About the Waiting Sort

The column Waiting in the folder views aims to give you a quick and accurate read out of how long customers have been waiting for a reply. In most folders across the app, Waiting is the default sort option.

Waiting in Help Scout works a little differently than what you might find in other help desks or email clients, as they often work on a last updated principle. This article will help you understand how Waiting works.

How Waiting Works

The Waiting timestamp only changes when a new thread (a customer or User reply) is added to a conversation. Waiting only applies to Active and Pending conversations. Conversations are automatically sorted in folders by how long customers have been waiting for a reply unless you change the default sort.

Here’s how it works: 

  • Waiting is shown in all top level folders (except for Drafts) as well as custom folders. You'll also see Waiting in reporting drill down modals.
  • Waiting displays the most recent reply, from a customer or a User. Notes added by Users do not impact Waiting. 
  • When a customer creates a new conversation, and no Users have replied, the Waiting time shows when the conversation was created. 
  • If a customer sends more than 1 message in a row, Waiting will show the oldest timestamp belonging to the first message from the customer. 
  • Waiting only applies to Active or Pending conversations. If a conversation is Closed, the customer is no longer considered to be waiting for a reply. 
  • Workflows that send an email to a customer will update the Waiting time. For example, a workflow sends an email to the customer, changing the status to Active (or Pending). The Waiting time will update, showing when the workflow sent the email.

Waiting and Closed Conversations

  • In the Closed folder, the Waiting column changes to a Closed column. If a conversation is Closed, the customer is no longer waiting for a reply. The timestamp in the Closed column displays the time the conversation was closed. 
  • Workflow-based folders that display Closed conversations will also show the time when a conversation was marked as Closed.


  • The Drafts folder uses a Last Updated timestamp, as that is showing when the draft was updated.
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