2022 on Inside Intercom

2022 on Inside Intercom

Well that was quite the year. We’ve made it to the end of 2022 – 12 months in which everything changed for the tech industry. After booming for the best part of two decades, a number of factors coincided to transform the SaaS landscape and tech more broadly.

Like so many other companies in the space, Intercom was also affected by these difficult economic headwinds. But we’re optimistic by nature, and as we reflect on the year just gone, there is plenty to be thankful for.

For one, Eoghan McCabe, our Co-founder and Chairman, returned to the role of CEO, the position he had held from our founding in 2011 until 2020 – and he is bringing a renewed focus on the customer service space, so you can expect to see even more innovation from us in that area.

“In this post, the Intercom Content Team picks our highlights from a busy 2022”

We hosted our first two global virtual events, New at Intercom, where we announced the release of next-generation customer service products and features such as a completely redesigned Inbox, an enhanced Messenger, new Ticketing features, a sophisticated Virtual Bot Builder, and in-context Surveys to help you capture and act on valuable customer insights.

In this post, the Intercom Content Team picks our highlights from a busy 2022 – we published over 150 pieces of content, including guides about customer support and customer retention. We also published nearly 50 new podcasts, featuring interviews with high-profile guests such as Hubspot CEO Yamini Rangan and Profitwell founder Patrick Campbell.

Above all, thanks for reading, sharing, and listening to our content. We’re planning some exciting new developments around here, and we look forward to providing more valuable, engaging material to help you support your customers in 2023.

Zara Burke, Principal Editor

Emojis mean business: The characters transforming business messaging

You know how the saying goes, “An emoji can convey a thousand words.” Okay, that might not be the exact phrase but it is a sentiment we believe here at Intercom. Many companies have long been reluctant to use emojis in their communications, deeming them too casual, inappropriate or not “business-y” enough.

But studies have shown that the majority of what is understood from a conversation isn’t in the words we use, but rather in non-verbal cues like body language, gestures, and tone of voice. Emojis are online communication gold. When used right, they add richness to conversations, help emphasize an emotion, and build rapport with customers. This episode is a fun and educational listen that will help you unleash the power of a warm smile, a well-timed eyebrow raise, or a knowing wink to show your customers you mean business. 😉

Announcing ‘The Intercom Customer Support Trends Report for 2022’

It’s been another challenging year for customer service teams – from small businesses to large enterprise companies. Dealing with the tail impact of the pandemic (👋 burnout), supply chain issues, increasingly disconnected tech stacks all while trying to resolve issues at breakneck speed is not for the faint hearted. And breathe!

Luckily, customer service teams are a resilient bunch. This year, we saw savvy support teams arm up with the right tools, technology, and resources to not just survive but ultimately thrive in 2022 and beyond. Check out this year’s Customer Support Trends Report to see the top five trends transforming the customer service industry and how to capitalize on them.

P.S. Keen to get ahead of the competition in 2023? We’ll be releasing the third edition of the Customer Support Trends Report and announcing it in the blog and newsletter very soon so watch this space.

Niamh O’Connor, Brand Editor

Solving the Innovator’s Dilemma: How successful companies are embracing innovation units

As we know, we’re in the middle of a tech industry slowdown. It’s difficult to find positives when something like that is happening, but one of the most obvious is the explosion of innovation that often accompanies difficult times.

How many times have you daydreamed about the things you’d create if you had the funding, collaborators, or knowledge? Liam and Beth spoke to Atlassian, Gartner, and Vermeer about their innovation units – autonomous teams with access to the resources of a large company, and freedom to use them to put brilliant, fresh ideas into action. Get ready to leave behind any preconceptions you might have about enterprises being too big to innovate – they’re bypassing that stagnation by actively investing in new ideas.

This episode is an exciting listen, with a much needed injection of hope for an innovation-filled future!

How do we feel about being called ‘women in tech’?

I love that the conversational nature of podcasts allow you to dive so deeply into complex, nuanced topics. It always amazes me that so many incredible perspectives can be condensed into one twenty-minute episode.

That’s why I was so excited to get behind the scenes for our “How do we feel about being called ‘women in tech’?” episode earlier this year. Aside from getting the chance to work with our brilliant audio producer, Liam, I had fascinating conversations with some of the incredible women working at Intercom, and learned a lot about a crucially important topic. I wasn’t sure what to expect before chatting to my colleagues – but the range of intelligent, thoughtful, personal responses to this multi-layered term made for scintillating chats, and, to me, proved the importance of keeping this conversation alive.

Hopefully our audience enjoyed listening to the episode as much as I enjoyed being part of the process!

Liam Geraghty, Audio Content Producer

Intercom’s product principles: A series exploring the beliefs that shape what and how we build

2022 has provided us with some truly great series. There was Severance on Apple TV, Andor on Disney+ and Product Principles on the Intercom blog! The stars of the latter are our R&D team. Throughout the year they’ve been exploring all of the beliefs that shape what and how we build here.

From principles like ‘Build better solutions by keeping it simple’ to ‘How technical conservatism helps us scale faster and better’, Intercomrades wrote about how they guide their work everyday. As our Co-Founder Des Traynor once said, “Clear guiding principles are the best way to scale a team while keeping them aligned. Without a set of principles organizations begin to fracture.” You’ll find the ongoing series here.

Dialing it up: The evolution of phone support

Earlier this year we created Switch, Intercom’s personalized solution to high inbound call volume. Why? Well everyone knows that phone calls have been paramount for support teams ever since customers have been able to dial. The telephone revolutionized the way businesses interacted with their customers.

With Intercom Switch, we wanted to take it even further. In this podcast episode we take a deep dive into the evolution of phone support dialing in on everything from the arrival of touch tone dialing in the 60s to just who composes the on hold music and, of course, what the future has in store for phone support. Spoiler alert: Switch.

Beth McEntee, Senior Editor

In-context or out of touch: The future of online customer service

I think it’s safe to say that the looming uncertainty of the economy is at the forefront of many people’s minds right now. And for support teams, that’s compounded by rising customer expectations and increased business costs, leaving many of them faced with the herculean task of having to do more with less.

While this is certainly challenging, the silver lining is that there are solutions. In this post, Lauren dives into a tried-and-tested way of efficiently bridging the expectation gap: providing support to customers in context and solving their problems exactly when and where they have them. This post is an insightful read with lots of practical advice for support leaders on how to incorporate in-product messaging into their support suite so they can drive customer loyalty, boost efficiency, and turn support into a key value driver.

Atlassian and Coda on creating personalized customer experiences at scale

Everyone at Intercom loves chatting to our customers. That probably comes as no surprise, considering our company mission is to make internet business personal, but it’s also why we strive to spotlight our customers’ voices in everything that we do. We learn a lot from our customers, so we want to share those learnings with all of you, too.

At our first New at Intercom event in March of this year, we invited some of our customers, Atlassian and Coda, to share their experiences using the new features being launched at the event, as well as their advice on how to create personalized customer experiences at scale. These conversations are jam-packed with helpful tips for support leaders who are looking to create stand-out experiences for customers, efficiently scale their support, and influence bottom-line metrics like customer retention to help grow their business.

Davin O’Dwyer, Senior Managing Editor

Intercom for Enterprise

Over the years, Intercom has grown and evolved alongside many of our longest-standing customers. As these existing customers have grown, and we’ve welcomed bigger and bigger customers, we’ve always focused on saying yes to scale.

During the year, we explored the ways Intercom has scaled key functions to support the needs of very large customers. For instance, our systems dynamically scale to serve about 50,000 web requests per second at peak, 26,000 background jobs per second, and 11,000 public API requests per second – demonstrating our ability to continuously scale to meet the requirements of modern enterprises.

In this in-depth series and whitepaper, leaders across our Engineering, Infosec, and Sales teams revealed exactly what sort of processes and policies we have developed to operate at this sort of scale, from infrastructure and interoperability to security and privacy. It’s a fascinating insight into the complexity required to provide industry-leading, next-generation customer service software.

Intercom on Product: How ChatGPT changed everything

The year concluded with the stunning arrival of ChatGPT, which confirmed that AI chatbots are going to be a hugely transformative technology in the coming years. The online buzz was more than just the usual hype cycle – it was the sound of a paradigm shifting overnight. While the limits and flaws were unavoidable – ChatGPT is basically the world’s most knowledgeable, confident bluffer – the potential for transformative change was even more obvious.

In this special episode of Intercom on Product, our Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Des Traynor discussed ChatGPT with our Director of Machine Learning Fergal Reid, exploring what the technology might hold in store for us. How will it change customer support? How can we go about designing products around it? Will it rival the internet in terms of transformative power? It’s a great conversation, and certainly whets the appetite for what comes next.

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