Top 7 Intercom Alternatives Compared In 2024

Enhance customer support! Explore top alternatives to Intercom for efficient customer service solutions.

Exceptional customer communication is the lifeblood of continued business success. Modern businesses must find a way to ensure their customers are happy with their operational model to keep them coming back, and the best way to achieve this is via consistent communication. To this end, customer service automation (CSA) software, like Intercom, has emerged as the go-to solution thanks to its ability to streamline interactions and foster stronger relationships. Intercom especially, has carved a formidable reputation among other CSAs, thanks to a comprehensive suite of features that specifically cater to diverse needs, ranging from real-time chat functionalities to targeted messaging, making it a popular choice for businesses of all sizes.

However, Intercom is not the only option for Customer Service Automation. Even more, it may not be the best for your business as every company's communication requirements deserve a tailored approach. In this blog, we'll dive deeper into what Intercom offers, explore what its users experience, and introduce similar platforms that might be a better fit for your specific needs.

Without further ado, let’s get to it!

What is Intercom?

Established in 2011, Intercom has fast become one of the most recognized customer service solution providers on the market these days. The company's primary objective is to enhance customer satisfaction while concurrently decreasing operational costs by resolving the majority of customer conversations through automated channels, thus freeing up space for its customer service representatives to focus on conversations that deliver higher value.

The platform provides multiple communication options, customizable live chat widgets, omnichannel support capabilities, and integrations with dozens of other apps. While Intercom is primarily a support solution, it does have add-ons that offer other functionalities such as product tours. Overall, Intercom aims to increase customer satisfaction, strengthen customer relationships, and improve customer experience through personalized support.

Why might Intercom be the right fit for your team's customer service automation needs?

  • Intercom’s live chat feature and real-time messaging allow businesses to engage with website visitors or app users instantly, and without having to leave the app.
  • Intercom offers many integrations across multiple channels so that you can effortlessly connect it with essential tools as your company evolves.
  • Businesses can track key metrics and leverage same to measure the effectiveness of their communication efforts and make data-driven decisions to provide excellent customer service.

Why do you need an Intercom Alternative?

What are the Top 7 Customer Service Automation Alternatives to Intercom in 2024?

  1. Distrobird
  2. Zendesk
  3. Userpilot
  4. Tidio
  5. FreshDesk
  6. Help Scout
  7. Kustomer

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these - starting with the best of the lot in my opinion:

1. Distrobird

Distrobird is a cloud-based customer and sales engagement platform, designed to streamline sales and manage customer interactions. It is an all-in-one platform managing phone calls, SMS communications, and emails, along with product features like web chats, shared team inbox, and automated campaigns.

It also integrates seamlessly with various popular CRM and business tools, notably HubSpot, Gmail, Stripe, Microsoft Outlook, Twilio, Zapier, Clearbit, Zoho, Telnyx, Salesforce and NGP VAN.

Distrobird best features

  • A free plan that incorporates all of our features.
  • With Distrobird, you get a single view of your customers’ interaction with your business across channels and teams.
  • It organizes your website activities in a chronological timeline so your team can provide the world-class service customers deserve.
  • Distrobird’s familiar interface helps you to onboard your team without hassle and deploy in minutes, not days.
  • In addition to the chronological timeline Distrobird helps you create, each contact data is automatically enriched so your team knows exactly who they’re talking to, and how to keep them delighted.
  • Distrobird seamlessly integrates with your existing software stack, offering unparalleled versatility.

Distrobird limitations

  • Its free plan supports a maximum of 3 users and 4 teams.
  • Currently, Distrobird does not have a mobile app.

Distrobird pricing

  • Free plan for the Voice, Sequences, and Shared Inbox products.
  • Startup plan for Shared Inbox: $8/month.
  • Startup, Growth & Enterprise plans for both the Sequences and Voice products: $25, $50, & $75 respectively.

2. Zendesk

Zendesk is a user-friendly, customer service platform that combines sales and support features in one place, making it great for businesses of all sizes to give their customers awesome service. Its live chat feature lets you talk to your customers directly on your website ensuring prompt responses to their questions and reservations.

Zendesk lets you customize your chat window to match your brand, this may be done by changing the colors, fonts, and even how the chat works to fit your style. It can also collect information about your customers before they even chat with you, such as their name, what they've been looking at on your website, and if they've chatted with you before. This way, you can give them more personal help.

Zendesk best features

  • Zendesk has an omni-channel communication system (integrating email, chat, voice, and social messaging in one piece).
  • Its AI-powered tools enhance self-service, agent productivity, and customer satisfaction.
  • Compatible with all web-based applications and operating systems.
  • Allows for customization of widgets/interface to suit corporate brand.

Zendesk limitations

  • Zendesk lacks a centralized location for organizing tickets and documenting issues for business users, making it difficult to track and identify patterns in client inquiries or problems.
  • Users at the lower pricing tiers face significant limitations in customization options.
  • The absence of individual IDs for comments within tickets complicates referencing specific feedback or issues, thereby hindering efficient communication and issue resolution.
  • At lower subscription levels, Zendesk does not offer the capability to export ticket information or run reports, critical features for any support team.
  • The interface does not differentiate between these features or guide users on setup requirements, leading to confusion and errors.

Zendesk pricing

  • Team – $69/agent/month
  • Growth – $115/agent/month
  • Professional – $149/agent/month
  • Enterprise – custom pricing.

3. Userpilot

Userpilot offers a comprehensive customer success platform equipped with a suite of tools for creating and automating in-app flows, resource centers, and surveys. This platform empowers product and support teams to streamline their onboarding support processes by designing in-app flows utilizing various UI elements, crafting onboarding checklists to guide users toward activation, and establishing a customizable, content-rich in-app resource center tailored to individual users.

Furthermore, Userpilot includes advanced segmentation features, enabling users to leverage automation to a greater extent. Through these features, users can trigger in-app messages based on criteria such as user ID, job role, behavior, survey results, and specific use cases.

Userpilot’s best features

  • Userpilot’s Chrome extension lets you build flows, add UI elements, and tag features without writing a single line of code.
  • Userpilot’s built-in A/B testing capabilities will help you split-test flows, iterate on the best-performing variants, and continually optimize based on user behavior.
  • Access to resource center analytics to enable you to check and monitor performance is possible in-app.
  • Userpilot has built-in integrations so you can share data between all the solutions in your tech stack.

Userpilot’s limitations

  • Highly priced, their cheapest plan starts at $299 if paid monthly.
  • It lacks compatibility with mobile platforms, which could pose challenges for developers working to ensure consistency in user experience across all versions of their product.
  • Userpilot does not offer a free plan, and as such, not the best option for startups or companies operating on a tight budget.

Userpilot pricing

  • Starter: $299 per month
  • Growth: $499 per month
  • Enterprise: Custom priced.

4. Tidio

Tidio is a powerful, all-in-one customer service platform that levels up your customer support and helps to generate more sales. Its easily accessible live chat widget makes your business available 24/7, while AI-powered chatbots engage your customers in real-time, so you can sell more.

Additionally, this customer service tool integrates with popular e-commerce platforms, CRM software, and email marketing services for full-scale customer relationship management. You can also leverage advanced reporting and automation workflows.

Tidio best features

  • With Tidio, you can manage all your unlimited chat history across email messages, live chat, and social media chat apps in one place, and respond quickly to every user query.
  • This help desk software turns client queries into tickets and helps support agents keep track of each communication under one roof.
  • You can also leverage advanced reporting and automation workflows.

Tidio limitations

  • Tidio lacks native knowledge base features.
  • Small businesses may find their pricing plans somewhat too expensive.
  • Users have reported that setting up a chatbot and email campaigns is rather confusing.

Tidio pricing

  • Free - $0 per month.
  • Starter – $29 per month.
  • Growth – $50 per month.
  • Tidio+ – from $499 per month.

5. Freshdesk

Freshdesk is another hugely popular cloud-based CSA platform that simplifies support tasks, enables businesses to efficiently handle visitor inquiries, and improves communication with customers via several channels of communication - all from one unified dashboard.

It provides a comprehensive ticketing system, a knowledge base for customer self-service, and omnichannel communication to help you offer personalized support efficiently. Through robust reporting and product analytics, Freshdesk provides advanced reporting and valuable insights into support team performance as well as user behavior, enabling data-driven decisions for world-class customer service.

Freshdesk best features

  • Freshdesk offers message automation thanks to chatbots, which can be set up to handle routine queries, freeing up agents for more complex issues.
  • It’s popular for its low learning curve, affordability, and strong phone support, making it a user-friendly and cost-effective option.
  • It has a great ticketing system software with a good deal of help desk capabilities.
  • Collision detection to avoid duplicating work.

Freshdesk limitations

  • Its free plan has limitations in terms of features and capabilities, putting it at a disadvantage for small businesses and startups.
  • Depending on your specific reporting needs, you may need to utilize additional 3rd party integrations.
  • Users have noted that it typically takes a long while to train a team to use the software efficiently.

Freshdesk pricing

  • Free: $0 for up to 10 agents.
  • Growth: $18 per agent per month.
  • Pro: $59 per agent per month.
  • Enterprise: $95 per agent per month.

6. Help Scout

Help Scout, founded in 2011, has been dedicated to improving customer support for over a decade. Functioning primarily as a customer support platform, Help Scout aims to facilitate team collaboration and streamline interactions with customers.

Through Help Scout, businesses can ensure their availability across various customer touchpoints, while equipping their teams with the necessary tools for collaboration, organization, and automation, thereby accelerating their workflow. In contrast to complex enterprise help desks that demand extensive setup and dedicated administration, Help Scout prioritizes simplicity, agility, and customer satisfaction, allowing businesses to operate efficiently and focus on delivering exceptional service.

Help Scout best features

  • Help Scout has a shared inbox that helps teams collaborate and manage customer emails effectively.
  • Its beacon help widget integrates with websites to offer immediate support assistance.
  • Automated workflows to improve response times and streamline processes.
  • Reporting capabilities for tracking performance and customer satisfaction.

Help Scout limitations

  • Social channels and unlimited report history are only available on the Plus and Pro plans.
  • Some users have expressed that customization options for the help documentation are somewhat limited, which may be a drawback for teams requiring more integrated solutions.

Help Scout pricing

  • Standard: $20 per user per month.
  • Plus: $40 per user per month.
  • Plus: $65 per user per month.

7. Kustomer

Kustomer is best known as a CRM-focused customer service platform that effectively combines CRM, customer engagement, and helpdesk software into one unified omnichannel platform, optimizing customer interactions. Kustomer offers a user-friendly messaging platform with advanced features for enhancing customer relationships through direct and/or customized customer support operations.

Kustomer best features

  • Kustomer allows for merging conversations through a unified customer view across various platforms, equipping support agents with a full history of customer interactions.
  • It provides real-time analytics through detailed dashboard insights into customer engagements and agent effectiveness.
  • It comes with an accessible self-service portal that can be added to your website and is accessible in over 70 languages.

Kustomer limitations

  • Kustomer is quite pricey and only caters to companies that can afford 8 or more seats, making it unsuitable for smaller businesses.
  • While Kustomer's conversation system is user-friendly, it takes some time for users to fully grasp how to use it, indicating a steep learning curve.
  • Some users have pointed out that the knowledgebase system lacks a visual edit interface, making it difficult to create and modify content more intuitively.

Kustomer pricing

  • Enterprise: $89 per month per user.
  • Ultimate: $139 per month per user.

Which Customer Support Automation Platform Is Right For You?

A robust customer service platform goes beyond mere chat functionality, serving as a comprehensive solution that consolidates all aspects of customer support to enhance the overall customer experience.

While Intercom is recognized for its powerful capabilities in this realm, its drawbacks can overshadow its benefits. Therefore, it's prudent to explore a reliable and sustainable alternative such as Distrobird.

If you are looking for a comprehensive and affordable solution with a free plan, Distrobird is a great option. It offers all the essential features you need to manage your sales & customer engagement tech stack in one place - multi-channel sequences and campaigns, web messenger, outbound dialer, inbound call center software, shared team inbox, and conversation analytics - in a single solution. Distrobird is also easy to use and integrates with a variety of popular apps.

Whether you're a startup or an established business, Distrobird's scalable pricing plans make it a cost-effective choice. Create your free Distrobird account and see how it can transform your customer interactions!

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