Best Live Chat Software 2021

Intercom Competitors & Alternatives

Are you considering Intercom for your customer engagement purposes? Before committing to Intercom, check out these alternatives to determine the best choice for your organization.

Intercom is one of the top customer engagement solutions on the market. There are many similar solutions available today, all with different price ranges, features, and target organizations. Before you purchase Intercom, we recommend understanding the market and how Intercom stacks up against its competitors.

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the top Intercom alternatives and give insights into features and pricing. If you’d like to read an in-depth analysis of Intercom, check out our full Intercom review.

All of our recommendations are based on research, product demos with the software companies, and dozens of hours spent hand-testing these live chat solutions. More details regarding our research process can be found on our live chat category page.

Table of Contents

Intercom Features

Below is a table of Intercom’s main features. As a robust platform, Intercom provides a wide variety of marketing and engagement features with large categories like live chat, email marketing, and pop-ups. Details concerning the most important features are provided here.

FeatureDescription
Messenger (Live Chat)Intercom’s live chat feature offers most of the required details, though it does lack message sneak peek, which allows agents to see what visitors are typing before a message is sent.
ReportsIntercom’s reports are generally more robust than those of competitors. There are metrics concerning leads, message performance, and agent performance.
ChatbotsIntercom offers three chatbots that are designed to fulfill different functions. The Task Bot completes simple functions, while the other two bots are more complex and are not included in every plan.
Outbound MessagesSend proactive emails, chats, or posts to visitors for a variety of purposes. These messages can be sent to announce a sale, remind visitors to check out, or to ask visitors to sign up for the mailing list. They are easy to configure and send.
Help CenterIntercom offers a hosted Help Center, where your company can write FAQ articles and respond to visitor questions. The chat widget is displayed on Help Center pages so visitors can also directly chat with agents.
A/B TestingA/B testing allows companies to test and compare two different versions of something to see which performs better. This can be done with the mobile carousels and outbound messages.
Product ToursAnother unique feature of Intercom’s is the Product Tours, which will walk visitors through your site and highlight specific aspects that you’ll want the visitor to see and interact with.
IntegrationsWith over 200 pre-built integrations, Intercom will coordinate easily with most major platforms. This is one of the most robust features lists across messaging tools.

Intercom Competitor Overview: Pricing & Features

Intercom was founded in 2011 and currently has over 30,000 customers. It’s widely regarded as a premier messaging platform and is our top-rated solution in the live chat category.

Intercom pricing begins at $39 per month for one seat and ranges to $999 per month for 10 seats. There are “people reached” limits, meaning that you can connect with only a certain number of visitors before you get charged extra. There are also products that are an additional monthly charge. A few more details about Intercom pricing are below:

  • Early stage businesses can apply to get Intercom starting at just $49 per month
  • Some customers have noted displeasure concerning the confusing & high prices

In spite of the initial sticker shock, we’ve concluded that Intercom is one of the best messaging and marketing solutions. During testing, our main complaints were the price and the lack of support availability. However, the price is on par with its advanced and unique capabilities. Intercom is best for sophisticated or large companies and will also benefit technology-forward startups that qualify for the startup plan.

Intercom Competitors

There are certainly many customer engagement solutions available today. We’ve focused this article on solutions that, like Intercom, provide a mix of support and marketing features. These six Intercom competitors are listed based on their features, power, and pricing.

HelpCrunch
HelpCrunch
Rating 93
LiveChat
LiveChat
Rating 91
tawk.to
tawk.to
Rating 90
Drift
Drift
Rating 90
Crisp
Crisp
Rating 88
Gist
Gist
Rating 88
Tidio
Tidio
Rating 85
Freshchat
Freshchat
Rating 84
Zendesk Chat
Zendesk Chat
Rating 84

Some of the main Intercom competitors are:

  • Drift
  • HelpCrunch
  • LiveChat
  • Crisp
  • Gist
  • Tidio
Intercom Competitors Feature Chart

#1: Drift

Drift is another heavyweight in the messaging-marketing space. It’s one of Intercom’s top competitors because of similar features, similar power, and the type of business that it’s best for. Large businesses and technology-forward small businesses will likely benefit. Neither product is ideal for those just looking to serve live chat purposes, so consider both only if marketing is a main focus and customer support is an add-on. Drift does not publish their pricing details online.

You'll prefer Intercom if:

  • You’re focused on marketing rather than sales
  • You like transparency regarding pricing
  • You prefer a tool that’s arguably more straightforward
You'll prefer Drift if:

  • You’re a sales-focused company or team
  • You want to sign up for a free chat-only plan
  • You use Salesforce and want to use pre-built dashboards
Drift
Rating: 90
Starting Price: $50 per agent per month

Drift is a powerful messaging and marketing software with over 50,000 customers. With features like live chat, chatbots, and messaging campaigns, it is a great solution for sales and marketing teams.

Pros:
  • Very powerful segmentation capabilities for marketing and sales teams
  • Segmentation enables rich targeting for one-off and drip marketing campaigns
  • Integrates with key sales and marketing solutions like Marketo and Salesforce
Cons:
  • Steep learning curve due to product's complexity
  • Chat inbox is not always accurate with information
  • Lack of pricing transparency

#2: HelpCrunch

HelpCrunch is a newer platform geared towards smaller companies. It’s priced on a per-agent basis starting at $15 per agent for chat and $29 per agent for chat and email marketing. It’s similar to Intercom in terms of features, with email marketing, message performance metrics, and pop-ups. It doesn’t have things like A/B testing, mobile carousels, chatbots, or a mobile application, making it less advanced. Overall, HelpCrunch is similar but better suited to small and medium sized organizations.

For a more in-depth comparison between Intercom and HelpCrunch, check out our HelpCrunch vs. Intercom summary.

You'll prefer Intercom if:

  • You need chatbot capabilities
  • You’re interested in unique features like A/B testing
  • You want to easily integrate your chat and marketing with over 200 products
You'll prefer HelpCrunch if:

  • You’re a smaller company
  • You’re interested in a simpler-to-use product
  • You don’t need chatbots for customer support
HelpCrunch
Rating: 93
Starting Price: $15 per month

HelpCrunch is a modern and powerful customer communication platform. With features that help streamline customer support and marketing, it’s a solution that will benefit most teams, ecommerce organizations in particular.

Pros:
  • One of the most powerful and intuitive tools we tested
  • Includes website pop-ups, which few live chat solutions offer
  • Helpful and detailed metrics regarding campaigns and knowledge base
Cons:
  • The Chat + Email plan can get expensive if you have a large team
  • The chat widget was somewhat slow to load during our testing
  • Slightly limited integrations list and doesn't integrate with Zapier

#3: LiveChat

As the name suggests, LiveChat is a chat-focused solution. It’s similar to Intercom in terms of its scope and power, with a similar number of customers and a modern, well-designed interface. Due to the lack of marketing features, LiveChat should be chosen by companies looking to boost their customer support efficiency.

To learn more about LiveChat and its competitors and alternatives, read our LiveChat competitors and alternatives overview.

You'll prefer Intercom if:

  • You require email marketing capabilities
  • You’d like a hosted Help Center included
  • You’re interested in unique features like product tours and mobile carousels
You'll prefer LiveChat if:

  • You need to focus on customer support, not marketing
  • You want an arguably more user-friendly product
  • You want straightforward per-agent pricing
LiveChat
Rating: 91
Starting Price: $19 per agent per month

LiveChat is a live chat and ticketing software with over 30,000 customers worldwide. LiveChat's main features include advanced reports, a ticketing system, and a broad integrations list. Overall, we found LiveChat to be one of the most feature-rich live chat solutions, but also one of the most expensive.

Pros:
  • One of the most powerful live chat tools on the market
  • More advanced reporting section than found in alternatives
  • Unique features like interactive reports and direct canned response creation
Cons:
  • Lacks built-in email marketing capabilities
  • Expensive compared with other platforms, especially for smaller teams
  • No free plan

#4: Crisp

Crisp is another chat-and-marketing tool that has unique features. With a MagicMap tool providing a live visitor view and a MagicBrowse tool that lets you see how visitors interact with your site, it can be categorized as an Intercom competitor. During testing, there were a few instances where Crisp did not work immediately, whereas we did not encounter that issue with Intercom. If you’re a smaller team that would like unlimited support seats for $95 per month, Crisp is likely a better choice.

You'll prefer Intercom if:

  • You’re a larger marketing team
  • You need things like Product Tours and A/B testing
  • You don’t require instantly-available customer support
You'll prefer Crisp if:

  • You want marketing and chat features for much cheaper
  • You want more chatbot capabilities for less money
  • You don’t mind occasional lagging within the interface
Crisp
Rating: 88
Starting Price: $25 per month

Crisp is a live chat and email marketing software with over 200,000 customers. Its notable features include chatbots, which are very intuitive to build, and unlimited seats in the most advanced plan. Crisp is a reliable software at a relatively low price, especially for for startups and small businesses.

Pros:
  • Prompt and reliable mobile application notifications
  • Chatbots are more intuitive to configure than competitors' bots
  • Good value for the price, particularly with the Unlimited plan
Cons:
  • MagicBrowse tool requires a strong Internet connection to function properly
  • Agent-specific reports must be custom-built with API
  • Email editor is slightly more complicated than in competitors' tools

#5: Gist

Gist is a much smaller company with around 10,000 customers. With the All-in-One suite, you can have email, a knowledge base, lead qualification bot, and drip campaigns. These features are similar to Intercom’s but, like many competitors on this list, Gist would benefit a smaller company.

You'll prefer Intercom if:

  • You’d like more advanced customer data attributes
  • You need advanced and varied pre-built integrations
  • You have a larger budget to spend on a solution
You'll prefer Gist if:

  • You’re a smaller company or a startup
  • You’re interested in a fairly robust free plan
  • You’d like easy-to-build chatbot workflows
Gist
Rating: 88
Starting Price: $29 per month

Gist is a customer messaging software with over 10,000 customers. Its notable features include event tracking and cross-channel campaigns. It is ideal for anyone looking for an affordable mid-tier customer messaging solution.

Pros:
  • Free plans are more robust than competitors' free plans
  • Advanced cross-channel messaging capabilities
  • Buildable forms and popups to capture and convert leads
Cons:
  • Chat history feature is not designed practically
  • Customer support wait times can be long
  • Limited integrations list

#6: Tidio

Tidio, like other competitors on this list, also offers a combination of chat and marketing features. It’s somewhat simpler than most others on this list, with limited integrations, elementary analytics, and sometimes-unreliable notifications. Tidio is a great choice for smaller teams searching for a basic, straightforward tool.

You'll prefer Intercom if:

  • You’re invested in lead generation
  • You don’t mind a tool that has a learning curve
  • You’re technologically savvy
You'll prefer Tidio if:

  • You’re on the hunt for a tool that’s easy to use
  • You want simple buildable chatbot workflows
  • You want a pay-for-what-you-use pricing model
Tidio
Rating: 85
Starting Price: $18 per month

Tidio is a live chat and email marketing software that’s used by over 300,000 websites. It offers features like chatbots and email marketing templates. Given its ease of use, Tidio is ideal for those searching for a hassle-free live chat solution.

Pros:
  • Advanced and varied chatbot workflows that are still easy to build
  • Interface is user-friendly
  • Flexible pricing options give customers the chance to pay for only the features they want
Cons:
  • Chat notifications can be unreliable, so you may not always get notified when you have a message
  • Included reports are fairly basic
  • Somewhat limited integrations list, especially compared with competitors

Bottom Line

Intercom is a unique, powerful messaging and marketing tool. We don’t recommend it for those just searching for a live chat tool; rather, it should be regarded as a much broader solution that will serve messaging purposes as well as marketing objectives.

Before choosing a solution, we recommend that you read through the reviews of each Intercom competitor, especially because Intercom prices should not be taken lightly.

If you’re interested in testing Intercom’s Grow plan for 14 days, sign up here.

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

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