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1. Intercom is a complete customer service platform

2. Intercom is the leader in AI for customer service

A. We believe customer service is in need of radical change

Every business is in the service business. Serving our customers is why we exist.

But someone needs to say it: customer service on the internet sucks. There’s no scenario in the real world where “we’ll get back to you in 1-2 days” could be described as “remarkable customer service.” But that’s literally the standard online.

Yet it’s not for lack of trying. Customer service teams work insanely hard, tackling an ever-expanding volume of customer issues in our accelerating digital world.

It’s because the numbers just don’t work. Online businesses can’t afford the humans it would take to meet consumer expectations. Online, we want everything now, now, now! Otherwise, we’re quickly distracted, moving on, never to return to try that door that wouldn't immediately open.

Then this year, everything forever changed. AI finally became real. But as big as that change has been, 99% of people have yet to realize it’s even happened.

At Intercom, our plan is to bring this change to the world and help our customers set a new standard for service online.

B. We believe that AI will completely transform customer service

The advent of modern, generative AI is as transformative and significant as the birth of the internet, if not more.

We believe AI will disrupt all industries, beginning with customer service. Modern AI technologies are great at parsing, synthesizing, conversing, and understanding—all the things that describe the work of the online service rep.

AI will redefine customer service roles, responsibilities, interactions, and expectations. It will change the nature of what customer service looks like. No aspect of the thing we call “customer service” will be untouched.

AI-powered service will be a giant step change for customers. It’s fast, consistent, personalized, and always available. AI-powered service is the “remarkable customer service” all businesses want for their customers.

AI-powered service will be a giant step change for support teams. It automates tasks and improves productivity. It does the repetitive work that makes the service job, quite often, not that fun. It frees service reps to work on the specialized, strategic, creative, and interesting work that needs their humanity.

AI-powered service will be a giant step change for businesses. It decimates response times and dramatically improves CSAT, NPS, and conversion rates. It makes customers’ pain disappear and lets them get back to doing the things you want them to.  

And while AI for service is already here—Intercom’s Fin has responded to two million customer requests since launch this year—on the long arc of this trend, we’re still at the very earliest of days. 

At Intercom, we’re all-in on service AI and we’re leading this transformation. We’re objectively one year ahead of the customer service incumbents and plan to stay there.

C. We believe that the future of customer service is Human + AI

Intercom’s AI bot Fin was launched in March 2023 with an average resolution rate of 28%. Today that number is 42%. We believe within a year or two we’ll bring it above 80%.

In the foreseeable future beyond that, we believe AI will be functionally capable of meeting all customer needs.

We believe that as we approach that point and AI owns an ever bigger slice of the pie, the roles on service teams will evolve. Support reps will be asked to move up the value chain and let the bots do the grunt work.

We also believe that AI will grow that pie. When it becomes far easier for customers to get the service they want, the demand for that service will increase dramatically. The friendly helper bot you’ll install in the bottom right-hand corner of your site will get a lot more requests than the human-powered messengers it will replace.

But even when resolution rates are maximized, given this rise in demand for service, and the non-human nature of AI, we believe humans will always have a significant and sizable role to play. They will not just train and manage and deploy these bots, but also bring their humanity, empathy, and care as customer service reps when it’s specifically wanted too.

This is why the customer service solutions of tomorrow will involve humans and AI working harmoniously together, and why the platforms that support this world must be Human + AI too. There will be no human-only solutions. There will be no AI-only solutions. The winning platforms will involve humans answering questions, AI answering questions, AI helping those humans, and those humans helping AI.

Intercom is the only deep, fully-featured customer service solution for humans, with thoroughly integrated, native AI technology—all in one seamless platform.

D. We believe AI-powered service will create winners and losers

Every single business of the future will employ AI service bots and augment the work of their service reps with AI too. What remains unclear is who those businesses will be. How today’s businesses react to this moment will determine that.

Some will demur, delay, flail, and eventually fail. These companies will go the way of those who were unable to figure out the world wide web in the ‘90s. You can’t think of any good examples right now because they’re dead.

Others, as soon as next year, will vigorously reinvent how they engage with their market in bold and brave ways, powered by the possibilities of service AI. They will leave the laggards in the dust.

All such times of change present great risk, and also great opportunity. And for those individuals caught amidst such revolutions they didn’t exactly ask for—like the millions of wonderful human service reps around the globe—there can be fear and a sense of great threat, if not doom.

Our commitment to all internet businesses brave enough to take the leap is to thoughtfully and safely bring them to this exciting future before anyone else. We’re betting that none of our bigger friends in the service space—Zendesk, HubSpot, Freshworks, Salesforce—will ship this tech faster than us. We were consistently first in the industry with our messenger innovations that changed customer communications online. We intend to do the same with our AI.

And our promise to the service reps of the world who dedicate their lives to the success and happiness of their customers is this: every single one of you who wants a place in this new world will not only get it, but you’ll see your role become so much more rewarding and fun than you ever imagined.

The Intercom team

November 2023