by Stephanie Watson
Published on 27 November 2012
As a small business owner providing that personal touch is so important in helping you stand out from the "big guys", but using a support system that can scale with your growing customer base is also needed so that you can continue to make excellent support a consistent part of your business.
I often find that, although help desk software can be really handy in this regard, most of it is far too complicated, and takes forever to set up. Worst of all, it often doesn't play nice with the other key pieces of software that help you run your business, or comes with a bloated feature sets that you never use.
The problems don't end there. Your customers are stuck with having to open an account and writing a new ticket before they ever get a hold of someone from your team. With the canned responses that often power these other help desks, your buyers feel more like a number waiting in line than a valued customer. With Help Scout however, they feel like they are getting a personal email from you.
Since I already covered some of the main aspects of Help Scout, today I am going to focus on third party integration and other new features.
If you read that review, you'll see how Help Scout helps you create a personalized service process by maintaining a collaborative experience for your team, but stays invisible to customers so that they only see plain text replies from a "real person".
Today, you'll get to look at how Help Scout is making it easier for small business owners to solve customer problems while integrating seamlessly with their existing chat and CRM products.
All help desk software runs the risk of being way too complicated, way too bloated and far too impersonal for the customers using it.
The problem is, if you have several people handling support, you need a way to coordinate responses, and at a certain volume, Gmail inboxes and complex filter sets no longer work. You'll end up with emails slipping through the cracks or customers getting multiple responses for the same inquiry. What's worse, it's hard to find help desk tools that work with your current products, andit's expensive to keep buying new ones.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a way to integrate a good help desk with what you already own and use?
As a business owner you already have enough on your plate. Help Scout has stepped in with software that is easy to use, provides a personal experience for the customer and integrates with a number of the products that you already use e.g., software for customer relationship management, chat, group chat, IM and/or satisfaction rating software. As a bonus, it also provides real time notifications with Webhooks. Users can subscribe to events and post them to a URL for their app. In addition, they've launched keyboard shortcuts and a new more user-friendly text editor.
According to Denny Swindle, co-founder and CTO of Help Scout, "We built Apps to help small businesses improve their support work-flow by plugging in to the products they already use and love. With Apps, every customer interaction can be visible within Help Scout, making it easy for the entire company to engage loyal customers."
Help Scout provides one-click integration with Highrise, Capsule, SnapEngage, Olark, HipChat, Campfire, Nicereply, Hively and Webhooks for real-time notifications.
Help Scout is the answer to the dangers of impersonal email support responses. Your customer never gets hit with a "ticket" nor do they have to open an account of any kind. That first email is all it takes to start communication.
At the administrative end it's simple to see who is viewing the email in real-time, avoiding the chance of two people responding to the same message. You can always see the customer profile and the query history at the click of a button.. Each support person can add notes and hold conversations with others that the customer can't see. In-house communication is easy and efficient and never interferes with helping your customers.
Here is a typical help desk conversation with Help Scout. Remember these are representative screen shots, yours will look different based on how you set it up.
You can save chat from apps like SnapEngage and Olark in Help Scout.
You can get a look at the customer profile from Highrise, Capsule and other CRM software.
Help Scout saw a huge improvement in its own support statistics using the Highrise app.
Help Scout by itself is awesome help desk software, as I mentioned in my other review: it's easy to install, customer friendly and simple to use for the people in your business who answer customer questions. Beyond that, Help Scout lets you use software in which you have already invested time and money into, which makes it a no-brainer to add to your arsenal of tools to better serve your customers. It supports many CRM, chat, IM and satisfaction rating packages. In fact it extends their usefulness and makes you and your support system more productive.
Help Scout has a free 15-day trial with no credit card needed. The subscription plan is monthly and based on the number of users. In addition it has the Free Forever Plan for three users with one mailbox. Emails are Help Scout branded with this choice. However, you'll still get the same fabulous customer service from Help Scout whether you're a free user or a paid subscriber via email, chat and phone.
If you run a small business, Help Scout is the answer to your customer support woes. If you view customer support and word of mouth marketing generated from superior service as a "must have" for your business, you won't find help desk software as personal, streamlined and easy to use as Help Scout.
You can keep using the CRM, chat, IM or satisfaction rating software you already have while integrating the awesome features of Help Scout (basically, you don't have to change what you're doing at all!)
In short, Help Scout turns customer support from a headache to a pleasure. If your small business loves customers, then you'll love Help Scout.
Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 4/5, value 4/5 and ease of deployment 5/5