Each month, John Bowman picks a new cool piece of technology that helps Customer Success Managers be more productive. We call it “Apps For Success” and in this review (#11) he takes a closer look at Intercom.
A lot of attention is paid to the channel and timing of messages to the customers, but this week we are going to show you a tool that will help make your customer communications more personal, intimate, and fun: Intercom!
You probably use all of the normal channels for customer communication. By normal, I mean email, chat, phone, etc.
Intercom specifically focuses on email and chat. And, while Intercom recently created an apps marketplace which would enable you to call or video chat customers directly from its messenger, we won’t be diving too deep into those capabilities.
Customer communication can generally be broken into two types: Proactive and Reactive.
Proactive communication encapsulates everything you do to reach out to customers. It can be event-based messages for when the customer does a specific action in app, or time-based after a certain amount of time has elapsed or part of a campaign to drive a user to an action.
Think of the Proactive messages as more relevant to Customer Success, or Marketing, or Sales.
The Reactive communication is generally in response to Support queries. The customer has encountered some sort of break/fix scenario and needs your help to resolve the issue.
Both of these categories of messages can be handled by Intercom to give you one true source of customer communication.
Intercom is a tool that can be used by Marketing, Sales, Success, and Support to give customers a unified journey over their lifetime with your company.
Intercom helps with all the above and it does it in an intimate and, dare I say, cool way. As I mention in the video, we use Intercom for all of our customer-facing communications and we love it!
[Standard disclaimer here. I own no part of any of the productivity apps for Customer Success Managers I’ll be reviewing in this column. The opinions contained in this review are mine and mine alone. SuccessHACKER is kind enough to lend me their microphone. If you happen to disagree, leave a comment and let me know! I love a good spirited debate.]
On to the app.
What do you like best?
Intercom is an end-to-end solution for your customer messaging needs. You can use it to fill your top of funnel with Marketing campaigns, convert those leads into customers with Sales person specific campaigns and interactions, help the customer to get setup using Success specific messagings and interactions, and Support the customer for their entire lifecycle.
We’ve been an Intercom customer for 3 years. In those 3 years, the company has been constantly innovating and making our interactions with our customers easier. It constantly ships new features and products that we’ve found extremely useful.
For example, my new favorite product is Answer Bot.
We use Answer Bot to reduce the amount of support queries our support team needs to answer because it uses machine learning to give the customer the answer they seek without needing to talk to a human. With some training, we’ve successfully diverted ~20% of our support queries on average.
I don’t know how much this matters to you but, Intercom is also “cool.” It’s become part of our brand with our customers. We often have .gif battles with some of our favorite customers and share the customer wins in Slack. Our customers love the ease of communication and the integration with our Knowledge Base.
One of our values for our customer-facing teams is “Be Human.” Intercom helps us to be more human in our interactions with our customers because we can use emoji and gifs which have been proven to aid communication.
There are loads more tools and integrations on the Intercom app store so you can see if it integrates with apps and systems you already use or may want to add to your stack.
What do you dislike?
Intercom’s reports sometimes leave something to be desired. I often find myself taking bits and pieces from different reports to get the overview I’m looking for. The data is there, it’s just not always grouped in the manner I want.
Similarly, their campaigns could use a flow chart-like interface so that you can better visualize how users are transitioning from message to message or skipping over entire segments of a campaign due to not matching the trigger criteria.
Also, Intercom has been raising prices. If the prices continue to rise, some startups could be priced out of it. However, they have an early-stage startup pricing program that may help many startups with this issue.
What business problems does the product solve? What benefits have you realized?
Intercom makes communicating with your customers fun, intimate, and personal. More importantly, if you can get the buy in across other functional teams, you can use Intercom as the one true source for customer communication.
I really can’t recommend Intercom enough. There is a reason I choose it 3 years ago and continually renew our contracts.
Intercom’s support and product are top notch.
All customer-facing teams at your company can use Intercom to create a unified customer journey and it can help to make your company “cool” in your customer’s eyes. That type of emotional loyalty is hard to put a price tag on. As a result, you should give Intercom a shot!
About the Author
John Bowman, Esq., is the Director of Customer Success at Jetpack Workflow. He is a rising star in the Customer Success community, leading the The Pittsburgh Customer Success Meetup and the Pittsburgh Gainsight Pulse chapter, as well as moderating the Customer Success Subreddit. John utilizes his 10+ years of professional experience to focus organizations on one goal: the customer's desired outcome.