Yesterday we launched powerful upgrades to the Intercom platform for support teams. Teams can now use Intercom to efficiently provide conversational support for all types of questions, from simple ones to the most convoluted ones.
This launch is a meaningful one for us because our Support team partnered hand in hand with the Product team to develop many of the features. We’ve always used Intercom to provide support for our customers and, as our customer base has grown, we’ve seen first hand the needs for better reporting and workflows in Intercom.
“These new features have supercharged our team’s efficiency while preserving our customer experience”
The great thing about Intercom is that it’s always offered great flexibility with its API. So over the years, we’ve been able to build internal tools to cater to our team needs. With this launch, many of the features we built for our team are now available to you as well. These new features have supercharged our team’s efficiency while preserving our customer experience. Here are the top features that we think you’ll find particularly useful, plus insights into how we’re using them here at Intercom.
1. Customizable Inbox views that help you track key conversations
It’s now easier to find your most important conversations in the Inbox. For a long while, our Support team managers didn’t have an easy way to gather all the conversations they consistently care about, such as those assigned to their team or those that pertain to a specific issue. Other teams needed a simpler way to find real-time conversations tied to their product areas.
“We’ve drastically reduced the amount of time and tools people needed to gather customer insights”
Managers can now create flexible and persistent views in the Inbox for the conversations that matter on a day to day basis. Instead of opening a browser tab for each of your team members, you can now see conversations of the teammates that report to you in one place. Having this visibility into the conversations your team is dealing with on a day to day basis helps you better understand the issues people are handling, as well as the kind of coaching each person might need.
You can also create custom Inbox views for different product areas, using the new conversation data attributes as filters (more on these later). Teams across Intercom use these kinds of views to see in real time the type of questions customers are asking during a product launch, common feature requests by product areas, and features driving negative or positive customer feedback. By capturing related conversations in one place, we’ve drastically reduced the amount of time and tools people needed to gather customer insights.
2. Conversation reassignments that respect your team setting
Conversation reassignments now work better for large teams. Back when we were a small team, we could rely on each other to pick up conversations when we stepped away from the Inbox. Intercom’s automatic reassignment feature facilitates this workflow by “unassigning” team members from conversations when their away mode is turned on.
But now our Support org comprise several teams that specialize in different types of conversations. Leveraging the old away mode had became a decision between helping the customer versus staying efficient. If we used away mode, a person had to monitor the “Unassigned” queue and manually reassign conversations to the right teams. On the other hand, if we didn’t use away mode, customers had to wait for teammates to return before receiving a response.
The new assignee picker solves this dilemma and lets you use away mode to its full potential. It now understands which team a conversation belongs to when away mode is on, keeping the conversation with that team while allowing another teammate to pick it up. Your team no longer needs to spend time reassigning conversations and customers benefit from faster response times.
3. Our new best friend: the duplicate detection Task Bot
Out of all the features released, the one we’re most fond of is the duplicate detection Task Bot. This feature was actually first built by a former Customer Support Engineer on the team. Dubbed Vigilante, it significantly reduced duplicate work on the team and was a major efficiency win. The bot caught the attention of our Product team, who knew many of our customers struggled with duplicate conversations as well.
“Since we switched on the new bot, it’s helped us flag 80% of duplicate conversations”
With this launch, Vigilante – which we’re officially calling the duplicate detection Task Bot – is now available to you as well. It not only scours inbound conversations for duplicates but examines replies to outbound messages as well. Once it spots potential duplicate conversations from the same user, it alerts you by adding internal notes to the relevant conversations.
Since we switched on the new bot, it’s helped us flag 80% of duplicate conversations, saving our team 40 hours a week.
4. New conversation data attributes to drive customer insights
Like many support teams, we spend a lot of time tagging conversations with existing customers to understand what kinds of issues the team is dealing with. We also tag to help Product and Research teams get insights into trending feedback and feature requests.
But when you have a large team and a high volume of conversations, it’s hard to ensure that every conversation gets properly tagged. Plus our Sales team has their own workflow for gathering feature requests from new customers and we were relying on a hodgepodge of ever-changing SQL queries to collate data for our Product and Research teams.
Conversation data attributes are more reliable than tags when it comes to categorizing conversations according to their product area, issue type, and level of urgency. Not only can team members manually collect these attributes as they chat with customers, but you can also have customers fill out these attributes automatically for you using bots, reducing the amount of work for your team internally.
The data gets surfaced through the new “Conversation Details” app in the Inbox to help teammates get faster context about the conversations they pick up.
And of course you can use conversation data in Intercom reports to make analyzing product trends and patterns all the more easier. By aligning the conversation data attributes in support conversations with the data that our Sales team collects, we’ve been able to help our Product and Research teams create comprehensive customer voice reports more easily. Our SQL for generating these reports is now far simpler!
5. More powerful assignment rules for workflow automation
Support ops managers everywhere will appreciate the improvements to Inbox automation rules – they’re a total game-changer!
“These changes reduced the number of rules we have to maintain by 30%”
You can now combine assignment rules with tag, priority, and SLA rules. You can also create dynamic workflows where a rule will take multiple actions for the same conversation. Plus you can leverage conversation data attributes in rules to streamline the way you route conversations and set priorities. These changes reduced the number of rules we have to maintain by 30%.
What’s more, management of rules has gotten a lot easier. Rules are now better organized and new filters allow us to find rules that need changes faster. You can also filter rules by team which helps with inventory and auditing. The ability to move rules to the very top or very bottom of the list with one click is a huge added bonus.
6. More detailed Intercom reports to optimize your support
Finally, new metrics and views have made Intercom reporting much more robust and comprehensive. In the past, we managed our Support team’s reporting through Tableau and relied on custom SQL queries to populate our dashboards that were tracking individual and team-level metrics. With the latest Intercom reports and metrics, we’ve been able to retire a good portion of our custom Tableau reports.
The new “Effectiveness” report has been especially, well, effective 😉 , because it now tracks the rate at which we’re closing conversations on first contact and our median time from first assignment to close. Previously, we relied on Tableau to generate these metrics.
So there you have it – six features that have greatly helped our Support team. To say Intercom’s products and features have gone through many changes in the past few years is an understatement. We’ve loved partnering with our Product team to improve the platform for support teams everywhere.
Since we implemented the new features, we’ve seen how they have made Intercom easier to use for everyone, from support managers to support ops and, most importantly, the support reps working in the Inbox. We can’t wait to hear how these new features help your team get more efficient and unlock new creative ways to improve the customer experience.