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Welcome to HubShots Episode 276: Detailed Overview of HubSpot Service Hub  

This edition we dive into:

  • Speed of response is your differentiator
  • Overview of the 6 main areas of HubSpot Service Hub
  • Quick tips and details using Service Hub
  • Service Hub Quick Start Guide - how to get started with Service Hub
  • When to upgrade from Service Starter to Pro to Enterprise
  • What’s still missing from Service Hub
  • Service Hub training course recommendations

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Recorded: Wednesday 23 March 2022 | Published: Friday 25 March 2022


🌱 Shot 1: Growth Thought of the Week

Note: in this show we are mainly focussed on features available in the Pro tier of Service Hub.

Speed of Response is your differentiator  

You’d think by now that quickly responding to prospect and client enquiries would be table stakes.

But a quick check on Twitter will likely surface one of your contacts complaining about how they’ve been on hold for 20 mins waiting for support on a simple query… this is the norm. Rapid response is still a rarity (apart from a few obvious exceptions eg Amazon)

The good news - you can still differentiate with rapid response.

And even better, the tools to help facilitate rapid response are increasingly easy to use (and affordable).

“90% of customers rate an "immediate" response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. 60% of customers define "immediate" as 10 minutes or less.”

Service Hub is Finally Worth Using

‘Finally’ Service Hub is competitive with other tools :-)

I mention this because if you took a look at Service Hub a few years ago you might have been underwhelmed, particularly when comparing to other tools such as ZenDesk, FreshDesk and HelpScout that had been on the market for much longer.

If that’s your association with Service Hub then it may be worth taking another look. Whilst I think there’s still some areas that need further improvement (we cover this towards the end of the show), overall the product has come a long way in the last 2 years, and is now quite a mature, fully featured offering.

Getting Started Guide for Service Hub

We’re going to go through this later in the show, but I thought it was worth mentioning right up front, because as we go through the different areas of the product, you’ll get a better sense of how things fit together.

Here’s our recommended order for getting started with Service Pro:

  1. Set up Conversations Inbox
  2. Add a Support form
  3. Create Snippets and Templates (for consistent, quicker responding)
  4. Send follow up surveys
  5. Setup Default Ticket pipeline
  6. Automatically create Tickets from Conversations
  7. Create simple report and dashboard for Conversations and Tickets
  8. Create Customer portal
  9. Setup Access lists for Customer Portal
  10. Add knowledge base, start adding articles
  11. Add Access list for private Knowledge Base articles (if required)
  12. Add report on Knowledge Base searches (what are people searching for)
  13. Link Knowledge Base to Customer Portal
  14. Link Knowledge Base to Chat flows
  15. Add SLAs if appropriate

We discuss this checklist again later in the notes.


✨ Shot 2: Quick Statistics about Service

Here’s a few quick items of interest we noticed:

  • 69% of consumers first try to resolve their issue on their own, but less than one third of companies offer self-service options such as a knowledge base.
  • 90% of consumers expect an online portal for customer service.
  • 96% of customers say customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand.
  • More than 70% of consumers believe that companies should collaborate on their behalf, so that they don’t have to repeat information to different representatives.
  • Nearly 60% of customers feel that long holds and wait times are the most frustrating parts of a service experience.
  • 90% of customers rate an "immediate" response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. 60% of customers define "immediate" as 10 minutes or less.

🚀 Shot 3: Overview of Service Hub

The 6 Main Areas

There’s six main areas of Service Hub:

  1. Conversations - an ‘Inbox’ for connecting an email address (eg support@ or helpdesk@) or HubSpot Chatflow or Facebook Messenger - for quick interactions with contacts
  2. Tickets - consider these ‘Advanced Conversations’ for tracking the interactions with contacts, with the addition of Status and custom properties. Often used for managing business processes with a contact
  3. Customer Portal - a web page where contacts can log in to view their Tickets
  4. Surveys - a range of survey options for gathering feedback and assessing customer satisfaction
  5. Knowledge Base - a collection of articles to help contacts learn, answer questions and self-help
  6. Reports and Dashboards - visibility across your team, conversations, tickets and knowledge back activities

Other key things to note:

  • Mobile app - the HubSpot mobile app provides access to Conversations (for overall management) and you can add/view Tickets against a contact (but not overall management of Tickets)
  • Pipelines - Tickets have pipelines, but Conversations don’t
  • Workflows - you can automate processes against Conversations and Tickets
  • Sync - you can automate creating a ticket for every conversation, and you can automatically sync the Conversation changes to Tickets (eg closing a Ticket if the Conversation is Closed)

We also did an episode recently on Optimizing Customer Experience with HubSpot Service Hub in Episode 265.


💰 Shot 4: HubSpot Conversations and Tickets

When to use each

At the risk of oversimplifying, here’s a useful way to consider conversations versus tickets:

  • Conversations - consider these simple activities (eg email, chat, call) with a contact
  • Tickets - consider these as Advanced Conversations - that include tracking that status of the interaction (eg pipeline stages)  

However, Tickets can also be much, much more. Tickets are often used for managing company processes (eg installations with customers, onboarding processes, internal team processes eg setting up billing, etc)

Recommendations

  • Start with setting up a Conversations Inbox, by connecting a generic account eg support@ or sales@ or helpdesk@ etc
  • We always set the option to automatically create a Ticket for each conversation
  • We sync status updates eg Closing out a Conversation with Close the Ticket as well

Using Workflows

Both Conversations and Tickets can have workflows for automating processes, eg some common examples:

  • Setting owners
  • Updating details
  • Updating status (on Tickets)
  • Creating other records
  • Creating tasks
  • Internal notifications (eg emails, Slack update, SMS)

Customising your Conversations View

You can now add Views for filtering your Conversations inbox. This is available from the bottom left corner within Conversations:

SLAs

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) is rolling out. It applies to Conversations that have an associated ticket.

As a user looking after conversations, you’ll be able to get instant feedback on whether you are responding in a timely manner.

Inbound Calling

This is currently in Beta and we haven’t had a chance to play with it yet - but it sounds promising. Essentially is allows you to purchase a phone number that is assigned to a user. The user will receive calls to that number on their mobile, and the call is logged in HubSpot.

Channel Switching

This is new and again (full disclosure) I haven’t actually used it yet. It allows easy switching of a channel on the conversation eg if the conversation starts via a chat, but then changes to continue via email. This is easy to manage on the conversation itself and the full history is unaffected.

Chat feedback

You can now add a simple Customer Satisfaction survey at the end of a chat flow experience. Ian has an example of this down in Shot 6.


👨‍🔧 Shot 5: HubSpot Customer Portal

Contacts can log in to see their Tickets

HubSpot now provides a mini website that you can allow contacts to log into to view their ticket history.

Note: the contacts don’t need to be customers (despite the name) - they can be any lifecycle stage (eg they might be asking a pre-sales question.

The interface is pretty simple, but does the job. There is some basic styling options, and you can also link through to your Knowledge Base if you have one (more on that later).

Here’s what it looks like when you are logged in (I’ve set up some dummy tickets) for the example below. Notice that there’s still some little quirks (eg the Invalid Create Date):

 

Clicking through to a ticket shows the full interaction history:

 


💡 Shot 6: Surveys

Types of Surveys

Back in episode 270 we discussed in detail the different types of surveys in HubSpot

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Custom Surveys - free form, now including multi-steps
  • Customer Support (CES) - getting feedback about a Support ticket experiences
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) - asking about overall happiness (eg after purchasing), and can now be added to Chat interactions
  • Customer Loyalty (NPS) - the standard Net Promoter Score (0-10) about whether a contact would recommend you

Getting Started with Surveys

Here are the 2 best ones to start with.

  1. Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSAT) via email and in a chat
  2. Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gauge how people are feeling about the business.  If you request the shownotes you will receive a survey.

If you want to see how custom surveys work then look at Episode 258.

If you go to https://www.hubshots.com you may see this:

You can now use it in a chat like this:

Here is the NPS survey:


🔧 Shot 7: Knowledge Base

A collection of articles, grouped by category

The Knowledge Base functionality in HubSpot has been incrementally improving over the last few months. Back in Episode 265 we touched on how we use HubSpot’s Knowledge Base feature for one of our own sites: here’s our XEN Solar Knowledge Base, which includes articles covering sales, marketing and customer questions. We’re actively using some of these articles as destination URLs in remarketing campaigns.

Here’s a nice checklist that HubSpot provided for preparing your KB articles:

Knowledge Base Article Best Practices Checklist:

  • Did you run this process by a customer or a fellow employee to see if they are able to follow along?
  • Do you use visual aids such as images, videos, and/or GIFs where appropriate?
  • Do you explain the process directly, clearly, and concisely, without unnecessary filler words?
  • Do you provide related articles for similar issues or topics?
  • Do you provide continued contact information for readers who still need help?
  • Did you set a reminder to revisit this article periodically to ensure that the content is accurate and up-to-date?

📚 Shot 8:  Analytics, Reports and Dashboards

Best way to get started is to create a Service Dashboard from the prebuilt dashboards:

Get started with available reports as a basis to get going:

Analytics will help you dissect and understand what is going on as well you can save reports from here too:


📚 Shot 9: Service Hub Getting Started Guide

How to get started with Service Hub

As alluded to at the start, here’s our recommended order for getting started with Service Pro:

  1. Set up Conversations Inbox
  2. Add a Support form
  3. Create Snippets and Templates (for consistent, quicker responding)
  4. Send follow up surveys
  5. Setup Default Ticket pipeline
  6. Automatically create Tickets from Conversations
  7. Create simple report and dashboard for Conversations and Tickets
  8. Create Customer portal
  9. Setup Access lists for Customer Portal
  10. Add knowledge base, start adding articles
  11. Add Access list for private Knowledge Base articles (if required)
  12. Add report on Knowledge Base searches (what are people searching for)
  13. Link Knowledge Base to Customer Portal
  14. Link Knowledge Base to Chat flows
  15. Add SLAs if appropriate

Hopefully this makes more sense now that we’ve covered the 6 main areas.


💡 Shot 10: When to upgrade

Start with Free

The free version of HubSpot includes Conversations - you should get this in place asap - it’s a no brainer.

This also allows you to create Tickets.

Upgrading to Starter

Here’s when this makes sense to action:

  • You want to remove branding on chat and emails
  • You want to add some integration eg Slack notifications
  • You want a second ticket pipeline
  • You want more snippets, templates and documents
  • You want to automatically assign incoming chats and emails to the right member of your team
  • You want simple automation like triggering customer emails when tickets are received and closed and sending internal notifications when a ticket status changes

Upgrading to Pro

Pro is where most of the main areas start to unlock, including:

  • You want more than 1 Inbox
  • Automation
  • Surveys
  • Knowledge Base
  • Customer Portal

When your business gets to the point that you are starting to add processes as Ticket pipelines, it makes sense to add automation into the process. This is a big reason to upgrade to Pro (even if you aren’t using Knowledge Base and Surveys)

Upgrading to Enterprise

The jump to Enterprise isn’t as clear cut as the jump to Pro, and is mainly if you want additional features for:

  • Security (SSO and permission sets)
  • Custom objects
  • Calculated properties
  • Greater Reporting options
  • Up to 300 teams + hierarchical teams
  • Up to 1,500 hours/month for conversation intelligence to gain real-time insight into calls with automatic recording, transcription, and call analysis

👨‍🔧 Shot 11: What’s Missing from Service Hub?

Limited to a single Knowledge Base and Customer Portal

This continues to be my biggest frustration with Service Hub. It seems as though the team that built the Knowledge Base functionality are quite different to the teams that build the CMS.

For years HubSpot CMS has allowed multiple domains to be used for blog and pages. At XEN we have a number of brands, and have been able to build out separate sites all on HubSpot (Eg XEN, XEN Solar, HubShots). But with Knowledge Base (and the linked Customer Portal) we can only have one (and we have Service Hub Enterprise).

This seems odd and out of step with the rest of the content management tools in the suite. Perhaps it’s coming - hopefully not as part of a business unit upgrade - but recent community threads have it marked as Not Planned even though it has had hundreds of up votes.


✍️ Shot 12: Quote of the Week

“ The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

  • Mahatma Gandhi

🏋️ Shot 13: Training of the Week

Service Hub Courses

Setting up Service Hub (for Admins)

A good primer for setting up Service Hub (eg how to setup the Knowledge Base settings)

Using Service Hub (for Users)

Training for users (eg what is a Knowledge Base, what it’s useful for, and tips for structuring your articles) 


🧲 Shot 14: Follow Us on the Socials

Connect with HubShots here:

Connect with Ian Jacob on LinkedIn and Craig Bailey on LinkedIn 


HubShots, the podcast for marketing managers and sales professionals who use HubSpot, hosted by Ian Jacob from Search & Be Found and Craig Bailey from XEN Systems and XEN Solar.

HubShots is produced by Christopher Mottram from Podcastily.

Please share this with colleagues - it helps us improve and reach more marketers.

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WHAT OUR LISTENERS SAY

Thanks for creating this podcast, it’s awesome, … I listen to it, and I enjoy it. 
Brian Halligan, HubSpot CEO
brian-halligan
Long time listener, first time commenter (I think).

Thanks for another great episode.
DHARMESH SHAH, Founder and CTO at HubSpot
DHARMESH SHAH, Founder and CTO at HubSpot
One of my favourite episodes to date. Great work guys!
Moby Siddique, Founder & Head Strategy Panda
moby-siddique

Awesome podcast guys! Great to hear your thoughts on INBOUND. Excited to listen to your other podcasts and excited to hear more about GDD on it :-) - Keep crushing it!

(ps. audio quality is really good, was impressed)

Luke Summerfield, Founder of Growth-Driven Design at Hubspot
Luke Summerfield, Founder of Growth-Driven Design at Hubspot
Shoutout to team @HubShots for their tireless work in producing quality #marketing goodness. Whether you are a @hubspot customer or not - it’s worth subscribing to https://hubshots.com . Kudos @ianjacob @craigbailey
Daniel Weatherhead, Communications Manager at LeonardoBPM
Daniel Weatherhead

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