Account-Based Chat Inspiration: 7 Examples to Get You Started
Intercom, despite its name, is not an actual intercom device. What is Intercom? It’s actually a leading software platform for chat. It is used for business rather than fun, so it has a large array of features meant to help companies get the most of it.
As with most professional-grade chat platforms, the answer to “is Intercom free” is no. There are opportunities for demos of all of its many pricing levels, but there isn’t a free version. Intercom pricing starts at $39/month for a bare-bones version and goes up to over $499/mo for their most robust offerings. The best features, such as Intercom Messages Pro, are only available in the upper tiers. Intercom users pricing is also incorporated into the tiers, with the number of allowable users increasing as the price level does.
Prices have been different since the Intercom pricing change. Previous versions, such as Intercom free chat, are no longer listed on the company’s site.
There are several ways to access an Intercom account. You can use the Intercom app for Windows, the Intercom app for Android, or the Intercom app iOS version. You can find the proper Intercom app download for your device on the company’s site, or for mobile devices, on the app store that is compatible with your equipment. Notably, the Bluetooth intercom app is not a part of the Intercom chat software, and instead turns your phone into an actual intercom, so be sure to download the one for chat if you look through Intercom app stores or for Intercom Apple.
As with many of its competitors, Intercom support is robust for customers. They’ll be glad to help with setup. The Intercom blog gives ideas for better using the software, as well as general marketing information. Intercom also provides courses through its Academy, which some refer to as the Intercom University.
The Intercom company, like most software producers, has many types of openings for jobs. Someone working there can be involved in coding, but may also take care of the business side of dealing with Intercom support or with app stores. A search for Intercom Crunchbase shows that it has 32 team members at the present time, and funding of $290.8 million.
Drift is one of Intercom’s main competitors. Drift chat is the company’s main product, and the Drift app is available for PC, Android, and iOS. There is also a Drift blog. Drift pricing is not listed on its site, but it is possible to determine that there are two paid tiers. Unlike many competitors, Drift also offers a free version. This version is quite limited, but will allow users to set up a basic chat feature on their sites. There is no separate Drift email pricing. All tiers at least have an email fallback option, but any functionality for in-email chat will be reserved for the higher levels.
Along with basic chat, Drift offers the ability to target engagements based on customer information like their identity or company affiliation. At the higher tiers, it also allows for functionality like chat-to-Zoom and chat-to-call. You also gain access to a dedicated CRM, though Drift’s paid versions also integrate with many other platforms.
One of the best ways to compare Intercom vs Drift is to get a Drift login and one for the Intercom demo. Then, you’ll be able to see the differences and better decide which one best meets your needs and operational style.
Notably, Drift chatbot has nothing to do with Drift Me. The latter is a game app that lets you drift virtual cars. Be sure to download the right Drift app if you go directly to the Play Store or Apple App Store.
The Zendesk alternative Intercom brands itself as the “champions of customer service,” and this gives you the goal of the company in a nutshell. While Zendesk does offer functionality to assist with customer engagement and sales, its main focus is on making it easier for you to provide customer support. Its sales suite helps with automation of sales-oriented tasks, collects records in one place, and helps you connect with the right people.
Meanwhile, the support suite is meant to make providing support seamless, and lets you hide the “under the hood” parts of your support operation. It can be used with email, chat, and messenger apps, so it’s easy to keep track of interactions across multiple channels.
Zendesk pricing has two tiers, one of which is “Professional” and the other of which is “Enterprise.” The Professional tier is $89 per month per agent, while the “Enterprise” level is $149 per month per agent.
Comparing Intercom vs Zendesk pricing is only easy if you fall neatly into similar tiers on both platforms. Otherwise, you’ll need to look at specific features that you would actually use.
One way to make it easier to compare is to consider other factors as well as price. Check Zendesk vs Intercom Reddit to see real-world comparisons, or compare Zendesk Intercom integration stories to learn if either of them are particularly easy (or difficult). Then, it’ll be easier to decide between Intercom vs Zendesk.
Olark is another chat platform for sales and customer support, and it is one of the major Intercom alternatives 2020. Searching for “Intercom alternatives Reddit” brings up several mentions of this platform, along with all sorts of others. However, if you want to see reviews about Olark in particular, it’s better to search for something like “Intercom vs. Olark.” This will cut out most threads that don’t mention Olark or only mention it in passing.
This company is proud of its “simple, predictable pricing.” There are no tiers, which is rare in the chat platform industry. Instead, there is a flat monthly fee for each user. Committing to a one-year plan gets you a slight discount, and committing to a two-year plan gets you a bigger discount. You can also go month-to-month, for no discount. The base rate is $19 per agent per month. There is also a free trial.
Instead of relegating its educational materials to a blog, Olark has several how-tos right on its main site. Increasing sales, generating leads, and providing great customer service are some of the covered topics. Other Intercom alternatives, just like Olark, also offer educational resources.
While Olark doesn’t prominently promote any targeting features, it does offer plenty of ways to make use of the data you gain from chat sessions. It also offers several ways to upgrade the base software, known as Power Ups, which are available at extra cost. Finally, Olark integrates with many other platforms, such as HubSpot and Google Analytics, which can greatly expand the total functionality of both it and the other platform.
HelpCrunch is another one of the Intercom competitors, but it isn’t just a chat platform. Instead, it aims to provide an “all-in-one toolset” for customer communication, including email, help desk, knowledgebase, and more along with the chat functions.
The chat features are more robust than some, with plenty of customization options that make the chats seem more personable. Agents can have their own custom avatars, localizations are possible, and of course, the overall look and feel can be customized as well. Live chat and chatbots are both possible.
Three paid options exist, as well as a free trial. HelpCrunch pricing starts at $12 per month per team member for the Standard plan, and goes up to $20 per agent per month for the Premium level. More chatbots, as well as other features, are made available at the higher tier. The top tier, the Enterprise level, is for those who need a custom implementation. Its price may be obtained by discussing your needs with HelpCrunch.
HelpCrunch is not one of the Intercom alternatives open source, but the company doesn’t want that to stand between it and those who want to switch from Intercom. It directly competes with this company by offering free migration from Intercom, unlimited contacts, and pricing that it claims is 3-5x more affordable than Intercom. Since there is a free trial, it can be well worth it to check it out, especially if one of their stated advantages over Intercom is your motivation for switching.
Freshchat is yet another Intercom alternative. As its name implies, chat is its main feature. It allows both chatbots and live chat. However, unlike some, its focus isn’t mainly on providing help to your customers. Instead, it offers features to improve sales, target past visitors, and more. It integrates with a variety of blog platforms and e-commerce site platforms, so it’s easy to connect with your prospects and returning customers.
Custom chatbot options are prominently featured, allowing you to present special offers to specific people. This lets you improve your site’s conversion ratio and provide personalized customer support. However, unlike some apps, it does not indicate that it’ll figure out who people are based on a wide database of IPs and other identifying factors. Instead, it works best with people who have already given your company identifying information, such as by setting up an account with you.
In-depth Intercom vs Freshchat comparisons are easy to find online. One of the main differences mentioned is cost. There is a surprisingly robust free version, as well as four different messaging plans. The highest cost messaging plan is $69 per month per agent, and the lowest non-free option is $15 per agent per month, both when billed annually. The Omnichannel option combines Freshdesk and Freshcaller, two of the products offered by Freshchat, into one. This option has two tiers, one of which is $79 per agent per month, and the other of which is $139. All of these options are much more affordable than Intercom’s “most customers” option, which is $499 per month.
It’s harder to get direct comparisons when you search for three options, such as Intercom vs Zendesk vs Freshdesk. However, some charts can be found. One of these, provided by the business software directory Crozdesk, shows that Intercom has the most features of the three, but it is also much more expensive than its competitors. Likely because of this, Intercom has far fewer users than Zendesk – just 4,000 compared to Zendesk’s 50,000+. It does not say how many users Freshchat has.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Intercom, it’s clear that you have plenty of choices. Which one you should pick depends on your overall needs and the desired focus of the software. Typically, tools meant for marketing and targeting need to be more robust than those meant for providing off-the-cuff customer support. Therefore, your budget should reflect this in order to avoid disappointment.