Hop into any SaaS-focused Facebook group or Slack group, and you’ll see this question asked at least monthly:
“What are some Intercom alternatives that are free or affordable?”
For those who don’t know, Intercom is a tool for customer engagement – they offer live chat, user tracking, and support software.
Of course, we offer a suite of products with some overlap on features – so we can’t provide an entirely independent or unbiased opinion on this matter. However, we feel more can be done to shine a light on other options in this space, so we wanted to gather our thoughts in one place to make it easier for you to weigh up your options.
Intercom, we salute you
We have huge respect for anyone who’s built a successful software company – and we’ve watched in admiration as Intercom has grown to where they are today.
But for many SaaS businesses, Intercom is one of their most significant expenses.
When we speak to other founders, we often hear their frustration at spending so much on one tool. When companies are spending thousands a month on a solution, it’s usually worth questioning whether there are worthy alternatives out there.
Intercom helps you achieve a lot of different things, but it’s not the only way to engage with your user base.
There’s a world of options out there if you dare to release yourself from the grip of Intercom – for example:
- You may be able to save half the money you spend on Intercom by switching to an alternative setup.
- There are many options which offer far better customer service than you’ll receive with Intercom.
- Some tools are exceedingly powerful when compared to Intercom’s core feature set.
We’ve put together a list of 12 free (or low-cost) Intercom alternatives that (depending on your needs and goals) might give you better results for considerably less money.
How to compare Intercom alternatives
Intercom has a lot of different features and use cases. It can be used by customer support reps, sales reps, and product teams.
What do you need an Intercom alternative to do? That depends on your business.
If you don’t have a sales team, you might not be concerned with chatbots that will qualify and capture leads for you while you’re away. Meanwhile, if you aren’t a software business, you might not be so worried about getting robust documentation features alongside help desk support. You might just need live chat.
An intercom alternative likely needs to help you manage:
- Lead generation
- Lead follow up
- Customer support
An Intercom alternative will hopefully include some of the following:
- On-site visitor messages, or Chat Prompts
- Live chat
- Help desk features
- Email automation
Intercom can get expensive – we all know that.
While some businesses may be able to pay a premium to have so many features in one place, other companies are desperately trying to find a free Intercom alternative or ways to reduce their dependence on such an expensive singular vendor.
Free or freemium Intercom alternatives
Your go-to for: beautifully simple marketing automation, live chat, and team inbox.
We wouldn’t be telling you about GoSquared in this post unless we genuinely believed it could be valuable to you as a potential Intercom alternative.
GoSquared has a wide array of functionality that Intercom doesn’t have – including powerful behavioural data to enable you to automate hyper targeted lead capture, onboarding, and churn prevention campaigns.
Watch the demo:
For example, you can use website visitor behaviour (and in-app product usage) to trigger personalised automated messages and emails to visitors, leads, users, and customers.
In addition to marketing automation, GoSquared includes simple live chat and team inbox software that can be used for both customer support and sales.
If you’re a startup or early stage business, you can start using the full GoSquared platform including marketing automation features for just $49 per month.
Your go-to for: free live chat
If you want free live chat that will remain free regardless of how many agents you need to add to your account, then you should consider Tawk.to. Keep in mind that you’ll need to use some of the other tools on our free and paid list to handle everything that Intercom does.
Tawk.to’s live chat is free forever. If you want to use their live chat agents (which isn’t required), then you’ll pay $1 per hour.
Your go-to for: free live chat with segmentation and prioritization
Freshchat is a robust chat software offered by Freshworks, which also provides sales, marketing, and help desk software. Freshchat includes features that marketing, sales, and customer support teams need like response prioritization and conversation categories.
Freshchat is free for up to 10 team members, but for bigger teams or better features (like triggered messages), you’ll need to upgrade.
4. Zoho Desk
Your go-to for: free help desk software
Zoho Desk is a great add-on if you’re piecing different free Intercom alternatives together. With Zoho Desk, you can handle email ticketing, help center creation, and private knowledge base creation.
On their free plan, you get help centre and private knowledge base features on top of email responses and email ticketing, if you have three agents or fewer.
Your go-to for: free email automation and transactional email
With Mailjet’s transactional email and transaction SMS features alongside their Zapier integration, you can use this tool to do just about anything.
If you’re ready for a free Intercom alternative, you can combine this tool with one of the chat tools and a help desk software.
Mailjet is free at up to 6,000 emails per month, however, your emails will have the Mailerjet logo if you keep to the free plan. If you’re early stage and bootstrapping, you may not care too much.
Your go-to for: free email automation with a built-in CRM
Want to check out another alternative for email sending? SendinBlue includes email marketing, SMS marketing, chat, and CRM, making it a great fit for many small businesses. SaaS companies win when they integrate SendinBlue with product analytics via Zapier.
SendinBlue is free for up to 300 emails per day, with an unlimited number of contacts. You’ll need to upgrade to remove their branding from your emails, however.
Low-cost Intercom alternatives (no freemium plan)
Now let’s take a look at some of the alternatives that don’t have a freemium option.
Your go-to for: All-in-one help desk, live chat, and call centre
Do you include phone support with your SaaS product? Then it might help you to use a help desk software that includes not only live chat but also call center management. You’ll need to use a tool with marketing automation (like GoSquared) in conjunction, but it will still be more affordable than Intercom.
For one agent, LiveAgent starts at just $15 per month.
Your go-to for: Email marketing automation and customer support communication
HelpCrunch includes a lot of Intercom-esque features to help you ditch that pricey tool. There’s chat automation, email automation, live chat, and help desk software.
However, there’s no web or product analytics, so you’ll need to get those elsewhere (which can make automation setup more confusing to accomplish).
The pricing starts at $15 per month per team member. To remove HelpCrunch branding and utilize unlimited chat prompt automation, you’ll need to upgrade to $25 per month per team member.
Your go-to for: customer support software
UseResponse comes loaded with feedback software, help desk software, knowledge base software, and live chat. If you’re looking to replace Intercom on the product side, but don’t need to replace the sales and marketing use cases, then this could be a great fit for you.
However, it won’t be able to help you convert more leads into customers.
For all of UseResponse’s functionality, you’ll pay $69 per month. However, if you only need the help desk and chat features, then you’ll pay $49 per month.
10. ZenDesk Chat
Your go-to for: Multichannel customer chat
Zendesk Chat helps you provide support via websites, mobile apps, and messaging services. You can also incorporate the chat experience into the self-service support center, so that customers will only contact you if they don’t get their question answered elsewhere.
Zendesk Chat costs $14 per agent per month, but to incorporate operating hours and setup unlimited triggers, most businesses will get better value from the $29 per agent per month plan.
Your go-to for: Simple chat and chat automation
If you just want to replace the chat and chat automation components of Intercom (meaning that you plan to handle the email automation and help desk features elsewhere), then Olark could be a great fit for you. It includes robust chat tools like file attachments and team and conversation management.
For $15 per agent per month, you get access to all of the core features.
Your go-to for: Multichannel help desk software
With Deskero, you integrate all your different sources of customer support tickets: chat, email, and even social media into one place. The platform includes features to help you save time on customer support like one-click replies, templates, workflows, categories, and filters.
When you pay annually, Deskero starts at $9 per agent per month.
If you’re thinking of replacing Intercom, why not get something Intercom can’t give you?
The GoSquared platform is built on a background in advanced real-time analytics, so that every time you engage with your users and customers, you can be sure it’s based on real user behaviour.
Why not convert more leads, onboard new customers better, reduce churn, and do it all for a fraction of the price?