March 2021 Release Notes: Beacon Identify Changes, Messages Editor Updates, and More!

Welcome to Help Scout’s release notes! This month we’ve got a few product updates for you, along with exciting research opportunities and new content to help customer service leaders and content marketers level up.

Messages Editor Updates

example of a message with bolded and hyperlinked test

Did you know our Messages editor offers rich text options such as bold, italics, and links using Markdown? It now offers bulleted lists as well. Here’s how to use the available Markdown features in the editor to get the desired effect:

  • **bold text**
  • *italics*
  • [Title text](URL)
  • - Bulleted list item
  • > Blockquote

Learn more about creating and styling Messages

Mobile Updates

Our mobile team has continued upgrading the iOS and Android apps to more closely reflect our web experience.

The first version of customer profiles is now available, showing basic customer data accessible from conversations.

basic customer profile information in help scout's mobile app

This is the first step in providing more customer data in our mobile app, and we’ll continue to expand on the information available here in 2021. Alongside customer data, you can now see and copy a customers email from a conversation thread on both iOS and Android, making it easier to share this info elsewhere if needed.

button in help scout's mobile app that allows you to copy a customer's email address

Zapier Actions with Customer Properties (Coming Soon)

customer properties in help scout

Using our Zapier Integration, you will soon be able to keep specific customer information up to date between Help Scout and tools like Google Sheets or a CRM like Salesforce or HubSpot.

We will update this post when this is live for customers, and we’re also working on more Zapier + Customer Properties additions.

Changes to Beacon Identify Custom Attributes

On April 5th, we are shifting to using Customer Properties and deprecating Beacon identify custom attributes as a part of our continued focus on bringing better customer management tools to Help Scout. Changes should be minimal but are needed to prevent a disruption in your access to customer data.

This guide will help your team through the move to Customer Properties.

Note: If your Beacon implementation only uses the default embed code without any customization, you are all set! If you are unsure, please read the article and ask your development team.

Customer Properties are the foundation of customer data’s future in Help Scout. Customer Properties will centralize all your customer data and support more robust data types for customer information to help you build closer relationships with your customers. They can also be set and updated both manually or automatically — via Beacon, in the Customer Profile, using our Mailbox API, and (coming soon) Zapier.

Our guide walks through the reasoning for this change, how Beacon Identify worked in the past, how to move to Customer Properties, example scenarios, and more.

Help Us Keep Improving

We’re looking for current Help Scout customers who fit any of the criteria below to talk with us about their experiences and help inform our roadmap over the next year and beyond:

  • You are an active user of Messages in Help Scout.
  • You actively use Custom Fields in Help Scout; we’d like to understand how you use them and why.

If you’re interested in helping, please email research@helpscout.com with whichever of the above criteria apply to you, and we’ll reach out. We’d like to learn more about how you work and how we can make the experience even better.

New Help Scout Content

More than 1,000 customer service pros have already improved their craft using our new Foundations of Great Service course. This free, six-part course comes from our very own Mat Patterson, who, after leading a customer service organization for almost a decade, came to Help Scout to help teach other customer service leaders how to succeed.

Mat also started taking your specific questions on all things customer support in our new Ask Help Scout advice column. Read previous columns on breaking into SaaS support and avoiding cherry picking in the queue, or send in your own question to editorial@helpscout.com.

What do southern cassowary’s, Ulysses, and Ludovico Einaudi’s Divenire have in common? They’ve helped Mat and our content team create resources that have helped millions of customer service pros and small business owners each year. This new video walks through our content process in-depth to show you how an idea comes to life from start to finish.

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.

Disha Mungra I’m a big fan of our recent changes to Outbound Email Processing! Previously, if an email reply could not be sent to the customer, this wasn’t always clear to our users. Now, all affected replies show up in the “Needs Attention” folder, along with the reason why they could not be delivered. Giving our users more visibility into their replies is always a win! – Disha Mungra

Melanie Shears The last five searches you’ve run in Help Scout will be available in “Recent” on the search window. But you can also save searches by adding a bookmark or favorite in your web browser after running a search — then use that bookmark to run the search whenever you want with a couple clicks!

For example, you might want to keep tabs on conversations that get tagged as vip — run a search for tag:vip. When you’ve run that search, you’ll find that you’re on the URL https://secure.helpscout.net/search/?query=tag%3Avip — save that as a bookmark or favorite in your web browser, and then you can just visit that bookmark the next time you want to search for that.

Check out more search tips here: Search in Help Scout. – Melanie Shears

Javier Silverio Lopez Whenever I create a new Beacon, I play around with it in our Beacon’s sandbox environment. In it, I test the Beacon’s configuration before embedding it on my site. Doing this allows me to have an accurate picture of what customers will see when interacting with the Beacon. See the Sandbox in action. – Javier Silverio Lopez

Alex Eaton
Alex Eaton

When he isn’t running in the mountains, Alex is helping run product launches at Help Scout, where we make excellent customer service achievable for companies of all sizes.

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