Top 12 Intercom Alternatives for SaaS Businesses and Startups

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Customer support is the lifeblood of any successful business. As the SaaS industry continues to thrive and evolve, effective communication and customer engagement will continue to be crucial aspects of driving growth and maintaining customer satisfaction.

Intercom has long been a go-to solution for companies seeking a comprehensive customer service platform. In fact, it’s trusted by over 20,000 businesses.

However, the world of customer support tools and communications platforms is vast. There are various tools that can also suit a business’s needs and budget—especially those of an early-stage startup. Understanding the benefits and considerations associated with these alternatives will better equip companies to have customer relationships and make informed decisions.

Affordable alternatives to Intercom

Two people talking in a chat window, discussing customer support

If Intercom’s pricing structure is a hurdle for your business, there are several cost-effective alternatives. They even provide similar features at a much more affordable price. HelpCrunch, LiveChat, and Tidio are all options that offer a variety of features and a more predictable pricing structure.

HelpCrunch

HelpCrunch as an affordable alternative to Intercom

HelpCrunch is an efficient and cost-effective Intercom alternative, offering multi-channel messaging and free migration from Intercom. It offers a wide variety of features to make the user experience even better. These include a help desk ticketing system, integrations with Facebook messenger chat, email marketing, pop-ups, automated messaging, and more. This makes it a versatile tool for businesses of all sizes.

When it comes to pricing, HelpCrunch offers a simple and transparent system. It is based on the number of seats, and live chat, knowledge base, in-app messaging, and more are included in their Basic and Pro packages. Their pricing starts at just $12/member per month, making it a wallet-friendly alternative for smaller businesses.

LiveChat

LiveChat is another affordable alternative to Intercom for companies interested in reducing costs

LiveChat is another affordable alternative to Intercom. This live chat software allows businesses to engage with their website visitors in real-time via a messaging app. It offers a range of support, sales, and marketing features, and it starts at just $20/agent per month. With LiveChat, you can manage messages from your customers and potential leads at the same time.

Aside from this, LiveChat also provides a comprehensive suite of features that can help businesses provide excellent customer service. Whether you’re a startup looking to improve user engagement or a larger company looking to streamline your customer support processes, LiveChat is a cost-effective solution that should be on your radar.

Tidio

Tidio, AI-powered platform for customer service.

Tidio is an AI-powered customer service platform that offers multi-channel communication, lead generation, and nurturing, as well as chatbot AI.

It offers a free plan as well as standard plans starting at $25/operator per month. This makes it an accessible choice for small businesses and startups that are looking for a robust customer support solution without breaking the bank. The more expensive plans include native Shopify actions—absolutely convenient for up-and-coming eCommerce businesses.

Feature-rich Intercom alternatives

A customer support team using a feature-rich Intercom alternative

If Intercom pricing isn’t your primary concern and you’re looking for a solution that offers a wider range of features, then you might want to consider alternatives like Zendesk, Freshdesk, and Zoho Desk. These platforms offer a multitude of intercom features and capabilities to help you provide top-notch customer support.

Zendesk

Zendesk is a platform with features that that customer support agents can maximize

Zendesk is a customer support platform designed to provide a seamless customer experience. It has basic features like tracking SMS, calls, emails and managing of knowledge base, automation, reporting, etc. Advanced features include customizing sales pipelines, sales forecasting, pre-defined responses, and multi-lingual support among others.

When it comes to pricing, Zendesk has packages depending on your focus and purpose—sales or service. Zendesk for sales begins at $19/agent per month, and the Zendesk for service plans starts at $55/agent per month.

It’s worth noting that Zendesk is an ideal solution for large enterprise companies requiring extensive sales and service solutions. If you’re a larger business looking for a feature-rich Intercom alternative, Zendesk should definitely be on your list.

Freshdesk

Freshdesk has a lot of features which makes it a great alternative

Freshdesk is a cloud-based software that assists businesses in providing seamless service across all customer touchpoints. It offers call center support, help desk software, messaging, chatbot support, and omnichannel communication, making it a versatile alternative for businesses of all sizes.

One of the key advantages of Freshdesk is its flexibility. It caters to businesses of all sizes, making it a suitable choice whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise. The Support Desk plan also offers free versions for up to 10 agents, which can definitely get you up and running.

Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk is a feature-rich platform that is also part of the wider Zoho suite.

Zoho Desk, from the Zoho suite of tools, offers automation, AI chatbots, self-service support, social media management, email communication, conversational support, and omnichannel communication. These features, along with its ease of use, make it a comprehensive platform and a very strong contender as an Intercom alternative.

Zoho Desk offers a basic free plan, as well as paid plans starting at $14/agent per month. This makes it a cost-effective solution for businesses looking for a comprehensive customer support tool that won’t break the bank.

Intercom alternatives with unique offerings

A customer support agent using a unique Intercom alternative

If you’re looking for something a bit different, there are several alternatives that offer unique features and benefits. Drift, Olark, and Crisp are all options worth considering if you’re in search of a customer support tool that stands out from the crowd.

Drift

Drift blends chat, email, and video to help businesses personalize at scale.

Drift focuses on sales and marketing. It is an AI-powered conversational platform that meshes together chat, email, and video to create personalized and streamlined experiences across the entire customer journey. In fact, Drift can be used seamlessly by sales teams, marketing teams, and customer service teams.

Businesses are equipped with various features through this platform, like setting appointments, responding to queries, disseminating help center articles and videos, providing pricing information, etc. These features enable easy and effective communication with consumers delivering increased customer satisfaction. The primary objective of Drift is to accelerate revenue, making it a great choice for businesses focused on growth.

Drift offers a free plan. For paid accounts, pricing is discussed on a case-by-case basis. While this might not be as straightforward as some of the other alternatives, it does offer flexibility for businesses with unique needs or budgets.

Olark

Olark is a live chat software that facilitates seamless customer interactions.

Olark offers live chat, chatbot, and customer feedback tools as an alternative to Intercom. It provides advanced insights, organized customer data, offline messaging, AI-powered bots, and features that enable you to store customer data and chat transcripts in your CRM, access detailed reporting, automate conversations, and ensure your live chat is accessible.

Olark offers a free plan and paid plans starting at $29/month, making it a flexible and affordable option for businesses of all sizes. If you’re looking for a robust alternative to Intercom, Olark is well worth considering.

Crisp

Crisp as an Intercom alternative focuses on human touch

Crisp is a business messaging platform that can be used by customer support teams, marketing teams, and sales personnel. It features live chat, a ticketing system, a shared inbox, automation capabilities, and workflow creation.

Crisp offers a free plan with two seats included. Paid plans start at $25/month. This makes it an accessible choice for startups and small businesses that are looking for a robust customer support solution that’s well worth its price.

Intercom alternatives for startups and small businesses

A small business using an Intercom alternative for startups and small businesses

A lot of SaaS businesses start out as small companies and startups. When you’re still at the stage where things are only starting to kick off, the right customer support tool can make a big difference. Let’s explore some alternatives that cater specifically to these types of businesses.

ClickDesk

ClickDesk focuses on providing a seamless platform for voice and video chat

ClickDesk is trusted by over 100,000 businesses—and for good reason too. It’s a comprehensive live support solution for customer service teams, combining live chat, voice chat, help desk, and a social toolbar for website customer and phone support only. It offers voice and video support, live chat, and even social media integration.

It’s free for up to 10 users, and then the paid plans start at $12.99/month. Overall. ClickDesk has a wide range of features at a reasonable price point. If you’re a small business looking to improve your customer support without a hefty price tag, ClickDesk is worth a look.

HubSpot Service Hub

HubSpot Service Hub works seamlessly with the rest of the HubSpot system

HubSpot Service Hub integrates all customer service data and channels into one CRM platform. It offers features including automated ticketing, customer segmentation, customer feedback surveys, and more. Plans start at $450/month for 5 users and this already includes key features, like knowledge base management, help desk automation, post-chat feedback, and custom surveys among others.

Of course, HubSpot Service Hub integrates seamlessly with the rest of the HubSpot CRM. Though definitely more expensive than other options, HubSpot really does offer almost everything. Plus, their customer support is top-notch.

LiveAgent

A screenshot of LiveAgent homepage, one of the top intercom alternatives for customer support and communication.

LiveAgent is all about simplicity and reliability. It provides an online help desk solution that helps customer service agents connect with customers on all channels. With 200+ integrations with other tools, LiveAgent can seamlessly integrate with your current processes.

LiveAgent provides a 7-day or 30-day free trial period. Following the trial, pricing is contingent on the number of agents and required features.

Factors to consider when looking at Intercom alternatives

A person considering factors when choosing an Intercom alternative

When evaluating Intercom alternatives for your SaaS business or startup, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure the chosen platform aligns with your specific needs. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Pricing structure: Evaluate the pricing plans of each alternative and determine whether they fit within your budget. Remember that it’s not just about finding the cheapest option. Consider factors such as the number of users, conversations, or features included in each pricing tier. Look for transparent pricing models that offer flexibility and scalability as your business grows.
  2. Features and functionality: Assess the features and functionality offered by each alternative. Identify the specific communication channels (live chat, email, social media) and automation capabilities (chatbots, triggers, campaigns) that are important for your customer support strategy. Look for tools that provide the right balance of functionality to meet your business requirements. Don’t be tempted to go with the alternative that has the most features. Instead, go with the one that matches your goals.
  3. Scalability and growth potential: Additionally, you’ll want to consider the scalability of the tool and its ability to integrate with other systems you use. As your business grows, your customer support tool needs to be able to grow with it, supporting team members effectively. Determine whether they can accommodate your growing customer base and handle increased volumes of conversations effectively. Look for options that offer room for expansion without compromising performance or incurring significant additional costs.
  4. Integration options: Consider the existing software and tools your business uses, such as CRM, helpdesk systems, or marketing automation platforms. Choose an alternative that seamlessly integrates with your existing tech stack to streamline workflows and enhance productivity.
  5. User experience and ease of use: Assess the user experience and ease of use of each alternative. Consider factors such as the intuitiveness of the interface, customization options, and the learning curve associated with implementing and using the platform. A tool that’s difficult to navigate can lead to inefficiencies and frustration among your team.
  6. Customer support and reliability: Evaluate the level of customer support provided by each alternative. Look at the available support channels, response times, and overall reputation for customer service. Additionally, assess the reliability and uptime of the platform to ensure uninterrupted communication with your customers.
  7. Data security and compliance: Consider the data security measures and compliance standards followed by each alternative. Ensure that the platform provides robust security features, data encryption, and compliance with relevant regulations such as GDPR or CCPA. Protecting your customers’ data should always be a top priority.

Find the best Intercom alternative that will propel your customer service strategy forward

While Intercom is a popular and robust customer support tool, it’s not the only option out there. There are numerous alternatives that cater to a variety of needs and budgets.

Whether you’re a small business, a startup, or a large enterprise, there’s an Intercom alternative out there that’s a perfect fit for your business. So why not explore these options and find the customer support tool that’s right for you?

The LTVplus team has experience and relevant training in these different platforms. If you need any recommendations or assistance in helping you decide, feel free to reach out to us directly.

Need a dedicated customer experience team ready to support your brand?

Book a consultation with us and we’ll get you set up.

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