When you work in tech, you learn a lot about software over the years that you use it. Sometimes, the best way to take a shortcut to that learning is to talk to the long-time users of a platform—the ones who know it best.
We’ll be talking to long time users of a variety of platforms to get their top tips and tricks that they’ve learned along the way. To kick things off, we’ll be talking about Help Scout.
Help Scout is a great tool for support-focused teams and overall customer communications. It can assist with support tickets, success conversations with larger customers, and professional service conversations when talking through paid projects. These are just a few of the benefits it provides.
We go in depth about our seven top tips for using Help Scout below, but if you want the short version, we’ve got you covered:
Now, let’s explore each tip in depth to maximize your familiarity with Help Scout.
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While automating follow-ups is not a built-in feature with Help Scout, it’s something we accomplished using a custom field and a Workflow. We created a custom field called “Follow-up date,” visible at the top of every conversation we have with customers. It’s set up as a date field, and whenever we want to set a follow-up, it’ll open up a calendar view so we can pick the day that we want the conversation to re-open.
From there we’ve also created a series of Workflows. The complication with this one is each Workflow can only run a single time, so rather than just one, we have multiple; we use tags to identify which has last run. It looks like this:
At midnight on the identified day, it’ll open up the conversation, add a note that we’ve written, and add a tag. If we want to set it to follow up again, we’ll set another date and another Workflow looks for that first tag, remove it, and add a new one with a note.
While customers don’t always know what’s truly urgent from our side, they obviously know what they consider urgent. So we want to know if a customer feels something needs immediate attention so that can weigh in when we triage a busy inbox.
To do this, set up a Workflow looking at a customer’s message. Grab a few keywords or phrases, and set up “OR” conditions where we look for those phrases and add an ASAP tag to the ticket. This allows you to see if it tripped the Workflow (in the inbox). Give it a try with your own phrases that you think signify problems with your customers.
While the last couple of tips have involved workarounds, this one is a built-in feature. You can follow a conversation in Help Scout and get notifications for future responses. To do so, head to the menu and choose “Follow”.
Use this feature liberally when training new support. It’s a great way to follow conversations where you don’t know the answer or wouldn’t know how to handle them. You can then see how your colleagues helped the customer and learn by observing. It’s also great for managers to keep an eye on tricky conversations or QA to tag tickets that they’ll go back to.
To ensure our reporting is set up accurately, we use a mixture of custom fields and tags. Custom fields can be set to required—tags can’t, but we still want to ensure specific ones are included. We also use tags to enforce other settings like follow-ups.
For the reporting data, we set up a custom field named “Has tag”. When this field isn’t set, the ticket re-opens automatically with a note reminding the team to add a product tag. We also have a Workflow set up that looks for all of our various product tags, and as soon as one is added, it’ll set that “Has tag” field.
You can also use a variation on this function to look for bug tickets where you’re not following up. For instance, we have a rule that if a bug is still being investigated and hasn’t been filed yet in our bug tracking, we need to ensure we follow up with the customer to get all of the details we need. So in this case, we would look for the “bug” tag, then re-open the ticket if specific fields aren’t added. Alternatively, if the “bugfix” tag hasn’t been added, we would also know follow-up is needed.
One of the niftier built-in elements with their Docs feature is being able to create private collections and restrict those articles to people logged into your Help Scout instance.
We’ve used this to create our own internal help center for everyone working with customers. We have quick answers to FAQs, processes to go through, tips on where to look next when troubleshooting and anything else you can think of.
Because these are accessible from within conversations, including chat, my team can quickly search our own docs for help while talking to customers if they get stuck.
We’ve also empowered the team to add and edit those internal docs at any time. The rule is if they learn something new they need to write it up ASAP once closing the conversation. That way the next person who comes across that thing has access to it from their own conversation and won’t get stuck.
We’ve talked about using your support data to improve your product or to make your team more successful, and one of the ways Help Scout helps make that happen is by allowing users to filter reports and save those views for future use. All of the tags and custom fields mentioned before are accessible in your reports, and you can combine them in any way to drill down into the matching conversations.
To add one, click on the plus sign (+) by “Views” when you’re in your reports, and add in the combination of conditions that you want to look at.
Another hidden, yet very valuable feature Help Scout offers is redirect options. This defines where you go when you reply to a conversation. To change it, click on the arrow next to the send button and change your redirect. You can also use that to make a one-time change if you want to go somewhere else.
For regular agents, we recommend they send and go to the next active conversation. This way they don’t have to think about it and don’t run the risk of cherry-picking. However, anyone who is triaging or managing, we suggest they go back to the folder so they can see what has newly come in.
If you’re already using Help Scout, read about our favorite features and the challenges we’ve run across. But if you’re on the fence about the right products to use, or you're in the market for a new support platform, TestBox is the place to be.
Learn about the platforms TestBox integrates with, and discover Help Scout alternatives to help you make the right decision for your business.
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