The abundance of software tools on offer today brings with it a whole host of challenges. For product builders, it’s never been harder to get discovered in such a crowded marketplace.
For users, having your workflows and data spread across multiple siloed tools in many different places brings unnecessary complexity to day-to-day work.
It’s no wonder that companies like Slack, Salesforce and Intercom have invested in an ecosystem made up of smart people building things in one place, allowing customers and developers to adapt and create the tools they use to work better for them.
In this guest post, Kwindla Kramer of Daily.co, a one-click video calling provider, explains how they built a new app for the Intercom App Store to give sales and support teams instant video calls in the Intercom Messenger.
For the past few years, our team at Daily.co have been working hard to empower sales and support teams to ace every customer interaction by building one-click video calling. No complex sign up forms, no download experience. Users just click once, and start a video call right away.
So when Intercom announced their new app store with the ability to build your own Messenger apps, we saw it as the perfect opportunity to open up an entirely new distribution channel and give sales and support teams video calls in one, easy-to-access location – the Messenger. No more super long messages that take forever to write. Just one click and you would be able to deliver precise, fast and human communication to your customers and prospects.
Additionally, Intercom has a large audience, some of who know us, some of who don’t. With this app, we could access a new audience to make them aware of Daily.co and the value of our service, and ensure that’s embedded within a service they already know.
Our first step towards building an app was to explore the Messenger APIs and developer documentation. Based on the info provided, we knew we’d be able to build a simple Messenger integration where the video call opens in a new web browser tab. But we knew this wasn’t the best experience we could build, based on user feedback we had received. When video calls open in a separate tab, users often waste time switching between tabs, copying and pasting links, or worst of all, losing out on sales and support opportunities.
If we truly wanted to make video calls as simple as possible for our users, we wanted to build an even deeper integration – one that would actually embed the video chat right inside the Messenger. So why not put the live video call in the same little piece of well-designed, familiar real estate sales and support teams are using all day every day?
The flexibility of the Intercom platform
So we set out to build a quick proof of concept. At this stage, our video call in the Messenger idea was still a pipedream. We just thought it would be great to show the Intercom R&D team what the long-term possibilities might be for the integration of real-time video and screen sharing into Messenger.
But turning our idea from proof of concept to reality turned out to be a lot easier than anticipated.
From the very first conversation with the Intercom team, it was clear that the Intercom platform had the capabilities (powerful APIs, free developer workspaces, etc) we needed and building our ideal app would be a fast and straightforward process. The Intercom team were accessible, took the time to understand what we were trying to do and actually shipped additions to the Messenger framework to support our needs, faster than we could take advantage of the changes. As a startup with some fairly complicated APIs to support ourselves, we know this type of support doesn’t come easy, so we were thrilled to have such a productive (and efficient) back-and-forth.
As we were building a more high-fidelity version of the app, the Messenger developer environment meant that we could test the tool internally while also iterating on what we built. This was paramount to building the initial Daily.co app for Messenger and really helped to speed up our cadence. The ability to build quickly and experiment aligns with our own approach to building product – getting to market rapidly, learning and iterating.
From pipedream to reality
The end result is that you can now invite anyone you are chatting within the Intercom Messenger to join a video call, either inside the Messenger window or in a new browser tab. No account needed, no downloads. If the person prefers to call you on the phone, they can use a dial-in number (the dial-in audio is routed into the video call). You can screen share. And you can invite multiple people to join the call, as needed. Here’s what the finished product looks like:
Since launch, we’ve been overwhelmed with the positive feedback on our app. On Product Hunt, it got almost 350 upvotes from a pretty demanding community of early adopters. We’ve also received lots of interesting questions that point to new use cases we hadn’t even thought of, unlocking a world of possibilities for our customers and Intercom’s.
Our next big goal is to support live video inside the Messenger on more platforms. We fully expect to have more questions and requests for the Intercom team as we finish up work on these additional platforms, but based on our experience of working with them so far, we can’t wait to start working with them again.
If you’re interested in trying the app yourself, head this way and install it in your own messenger.
If Daily.co’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!
To get started, check out our developer docs. We can’t wait to see what you build.