Intercom has earned a respectable brand name as an AI-powered messaging and help desk system. And we give them a lot of credit — over the years, Intercom has evolved into an innovative customer service software with all the bells and whistles, offering best in class tools like real-time chat support, proactive messaging, guided product tours, resolution bot, omnichannel support and tons of integrations.
But there’s a reason why you’re here browsing this list of the best Intercom alternatives, likely because Intercom isn’t checking off all the requirements you need in a customer engagement platform.
It doesn’t mean Intercom is a bad solution, in fact we think it’s an adequate software with plenty of upside — but there may be other tools on the market that better align with your business requirements.
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Why consider an alternative to Intercom?
Outages can be problematic: According to one user on G2:
“Intercom constantly has outages. In the past month alone I’ve had 4+ outages that lasted over a day. During these outages, customers would submit via Intercom and their submission was never logged! Completely unacceptable.”
Cost and Scalability: According to several user complaints, like this one on Reddit, a common reason businesses start looking for alternatives is due to Intercom’s pricing structure.
Intercom’s prices are complex, unpredictable, and often too high for startups. Typically, the cost is based on the number of users and the volume of customer interactions. As a result, the final price you have to pay is unpredictable and can increase rapidly as a business starts to grow.
Intercom’s pricing starts at $39 per seat / per month for the essential plan, but it doesn’t offer the same features as the advanced and expert plans. There are “full seats” and “lite seats” which can vary greatly in their feature allowances and pricing.
Their pricing explanation is very nuanced as the overage fees can rack up fast causing frustration for many business owners, forcing them to look for an alternative.
Feature and Integration Limitations: While Intercom provides a great set of functionalities, it doesn’t have every feature every company needs. For example, if you’re deeply integrated with a CRM system, you might find that Intercom doesn’t offer the direct connection you need.
Also, if you require real-time data synchronization with other platforms, you might find Intercom’s syncing capabilities insufficient. This is a customer expressing his disappointment with Intercom on Reddit.
Also, when you use Intercom, you might need additional plugins or workarounds to integrate with e-commerce giants like Shopify, whereas some Intercom alternatives support these integrations out of the box.
Usability and Customization: Intercom is a bit infamous for having a complex user interface that can sometimes overwhelm new team members. Also, if you want to heavily personalize your customer support to match your brand and workflow, you might find Intercom’s relatively limited customization options to be a problem. There are better alternatives that provide a more intuitive user interface and greater flexibility in customization.
What to look for in an Intercom alternative?
When looking for an Intercom alternative, the features and capabilities are the first things you need to consider. Here’s a shortlist of things to think about.
- Real-time messaging: Real-time messaging is crucial for Intercom alternatives, as you need to address your customers’ questions instantly, avoiding any delay that could leave them waiting.
- Ticketing system: A robust ticketing system organizes every customer interaction into a trackable ticket. This will ensure every concern is addressed and resolved, with no issue left unresolved.
- Integrations with popular platforms: Your alternative should play well with the tools you already use. Whether it’s Slack for internal communication, Salesforce for customer management, or Zapier for automating workflows.
- CRM capabilities: The platform should help you keep track of customer interactions and data. This means having a system in place that records contact information, conversation histories, and other relevant customer data.
- Chatbots for automated customer interactions: To increase efficiency, a good platform will offer chatbots. These can handle common queries and simple tasks, providing immediate responses to customers and freeing up human agents for more complex issues.
When you’re looking at alternatives to Intercom, take a close look at how they set their prices. Make sure it’s clear and makes sense for your budget.
Intercom does offer a 14-day free plan, but with paid plans, each additional feature should justify the extra cost. And don’t forget to think about the future – you want a service that can handle your growth without costing you a fortune as your needs increase.
- Value for Money: Consider what you’re getting for the price you pay. Does the alternative offer key features like analytics, customization, and support at a reasonable cost?
- Scalability: Your chosen platform should grow with your business. This means that as your customer base expands, the platform can handle increased demand without a drop in performance or a steep increase in price.
- Live Chat Software: Live chat is a ubiquitous feature these days for any customer support service, offering a means for real-time interaction.
- Email Marketing Templates: You’ll want to look for a service that offers ready-made email templates. These should be easy to customize, saving you time.
- Social Media Integrations: Most customers now prefer to look for services on Facebook and WhatsApp and send messages through them. Therefore, your chosen solution should integrate with social platforms like these.
Ease of Use
- User-friendly interface: A good Intercom alternative should come with an interface that’s intuitive – you want your team to spend time helping customers, not figuring out software.
- Mobile app functionality for on-the-go support: The service should also offer a solid mobile app, enabling your support staff to respond to customer needs promptly, even when they’re away from their desks.
- Help desk software capabilities: Help desk software capabilities are important to log, track, and resolve customer queries according to priority and complexity. It will prevent any customer request from being overlooked or lost in the shuffle.
- Shared inbox for team members: This allows team members to access customer communications in one place. This will help to give customers more consistent responses.
- Knowledge base for self-service: With a comprehensive knowledge base customers can find answers to their questions on their own, reducing the load on your support team.
- Support tickets and routing functionalities: Your customer support team likely includes members with expertise in specific areas of your service. This feature is important to direct customer issues to the appropriate team member without delay.
- Customizable chat widget for website visitors: You should look for a platform that offers a customizable chat widget, which can be adjusted to fit the look and feel of your website.
- Canned responses for support agents: A customer support service should have canned responses at the ready for support agents so your customers receive quick, consistent, and efficient replies to common questions.
- Add-on features and integrations: The right tool will offer a suite of add-on features and integrations, allowing you to expand its capabilities as needed.
Reporting & Analytics
- Customer satisfaction measurements: Keep a pulse on customer happiness with customer satisfaction measurements, because at the end of the day, how your customers feel about your service is what counts.
- Live chat transcripts and chat tool analytics: These will help to gain insights into customer needs and service quality.
- Segmentation tools and workflows: This will help to organize your customer base into meaningful groups so that you can make support and marketing efforts much more targeted and effective.
- E-commerce support: E-commerce support is needed to keep up with the specific demands of online retail, from purchase to post-sales support.
- Omnichannel customer communication platform: An omnichannel customer communication platform breaks down the barriers between different channels, giving your customers a cohesive experience whether they reach out via email, chat, or social media.
- Marketing automation capabilities: With marketing automation capabilities, you can not only respond to customer needs but also proactively engage with them, which will help drive growth.
Top 12 Intercom Competitors On The Market Right Now
Kustomer is a top competitor to Intercom, best known as a CRM-focused customer service platform that integrates seamlessly with a range of customer communication channels.
It effectively combines CRM, customer engagement, and helpdesk software into one unified omnichannel platform, optimizing customer interactions.
Kustomer offers a user-friendly messaging platform with advanced features for enhancing customer relationships.
With Kustomer, businesses can achieve:
- One place to manage all customer relationships – including conversations, tickets, data, orders, and customer profile data, natively stored within the Kustomer platform, enabling elevated and accelerated service.
- Simplified and cost-effective customer support operations.
- Customization and automation of customer experience workflows.
- Improved response times, even when support reps are offline.
- Monitoring and enhancement of support agent performance while decreasing ticket volumes.
Advanced features of Kustomer include:
- Merging conversations through a Unified Customer View across various platforms, equipping support agents with a full history of customer interactions.
- Employing Intelligent Automation workflows that efficiently handle customer inquiries with minimal manual intervention.
- Providing Real-Time Analytics through detailed dashboard insights into customer engagements and agent effectiveness.
- An accessible Self-Service Portal can be added to your website, designed to lower incoming inquiries significantly. This feature is customizable to match your brand and is accessible in over 70 languages.
Success stories from clients who have switched to Kustomer include Paddle, which saw over an 80% improvement in service level agreements (SLAs) within a few months and achieved a customer satisfaction (CSAT) score of over 99% within five months.
PieSync also experienced significant improvements, reducing customer wait times by 88% after adopting Kustomer.
Regarding pricing, Kustomer offers two main packages: an Enterprise package priced at $89 per month for each user, and an Ultimate package at $139 per month for each user.
If you are looking for an Intercom alternative, choosing Kustomer is a no-brainer.
Drift is one of the biggest Intercom Alternatives out there, and at one time they had a pretty serious rivalry going. To this day, Drift still shines with chatbots for lead generation that are specifically designed to convert website visitors into leads. Drift really excels when it comes to website lead gen and chat.
- With over 50 integrations available, Drift syncs with major players like Salesforce, HubSpot, Zapier, Slack, and Google Analytics. This means you can plug Drift into your existing workflows and have all your tools talking to each other without much hassle.
- Drift’s customer service is generally well-regarded. They assign a dedicated success manager to help you get the most out of the product and provide sales training for your team. Regular meetings are part of the package, ensuring that you’re not just buying a product but a service that evolves with your needs.
- Drift does come with some drawbacks. Feedback from some users suggests the quality of support from the dedicated customer manager can diminish over time.
- Additionally, the AI chatbots may not be as intelligent as advertised, functioning more on pre-programmed responses than genuine AI, which may disappoint those looking for more sophisticated interaction capabilities.
Pricing for Drift is tiered to accommodate different needs.
- For small businesses, the premium package at $2,500 per month includes essentials like live chat, custom chatbots, real-time notifications, and conversational landing pages. This level is a solid start for businesses looking to enhance their customer interactions.
- If you’re in need of more sophisticated features such as A/B testing and flexible routing options, Drift’s advanced package would be the next step up. For top-tier needs like AI-powered chatbots and dedicated workspaces, the enterprise package is available, though you’ll need to discuss pricing directly with Drift.
Zendesk is known for its strong customer support tools and help desk features. It integrates with social media platforms like Facebook messenger, offering a chat widget that can be customized and added to various platforms.
- The platform is flexible, with many APIs that let you expand its capabilities.
- You can choose from 1,200 pre-built apps that are ready to use with Zendesk, which makes Zendesk a good choice for diverse business needs.
- Zendesk offers a comprehensive knowledge base and ticketing system, which is what they’re most famous for.
- Aside from high costs, many customers complain that Zendesk’s support service is not what it should be. There are lots of complaints online citing the Zendesk support team seems to take a long time to reply to customer queries.
- Also, some customers complain that Zendesk has a steep learning curve. However, it offers a content academy to familiarize users with all of its features.
- Zendesk’s pricing begins with the Suite Team plan at $55 per agent each month. It comes with a core set of features and an analytics dashboard. If you’re unsure, Zendesk offers a 14-day free trial to test its services.
- After the Suite Team, the Suite Growth plan costs $89 per agent per month. It includes extra services like support in multiple languages and a self-service portal for customers.
- The Suite Professional plan is the most popular at $115 per agent per month. It adds advanced AI tools to your support system in addition to the features of the Suite Team package.
- For large enterprises, the Suite Enterprise plan provides comprehensive features, but you’ll need to discuss the price with Zendesk directly.
4. HubSpot Service Hub
HubSpot Service Hub is an integral component of the broader HubSpot ecosystem. Therefore, you can easily integrate it with other HubSpot services that target marketing and sales operations.
- The Service Hub stands out with features such as powerful email marketing capabilities, an engaging live chat feature, and advanced segmentation tools. You can use these features to create a personalized and responsive customer service experience.
- Most importantly, HubSpot supports several features not commonly found in other platforms like Intercom. For example, HubSpot offers exclusive functionalities such as playbooks, a customer portal, Omni-Channel Routing, and Conversational Intelligence.
- HubSpot Service Hub offers a variety of packages to fit different business requirements. You can start with a free plan that comes with a substantial suite of tools.
- Customer feedback on HubSpot’s support services is mixed. Some find it not responsive enough, while others are satisfied with the technical support team.
- HubSpot Academy offers extensive educational content, so you can make the most of it by learning on your own.
- As your needs grow, you can opt for advanced options such as the Starter, Pro, or Enterprise packages.
- Pricing begins at $18 per month for Starter, climbs to $450 for Pro, and peaks at $1,200 for Enterprise.
Freshdesk is a cloud-based customer service solution that simplifies your support tasks. It provides a comprehensive ticketing system, a knowledge base for customer self-service, and omnichannel communication to help you offer personalized support efficiently.
- With Freshdesk, your team can reduce repetitive work thanks to its AI-powered automation, allowing your service to run smoothly and on autopilot. This AI also boosts productivity and efficiency, making it easier for your team to provide excellent customer service.
- A standout benefit of choosing Freshdesk over Intercom is its simplicity and straightforwardness. It’s known for its low learning curve, affordability, and strong phone support, making it a user-friendly and cost-effective option.
- Customers praise Freshdesk for its ease of use and effective support, which helps new users get up and running quickly. And because it’s easy to learn, users typically find they have fewer questions compared to other customer support platforms, allowing them to focus more on delivering quality customer service.
- Some users have noted that the reporting and analytics features in Freshdesk may not be as robust or detailed as they would like. Depending on your specific reporting needs, you may need to utilize additional 3rd party integrations via Zapier.
- The free plan of Freshdesk may have limitations in terms of features and capabilities. Small businesses may need to upgrade to a paid plan to access advanced functionalities.
- You can try Freshdesk with their 14-day free trial and their pricing structure is transparent, as well.
- The Free Plan is suitable for up to 10 agents and includes essential features like Ticket Dispatch, a Knowledge Base, analytics and reporting, data center location options, team collaboration tools, and 24×7 email support.
- For a more robust set of tools, the Growth Package is available at $15 per agent per month. It expands on the Free Plan with access to over 1000 marketplace apps, advanced automation, Collision Detection, comprehensive helpdesk reports, and 24×5 phone support.
- There are two additional packages available. The Pro Package is priced at $49 per agent per month. The Enterprise Package costs $79 per agent per month.
HelpCrunch offers a comprehensive customer communication platform, combining SMS and email notifications with unlimited chat. Their pricing is transparent, based on your team size and email usage, ensuring you only pay for what you need without surprise fees for user reach and additional add-ons.
- HelpCrunch is designed to respond to customer inquiries quickly and accurately, addressing one of the main concerns of Intercom customers. The platform’s integration capabilities span across various social media platforms.
- With each higher-tier package from HelpCrunch, you receive more of everything. More messaging channels to engage with customers, more widgets for customization, more pop-ups for interaction, more AI editor requests for communications, and more chatbot flows to streamline your service.
- Customers are generally satisfied with HelpCrunch’s customer support and service quality.
- However, they do mention instances when some features don’t work, or the notification sounds do not go off.
- Moreover, some customers express concerns about the platform’s analytics features being insufficient.
HelpCrunch’s pricing plans are designed to suit different business needs.
- Basic Plan: At $12 per month per team member.
- Pro Plan: At $20 per month per team member.
- Unlimited Plan: At $495 per month.
- HelpCrunch also offers a 14-day free trial.
LiveAgent is a customer service solution with a strong focus on live chat software, support tickets, and help desk functionality.
- LiveAgent’s platform is user-friendly and boasts a customizable live chat widget that enhances real-time interactions through features like canned responses and a real-time typing view.
- Furthermore, it’s a fully multilingual system, ensuring that language barriers do not hinder customer support.
- LiveAgent provides easily accessible, comprehensive reports directly from your dashboard and maintains native applications for both Android and iOS devices, allowing support teams to deliver service from anywhere, at any time.
- Client feedback suggests that LiveAgent delivers a robust service.
- However, a notable concern is its limited integrations with external tools, which can pose challenges for businesses that rely on a broad ecosystem of apps and services.
Regarding pricing, LiveAgent’s structure is tiered to suit different business sizes.
- Small Business: At $9 per agent, billed annually, this plan offers foundational features like 3 email accounts, 2 live chat buttons, and 1 knowledge base.
- Medium Business: Priced at $29 per agent/month when billed annually, it includes everything in the Small plan plus additional features such as 10 email accounts, call center support, and 20 departments.
- Large Business: For $49 per agent/month on an annual billing cycle, it expands further with 150 email accounts and additions like WhatsApp integration.
- Enterprise: At the top tier, $69 per agent/month annually provides an extensive suite for large-scale operations, offering 500 email accounts and advanced departmental capabilities.
LiveAgent also offers a 7-day free trial with a personal email or a more extended 30-day trial with a company email, allowing potential users to explore the service.
HelpScout is a customer support platform designed to enhance team collaboration and streamline customer conversations. It’s a simple and straightforward SaaS product and thrives regarding its simplicity and ease of use.
- A shared inbox that helps teams collaborate and manage customer emails effectively.
- A knowledge base to empower customers to find answers independently.
- A help widget, known as Beacon, integrates with websites to offer immediate support assistance.
- Automated workflows to improve response times and streamline processes.
- Reporting capabilities for tracking performance and customer satisfaction.
- Customer reviews generally highlight HelpScout’s ease of use and reliable performance, with a notable absence of bugs.
- However, some users have expressed that customization options for the help documentation are somewhat limited, which may be a drawback for teams requiring more integrated solutions.
HelpScout has three pricing packages.
- The Standard Plan is for growing teams at $20 per user per month, providing essential support tools and allowing for up to 25 team members.
- For more complex needs, the Plus Plan and Pro Plan are available at $40 and $65 per user per month respectively, each adding more features and capacity for larger teams.
- They also offer a free 15-day trial, allowing teams to test its features before committing to a plan.
Crisp is a versatile chat tool designed to cater to the communication needs of startups and small businesses.
It offers live chat capabilities, email marketing options, and a variety of integrations to streamline customer interactions and enhance the support experience.
Customers have expressed satisfaction with Crisp’s service, citing minimal downtimes and appreciate features such as instant screen sharing and the ability to conduct video calls.
The Crisp Shared Inbox is a key feature, centralizing various communication channels such as live chat, email, social media direct messages, WhatsApp, and phone calls into one unified inbox, making collaboration within teams more efficient.
- A website chat widget to engage visitors directly on your site.
- Contact forms to capture visitor information even when offline.
- Mobile applications to manage communications on the go.
- Unlimited conversations without caps on messages or contacts.
- Integrations with platforms like Shopify and WordPress.
- Chat triggers to initiate conversations based on visitor behavior.
- Knowledge base creation to provide self-service support for customers.
- Chatbot functionality to automate and scale conversations.
- Instant screen sharing and video call capabilities for a more interactive support experience.
- You don’t get a knowledge base unless you upgrade to the unlimited plan, which is an annoyance for growing businesses.
- Generally speaking, their pricing plan seems to be manipulative in that you don’t get any of the best features unless you upgrade to their most expensive plan.
- Crisp offers a range of pricing packages starting with the Basic Plan, which is free and perfect for personal sites or those just needing a straightforward chat function.
- The Pro Plan at $25 per month per workspace, is suitable for most startups, although it is still quite restricted in its capabilities.
- For businesses seeking an advanced suite of tools, the Unlimited Plan is available at $95 per month per workspace.
- Crisp also offers a 14-day free trial for any plan, allowing users to test the full range of features before making a financial commitment.
Tidio is a comprehensive solution that combines the power of chatbots, live chat software, and email marketing to optimize customer engagement and service for businesses.
It is particularly known for its robust integrations with e-commerce platforms, facilitating efficient interactions and automation.
- With Tidio, businesses can leverage conversational AI to resolve up to 70% of customer inquiries, providing quick and efficient service.
- The platform also includes live chat and helpdesk features for more direct, hands-on customer support.
- Businesses can enhance their lead generation and tackle cart abandonment by using over 35 pre-designed chatbot templates.
- Tidio allows for the personalization of greetings for both new and returning visitors and aids in boosting sales through product recommendations and timely discounts.
- Tidio’s customer support is known to be responsive and helpful, assisting users in maximizing the platform’s capabilities.
- The service quality is held in high regard, with a focus on reliability and user-friendly experiences, making it a trusted choice for businesses looking to enhance their customer engagement strategies.
- They charge you more if you want to get rid of the “Powered by Tidio” branding, which is cited as a common annoyance.
- You don’t get a dedicated customer success manager unless you pay for their most expensive pricing package which costs $400 per month.
- If you’re considering your options, the Free Plan is a great place to begin, offering a solid range of features at no cost.
- The next tier, their Starter Plan steps up for just $29 USD monthly.
- For those focusing on direct interactions, the Communicator Plan is priced at $25 USD per seat each month.
- And if automation is key, the Chatbots Plan begins at $29 USD per month.
Olark is a live chat platform that lets agents interact directly with customers on the company website. Olark is a basic and straightforward tool that lets you quickly answer customer questions, provide support, and increase website conversion rates.
- One of the standout features of Olark is its ability to show you chat analytics in real-time. This means you can see how many people are chatting, how satisfied they are, and how your support team is performing right away.
- You can customize your chat widget to align with your company’s design and branding, making it look like a natural part of your site.
- Olark can send automated messages to start conversations with customers, which is useful for generating leads when you’re not available to live chat.
- It integrates well with other tools — connecting with over 20 different CRM and sales software without the extra costs.
- Customers often say they get good value from Olark for the price, especially when compared to similar tools like Intercom. That’s because Olark offers many features without adding more charges for each one.
- You have to pay more for various types of “PowerUps” which are optional add-on features that are priced individually from $29 to $99 per month.
- You can add a PowerUp to any account — the price does not change based on your team size or type of plan, but PowerUps will make your monthly bill more expensive, as the charges and fees can add up fast.
When it comes to pricing, Olark keeps it uncomplicated.
- They charge $29 per month for each person on your team who will be using the chat.
- There’s only one price for all the features, making it easy to understand what you’ll pay.
12. Zoho Desk
Zoho Desk is a cloud-based help desk solution that is part of the extensive Zoho software ecosystem. It’s designed to manage your customer support activities and help you offer support through various channels.
- Zoho Desk provides a centralized platform where you can handle customer interactions through email, live chat, and social media platforms.
- The software includes AI-driven assistance to help support agents by suggesting solutions based on past tickets and customer queries.
- It allows you to build a comprehensive self-service knowledge base for your customers to find answers to common questions.
- Zoho Desk comes with advanced reporting features, enabling you to track and analyze your customer service performance and agent productivity.
- Customer feedback highlights the strong after-service support that Zoho provides. Your dedicated account manager will not only assist with the initial setup of your Zoho Desk environment but also offer ongoing support through phone and email.
- You don’t get the live chat functionality unless you upgrade to their most expensive plan (Enterprise) starting at $50 per month.
- The Standard Plan offers multi-channel support and a Help Center at $20 per user per month.
- The Professional Plan enhances these offerings at $35 per user per month.
- If you’re looking for more advanced features, the Enterprise Plan at $50 per user per month covers a wide range of services.
The Bottom Line When Choosing an Intercom Alternative
A good customer service platform does a lot more than just let you chat with customers. It’s a one-stop shop that brings together all the pieces of customer support enhancing the overall customer experience. This is why a complete CX platform is preferred to just a messaging platform, like Intercom.
Kustomer takes it to the next level. It’s not just about chatting; it’s about giving you an all-around view with its omni-channel platform. It lets you see and manage every customer interaction from one place, making everything simpler and more connected.
With Kustomer, you’ll benefit from AI that’s built for speed, cutting down wait times for your customers. You can slip AI into your routine tasks and bring in bots as needed, which means your customer service is quicker, smarter, and always on point.