Quarterly Release Notes, December 2021: Targeted Messages, Properties Visibility, and More!

Welcome to Help Scout’s release notes! This quarter we’ve got our biggest ever update to Messages, plus a new series for support professionals and two research asks for current customers. Let’s get to it!

New in Messages

proactive messages in help scout

We recently overhauled our in-app Messages product with a group of major updates to help you build better relationships with your customers, including:

  • Targeted messages: Use customer properties to send more relevant messages to specific groups of customers

  • New Messages dashboard: Manage all your messages in one place, including usage stats, engagement stats, and messages organized by Beacon.

  • Scheduling: Choose a time and date to start and/or end your messages.

  • New pricing: Every Help Scout plan gets 2,000 unique viewers per month, with scaled pricing after that.

Also brand new this month is Messages avatars. Add more personalization to your messages by choosing a team member's avatar to show when the message sends to customers.

a message in help scout showing an avatar

Check out how FlexJobs has used Messages to reach customers to drive event registrations, provide proactive support, and start conversations with potential customers.

Show and hide properties

showing or hiding properties option in help scout's customer properties sidebar

Now you can organize which properties show up on the sidebar and the order in which they display. If you know certain customer properties are vital for your team to see up front, you can show them while hiding others, changing the order via the properties menu in the customer profile sidebar.

Help Scout users who make these changes will only affect their own accounts, not others, so team members can customize the experience to their liking.

Two other updates to customer properties also went live this quarter:

  • Updating customer properties is now easier. When you click one directly from the sidebar, the overall customer profile opens, highlighting the specific property you clicked so you can change it without searching around.

  • We made it easier to update dropdown-type properties using our API by simply entering the desired label. As long as what you enter is a valid option in the list, it will update it correctly in one step.

Accessibility: Tag colors

accessible tag colors in help scout

We’re continuously investing in making Help Scout a more inclusive experience for everyone. Recently, we updated tags so that each available color option complies with WCAG 2.1 AA contrast ratio standards.

This change applies everywhere you see tags in Help Scout. As a part of this change, tags are also now fully keyboard accessible in the conversation view.

The Supportive

Our very own customer support leader turned writer and helper, Mathew Patterson (Patto), started a new series on the blog called The Supportive that's dedicated to customer support professionals, answering your questions and offering a no- (well, sometimes) nonsense view on being a practitioner in today's online support world.

Check out a few of the latest posts in this series:

Research ask

Our product team is always looking to talk with customers and find ways to better serve you. This quarter our team would love to talk to customers who fit the following:

  • Have experience with survey tools like NPS to share their opinions and learnings.

  • Have feedback on how to improve the Docs article writing and management experience. Schedule a time to chat here!

If this applies to you and you’re willing to hop on a quick call with our research team, please email research@helpscout.com and we’ll get back to you shortly. Thanks!

Cool tips

Every release notes, our C-team gives tactical tips for serving your customers better using Help Scout, inspired by our own best practices.

I use the Beacon visitor activity on conversations to get more context on what page(s) a customer has already been looking at before they write in with a question. We have a Beacon on our Docs site as a contact form, and it really helps me better understand what documentation the customer has already read and offer suggestions to our Docs team manager on what other information we can include in that article to make it even more helpful.

Annabelle Nichols
Annabelle Nichols

I’m a very frequent user of our follow feature! Because our team typically shares ownership of conversations that come into our queue, following conversations allows me to get notified when updates happen. As an incredibly curious person, this feature enables me to close the loop on how the conversation got resolved or learn more on conversations that I’m not sure how to handle. As a bonus, if you have keyboard shortcuts enabled, you can quickly follow a conversation when it’s open with the shortcut. Happy learning!

Kelly Hummell
Kelly Hummell

Decide on a naming convention for your saved replies! Having an agreed upon way to title your saved replies can help keep those organized and easier to search for. For example on our team, we start each saved reply with the name of the core feature that it relates to.

Sarah-Mei Estrada
Sarah-Mei Estrada

Try utilizing search filters with operators! Many questions that we receive in support have been answered before. I use our previous conversations as a reference when I’m feeling stuck, and being able to easily sift through thousands and thousands of conversations is a huge time saver.

For example, if I know that I’ve answered a question about a specific topic before, I can use a replyFrom:ChrissyChavez AND "Beacon" filter to find all the conversations I’ve replied to where “Beacon” was mentioned. Or if I know a coworker gave me a tip about something last week, I can search noteFrom:KellyHummell AND between:2021-12-06&2021-12-10 in my search.

Christine Chavez
Christine Chavez

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