CX For Growth Talk


Panel members

  • Alan McGlinchey - Startup Partnership Manager.
  • Bobby Stapleton - Director of Customer Support in North America and Australia.
  • Bobby Pineo - Founder & Co-CEO from = Equals - previously at Intercom for eight years.

= Equals introduction

Background as an analyst. = Equals is essentially the tool that he wished that he had at the time.

  • Starts with the premise that the spreadsheet is the best way to work with data.
  • Had frustrations with data tools.
  • Always had to find some new way to work with these tools.
  • = Equals is a "next-gen spreadsheet".
  • Native connections to a data warehouse/database and interface with other companies like Stripe, etc.

Q: How have you built your support function so far

  • Support is in its infancy so far.
  • You are confronted with the struggles of building these things up from the ground up.
  • There is an infinite amount of things that you could measure, but this is not necessarily what you want.
  • "Support isn't about sitting back waiting to see what problems users have with the product."
  • Another role of CX is getting users "activated". Making sure that they are set up successfully. One person focused on that at the moment.
    • They have the metric of ensuring that 5 queries have been done to lead to good uptake. This shows they're more likely to stay with Equals.
    • This was a mix of a guesstimate but also intuition based on what has happened so far.
  • "Wear the shirt 100 times and get one free." Alan enjoyed the approach.

Q: As companies are getting started, what are the key metrics that they need to be thinking about?

Bobby S

  • It is tempting to keep putting off hiring a support person as there are a million things to prioritise, but from experience it can lead to pulling people like product engineers away from building the product, time from founders, and others with competing priorities.
  • Sounds obvious, but make sure you're thinking about support and their role. This support person can be a utility and doing things like onboarding and enablement.
  • +1 on activation for early-stage companies.
  • Think about what you want this experience to look like down the road. Early stage companies generally position things like, "Hey, call me any time" but then 9 months down the road the end user no longer has that consistent experience as people are altering their CX.
    • Think about channels, think about first-response time early (even if not actioned).

Bobby P

  • The experience he wants to create is not just about response, but "how do we create a place where people can go before they run into issues or that we are anticipating things" as opposed to support being the feeling that they're getting boxes checked.
  • "Series" is being used a lot for campaigns out to folks.

How do you measure ROI for support teams?

Bobby S

  • Looking at CX metrics. You can use things like A/B testing for retention or expansion, but even at a high-level it is understandable to use high-level CX metrics like NPS (net promoter score) and CSAT (customer satisfaction) as proxy to look at other specific questions.
  • Adoption metrics are also used.
  • Admin tooling provided to help with product indicators for usage or forward-think ways to drive adoption pre-emptively.

Pricing page for =Equals

How was the pricing approach of startups vs enterprise chosen?

  • When entering conversations with enterprise conversations, they find is important that they get issues solved quickly and that support was addressed.

Practical challenges for covering 24 hour support or anything?

  • "We'll get there."
  • The biggest challenge is keeping a list of enterprise customers and tracking those SLAs and fulfilling those obligations.
  • Enterprise customers are also tagged in Intercom.

What metrics does Intercom generate as a system?

  • The Engagement OS has a few ways to get metrics.
  • Tools are like resolutions bots or bot flows.
  • In-app reporting like "time saved", "money saved" etc.
  • The whole suite of support metrics:
    • First-response time.
    • Average handling time.
    • Time to close.
    • Team productivity.
  • Constant top-of-mind is capacity planning.
    • "How busy are we?"
    • "How many people do we need?"
  • "Saw a recent profile on Amplitude - the company saved a million dollars with automation using Intercom."

Managing growth at Intercom for support metrics

Bobby P

  • The bias for metrics is the keep things simple. Too many metrics is trying to optimise for too many things.
  • In finance, cared about the gross margin.
  • Support needed to fit into the gross margin that were set as targets.
  • The second metric as a guide post was CSAT -- it needed to sit at or stay ~95%. A known part of the growth was customers being very happy with Intercom.
  • Iterated a lot on the design and size of the CS team based on those metrics as the guide posts.
  • Another things to say here: as a finance person, the thing that they ultimately care about is the LTV to CAC (Customer lifetime value to customer acquisition cost) equation. How profitable are you at bringing in customers that are acquired and how you support them. It also influenced on other variables about company stage, etc.
  • If you are approaching the finance person as a support person, the thing you need to keep in the back of the mind is the LTV to CAC calculation. If you can drive up activation, you can increase retention to improve LTV to CAC. If you drive up the promoter score could do it. Introducing automation can drive down costs to make room for more.

The Roadahead

  • Constantly considering things like re-thinking segmentation, goal posts that are set.


  • Pick your metrics. Focus and drive action and you can change those metrics down the track.
  • There are a lot of metrics that you can look and can do things about, but it is okay to prioritise certain metrics.


  • How are you linking metrics to ROI? In the case of Equals, they are super early and believe that activation will drive retention, so at the current point from a high-level means that higher-retention means growing faster, better for investors, it is the lifeblood of any business.
    • "We know what benchmarks are for LTV to CAC, we know what benchmarks are for gross margin".
  • There are things around upselling activation, but what does CS focus on?
    • Offering a paid support offering.
    • Tag and measure conversations that we pass over to the sales team.
    • Otherwise the main ones were that you can do the deeper analysis between high-level metrics.
    • As a support leader, it is also okay to trust your gut and socialise. Talk imperially and blend that in with the quantitative side.
  • What is a good retention rate for an application?
    • It will depend on the industry and the types of businesses that you are selling to.
    • The gold standard for any SaaS is a strong net revenue retention. For every dollar you bring in, how many dollars do you have left? That's the net of things like upsells and churn. We want that net revenue retention to be >100%. For each dollar you bring in, then at the end of the year you have more than that dollar.