How we’re improving our support experience and customer engagement with Intercom

Story by Kaat Van de Vijver, Digital Marketing Manager at Railnova
Dec 15, 2016

At Railnova we strongly believe in technology with a human touch. We therefore try to incorporate this into everything we do and build.

The latest aspect of our own product we applied this principle to, is our customer support. We wanted to get closer to our clients and allow them to interact with us whenever they need us.

A first step was expanding our customer support team with the fantastic Karin. She’s the new customer’s voice within our company and offers our clients top-notch support. However, we soon felt that the support tool we were using did no longer enable us to deliver the added value we wanted to offer our clients.

As we set out to find a new support tool we defined a couple of key requirements: first of all, the tool should be able to grow with our needs. It should also enable us to send the right message to the right person at the right time, via the right channel. Lastly, we needed a tool that sees support as a human conversation, and not just a list of tickets to be handled.

Through fulfilling these requirements we hope to achieve the best Railnova experience for our clients. And the tool that we believe will help us achieve this goal is Intercom.

Why we switched to Intercom

We decided to go with Intercom because we felt it was the tool that would help us to boost both support and engagement the best. (Disclaimer: I used Intercom at my previous job — what can I say? I’m a fan! — which might have influenced our decision to eventually go with Intercom)

In terms of flexibility Intercom perfectly enables us to work in teams. We can easily set up team inboxes, assign conversations to team members, add internal notes for faster problem-solving etc.

On top of that clients can now contact us on the channel they feel most comfortable with, whether it’s a contact form, email or a chat message. It doesn’t matter if they’re behind their desk or on the road, we’re always at their disposal.

This also works the other way around: we can send them relevant messages on any channel, when it matters most (especially when they’re engaging with our product!). With Intercom we can set up marketing campaigns, adjust them when necessary, and perform a/b tests to see what works and what doesn’t.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to getting our clients started with our product. With Intercom, we can now create fully customised and automated onboarding campaigns so that clients only receive the messages that are relevant to them. We can choose to inform our clients about updates, important news, or interesting articles through email or in-app notifications, depending on their specific behaviour and profile.

We’re also able to establish a stronger personal connection: by just adding a profile picture clients already have the feeling that they’re talking to another human being and not to a robot.

Add this to the fact that we’re able to better understand the issues they’re experiencing by tracking their activity — and consequently offer them better support — and you’ve got a match made in heaven!

What we’re missing

The thing we do lack in Intercom are thorough analytics. We need to be able to send support overviews to our clients, but at this moment we’re not able export support reports directly from Intercom. However, using the Intercom APIs we were able to build an easy custom solution to extract the data we needed per company. This allows us to keep track of the number and the topics of support conversations and to perform a deeper analysis.

Another feature that we were missing when we first started looking into Intercom, was a knowledge base. With such a knowledge base we would be able to keep all onboarding and support related content on one accessible platform and create a seamless experience for our clients. Luckily for us, Intercom has just launched their “Educate” product, which was exactly what we were looking for.

The initial results

In the last 2 months we’ve tested Intercom mainly for support purposes. Already we’re receiving far more messages from clients than with the tool we used previously (Uservoice). We noticed right away that the tone of the messages is more informal than before: people skip the formalities and get right to the point. This shows us that we’re on our way to achieve closer and more personal conversations with our clients.

We also see that questions and issues are resolved faster. This is due to 2 things: first of all our clients can easily switch between platforms. They send us an email or a chat message while they’re on the platform and receive a reply from us on the platform or via email. They can reply to our message on the channel that’s easiest for them at that moment. So when a Railnova client is on our online platform, he doesn’t need to go back to his inbox, search for an email to reply to and write a lengthy email to report back. Instead he can directly reply on the Railfleet platform. A great time-saver! We’re also able to solve issues faster internally, thanks to efficient communication (through an integration with Slack) and internal notes on the Intercom platform.

Lastly, we also got some great positive feedback from our clients after launching Intercom on the Railfleet platform.

Based on these initial results I think it’s safe to say that we made the right decision!

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