Main illustration: Jillian Adel
On Good Friday in 1962, Lou Groen trialled a new sandwich in his Ohio burger restaurant.
It was a last-ditch attempt to save a failing business – a ploy to attract the large local Catholic population who couldn’t eat meat on Fridays.
The simple patty of fish with a single slice of cheese was a success, selling over 350 sandwiches in that first trial. Today, over 300 million of these sandwiches – now known as McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish – are eaten every year.
Groen wasn’t a McDonald’s employee, he was a franchise owner. But his new sandwich added value to McDonald’s offering and fulfilled a niche job for a specific group of customers in a particular area – a need that probably wasn’t as obvious to his bosses at McDonald’s.
The Filet-O-Fish is just one of the many famous McDonald’s products, including the Happy Meal, the Big Mac and the McFlurry, invented by franchisees. While we might associate the phrase “platform company” with software giants like Salesforce rather than burger chains, this is a perfect example of the power of platforms and the value of an ecosystem made up of smart people building things.
Creating a canvas for solving problems
In technology, platform companies exist to bring producers and consumers together, allowing customers and developers to adapt and create the tools they use to work better for them. It’s naive to believe that every customer will use your product in exactly the same way. Each will have their own workflows and processes and will be using other products alongside yours.
The growing ecosystem around the Intercom platform is an essential part of building the most valuable product possible for our customers.
For many of our customers, Intercom acts as the single source of truth for customer data, with data flowing in and out of Intercom to and from other tools used by each team. From the start, we’ve focused on making Intercom flexible, as we believe technology should adapt to your needs, not the other way around. That flexibility provides a canvas for our users’ creativity. We love hearing stories from our customers about the different and unexpected ways they’re using Intercom.
We’re never going to be able – and wouldn’t want to – create all the features that anyone could ever need for the vast number of different ways they’re using Intercom. But there are many other companies building innovative, smart solutions that can extend what you can do with Intercom, which is why we’re so committed to providing an open platform for others to build on.
Introducing the Intercom Developer Program
With the Developer Program, we want to help developers make their integrations a success and help our customers discover good quality tools so they can get even more from Intercom.
Approved members will be listed on our website, alongside built-by-Intercom integrations with Slack, Facebook and more, to make them easy to discover. We’re excited to announce our first members:
- Aircall: Record and access your customer phone calls in Intercom
- AskNicely: Automatically trigger NPS surveys based on user actions
- ChargeDesk : Manage Stripe, PayPal, Braintree and Recurly customer payments inside Intercom
- FullStory: Get pixel-perfect playback of a user’s session on your website so you can provide better support
- productboard: Distill insights from Intercom to decide what to build next
- SatisMeter: Gather NPS feedback and seamlessly follow up with your customers
- Statbot: One-click, zero-setup analytics and insights for Intercom
- Wootric : Survey your customers and target them in Intercom based on their NPS score
If you’ve built an integration with Intercom and want to know more about the program head here for further information and details on how to apply.
Looking to the future
We’re still very early in our platform journey, and the Developer Program is just the start of many exciting things we have planned. Over time, as our developer community grows, we’ll be exploring more ways to support the ecosystem, as well as more ways to help our customers discover the tools the community has built.
As always, if you have any feedback, suggestions, questions or just want to say hi, leave a comment below or send us a message via Intercom.