Main illustration: Ariel Davis
We’ve just unveiled our new publicly available Intercom App Store and rolled out a bunch of new features to make building apps on Intercom even easier at the same time. Among those features are tools and capabilities that enable anyone to build an app that can be used in the Intercom Messenger.
We released a beta version of the features earlier this year to a small group of developers, including Typeform. Intercom is committed to investing in our platform and supporting our partners because we know the potential for business growth is significant – for our partners and for us. Released last month, Typeform’s app on Intercom is already bringing value to Typeform and its customers.
The easy-to-use Typeform app boosts survey response rates by letting users share forms right inside the Messenger. The app has enabled users to collect better data and drive better business decisions, as well as enabling Typeform to increase retention and access new customers.
Why build an Intercom app?
When the Typeform team first explored the idea of building an app, they saw an opportunity to give their customers access to a new data collection channel. There were four key reasons they then decided to invest time and energy into making that happen – clear value for existing customers, potential for customer growth, brand alignment with Intercom and the ease of building on Intercom’s platform.
Typeform’s head of business development Luke Miller explains, “We’re always looking to help our users better collect data. We saw this as a way for our users to find further distribution. Intercom has a large audience, some of which know us, some of which don’t. [With this app, we could] access a new audience to make them aware of Typeform and the value of our service, and ensure that’s embedded within a service they already know.”
In the course of an afternoon, we had a working prototype
Beyond the business benefits, brand alignment was also important to Typeform and they saw similarity between the two companies’ missions. “We both have a strong focus on empowering small businesses through conversations with their users,” notes Nicolas Grenié, developer advocate at Typeform.
After exploring the APIs and developer documentation, it was clear that the Intercom platform had the capabilities Typeform needed and building the app would be a fast and straightforward process. Nicolas explains, “The time to ‘minimum viable product (MVP)’ is really what convinced us to move forward. In the course of an afternoon, we had a working prototype – enough to showcase the possibilities of the Intercom platform and get the conversation started.”
Easy to build, test and iterate
After building the prototype in just one afternoon, the team rapidly iterated and developed a near-final product in less than a week. For others considering building an app on Intercom, Nicolas suggests starting with a simple MVP to have an idea of the flow of cards and interactions in the Messenger window and then as a second step, implement the API calls that load data and add logic.
Speaking about his experience, Nicolas added: “Intercom offered a lot of guidance and developer play cards that really helped us manage the scope of the project and develop something that’s useful and valuable on the platform.”
The ability to build quickly and experiment aligned with Typeform’s growth model approach as a company – getting to market rapidly, learning and iterating. This approach helps the team decide where to go next too.
So what’s next?
Typeform is already seeing promising results. Within two weeks of launch, the app had been used in more than 2,500 conversations. For Typeform, their Intercom integration has increased product engagement and retention. For Typeform customers, the app has opened up a new survey distribution channel, increased response rates and resulted in better feedback and data.
1 in 7 conversations include links to tools outside the Messenger
At Intercom, we knew from the beginning that opening up the Messenger framework would be key to making apps in the Messenger a success. People were already sharing links to other tools in the Messenger. In fact, 1 in 7 conversations include links to other tools they’re using to get stuff done. It made sense for us to bring those actions into the Messenger so that they could be completed with much less friction.
Of course, we were aware that it would have been impossible for us to build an app for every possible tool our customers use. We knew that the imagination and innovation of our partners would enable new use cases we hadn’t even thought of, unlocking a world of possibilities for our customers and theirs, like Typeform and many others have already done.
Since opening up the framework, we’ve had almost 1,000 companies sign up for the beta and dozens of apps have been built and are available in our newly launched and publicly available Intercom App Store.
We plan to continue building and evolving our platform as well. Our guiding principles are ensuring our customers get value from partner-built apps, supporting our partners in reaching our customers and enabling developers with powerful APIs, comprehensive docs and the support they need. We regularly see success stories like Typeform’s and we look forward to seeing even more in the future.
If Typeform’s story has got your imagination going, the good news is it’s really easy to build your own apps on our platform – whether they’re apps just for your own team to use, or apps you want to publish in our app store for others to discover and use too. Some of our partners and customers have built apps in less than a day!
Check out our developer docs. We can’t wait to see what you build.