Personal employee experiences support Intercom’s mission to make internet business personal

Anna Borenstein    February 13, 2017

According to Intercom, “The way businesses talk to people online is broken. Intercom is fixing it. Intercom is the first to bring messaging products for sales, marketing & customer service to one platform, helping businesses avoid the stiff, spammy status quo and have real conversations that build real connections.”

Intercom describes its platform as “simple, personal, and fun for everyone”, and a growing number of customers obviously agree. According to Alex Konrad, staff writer for venture capital, startups and enterprise tech at Forbes, “Intercom is now adding 600 paid customers and $1 million in new revenue every 10 days.”

Intercom is committed to revolutionizing the way businesses interact with their customers online. But how do they ensure their 300 employees, located across San Francisco, Dublin and now Chicago, remain actively connected and engaged?

Jack Jenkins, Customer Support Engineer, posits the following on Inside Intercom, the company blog:  “For remote staff, staying connected to a company culture can be challenging. But provided you’ve set yourself up for success, you can be part of a company culture from anywhere in the world.”

At Intercom, setting employees up for success means using a suite of online tools to enhance communication. These include:

  • Slack – employees can organize team conversations into channels, communicate via direct messaging, voice or video calls, and share files. Jenkins characterizes Slack as “perfect for a casual chat, banter, and funny GIFs.”
  • Google Hangouts  – enables employees to initiate and participate in text, voice or video chats, either one-on-one or in a group. Jenkins describes Google Hangouts as providing  “that all important face time” for meetings, team standups and 1:1 reviews.
  • Screenhero  – is a real-time service that lets teams collaborate by sharing their screens, with integrated voice calling. Jenkins writes that Screenhero is ideal for “working on a project together or debugging code… [it] lets you feel as though you’re both sitting in front of the same computer.”

Intercom’s use of Slack to help their global team stay connected and build relationships is profiled on Slack’s Youtube channel. In the video, Kathleen Estreich, Chief of Staff at Intercom, has this to say: “Our mission is to help make internet business personal, and so we want all the employee experiences to be really personal as well.” Estreich credits Slack with helping to “create those conversations that maybe otherwise wouldn’t be happening,” as well as helping to “bridge the gap between the 5,000 miles and eight hour time difference to really feel like one company.

Lessons for Others

Online social tools play a key role in keeping global employees collaborative and engaged in corporate culture, in part by bridging geographical divides and time zone differences.

However, as Jack Jenkins states in the Inside Intercom blog post cited above, it’s important to “use a tool that most resembles how you would interact in real life.” To that end, Intercom employees choose from a suite of social platforms (Slack, Google Hangouts and Screenhero) to engage with their colleagues, whether that means chatting informally, planning business strategy, or collaborating on code.

Organization: Intercom
Industry: Enterprise Software
Name of Organization Contact: Kathleen Estreich, Chief of Staff; Jack Jenkins, Customer Support Engineer

Authored by: Anna Borenstein

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


References

Intercom (2017). About Intercom. Retrieved from https://www.intercom.com/about

Konrad, A. (2016). How the ‘Silly’ Irish Founders at Intercom Built One Of Silicon Valley’s Fastest-Growing Businesses. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2016/11/01/inside-intercom-fast-growth-out-of-ireland/#45622f22667d

Jenkins, J. (2016). Inside Intercom: Staying connected to a company culture remotely. Retrieved from https://blog.intercom.com/remote-company-culture/

Slack (2017). Where work happens. Retrieved from https://slack.com/

Google Hangouts (2017). Talk to your fiends and family. Retrieved from https://hangouts.google.com/

Screenhero (2017). Screen sharing for collaboration in teams. Retrieved from https://screenhero.com/

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