Compare Intercom With Other Popular Customer Support Tools

TestBox lets you compare Intercom side-by-side with its competitors. See how different features work in different products to determine which tool is right for you, and make a purchasing decision you’re confident in!


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Compare Intercom pricing vs. other tools

Product Free Plan Available? Starter Plan Mid-Range Plan Advanced Plan
Intercom No $74/month Custom Custom
Trengo No $18/user/month $29/user/month $41/user/month
Front No $19-$49/seat/month $99/seat/month $229/seat/month
Help Scout Yes, for startups and nonprofits $20/user/month $40/user/month $60/user/month
Zendesk Yes, for startups $49/agent/month $79/agent/month $99/agent/month
Freshdesk Yes, for up to 10 agents $15/agent/month $49/agent/month $79/agent/month
HubSpot Service Hub Yes, includes 1 shared inbox $45/month for 2 paid users $450/month for 5 paid users $1,200/month for 10 paid users
Dixa No $39/agent/month $89/agent/month $139/agent/month
Gorgias No $10-$60/month for 50-300 tickets/month $360/month for 2,000 tickets/month $900/month for 5,000 tickets/month
Zoho Desk Yes, for up to 3 users $7-$14/user/month $23/user/month $40/user/month

Intercom review

Although its chat-based approach is different to traditional ticketing systems, Intercom still has a lot to offer customer support and service teams. Intercom offers some seriously impressive features and is a great solution for companies who interact most with customers through live chat.

Intercom pros

First, here are the three things we love most about Intercom.

Customizable chatbots

Although Intercom offers live chat like other customer support platforms, it really stands out with its chatbots. Combining advanced functionality with extensive customization options, Intercom’s chatbots are equipped with a huge range of features:

  • Proactive auto-messages: Chatbots can automatically deploy in-app and website messages triggered by customer behavior, like amount of time spent on a particular page.
  • Rich content types: Intercom’s chat windows don’t just support text, but images, videos, gifs, emojis, and attachments.
  • Self-service: Customers can interact with chatbots to explore your knowledge base articles and FAQ’s, launch product tours, or connect with live agents—all within a single window.
  • Conversation triaging: Before routing to live agents, chatbots can collect customer information by asking multiple choice questions with predefined answers (customers can also write their own response). 
  • Automated tasks: Chatbots can tag and prioritize conversations, assign to a specific inbox, apply SLA’s, and even route “VIP” customers directly to live support.
intercom customizable chatbot

Why we love Intercom’s customizable chatbots

Considering the degree of advanced and customizable functionality, chatbots are surprisingly easy to create with Intercom’s code-free, visual, drag-and-drop builder. You can also easily schedule times of day when customers can view and interact with different chatbots.

Extensive integrations

Intercom uses integrations to boost their chat functionality with even more features. With embedded apps (both third-party and native to Intercom), customers can perform a wide range of actions directly within the chat—like scheduling a demo, checking on an order’s status, or responding to a survey. 

Popular Intercom integrations include:

  • Article inserter: Shares single how-to articles directly in the chat window. These messages can  be triggered by time thresholds, like if a user has been stuck somewhere in your app or on your website for several minutes. 
  • Status page: Displays system status and outage information, and enables customers to subscribe to email or text updates. 
  • Typeform: Deploys interactive surveys. 
  • Zendesk: Forwards conversations to Zendesk and converts into trackable tickets. 

You can also use APIs to integrate Intercom with the rest of your tech stack.

Why we love Intercom’s extensive integrations

Instead of spreading themselves too thin, Intercom has doubled down on what they’re really good at: chat. This has enabled the platform to offer some incredibly unique chatbot features, many of which you won’t find elsewhere. However, Intercom also plays nicely with other tools, including more ticket-oriented solutions like Zendesk. This gives you the best of both worlds—leveling up chat support (both live and bot), while performing similar functions to a comprehensive customer support platform.

Incredible user experience

Intercom’s intuitive design makes for a seamless user experience— from onboarding to  daily use. Since Intercom supplements their chat functionality with apps and integrations, you can consolidate several communication channels in a single inbox. Additionally, you can automate manual tasks and workflows to save time—like creating canned responses for common questions—all wrapped up in a clean, easy-to-use interface.

Why we love Intercom’s userface

Your agents can jump right in and start using Intercom without a steep learning curve, which means quicker time to value. Since your agents will be using this tool daily, having an enjoyable user experience will also make it easier for them to become power users and really get the most out of the software.

Intercom cons

Though there’s a lot to love about Intercom, the platform is not without its challenges. Let's walk through three we think you should know about.

Heavily chat focused 

Intercom is structured differently than other customer support solutions. Chat is the platform’s core feature, which has some serious advantages. This comes in handy when integrations allow your customers to perform several actions within a chat window, rather than jump from tab-to-tab, including: 

  • Filling out forms
  • Checking an order status
  • Exploring your knowledge center
  • Launching product tours
  • Completing surveys

Experiences like this can make for a more seamless customer experience.

However, Intercom’s heavy chat focus can also be a disadvantage for some businesses. The solution doesn’t offer a traditional ticketing system, which can make it harder for customer service and support teams to streamline their backend operations in a familiar way. For instance, it can be challenging when customers communicate through multiple channels. Sometimes Intercom glitches and, instead of having a full history of a customer, it can treat the same conversation as multiple chats, making it harder to keep conversations organized across multiple customers.

Intercom can also feel restrictive when it comes to email:

If a customer is signed in to your app or website and has the left a live chat, Intercom will email them the conversation. The customer will then have the choice to return to the chat window, or reply directly to the email, converting it into a thread. However, agents are unable to forward a full chat transcript to customers after the conversation has closed. This would be especially useful if chats contain step-by-step instructions for troubleshooting.

Intercom also doesn’t currently offer the ability to redirect customers to an email contact form if live agents are unavailable after hours.

Our recommendation

Intercom probably isn’t the right fit for teams looking for a full-fledged ticketing system. Instead, we suggest looking at platforms like Freshdesk or Zoho Desk. Alternatively, you can use one of Intercom’s many integrations to forward chats to Zendesk and convert them into tickets 

Slow ramp time

Intercom’s core chat-based features (both live and bots) feel intuitive, so it’s easy to set up and hit the ground running. However, more extensive functionality heavily depends on integrations, which can introduce more complexity (and room for error) to your onboarding—as well as slow down the process. We found the following to be especially complicated:

  • Knowledge bases
  • Reporting
  • Admin configuration

Although this falls outside of our team’s direct experience, it’s also worth noting that several G2 reviews reported lengthy delays when contacting Intercom’s customer support team.

Our recommendation

Intercom has created a large supply of resources to help new users self-educate and get ramped up. However, an implementation expert can help your team get familiar with the tool even faster.

Unpredictable pricing

Intercom definitely isn’t the most cost effective option out there, although we feel their pricing structure is a bigger challenge than the specific dollar amount. New or advanced features—like automation rules and SLA’s— are typically locked behind plan upgrades, and your team will need to spring for the highest tier in order to use Intercom to its full capacity. 

This can make it difficult to budget effectively, with the true cost often being much higher than expected. In fact, the pricing structure is one of Intercom’s most frequent complaints on G2. Some reviewers also expressed frustration with Intercom enabling setup and configuration for advanced features, but then requiring an upgrade to actually use them.

Part of Intercom’s pricing structure is also focused on “people reached”. In other words, if your marketing team decides to launch the Intercom chat on the website, every visitor who interacts with the chat modal will be counted as a person reached. That means prices can (and do) escalate really fast.

Our recommendation

When it comes to budgeting, Intercom is one tool that’s better to overestimate than underestimate. This makes it easier to get a more accurate sense of the total cost of ownership, which will increase if you want to leverage the full range of features. If Intercom is still cost prohibitive, we recommend looking at alternative solutions like Freshdesk or Zoho Desk.


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