We’ve just wrapped up another edition of New at Intercom to share our fall 2022 product launch with everyone. Meet the five brand-new product innovations that will drive up customer engagement this fall – including our biggest messenger update yet.
The last year hasn’t been easy. The industry landscape is changing, the prospects of a global recession are ever-present, and everyone is struggling to get leaner, reduce costs, increase efficiency, and increase customer satisfaction and retention. Now more than ever, businesses need to build strong, long-lasting relationships with their customers to thrive.
We’ve heard you loud and clear – our customers’ feedback and partnership was our biggest driving force behind today’s product announcements. For the past year, our product and engineering teams have been building game-changing features that will help you manage inbound support volume, make your work faster and easier, provide a high-quality customer experience, and help your customers get the most out of your product. And if you ask us, the answer to these challenges is in-product communication.
“Intercom customers report 31% higher engagement, 22% higher activation, and 21% higher retention after implementing Intercom for customer engagement”
In this New at Intercom, Paul Adams, our Chief Product Officer here at Intercom, guides you through our newest, next-generation features and in-product innovations, and explores the challenges and solutions behind engaging more effectively with your customers and creating a more holistic, personalized customer experience. To help Paul show these products in action, we’ve enlisted Mathew Cropper, our Group Product Manager, Josh Dorrell, our Product Designer, and Charlotte Sferruzza, our Senior Product Designer. In case you weren’t present, read on to discover the biggest highlights from the event:
- We’ve completely redesigned our in-product messenger to be fully customizable and personalized to enhance the brand and the customer experience;
- We’ve released a messenger-first ticket solution to handle complex queries in-product in a transparent, efficient, and quicker way that delivers a much superior experience to email;
- We’re introducing a new visual, configurable bot builder to make it easier to set up and manage even the most complex bots;
- We’ve developed a new checklist feature that increases customer activation and will help you drive deeper product usage;
- And finally, we’ve created a new tooltips feature so customers to help your customers get the most out of every feature in your product.
That’s just a quick peek – watch the full recording or read through the event transcript to experience New at Intercom and catch up on all the major announcements and innovations that were shared at our latest virtual event.
What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the event.
Paul Adams: Hey, everybody. Welcome to New at Intercom, coming to you from the Intercom R&D headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. Thank you for joining us today. I’m Paul Adams, our Chief Product Officer here at Intercom.
We’re excited to share five brand-new product announcements with you today. First, though, a few quick housekeeping items. After this keynote, you’ll have two great sessions focused on our Support and Engage solutions where our product experts will do a deep dive into what is available for you today, so I encourage you to stick around.
As we dive into our announcements, questions will come up, so please drop them in the live chat on the right-hand side of the screen, and we’ll answer as we go. Third, if you need help at any point, just click on the help tab, where you’ll find FAQs or can chat with a member of our team. And finally, all sessions will be recorded and sent to you following the event. So today, as I said, we’re announcing five new product innovations.
- First, a completely redesigned Messenger inspired and guided by our customer’s feedback, unlike anything our industry has seen before.
- Second, a powerful next-generation, messenger-first ticket solution, one of our biggest customer requests, and designed in partnership with those customers.
- Third, a new visual bot builder. The most powerful and configurable in the market with the best user experience, making it the easiest to learn and use, which we know is a big customer priority.
- Fourth, a new checklist feature that increases your customer activation and will help you drive deeper product usage, leading to increased customer value and retention.
And finally, a new tooltips feature – our first ever customer-initiated message type. This will open up huge new possibilities in how you engage with and support your customers.
Everything we’re announcing today is on our existing pricing plans. There are no additional charges. Before we dive into these new product updates and how you can use them, I want to set the stage and talk about why we built them and why we think they matter.
The future is in-product communication
Paul Adams: The market is changing, it’s unstable, and we’re all unsure what the next 12 months will hold. Will things continue as they are? Will the economy recover? Are we headed toward a global recession? In such uncertain times, consumers and businesses tend to look closely at everything they’re using and spending. We know that the decision to expand, churn, or consolidate your product is one made on the strength of the relationship between you and your customers and how fully engaged they are with your product. To that end, engaging with your customers and building strong, long-lasting relationships with them is paramount. Businesses that treat their customers transactionally will struggle.
When we talk to you, our customers, we hear you talk about the same challenges across B2B and B2C companies and industries. We hear that you need to decrease costs, increase customer satisfaction, and increase customer engagement so that you can increase customer retention and thrive in these challenging times.
“Intercom customers typically see a 31% increase in engagement after implementing in-product messages”
To do all of this, you’ve told us you need four important things. You need modern efficient tools to make your work faster and easier. You need to be able to manage inbound support volume, helping your customers find what they need without expensive human intervention as often as possible. And yet, you need to provide a high-quality customer experience to increase customer satisfaction with faster response times and quicker resolutions. And finally, you need the tools to drive deeper usage and to help your customers get the most out of your product. We believe the answer to these challenges is much better customer communication and the tools to make that easy. That’s what today’s announcements are all about.
When we think about better customer communication, we think a lot about where and when that communication takes place. At Intercom, we believe that, in most cases, the best channel to communicate with your customers is through your product. Messaging has taken over our personal communication, and now we’re seeing in-product messaging taking over in business from phone and email. These other channels will not disappear, of course – they’ll be important for different specific use cases. But we believe that over the next few years, in-product messaging will become the primary customer communication channel. Whether your product is a website, an app, or a mobile app, there are four things that make the in-product channel the best channel.
“Your product is the only channel that you truly own. It’s the only channel that you have full control over the experience”
First, if you’re trying to engage your customer, informing them of something new, or trying to persuade them to take an action, the best and easiest place to do that is when they’re in the product itself, as this is where they’re most receptive to hearing from you. It just makes sense, and so, unsurprisingly, it works. In-product communication sees three to four times the engagement than other channels like email, and Intercom customers typically see a 31% increase in engagement after implementing in-product messages.
Second, when a customer has a question, most of these questions arise when they’re using your product, so the best place to answer them is right there and then. This often unblocks them at the moment to go on and purchase or deepen their usage. Contrast that with them waiting an unbounded amount of time for an email reply or for the phone to pick up.
Third, your product is the only channel that you truly own. It’s the only channel that you have full control over the experience. As customer expectations of the service you provide rise and rise, you need to design the experience yourself to match their expectations and keep customers engaged and happy.
And fourth, in-product messaging is increasingly customers’ preferred channel. They expect you to be present, available, and transparent right there in the product. They expect immediate answers from online businesses and don’t want to be disruptively interrupted in other channels. So whilst we believe other channels matter – this year alone, we launched WhatsApp, SMS, and Instagram –, and email and phone are not going away anytime soon, we believe that the best way to communicate with customers most of the time is in your product.
Paul Adams: We know many of you are on this exciting journey with us of moving to in-product as your primary channel. However, we’ve also heard from you about five significant barriers to making that leap fully, making in-product your primary channel, deploying it to more parts of your product and more of your customer base. And these five barriers are what we’re hoping to solve for you today.
The first barrier is a lack of customization and configuration. The messenger you use shouldn’t feel tacked on – it should feel like a native part of your product experience and be fully customized to every individual customer. Current tools haven’t let you do that – until today. We know that how you speak to your customers is a part of your brand, so we’re launching a brand new, 100% customizable and configurable messenger that’s indistinguishable from your product’s brand, no matter what that brand is.
“We know from talking to you that automation is a critical part of your future, but anything more than a few simple rules quickly turns into a nightmare to set up and manage”
The second barrier to investing more in the in-product channel is handling complex queries. Most modern businesses are now using live chat and bots in their product to provide better customer support, and they’re seeing higher engagement and satisfaction. However, when a customer query is complex and requires multiple people and more time to resolve, businesses need to revert back to email, which is not a channel that customers prefer. Today we’re changing that by launching the world’s only messenger-first ticketing solution.
The third is bot setup and management. We know that you need in-product communication to be able to scale and, therefore, need to set up different bots that can provide a great customer experience without needing human agents on live chat. We know from talking to you that automation is a critical part of your future, but anything more than a few simple rules quickly turns into a nightmare to set up and manage. You want easier ways to set more bots and more powerful bots live. Today we’re solving that with a completely new visual bot builder.
“The product and the engineering team often can’t prioritize building custom flows, so it falls to the support or sales team to manually handhold customers through the basics, which is expensive and time-consuming”
The fourth barrier is a need for persistent yet non-disruptive, in-product messaging. You told us you wanted a way to message your customers persistently but in a way that wasn’t disruptive, a way to encourage customers to consume and act on information at the time that’s best for them. So we’ve built tooltips, the latest way to message your customers in your product but in a way that feels native and is user-initiated.
The final barrier is helping customers understand the next action they need to take, leading them to customer success and activation. Helping customers understand the next action they need to take to get success with your product can be hard. The product and the engineering team often can’t prioritize building custom flows, so it falls to the support or sales team to manually handhold customers through the basics, which is expensive and time-consuming. Today we’re launching checklists, a simple no-code way to guide your users through a series of tasks.
Okay, let’s go to these new products one by one and show you how they work.
Brand new messenger for more customization
Paul Adams: Our first product announcement today is a complete redesign of our messenger. 11 years ago, we pioneered in-product messaging and have led the industry in bringing to market new and better messengers to communicate with your customers in your product. And since then, our customers have sent 15 billion in-app messages and handled one billion messenger conversations. Pretty remarkable.
We’ve also seen many other messengers enter the market, including somewhat new ideas on top of what we started. Today, most businesses have some form of messenger on their site. It’s become a basic customer expectation, but most messengers are limited to live chat and simple bot automation. That’s only scratching the surface of what’s possible. Using a messenger that can only do basic things is leading to inferior customer experiences.
We believe messengers can and should do so much more than live chat. They can be used to solve problems, engage customers, help them when they need it most, and act as a direct channel between your business and your customers. There is a huge potential for businesses to increase customer satisfaction while significantly lowering business costs by using a best-in-class messenger.
Over the past few years, we have heard clear feedback from customers who want to do more with the in-product messenger channel. Businesses need much better customization configuration, so the messenger feels like a native part of their product, something that enhances their brand and customer experience. They need the messenger to support all types of customer communication, from resolving frequently asked questions with automation to delivering fully automated workflows and managing complex customer queries that require multiple internal teams to resolve.
“Everyone knows that how you communicate with your customers is a core part of your brand, and full visual customization means your messenger can match every aspect of it”
So, today we are launching a brand new messenger, redesigned and reimagined from the ground up to do all of those things and more. And here it is, the most advanced business messenger on the market. The first thing you’ll notice is that our advanced customization means that there are almost infinite possibilities. This is a whole new world to explore.
This messenger is not our new messenger – it’s your new messenger. It is fully customizable and easy to change with our no-code setup experience. Everyone knows that how you communicate with your customers is a core part of your brand, and full visual customization means your messenger can match every aspect of it. You can control colors, font, layout, and much more. We’ve also added full-size or compact options to better fit into your product.
It’s also fully configurable. You can set up the messenger for different parts of the customer journey and target different messenger configurations at different customer segments. For example, a different messenger for free users versus paid users or buyers versus sellers.
As well as customization and configurability, the messenger has had a full visual design refresh bringing it in line with the modern standards we expect from the best software we use. Our new messenger has different spaces you can set up and a new tab interface that you can see along the bottom of the messenger. Spaces help your customers navigate the messenger more easily and get the content they need faster. You can add, remove, and reorder spaces depending on what you want.
For example, we have a space called home that you see here. It acts as a customer hub with machine learning-powered content suggestions. We have a space called messages for all customer conversations and tickets. We have a space called help for customers to get help themselves where they can search and browse your whole knowledge base with machine learning-powered content suggestions. We have a space called news, which is the new feature we’re launching to help customers announce and tell their customers about new things, and we have a space called tasks for customers to take a next recommended action with our new checklist product we’re also launching today.
“Whether your customers prefer to search or browse your support content, they can do it all in the messenger. And by giving your articles our own tab, we’ve seen article view rates increase by over 30%”
Configuring spaces can enhance your customer’s experience by addressing their different needs directly in the messenger as they move across their journey from visiting your website to onboarding as a new user, engaging with your content, or seeking personalized support. This is a true customer hub right in your product. The limits are only what you can imagine. You can create fully bespoke messenger configurations for any way you want to segment your customer base. Our new messenger works across web, iOS, and Android, with our mobile SDK updates coming in the next few weeks.
On mobile, where screen space is more limited, we’ve added the ability to launch any space directly from any component in your app. This means that on specific screens, you can keep the messenger invisible but deep-link into any space from any part of the screen. For example, one tap to go straight to your help center, one tap to your list of messages, or one tap to start a new conversation. Over to Mat, who’s going to show you the new messenger in action.
Mathew Cropper: Thank you, Paul. Hello everyone, I’m very excited to show you some of the features we’re releasing today. Here’s an example of a business using our new messenger. The first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful design of the messenger. It loads lightning fast, looks modern, and can be customized to match your brand.
“Home acts as a hub for all the content you want to get in front of your customers, and it’s totally configurable”
Here, we’ve got a really nice gradient header using different shades of Exemplary Bank’s brand green with an accent color for the buttons, all chosen to complement the website. It’s not just the appearance you can change – you can also configure what content you want to display. This messenger has five spaces that show as tabs at the bottom of the messenger on the web: home, help, messages, news, and tasks. You can even have different configurations for your website visitors or product users, which lets you tailor the experience depending on your goal – to support your customers, onboard them, convert a lead, or engage them with your product.
Home acts as a hub for all the content you want to get in front of your customers, and it’s totally configurable. You might want to highlight your latest content or an upcoming event, use apps to let people book appointments, or even see service status. We’ve also updated how article suggestions work. These are now powered by machine learning and Intercom’s data platform, helping your customers get the support they need quickly based on their own unique context. Let’s look at the other improvements in this update that are designed to help your customers find answers.
This is the help tab. Whether your customers prefer to search or browse your support content, they can do it all in the messenger. And by giving your articles our own tab, we’ve seen article view rates increase by over 30%. The great thing about having articles in a context like this is that people can refer to them in the exact part of your product where they need it. Let’s say I want to learn how to activate my card. Let’s do a quick search. The messenger opens to an expanded view that makes it easy to read. I can shrink down, giving more space to interact with Exemplary Bank’s app if I need to. And if I don’t find the answer I need, I can always get in touch. I can start a conversation from here, which can be picked up by a resolution bot or Exemplary Bank’s team, or head to the messages tab. This is the home for all of the messages you’ve exchanged. Read old conversations, see recent updates, and start a new one all in one place. You can even prompt people to first look at your articles before starting a conversation.
You can highlight important announcements and product updates using a new feature we’re calling news. It gets its own tab in the messenger, as well as a card at home. News is a highly-targeted, persistent way to engage your customers. Create different news feeds for different audiences, share content across many news feeds and reuse news in your outbound post messages as embedded content. News items have their own URL, so you can link to them from anywhere. We’ll show reporting on how many views, click-throughs, and reactions your news items get. And when you open a news item, it opens to a beautiful expanded view, just like articles.
The final tab is called tasks, where you can create checklists that guide and motivate your customers to get set up and start seeing value in your product fast. Checklists guide your customers through a set of tasks right inside your product. And because checklists live right here in the messenger, they’re a persistent guide for your customers, outlining what to do next when they’re ready. Customers can manually mark items in the checklist as complete, or you can do that automatically when they complete an action in your product. I’m really excited about what having this in-context in your product will do for customer onboarding and engagement, and Paul will go into a lot more detail about the checklist later.
That’s what your customers see, so let’s see how you can set this up in Intercom. We’ve made these settings really easy to update, play with the layout, add content, change the styling to match your brand, and more. Here, you can see all the spaces that Exemplary Bank is showing in their messenger. We can turn them on or off, or reorder them from here.
“What you put in your product to communicate with your customers should feel native to your product, not something gray and boxy bolted on top”
I’m excited to show you the new options for styling your messenger, though. From the styling tab, you can set the colors for your brand and do a lot more to make the messenger feel like your own. Upload your logo, turn avatars off or on, and style the header and text of the messenger. Exemplary Bank is using a beautiful color gradient at the moment. What if they want to use an image as part of a new brand campaign? Easy. Upload an image like this and the preview updates to show you how it will look. I think this will look better without the fade, so let’s turn that off. Perfect.
As Paul already mentioned, there’s a beautiful mobile-first messenger experience for you to use in your mobile app. There are new ways for you to integrate and use its different parts, as well as lots of thoughtful user experience optimizations to make it feel natural to use.
There’s more to come soon, including a new compact messenger, dark mode, and richer visual customization. We’re also working on advanced audience targeting, filtering, and search features for message reporting and more. Back over to you, Paul.
Paul Adams: Thanks, Mat. As you can see, this is the only fully customizable, fully configurable messenger in the world. The only one that really feels like your own messenger. And we believe it will set a new standard for the fastest-growing customer communication channel.
We believe that what you put in your product to communicate with your customers should feel native to your product, not something gray and boxy bolted on top. Our new messenger’s been in beta for a while. We’ve already partnered with Intercom customers to envision how the new messenger could be customized for their brands. We’re going to be rolling out these advanced options to more customers in the coming weeks. Here are some great examples of what you can do:
- Guru’s messenger is fully reflective of its brand with four different spaces. It is powerfully set up to do self-serve support, human support, and announcements.
- Pitch’s messenger been deeply customized to match their unique brand. They have set up five spaces along with self-serve and human support, and it’s also set up to do onboarding and proactive support.
- Coda’s messenger is a complete customer engagement hub right within their product. It does self-serve and human support, onboarding announcements, and more, and it feels native with a dark mode that really matches their UI.
- Code for America has got a completely different visual style, which uses beautiful illustrations to creatively express their brand. This is designed for engagement, centralizing the key actions that are important to this nonprofit, like donating, volunteering, and joining their mailing list.
- Outschool has a bold and personal design that reflects their brand and product. It’s truly their messenger designed for their customers.
- Step, an exciting mobile banking product for teams, has a messenger with mobile-optimized design, customized to feel native to this modern consumer app.
- Rebag uses our new compact layout, which is coming soon. This messenger is designed to simply show the key support and engage content that this e-commerce website offers, displayed in a condensed minimal messenger which fits their brand.
We’re also building new messenger ROI reporting so you can see exactly what impact this channel is having on your business. I’m really excited about all we’ve built for our next-generation messenger. I’m even more excited to share that everything Mat just demoed is going to be included in all price plans. Starting today, you can opt into the new messenger for your web customers showing the new messenger spaces and the customization options that Mat showed. Just log into messenger settings in Intercom to get started. In the next few weeks, we’re releasing our mobile messenger and compact messenger. And later this year, we’re releasing additional advanced visual customization, which will let you fully customize your messenger similar to the examples we’ve seen earlier.
A ticketing solution for a more holistic experience
Paul Adams: Our next big product announcement is that we’re launching a new tickets product – the world’s only messenger-first ticketing solution. We believe this is the future of support help desks, delivering a much superior experience to email-only ticketing.
First, let’s take a step back. When it comes to questions customers have, there’s one thing common to almost all businesses. Some questions are straightforward to answer and some are complex to answer. Straightforward ones being increasingly automated, which is better for the customer and the business. The complex ones often need multiple people, multiple teams, and time to fully answer them. The industry standard solution for these questions is tickets.
“Today’s standard ticketing solution is based on how things worked before the internet”
Tickets have been one of our most common customer requests. Many of our customers love Intercom for automation and live chat but wanted it to be able to better handle complex customer queries. When we set out to build tickets in Intercom, we studied the history and the current product landscape. Ticketing originated with physical tickets that customers would get as a receipt that their problem is being tracked and worked on. If they came back to the physical store to get an update, the ticket receipt could be used as a reference. Internally, in the business, the ticket would get passed on from person to person to fully resolve a customer question or request.
With the emergence of the internet 10 or 15 years ago, this pattern evolved and moved online. Today’s standard ticketing solution is based on how things worked before the internet. It often starts with a form that a customer fills out and an email receipt, and then the emails go back and forth to gather more information and work the problem out. This setup works more or less, but it doesn’t feel like a great customer experience. It’s often slow, it feels disjointed, and it’s opaque for the customer, who often doesn’t know what is going on. Today’s form and email-based ticketing solutions have five problems.
What would tickets work like if they were invented today with modern technology and current consumer behavior patterns?
Number one, they’re impersonal, which pulls down customer satisfaction. Two, they lack any way for a customer to solve their problem themselves, which increases inbound support volume. Three, they are slow. Gathering information from the customer is time-consuming and inefficient, with a back-and-forth email exchange between customer and agent, which significantly lengthens resolution time. Four, customers can’t check the status of their ticket without asking an agent, which means frustrated customers and low-value queries for agents to deal with, and duplicate requests as customers submit new tickets to ask about their existing ticket. And five, customers can’t be proactively reached with an update through fast communication channels like in-app messaging and mobile push notifications.
What would tickets work like if they were invented today with modern technology and current consumer behavior patterns? Our new next-generation ticket solution works in industry-standard channels like email, but it is made for the future of support, which will take place in the customer-preferred messenger. This flexibility allows you to meet your customers and your team in the way they expect and prefer to communicate. With tickets now a part of the Intercom support solution, you can use the messenger for all customer questions. No more hopping between channels and tools in your tech stack, and no more requests for status updates. No matter what your customer needs, you can give them a personal, modern, rich experience that drives up their happiness, engagement, and satisfaction.
Tickets is built into our new messenger, and as you’d expect by now, it’s fully configurable. With messenger-first tickets, you can use bots to capture structured data, saving your agents’ time and removing back-and-forth steps to collect information. You can clearly set customer expectations with live updates showing them how their ticket is progressing through a transparent personal experience, reducing needless new inbound queries. You can send them proactive notifications to keep them up to date and let them know when you need further information from them, and you can fall back to email if necessary. Everything works seamlessly.
Our messenger-first ticketing is a native part of our new next-generation inbox that we launched in Q1 this year. Looping in teammates, changing the status of tickets, and adding details is lightning-fast with our zero latency backend, easy to pick up and use with our modern consumer-grade UX, and really efficient with our keyboard-first experience. Over to Josh to show you how Intercom tickets works in action.
“If I ever want to check on the status of my request, I can come back to the ticket card in the Messenger”
Josh Dorrell: Thanks, Paul. I’m going to show you the basics of how tickets are created and managed with Intercom. Let’s start by looking at what a customer sees when they create a ticket. Imagine I’m a customer of Exemplary Bank and I need to get in touch with customer support to request a transfer limit increase on my account.
I’d open up the messenger, start a new conversation, and select the correct option from this inbound custom bot. Until today, selecting this option would transfer this conversation directly to a support agent, who’d need to collect more information from me before being able to process my request. And if this agent isn’t available straight away, I’m going to have to wait a while before I even get a response.
But as of today, with Intercom tickets, I can be asked to complete a ticket form which collects all the information needed to process the request without any initial involvement from an agent. Once submitted, I’m presented with a digital ticket receipt directly in the conversation. This is also sent via email, which gives me reassurance that my request is being captured and will be worked on. If I ever want to check on the status of my request, I can come back to the ticket card in the messenger. Now, let’s switch over to look at the bank’s experience.
“Now, the bank has a happy customer who was kept informed of progress every step of the way, whilst the bank support team has been able to handle the process far more efficiently. Win-win”
Here, I am a member of the bank’s customer support team in the Intercom inbox that you already know and use. We’ve designed tickets to fit perfectly into your existing workflows. Now notice that Intercom has already done a bunch of work for me here. The ticket I just created is coming at the top of this new ticket view and has been automatically assigned to a team responsible for handling transfer limit requests. The agent can also switch to table mode to see and sort them by attributes, making them extremely efficient to prioritize and manage. When an agent picks this up, they can change the status to in progress. This will update the status of the ticket for the end user in the messenger and will send them an email if they’re offline.
Now, because the agent has all the information they need, they can quickly progress the request internally. And when they’ve finished their work, they can mark the ticket as resolved, which will update the end user. Now, the bank has a happy customer who was kept informed of progress every step of the way, whilst the bank support team has been able to handle the process far more efficiently. Win-win.
This new workflow with bots and ticket forms is just one way you can use tickets, and it’s only scratching the surface of what’s possible. I’m going to show you three more quick-fire examples of how tickets can be created. So first, let’s look at composing a new ticket. Tickets don’t just have to come from customer conversations. Support agents can also create tickets on behalf of customers without any inbound conversation. For example, imagine a customer has called up requesting an account closure. Support agents can create a ticket for this themselves. They can choose what ticket they want from this list and then fill out this custom form to create a new ticket.
Next, we’ve got a customer support conversation that has come in about possible fraudulent activity. The agent wants to keep supporting the customer, whilst the back office team investigates the customer’s problem. The support agent can create a child ticket for this. They select suspected fraud, fill out the form, and create the ticket. This means the support agent can keep chatting with the customer while tracking the progress the fraud team is making on the underlying issue.
“They can be created by customers in the messenger, by CS reps in the inbox, as children of conversations, and from existing conversations. But that’s just the beginning”
Agents can also convert existing conversations into tickets if the customer problem is complex and needs to be worked on asynchronously. For example, a customer support conversation comes in with feedback about a problem with the bank’s app. The CS rep can thank the customer for their feedback and convert the conversation to a ticket. They hit convert to ticket, select customer feedback, then enter any details required. The ticket can then be triaged by a team who handles customer feedback, and any updates on a fix for the problem can be communicated to the customer at a later stage.
That’s the basics of how tickets work. They can be created by customers in the messenger, by CS reps in the inbox, as children of conversations, and from existing conversations. But that’s just the beginning. Like everything with Intercom, tickets are fully customizable, enabling you to create ticket types and workflows that are fully unique to your business. That’s it for me. Back over to Paul.
Paul Adams: Thanks, Josh. We have heavily involved our customers in developing our new tickets product. Their feedback has been invaluable as we shape the solution, and some are seeing some excellent results already.
For example, this comment from Eric at Copper, “When an agent or a bot converts a live chat to a ticket in Intercom, it’s really clear to the end user that their request has been logged and the conversation has moved to an asynchronous experience. We were using Intercom for chat and Zendesk for ticketing, but now all of our support requests are in Intercom. We don’t have to pay for two systems anymore, and our support teams don’t waste time switching between two tools.” That’s exactly the impact we’re hoping to make with tickets for our customers.
Our new ticket solution’s available at no extra cost to all our customers on all support price plans from today.
Visual bot builder for managing bots easily
Paul Adams: Our next new product announcement is our visual bot builder, a completely new way to set up and manage bot interactions from the simple to the very complex. This is a significant step forward in the ability to increase the number of customer questions that can be successfully answered without needing a human agent. This gives your customers faster answers, delivering higher satisfaction while reducing inbound volume to your support team.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen bots move from something promising but unproven to something that delivers clear business results. Since we first launched bots in Intercom in 2017, our customers have fired 2.3 billion bots. What’s possible with machine learning has made unprecedented progress in recent years, and it’s now clear that bots are no longer a niche in a business’s cluster communication and customer support strategy – they are central.
“Looking at the product landscape today, the challenge with bots, given that they’re still new, especially at any serious scale, is that they can be hard to understand, set up, and manage”
We believe that in the foreseeable future, the majority of customer questions will be answered by customers on their own, whether through proactive, targeted, in-product messaging; through machine learning-powered content suggestions in the messenger; by customer searching content in the messenger themselves and finding their own answers; or through bots automation and a new, powerful, end-to-end customer workflows with apps and custom objects in the Intercom messenger. Many of our customers agree that the future is more automation and less direct human support.
Looking at the product landscape today, the challenge with bots, given that they’re still new, especially at any serious scale, is that they can be hard to understand, set up, and manage. We consistently hear from our customers that they feel like they’re scratching the surface with bots and automation and that they want to do much, much more.
Over the past two years, we’ve been busy making the bots much more powerful, and with all that extra power, we realized that we needed to make them easier to build and manage. And so, we’ve redesigned our bot creation and management workflows from the ground up, creating a no-code drag-and-drop interface that is easy to learn and use.
“Our new bot builder allows you to visualize all the content of your bot at a glance – you can easily follow each path of your bot to understand what your customers will experience when they interact with it”
Our new visual bot builder also allows businesses to link bots together, something no other product can do, as well as add conditional branching. Having everything in one visual canvas makes it easier to manage everything as you can see it all together in one view. You can also bring third-party data into the visual bot builder, making it really easy to manage your customer experience. With our new visual bot builder and added features, our bot solutions are now the most configurable in the world. Let’s look at it in action. Over to Charlotte.
Charlotte Sferruzza: Thanks, Paul. Let’s have a look at how our new visual bot builder makes it easy to develop your automation strategy. Our new bot builder allows you to visualize all the content of your bot at a glance – you can easily follow each path of your bot to understand what your customers will experience when they interact with it. It also makes it much easier to edit and improve your bots.
Let’s assume I’m a customer support specialist at Exemplary Bank. I’ve created this custom bot that greets customers and helps them check their balance when they open the messenger. I know we’ve been getting quite a few requests to open new accounts, so rather than those conversations going to our support team, I want to set up this bot to handle these queries automatically or assign them to our new business accounts team.
Currently, this bot offers customers two options, and I’m going to add a third one. It’s easy to add a new reply button here with the option to open a new account. I can reorder these buttons so that they make sense to my customers. Following this new path, I’m going to add a message to check which type of account they would like to open. I want to add multiple options to give my customers the correct instructions based on the account they want to open, so I’m adding one button for personal accounts and one for business accounts. I also want to provide a third option in case my customer is unsure of the type of account they want to open.
“My bot can now handle a large part of our new account requests and assign the rest of these conversations to our dedicated sales team”
If a customer selects a personal account, I want to direct them to our mobile app so they can open an account directly. I’m adding a new message here and I can add a link so that they can download the app from the bot. If a customer wants to open a business account, they need to talk to our new business accounts team. My bot can assign a conversation to this team so that customers can talk to someone to open a new account right away. If customers don’t know which account they’d like to open, I can direct them to this path that’s already part of my bot. The bot will send them an article about our different account types, and they can ask questions that will be automatically handled by a resolution bot. I can just connect my button to this path.
Before I set it live, I’m going to preview it to make sure it works well. I can see the new option I just added. I can see that the bot is delivering the right messages at the right time. If there are any issues, our new bot builder makes it easy to troubleshoot and fix problems in your bot. My bot can now handle a large part of our new account requests and assign the rest of these conversations to our dedicated sales team, which means our support team has more bandwidth to focus on VIP customers. We’re so excited for you to start using our new visual bot builder to develop your automation strategy. And with that, I will hand it back to Paul.
Paul Adams: Thanks, Charlotte. Existing bot customers are able to opt into the new visual bot builder today at no extra cost, but we’re going to be rolling it out to everyone by the end of the year.
Checklists to promote better usage of your product
Paul Adams: Earlier, I mentioned our new checklist feature in our messenger, which is our fourth product announcement today. The value of checklists is obvious. Often, the user of your product, especially newer users, don’t know what to do next to get started. They get stuck in your product and leave, and it’s hard and expensive to try and get them back. Your team likely knows the set of steps that your customers must take to get set up successfully, but it’s challenging to communicate these steps to your customers in a structured, action-oriented way. Checklists fix this by guiding and motivating them to complete the next most important action you want them to take and the actions they should take thereafter. Customers can see what to do next and how long it will take them.
“Because checklists live in the messenger, they serve as a persistent guidepost for your customers to always know how to get more value out of your product”
Here, you can see three different examples configured in the messenger for how each customer wanted their experience to feel. For example, the customer on the right wanted checklists to be the default home screen when the messenger is opened. Because checklists live in the messenger, they serve as a persistent guidepost for your customers to always know how to get more value out of your product.
Here, you can see I’ve received an onboarding checklist as a new customer of Exemplary Bank with a list of tasks I need to complete. As I click on each task, I can learn more about what I need to do and take the action right there. The first step is to explore my account, so I’m going to click this button to take the tour. This brings me through a simple Intercom product tour that highlights some of the key features of my account. Once I complete the tour, that step is automatically marked as complete and I can see what I need to do next. I also see my progress increase, which motivates me to keep going. The next step invites me to learn how to keep my account secure. Clicking on the button here opens up an article directly in the messenger with all the context I need. Once I’ve read the article, I can navigate back to the checklist and mark the step as completed. Easy. Then I go to the next step, and that’s how it works.
“With checklists, you can create tasks that launch a product tour or open an article or direct users to a specific place in your product”
You can create checklists to help onboard new customers like this one or you can create checklists that prompt existing customers to do new things in the product to increase their engagement. Again, everything is customizable and configurable. Different checklists for different segments of your customer base.
The power of checklists lies in the connection to the rest of Intercom. With checklists, you can create tasks that launch a product tour or open an article or direct users to a specific place in your product. And because checklists live within your product, the tasks can auto-resolve based on customer data you’re tracking in Intercom. This makes it incredibly quick and easy for your customers to start seeing the value of taking action in your product.
We’re excited to invite you to register your interest in joining our checklist beta starting today. To do so, go to the outbound section of the Intercom app, drop us a request by clicking on the sign up for checklist beta button, and we’ll be in touch.
Tooltips for contextual, non-disruptive information
Paul Adams: Our fifth and final product announcement today is tooltips. Earlier, I said I believe the future of customer engagement and customer support involves automation and an in-product channel. Today, we are already seeing many of our customers use the in-product channel to drive engagement and deeper usage with their customers.
“Sometimes, you need something less disruptive and triggered by your user only when they need it”
Intercom customers report 31% higher engagement, 22% higher activation, and 21% higher retention after implementing Intercom for customer engagement. Over the past few years, we’ve evolved our in-product messaging options to cater to lots of different use cases. For example, chats for feedback, posts for one-time news and announcements, banners for persistent updates, and surveys to collect critical first-party data from customers directly. All these message types are controlled and triggered by the business. The message is targeted to a segment of customers, appears, is read by those customers, maybe actions are taken, and then it’s dismissed.
Sometimes, though, you need something less disruptive and triggered by your user only when they need it – your users are sent a message in your product, but they consume them at a time that makes the most sense for them. And when users consume messaging at the optimal time for them, they’re more likely to take the desired action. That’s why we built tooltips.
Tooltips are great for driving user engagement, but they’re also very powerful for providing proactive support, as tooltips can predict what users might need and answer their questions before they have asked them. This is a win-win – better for users as they get product value and answers more quickly and better for businesses because it increases customer satisfaction while keeping support costs down. Think of tooltips as an invisible layer of help for customers right in the place where they need it.
“Our drag-and-drop editor means you don’t need engineering to create experiences in your product that drive engagement among your customers or reduce inbound support volume”
Many businesses successfully use tooltip-style messages today, but they’re usually hand-coded by the product and engineering team. This is expensive, time-consuming, slow, and hard to keep up to date as the product evolves. To simply add, edit, or remove a tooltip means you’re fighting against other product improvements on the roadmap.
Intercom tooltips are built like all other Intercom messages, which means they can be set up, edited, and managed by anyone. No engineering skill is required. And our drag-and-drop editor means you don’t need engineering to create experiences in your product that drive engagement among your customers or reduce inbound support volume.
Maybe the biggest strength of tooltips is that they work with the whole Intercom system. You can create messages that trigger other content, including product tours, articles, or news items. You can configure tooltips so that a customer can do big things like solve your onboarding, product education, and activation challenges. Let’s see how it works.
“Tooltips can be used in lots of different ways; for example, to highlight something new”
Exemplary Bank’s support team knows that customers have a hard time understanding the difference between checking accounts and savings accounts. With tooltips, they have new ways to offer proactive support to help customers. Here are some simple contextual help messages embedded right in the product. Customers can get a little snippet on the difference between the accounts. Then, there are links with existing help articles to learn more if they need it, and the article appears right there with all the details.
That was a nice, simple example of proactive support, and one that can reduce inbound support questions. Tooltips can be used in lots of different ways; for example, to highlight something new. So let’s take a look over here.
Exemplary Bank clearly wants us to know about this new investment feature. It looks different than the last one because we give you lots of options out of the box for customization on how tooltips appear. This tooltip has been delivered to specific customers using powerful and personalized targeting. With Intercom, everything is connected, which is where the true power comes in. So, for example, here, you can use a tooltip to prompt a customer to launch a product tour.
Finally, one other example. Here is another quick little tooltip, fully customized, embedded on the link. And as with all our message types, we’ve great reporting on tooltips to give you insightful data on user engagement with these messages.
That’s just a quick look. Tooltips are currently in beta and available today for those with the product tours add-on.
A customer communication platform for the future
Paul Adams: Let’s recap and wrap up. Today, we announced the most configurable and customizable messenger on the market, capable of driving up customer engagement and reducing inbound support volume.
We announced a next-generation messenger first-ticket solution that provides a much superior customer experience – one that was imagined, designed, and built for 2020s.
We also announced the easiest and most configurable visual bot builder and management product out there. One that allows you to have many bots live and manage them with confidence.
We announced checklists, a powerful new tool for prompting your customers to take the next action and giving them everything they need to do it, whether that’s a product tour or a help article right there in the product.
And finally, tooltips. Our latest no-code, in-product message type allows you to reach your customers in a persistent yet non-disruptive way on their terms.
Today is an exciting day for us, but it’s also just one in our journey toward executing our strategy of building the best customer communications platform out there. One designed for 2020s
Everything we launched today is on our current pricing plans. If you are on those plans, the cost to you is $0. There are no separate charges.
Let me finish with some quick final thoughts. Today is an exciting day for us, but it’s also just one in our journey toward executing our strategy of building the best customer communications platform out there. One designed for 2020s. We believe that in modern companies, the roles of customer engagement and customer support are blurring. We see the rise of new types of teams like customer success, customer education and growth. We see established teams like sales and support doing new things. For example, support teams can now often help sell, and sales teams will often help answer their customers’ support questions.
Therefore, we believe the customer experience is best when there is one joined-up tool to manage it, from onboarding and activating new customers and setting them up for success to engaging existing customers to deepen their usage and increase the value they get from your product, to providing proactive support where customers get their answers in the moments their questions arise, to providing machine learning driven suggestions that mean customers can find the answers themselves or, if not, then having powerful bots and apps to help with that so that finally, your team is only dealing with high-value, complex queries.
We believe that the future of customer engagement support is a connected system like Intercom. When businesses invest in the full system, we believe most of their customer support questions can be answered without needing to reach a human agent because the questions arise in the product and in the medium the customers increasingly prefer: modern messaging.
“Everything we’ve built today is designed to help businesses navigate these times by delivering an excellent customer experience”
Today is a milestone for us because of the very significant up-leveling of the Intercom product. With our new messenger, tickets, visual bot builder, news, tooltips, and checklists, we believe we have the very best, most comprehensive, most configurable solution on the market for engaging and supporting your customers.
And to finish where I began, everything we’ve built today is designed to help businesses navigate these times by delivering an excellent customer experience. Messenger, tooltips, and checklists to increase engagement, visual bot builder and messenger-first tickets to get you faster first response times and thereby increase customer satisfaction, whilst helping you reduce your inbound support volume by providing great answers and experiences in the product itself, reducing your support costs.
Since the start of the year, we’ve also shipped over 100 other product updates. Some big things, like our keyboard-first inbox, our new surveys product, our new switch product, and custom objects and actions. We’ve been investing in making Intercom better at inter-operating with our customers’ tech stacks, and better at reporting and syncing with many smaller things that our customers needed to make Intercom work for them. We’ve much more to do. These products were inspired by and developed with our customers, so thank you for your feedback and partnership.
We’d love you all to try our new products and let us know how to make them better. Thanks for sharing your time with us today. Right after this, our product experts in our breakout sessions will go deep into the latest innovations and our Support and Engage solutions. Thank you.
To find out more about what happened at New at Intercom, visit our post-event page.