Announcing Custom Bots, the chatbots that drive business growth

Main illustration: Olenka Malarecka

Today we are launching a brand new product called Custom Bots, which allows you to create completely customizable chatbots on your website in minutes.

We believe these new chatbots will help our customers grow their business in much faster, more efficient ways, and will usher in a new era in customer communication.

Custom Bots run on your website, helping guide your valuable website visitors to the right outcome for you and for them, without any manual human intervention. For example, if the right outcome is:

  • For the visitor to sign up for a webinar, or be added to a drip campaign, the chatbot will do that, all by itself, right there and then inside the Intercom Messenger.
  • For the visitor to become a high quality qualified lead with a meeting fully booked with your sales team, the chatbot will do that!
  • To directly connect the visitor with a person in support, the chatbot will do that!

This is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. Because Custom Bots is fully customizable for your business, there are so many powerful use cases.

Custom Bots

We are excited about this launch for two big reasons:

  1. For the immediate efficiency gains and new customer growth we know our customers will see in their business.
  2. It is the first full realization of a completely new way of doing sales and marketing for internet businesses.

The new way to acquire leads, and engage and support customers is to bring productive apps and efficient chatbots into the messenger – the new preferred communication channel for businesses and customers. Let’s look at each of these three parts to really understand where the next generation of business communication is already headed.

First, the messenger is now the primary way businesses and customers want to connect

We have already witnessed the rise of the messenger in human communication. The messenger is now the dominant way we talk to our family and friends as it uniquely allows people who are not sharing the same physical space to interact in very human ways. With things like emoji and video, the messenger is personal and friendly, approachable, rich in emotion, real-time and expressive. It’s no surprise that it has taken over our personal communication so fast.

The same is starting to happen in business.

Customers simply expect modern businesses to have a messenger on their website, and this brings with it a host of new opportunities compared to static old tools like email and forms.

Second, apps in the messenger help customers get business outcomes faster

The messenger that works for business is evolving fast. A few short months ago we launched our brand new Messenger, with integrated apps, and it has been a huge success. All our customers are using our new Messenger and Apps, and we have over 100 third-party apps in our App Store. Using apps, it is now possible to book meetings, take and make video calls, take payments, run surveys, all without any customers ever having to leave the Messenger. Visitors stay on your site, get things done right there, and move down your funnel.

These simpler, integrated experiences result in much higher completion rates: more qualified leads, more sales meetings booked, more webinar signups, more email addresses collected and nurtured, more payments taken.

Apps also do a lot of work in the background. They sync data to places like Salesforce and Hubspot, they tag people depending on what they learn about them, and they route leads to the right people, notifying them in the process (for example the account owner).

It’s now hard to imagine a messenger that doesn’t have all these integrated apps being fit for purpose for a modern business.

Third, chatbots have come of age and are helping businesses grow faster

The third and final important piece in this new, better way for businesses to acquire customers and grow faster, is embracing chatbots. A chatbot is a little bot that runs inside a messenger and can talk to people and get things done.

As with all new successful technology, the chatbot went from obscurity, to being overhyped, to successfully coming back out the other side. Over the past two years we have learned what chatbots are good for, when they should and shouldn’t be used, and how to design them well so they benefit both customers and businesses.

Custom Bots – Hype Cycle for Custom Bots
The Gartner Hype Cycle illustrates the changing perceptions of chatbots

How chatbots deliver value

We’ve learned that:

  • Chatbots own the repetitive work: Chatbots can easily take over the mundane, repetitive, time consuming work your sales team do today, for example manually qualifying people or manually scheduling meetings. This gives your sales team much more time to talk to people and close deals with those high quality leads. Your team focuses on what people can do best and your business sees huge efficiency gains.
  • Chatbots work 24/7: They collect qualified leads and book meetings while you sleep. Rather than your sales team having to come in in the morning and do all that manual work, your chatbot was busy all night, so your team arrives to a set of highly qualified leads with meetings already booked.
  • Chatbots reply immediately: Unlike people who are sometimes unavailable, chatbots are always available. They reply immediately and they get answers faster, providing a great customer experience and moving leads down the funnel much faster than ever before.
  • Chatbots are always consistent: They are dependable, consistent and always on script. Because you wrote them and they never deviate (they’re just a simple computer program after all), you can predict what’s going to happen with a chatbot!
  • Chatbots easily scale: Chatbots can deal with many customers at once, thousands if you wish, so you never have to worry about scale. All those concerns about putting live chat or a messenger on your site and having to deal with volume have gone away. With chatbots you can have many more of your website visitors interacting with the messenger and getting qualified without having to worry about scaling up your sales team.

The next generation of business communication is productive apps and efficient chatbots built into a website messenger

Every day, many people visit your website because they are interested in buying. They are looking for a solution to a problem they have and are prepared to pay. Sadly, the status quo for most businesses is no different to 10 years ago, where it is hard for these potential buyers to get in touch, get their questions answered and get their credit card out.

In this old fashioned world, website visitors are either ignored, or they have to search around for a contact email address, or even worse they have a long form to fill in. In the best case there might be live chat, which many businesses had to turn off because they were worried about the volume of conversations and the requirement to scale up a sales or support team to answer everyone.

Custom Bots – New way of interacting with customers

Because businesses worry about too many poor quality leads, the many high quality leads never get in touch and are lost as a customer forever. Worse still, they go to a competitor who is operating in the new way, where they found it easy and fast to get answers.

Businesses who have a messenger reap the benefits of this easy to use channel, and with apps and chatbots are able to drive huge business growth through new customer acquisition, without having to scale up a big sales team.

A chatbot can talk to every single one of your website visitors, and get them to the right outcome in seconds. Everyone wins. No matter whether a visitor is in the early browsing stage or the ready to buy stage, Custom Bots can bring them to the right outcome, ensuring that no lead is ever left behind.

To finish up, let’s look at the 5 huge benefits in using Custom Bots, and get a peek under the hood of the product.

5 benefits of Intercom’s Custom Bots

1 You can create your own chatbots for your website

Building your own Custom Bot gives you unprecedented control over the experience. This includes asking people on the site questions, providing them buttons with predefined answers, and then moving them down different customer journeys, depending on their answers.

The chatbot is automatically moving the right people down different customer journeys in your funnel, towards the right outcome for them and for your business, whether that’s:

  • getting that person on a sales call
  • or having them sign up for your webinar
  • or directing them to the support team

Custom Bots

2 Make your chatbots message people in a highly targeted way

Custom Bots allow you to control who sees different messages. There are so many options here, for example:

  • different chatbots on different pages of your site
  • and/or triggering based on how long someone has been on a page
  • and/or how many times they’ve visited that page
  • and/or their country
  • and/or language
  • and/or what page they came from before hitting your site
  • and/or much more!

Custom Bots targeting

3 Add “follow up actions”

Adding “follow up actions” into your chatbot allows you to really integrate into your existing sales and marketing tech stack. For example depending on what answers the lead on your site gives you:

  • you can tag them in Intercom and then connect to other systems
  • and/or add them to Salesforce
  • and/or add them to Hubspot
  • and/or assign them to a specific team or person in your company like the account owner
  • and more…

Custom Bots follow-up actions

4 Conclude conversations with a Messenger App

Depending on the lead’s answers, you can have your chatbot insert any app you choose into the conversation. For example:

  • a Google Meeting app to automatically book a sales meeting
  • or a survey from apps such as Typeform
  • or the Content Showcase app to highlight news, products or announcements

There are so many options here. Remember that we now have over 100 apps in our new Intercom App Store.

Custom Bots App follow-up

5 In-depth reporting

We have reports to show you how your chatbots are working for you. This shows you how they are delivering more high quality leads faster than ever before, all without the intervention of anyone on your sales team, saving you time and money.

Custom Bots reporting

The new efficiencies on both sides, the removal of all the manual work for the sales team, and ensuring every visitor is moved down the funnel appropriately with no lead left behind, is the reason that businesses using the messenger with apps and chatbots are seeing their business start to grow much faster than ever before.

If you’re as excited as we are about how chatbots can grow your business, you can get started right here.

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