December 15, 2011

Help Scout – Personalized Customer Service

Providing excellent customer service is one of the keys to developing a positive reputation for your business, and Help Scout is a web-app that can make that happen. The difference between Help Scout and the dozens of other online help desk solutions is that Help Scout is both seamless and invisible. Companies that use Help Scout can automatically answer their customers’ questions through messages that look like personal email threads.

Setup a catchall email address—like or support@, for example—or just forward all of your company’s incoming queries to a unique Help Scout address. When a customer request is sent your way, Help Scout will automatically reply to confirm you received the message. You can then log on to see the messages that have come in at any time. Based on the contents of a message, you can select a canned response with instructions to answer whatever the customer’s question may have been or type out a long-form response of your own. One of the unique things about Help Scout is its email integration, which lets users update tickets, add to conversations, and communicate with customers without having to log into the site. For people who are logged in, Help Scout offers real-time updates that let support staffers see when two people are viewing a message at the same time, to decrease the chances of a double-reply. It also lets users assign conversations to specific staffers, which is useful in cases where a question is complex or technical in nature.

To help expedite the process of replying to queries, Help Scout creates customer profiles. These profiles include a customer’s contact information, previous emails or conversations with support staffers, and links to any of his or her social networking accounts. All this information is automatically imported, which means customer profiles will populate with zero effort on your employees’ behalves.

Practical Uses:

  • Quickly respond to a customer who has a question about how to complete an order
  • Send automated emails to customers who ask common questions
  • Find out what a user is saying about your company on Twitter before responding to his or her email query
  • Automatically reply to let people know their emails have been received

Insider Tips:

  • Email commands let people update the status of a ticket without logging on to Help Scout
  • Staffers can collaborate on drafts before an official message is sent out
  • Help Scout automatically pulls publically available social networking information into each customer’s internal profile page
  • Customer queries can be assigned to a specific staffer with knowledge of the issue

What we liked:

  • The emails sent with Help Scout don’t look automated, even when they are
  • Setting up an account takes less than five minutes
  • Customers can get basic questions answered quickly thanks to canned replies
  • Real-time information prevents people from doubling up on work

What we didn’t like:

  • Users have to sign up for a Business account to remove Help Scout branding from the bottom of each email


Company Info:

  • Launched: May 2011
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Founded by: Brightwurks
  • Web site:


  • Basic plan is $20 for 2 users (up to 5 users), per month
  • Standard plan is $75 for 5 users (up to 10 users), per month — includes reports & white label
  • Business plan is $180 for for 10 users (add unlimited users), per month — includes reports & white label
  • Free plan – 2 users & 150 incoming emails, per month

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