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Help Scout

By Help Scout  (Free)
User Rating
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Help Scout is an web-based help-desk solution that focuses on creating conversations with customers. It has been designed to be user friendly form both sides of the coin. From a customer standpoint, communication is personal, while from the support side, multiple brand and inbox management can be easily organized.

Help Scout’s key features have been designed to support front line customer service teams by giving them the means to provide customers with excellent support services. Help Scout includes key features such as an integrated knowledge base, real-time reporting, and collision detection. Help Scout’s intuitive interface houses all the support requests in a singular environment. It comes with a solid API, and enhanced team collaboration tools.

Collision Detection (Traffic Cop)

A great feature of Help Scout is the Traffic Cop. The is basically a fail-safe utility that stops duplicate replies from being sent to customers. All conversations in Help Scout have visual indicators, which inform you if a colleague is working on the same task, and what actions they are currently undertaking. This data allows you to review any updates and then provides you with options on how to proceed; send your pending reply as is, edit it, or discard it.

Messages that have been flagged by Traffic Cop are located in a 'Needs Attention' folder, on the sidebar. As soon as the threads are addressed, the folder then automatically disappears.

Real-Time Reporting
One really productive feature worth noting is Help Scout’s real-time reporting. This tool can assist managers in gaining a better understanding of the day-to-day running of operational matters. Advanced metrics that are viewed within the dashboard are categorized into four key areas: Conversations, Productivity, Team, and Happiness. Help Scout’s report filters; Tag, Folder, or Conversation Type, will assist in focussing your reports on the specific data that you need.

The Conversation metrics provide data on the busiest time of day, any conversations answered, and the number of customers etc. Productivity focuses on the help desk’s efficiency metrics. This includes data on time spent answering conversations, first response time, and conversation resolution time frames. Team reports provide high-level insights into team member metrics. This includes the number of customers helped and the handling time. Finally, the Happiness data scores are sourced from customer feedback, in order to gauge the overall customer experience.

Integrations
The great thing about Help Scout is it's integration with over 40 third-party apps and services, including FullStory, KISSmetrics and Segment.io for Analytics. HipChat, Slack and Talkdesk for Comms. AgileCRM, Capsule and Highrise for CRM. BigCommerce, Freshbooks and Magento for E-Commerce and Invoicing, and Constant Contact, Infusionsoft and MailChimp for Marketing.

Pricing
Help Scout offers a subscription pricing model, priced at $15 per user per month for the Standard plan, with 5 mailboxes. Help Scout also provides a free plan, which includes a maximum of three users and a single mailbox for the small business. If your organization is larger and your requirements are greater, the Plus plan is priced at $40 per user per month. This plan comes with advanced reporting & features, designed for large teams. It has unlimited mailboxes, and 3 Docs KBs. Help Scout covers options for a wide range of budgets and requirements and there is a Free 15 day trial available (No Credit Card required).

Bottom Line
Help Scout is a solid help desk solution that uses a different setup, rather that using the standard ticketing system; customer conversations appears like normal email threads. Your customers no longer have multiple logins to access the support information they require. From a support services perspective, the interface is clutter-free to help keep users focused on delivering a great service. The platform is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use, with plenty of room for configuration. If you need a simple, straightforward help desk solution that is easy to set up and maintain, Help Scout is a good choice.

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