Customer service matters. It’s estimated that 90 percent of consumers use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company.
Despite the tremendous importance of immediately and accurately responding to customer service questions, many businesses have not taken any steps to improve the quality of their customer service.
Why not? Often it’s because they’re not aware of the existence of powerful yet easy-to-implement help desk software solutions like Help Scout.
If you’re among them — or if you want to compare Help Scout with other similar help desk software solutions, such as Zendesk or Freshdesk — then this in-depth review is just what you need to make an informed decision.
What Is Help Scout?
Help Scout is a help desk software solution designed to manage all your customer conversations in one powerful platform that feels just like your inbox.
It launched in April of 2011, and it has since been used by over 12,000 customer-facing teams in more than 140 countries, including everyone from small businesses to high-growth startups and non-profits.
As a company, Help Scout embraces a remote-first company culture to hire the best talent the world has to offer. Its employees are based in 80+ different cities worldwide, and they enjoy flexibility and work-life harmony.
The diverse nature of the Help Scout team has allowed the company to build a help desk software solution capable of meeting the needs of businesses from around the world, giving them a better way to talk with their own customers.
Help Scout Platform Overview
Most businesses with an online presence that have yet to implement a dedicated help desk software solution provide customer service primarily via email.
Typically, they set up a dedicated customer support email address and give all customer support employees access to the associated inbox so they can respond to questions directly from their email client of choice.
The email-based approach to customer service works reasonably well when the number of questions sent by customers is very small, but it can quickly turn into a disorganized nightmare. When that happens, customer service satisfaction metrics take a nosedive, and some customers may decide to leave for competitors.
Help Scout provides an elegant solution in the form of its email-based customer service platform. As a user, you can configure all support messages to be automatically forwarded to the Help Scout platform, which provides a single point of communication with a wealth of customer service features that no regular email client offers.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these features to illustrate how Help Scout can elevate your customer service to the next level.
At the heart of Help Scout is its shared inbox, whose main purpose is to make it possible for multiple customer service employees to collaborate with ease.
Received messages can be assigned to individual team members based on their experience and areas of expertise, and they can be sorted by priority to ensure that the most urgent messages are dealt with first.
The users of the Help Scout platform can communicate internally directly within the platform itself using private notes. Such notes are not visible to customers, but they are displayed right next to messages in a convenient chronological view.
Individual notes can be assigned to specific team members, and you can even change their status to separate relevant notes from those that can be safely ignored.
Just like most modern email clients, Help Scout has a flexible internal tagging system that can be used to organize customer support tickets by separating them into different categories, such as pre-sales, bugs, and returns.
All tickets that have been assigned a certain tag can be filtered out using the powerful search feature, which can also filter tickets based on their status, type, subject, time of creation, and more.
Anyone who has extensive experience with customer support knows that some questions are asked over and over again. Instead of always writing a reply to each such question from scratch, Help Scout lets you use smart templates to reply with a few clicks.
What’s great about saved replies in Help Scout is that they can include variables, such as the recipient’s name, that are automatically filled in with the relevant information when used.
Helps Scout has powerful workflow automation capabilities that can be used to automate all sorts of repetitive tasks, from internal tracking and organization to sending automatic replies or notifications.
Automatic workflows in Help Scout can have AND and OR conditions, and it’s possible to combine them together. When you create a workflow, you can retroactively apply it to existing tickets to keep your entire inbox equally well organized.
One way to greatly reduce the number of customer support messages you have to deal with is to create a knowledge base, and Help Scout makes this easy.
It takes just a few simple steps to create an elegant knowledge base that works on any device and has an auto-generated sitemap and configurable SEO options to please search engines like Google and Bing.
Multiple knowledge base templates are available, and each of them is fully customizable using CSS. Help Scout knowledge bases can also be used for internal purposes, as private knowledge repositories accessible only to select users.
Thanks to Help Scout’s extensive reporting, you can evaluate how many tickets you get by channel, busiest hours, and trending topics. You can also see which knowledge base content gets the most views or who on your team is talking with customers the most.
All gathered data can be exported to CSV/XLS or extracted directly using the provided API endpoints for additional analysis using third-party software tools.
Customers love it when they feel a personal touch when receiving customer support, and the customer management module of the Help Scout platform has you covered in this regard.
With its help, you can see customer data, previous conversations, and app activity right next to every support request. Empowered with a wealth of useful information about each customer, you can send better replies in less time.
Beacons in Help Scout are small pop-up windows that put help content front and center to keep your customers on track. A Beacon can provide an easy way to send an email message or start a live chat, but it can also display help content in a self-service fashion.
Besides providing help when it’s needed the most, Beacons can be used to promote newly launched products, special discounts, or seasonal sales, among other things.
Help Scout Integrations
A help desk solution like Help Scout isn’t the only software businesses need to thrive in the increasingly competitive and sophisticated world of business.
Fortunately, Help Scout supports many third-party integrations, making it easy to integrate it into your existing workflow. Here are some popular tools Help Scout easily integrates with:
- Slack: A team communication and collaboration app.
- Freshbooks: Accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses.
- Mailchimp: A marketing automation platform and email marketing service.
- Shopify: An e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems.
- CircleLoop: A cloud-based business phone system.
- Olark: Live chat software for sales and customer support.
- Capsule: A customer relationship management SaaS web application and mobile app.
- Pipedrive: A sales customer relationship management tool.
- WooCommerce: An open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress.
For example, you can configure Help Scout to automatically send a notification to your Slack channel when a new customer support message arrives, or you can pull customer information from WooCommerce and use it to write more informed responses.
But what if there’s no official third-party integration for a tool you strongly depend on? In that case, you can take advantage of Help Scout’s API and build anything you want.
Help Scout Pricing
Despite being so powerful, Help Scout is reasonably priced, and you can choose from three different pricing plans depending on your needs and size:
|$20 per user per month when paid annually||$40 per user per month when paid annually||$65 per user per month when paid annually|
The Standard plan includes 2 mailboxes, 1 Docs site, up to 25 users, live chat, in-app messaging, the Beacon help widget, custom reports, automated workflows, customer properties, and third-party integrations.
The Plus plan includes everything the Standard plan does plus 3 additional mailboxes, 1 extra Docs site, no maximum user limit, 25 light users, custom fields, teams, advanced permissions, unlimited reporting history, advanced API access, Salesforce, Jira, HubSpot apps, HIPAA compliance, and enterprise security.
Finally, the Pro plan includes everything the Plus plan does plus tiered discounts, API rate limit increase, concierge onboarding service, and a dedicated account manager. Those who go with the Pro plan can create up to 25 mailboxes, 10 Docs sites, and 50 light users.
Non-profits and startups can apply for special discounted plans to save money. For example, non-profits that advocate for human rights, environmental sustainability, and underrepresentation in tech can get a discount of up to 100 percent.
With its emphasis on usability and a rich collection of powerful features, Help Scout gives businesses of all sizes everything they need to provide their customers with the customer service experience they demand and deserve.
Yes, there are even more advanced alternatives available, such as Zendesk, but the extra capabilities they offer, including Service Level Agreement (SLA) management, are not something many businesses are willing to spend a lot of extra money on.
If Help Scout seems like the right solution for you, then you should try the free version to see how it works in practice. You can also request Help Scout to give you a live 1:1 demo and answer any questions you might have about the help desktop software platform.
• Useful third-party integrations.
• Affordably priced.
• Free version available.
PicSo Review: A Popular AI-Based Text-To-Image App
Text-to-image apps are exploding in popularity lately, so when we saw this offering from PicSo achieve 1K+ upvotes and 270 comments on Producthunt, we had to check it out.
Artificial intelligence has developed rapidly over the last few years, with the technology cropping up in all kinds of applications. However, one medium that’s really gaining popularity right now is the text-to-art generator.
If you haven’t tried one of these apps for yourself yet, the premise is pretty simple. The user types a descriptive sentence into the AI generator, and the algorithm tries its best to generate an image that best fits the description.
So how are the results? Generally, they’re pretty amazing! Typing “squirrel soldier wearing battle armor” will yield some pretty artistic (and humorous) results. Once you’ve exhausted the weird and wonderful, these generators can produce some genuinely decent artwork.
One of the latest offerings in the world of text-to-art AI apps is PicSo, whose developers named “after Picasso to convey the idea that everyone can be a great artist”. Let’s take a look at the app to see if those claims stack up.
PicSo AI Art Generator
PicSo uses machine learning to search for themes based on the words you’ve entered and skillfully blends them into unique images. The concept might not be new, but the software does offer plenty of unique styles for your masterpieces, including settings for Van Gogh, Epic, Sketch, Octane Render, Cyberpunk, CG Render, Anime, Traditional Art, Digital, Ghibli, and many more.
How Easy Is PicSo To Use?
PicSo’s AI text-to-image converter is straightforward to use. Here are the basic steps involved:
Step 1: Click The Create Button
To start creating amazing artwork, click on the create button.
Step 2: Type In A Phrase
Enter a phrase to generate an image based on your input, select an art style and then click the create button.
Step 3: Press Save Or Publish
Once your art is generated, you can either save a copy or publish it online.
What Platforms Is PicSo Available On?
PicSo is a free-to-use app, but there are some caveats. You can generate 3 free images per day on the app and 3 more on the website. You can unlock 2 further freebies by watching ads.
If you want to create more artwork than that, you’ll need to purchase a Pro subscription, which unlocks 100 credits per month, Pro styles, and multitasking. In addition, you’ll enjoy priority rendering for your images and the watermark will be removed.
Pro subscriptions cost $9.99 per month or $39.99 if you sign up for a whole year.
Overall, we really enjoyed using PicSo. The app is versatile, user-friendly, and constantly gets decent results. The artwork produced by PicSo is of excellent quality, and the site offers alternative formats for output and upscaling too. If we had to think of a downside, it would be that the free version is a little restrictive — however, the subscription pricing is very competitive if you purchase a whole year at once.
If you want to take PicSo for a test drive, head over to the website, or visit the Apple App Store or Google Play.