Help Scout Review: Features, Pricing, & Alternatives

Our Verdict

Help Scout is an integrated suite of tools featuring a helpdesk, email, and an AI chatbot. Here’s everything you need to know.

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Help Scout Help Scout
Software Type: Live chat, shared inbox, and help center
Best For: Startups to enterprise businesses who need to improve communications and conversions.
Pricing: $25/user/mo - $50/user/mo
Pros:
  • 15-day free trial
  • iOS & Android apps
  • 100+ integrations
  • Workflows to automate everything
Cons:
  • Lacks a spam filter
  • Functionality needs more flexibility

Help Scout is a customer support platform built around a suite of tools designed for customer communications. Key features include a shared inbox, knowledge base, multi-channel support, and AI-powered live chat software.

Read on for a deep dive into pricing, features, and how Help Scout stacks up against competitors.

SMB Guide’s Verdict for Help Scout

We rate Help Scout 7.8 out of 10. Features like the help desk and email support add to the functionality, but the chatbot itself is not the centerpiece of the suite and has neither full AI capability or natural language processing.

Help Scout’s Beacon is an AI-powered live chat widget that integrates with other Help Scout tools to make customer communications faster and easier.

At SMB Guide, we use a comprehensive set of evaluation criteria to ensure our reviews are detailed, unbiased, and deliver value to our readers.

FactorRating (out of 10)
Pricing & Plans8
Real-Time Messaging & Canned responses9
Live Chat AI & Natural Language Processing (NLP)5.5
Customizable Chat Widgets7.5
Visitor Tracking and Analytics8
User Interface and User Experience8.5
Integrations and Compatibility9.5
Customer Support8.5
SMB Guide Rating7.8

Pricing & Plans

Start with a free trial for one of the lower tiers, then you have three plans to choose from. With each higher tier (and higher price), additional features and services are included.

Help Scout pricing

Here’s the info about prices, features, and add-ons at each level.

Standard

Help Scout’s Standard plan starts at $20 per user per month if you pay annually. The base price includes 2,000 in-app messages, and you can add more messaging for additional fees.

Price

  • $25 per month, per user (limit 25 users)
  • $20 per month, per user paid annually (limit 25 users)

Features

  • 2 shared inboxes with email, live chat, and social channels
  • 1 Docs knowledge base
  • Beacon help widget
  • Automated workflows
  • In-app messaging (up to 2,000 messages)
  • Custom reports
  • API and 100+ integrations

Who it’s for: Help Scout’s Standard package is a good starting place for startups and small businesses.

Plus

As your business grows, your need for organization and communication becomes a critical concern. Help Scout’s Plus plan helps you scale up to meet your growing needs.

Price

  • $50 per month, per user
  • $40 per month, per user, paid annually

Features

  • 5 shared inboxes with email, live chat, and social channels
  • Support your customers through email, live chat, Instagram, or Facebook Messenger with 5 distinct inboxes (support@yourdomain, contact@yourdomain, etc)
  • 2 Docs knowledge bases w/ restricted access
  • 25 free light users
  • Advanced permissions
  • Advanced tracking w/ custom fields
  • Group users into teams
  • AI summarize
  • AI assist
  • Custom reports w/ unlimited history
  • Salesforce, Jira, HubSpot apps

Who it’s for: The Plus plan is designed to scale up with small organizations in growth mode.

Pro

When you’re looking at 10 or more active agents, the Pro plan is for you. It allows you to create separate knowledge bases for different departments and provides enterprise-level security and HIPAA compliance.

Plus, you get personal service, and ongoing training, and optimization reviews to ensure you’re getting the most efficiency for your money.

Price

  • $65 per month, per user, paid annually (no monthly plan is available)

Features

  • 25 shared inboxes with email, live chat, and social channels
  • 10 Docs knowledge bases w/ restricted access
  • 50 free light users
  • Enterprise security
  • HIPAA compliance
    • Extra compliance for regulated industries
  • Tiered discounts
    • Efficient pricing as you scale your team in Help Scout
  • Concierge onboarding services
  • Dedicated account manager w/ account optimization reviews
  • Quarterly team training
  • Advanced API access

Who it’s for: For bigger organizations with 10 or more users who need tiered permissions and additional data security.

Help Scout

Help Scout's shared inbox, help center, and live chat software gives your team the tools you need to easily manage customer communications.

Start free trial

Real-Time Messaging & Canned Responses

With Help Scout’s Beacon, you can set up your chatbot to offer several types of real-time messaging.

  • Standard: A standard message is a pop-up chat box with informational text, images, or videos that is triggered by a user action, like opening a Docs article or asking for contact. 
  • NPS: Run Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys to find out if your customers approve of your brand or service.
  • Microsurvey: Ask for feedback on products, services, your website, or more, and make it fun with graphics or emojis.
  • Modal: Modal messages pop up your site or web-based app content, forcing the user to take an action to continue. For example, “Create an account for an extra discount” or “Turn off ad blocker to continue.” 
  • Banner: Banner messages put an alert or call to action across the top of your site or app, above your content. You can add variables to greet your customers by name or alert them to sales, events, or other important info.

Beacon can prompt users to fill out a contact form and start a conversation, which may lead to your knowledge base for self-service help, email response, or live chat if you have agents available.

Live Chat AI & NLP

Help Scout’s Beacon chat widget allows your team to mark themselves available for live chats. Visitors can then click on the chat option to chat with your agents.

The live chat option is not visible if no one on your team is logged in. Beacon does not have AI chat, but it does have optional AI assist, to improve messages during conversations in progress.

Your team members can use it to help improve their responses. You also have the option of translating messages into many different languages to address users in their native language.

Customizable Chat Widgets

Help Scout’s Beacon widgets can be customized in a number of ways. You can choose a button style and color that appeals to you, then choose the position on the page where you want it to appear.

You can also turn off the Help Scout logo with a Plus or Pro account.

Help Scout chat widget customization

If you want to customize your chat widget further, you can use Javascript API to add additional functions, such as gathering visitors’ information without asking or adding actionable notes.

Visitor Tracking and Analytics

Help Scout tracks all kinds of information across the platform to help you get to know your customers and maximize productivity.

Help Scout analytics

Find out:

  • User information 
  • Busiest days and times of day
  • Total number of customer interactions
  • Customers’ preferred contact method
  • Customer concerns using tags
  • Change in customer requests

User Interface and User Experience

Help Scout’s end user interface is simple, and the knowledge base contains a lot of useful information in focused documents.

Each document contains links to related information but stays on the main subject, making it easy to follow what you came for and easy to find related topics.

Integrations and Compatibility

Help Scout integrates with more than 100 popular apps to provide enhanced functionality.

Help Scout integrations

Customer Support

Most customers report that Help Scout customer service is fast and responsive, especially at the Pro level, which includes dedicated service and ongoing training support. 

At lower service tiers, online help is available, along with a robust knowledge base.

Help Scout — Unique Features

Help Scout is more than just a chatbot. Its integrated features, such as a help desk, shared inboxes, and email automation, help agents respond faster and more effectively.

The level of email automation makes Help Scout stand out – you can easily automate communications, manage campaigns, send follow-up emails, and more.

What the Experts Say About Help Scout

  • TrustRadius rating: 9.6/10 (53 votes)
  • Capterra rating: 4.7/5 (207 ratings)
  • G2 rating: 4.4/5 (401 ratings)

I have nothing to say about Help Scout’s services, it does an excellent job, hands down. Though it’s lacking some features and the pricing is a little bit high based on what features they offer. If you want just a basic customer service software for handling emails then Help Scout is a good choice.

Abraham C., Social Media Manager – Verified Capterra review

Our clients’ enterprises have knowledge bases, live chat, and self-service support widgets from Helpscout. However, since only one KB may be created per subscription, the Helpscout team may look into allowing numerous KBs per workspace.

Lillian G., Human Resources Generalist – Verified Capterra review

Help Scout Alternatives

If you’re looking for an integrated help desk, automated emails, and a basic chatbot with live chat and pop-ups, Help Scout may be the right choice for you.

If you’re not sure, here are some alternatives to check out.

 
 
 
4.5
4.5
4.0
€15/user/mo - €620/mo
$10/mo - $900/mo
Free
4.5
€15/user/mo - €620/mo
4.5
$10/mo - $900/mo

HelpCrunch

helpcrunch homepage

HelpCrunch is a communications platform with an integrated helpdesk and popups, but no chatbot widgets with lower tiered plans. Higher-tiered plans add AI chatbots, multilingual support, and additional automation.

Like Help Scout, HelpCrunch offers event-triggered automated email features. HelpCrunch’s basic plan starts at $12/user/month after a 2-week free trial, and plans that include chatbot widgets start at $20/user/month.

Start your free trial of HelpCrunch today!

Gorgias

gorgias homepage

Gorgias is a comprehensive customer care helpdesk software designed for online retailers. It focuses exclusively on small ecommerce businesses rather than positioning itself as a solution for all customer service teams.

So, if you’re an online business looking for affordable and great customer support software, then Gorgias may be a good option for you.

The Starter plan of Gorgias can only be bought monthly and costs $10 per month while the Basic plan starts at $50 per month.

Sign up to Gorgias for free!

ChatSpot

ChatSpot homepage

ChatSpot offers an AI chatbot plus a ton of other features integrated with HubSpot’s CRM and sales tools, making it an impressive offering for the cost.

ChatSpot’s AI chatbot is more sophisticated and offers a full CRM, robust reporting and sales tools. ChatSpot pricing is free – forever – for their basic CRM + chat widget, but the free versions are limited.

Paid accounts start at $20 per month and include the HubSpot CRM and other tools in HubSpot’s suite.

Get started with ChatSpot for free

Getting Started with Help Scout

Help Scout is an email-centered program with pop-ups and a live chat option appropriate for solopreneurs or small businesses on a budget up to enterprise-level organizations.

It’s easy to use and offers more than a hundred useful integrations as well as API support. Sounds like what you’re looking for?

Get started with a free trial today!

FAQs

How does Help Scout work?

Help Scout is a help desk solution with a shared inbox feature and a live chat widget. You can manage your inbox and reply to customers anywhere using your desktop or Help Scout’s mobile app.

Check what’s happening, reply to customers, divert conversations to appropriate teammates, and improve your reply times across the board.

Is Help Scout a CRM tool?

Help Scout is not a traditional CRM. However, it does have some similar features. You’ll be able to manage contacts, track interactions, manage and automate emails.

Is Help Scout easy to use?

Help Scout’s interface is easy to learn and navigate. Users say that it’s simple to learn, and my research bears that out.

Help Scout

Help Scout's shared inbox, help center, and live chat software gives your team the tools you need to easily manage customer communications.

Start free trial
Help Scout

Help Scout's shared inbox, help center, and live chat software gives your team the tools you need to easily manage customer communications.

Product Brand: Help Scout

Editor's Rating:
3.9

Lucinda has spent the last 15 years working from home as a freelance writer and WordPress designer, and throughout her career, she has worked directly with several digital marketing agencies with clients in the SaaS space, ranging from e-commerce platforms to procurement software.