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7 Budget-Friendly Intercom Alternatives for Your Small Business

If you deal with customers through your website on a regular basis, odds are you can benefit from a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Intercom is one popular option, but it can be prohibitively expensive, which may leave you searching for Intercom alternatives.

Fortunately, there are a lot of available low-cost solutions primed to take Intercom’s place. Many offer a similar toolset, although no two CRMs are quite the same. It’s therefore beneficial to do plenty of research to find a tool that meets your specific needs.

intercom alternatives

In this post, we’re going to help you conduct the necessary research. We’ll present seven top Intercom alternatives, and discuss what each of them has to offer. Let’s take a look!

Why you can benefit from looking into Intercom alternatives

Customer Relationship Management is a broad term encompassing practically everything involved in interacting with customers and leads. This includes reaching out to potential customers, answering questions, sending proposals, providing support, and a lot more.

Handling these tasks through your website can be much easier if you have the right tools. The best CRM software offers ways to improve productivity, streamline key processes, and handle communication more effectively.

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When it comes to CRM tools, Intercom is one of the more well-known options.

It offers features such as a live chat system, help desk and knowledge base, and a variety of apps and integration options. The Intercom ticketing system can help you handle multiple queries at the same time. Plus, Intercom support is available through live chat and an extensive help centre.

However, the Intercom software is rather pricey, with the cheapest plan starting at $74 per month. If you have a small business, the Intercom pricing plans are probably out of your budget.

Intercom homepage

Intercom business plans

The good news is that there are plenty of alternative Intercom tools to choose from. While you may not find a tool with an identical feature set, you’ll encounter many solutions offering a lot of the same options, at a far more affordable price.

Seven budget-friendly Intercom alternatives for your small business

What we’re going to do now is introduce seven alternatives to Intercom that are worth checking out. For each one, we’ll discuss its feature set and pricing, along with how it compares to Intercom itself. You may find that one or two of these tools can easily handle your small business needs. Let’s start from the top!

1. LiveChat

LiveChat homepage

First, let’s look at a straightforward option. While Intercom offers a wide range of features, many businesses use it primarily for its live chat functionality.

If this is all you need โ€“ without the extra bells and whistles โ€“ the aptly-named LiveChat could be a perfect fit.

๐Ÿ”ง Key features

  • Communicate with customers and website visitors via a live chat system.
  • Set up an organized ticketing system.
  • Enable visitors to rate each chat, so you can see how your support team is performing.
  • Easily view metrics such as chat and ticket response times.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Pricing

Now, let’s see how LiveChat’s plans compare to Intercom pricing. The Starter plan for LiveChat costs $20 per month per agent, making this a highly-affordable option.

LiveChat Pricing Page

๐Ÿ‘‹ Ease of use

Setting up LiveChat is an extremely quick process, and the dashboard is intuitive and easy to use. You’ll also find step-by-step instructions for installing the plugin on your WordPress site:

LiveChat dashboard

Then, you can start communicating with your clients in real time!

๐Ÿ”Œ Extensions and integrations

LiveChat integrates well with a variety of popular services, such as Google Analytics, MailChimp, Zendesk, and ChatBox. There’s also an extensive marketplace of apps you can use to enhance its functionality.

๐Ÿคœ๐Ÿค› LiveChat vs Intercom

The feature set that LiveChat offers is far simpler than what you’ll get with Intercom. If you’re just looking for a chat and ticketing solution, this platform can provide what you need without costly extras.

2. JivoChat

JivoChat homepage

If youโ€™re looking for an effective Intercom messaging alternative, look no further than JivoChat.

This tool enables you to engage with clients through their preferred channels. You can communicate with them via Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, and more.

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๐Ÿ”ง Key features

  • Combine all your messages into one app.
  • Monitor the quality of your customer service by reviewing saved messages.
  • See where customer inquiries come from and which channel is the most effective

๐Ÿ’ฐ Pricing

You can start with the Basic plan, which is free and enables you to respond to customers in the chat and messengers. Meanwhile, the Professional plan starts at $19 per agent per month.

JivoChat pricing page

๐Ÿ‘‹ Ease of use

Once you set up an account, weโ€™ll walk you through a simple setup process and provide download options for different operating systems, including Windows and Linux:

Download JivoChat page

Additionally, the JivoChat dashboard is very easy to navigate. You can view all of your messages in one place.

๐Ÿ”Œ Extensions and integrations

JivoChat integrates with a variety of CMSs, including WordPress, Shopify, and Joomla! It also supports WooCommerce and Google Analytics.

๐Ÿคœ๐Ÿค› JivoChat vs Intercom

While the Intercom customer support functionality is quite effective, JivoChat simplifies things by enabling you to handle all queries and requests in one place.

Additionally, this tool supports a lot of social channels. This makes it an excellent Intercom alternative if you have a strong social media presence.

3. Tidio

Tidio homepage

Tidio is a cloud-based customer service solution that offers a powerful live chat tool. It also comes with a mobile app so you can engage with clients on the go.

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๐Ÿ”ง Key features

  • See what customers are typing in real time so you can prepare your replies and have them ready to send.
  • Manage all messages in one shared inbox.
  • Use the live visitors list so you can see if your customers are new or returning, and personalize your correspondence accordingly.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Pricing

You can get started with Tidio for free, but your live chat conversations will be limited to 50 users. Meanwhile, the premium version starts at 15.83 USD per month per operator (when billed annually), which makes it much cheaper than the Intercom pricing plans.

๐Ÿ‘‹ Ease of use

You can add Tidio to your website in just a few minutes and start chatting with visitors right away. After answering a few questions about your goals and business, Tidio will help you set up your chatbot and add it to your preferred platform:

The Tidio dashboard

Then, you can access the dashboard to view data about leads generated through your chatbot. Youโ€™ll also be able to see whoโ€™s browsing your site in real time.

๐Ÿ”Œ Extensions and integrations

Tidio integrates with various platforms. These include WordPress, Shopify, WIX, and WooCommerce. You can also use it with Messenger, Instagram, and Mailchimp.

๐Ÿคœ๐Ÿค› Tidio vs Intercom

If youโ€™re looking for a simple Intercom chatbot alternative, Tidio might be the right tool for you. Itโ€™s easy to set up and you can customize it to align with your branding.

Plus, Tidioโ€™s live chat feature is designed for small businesses, while Intercomโ€™s tools are geared toward companies that see larger volumes of traffic (hence the higher pricing).

4. User.com

User.com homepage

Second, let’s look at User.com (formerly known as UserEngage).

This Intercom competitor offers a range of tools to help you automate marketing and customer communication.

It’s also a team-focused solution, providing functionality to help your various members or departments stay on the same page.

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๐Ÿ”ง Key features

  • Communicate with customers via live chat, with an option for automated messages too.
  • Track customer activities and information easily.
  • Create pop-ups and automated emails to help you target customers with specific messaging.
  • Put together and send SMS campaigns.
  • Keep tabs on your team and metrics using a variety of organizational tools and dashboards.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Pricing

User.com offers several different chat features bundled into their product. We’d love to share their pricing structure with you, but they have shifted over to a sales-call upfront business strategy, which means we’re no longer privy to that information. It used to be less expensive than Intercom, but the only way to know for sure is to set up a call with one of their representatives.

๐Ÿ‘‹ Ease of use

When you create an account with User.com, you’ll be asked to provide some information about your business and your goals:

Setting up User.com

Then, you can start setting up automated tasks, create lead generation popups and email campaigns, and more.

๐Ÿ”Œ Extensions and integrations

User.com integrates with a wide variety of tools and platforms. These include WordPress, Magento, Squarespace, Slack, Zapier, and more. You even have the option to easily import data from Intercom.

๐Ÿคœ๐Ÿค› User.com vs Intercom

If you’re looking for an option that offers a toolset nearly as wide as Intercom’s, this is a solid choice. You’ll be missing out on a few features (e.g. – the help desk and knowledge base software), but most of the key components are the same. Unfortunately, due to their decision to remove the pricing information, it’s difficult to make a final decision on if it’s a better alternative to Intercom.

5. Drift

Drift homepage

What if you’re looking for an Intercom alternative that is a little more streamlined, with a greater focus on customer communication?

In that case, Drift may be a strong fit. This solution offers a smaller but still impressive feature set, at a more realistic price for many small businesses.

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๐Ÿ”ง Key features

  • Set up a calendar to manage your meetings, and let people book times automatically.
  • Send targeted and situational sales emails using ‘Drift Sequences’.
  • Create chatbots to handle customer questions.
  • Track visitor activity on your site, and trigger personalized messaging.
  • Manage email marketing campaigns through your website.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Pricing

The Standard Drift plan used to be $50 per month. It may still be that price, but similar to user.com, Drift is another Intercom alternative that has gone super-stealth mode with their pricing structure. Unlike user.com, they still at least have a pricing page, but it’s a pricing page with no prices. They force you to set up a sales call with one of their representatives to get that information. This makes it difficult to compare to the Intercom pricing structure.

drift pricing

๐Ÿ‘‹ Ease of use

When setting up Drift, you’ll be given a code to add to the Drift WordPress plugin:

Drift setup process

Then, you’ll be walked through setting up live chat on your site.

๐Ÿ”Œ Extensions and integrations

Drift is another tool with a lot of built-in integration options. You can use it alongside Salesforce, Slack, HubSpot, Google Analytics, Drip, and more.

๐Ÿคœ๐Ÿค› Drift vs Intercom

Intercom is a grab-bag of CRM features, and smaller businesses won’t need many of them. In contrast, Drift focuses on streamlining, automating, and personalizing customer interactions โ€“ things nearly any business can benefit from.

6. UseResponse

UseResponse homepage

Next up, UseResponse is a solution focused on helping you provide the best customer support possible.

It offers you a variety of channels for providing customer service. This includes live chat, a help desk, and knowledge-base software.

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๐Ÿ”ง Key features

  • Communicate with customers using live chat, and/or popular programs such as Skype and WhatsApp.
  • Create a ticket-based help desk system, to handle queries more efficiently.
  • Provide customers with a knowledge base, where they can look for answers on their own.
  • Solicit and analyze customer feedback, in order to provide better service in the future.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Pricing

UseResponse provides an affordable cloud-based service, which starts at $166 per month for two agents (additional agents will cost $19 per month per agent). This plan includes knowledge base software, a feedback solution, and a help desk with live chat. If you have multiple agents, this may still work out cheaper than the Intercom pricing plans.

๐Ÿ‘‹ Ease of use

With UseResponse, you get access to a fairly intuitive dashboard, along with plenty of helpful tooltips to teach you the ropes:

UseResponse tutorial

The interface is clear, well-organized, and user-friendly. All-in-all, UseResponse is an easy Intercom alternative to use.

๐Ÿ”Œ Extensions and integrations

UseResponse provides API-based integrations, along with a library of add-ons to let you connect the platform with Salesforce, Zapier, Slack, and other popular software.

๐Ÿคœ๐Ÿค› UseResponse vs Intercom

If you already handle marketing through other channels and are primarily looking for a tool to manage your customer support needs, UseResponse has your back. It covers all the most important communication channels, letting you provide service in a unified fashion.

7. HelpCrunch

HelpCrunch homepage

Lastly, HelpCrunch‘s feature set emphasizes efficiency and automation.

This makes it a smart choice if you’re looking to provide quality customer service, while minimizing the time investment you and your support team have to make.

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๐Ÿ”ง Key features

  • Use a live chat system that’s dynamic and highly customizable.
  • Send automated messages and emails to your customers and leads.
  • Create targeted and personalized email marketing campaigns.
  • Use a data-driven ticketing system to handle customer questions and problems.
  • Track visitor activities, and monitor customer profiles and data.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Pricing

If your budget is particularly tight, you’ll appreciate HelpCrunch’s low buy-in. The Basic plan is just $15 per month per agent (only $12 when you pay annually). This is way cheaper than the Intercom pricing plans.

 

helpcrunch pricing

๐Ÿ‘‹ Ease of use

Your HelpCrunch account provides you with access to a centralized dashboard and video to help you get started:

HelpCrunch dashboard

Here, you can easily handle chats, create automated and manual messages, and view reports. Your options are clearly laid out, and there are multiple ways to get help should you need it.

๐Ÿ”Œ Extensions and integrations

You can integrate HelpCrunch with plenty of external tools, including Slack, WordPress, Google Analytics, WhatsApp, and Zendesk.

๐Ÿคœ๐Ÿค› HelpCrunch vs Intercom

Small businesses are often stretched for time, which means finding a tool that gets you up and running quickly is a must. Unlike a more complex option like Intercom, HelpCrunch is simple to use and offers a lot of opportunities for automation and streamlining.

Conclusion

When you’re running a small business, you need to find a balance between getting access to the tools you need, and not spending more than your budget can handle. While a solution like Intercom can be valuable, it’s also extremely costly, and it may contain more features than you really need.

To recap, here are some alternatives to Intercom that might be a better fit for your business:

  1. LiveChat: For those primarily interested in Intercom’s live chat functionality, this tool may provide what you need at a much lower cost.
  2. JivoChat: A tool that enables you to engage with customers on their preferred social media channel or app.
  3. Tidio: If you’re looking for an affordable live chat solution with a free plan, Tidio might be the right option for you.
  4. User.com: This solution offers nearly as many features as Intercom, yet is significantly cheaper.
  5. Drift: With this platform, you get access to many core options such as email marketing, chatbots, and visitor activity tracking.
  6. UseReponse: If you need a tool that focuses heavily on providing dynamic customer support channels, this one is worth a look.
  7. HelpCrunch: This time-saving solution makes it simple to automate much of your customer support and marketing.

๐Ÿ”ฅ Bonus. In case you’re interested in other CRM solutions – specifically ones that work 100% within your WordPress website – here’s a separate list of the best CRM plugins out there.

Have you used any of these Intercom alternatives, and what was your experience with them? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

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* This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and then purchase the product, we’ll receive a small fee. No worries though, you’ll still pay the standard amount so there’s no cost on your part.

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