In 2018, HubSpot released their newest product: Service Hub. Designed to work seamlessly with their other product suites (CRM, sales and marketing tools), Service Hub was created to help businesses provide better frictionless customer service. After all, if HubSpot can help you find and convert prospects, shouldn’t they help you optimize your growth with the customers you already have?
Service Hub is designed for small to medium businesses who are already part of the HubSpot ecosystem. If you’re using HubSpot’s free CRM, Sales Hub, or Marketing Hub, you’ll get a ton of value from also using their ticketing and help desk system.
We talked to Dave Barron, Director of Go-to-Market for Service Hub, to learn more about what’s under the hood of Service Hub. HubSpot did not pay for this review, and it reflects our own opinion of its benefits and drawbacks. Peak Support uses any systems preferred by our clients, so we use HubSpot Service Hub along with other vendors.
The Basics of Service Hub
Service Hub was created on the basis of three customer experience pillars:
- Creating a frictionless customer experience by delivering an organized, efficient helpdesk.
- Enabling great self-service with an easy to use and manage Knowledge Base.
- Growing your business better through your customers and promoters with a robust surveying function that sparks action.
While Service Hub does include the same ticketing style help desk you’re used to, Dave Barron says that HubSpot has focused more on how tickets can integrate with the rest of the business. This is where HubSpot shines.
Combining HubSpot’s ecosystem of products, apps, and solutions consultants brings the customer closer to the rest of your business. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of using HubSpot Service Hub for your customer service workflows.
Pros of HubSpot Service Hub
If you’re familiar with HubSpot, Service Hub will feel natural to you. Using a help desk that’s built by one of the most experienced software companies comes with a lot of benefits. Let’s look at some of the more unique features that are included:
Service Hub is built off the same workflow engine that powers the Sales and Marketing Hubs. This allows your team to deliver both reactive and proactive customer service from the same queue. When a deal is closed, you can automatically have a ticket created in Service Hub with all the necessary information to begin onboarding. To further the proactive spirit, teams can also view their inbox as the traditional queue or as a Kanban view.
Service Hub supports form, email, and chat support as part of their core platform and offers integrations with dedicated phone support platforms (such as Aircall) for teams that need it.
In addition to phone support integrations, Service Hub also offers two-way integrations with a number of different tools, including their new native integration with Jira (currently in beta). Dave says that bringing information from across the business together makes for a more seamless customer experience.
HubSpot has been designing content management systems for over 12 years now. This expertise shows in the design of their Knowledge Base. Writing an article feels just like writing a blog post. Team leads can create templates to standardize the formatting of each article. Because it’s built on their same blogging platform, articles are already optimized for search engines, which makes it easier to find for customers.
Audience access is handled smoothly, with everything based on the lists created in HubSpot. If a customer downgrades, HubSpot reflects that change and their access to help desk articles are automatically updated.
The final piece of the Service Hub platform is a uniquely designed survey engine. Dave says they designed the survey workflow to help Service Hub users grow better through their customers and promoters.
Most help desks have survey functions built-in, but getting that data out of your help desk and actioned by the rest of the company is nearly impossible. HubSpot’s survey tool uses the same workflow engine as their other tools to operationalize customer feedback and get that feedback loopy turning.
When you’re building your survey (NPS, CSAT or CES are all included base survey formats), HubSpot will automatically nudge you to build follow-up automation based on the customer’s response. You can choose to send an email, create a new ticket or send a Slack notification to the most appropriate people.
Additionally, all of the survey data lives on the HubSpot contact record in the CRM. This gives marketers, salespeople and customer service agents the context they need to provide the best possible experience to each unique lead or customer.
Cons of HubSpot Service Hub
Let’s start with the biggest one: if you’re using a different CRM, Service Hub is likely not a fit for you today.
Other dealbreakers may include a lack of social customer service support and minimal SLA reporting. While admins can set up automated actions on tickets that have gone stale, Service Hub doesn’t report on the % of SLA ticket breaches.
For admins that love custom querying a database, they might find Service Hub’s reporting lacking. However, Dave says that their report building engine includes a wide range of metrics that should suit most teams’ needs.
Finally, improvements are upcoming on the Knowledge Base, including multi-brand, language support and versioning. These are all slated for the upcoming year, but if you require these features immediately, you may want to hold off.
Service Hub Pricing
One of the misconceptions I had about Service Hub going into this conversation was over the price. I’d always thought that the HubSpot platform was prohibitively expensive for most companies. Turns out, I had just misunderstood their pricing model. Honestly, the complexity of their plan page could be considered a con of Service Hub - knowing exactly how many seats you’ll require will need a conversation with your salesperson.
Everything is built on top of HubSpot’s free CRM. That means that all of your users can access Service Hub with their free CRM account. This tier is often enough for small firms; it includes up to 5 templates and canned snippets, and there are no limits on tickets or contacts. You only need to buy seats for agents that need access to additional features.
The paid version of HubSpot Service Hub has three tiers:
Starter ($50/month/agent) includes tools that will make your agents faster and more effective at solving tickets. For example, you can get more templates and canned snippets, along with other productivity tools.
Professional (starts at $400/month, but includes 5 paid seats, so $80/month/agent) is the most popular offering because it includes access to workflows and automation, team permission controls, along with the knowledge base and customer feedback products. Only agents who will be administrators or the subject of an automation need seats - other users can remain on the free plan.
Enterprise (starts at $1200/month, but includes 10 paid seats, so $120/month/agent) includes a variety of security features (SSO), the ability to create webhooks and access to playbooks. Webhooks are a way to build custom integration workflows using the HubSpot API (for example, creating a custom Slack bot). Playbooks are interactive content scripts that are designed to help your team be consistent and thorough in every interaction.
If your organization is using HubSpot for other functions, I’d highly recommend checking out Service Hub to see if it will meet your needs. Their uniquely designed customer feedback workflows help connect your organization to the pulse of your customers, and the ticketing and knowledge base features are fully featured and robust.