Use conversation topics, for the most consistent categorization of what your customers talk about, historically and into the future.

Let Intercom’s machine learning track and suggest conversation trends, then dive deep into exactly how your team handles each one. See customer satisfaction, response & resolution times, and filter or group other reports by topic.

What are conversation topics?

A conversation topic is a way for you to automatically categorize every conversation in your workspace.

It’s a conversation property, which is automatically applied to matching conversations based on key phrases you define. Conversation topics allow you to deeply understand your conversations, and how your team performs when handling different topics.

Unlike conversation tags, and custom conversation data, topics can be applied retroactively to your existing conversations, and require no manual input from your customers or team.

Tip: Learn more about the different ways to organize your conversations in this article.

Note: Conversation topics are only available on certain Intercom plans. See our plans and pricing here.

To see a visual breakdown of the topics your customers chat about, and new suggestions, go to Reports > Conversation topics:

👆This page shows which topics generate the most conversations, with the higher volume topics represented by larger circles.

Start with suggested topics

Intercom’s machine learning algorithm gives you a head start on topics to track, with suggestions presented under Conversation topics > Suggestions:

Note:

  • You’ll usually need several hundred conversations in Intercom before any topics will be suggested.

  • New suggestions are generated nightly.

  • You can also see these alongside existing topics with the "Show topics" toggle:

Suggestions are potential groupings of conversations identified by machine learning that share similar keyphrases. In this example, you can see the topic "TAG", based on the keyphrases:

  • Tags

  • Tagging tasks

  • Create tag

  • Tag projects

  • Tag reporting

For a deeper understanding of how your customers feel about these topics, enable “Show customer satisfaction” and see the average customer satisfaction for each topic:

Tip: Any areas in orange or red are towards the lower end of your CSAT scores.

Conversation volume is just one piece of the puzzle for your team. Next, switch to sorting by responsiveness instead of volume:

Now you’ll see your conversation topics on a scatter plot, with median time to close and median first response time on the Y and X axes.

This tells you what your customers are asking about, and what that means for your team.

For some quick efficiency gains, the conversation topics in this area are those with the quickest response time, and the quickest time to close:

Tip: Try covering them in Help Center articles, Resolution bot answers or macros.

And no matter which view you’re using, you can always see a combination of existing saved topics, and new suggestions with the toggle on the bottom left:

Below the chart, each suggestion also shows how the topic is trending against the previous period in a number of areas:

  • Total volume of conversations that match this topic.

  • Median first response time.

  • Median time to close.

  • Customer satisfaction rating.

Tip: Click the header of any of these columns to sort the list.

This lets you zoom in on areas where your team’s performance could be improved, with things like:

To save a suggestion as a topic, select it from the list, and click "+ Add to your topics":

Or select multiple and click “Merge suggestions”:

You’ll then see them in the list of saved topics, where you can also see the same metrics. 👌

To show the stats for a certain period of time just use the filter at the top of the page:

Note: You can also choose to exclude time spent in the Bot inbox from the data shown here:

Creating topics from scratch

To start tracking a topic that isn’t in your suggestions, just click "New topic":

Then, enter all the relevant words and phrases your customers use to talk about this topic and separate them by pressing enter.

How do keywords and phrases work?

  • Conversations match keywords and phrases with “Or” logic, so they only need to match one, not all to be included in the topic.

  • Individual words in a phrase will match if they are up to 3 words apart.
    For example: the phrase “tracking time” would match a conversation that contains the phrase “Tracking my work time”. (Word order is relevant)

  • Keywords are matched based on their root word, so “Planning” would match “Plan”, “Planner”, “Plans” etc.

Optionally, you can also add keywords to exclude certain conversations:

For further refinement, you can choose to include conversations where teammates used the keywords, or just conversations where users used them:

Pro tip: This is a handy way to measure how often a macro is used. Just pick a keyphrase from a macro and filter for teammates only. 👌

Finally, you can add any other conditions based on your conversation data, like this example which filters for certain “Subjects”:

You’ll immediately see conversations appearing so you can take a quick glance and ensure the right conversations matching the keywords and rules you’ve defined:

Finally, give your topic a title and save it:

This conversation topic will immediately be applied to all matching conversations, you’ll see it in the Inbox, and can utilize it as a property in your reports.

Dive deep on a topic

With topics tracked in Intercom, you can easily see how your team performs in certain areas at a glance, or you can open a topic to explore the specific conversations that match it. Just select any topic:

Here you’ll see a list of all the most recent conversations that match the topic, and you can open them up to see more:

If you find conversations that don’t match your topic as well as you’d hoped, you can always edit the topic to add or remove keywords:

Important: This will update any conversations that were historically included in that topic to ensure they still match.

Conversation topics in the inbox

As conversation topics are automatically applied to conversations (when they match the keywords and rules you’ve defined) you’ll see this reflected in the Inbox:

You have full control here, so if you’d like to remove a specific topic from a conversation, just click the "X". Or, click "+ Add topic" to add a topic manually:

Note:

  • This will not impact the keywords or definition for that topic.

  • Only saved topics are applied automatically, not suggestions.

Conversation topics in reports

Once you have defined conversation topics, you can use them to filter certain other standard reports:

Or use topics to group and filter your very own custom reports:

What’s next?

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