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[Article] How We Use Live Lookup


Equipping your agents with all the information they need to answer support is important. This not only includes seeing customers past requests, but also being able to view items like their co-workers, purchase history, and even the company they work for.

The information your agents need varies by industry and HelpSpot includes a feature called Live Lookup that is flexible enough to cover almost any need. It can be used to query your CRM, an external database, or any other type of system where you store customer information.

Live Lookup can be utilized in a lot of different ways and in this post we will take a look at how it works and how we use it at UserScape.

Introduction to Live Lookup

On the basic level, Live Lookup is a way for HelpSpot to communicate with a service and show the results right inside your help desk. In order to implement it, you will need a script which takes different customer parameters and then returns an XML result.

Here is the basic workflow:

  • An agent clicks the Live Lookup tab found above the Customer Information box on the request page.
    • Note, this can also be automated via a Trigger so that the customer data is automatically populated with no agent interaction required.
  • HelpSpot sends all available customer information and custom field values to a script written by an Administrator (or other technical resource).
  • The script will look up the customer information and compare it to what is stored in the pre-defined system/database. (Examples: Active Directory, SalesForce, Highrise).
  • Customer information is returned and HelpSpot displays the results in an embedded window. If multiple matches are found, a list will be returned to the User for selecting the correct result.
  • With the correct customer is selected, their information (and any specified custom fields) can be inserted into HelpSpot.

Here is a screenshot of a result returned from the lookup:

With the basics covered, let’s dig into our Live Lookup setup.

How we implemented Live Lookup

For UserScape, we need to connect to our store to find out all the details about the customer and, in our case, this is a completely different server.

To do this, we set up two different sources in the Live Lookup settings. This can be found in Admin -> Settings -> Live Lookup. Our first service searches for any users that match the requester details. For example, it does a search like this:

Find all users who’s first name is "John" and last name is "Doe"

Because this is a pretty vague match, sometimes it returns more results than needed, and other times it doesn’t find anyone. So to combat those scenarios, we have a second live lookup search. This one takes the email address and removes anything before the @ symbol. This gives us a search like the following:

Find all users where email is like ""

By having both ways of searching when one doesn’t find anything, the agent can easily select the other source.

The Live Lookup Results

As mentioned previously, the results can be customized to what matters for your company. Here is a screen shot of our results:

As you can see, we want to see the customer id, organization name, the number of licenses, and when their support ends.

These fields can be customized by adjusting the “columns” in the first element in your XML file:

<livelookup version="1.0" columns="customer_id,licensee_organization,licenses,has_support_until">

Then once you click into a record, you will see all the details about the customer:

In our results, we show if their support is expired, the number of licenses, users on the account, and finally, a list of links that are commonly needed when answering requests. These links make it very fast for the support team to give the customer the proper link for their situation.

Implement the Live Lookup

If you’d like to learn more about this feature and how to implement it in HelpSpot, please see our Live Lookup guide.


Ian, Can you provide some insight into how you are doing the email Domain Matching? We are trying to implement that in our Helpspot. We will be managing our own customer list via CSV or XML and would like to be able to match the customers Domain when we do the live lookup.


Sure, it’s pretty simple. Live Lookup sends the email in as one of the data points. We explode it (in PHP terms, different languages have different constructs to do this) on the @ and take the value after the @.

Now that we have that, in your case you’d then read in your CSV/XML data. Once you have that, loop over it and check it’s email field against the domain value you have probably with some type of string search function.

Track any matches in a variable with all their details, so probably an array of matches.

Then loop over your array of matches to output the Live Lookup XML format and you’re all set. If there’s only one match Live Lookup will display just that one to your agent or else if there’s more than one they’ll see a list.


Any chance you could post that explode code you are using? Also any suggestions to deal with varied Case in email addresses. ( vs


Hi. Here is an example of our PHP processing to get the domain based on the email and ensure it’s all lower-cased:

// Get the email and trim any extra spaces
$email = trim($_POST['email']);

// convert it to lower case
$email = strtolower($email);

// make sure it's an email with @ sign
if ( ! str_contains($email, '@')) {
  return false;

// Break it apart to get the domain
$email = explode('@',$email);
$domain = $email[1];

// Now in your code search against the $domain variable.


Thank you! I’ve got it working now. We are able to compare against users email or domain after modifying the livelookup.php script with the variables you provided.