If you are a marketing pro or a customer service professional, chances are you have already heard about Intercom. The tool offers the power and flexibility you need to provide personalized support at scale and onboard new customers with ease.
However, despite its excellent set of features, a single question has often baffled most Intercom users.
“What are some free Intercom alternatives? And if not free, what are the most affordable alternatives that we can use instead?”
But why are Intercom users badly searching for alternatives? Intercom might appear all shiny at first, but not everything that glitters is gold!
The tool has garnered many negative reviews due to its over-the-top pricing, complicated subscription plans, lack of core customer service features, and more. In this blog, we will discuss the 10 best alternatives to Intercom, compare their features, and highlight the ones that will fit right in your budget.
What Is Intercom?
Intercom was founded in 2011 and has more than 30,000 paying customers, including brands such as Moz, Living Spaces, Baremetrics, and more.
Intercom is an industry-leading business messenger tool that can help your team improve customer onboarding, customer engagement and offer proactive support to all your customers. You can get new customers up to speed with helpful product tours, make impactful announcements inside your app, and offer product tips or insights proactively. Moreover, agents can automatically assign tickets and prioritize important conversations.
So, it’s evident that the tool offers multiple features, but what about Intercom pricing? Intercom’s basic chat and messaging features start at $59/month and go upto as high as $999/month (for automation and messaging at scale).
Why Look For Intercom Alternatives?
Although it comes with some really good features, Intercom fails to impress in certain crucial areas. Let’s discuss them right away.
Incredibly High Pricing: To say that Intercom is heavily priced would be an understatement. It is one of the most expensive business communication tools out there. The tool starts at $59/month for a single user and goes up to as high as $999/month.
Confusing Plans & Unpredictable Billing: While opting for any SaaS product, It’s always better to have a uniform subscription price that you know you will be paying every single month. However, Intercom is known for its confusing pricing structure. For example, the basic chat and messaging plans include a maximum of 2000 people reached/month. You will be required to pay an additional $50/month for additional 1000 people reached.
This makes it difficult for any business to calculate the costs of using this tool upfront and leads to unpredictable billing.
Lack of Core Customer Service Features: If you look closely, Intercom is a mix and match of both marketing as well as support features. But, it lacks many core customer service features such as email automation, in-depth reporting, ticket filters, CX surveys, and more.
Poor Support: If you check Intercom’s online reviews, many users have complained about the company’s poor support. While some claim that their team is difficult to get in touch with, others say they have received a response only after days.
The Features Intercom Alternatives Must Have
Intercom brings different features and use cases to the table. It can be used by customer support, marketing, and even product teams.
Therefore, we must look for the right alternatives to Intercom that have both messaging and support functionalities. Here is a comprehensive list of features that the best Intercom alternatives should have:
- Easy-to-use and intuitive user interface that can be set up in minutes and requires minimum to no training
- Shared Inbox to manage customer conversations from multiple channels
- Proactive messaging or chat capabilities to generate leads, share promotions, and update existing customers
- Ticket management features to resolve customer issues quickly. For instance, automated ticket assignment, ticket prioritization, etc.
- Reporting and analytics to monitor individual as well as team performance and measure customer satisfaction
Our Selection Criteria for Intercom Alternatives
Searching for products similar to Intercom can seem like a mountain to climb. You need to go through dozens of software review platforms, read each review carefully, compare prices, speak to sales reps, check for any hidden terms, and the list goes on.
To save you from such colossal efforts, we have done some painstaking research. All the alternatives have been carefully selected to make the comparison not just simpler but fair. In order to make it to our list, the Intercom help desk alternatives should meet the following criteria:
Core Customer Communication Features: All Intercom alternatives should offer core customer communication features such as live chat, proactive support, ticket tracking, lead generation, reports and analytics, etc.
Listed on Top SaaS Review Platforms: The product alternatives should be listed on the leading online software review platforms such as Getapp, Capterra, and SoftwareWorld.
Minimum 10 User Reviews: All Intercom competitors should have atleast 10 genuine customer reviews on the software review platforms mentioned above. Online reviews that are shared by genuine users help you evaluate the pros and cons of various products.
Top 10 Intercom Alternatives Every Business Should Consider
As discussed above, looking for the right alternatives to Intercom only makes sense. We have curated a list of some of the best alternatives out there that will help you save money and never miss Intercom again.
1. ProProfs Help Desk– Feature-rich & affordable Intercom alternative
ProProfs Help Desk is a free Intercom alternative that has been diligently designed for productive teams and delighted customers. Agents can prioritize urgent conversations, communicate with other team members using internal notes, and see who is working on what. On the other hand, managers can leverage smart reports to track daily, weekly, or monthly performance.
As a software cheaper than Intercom, ProProfs helps you collaborate across multiple departments. For instance, a single parent ticket can be broken down into multiple child tickets and allocated to relevant departments. Moreover, automation capabilities such as chatbots, canned responses, automated ticket assignments, automated surveys, notifications, etc., make it a powerful tool.
You Can Use ProProfs Help Desk To:
- Capture customer requests, leads, and complaints on multiple channels
- Leverage chatbots to handle customers even when your team is offline
- Use pre-defined templates for email notifications
- Provide ownership of tickets to multiple teams such as marketing, sales, delivery, etc.
- Improve customer experience with CSAT and NPS surveys
ProProfs Help Desk Plans Include:
Try it free for 15 days
Essentials: Starts at $10/agent/month
Premium: Starts at $15/agent/month
Enterprise: Available on request
2. Olark– Chat tool for sales and customer service
Olark is one of the top Intercom competitors that offers robust live chat and customer data tools that help you learn from every online interaction. The tool makes it easier for you to update customer records, track page views, save customer conversations in a searchable database, and more.
With Olark, you can get all the data you need to improve both sales and support. Managers can access real-time dashboards and view reports on chat metrics and customer feedback. You can also choose to receive daily, weekly, or monthly email reports in your inbox.
You Can Use Olark To:
- Speed up your workflow with easy-to-configure automation rules
- Customize your chat box to match your brand
- Gain complete access to your live chat transcripts
- Use chatbox forms to collect valuable information even before a chat begins
- Leverage canned responses for quick, consistent replies
Olark Plans Include:
One Year: $15/agent/month
Two Year: $12/agent/month
3. Zendesk– The most scalable help desk solution available
Zendesk is another popular alternative to Intercom that can easily scale to match your growing business needs. With Zendesk’s ticketing system, you can view all customer conversations in a single, shared location. Customer service agents can capture customer queries or requests from multiple channels and access interaction history to deliver personalized experiences.
Moreover, Zendesk provides all the features for impeccable knowledge management. You can empower customers and internal employees by creating a dedicated help center, customer portal, and an online community. Customers with common queries can be directed to FAQs and help articles for faster service.
You Can Use Zendesk To:
- Communicate with customers over live chat, email, messaging, etc.
- Build an integrated help center and community forum
- Escalate issues to agents best-suited for help
- Deliver self-service options and content at scale
- Leverage easy-to-use analytics and understand what your customers need
Zendesk Plans Include:
Suite Team: $49/agent/month
Suite Growth: $79/agent/month
Suite Professional: $99/agent/month
Recommended Read: Zendesk vs Intercom
4. ClickDesk– Best tool for voice and video chats
Unlike other Intercom alternatives, ClickDesk helps you bring conversations to life through voice and video chats. Both voice and video chat sessions can be conducted by agents right from their browser, and there is no need for installing any heavy software or apps.
With ClickDesk, you get a help desk automatically integrated with the live chat tool. This further helps you track support issues and stay on top of every customer communication. Add Like, Tweet, and Follow buttons on your chat widget and allow visitors to connect with your business on multiple social networking platforms.
You Can Use ClickDesk To:
- View online visitors on an intuitive World map
- Use social toolbars to increase social media traffic
- Take chats and manage tickets on the go using mobile apps
- Use proactive chats to close more leads
- Access chat stats and agent performance reports
ClickDesk Plans Include:
Free: Free for 10 users with limited features
5 Freshdesk– The best omnichannel customer communication software
Freshdesk offers a robust Team Inbox to track and manage all incoming customer communications from multiple channels. While agents can prioritize and categorize conversations, managers can set deadlines for ticket response and resolution.
Freshdesk is built for improved team collaboration, efficient ticket management and ensures a large number of tickets can be resolved effortlessly. You can make the most of the automation capabilities to streamline day-to-day operations, enhance productivity with the help of gamification, and empower your users with an extensive knowledge base.
You Can Use Freshdesk To:
- Engage, support, and retain customers via live chat
- Set SLAs and track SLA violations
- Integrate your company’s Twitter and Facebook pages
- Update customers and agents with automated notifications
- Convert ticket replies into knowledge base articles
Freshdesk Plans Include:
Sprout: Free for unlimited agents with email and social ticketing
Have a look the best freshdesk altenative for 2021
6. Zoho Desk– The context-aware help desk system
Zoho Desk is another best alternative to Intercom Helpdesk tool that utilizes the power of customer context to drive meaningful conversations across multiple communication channels. You can proactively reduce your support ticket volume, monitor customer sentiments, and spot useful patterns in ticket traffic using Zia, the AI-powered assistant offered by Zoho Desk.
To help your customers find answers quickly, you can embed a dedicated knowledge base or user community into your website. Moreover, with Zoho Desk’s mobile app, customer service agents can handle hundreds of support tickets, track ticket traffic, and monitor metrics, no matter where they are.
You Can Use Zoho Desk To:
- Create distinctive self-service portals for customers of different brands
- Build and grow a community of visitors, prospects, and customers
- Automatically assign tickets to appropriate agents
- Use notifications to update both agents and customers
- Connect Zoho Desk with Zoho CRM and other business applications
Zoho Desk Plans Include:
Free: Forever free plan, limited to 3 agents
7. HelpCrunch– The all-in-one Intercom alternative
HelpCrunch is another popular help desk software like Intercom that helps you scale your support, marketing, as well as sales. You can access all help desk features on the web or mobile and assist customers via chat, email, or offer 24/7 customer self-service through a knowledge base.
HelpCrunch makes it easier for you to engage, convert, and onboard new customers. For instance, you can share newsletters with customers and update them about the latest trends, ongoing offers, and more. Easily set up behavior-based campaigns and increase your conversions at every stage of the funnel.
You Can Use HelpCrunch To:
- Capture more leads with automated chat greetings
- Tag, assign and merge similar conversations
- Track your team’s performance with live reports and analytics
- Connect HelpCrunch with powerful tools like Slack and Google Analytics.
- Customize chat size, color, logo, and add agent avatars
HelpCrunch Plans Include:
Enterprise: Price available on request
8. HubSpot Service Hub– Easy-to-use customer service platform
HubSpot’s customer service software enables teams to scale their customer service operations and unites customer-facing teams on one powerful, easy-to-use platform. The tool is known for features such as help desk automation, conversational tools, knowledge base, customer feedback surveys, insightful reports, CRM integration, and more.
HubSpot takes reporting to the next level by allowing you to create single-object, cross-object, or custom funnel reports to monitor your team’s performance. Moreover, by deploying NPS, CSAT, CES, and custom surveys, you can gather valuable feedback and build a better customer experience.
.You Can Use HubSpot Service Hub To:
- Hold contextual conversations over live chat
- Manage all customer conversations from a Universal inbox
- Measure customer satisfaction with customer feedback surveys
- Create service level agreements (SLAs) and monitor SLA violations
- Leverage chatbots for 24×7 support
HubSpot Plans Include:
Free: Forever free plan with limitations
Starter: $45/month (2 users)
Professional: $360/month (5 users)
Enterprise: $1200/month (10 users)
9. Live Agent– Ticketing system that is loaded with features
LiveAgent is also one of the top tools like Intercom that does an excellent job of combining live chat, ticketing, and automation to help your team provide exceptional support to customers. Your customer service agents can reach customers on the channels they use most such as email, chat, voice calls, and social media.
Help desk managers can make their team members more productive by enabling automation rules. For instance, they can automatically assign tickets to relevant agents or departments, add tags to tickets, or set up unique rules to automate support workflow. With Live Agent’s intuitive chat widget, you can effectively convert website visitors into customers.
You Can Use Live Agent To:
- Automatically distribute tickets among your agents
- Customize your workflow around time, action, and SLA rules
- Set up chat, contact, or feedback widgets in multiple languages
- Avoid spam emails or messages with spam filtering
- Merge multiple similar tickets into a single ticket
Live Agent Plans Include:
Free: Forever free plan with some limitations
Ticket + Chat: $29/agent/month
10. Front– Best tool for managing customer emails
Front is another popular Intercom alternative that offers an easy-to-use ‘Universal Inbox’ for all your emails, chats, SMS texts, tweets, and more. This makes it easier for businesses to keep all their incoming customer communications well organized and actionable on a single platform.
With Front, your team can easily apply workflow rules to automate manual tasks and assign requests based on keywords, sender, time of day, and other important criteria. Gain insights into all your email activities, learn where you need to improve your workflow and take your customer experience to the next level.
You Can Use Front To:
- Assign a relevant owner to every request or task
- Get context at your fingertips for fast, personalized conversations
- Enjoy a familiar interface like Gmail and Outlook
- Add comments on emails and collaborate effortlessly with other agents
- Discuss emails internally- directly on the email thread
Front Plans Include:
Comparison of Best Alternatives of Intercom
|Software||Price||Shared Inbox||Multi-channel Communication||Alerts & Escalations||Live Chat||Self-Service Portal||IT Help Desk|
|ProProfs Help Desk||$10/month||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|HubSpot Service Hub||$45/month||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N|
Final Verdict: Which Intercom Alternative Should You Go For?
After being in the market for over a decade now, Intercom has come across as a renowned business tool that allows you to:
- Communicate with customers on multiple channels
- Launch marketing campaigns and generate more leads
- Onboard new customers
- Offer self-service options to customers
Despite all the appealing features, the demerits such as expensive pricing, unpredictable billing, lack of core customer service features, etc., make people search for the right Intercom alternatives. All alternatives shared in this Intercom comparison blog are well trusted, rich in features, and have been a hit among businesses of all sizes.
If you are looking for an all-in-one software that is inexpensive and helps you communicate with your audience on multiple channels, you must go for ProProfs Help Desk. If budget is not an issue and you are looking for a more support-oriented solution, then Zendesk can be a good option. Similarly, if you wish to communicate with context, Zoho Desk deserves your attention.
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