You love your customers and want them to know it. You also want to avoid spending through the roof to afford powerful customer messaging tools like Intercom.
So how do you get features like powerful live chat, shared inboxes, and customer analytics when you’re on a budget?
In this article, we’ll provide you the best of both worlds: Intercom alternatives that excite your customers without breaking the bank.
But before we dive into some Intercom alternatives, it’s worth understanding why Intercom is so popular to begin with. Here’s what you need to know about Intercom before we investigate its more affordable competitors.
An overview of Intercom
They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. But in the world of SaaS, maybe the greatest sign of flattery is having alternative-style posts written about your product.
Intercom is a communication tool that helps businesses connect with, market to, and provide resources to their customers. It is a messaging app that lives on your website to make conversations with site visitors easier, faster, and more personal.
In other words, Intercom is a robust online messaging system: a chatbot.
Here are some of the popular bells and whistles:
- Live chat with customers on your website
- Use tailored onboarding that’s unique to different customer profiles
- Get analytics about your customers to serve them better
- Many automations for less work, more conversations
- Offer self-service tools so customers can move at their own pace
- Lots of popular integrations
Pricing: Intercom All-In-One pricing starts at $87/month, but you can get a stripped-down version with limited features for as low as $38/month. (Lead generation tools are only available in the $87+ category.)
The best Intercom alternatives
Now that you know a little more about Intercom, let’s dive into some popular alternatives for entrepreneurs and agency owners.
Price: HubSpot has a freemium version. The Pro version of Service Hub starts at $50/month.
HubSpot made a name for themselves with their CRM and Marketing software, but over the years, they’ve released other product lines that bring the same ease of use and scalability. HubSpot Service Hub was first released in 2018 as HubSpot’s entrance into the customer service market — and over the years, the product has continued to improve. Here’s just some of what’s possible with HubSpot:
- Easily add a live chat window to your site and customize it to match your brand
- Chat with visitors in real-time
- Manage and respond to all your messages (from email, live chat, Facebook Messenger) through a shared team email inbox
- Have conversations on the go with a Slack integration and a mobile app
- Automatically create tickets and intelligently route them to the right team member
- Create a knowledge base to answer common customer questions
Best for: Businesses looking for a full customer experience platform including live chat, ticketing, knowledge base, and more!
Price: Drift has a freemium version. Additional features start at $400/month.
No Intercom alternatives blog is complete without talking about Drift. These companies go together like Harry Potter and Voldemort. (Don’t ask us which company is Voldemort—we’re not ready for that level of controversy.) Anyway, here’s what you can do with Drift:
- Use targeted messaging to increase sales and lead gen rates
- Access interchangeable chats to make sure the right sales rep can enter different conversations
- Sit back while chatbots automatically book meetings with sales reps
- Access regular reports to see the status and performance of chatbots and sales reps
- Start a phone call using the chatbot
Best for: Businesses looking for a chat focused heavily on marketing
Price: After a freemium account, Froged starts at $29/month. Get annual access to Froged at $149 on AppSumo today.
Froged is a behavioral messaging platform for SaaS companies and agencies. It lets you engage with customers based on their specific actions. Here’s what else you can do:
- Use automated messages in Froged chat to engage site visitors
- Provide real-time support to your leads and customers
- Send landing-page-specific messages to improve conversions
- Use metrics to build strategic email campaigns based on real customer behavior
- Use site visitor behavior to create dynamic audience segments
Best for: SaaS companies and agencies that want to improve customer service and convert more leads to paid customers
Price: Start free with a Pro plan at $99 per month. You can also customize your plan with add-ons.
Helpwise improves team-wide collaboration with a shared inbox. Deliver better customer service, in less time. Helpwise also lets you:
- Assign chat threads to specific support staff for faster delegation
- Use backend tools to assign follow-ups to the right team member and avoid redundancy
- Store threads and information in a shared knowledge base to quickly solve common queries
- Access a Help Center of resources to easily sharing FAQs, articles, and case studies
- Automate integrations and workflow to save time and boost productivity
Best for: Support and sales teams managing shared email accounts like help@, sales@, and info@
5. Loop Email
Source: Loop Email
Price: Paid plans starting at £7 per month.
Loop Email is a collaborative email app that SMBs connect, collaborate, and manage shared inboxes. Here’s what the tool helps you do:
- Collaborate on emails, and save common responses for faster replies
- Use @mentions and create team channels to collaborate with team members
- Use real-time messaging to streamline communication across your team
- Search old conversations for common questions, training, and customer insights
- Instantly reply to clients from your inbox with one click
Best for: Small to midsize businesses, agencies, and teams that work together via email
Price: Starts at $19 per month.
Ringblaze takes your phone support to another level. Use it to support effective sales and customer support collaboration. You can:
- Talk to site visitors customers in real-time as they browse your offerings, answering questions and qualifying leads
- Manage a shared inbox where support staff can add call notes, access resources, and delegate calls to other support professionals
- Simple one-click calls for user-friendly support (just click the icon!)
- Adding and removing phone numbers in just a few clicks
- Manage calls and track resolutions to improve your support over time
Best for: Sales and customer support teams looking to optimize their phone systems
Price: After a free trial, HelpCrunch starts at $12 per user per month.
HelpCrunch is a low-cost website chat tool for all business sizes. Improve lead gen and streamline support with these features:
- Use email marketing automation tools to streamline support and sales
- Enjoy limit-free chat (unlike Intercom, which caps chat conversations at different pricing tiers)
- Pre-qualify leads through chat-embedded forms to collect contact information
- Send targeted messages based on customer behavior
- Customize the color, style, and size of your chatbot to fit your ideal branding
Best for: Internet-based businesses
Price: Zendesk offers a freemium chat service. Their premium chat services start at $14 per agent each month.
Zendesk offers a CRM, chatbot, and additional sales and customer service tools, all rolled into one. The price and features listed here only account for the chat-portion of the tool:
- Use chat support to answer customer questions and provide resources in real-time
- Gain live chat analytics to gauge customer satisfaction and agent performance
- Access quality reports to uncover new ways to improve lead gen and support
- Engage customers across multiple platforms including your website, apps, and Facebook Messenger
- Connect chat with Zendesk CRM and other tools to access multiple tools in one place
Best for: Businesses large and small trying to improve customer relations
Price: LiveAgent starts free and has a Lite plan ($15) with limited features. Their chatbot pricing starts at $29 per user per month.
LiveAgent is live chat software that helps you increase conversions and provide instant support to customers. Here’s what you can expect:
- Set automation rules for streamlined conversations and faster sales
- Use internal tags to assign agent tickets automatically
- Interact with site visitors from page to page as they navigate your website
- Enable live-typing view, so support agents can prepare answers in advance
- Customize your chatbot design to fit your needs and brand
Best for: Businesses looking for a chat tool dedicated to sales and marketing
Price: Starts at $12 per user per month when you purchase a two-year plan. One year plans start at $15 per user per month.
Olark is purely a live chatbot. While many of the tools on this list contain CRMs and a hodgepodge of other tools, Olark is a singularly focused tool meant to help your team chat in real-time with your customers. Use Olark to:
- Chat in real-time for support and sales
- Store notes and chat transcripts in Olark or with your favorite CRM
- Use triggered messages to provide customers instant answers and resources
- Embed custom pre-built forms so prospects can send you their information, even when you’re offline
- Integrates with popular sales and customer support tools
Best for: Small businesses wanting to connect more personally to their customers
Price: LiveChat starts at $16 per user per month.
LiveChat is exactly what it sounds like: live chat you can embed on your website to boost sales and have conversations with customers at every level of your funnel. LiveChat lets you:
- Showcase your products using cards in the chat (bring products to the front for your users instead of making them search your site)
- Pre-qualify leads using automated messages and contact forms
- Use chat analytics to track sales and support staff performance
- Store transcripts and chat history for training and optimization
- Share resources—like blogs and case studies—from your Knowledge Base
Best for: Businesses focused on personalizing sales and lead gen
Honorable Mention: Callback Tracker
Callback Tracker is a communications suite application offering callbacks, live chats, email, and SMS messaging for streamlined customer interactions.
From the dashboard, you can access all of your communication channels, with correspondences stored in chronological order for easy tracking.
Segmented real-time live chat means that queries are sorted based on department. Meanwhile, the callback feature lets customers schedule a call at any time, with immediate callbacks available in just 24 seconds.
Callback Tracker integrates with Zapier, Salesforce, Google Analytics, WordPress, and more straight out of the box, so it’ll fit snugly into your ecosystem without any hitches.
Pick your favorite Intercom alternative
Intercom is a powerful tool, but the cost is impractical for some businesses. We hope that the Intercom alternatives provided in this list can help small business owners, freelancers, and agencies tap into the power of chatbots in their lead generation and customer service.
At the end of these comparison lists, it can be hard to know which tool to choose. Your decision has to come down to a careful consideration of your business size, use cases, preferred features, and of course – your budget. (Yes, you have to spend money to make money, but who said it has to be that much?)
My recommendation: Research the lifetime deals while they last. If you like a tool from the AppSumo store, you get it for life.
All the benefits of chatbots and simple customer communication, without the monthly subscription fee — not too shabby if you ask me.