5 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, and to find an option offering what your particular business needs.

In this post, we’re going to help you conduct the necessary research. We’ll present five 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 involves 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. CRM solutions offer ways to improve productivity, streamline key processes, and handle communication more effectively.

 

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

It is a full-featured solution, offering features such as a live chat system, help desk and knowledge-base software, and a variety of apps and integration options. However, Intercom is an expensive solution, costing $136 per month on its cheapest plan. Practically speaking, this just doesn’t fit into the budget for many smaller businesses.

intercom
See Intercom pricing:
intercom pricing

The good news is that there are plenty of Intercom alternatives 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.

Five budget-friendly Intercom alternatives for your small business

What we’re going to do now is introduce five Intercom alternatives 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 what your small business needs. Let’s start from the top!

1. LiveChat

livechat

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 – without the extra bells and whistles – the aptly-named LiveChat could be a perfect fit.

 

πŸ”§ 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

πŸ’° Pricing

The Starter plan for LiveChat costs $16 per month per agent, making this a highly-affordable option.

livechat pricing

πŸ‘‹ Ease of use

Setting up LiveChat is an extremely quick process, and the dashboard is intuitive and easy to use. When you begin, you’ll be walked through the key features via an example chat with a support bot.

The LiveChat dashboard.

Integrating this tool with your website is also straightforward, and will have you up and running in minutes.

πŸ”Œ Extensions and integrations

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

πŸ€œπŸ€› LiveChat vs Intercom

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

2. User.com

user.com

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

Like Intercom, this solution 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.

 

πŸ”§ 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

πŸ’° Pricing

User.com offers packages starting at $79 per month. This makes it one of the pricier options on this list, although it’s still much cheaper than Intercom.

πŸ‘‹ Ease of use

When you create an account with User.com, you’ll be prompted to choose what you’re most interested in accomplishing.

Creating a new User.com account.

Selecting one of these options will lead you through a series of helpful tooltips, which teaches you to use the dashboard and helps you set up User.com’s most basic features. This makes it pretty simple to get started.

πŸ”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.

πŸ€œπŸ€› User.com vs Intercom

If you’re looking for an option offering a toolset nearly as wide as Intercom’s, but at a reduced price, this is a solid choice. You’ll be missing out on a few tools, such as the help desk and knowledge base software, but most of the key features are the same.

3. Drift

drift

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

In this 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.

 

πŸ”§ 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

πŸ’° Pricing

The Standard Drift plan will cost you $50 per month. There’s even a limited free tier that lets you try out several of the core features at no cost.

drift pricing

πŸ‘‹ Ease of use

When setting up Drift, you’ll be able to choose the areas you’d like to focus on, along with customizing the interface you’ll use.

Setting up Drift.

After, you’ll be walked through integrating Drift with your website, which is a simple process. Plus, this means you won’t need to leave your site to access many of its key features.

πŸ”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.

πŸ€œπŸ€› 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 – things nearly any business can benefit from.

4. UseResponse

useresponse

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

To do this, it offers you a variety of channels with which to provide customer service. This includes live chat, a help desk, and knowledge-base software.

 

πŸ”§ 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

πŸ’° Pricing

UseResponse provides an affordable cloud-based service, which costs $15 per month, per agent (with a maximum of five agents). You can also get a self-hosted version of the software for $899 per year, which comes out to about $75 per month.

πŸ‘‹ Ease of use

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

The UseResponse dashboard.

The interface is clear, well-organized, and user-friendly. All-in-all, UseResponse is one of the easier Intercom alternatives to get accustomed to.

πŸ”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.

πŸ€œπŸ€› 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.

5. HelpCrunch

helpcrunch

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.

 

πŸ”§ 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

πŸ’° Pricing

If your budget is particularly tight, you’ll appreciate HelpCrunch’s low buy-in. The Basic plan is just $12 per month per agent, and there’s a limited free tier as well.

helpcrunch pricing

πŸ‘‹ Ease of use

Your HelpCrunch account provides you with access to a centralized dashboard.

The 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.

πŸ”Œ Extensions and integrations

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

πŸ€œπŸ€› 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 such as Intercom, HelpCrunch is simple to start using, 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.

Instead, one of the Intercom alternatives we’ve discussed throughout this post might be a better fit for your business. To recap, they include:

  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. User.com: This solution offers nearly as many features as Intercom, yet is significantly cheaper.
  3. Drift: With this platform, you get access to many core options such as email marketing, chatbots, and visitor activity tracking.
  4. UseReponse: If you need a tool that focuses heavily on providing dynamic customer support channels, this one is worth a look.
  5. HelpCrunch: This time-saving solution makes it simple to automate much of your customer support and marketing.

πŸ”₯ 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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