Rippl & Intercom

How Conversational UX allowed us to meet huge customer demand.





From designing products to managing customer support.

In April 2020, amid NZ’s Alert Level 4 lockdown period, PaperKite saw an opportunity to create a digital solution to COVID-19 contact tracing, without the privacy issues that we were starting to see in news. So we created Rippl: Privacy-First Contact Tracing and Alerting. For the first time, we found ourselves in the product service space – we usually make products for our clients, who handle their enquiries separately, but this time we were responsible for the end-to-end service.
As we prepared for the Rippl app launch we set up a landing page with an Intercom chat feature, and we started getting enquiries…and after the app launch and some press coverage, we were flooded with messages. We’re a small agency and we didn’t have the infrastructure to handle the influx of enquiries. We needed a solution, fast!

Designing a chatbot instead of hiring a dedicated support person.

Initially, we set up an Intercom chat feature as a way for our customers to get in touch with humans as fast as possible. However, with the enormous interest that Rippl attracted, we found ourselves overwhelmed – our small adhoc “customer response team” were working extended hours, and our response time still left room for improvement – it took an average of 52 minutes for our humans to send their first reply to a chat enquiry (of course, this average response time includes enquiries sent at night while we were getting some much-needed sleep!).

We knew we could do better for our customers and our team, and happily we have expertise in Conversational UX, which is any type of user interface that unfolds in a realistic dialogue flow. You’ve probably heard of Conversational AI: bots that learn from their conversations with humans. Those bots fall within the broader category of Conversational UX – just one of many tools out there to make interactions more natural for people. But not every piece of Conversational UX has to be a sophisticated bot that’s plugged into deep machine learning (read: big money). With some clever design, we could make a solution in no time. Intercom provides the foundation – all we needed to do was put on our human-centred design hats and craft something that met our enquirers’ needs.
We started looking at the nature of the questions that were coming in. We found that most of the enquiries were along the same themes – quite literally, Frequently Asked Questions – so we decided to set up some simple FAQs that a chatbot could handle. It’s a stream of real-time data on what your customers care about.

This is one of our favourite things about Conversational UX: you can see exactly what your users are asking for.

Rapid solution

Our simple Rippl chatbot only took a few hours to create, and it has handled thousands of conversations with users so far. Configuring the chatbot was easy, thanks to the intuitive user interface of the Intercom console, as well as rich sources of guides and tutorials from Intercom. Adding it to our landing page was easy as we only needed to add a few lines in the website code. Our Rippl chatbot was up in less than 3 minutes! Instead of a 52-minute average response time, our always-on chatbot handles customer requests instantly. Our response team no longer have to context-switch between enquiries and their other work – which means we can go back to being our most productive selves without frequent interruptions.

With Intercom’s chat feature installed, we were able to focus on handling the complicated questions that really need human answers. Time that we can put towards ingenious solutions to solve complex human problems. Our Rippl chatbot continues to do the heavy lifting for us as Rippl continues to be a popular solution for Contact Tracing and Alerts.

1,000’s of conversations completed

Average 52 min response reduced to instant

Full-time FTW costs saved

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