How do you respond quickly to customers but still make sure all your communications are tailored to each individual?
What follows is a guest post by Gil Sadis, VP of Product at BlazeMeter, an Intercom customer which provides a cloud-based platform for developers to carry out performance and load testing of mobile apps, websites and APIs.
The era of agile software development has brought with it an emphasis on speed and adaptability, as key elements in whether a company thrives or not in a highly competitive environment. This manifests itself in customer expectations of rapid responses and tailored messages.
The challenge is that while speed is a must, we still have to be able to provide guidance and clarity when educating and communicating with our users. That applies whether they are using our application for the first time or they are veteran users learning about a new feature. Customers now expect rapid response and resolution times to their support requests. They also expect we will interact with them in a manner specific to their needs, preferences and profile.
At BlazeMeter, we’ve been using Intercom for over two years and would like to share some of the ways it has enhanced communication with our users.
At BlazeMeter we use intercom to:
- Welcome and onboard new users to our app
- Prepare and send geo-targeted in-app messages and emails to users
- Use Live Chat to provide support both on our marketing website and inside the app itself
Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Once someone has signed up to our application, we need to have a winning strategy for the initial welcome message, and follow it up with effective onboarding messages, so they begin to see the value of the product right away.
We conduct our onboarding using a mixture of behavioral-based messages and time based messages. For example, for someone who created a user account exactly 3 days ago but has not run any tests yet (a key measure of usage of our application), we send an email like this, which alerts them to a demo:
Alternatively, we send a message to someone who just performed their first test, with the message, “I noticed you successfully ran a load test – Congrats! Do you have any questions about the load test reports?” and we then offer them the 1-on-1 demo session. We should mention we’ve seen a 38% open rate for this message – quite a nice number.
What we learned: In general, after experimenting with how to deliver the right welcome message and in what delivery method, we found what works best for us is to send both an immediate in-app message to the new user the moment he/she signs up (because it’s the right timing) AND a similar message as an email a day later. The fact that we can send the same message in-app and via email makes the process more efficient. Most importantly, the results blew us away. When sending users a welcome email with another system we use, we saw a 20% open rate and a 2% click rate. With Intercom, we have a 37% open rate, 7% click rate.
Regarding the in-app welcome message – we saw a 90% open rate and 25% click rate, which as any marketing professional or product manager knows, is astounding.
With all this in mind, our eventual goal is to convert these new user to paid customers. While the time period can vary widely – it can take from one day to a year, if it happens at all – once they become a paying customer, we enter a phase where it’s about increasing usage and demonstrating value.
What’s Going On?
Beyond the initial welcome and onboarding period, we use Intercom to update users on important information and updates about the BlazeMeter app itself, as well as live events where they can meet us in person.
We are able to segment each message’s target audience based on geographic location (whether country, state or city), how recently we contacted them, when they signed up and more. This capability has really empowered us to send personalized, timely and relevant messages to our users.
We’ve been able to raise awareness and introduce new features, and most importantly, introduce them inside the app and in context. See image above as an example.
What we learned: We’ve learnt that for messages, the simpler the better. Plain text messages have worked better than heavily-designed HTML messages, perhaps because they have more of a personal feel (we measure the success rate in this context based mainly on open rate, but – when relevant – also the reply rate, and we have seen the plain text perform better most of the time). Also plain text has a pre-header and it can be used to provide more details that will encourage users to open the email, while the HTML version can have the clickable, “view on the web” content that works well in some situations, though not all. We also consistently see that shorter messages (even just 1-2 lines fewer) perform better in terms of click rate and reply rate than longer versions. Another reminder of the value of doing A/B tests when sending your messages.
While it’s great that you can send users emails or in-app messages on an automated schedule, it’s not always easy to visualize the timing of when the user will see the message. We use https://coggle.it and find it works well for us.
One final thought about communicating with veteran users. What about churn, the dreaded metric that brings SaaS product leaders frequent nightmares?
Intercom comes with pre-defined segments, one of which is called “slipping away’. This segment automatically catches users that are about to churn. We have been able to refine and improve the default rules to fit our needs and help prevent churn. We can trigger a message that’s related to almost any user activity in our app (based on the last time a user ran a test, for example), segmenting not only through the number of sessions, but also a number of specific, pre-determined events
Help, I Need Somebody
We use Intercom for supporting our users and answering their questions, and we find it is significant improvement over our old system. But with live chat, Intercom has brought real value to BlazeMeter in communicating with our users.
What we learned: The Intercom live chat is full of great features like continuing the chat from our marketing website (where a user is anonymous) to live chat to moving the conversation inside the app (and vice versa) and continuing the chat in an email. The ability to continue the conversation across applications and websites is tremendous for us in raising the overall user experience and satisfaction.
We are using Intercom every day to interact with BlazeMeter customers on a variety of levels. And we are excited to move forward in the months ahead. Our goals include getting even more out of the live chat capabilities we are already impressed by, increasing the personalization of our messages, and ensuring each of our users receives the information he/she needs to get the most out of the BlazeMeter experience.