Getting Started: 6 steps to setup success

Follow these 6 steps and you’ll get your Help Scout account up and running in no time. 

  • By the end of step 3: You’ll be up and ready to serve customers 
  • By the end of step 6: Your team will be smiling and at their most productive.

The 6 steps to setup success

  1. Forward copies of your email into Help Scout
  2. Customize your Mailbox
  3. Collaborate with a friend
  4. Get organized and optimized
  5. Integrate your favorite apps
  6. What’s up, Docs?
Take 10-20 minutes on each step per day to get set up in a week, or be an overachiever and knock through all of them in a couple of hours.

Step 1. Forward copies of your email into Help Scout

First things first, let’s get your email into Help Scout. Help Scout works by creating a forwarding or redirection rule with your email client (think GSuite, Outlook) or right from your server (like Rackspace or Bluehost). 
Check out our forwarding guides to find exactly how to get your email into Help Scout:  Get your email into Help Scout

Step 2. Customize your Mailbox

Get in gear by clicking the gear on your Mailbox to access the settings. Here’s where you can setup customizations for your Help Scout Mailbox.

Focus on the top two options for this step: 

You have plenty of time to play and explore the rest of the options later :)

Edit Mailbox

Edit Mailbox gives you control of some basic Mailbox settings, like who has ownership over conversations after a reply,  adding aliases to your Mailbox, or designing your Mailbox signature
Here’s a 2 minute video that goes over each option in Edit Mailbox:

Connection Settings

Connection Settings directs how your mail gets into and out of Help Scout. You’ve already got your forwarder set up, so that covers how Mail gets into Help Scout, but now let’s look at how you’re sending your mail. 

You can send mail from Help Scout in two ways:

Send with our servers:
  • Pros: We’ll make sure your email gets successfully delivered. If you suspect a problem, our world class support team is there to help you investigate.
  • Cons: You’ll need to give us permission to send your mail with your DNS to prevent your emails from landing in spam. 

If you go this route, we recommend setting up an  SPF record with your DNS to protect your emails from landing in the jaws of spam folders. 

Send with your own servers, either by SMTP or Google oAuth:
  • Pros: No need to give us permission, you’re sending your own mail! Your emails run the least risk of landing in spam.
  • Cons: If something goes wrong, you’re on your own for investigating. You’ll need to check your own send logs and DIY everything.

Step 3. Collaborate with a friend

This step is all about inviting a friend, colleague, or trusted teammate to help you test and work through conversations together. Help Scout is built to help support teams collaborate, so what better way to test than with someone by your side.

You have two options: 

Work through real conversations sent from your forwarder

Maybe you like to live dangerously, or maybe you just need to get to work ASAP. Work through conversations that come in from your forwarder and replies will go out to customers. It’s go time!

Play around with the Demo Mailbox

The Demo Mailbox is a safe place for you to test drive Help Scout’s features without getting your customers involved. It’s slow time…

Stuck on what to play with? Here’s some stuff to try:

Step 4. Get organized and optimized

We know why Help Scout caught your eye, and it’s all about making life easier for you and your support team. The good life starts with good organizational tools: Tags and Folders.

When should I use a Tag?

Apply Tags any time you want to group or categorize conversations for reporting or tracking purposes, or if it would be helpful to get a visual indicator in the queue for the type of conversation coming in. 
An example for when to use Tags are for feature requests, helpful to track the volume of the request for product roadmap purposes. You can also use Tags to trigger automatic Workflows, which means you can follow up with all of the conversations tagged when that feature is released. 
Learn how to manage Tags: Add and Manage Tags

When should I use a Folder?

Use a Folder anytime you want quick and easy access to a particular group of conversations. Folders are better for time sensitive groupings like priority, or conversations you want to track accomplishment on, not just track in reports. 
Examples of when to use Folders are things like conversations that have been waiting over X amount of time or conversations that might have received a negative customer satisfaction rating and need follow up.

When should I use both?

Any time you have something time sensitive that requires immediate attention that you also want to track the progress on long term. 
Examples of this include VIP customers or urgent conversations.

How can I make all this less work?

That’s the best question of all, my friend. Once you’ve got a couple of Tags and added a Folder, explore Workflows to get repeatable tasks out of the way with some simple automations: Getting started with Workflows.
Here’s a couple of Workflow templates you can use to inspire you on ways to make your life easier: Workflow templates and scenarios

Step 5. Integrate your favorite apps

Connect the dots: coms, lys, and ios. Help Scout plays nicely with many of your favorite Apps, or you can build custom integrations to pull in information from your internal CRM or CMS. Here are a few integrations we offer and how you’ll find them useful:
  • Chat Integrations: Bring your chat history into Help Scout so your team has all customer interactions under the same roof. We sync with Olark, SnapEngage, Chatra, and more.
  • Phone: Manage voicemails from several popular providers, or connect a call center software like Aircall or TalkDesk if you need something more robust. 
  • CRM: Sync your sales and support efforts by connecting your CRM to Help Scout conversations. Capsule and Pipedrive are the most popular. 
  • Social, SMS, SDK: If your team rocks social support, SMS, or has explored the world of in-app messaging, our Smooch integration will be your new best friend: Smooch (we use this for FB messenger and our mobile app contact)
  • Slack: Our most popular integration by far, and really in a league of it’s own. Bring incoming conversation into a Slack channel for immediate alerts, as well as customer satisfaction ratings and comments. It’s essential: Slack (We also have a similar HipChat or Campfire integrations that work the same way for our early adopter group chat system friends)
  • Ecommerce: Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento. Get your customer’s order information connected to every Help Scout conversation. That’s what we have in store for your store. 
  • Custom Apps: Maybe Todd in IT hacked together some internal management system years ago, or Beth in ops found a perfect CMS solution for you a little off the beaten path. Connect with all the oddball internal systems or anything your heart desires with a Custom App: Build a Custom App
    • Requires slightly above average technical knowledge, just FYI.

Step 6. What’s up, Docs?

The secret to offering speedy support is a well stocked knowledge base. Why? You have all the ingredients for success at both your customers and your support team’s fingertips. If knowledge is power, a knowledge base is your key to the kingdom. 
This video overview covers everything you need to know to get your Docs site up and running:
Ok, you got us here…this step takes more than 20 minutes as a great knowledge base evolves over time. Use  Reports to see what customer’s are  looking for in your Docs or what Saved Replies makes your team sound like a broken record to inspire new documentation.
Once you’ve got a couple articles in your Docs, your team can use the Docs search bar to easily share with customers in replies. 

But wait…there’s more!

Once you’ve got these steps under control, there’s plenty more to explore in Help Scout. Set up Beacon to give customers help where they need it most, set up  Office Hours to filter reports, or start seeing results with your customers using satisfaction ratings.
Continue your journey with Help Scout by checking out our Docs site or reaching out to our helpful customer success team to hone your Help Scout experience. 

Still stuck? How can we help? How can we help?