Updates to Legacy Beacon

In this article:

Legacy Beacon is Retired

As of January 29, 2020, support for legacy Beacons has ended. Starting September 5, 2019 all accounts with access to legacy Beacon were given the ability to create a new Beacon* by heading over to Manage > Beacons. 

To continue using Beacon, you must create a new Beacon and update the Beacon code on your website. Starting January 29, 2020, any legacy Beacons remaining on your website will fail to load. 

This guide covers all you need to know about the new Beacon and how to upgrade the Beacon on your website and/or app. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

*Please note, legacy plans will receive access to all new Beacon features except for live chat. 

Locating your Legacy Beacons

To find which Beacons you'll need to upgrade, head to Manage > Beacons and scroll down to the Legacy Beacons section towards the bottom of the page. You'll need to create a new Beacon for each legacy Beacon that's still being used, then replace the old embed code with the new on your website or in your app.

Switching to the New Beacon 

With the new Beacon Builder, it’s now easier than ever to create and customize Beacon for your website. Use the builder to design a new Beacon that matches the look and feel of your legacy Beacon, all without messing with JavaScript customization code. Changes you make to Beacon using the builder are synced in real time to your Beacon. 

When planning your Beacon migration, you’ll need to cover two main steps:  


Create a Beacon

Head over to Manage > Beacons to create a new Beacon. 

Getting Started with Beacon Helpful Resources


Update Your Beacon Embed Code

Once you’ve created a new Beacon, you need to replace your original Beacon embed code with the new Beacon embed code. If no further customization is needed, just grab the embed code from the Install tab. Find your old Beacon code on your site and replace with the new Beacon code. 

Add Beacon to your Website has more detail along with links to guides that will walk you through the steps to add Beacon to some of the more popular website platforms.

Customize Beacon with the JavaScript API
Just as in the legacy version, the new Beacon includes an updated JavaScript API to help you control and customize your Beacon programmatically. If you’re using the legacy API, you’ll need to swap the legacy API methods out with the new API – all existing methods are available in the updated Beacon API. 

Developer documentation can be found at Beacon JavaScript API

Important: Switch to the new Beacon before January 29, 2020. Any legacy Beacons remaining in your account will be disabled and removed from Help Scout on that date. 

What’s New in Beacon

Custom Fields
Custom Fields help categorize and prioritize conversations in the mailbox. You can now show your Custom Fields directly on the Beacon contact form, creating a smart contact form that allows customers to categorize their support requests. Custom Fields work alongside Workflows, Reports, and the API right out of the box. Custom Fields are available on the Plus plan.

Working with Custom Fields

Beacon Sidebar App
We made improvements to what the identify JavaScript method can do in Beacon. Custom attributes saved using the identify method now appear in the customer sidebar, so they’ll be displayed each time you load a conversation with that customer. It’s a great way to get valuable customer context into the sidebar, without having to build a custom app.

Beacon API Documentation  

Beacon Builder
We’ve built a new UI for customizing all of the Beacon settings in Help Scout. No longer will you need to mess with JavaScript code to make changes to Beacon. When you update a Beacon in the UI, changes are pushed to your live Beacon straight away. 

Customer Support History
Beacon includes a basic and secure way to authenticate your customers using a single line of JavaScript and a little server-side code. Your customers will never have to worry about logging in to a second system. As soon as they open Beacon, they’re a click away from their support history with your team.

Support History Security Options

Suggested Content 
Suggested content lets you surface specific articles to customers as soon as they open Beacon. For example, if your Beacon is on a pricing page, you might want to show pricing-specific help articles right away. You can also choose to show top articles or link to custom URLs directly on the Beacon Answers screen. 

Content Suggestions by URL

Beacon Modes
Sometimes your goal is to talk with more customers and gather more feedback. Sometimes your goal is to push a more self-service path so customers can find answers faster. We created Modes so you can align Beacon's user experience with your goal. Choose between a Self Service, Neutral, or Ask First path.

Work with Beacon Modes

Real Time Notifications
Customers will receive a Beacon notification when there's a new email message from your team. They can click the notification to open the conversation in Beacon, taking them to the latest reply. 

Mobile SDKs
SDKs (software development kits) allow you to add Beacon directly to your mobile apps. The SDKs support both Docs search and the Beacon contact form, so customers can browse your knowledge base or send an email through your mobile apps.

Mobile SDK Documentation: iOS
Mobile SDK Documentation: Android

Beacon Builder makes translating Beacon labels a snap. Instead of having to translate every label into your language of choice using the JavaScript API, you can select from one of 34 languages in only two clicks. Individual labels are still available in the builder and the API if you’d like to make tweaks to fit your brand voice.

Translate Beacon

Private Docs with Beacon
Have a knowledge base that should only be accessible to certain people? Now you can create Docs sites that can only be found and viewed through a Beacon. Put that Beacon behind any password-protected area on your website and you’ll be all set.

Restrict Docs Site Access with Beacon

Embedded Articles
Offer instant answers right where your customers need help with Embedded Articles. Using a simple snippet of HTML, you can link to the Docs article of your choice and display it inline in one of four different formats.

Beacon Embedded Articles

Messages is an add-on feature to Beacon that allow you to proactively reach your customers with targeted notifications through Beacon. Messages are flexible and can help you meet various goals like improving self-service rates, increasing adoption of new features, and increasing lead generation (just to name a few).

Messages Actions and Triggers
Messages Use Cases and Scenarios

Notable Changes

There are a couple of differences between the original Beacon and the new Beacon.

Retired: Topics
Beacon no longer supports the Topic field and associated Tags. Instead, customers on the Plus plan, or customers using the Collaboration add-on, can add Custom Fields to the Beacon contact form. Custom Fields offer a powerful way to categorize conversations, and are fully actionable with Workflows and Reports out of the box. 

Create a Smart Contact Form with Custom Fields and Beacon 

Retired: Modal Version
We’ve switched from supporting the full modal version of Beacon to Embedded articles. Embedded articles are a great way to offer your customers contextual help right when they need it. You can create step-by-step instructions side-by-side, add quick clarifications in-line, or pop up video tutorials without leaving the page.   

Offer Instant Answers with Beacon Embedded Articles

Common Questions

What happens if I didn't update my existing Beacon?
Starting January 29, any legacy Beacons that remain embedded on your website will fail to load—that means that visitors won't be able to interact with your legacy Beacon at all. We also plan to remove all legacy Beacons from your Help Scout account. To continue using Beacon, you must make the switch to the new Beacon. 

Does this impact which plan I'm on? 
No, your current plan will not change–we’ve only upgraded the version of Beacon available in your account. If you are on a legacy plan, your current legacy plan and pricing is still available to you through September 11, 2020. You will only need to migrate any legacy Beacons that you have in your account.

Will I have access to live chat?
Live chat is only available on the current Basic, Standard, Plus, and Company plans. Legacy plans have access to all new Beacon features except for live chat. If you’re on a legacy plan and would like to give live chat a try, your Account Owner can start a 15-day trial of a new plan from the Plans page of their account.  

Will I be able to add Messages to my account? 
You will indeed! The Messages add-on is available for all folks on the Standard and Plus plans. Help Scout Admins and Account Owners can start a free trial for the add-on by visiting the Messages tab in Beacon builder for any new Beacons. Click Start a Free Trial there. Messages is not available on legacy Beacons. 

Do I need to remove the original embed code?
Yes. You’ll want to remove the original embed code from your website, then replace the code with the updated embed code for your new Beacon. 

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