Intercom Review: Features, Pricing, & Alternatives

Our Verdict

Intercom is a chatbot, messaging center, and integrated help desk. Ready to improve customer relations? See what Intercom has to offer.

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Intercom Intercom
Software Type: Chatbot, Live Chat, & Help Desk
Best For: Any business that needs quick response and automated communications with team memes and visitors across multiple channels.
Pricing: $39/user/mo - $139/user/mo
Pros:
  • 14-day free trial
  • User-friendly interface
  • Powered by AI
  • All-in-one customer service solution
Cons:
  • Slow customer service
  • Pricey adding additional features

Intercom is a communications platform for your team and your customers with an integrated help desk. AI-powered responses provide fast, accurate answers.

Want a deep dive into pricing, features, comparisons, and more? Read on.

SMB Guide’s Verdict for Intercom

We rate Intercom 7.8 out of 10. While it has a lot of positives, it lacks Natural Language Processing and has add-on per-message fees.

Intercom makes it easy to create chat widgets and a team communications platform. It has live chat support, a helpdesk, and other useful features.

FactorRating (out of 10)
Pricing & Plans7
Real-Time Messaging & Canned responses9
Live Chat AI & Natural Language Processing (NLP)5.5
Customizable Chat Widgets8.5
Visitor Tracking and Analytics9.5
User Interface and User Experience9
Integrations and Compatibility7.5
Customer Support8.5
SMB Guide Rating7.8

At SMB Guide, we use a comprehensive set of evaluation criteria to ensure our reviews are detailed, unbiased, and deliver value to our readers.

Pricing & Plans

After a 14-day free trial, you have three plan levels to choose from, plus a discounted pricing opportunity for qualifying startups.

Intercom pricing

There are also additional fees for certain services listed at the bottom. Here are the prices and features for each level:

Essential

Intercom’s base plan includes their AI-assisted help center, basic chatbots, ticketing, and a shared inbox for one agent.

Price

  • $39/seat/mo

Features

  • Shared inbox
  • Inbox views
  • Basic chatbots and automations
  • Fin AI Compose
  • Ticketing system
  • Public help center
  • Unlimited articles & collections
  • Help center customization
  • Fin AI Answers
  • Fin Custom Answers
  • Multiple content sources
  • Content targeting
  • Social channels
  • 1:1 direct messages
  • Banner messages
  • Tooltips
  • Live Chat
  • Inbound email
  • Custom objects
  • Custom events
  • Pre-built reports

Who it’s for: Intercom’s Essential plan is designed for individuals, startups, and small businesses.

Advanced

For organizations that need multilingual support and team collaboration, the Advanced plan offers all that plus additional workflow automation.

Price

  • $99/seat/mo

Features

Everything in the Essential plan plus:

  • Multiple team inboxes
  • Workflows for advanced automations
  • Fin AI Summarize
  • Fin AI Autofill
  • Multilingual help center
  • Workflows for Fin
  • Custom reports
  • Social media channels

Who it’s for: The Advance plan is designed for growing organizations who need a custom AI communications suite.

Expert

The Expert plan adds collaboration tools, security features, and additional reporting for large customer service teams.

Price

  • $139/seat/mo

Features

Everything in the Essential plan plus:

  • Workload management
  • Fin AI Compose (my tone of voice)
  • Multiple help centers
  • Custom roles
  • SSO & identity management

Who it’s for: Large organizations with big customer service teams and a need for comprehensive reporting and extra data security will benefit from Intercom’s Expert plan.

Early Stage Program

For qualifying startups, Intercom offers a deeply discounted plan. Eligible startups get 10 seats, advanced Intercom features, and Early Stage Academy for $65 per month for the first year, then a graduated discount for the next two years.

To be eligible for the Early Stage Program, businesses must be:

  • Early stage with up to $1M in funding and less than 2 years old.
  • Small company with up to 5 employees.
  • New customer; not a current Intercom customer.

Add-on services for any plan:

  • Fin AI Chatbot – $0.99 per resolution
  • Proactive Support Plus – From $499/mo, including 3,000 messages sent/mo
  • Email campaigns – From $0.003 to $0.045 per email sent
  • SMS – From $0.035 to $0.18 per SMS sent/received
  • WhatsApp – From $0.03 to $0.10 per conversation
  • Phone – Phone calls, voice/video calls & screen sharing* – From $0.0035 per minute

Real-Time Messaging & Canned Responses

Intercom bots use Custom Actions and Objects to automate workflows and help customers find answers, taking canned responses to a whole new level.

Custom Actions are no-code integrations you can set up to find information and take actions using your external systems, like billing and shipping.

This empowers the bot to resolve issues and provide instant feedback without human intervention. Customers get a personalized response and can take actions you define, such as rescheduling a delivery, paying a bill, or reporting a product issue.

Custom objects are actionable data stored in Intercom, such as orders and transactions, which can be accessed and used for Custom Actions.

Intercom custom actions

You can define 15 Custom Objects and access 100K records at no additional cost with any plan. 

You can also set up proactive customer support to start conversations and offer targeted information while customers are on your website.

Proactive support options include:

  • Outbound Messages
  • Chat or post messages
  • Banners
  • Emails
  • Mobile Push
  • Product Tours
  • Tooltips
  • Checklists
  • SMS
  • Surveys
  • Mobile Carousels
  • News Items

Live Chat AI & NLP

Intercom’s Messenger works across all your website, messaging, SMS, and social media channels to provide responses wherever your customers engage.

Intercom messenger

Intercom’s multilingual Fin chatbot is currently in language support beta. It supports these languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Bosnian
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Estonian
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Latviski
  • Lithuanian
  • Malay
  • Norwegian
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Slovenian
  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Swedish
  • Thai
  • Traditional Chinese
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Vietnamese
  • Mongolian

It’s important to note: If your visitor inquires in one of the supported languages, Fin searches for supporting content in the same language only if you have localized your messenger and content for this language.

It does not translate answers or content.

Intercom Fin search

To allow customers to start a live chat with an agent, you can enable a  Contact Support CTA button on your bot home screen.

Intercom live chat buttons

If you choose “with teammates” as your starting place, Fin does not enter the conversation and visitors can only send messages to your team.

Live chat CTA buttons can also be enabled during the conversation. Conversations can start with Fin, and in the event Fin is unable to fully satisfy the customer’s answer, an option can be added to contact live support:

Intercom live chat options

Another live chat option is between teammates. You can select a different CTA for visitors and agents, and visitors will not see your internal chat button.

Customizable Chat Widgets

Whether you set up a basic chatbot, a team messenger, or an AI Fin, you can make decisions about appearance, position, size, and information displayed.

You can also give your bot a name and a profile picture. The image you choose should represent the type of bot. Choosing a bot image lets your visitors know they are talking to a bot and not a live person.

Intercom chatbot

If your chat widget is intended to be a gateway to your team with or without bot interaction first, upload team photos.

You’ll also be able to choose button texts from a list. For example, to start a conversation, you can choose from:

  • Send us a message
  • Ask a question
  • Chat with us
  • Start a conversation
  • Contact us
  • Contact support

You can choose a background and action color, upload your logo and avatars, and use the background color as the header or upload a header image.

You can also use an image to customize the launch bar at the bottom if you’re using it.

Visitor Tracking and Analytics

Intercom offers a huge range of native analytics, and you can connect Salesforce, Google Analytics, and other apps for custom data and reports.

Intercom analytics

Built-in reports include:

  • Overview
    • People – New users and leads and how they’ve interacted with your team.
    • Conversations – Read messages & replies
    • Performance – Monitor team response and customers satisfaction
    • Self-service Support – Discover the questions that visitors ask most often and the most popular articles in your knowledge base.
  • Fin Automation
    • Fin conversations
    • Fin answer rate, deflection rate, and resolution rate
    • Impact over time
    • Resolved and unresolved interactions
  • Workflows
    • Engagement summary 
    • Emails collected
    • Salesforce Leads 
    • Disqualified leads
    • Meetings booked
    • Conversations assigned to team
    • Busiest dates and times
  • Conversation tags
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Effectiveness 
  • Responsiveness
  • SLAs (Service Level Agreements)  
  • Team performance
  • Tickets
    • Median time to resolve
    • Median time in submitted
    • Median time in progress
    • Median time in waiting for customer
    • Median time to resolve by date
    • Median time to resolve by team
    • Median time to resolve by teammate

User Interface and User Experience

This is a complex suite of tools and there is a learning curve. However, the interface is easy to understand, and the features are easy to use and implement.

My main caution is this: make sure you understand the pricing before you deploy Fin and messaging options. Few comparable apps charge per interactions and messages. 

Integrations and Compatibility

Intercom offers hundreds of integrations in many categories:

  • Analytics
  • Automation
  • Conversation management
  • CRM
  • Data & Enrichment
  • Issue tracking & ticketing
  • Lead capture
  • Marketing automation
  • Phone & video
  • Scheduling
  • Screen capture
  • Surveys & Feedback

Intercom developers can also enhance functionality with flexible APIs and webhooks.

Customer Support

You can contact Intercom’s support staff online through their messenger, by email, or by phone. However, some users complained about slow customer service response.

Intercom also has a deep knowledge base with plenty of tutorials and walkthroughs for each feature, and their AI bot to answer questions and direct you to the page you’re looking for.

Intercom — Unique Features

I liked Intercom’s Messenger “Spaces” – a launchbar at the bottom of the chat window with buttons that take the customer to one of the following pages:

  • Home – The bot’s personalized “homepage.” 
  • Messages – Live chats with both inbound and outbound conversations. 
  • Tickets – Where users can open or check the status of tickets.
  • Help – Direct access to your Help Center.
  • News – Create your own News feed, with info and announcements curated for each customer. 
  • Tasks – Enables customers to complete your custom Checklists to help new customers get started. For example, a task checklist could be created with steps to sign up or start their first project.

What the Experts Say About Intercom

  • TrustRadius rating: 8.8/10 (600 ratings)
  • Capterra rating: 4.5/5 (1040 ratings)
  • G2 rating: 4.5/5 (2936  ratings)

Quickly and simply, I can access the Macros and write/update the articles in the assistance center. Streamlining the process of submitting tickets to the correct division for handling user concerns. It’s a time saver for all teams because they can deal with it themselves.

Lillian G., Human Resources – Verified Capterra review

Very positive and I would recommend Intercom to any early stage startup to apply for the Startup programme in order to get A LOT of functionality and bang for your buck. We have used Intercom from when it was just 2 [sensitive content hidden] to now a company of 50+ people, you don’t need to waste time looking for another tool as it can grow with you.

Thomas B., CMO – Verified Capterra review

Intercom Alternatives

Intercom is packed with features you may or may not need and has a few shortcomings in the NLP area, but it’s messaging and ticketing options may be exactly what you’re looking for.

If you’re not sure, check out a few alternatives:

 
 
 
4.5
4.0
4.0
€15/user/mo - €620/mo
Free
$130/mo - $350/mo
4.5
€15/user/mo - €620/mo
4.0
$130/mo - $350/mo

HelpCrunch

helpcrunch homepage

HelpCrunch is a communication platform with features similar to Intercom. HelpCrunch has live chat, chatbots, email marketing automation, and an integrated help desk.

It’s easy to set up and offers limited language support with additional options via integration with Polly. HelpCrunch’s AI chatbot plans start at $20 per month, per user, with limited use of all features.

Start your free trial of HelpCrunch

ChatSpot

ChatSpot homepage

ChatSpot is HubSpot’s integrated, AI-powered chatbot. It uses ChatGPT to access multiple data sources you designate, including the HubSpot CRM.

Chatspot offers a variety of other functions most chatbots lack, including AI content writing, research, image creation from text prompts, and SEO assistance. It is equipped with Natural Language Processing in nearly any language.

ChatSpot is free for anyone to use. Paid HubSpot accounts start at $20 per month and include the other tools in HubSpot’s suite.

Start chatting with ChatSpot for free

Userlike

Userlike homepage

Like Intercom, Userlike offers a basic chatbot with AI assistance for higher costs, in-house team communications, and an integrated knowledge base.

Userlike supports seven languages and offers live translations – Intercom does not. Userlike’s AI automation can be configured to assign chats to agents based on their skills and workload. 

Userlike’s plan pricing is more straightforward than Intercom’s. Userlike offers a free plan (without AI), and their flat-rate plans start at $80/mo with 4 agents included.

Intercom starts at $39/seat/mo and charges additional fees for some of the basic services.

Getting Started with Intercom

Like what you see? Intercom is a great tool to build a help desk and automate your communications workflows.

FAQs

What is Intercom?

Intercom is an integrated messaging platform used for customer and team communications. Features include a message inbox, AI chatbots, chat widgets, and an analytics dashboard.

What data does Intercom collect?

Intercom automatically tracks and stores standard data fields about users. Businesses can opt to collect additional custom data, such as social profiles.

Does Intercom have a knowledge base?

Intercom offers an AI-powered knowledge base to help build helpful content for your users. Intercom’s knowledge base software includes:

– AI-assist article generator – AI helps you create engaging content instantly. 
– Branded help center customization – Match your branding with custom colors, fonts, logo, domain, headers, and more.
– Automated feedback – Ask customers to rate your articles and collect feedback to address knowledge gaps.
– Support for multiple languages – Present information in the users home language.

HelpCrunch

HelpCrunch offers live chat, chatbot, knowledge base, popups, and email marketing tools for building strong customer relationships.

Start free trial
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Intercom

Intercom, Inc. is a software company that specializes in business messaging, providing businesses with a way to chat with their customers.

Product Brand: Intercom

Editor's Rating:
3.9

Lucinda has spent the last 15 years working from home as a freelance writer and WordPress designer, and throughout her career, she has worked directly with several digital marketing agencies with clients in the SaaS space, ranging from e-commerce platforms to procurement software.