout has an integrated knowledge base feature. Docs can be secured or public and can be translated into any language.
- Internal Notes: Teammates can write notes that are not visible to customers within conversation threads. These notes also allow teammates to tag each other.
- Real-Time Reports: Users can track the performance of their customer service representatives, check customer interactions with Docs, and monitor busy periods. Users can select reports to show data across a configurable date range, including metrics comparing performance against a previous period. Every report can be filtered by one or more criteria including mailboxes, conversation tags, mailbox folders, and custom fields.
- Customer Happiness Ratings: Customers can rate replies which users can monitor in their Happiness Reports.
- Workflows: These consist of conditions and actions, and are similar to Gmail filters or rules in other clients. Users can create automated or manual workflows containing one or more conditions (e.g. filter based on content, user, customer, date and time, tags, etc.) and corresponding actions (forward conversation, reply, add tags, assign, delete, move to folder, etc.). Workflows can be used to provide automation to handle or organize conversations.
- Traffic Cop: Duplicate replies are prevented from being sent to customers as a form of collision detection.
- Importers: Help Scout offers importers from Zendesk, Desk.com, and UserVoice.
- Real-time: All Mailboxes in Help Scout accounts update in real time: folder counts, new messages, and notifications, without the need to refresh the page.
- Search: Users can look up conversations, customers, and other data using the search bar in the top-right corner of their Help Scout account. Data can be narrowed down using search operators, and and/or logic.
- Saved Replies: Uses can save and reshare responses to common customer issues.
- APIs and Custom Apps: Custom applications and integrations with proprietary or 3rd party products can be developed using included RESTful APIs to extend Help Scout’s functionality.
API Clients and Projects
A variety of users have created applications and projects that streamline the Help Scout Help Desk. Third-party projects include a Groove-to-Help-Scout Migration tool, a Mac app for Help Scout notifications, and a script to export conversations to a CSV file.
Seed is an open source CSS framework that combines modules and code philosophy with an emphasis on scalability. Seed was created by a developer at Help Scout (the company) and is currently being used to style various sections and components in the main application of the Help Desk software.
Currently there are 47 integrations in place with other services and SaaS vendors.
Help Scout ranked #13 in GetApp's Q1 2017 roundup of Customer Service Leaders. Help Scout ranked #18 in Capterra's Top 20 Most Popular Help Desk Software roundup. G2 Crowd has listed Help Scout as a High Performer in it's rankings, listing it in 9th place above LiveChat (10th place) and below Hiver (8th place).
Some users of Help Scout have criticized the lack of capabilities as a multi-channel help desk. Unlike competitor Zendesk or Desk.com, both of which are known for being all-in-one-solutions, Help Scout is primarily an email and knowledge base support system that relies on integrations to increase feature offerings, but this may not be the optimal choice for users who need an all-in-one package. Users have specifically shared how “there's no live chat integration to provide other avenues of contact for your clients.”
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