A growing number of SaaS business owners now consider Intercom.io to be unaffordable. This acknowledgment now leads to an active search for the best Intercom alternatives with free trial and cheaper pricing plans.
However, we all know that price isn’t the only thing that matters when you want to invest in a customer messaging platform.
Many other factors do play out as well. One interesting fact is this, if you have used this business messaging software before, there is a great chance you can afford most of these alternatives to Intercom reviewed in this post.
But just how important is pricing to a SaaS business, its current users and target customers? Below here is what one expert had to say about it in a blog post found at Price Intelligently.
Complexity in pricing is not your friend – Patrick Campbell.
The key point is that simplified pricing of the value in your product will be more helpful than leaving some of your customers confused about what they are paying for. This is bad for SaaS churn rate. And it is part of the reason why some people are switching away from Intercom.
Just do a simple search for Intercom price increase and you’ll find many surprising insights.
Another way to look at it is this.
It is not only product-related issues that often drive people to cancel their subscription and move to competing alternatives.
Probably, the reason why you want to switch to a cheaper Intercom alternative doesn’t need clarification at this point.
How To Choose Live Chat Software For Customer Support Teams
I bet that if you are buying for personal use or just for two persons bootstrapping a new SaaS business, the purchase decision could be relatively easier. However, if you are buying for a full-fledge customer success team, there will be so many factors to take into consideration.
That is exactly why I have written this section. It is meant to help you think through the features and preferences that matter most to you while making a comparison of Intercom alternatives listed below.
Number of Intended Users
Before you even go about looking into specific features and making a comparison of the best live chat software for support teams, it is important to decide the number of your team members that will be using it. Having this clarified will help you will make it easier for you to choose the best pricing plans that will match your needs regardless of the brand you decide to go with.
Omni Channel Presence
In today’s modern business world, many people, including your target customers now expect instant live support across different channels. By omnichannel in this context, I am referring to the website chat support, in-app messaging and social media.
While you are looking into the best live chat software comparison and the specific needs of your team, you should keep this factor in focus.
Both for people at different stages in your sales funnel and current customers, using video and voice communication will always be helpful for everyone. Gone are the days when customer support software is meant to work with email only. Perhaps, you and I know that email communication doesn’t happen in real-time.
The best live chat support software with screen sharing helps to increase customer success team performance as well as customer satisfaction. Especially in SaaS business contexts, there is no point in relying on written texts or spoken words when you can get things done faster and help your users do the same with screen sharing.
When you are looking into the best Intercom alternatives, try to understand the exact pricing plans that will offer you these features and how they differ.
When trying to compare the price of live chat software for support teams, look into how it will help you to route incoming support requests to the right reps at the right time. When this is not obvious, consider asking questions about it.
In most cases, you should be able to route these requests based on team division or to the next available support rep. This is better than having to queue people up and keep them waiting.
Customer Satisfaction Rating
Do not ignore this one in a hurry. Normally, your customers should have a way of giving ratings and feedback. This will give you great insights into your support team’s performance and identify areas that may need improvement.
With this feature, it won’t be hard to start spotting patterns.
Best Intercom Alternatives With Free Trial
Understanding how to choose the best live chat software for support teams shouldn’t be a hard task. Assuming you have purchased this before, it should be relatively easier. Now let’s check into the following alternatives with cheaper pricing plans.
If you are looking for a tool with a rich feature set and affordable price at the same time, Crisp Chat is one of the best options to consider. Though it is less popular, this platform has been serving support and sales teams of different sizes for some time now.
Looking at it very well, Intercom is used both for product, marketing, sales and support team communication.
This diverse product suite is part of the reason why Intercom pricing remains unaffordable for bootstrappers and small business owners alike.
Because of the relative complexity in their product suite, some people end up paying for features they don’t need or use at all. On the other hand, Crisp Chat is narrowed a little bit to focus on helping people deliver great customer support experiences.
Crisp Chat vs Intercom Comparison
While both of these customer support software solutions are similar in some ways, you can still find some slight differences. One significant difference is that Crisp allows unlimited users and messages into all their pricing plans.
This is a direct opposite of Intercom that will charge for the number of users (per seat) in every unique pricing plan.
In case you want to connect the live chat app to social media platforms like Facebook Messenger and Twitter for the same purpose of customer messaging, you can do that easily with Crisp.
Depending on your preferences, you can customize the color of your chat widget as well as the language of choice. If you are running a multinational business with website language translation software, this feature becomes very important.
Consider the fact that around 52.4% of ecommerce shoppers prefer to read content in their language.
Closely related to the feature mentioned above is the LiveTranslate. Using this tool, your real-time chat messages can be translated to match the language of any customer you are talking to. Another interesting feature which I couldn’t find on Intercom is the co-browsing tool which will empower support teams to watch customer browsing sessions and then identify when to initiate a helpful chat.
While Intercom provides a multilingual help center, you need the $499 per plan to have access to that. These are some of the core differences to consider when you think of Crisp Chat vs Intercom comparison.
Crisp Chat Features
- Automated messaging
- Integrated knowledge base
- File sharing
- Chatbot scenarios
- Social media connection
- Slack replies
- Shared inbox including SMS
- Real-time chat translation
- Seamless video calls
Crisp Chat Pricing
As suggested by the title of this post, Crisp is one of the best cheap Intercom alternatives for support teams. One of the outstanding statements I read on their website is simplified flat pricing.
First, the basic plan which is 100% free forever accommodates two users. This is contrary to Intercom pricing that starts at $39 but offers uses a limited free trial. The next plan offered by Crisp goes for $25 per month, per website and it is for 4 user seats. The highest Crisp Chat pricing plan stands at $95 per month without any limit on user seats.
Here is another Intercom alternative with free trial and many interesting features to improve your business operations.
In this platform, a single monthly payment will give you access to live chat software for support teams, help center with a knowledge base, marketing funnel automation and In-app survey tool.
Looking at this diversity, you can say that Customerly is an all in one customer messaging platform.
For example, if you have been looking for an affordable knowledge base software or marketing funnel automation tool, you can get all of that by subscribing to a single Customerly pricing plan.
In case you are one of those people that have been hating Intercom price increase, this could be an affordable option that will match your current budget.
Customerly vs Intercom Comparison
Like many other tools in the list, these two are very much similar in so many ways. However, you’ll still find some differences in what is offered, how it is offered and how many users.
Do you still remember what I said earlier in the section about how to choose live chat software for customer support teams?
Keep those factors in mind while you are reading this section on Customerly vs Intercom comparison.
At the time of this writing, one of the core differences between these two live chat solutions is screen sharing. In a SaaS sales or customer success context, this feature will be highly relevant.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find this on Intercom pricing page and other pages.
Though Intercom offers conversation rating to gauge customer satisfaction levels and how your support us performing, it doesn’t work like In-app surveys and NPS (net promoter score) features of Customerly.
Moreover, if you are looking for a customer live chat software with a visual funnel builder, this Intercom alternative might be worth your attention.
While Intercom has other differentiating features like lead qualification bot, custom bots and A/B testing, you have to pay their higher pricing plans to get access to them.
- Live chat
- Knowledge base
- Conversation inbox
- Automated questions
- Email template builder
- Visual funnels
- Canned responses
- Video call
- Screen sharing
- In-app surveys
- Smart assignments
- Facebook messenger
If you are looking for a cheap Intercom alternative that won’t eat very deep into your SaaS bootstrapping budget, this is one of the best options you should consider. Thought you can get Intercom free trial on the first basic plan priced at $39 per month for one user seat, Customerly pricing starts with a 100% free plan that is meant for 2 user seats.
If this is not enough for you and your team, you may want to go for the $29 per plan meant for 5 user seats. The other two high-end plans for goes for $87 and $159 per month respectively.
On the other hand, if Intercom feels more attractive, prepare to pay $99 per month for 5 user seats, $499 per month for 10 seats.
Their highest plan goes for $999 per month with some interesting features you may not find in Customerly.
Overall, one thing you shouldn’t forget to consider is the level of support you’ll get after subscribing. Now let me hint you on this.
If you don’t waste a lot of your talking with customer support bots when you need a solution to your problem, do not go for Intercom. You may want to read some other Intercom reviews to understand what I am telling you.
Don’t forget to consider and compare migration requirements when you are actively shopping for customer support chat software that will match your current needs.
In terms of popularity, Drift is another alternative to Intercom that has been convincing and acquiring thousands of customers, including some that have successfully switched from Intercom.
One thing you’ll continue to see through this customer support live chat software comparison post is similarities that exist between them. Interestingly, you’ll also find some of those similarities when you think about the two competing products in this section.
Intercom vs Drift Comparison
Almost in any industry, positioning is of the best ways that many brands differentiate themselves. While Intercom has proven to build great products for its target users, defining itself as a customer messaging platform seems to be meaningless to many people. And here is the reason why. They are trying to be different things to different people.
Depending on how you look at it, Intercom could be seen as lead generation, live chat, or customer support software. They are distinct categories on their own.
On the contrary, you can start your comparison with this statement below –
‘‘We know from working with thousands of sales and marketing teams that conversations are the fastest path to revenue. Intercom, however, was built to help you avoid conversations. That’s what support chat is supposed to do because it saves your company money. So if you’re hoping to grow revenue with chat, you need Drift.” – Kate Adams, VP of Marketing, Drift.
Beyond simple data syncing, Drift offers a deeper level of integrations that are focused on their category positioning statements around conversational marketing. Using integrations with other platforms like Outreach, LinkedIn, Eloqua and Pardot, you can start influential conversations with personalized data points.
This means you can start engaging potential customers on your website with a higher level of awareness about their current purchase journey. Intercom also makes integrations possible, but the depth of what you can do in terms of sales and marketing is different.
With Drift you can have unlimited contacts in your conversations or sales funnel without having to pay for additional sets of contact. This is one of the reasons why many people hate Intercom pricing. This, in turn, leads to the active search for the best Intercom alternatives.
With Drift Intel, you can be able to send personalized messages to your website visitors based on their known name, industry or technology they are using. This another of the interesting differences between Intercom vs Drift.
- Live chat
- Chat to call connection
- Chat bots
- Account based marketing
- Sales video integration
- Conversational email
- Personalized messaging
- Meeting booking
- Lead qualification
- Conversation analysis
- Integrated marketing tools
Drift Pricing Plans
Starting at $40 per month for their basic plan, Drift pricing seems to be a very cheap Intercom alternative that is probably within your reach at the moment.
Like some other tools in the same category, you can get a small discount if you go for their annual plan. This basic plan can help you can get started with other features like using calendar integrations to schedule meetings directly from the live chat installation on your website.
For individual users and bootstrappers looking for a simple chat tool one on one conversations, using Drift’s free plan might just be enough for you. But if you are working with a sales or customer success team, you have to go for the higher plan.
Next in line is the other single plan that goes for $80 per month. Again, going for the annual subscription plan will get you a discount too.
Compared in terms of annual prices, you’ll see how cheaper Drift can be when Intercom’s $99, $499 and $999 per month plans are added over time. To get even better deals, you may consider starting a conversation with Drift for you to get a bundle with live, email and video tools combined.
One thing that I found about Intercom is the fact of having to compete with different software tools in different categories. This is in line with what I said earlier about positioning. For example, Help Scout is known very well to be customer support software with some useful tools and features.
However, the main thing is that these features and tools have some similarities with Intercom because they are offering customer support tools as well.
To make the purchase decision easier, you have to clarify your need about sales/marketing tools, customer support or an all-in-one live chat software for small businesses. Whatever it is, let’s check some of the differences between Help Scout vs Intercom.
Intercom vs Help Scout
One great difference you have to keep in mind when making Help Scout vs Intercom comparison is this – Intercom is meant to be an all-in-one tool. If at this point, you need such tools, this could be better. But then you have to accept the responsibility of paying the high monthly price that often grows with every piece of both useful and useless interactions.
Here are some of the key differences. Escalating customer issues with prompt alerts proves more useful for support teams. In addition to this, conversation indexing and search experience are far better than what is obtainable from Intercom.
As support focused software platform, Help Scout provides greater insights with specific data points around response time, resolution time, customer satisfaction levels and activity logs. With this, you’ll be empowered to help your team make progressive improvements.
Both of these tools will help you to tag conversations and implement some automation. But the core difference is that Intercom offers most of these features in their higher-priced plans.
Help Scout Features
- Shared inbox
- Knowledge base
- In-app messaging
- Live chat
- Message tagging
- Customer management
- Team performance reports
- Issue escalation alerts
Help Scout Pricing Plans
Looking at the best customer support software comparison, Help Scout is one of the most affordable cheap Intercom alternatives with free trial. Normally, you can get a free trial for 30 days and then decide whether to go for their $25 or $40 per month plan. These are the main two Help Scout pricing plans you’ll find on their page. In comparison,
Intercom requires monthly payments of $39, $99, $499 or $999.
From many other Help Scout reviews, one outstanding factor that got repetitive mention is how intuitive and simplified their user interface is. As mentioned earlier, this could be your best option if customer support is your top priority at the moment.
Depending on where you are coming from and what you are looking for, if you have a preference for an all-in-one customer support software that is an affordable alternative to Intercom, Help Crunch might tick all the boxes you care about.
Just like Intercom, it offers different things on a single platform. With the tools provided on this platform, you’ll be able to do things like lead generation, sales, customer engagement and customer support. For some types of businesses, having all these functions streamlined in a single platform improves efficiency across different teams.
HelpCrunch vs Intercom Comparison
Based on their positioning as an all-in-one platform, both of these tools look similar in so many ways. However, through some other HelpCrunch reviews I found that slight differences exist between them. And that’s the essence of making this Intercom vs HelpCrunch comparison.
The major difference between them is that HelpCrunch allows users to serve unlimited contacts in your customer chat and support channels. This is a direct opposite of Intercom that charges more and more as the contacts in your channels increase.
Through your website or app, you can use this tool to collect user behavior data and leverage those insights to send targeted customer engagement messages. This is called customer attributes.
To extend customer engagement, HelpCrunch will also enable your users to resend unseen chat messages automatically to an email. The benefit is that you’ll have multiple channels to engage your prospects and at their convenience. We all know that people often bounce off chat widgets without notice.
Intercom can help you manage inbound and outbound email messages, but it doesn’t give you the level of audience segmentation you’ll find through HelpCrunch features.
Using this Intercom alternative, your team will be enabled to have customer chat across different websites and apps with the same account. This is another way that you’ll be to save some money on your customer chat software subscriptions.
Whenever the need arises, it is also easier to merge conversations. This will help you to save time and avoid duplication. In terms of support, you’ll always get migration, setup and usages help irrespective of the plan you use or want to buy. This is usually offered through live chat and phone.
- Live chat
- Multi-channel messaging
- Knowledge base
- Automated messaging
- Customizable chat pop-ups
- Facebook Messenger integration
- Audience segmentation
- Android and iOS apps
- Behavior targeted messaging
- Chat bots
- Email delivery settings
- Instant email follow-ups
HelpCrunch Pricing Plans
For mid-stage startups with a sizable budget, Intercom does have some advanced features that may be relevant to your needs. However, you have to pay for their $499 and $999 plans to get access. On the contrary, HelpCrunch pricing made it one of the best cheap Intercom alternatives.
Both of them will give you a 14-day trial, but HelpCrunch goes for $15 and $25 per month. These are the major two pricing plans. If you need something higher, you have to contact them for a custom plan.
And the most interesting part is that these plans will give you access to the lead generation, sales and customer support tools on their platform. You can sign up for HelpCrunch free trial to experience what their tools and support work like.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is customer support software?
This is a type of software tool used to receive, store, manage and resolve customer support requests through different channels. The best tools for customer support include email, live chat, phone and video call applications. Among these tools, the best ones will also include screen sharing and customer support team performance reports.
How much does customer support software cost?
There is no standard price of customer support software you’ll find in the market. Most of these platforms will come with other tools meant for lead generation, email marketing automation and sales enablement. The price in most cases starts from $15 and reaches up to $999 depending on the ones you buy. However, many of these tools will give you a free trial to start with.
Is Intercom a CRM?
Practically, Intercom is not a CRM but it is used in different contexts including sales, marketing, product and support teams. Depending on what you are using already, you can have Intercom integrated into some popular CRM tools like Salesforce and Hubspot.
How much does Intercom cost?
Pricing on this one starts at $39 and goes up to $999 per month. The one you buy will most likely depend on your team size and current specific needs.
What is better than Zendesk?
The best way to find out is to search for the best Zendesk alternatives and then compare the features that matter most to you as well as the going price for each subscription plan. Meanwhile, you start by comparing the tools listed above with Zendesk and see what is best for you.
What is the best live chat software for support teams?
It is hard to pick one tool and call it the overall best. The reason is that what seems to be the best for company A might not be the same for company B with different kinds of needs. Based on user base, positive rating and recent buyer experiences, the best options in today’s market include –
- Help Scout
- Crisp Chat
- Jivo Chat
As mentioned earlier at the beginning of this post, Intercom has succeeded and continues to succeed in building great products. Their user interface has also proven to be very intuitive and easy to use. At the time of this writing, this platform is said to be serving around 30,000 customers across different industries. Without any iota of doubt, they have many things going well for them.
However, affordability is always a top priority for people intending to buy customer support software, live chat software, lead generation software or the products positioned as all in one.
From many other reviews I have seen, pricing is one main reason why many people are usually looking for the best Intercom alternatives that could be cheaper.
Besides being cheap, most of these tools also provide great tools or features you may not find on Intercom. And that is the essence of writing this comparison post. With this, you can now be able to make your comparison and pinpoint the one tool that will be the best option for you and your team.
To make the purchase decision even more worthwhile, consider asking the providers specific questions that are related to your current needs.
Finally, here is one other important factor you have to keep in mind. Even when two competing tools offer the same features, the exact pricing plans that contain such features and how the services are being offered differ most of the time.
Take this into account when you are making your comparison.
Google certified search marketing consultant and content writer. Before starting this website, Don spent some years working with specialist search (SEO/PPC) marketing agencies in the US and Canada. Working 100% remotely, he has written over 1,300 pieces of content including blog posts, lead magnets, and case studies. As part of his side hustle, he builds niche websites that generate sales of software as a service (SaaS) and physical products through organic search engine optimization. Don Felix is a father of 3 and husband to an engineer. You can get in touch below through the social media links below or through our contact page. You can Join Our Facebook Group SaaS Marketing Lounge Here.