Case Study


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 & Guru: Knowledge Base Integration Case Study

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.

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The Challenge

As a part of the Enablement team at Intercom, Anita Pericic is focused on helping Intercom's sales and support team in three main areas: learning and development, providing relevant collateral, and defining processes and workflows between the customer-facing organization. But as their customer base began to grow rapidly (20,000+ customers) what resulted was an equally rapid scaling of their customer facing teams (about 150 across sales, support, and customer success and still hiring) which meant more investment was needed in software to help enable their teams.

Intercom faced the challenge of not just needing access to simple product information (they already had solved that with a robust external help center and saved replies to simple questions), but also access to more complex internal information on different support processes that were now necessary to coordinate work across different roles, offices and timezones. The support organization itself had a number of remote teammates, especially in APAC, and they had also opened a Chicago office wholly dedicated to support as well.

While all the assets had been created, Intercom's sales and support teams had trouble finding them. Whether it was in Slack conversations, email threads, Google docs, or their own separate knowledge bases there was no central place where they could go to find what they needed.

Even if you did find what you were searching for, there was no guarantee that it was still up-to-date. As a result, the default behavior was to just message their peers. That meant lots of repetitive questions were getting asked in Slack which slowed their response time to customers and became a burden on the team's subject matter experts.

"Typically, we would have to search in multiple places to find knowledge, and there was no visibility on how up-to-date it was either. Often times you were still pinging someone in Slack to validate that the information was still accurate. It just slowed everything down and meant that our sales and support team were not working as efficiently as they could."

Catherine Brodigan
Senior Relationship Manager

For Anita, their open-source knowledge base wasn't giving her the detailed insights she needed to understand what knowledge was most popular or what was missing so she could enable her team better. If knowledge was missing reps could submit a content request form, but the process was slow and manual. She wanted a more automated feedback loop where her team could easily request new content to be created and be notified once it was created.

With Intercom's customer-facing organization growing rapidly (and over 350 employees worldwide), Anita knew she needed to find a knowledge base that could scale with their team's growth. When evaluating solutions she was focused on a few key criteria:

  • Searchability: This was most important to her and the team. Their previous solution only searched via keywords, but she was looking for a more robust search that utilized tags so her customer-facing teams could quickly access information while on calls.
  • Organization: She wanted a knowledge base that could easily be organized into a clear, visual hierarchy.
  • Ease of use: Their previous solution relied on Markdown which made it difficult for non-technical people to add content. She need a solution that made it simple to create and update content.
  • Slack Integration: With a global team and some remote teammates, Anita wanted to find a solution that integrated with their messaging solution for easy collaboration.
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The Solution

A thoughtful implementation strategy paved the way for high adoption

After receiving a demo, Anita was immediately drawn to the browser extension and it changed the way she thought about their initial problem. She knew her team would love it because it wasn't intrusive and reps and agents would love not having to navigate away from what they were doing to access their knowledge.

"When evaluating internal wiki solutions I was focused on simply finding one that had functional search, supported multimedia content, and a clear, visual content hierarchy. But Guru had features that did not even cross my mind for a knowledge base tool and changed the way I thought about the initial problem. My requirements evolved after being introduced to it."

Anita Pericic
Sales Enablement & Support Operations

Once it was clear Guru was the best solution for their needs, the discussion shifted toward the roll-out strategy. With a lot of content to migrate, Anita had a tough decision to make: immediately invite members before all of their content was migrated over or take more time by migrating and organizing their content first before inviting the team.

She opted to take a more considered approach and slowly migrate and update content over to Guru with a small pilot team of sales reps, support agents, and managers. That way, she could get feedback from all stakeholders on how to best organize and structure content and specific tags to create. It was also nice to have representatives on each team who could serve as a Guru expert once they fully implemented the solution.

"We decided to roll-out Guru to a specific group of people before rolling it out to the entire team. Knowing we could move content easily in bulk made it easier to go the hard way. I believe the high adoption on our team was because we made sure to involve our reps and agents during the content migration process so they could act as Guru experts for their peers."

Anita Pericic
Sales Enablement & Support Operations

Once Anita incorporated feedback from the pilot group she started the broader roll-out for all of Intercom's customer-facing teams. She hosted internal demos and trainings to ensure everyone knew how to get the most value out of Guru and established processes for how they should be using the tool. Catherine Brodigan, a Senior Relationship Manager at Intercom attributed the success of their roll-out to how Anita and the pilot team setup Guru initially: "The key to our success with Guru was getting value from it on day one. It definitely made a difference for me to be able to immediately search in Guru and get the information I need."

Guru helps reps and agents access information in real-time while on a call

Where Guru has made the most impact on Intercom's sales reps and support agents comes down to the speed with which they can now access their knowledge. With Guru's organizational features like tags, customer-facing team members can quickly drill down to find the right content on a call.

"I love the chrome extension because it's so handy to not have to navigate to a different window when I'm in a live chat with someone. Being able to search by tag, category, or collection allows me to find information easier and saves me time from having to ask somebody for help."

Rachael Cardenas
Customer Support Rep

For Catherine Brodigan, a Relationship manager at Intercom her role constantly has her on the phone, dedicated to helping existing customers get the most out of the platform. Whether it's reviewing a customer's quarterly business goals, providing best practices according to each company's use case, or troubleshooting issues, Catherine has a lot of knowledge she needs to be on top of. Since most of her customer interactions are through live chat or on the phone, quick access to relevant knowledge on the fly is crucial to her success on the job.

Quick access is especially important when it comes to technical issues customers may have. Previously, she found herself and the rest of the team asking the same questions over and over again to their engineering team, which was impacting their productivity. Now, with Guru's Slack integration she can easily search their knowledge base directly in the app. And when a new question is asked in Slack anyone on the team can add the answer to Guru with a simple emoji reaction, so the next time the issue comes up it will already live in Guru.

Guru is now the single source of truth for knowledge

All of Intercom's internal team knowledge now lives in Guru. Instead of having to search through different sources for knowledge, reps and agents only have to search one place. But what ties everything together is the trust that the team has in their knowledge base. Guru's verification workflow ensures the team knows when knowledge was last updated and who updated as well.

Reps and agents are confident that processes and workflows they follow throughout the customer's lifecycle are the most up-to-date version. Additionally, hand off points between sales and support are now defined in Guru, further mapping out the customer experience and setting proper expectations of who owns what for each team. Previously that information would be shared and updated via disparate Slack and email threads, making it tough for the team to know what was the most up-to-date version.

"Guru's been a place where we can house all of our internal support processes as well. We work closely with our sales team and processes are constantly changing. Always been confusion about certain situations and using Guru we can trust that information is up-to-date and share resources with them that helps us communicate a lot better between the two teams."

Rachael Cardenas
Customer Support Rep

For Anita, the benefit of verification comes in the form of ownership. Now specific subject matter experts (or groups of them) are responsible for maintaining the accuracy of content, but only have to do so in one place.

"A key challenge for us was having no centralized source of truth and no formalized processes in place for who owns updating information. Updating information is a real pain point in other knowledge management systems, whereas Guru's verification workflow makes it simple and straightforward."

Anita Pericic
Sales Enablement & Support Operations

The Results

With Guru's analytics dashboard, Anita has clear insights into what knowledge her customer-facing teams use the most. She can drill down and specify that usage data by specific teams or groups of people to get more granular insights as well. Most importantly, she also knows what keywords reps and agents are searching for that don't produce results so she can add that knowledge into Guru too.

Guru has also made a material impact on important KPI's for their customer facing teams. After implementing Guru, Intercom has seen a 60% reduction in their time to first response, a key metric for their support team. Anita attributes that drop to her team's engagement and adoption of Guru: " I was a bit hesitant because Guru was such a huge shift in how we stored and shared knowledge, but there was no obstacles to adoption which speaks to the simplicity and usability of the tool."

Guru Intercom launch graph

Additionally, her customer-facing teams have reported a 34% reduction in the amount of repeat questions they are asking in Slack. Previously, that was a problem their subject matter experts were experiencing and one that was affecting their productivity. Now whenever someone asks a question in Slack, it's known to add it to Guru and the default behavior for reps and agents is to always search in Guru first before posting a question in Slack.

"Guru has become the go-to place to search for information. Before I do anything I search in Guru first to find what I am looking for and it has become like second nature to me now."

Rachael Cardenas
Customer Support Rep

As they continue to use Guru, Anita wants to continue to dive deeper and understand if it is positively impacting other key metrics like their onboarding ramp time. She also wants to compare Guru usage amongst her team to understand if usage of Guru correlates to top performers in specific roles.

With Guru fully implemented across the customer-facing organization, it has quickly become a crucial part of Intercom's stack. Having one single source of truth for their team's knowledge has enabled each of their teams to spend less time searching for information and more time on doing what they do best.