Help Scout - Features, Pricing, Alternatives, and More

Matthew Guay
Reviewed by Matthew Guay
Last updated July 29, 2015

Customer support itself isn't so difficult to get right. All you need to do is help your customers, fix their problems, and make sure they're happy. It's making sure you give that same personal care to every customer that's tricky. That's why you need a support app that'll support you—one that'll help you figure out who to answer next, how to fix that problem, and when you've actually been helpful.

Help Scout does all of that, in an app that almost feels like a professional version of Gmail designed for teams. You'll setup email addresses (perhaps support@yourcompany.com or community@yourcompany.com), and Help Scout will watch each address and add new messages to each address to its own Mailbox. There, you'll see a list of all new email messages with the sender name, subject, message preview, and the last time the conversation was updated.

Dive into your support emails, and you'll quickly find some smart ways that Help Scout makes it easier to support your customers. There's simple keyboard shortcuts to help you jump between messages and functions: tap R to reply, J or K to jump to previous or next messages, N to add a note, and more. On the right sidebar, you'll see your customer's name, avatar, and other details Help Scout's picked up about them, along with a list of their previous conversations with your team.

Everything's right there so you can focus on reply to emails—but sometimes, you won't even have to write out a reply. There's a search box at the top where you can search through previous Help Scout conversations to see how you helped other users with the same problem. You can even use saved replies to answer common questions without having to type out a unique message every time. And if you get stuck, you can always add a tag for another team to check the message, or you can add a note and assign the conversation to another colleague who'd know how to answer the message. Or, if an email message comes into your personal email inbox, you can forward it to Help Scout and include text commands to tag the message, assign it to one of your colleagues, and more without even signing into Help Scout.

Curious how well you're doing at support? Help Scout can tell you that, too, from its Reports menu. There, you can see how many tickets your whole team has answered and what your average response time is, along with each individual team member's performance. Help Scout can include a little poll at the bottom of your emails so your customers can rate your support, and Help Scout will then give you a Happiness graph of how much people like your support responses. People can even leave a short comment along with their rating, so you can learn what you can improve or what you could do better.

If you don't already have a documentation library on your website, Help Scout can help you make one as well. Its Docs feature lets you quickly create a help desk that's easy for your customers to search through and find the articles that'll fix their problems without emailing your team. You can write in rich text, HTML, or Markdown, use custom CSS to make your Help Scout Docs look like the rest of your site, and collaborate with your team on documentation. It's even multi-lingual, so you can store multiple language versions of your documentation.

Customer support is more than just email and documentation—it's the time your team puts into solving your customers' problems. Help Scout will help you do the very best job you can at that by making email and documentation you can. It's a shared email inbox your team can use to solve your customers' problems together.

Have any feedback on this overview, or something we should change? Let us know!

Help Scout Features

  • Shared email inbox for managing tickets
  • Saved replies to speed up responses
  • See info about contacts on sidebar
  • Check team performance with reports on conversations, productivity, and happiness
  • Docs to build a help center for your customers
  • HIPAA Compliance / Level 1 PCI Compliance
  • iPhone app for replies on the go

Help Scout Pricing

  • Free for up to 3 users and 1 mailbox
  • $20/user/month Standard plan for 5 mailboxes and 1 Docs knowledge base
  • $40/user/month Plus plan for Unlimited Mailboxes and 3 Docs knowledge bases

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Help Scout is the ideal small business help desk. You can deliver great email support and get setup in minutes, without any of the typical help desk complexities.