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Getting Started

A cheat sheet pointing out the most common configuration items to get you rolling.

1. Getting Started

1.1. Organize Data

The Getting Started guide is a quick overview of common settings and features to get you up and running with HelpSpot. Implementing all of these features is not required to effectively use HelpSpot.

Create Request Categories

[location: Admin->Categories]
To effectively route requests and allow for concise request reporting, Administrators must define request categories. Permissions for default ownership, accessibility by assigned support staff, and visibility on customer portal must also be set for each category created.

Reporting tags, definable on the category level, are an optional way to further classify individual requests. For details on creating and editing requests see the detailed documentation in the Admin Manual.

Practical Application:
Using more advanced features, such as automation or mail rules, Administrators can set requests to  specific categories or route those requests accordingly.

Define Custom Fields

[location: Admin->Custom Fields]
Custom fields are a means to create custom-defined form fields within each request to collect request-specific information. These fields can be visible to all (Staff and Customers) or only selected Staff.

Practical Application:
Custom fields are a great way to capture information specific to your product/service that will aid in quicker resolution. For example, for each request you may wish to collect the customers version or browser to more quickly reproduce/troubleshoot issues.

Administrators should also consider collecting data that may be of interest to collect for later reporting, such as employee level of customer submitting the request.

Usage tip:
More advanced configuration allows Administrators to use our web services API to populate custom fields from another, external application.

Set Status Types

[location: Admin->Organize->Status Types]
Status types are most often used to define the various points in the resolution process. Default status types are provided, which are used by most installations, however they can be customized as needed.

1.2. Staff and Workspace

Create support staff accounts

[location: Admin->Staff]
Support staff should be created and assigned access to the system at the necessary permissions levels. Below is a quick overview of the account types available in HelpSpot and their corresponding permissions.

Global and System Settings Inbox (new / unassigned requests) Access to all requests in assigned category Access to assigned requests
Administrator X X X X
Help Desk Staff Member X X X
Level 2 Support X X
Guest X

Practical Application:
Linking select support staff to categories is the basis for creating skills-based request routing.

Build Filters

[location: Workspace->Filters]
In addition to the default request views, such as unassigned request (Inbox) and requests assigned to you (My Queue), Administrators have the ability to create filtered views based on a specified set of criteria, or conditions. All filters, global or personal, are easily viewable from the left navigation within the Workspace.

Practical Application:
Filters are often used as alternative work queues, for departments/specialized work-groups, or by Administrators only to monitor activity for a specific group of customers.

Create Responses

[location: Workspace->Responses]
To aid Staff in addressing simple, commonly asked questions, Administrators can create prepared responses. Responses can be customized and formatted to create a easy-to-follow, standardized reply. Staff will have easy access to all global responses via a drop-down on the request page.

Practical Application:
Responses can include placeholders such as: category, date opened, or assigned staffers phone number; allows request-specific information to be part of the response each time it is used.

Enable Time Tracking (optional)

[location: Admin->Time Tracking]
Some organizations require staff log time spent on each request to support customer specific SLA's or aid in billing. Enabling this feature for Staff is a simple drop-down within the Admin area. Once enabled, Staff will have access to the time tracker at the top of each request page.

Practical Application:
Time tracking used in conjunction with automation rules will allow Administrators to escalate requests when SLA's are in danger of not being met.

1.3. Contact Points

Create Mailboxes

[location: Admin->Mailboxes]
HelpSpot mailboxes serve as a way to seamlessly integrate email exchanges into the system. By adding specified mailboxes, HelpSpot can pull messages as updates or new requests. Through additional configuration, Administrators can opt to route requests resulting from emails into specific categories or auto-assign to selected help desk staff.

Practical Application:
For organizations with several email accounts for various functions (sales, support, accounts payable), Administrators may opt to associate a mailbox with a specific category to allow for the routing or queueing for requests to the appropriate group of staff.

Note: HelpSpot deletes emails from the email accounts it checks

Customize Portal

[location: Admin->Tools->Modify Portal Templates and Admin->Settings->Portal]
HelpSpot has a built-in portal that provides Customers the ability to submit and update/review requests, online. The portal also includes self-service knowledge books and forums areas. The parameters around how the portal works is easily adjusted within the settings area. While defaults are logical and appropriate for most, some settings to consider for review are the use of auto-replies, limits around attachment types and request submission form layout.

The look and feel of each portal page can be easily customized to match your current web-presence via the portal templates. Find out more about manually editing templates.

Practical Application:
For organizations supporting different products/services, with each with it's own branding/marketing, Administrators have the ability to create secondary portals to support for each. This requires configuration in several places within HelpSpot, so be sure to visit the secondary portal documentation before starting.

Web Service API

[location: Admin->Settings->Web Service API]
The web service API allows complete integration of HelpSpot with your other systems and products. Easily create requests from other systems with simple HTTP calls.

Complete documentation on the web service API is available in the API manual.

1.4. Advanced Options

Automation and Mail Rules

[location: Admin->Tools->Automation Rules]
[location: Admin->Tools->Mail Rules]
Create a customized action, or set of actions, that ensure customer requests are being worked on timely and effectively, in a manner most suitable for your organization.

Similar to filtered views, conditions are defined for which a request must meet, however instead of being listed an action, or series of actions, are applied. With several dozen conditions and actions, configuration possibilities are limitless and flexible so you can easily define your business needs.

Automation Rules Documentation


[location: Admin->Settings]
The settings page in the Administrators area is home to all the various 'knobs and levers' of your HelpSpot installation. Beyond initial implementation, you may go here to do everything from set-up preferences for inbound/outbound mail to configuring the web services API.

Email Templates

[location: Admin->Tools->Modify Email Templates]
Every email HelpSpot sends can be modified via templates to take on custom branding, include custom links, insert disclaimer text and more.