Best Live Chat Software 2021

Freshchat vs. Intercom

Is Freshchat or Intercom the better solution for you? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you select the best live chat tool to help support your company’s customer engagement efforts.

Individuals and organizations use live chat software tools to connect with website visitors. Live chat software is also often equipped with additional marketing and engagement features like email campaigns, on-site chat campaigns, and chatbots.

There’s a wide selection of live chat solutions on the market today, which can make it difficult to decide which one will best benefit you and your business. Throughout this guide, we will help you understand the key differences between Freshchat and Intercom and help simplify your decision.

Freshchat & Intercom Comparison Summary

Freshchat and Intercom are two popular and advanced live chat solutions. Though Intercom scored higher in our overall rankings, both are solutions worth considering. The key differences between the two are their notable features, the overall cost, and the types of organizations they’re best for.

Freshchat is a solution that is focused on live chat and email campaigns. The greatest value is found in its cheaper plans – therefore we believe it’s best for small businesses with less than 10 customer support agents. Freshchat is easier to use and offers notably strong reporting capabilities, which can help your team understand their performance.

On the other hand, Intercom is more advanced and includes features that are appealing to technology-forward customers. It is an engagement tool that may be ideal if you’re at a more tech-savvy organization, and want a solution that adds strategic value for your sales operation.

Here’s a quick breakdown to determine which solution is best for you:

You'll prefer Freshchat if:

  • You have fewer than 10 customer support agents
  • You’re interested in easy-to-use email and chat campaigns
  • You’re interested in integrating Freshchat with other products offered by Freshworks, which include CRM, human resources, and call center tools, to name a few

Try Freshchat Today

You'll prefer Intercom if:

  • You’re looking to generate leads through features like Product Tours & targeted messages
  • You want a full suite of customer support products including chatbots and outbound messages
  • You’re a large company with funds or a startup that can take advantage of the discounted program

Try Intercom Today

Table of Contents

Who Should Purchase Freshchat?

Freshchat is used by thousands of businesses of all sizes. Smaller companies benefit from its high-value free plan. Larger companies can purchase Freshchat’s enterprise plan and take advantage of advanced features like chatbots and live translation. While it has enough plans and features to appeal to a wide range of businesses, we found the greatest value to be in Freshchat’s cheaper plans that are intended for smaller organizations.

During our research, we found that while Freshchat customers are generally pleased with the software, some feel that customer service can be unhelpful. We also noted that Freshchat’s chatbot feature is expensive, particularly when compared with similarly powerful competitors. Because Freshchat is one of several software products built by Freshworks, its customers benefit from using a portfolio of integrated software products purchased from a single vendor.

Who Should Purchase Intercom?

Intercom is one of the most powerful live chat solutions on the market. As such, it is at the highest end of pricing for live chat tools. Very large, technology-forward companies will benefit from the unique engagement features that Intercom has to offer.

The biggest downside to Intercom is the price, according to many customer reviews. Cost aside, however, Intercom significantly benefits those who use it for customer support, lead generation, and customer data attributes.

Freshchat & Intercom Price Comparison

Freshchat operates on a pay-per-agent model. It offers a free plan as well as four paid plans, which range from $19 per agent per month to $99 per agent per month. Intercom’s pricing ranges from $39 per month to $999 per month for up to 10 agents.

Freshchat Pricing Details

Freshchat offers a free basic live chat plan. Paid plans start at $19 per agent per month, and the most expensive plan is priced at $99 per agent per month.

  • Free and includes 100 agents
  • $19 per agent per month
  • $29 per agent per month
  • $45 per agent per month
  • $99 per agent per month

Intercom Pricing Details

Intercom pricing starts at $39 per month with one seat. There are four plans to choose from, as well as a program that startups can apply to for a one-year low price. Here’s an overview of Intercom’s plans:

  • $39 per month with one seat; additional seats at $9 per month
  • $99 per month with five seats; additional seats at $19 per month
  • $499 per month with 10 seats; additional seats at $49 per month
  • $999 per month with 10 seats; additional seats at $99 per month
Early Stage Program
  • $49 per month

Freshchat & Intercom Feature Comparison

Freshchat and Intercom are two customer engagement tools that offer similar live chat and messaging features. The tools differ both in terms of nuanced details—Freshchat offers built-in co-browsing while Intercom does not—and in terms of larger tools. For example, Intercom offers Product Tours and Freshchat does not.

As displayed in the table below, each platform also includes unique features. For a full analysis of each solution’s features, read our Freshchat review and Intercom review.

Chat WidgetYesYes
Visitor Typing PreviewYesNo
Canned ResponsesYesYes
Built-In Co-BrowsingYesNo
File SharingYesYes
Knowledge BaseYes (FAQs)Yes
Email CampaignsYesYes
Robust IntegrationsYesYes
Product ToursNoYes
Mobile ApplicationYesYes

Freshchat's Top Features

Freshchat offers live chat and email marketing capabilities. These features are outlined below, which can help you determine if Freshchat is the correct choice for your business.

Live Chat

Freshchat’s live chat interface is shown below. The inbox view is very similar to the Intercom inbox, with active chats on the left, current chat shown in the middle, and visitor data on the right. Freshchat’s live chat has a few built-in features that Intercom’s does not, like co-browsing with visitors.

Freshchat Inbox

Reporting and Segmentation

Both solutions offer robust reporting sections, though Freshchat’s is easier to interpret. Data are presented in a variety of graph and list formats. Included metrics provide a picture of agent availability, conversation response times, customer satisfaction, and team performance.

Freshchat Productivity Report

Segmentation allows you to send targeted, relevant messages to customers based on data like language, location, and behavior. Freshchat includes a Segmentation section that makes it easy to identify groups and send each group relevant chat and email campaigns.

Freshchat Segmentation

Triggered Messages and Campaigns

With Freshchat, businesses can send triggered messages to customers. While this section is useful, it is visually outdated when compared with the same section in Intercom. Additionally, campaigns are not as intuitive to build as Intercom’s, because Freshchat campaigns are created in a list view while Intercom’s are done in a graph-style builder.

Freshchat Triggered Campaign

Intercom's Top Features

Intercom offers live chat, outbound messages, and chatbots. One of the most unique features that Intercom offers is Product Tours, which guide visitors through your website. If you’re searching for these engagement tools, Intercom would be a good fit for you.

Live Chat

Both Intercom and Freshchat have advanced live chat capabilities. While Intercom has advanced visitor data, it also lacks some features that Freshchat includes, like the typing preview, which allows agents to see what visitors are typing before they send messages.

Intercom Inbox

Intercom also has advanced widget capabilities for visitors—displayed on the right in the image below—which include continuing past conversations, starting a new conversation, or searching the Help Center.

Intercom Widgets

Outbound Messages

Both Intercom and Freshchat have the ability to create outbound messages. We found that Intercom’s outbound message builder, called the Series Builder, is easier to use given its workflow-style graph. It also has a few more detailed features, like the ability to send in-app reminders or start a Product Tour.

Intercom Series Builder


Intercom includes a few types of chatbots—the Task Bot, Resolution Bot, and Custom Bot— which can be programmed to route customers to the right team, answer frequently asked questions, and onboard new users, respectively. All the bots are powerful yet relatively easy to set up.

Task Bot

Intercom Task Bot

Custom and Resolution Bots

Intercom Custom Bot

Product Tours

Intercom offers Product Tours, which are interactive, guided tours to point users to features on your website. Freshchat does not offer this feature. Teams that want to encourage visitor engagement on the site will benefit from this unique offering.

Bottom Line

Freshchat and Intercom are both popular and expensive live chat tools. Both solutions have significant benefits and a couple drawbacks. The main difference lies in the features that you want and the price you are willing to pay.

  • Freshchat is ideal for small to medium businesses searching for reliable live chat and email marketing features. The free plan comes with 100 seats, which is particularly useful for mid-sized companies.
  • Intercom is beneficial for large companies that are searching for an all-around customer engagement tool.

If you’re interested, visit Freshchat or Intercom today to get started.

Katelyn Anderson

Katelyn is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit, where she conducts in-depth analyses of technology markets & products and writes software-related content. She graduated summa cum laude with degrees in English and Psychology. Her main areas of interest are content creation, user experience, and search engine optimization. You can connect with Katelyn on LinkedIn.

Katelyn is an expert in several software categories including:

  • Accounting software
  • Integration software
  • Live chat software
  • Vacation rental software
  • Video conferencing software

Get the latest from SoftwarePundit

We'll share our latest software reviews, technology tips, and deals.