Release Notes is our regular update that highlights the recent product improvements we’ve made so you can easily stay up-to-date on what’s new. Here’s a roundup of everything we’ve released in the last month.

We’re a full week into 2018 and it’s time to take stock of all that happened in 2017. How many books did you read? How many kilos did you (er, um) gain? How many new Help Scout features can you name?

If any of those 2017 Release Notes got pushed to the bottom of the inbox, or your memory just isn’t quite as sharp as it used to be, this month’s edition is for you! It’s like the SparkNotes of all the major 2017 Help Scout features. Scan through to see if there are any that you missed, or check out a fave that you’d like to give a try in 2018.

Cheers to you in the new year!

What's New 🚀

Sidebar makeover 💄

Sporting a fresh look for the new year, the sidebar is now easier on the eyes and customizable to boot.

Re-order your third-party app integrations so the most important and frequently accessed intel is in your line of sight. Collapse less-frequently used apps to decrease the clutter until they’re needed.

A new gear icon gives you easy access to update the customer profile or change ownership of the conversation to a different customer altogether.

Help Scout sidebar

Find out more

2017 in review

Reporting enhancements

Reports CSV Export

Need to dig a little deeper into your raw data? We made this easier in 2017. Export reporting data in Excel or CSV formats from the Conversations, Productivity, Team/User and Happiness reports. Perform analysis. Create pivot tables. The sky’s the limit.

We also built out support for two new metrics: Messages Received on the Conversations Report, and First Response Time on the User Report.

Export your reporting data


Realtime updates

Realtime Updates

Having to refresh your screen to see what’s changed in Help Scout is so 2016. Did you even remember that was ever a thing?


Beacon updates

If one of your 2018 resolutions is to make it easier for your customers to find their own answers, you’re in luck. Beacon — the easiest way to give customers direct access to your Docs knowledge base and FAQs without leaving your website and web app — got more powerful in 2017.

In addition to providing broad access to all your Docs collections and letting your customers send messages to your team in Help Scout, the updates let you:

  • Create a link on your website to dynamically open up an article in a pop-up Beacon window
    Beacon article link
  • Include Docs articles from a single collection rather than the entire site, using the collection config option
  • Pre-populate the Subject and/or Topic with the .prefill() method
  • Position the Beacon embeddable on the left or right right side of your page

Keep your eye out for more improvements to Beacon in 2018 that will up your self-service game. 🎉

Get started with Beacon


Supercharged security

Security at Help Scout

2017 had more high-profile hackings than any other year on record. It’s enough to make you want to lock all the doors and throw away the key. While Help Scout has always done everything in our power to keep your data safe, this year we put a few more tools in your toolbelt to make sure only your authorized users can access your Help Scout account.

🗝  Two-factor authentication — Add a second layer of security to your account with 2FA. Administrators can force that users identify themselves by using a code from their mobile authenticator app or SMS text message. Alternatively, users can selectively turn on two-factor authentication for their own accounts. Set up 2FA

🗝  Session Management — Easily see which devices are currently logged into your Help Scout account. Head over to Your Profile > Authentication > Active sessions. Removing a session is as easy as hitting revoke. Manage sessions

🗝  SAML single sign-on Plus — By enabling SAML, your team can sign into Help Scout with your company’s SSO credentials using SAML-compatible identity providers, such as Okta, OneLogin and Azure Active Directory. Find out more

🗝  IP Restrictions Plus — Limit access to your Help Scout account to users connecting from a predefined list of IP address ranges or individual IPs. Once configured, only users accessing Help Scout from those whitelisted IP ranges or addresses will be able to log in. Learn more


Integrations

Support for multi-instance apps

Organizations with more than one business or shop had something to celebrate in 2017 with Help Scout’s support for multiple instances of the same Shopify, Metorik, BigCommerce, Pipedrive and WooCommerce apps! Once you’ve installed the app, you’ll see the option to add additional accounts — log into your account and head over to Manage > Apps, and select the respective app.

Find out more

Infusionsoft

Help Scout Integrations - Infusionsoft

Still feeling all shiny and new, the upgraded Help Scout + Infusionsoft integration puts intel from the all-in-one automated sales and marketing software right where your support team needs it. Check on key customer metrics, tags, activities, and a customized list of Infusionsoft contact fields before answering a conversation.

The two-way integration gives your sales and marketing teams insight into support conversations and satisfaction ratings recorded as completed tasks in Infusionsoft.

Check out the integration

Salesforce Plus

Help Scout Integrations - Salesforce

Keeping your support, success and sales teams on the same page got a whole lot easier with Help Scout’s bi-directional Salesforce integration. Launched in February, the Help Scout + Salesforce integration works in two ways:

  1. Help Scout pulls Salesforce intel into the conversation sidebar, including contact, account, lead, case, opportunity and orders data, giving your team the full customer picture.
  2. Help Scout conversation and satisfaction rating history is shared with Salesforce, so your sales team is kept informed of all support activity. When first launched, Help Scout history was only available as a virtual force object. A mid-year update also allowed Help Scout to write new conversations and ratings to Salesforce Activity History as well!

Find out more

Jira Plus

Help Scout Integrations - Jira

Tiny violins everywhere have been serenading the demise of tab switching, emails, and Slack messages focused on getting information to and from Jira. With the launch of the Help Scout + Jira integration, support teams can not only see the statuses of issues, bugs, and enhancement requests linked to Help Scout conversations, they can also link conversations to Jira tickets and create new Jira tickets right from the Help Scout sidebar.

With the two-way integration, Jira users can also see any and all Help Scout conversations linked to a given issue, and they can click through to Help Scout to get context from the conversation details.

Check out the Jira integration

HubSpot Plus

Help Scout Integrations - HubSpot

One of the most popular introductions of 2017, the HubSpot integration gives support teams the context they need to take the customer experience to the next level. Get the full background on your customer relationships without rifling through tabs.

The integration also keeps Sales and Marketing in the know by including new conversations and satisfaction ratings in the contact’s HubSpot timeline. Since the communications are added as events, HubSpot Marketing users can use workflows to intelligently automate outreach based on Help Scout activity.

Check out the HubSpot integration

And more New Integrations!

Help Scout integrates with over 50 different web apps, and our partnership with Zapier adds roughly 1,000 more apps to that list!

See the directory

Mobile apps

iOS updates

Help Scout iPhone and iPad users saw a steady release of new features in 2017, most notably:

  • The ability to start brand new conversations
  • Ease in responding on the go: experience a more responsive conversation editor
  • Lots of formatting improvements to keep your emails, notes, and saved replies looking good!
  • Attach an image by pasting it in the editor
  • Support for single sign-on and two-factor authentication

Android launch

Launched in January 2017, the Help Scout Android app was fast out of the starting blocks. Our engineering team pulled out all the stops to make sure it caught up with all the iOS features by mid-year.

Customer Team Roundup 💪 ✨

Kristi Thompson

In support, little things can make a big difference — even seemingly small changes can give your whole team time back in their days. In this section we highlight the maybe-overlooked (but very powerful!) changes each month from our support team.

Up this month: Customer Champion Kristi talks about what’s got her smiling.

Favorite updates

Cc: and Bcc: in Notifications

I’m all about saving time, so I’m excited to share that addresses on the Cc: and Bcc: lines are now included in email notifications!

In the past, only the main customer on a group conversation would be listed in an email notification. You’d need to click through the email notification and view the conversation in Help Scout to see the email addresses that were included on the Cc: and Bcc: lines.

Now, you can reply directly from your email inbox and know exactly who your group reply is going to. Saved time and peace of mind — sounds like a win-win to me!

Smarter Spam filtering

Smarter Spam filtering

We recently beefed up our Spam filter so it now learns from your behavior. If junk mail slips past the filter and lands in your Unassigned folder, change the status from Active to Spam. That will teach the filter that similar conversations are Spam. Likewise, if a legitimate email accidentally lands in the Spam folder, mark it as “Not Spam.” That will teach the filter that similar conversations are not Spam.

Read up on Spam filtering

Customer Spotlight

Olark

Customer Spotlight - Olark

Transitioning from one help desk to another can seem like an insurmountable task. If you’ve been thinking about moving to Help Scout but you just aren’t sure how to start, check out this interview with Olark on making the switch from Desk.com to Help Scout.

Tim Thyne from Help Scout talks to Rhoda Meek, Customer Service Director at Olark. From common concerns to actionable steps, learn what the process was like and how work has improved for their team since making the jump.

Watch the Q&A


ICYMI: On demand customer stories

Help Scout Customers

Looking for a little inspiration on how other customers are using Help Scout? We pulled all our customer stories together onto a single page in 2017. Check out which features your peers are taking advantage of and strategies they’re using to improve their support and service experience.

Check out the customers page

Before you go…

Upcoming Events

Automating with Workflows

This is for you if …you’re looking for ways to organize, prioritize, and assign conversations. It’s as easy as learning how to set up a workflow — and we’ll show you how.

  • Thursday, January 11th at 3 p.m. EST
Save your Spot

Easy Automation for Busy Support Teams

This is for you if …you’re looking to automate and simplify processes for your customer service team. Join Thomas Hils, Support Training Lead at Zapier; Andra Roston, Customer Champion at Zapier; and Mo McKibbin, Customer Champion at Help Scout, for a live chat on streamlining your support tools with all the other apps you need to run your business.

  • Wednesday, January 17th at 2 p.m. EST
Register Now

So, You’re a New Admin

This is for you if …you have yet to master how to get the most out of your Help Scout setup. We’ll survey everything from organizing with Tags to automating tasks with Workflows, getting more actionable insights from your Reports, and standing up a Docs site. Then we’ll send you home with resources so you can put it all into practice for your own team.

  • Wednesday, January 24th at noon EST
Save your Spot

The Art of Customer Loyalty in a Subscription Business

This is for you if …you want to learn how to keep return customers by delivering exceptional customer experiences. Join Krista Atwell, Senior Customer Engagement Manager at the Dollar Shave Club, and Mat Patterson, Customer Service Evangelist at Help Scout, for a live chat on customer loyalty tactics.

  • Wednesday, January 24th at 3 p.m. EST
Register Now
Nancy Baron

Nancy Baron

Nancy is on the Growth team at Help Scout, the invisible help desk that helps you build a company your customers love with more human, more helpful customer support tools.

Help Scout gives you the tools to serve customers in the most human, helpful way.

Better experience for your customers, fewer headaches for your team. You'll be set up in minutes.

“The simplicity of Help Scout makes the work so much easier. It's not complicated by thousands of plugins or tabs — it's just you and the customer solving a problem.” — Joey Blanco, Customer Storyteller