Main illustration: Kyle Wayne Benson
These days, great customer support isn’t a nice to have – it’s table stakes. Giving your customers fast, personal support is essential to customer retention, transforms customers into advocates for your business and delivers a competitive advantage. Live chat has been instrumental in helping businesses achieve this, allowing them to build better relationships by delivering fast, highly personalized support.
But there’s a problem.
As a business grows, so does the number of inbound conversations they receive, often exceeding their real-time capacity to support. For businesses who get thousands or millions of people visiting their website every year, delivering prompt, personal support to their customers quickly becomes a daunting task.
Moreover, growth challenges aren’t always just about volume. Supporting customers on a global scale brings additional complexity. A worldwide customer base is diverse, as are their questions, needs, and requests. Offering real-time support in multiple languages and across time zones can become costly, whether that’s by hiring a team of polyglots, or outsourcing your support to a translation service.
We’ve witnessed these challenges first hand in our own growth, so we thought it was high time someone built a product that delivered the fast, personal customer support that all customers now expect, but that works at the scale that your business wants to reach.
So today we’re launching three important features that we think will do exactly that.
Increase self-service with Articles Pro – a multilingual knowledge base
Did you know that close to 75% of people search online using their own language? And that 42% of people would never buy a product or service in a language other than their own? It goes without saying that restricting your customer support to a single language won’t help your business grow.
The fact is, as your business grows into new markets and geographies, you’ll need to engage with customers across different time zones and languages. The blunt force solution is to hire dozens of multilingual customer support reps to work across time zones, but you’ll quickly blow your support budget.
We think we’ve found a better way..
Using Articles Pro, you can build a multilingual knowledge base to provide self-service support that’s available 24/7 in 38 languages without having to hire a single extra rep. In a few easy clicks, you can create and serve up help content to customers in their native language, wherever it’s needed.
Multilingual articles are also accessible in the Intercom Inbox making it easier for your team to resolve questions from different audiences, faster. Because Articles Pro fully integrates with our Inbox product, teammates can provide consistent, real-time answers to customers of all different shapes and sizes – paid users, visitors or those speaking another language. When chatting to customers, teammates can add multilingual or private articles to conversations, without leaving their inbox.
Additionally, a common refrain we’ve heard from other fast growing companies is that there are instances where you don’t want your help content to be visible, especially to visitors or competitors. Articles Pro lets you publish private articles for logged-in users, and serve it to them in product, on your Messenger, Help Center and more.
Automatically triage customer issues for faster resolutions with Custom Bots
While a knowledge base is great for helping customers to get their answers in real-time, on-demand, the reality is that there are always going to be situations where a customer needs to talk to a human.
This is especially important as you scale. As your customer base and product suite grows, you will have an ever-widening range of queries and customer issues to resolve. A system that helps you triage these conversations is of fundamental importance.
That’s where automation comes in.
We’ve built our latest addition to Custom Bots to help support teams handle incoming conversations as efficiently as possible. One area in particular we see inefficiencies is at the start of a conversation. When customers first write in seeking support, your reps often need to draw out more information to understand the issue and gather the information necessary to support them. This lengthy back and forth wastes time for your support team and your customers.
Now Custom Bots can help you resolve customer issues faster. They act like an extension of your support team, asking your customers the right questions to automatically prioritize and route new conversations for more efficient support. Custom Bots surface high priority requests right away, route conversations to the right teams, and ensure teammates have context when they jump in to help. As your business scales, automatically triaging inbound conversations is a key piece of the puzzle.
Additionally, Custom Bots can now be targeted specifically to your mobile app users. Whether your customers need support on the web or mobile, Custom Bots now work cross-platform to automate and accelerate growth.
Deliver consistent support at scale with powerful Inbox workflows
In the early days of your business, delivering world class customer service is one of the best ways to help your business grow. But once you start scaling, how do you ensure that you don’t sacrifice the standards that made you successful in the first place?
One of the best ways to do that is with intelligent workflows, to help your team be more efficient without sacrificing the high quality support that customers love you for. Our two brand new workflows – SLAs and workload management – will help you do exactly that.
SLA (service-level agreement) rules let you consistently provide specific types of customers with the support they expect. In other words, ensuring a baseline level of quality to your customers – free or paid, big or small. With Intercom’s new SLA rules, you can easily monitor and report on different SLA targets for your customers, like first response time.
Of course, no two customers are alike, and customers in one region may have different expectations for support than in another. Using SLA rules, you can set different targets for replying to customers based on language or criteria that’s important to your business.
SLAs are most useful when they become a commitment everyone can stick to. So as your team works in the Intercom Inbox, they’ll see a real-time view of SLAs that are about to be breached so they know exactly how to prioritize their queue. You can also use our SLA reports functionality to further optimize your support workflows by seeing which targets have been met or missed.
For any growing customer support team, it’s natural to have times when the sheer volume of conversations can feel overwhelming for your team. To help you manage conversation volume effortlessly, your team can leverage workload management, a new feature that automatically sends new conversations to your available teammates only.
You can set limits to how many conversations can be assigned to a rep at one time, and once a teammate hits that limit, they’ll be removed from receiving more conversations. Better yet, the workload management workflow is deeply integrated with Intercom’s other support features, like SLAs, so you won’t have to worry about affecting the quality of your support.
If your business is growing, the burden on your customer support will grow, whether or not you intend it to. The real question is how you manage this scaling process. With the right mix of self-service, automation, and intelligent workflows, you’ll be able to deliver a world class customer support experience to customers no matter where they are in the world, 24/7.
To get started weaving these support tools into your growing business, head this way.