We’re in the home stretch: The all-new Beacon — and our Android and iOS SDKs — are now in beta with several customers!

Here’s an update on the project and answers to some of the most common questions we’ve been hearing.

What’s new since the last update?

Beacon aims to answer at least 30% of your customers’ questions instantly, via suggested answers or search. In other words, when your customers use Beacon, 30% of the questions they ask can be addressed right then and there on the page they’re visiting, rather than having to contact support or search for answers elsewhere.

That 30% goal is critical because it reduces chat volume, making chat a feasible support channel for small teams. The ability to instantly answer 30% of all customer questions without a support team member stepping in is what makes Beacon unique compared to any other chat tool.

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Beacon modes

We’re working on three different modes for Beacon: Self Service, Neutral, and Ask First. The Self Service mode is built for a 30% or higher answer rate, and the other modes make getting in touch with a human progressively easier.

Beacon builder

These different modes make sense in different use cases. For example, an online shop might enable the Ask First mode, so customers are only a couple of clicks from chatting with a human being. For products like Help Scout, the Self Service mode is ideal because it has customers search the Docs before reaching out to the support team.

Even in Self Service mode, a human response isn’t far away. When the customer opens an article and can’t find the answer they need, there’s a clear escalation path.

Beacon escalation

What will Beacon pricing look like?

Chat is a customer service channel that’s not going away any time soon. Email remains a great way to talk with your customers, but chat should be treated as a first-class citizen in any customer service tool.

As a first-class citizen, chat shouldn’t be offered as an add-on or separate web app, inflating the cost. Chat should be a core part of the product every customer can use. The added benefit is that it allows us to offer the simplest pricing around (and in most cases, the most affordable as well) — no add-ons or upsells.

Other chat products charge $15 per user or more for chat as a standalone product or add-on. Our chat pricing will be a fraction of those options, ranging from $3-$5 per user.

Plan Current Price (per user) Price including Beacon 2.0 (per user)
Basic $8 annual / $12 monthly $12 annual / $15 monthly
Standard $15 annual / $20 monthly $20 annual / $25 monthly
Plus $27 annual / $35 monthly $32 annual / $40 monthly

The updated Beacon pricing includes a 20% discount for annual payments across the board. It’s another way we’re trying to keep the pricing as simple as possible.

As for current customers, our aim is to give everyone at least a couple of months to try the new Beacon for free. If it adds a lot of value, you can choose to upgrade. We’ll be sure to provide more specifics when the product is launched.

If you choose not to opt for a Beacon plan, no problem! Your current price will be grandfathered in for two years, even when it’s not available to new customers. We now grandfather in all legacy plans for two years after we stop offering them publicly.

OK, I’m excited, but when will it launch???

We’re at least a month away from being able to announce a launch date, maybe longer. I’d love it if we already had one for you, but I don’t want to speculate — it’s more important that we get it right and ship something we feel amazing about.

We’re pouring our heart and soul into Beacon, and we can’t wait to introduce what we see as a game-changing way to talk with your customers. And what I’ve been previewing in these posts is only the beginning — you can expect a bunch of exciting new features throughout the year as we help you make your customer service even more excellent.

If you’d like to join those in the know, sign up to receive further updates here.

Nick Francis

Nick Francis

Nick is co-founder and CEO of Help Scout, where he is on a mission to make every customer service interaction a more human one. He lives and breathes product design, customer experience, and building a thoughtful, thriving company.

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