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Top 10 Alternatives To Intercom: Leading Live Chat Software Solutions

Are you looking for a live chat software that similar to Intercom? With the plethora of live chat software solutions available in the market, we thought we’d help you do this by compiling the 10 leading live chat software products with robust features for real-time messaging and sales and marketing capabilities.

The way people communicate has changed over the past years. Before, if a customer wanted to contact support, they had two choices: email or phone. However, neither is very efficient, especially for customers. With email, it usually takes minutes or even hours for a customer to receive a response while a phone call consists of a series of prompts, buttons to press, and waiting time. These can frustrate and drive a customer away.

To fill this gap, businesses are increasingly leaning towards live chat tools. With a faster and almost instantaneous response, customers prefer to live chat as it’s convenient and helpful to decision-making. Additionally, it can help you get more leads and increase sales. With all these benefits, it’s easy to see why live chat is seen to play a key role in the growth of eCommerce businesses in 2022.

The reasons why online shoppers prefer live chat. (Source: BoldChat)

A HubSpot study conducted in 2018 has revealed that consumer patience is good for just up to 10 minutes. The same survey observed that 82% of consumers put great importance on immediate response when it comes to making a sales or marketing inquiry.

While these statistics are valid reasons why you should implement a live chat solution, it’s also important to note that merely getting a live chat software is not enough. Choosing the right software and using it correctly are also crucial to ensure you get effective and successful results.

LiveChat’s Customer Service Report 2018 has revealed that demand for live chat increased by 8.29%. The study also discovered that many SMBs are struggling to keep up with the demand. This stresses the importance of finding a solution that solves your organization’s specific challenges, which could vary from one business to another.

For instance, you may need to build a knowledge base or implement a chatbot for your FAQs (frequently asked questions) to manage your tickets efficiently. Meanwhile, another may need to prioritize personalization when handling messages. You may also utilize creative ways to use live chat for sales.

If Intercom is one of your top choices, we’ll proceed with getting to know the software better first before exploring the top 10 alternatives to Intercom.

What is Intercom?

Intercom dashboard

Intercom is a customer service platform designed to help businesses drive growth by delivering a unified solution throughout a customer’s lifecycle—from acquisition to engagement and support. It offers internet businesses a suite of messaging-first products for your sales, marketing, and support teams.

For its live chat solution, Intercom has Live Chat for Sales, which uses messenger apps and bots to capture more leads. Despite the use of a bot known as “Operator,” the system keeps the conversation flow “human” while qualifying a visitor automatically. Having this solution for qualifying prospects reduces the friction between sales and marketing teams and leverages the process of lead generation.

Intercom’s live chat solution has four main phases: capture, qualify, convert, and measure. Each of them packs features to appropriately respond to customers differently based on various factors, such as where they came from, how they qualify themselves, and what pages they visited, among others. Unlike conventional systems, the software does not treat conversations as a completely automated funnel.

Some of its notable live chat features include visitor targeting, A/B testing, qualification and routing, lead routing, and meeting scheduling. Intercom also has a library of integrations and APIs to fit the system with your existing workflows.

Benefits of Intercom

Here are some of the benefits you’ll get from using Intercom:

  1. Targeted messages. This feature enables proactive engagement with your customers by targeting visitors based on their referral URL and browsing behavior. You can also integrate with systems such as Clearbit Reveal to leverage visitor targeting based on location and company size, among others. A/B testing is available to check the effectiveness of your messages.
  2. “Operator” bot. Operator, Intercom’s bot, automatically qualifies your new leads coming in from your website and mobile apps and then routes them to the right succeeding step. For instance, it only routes sales-ready leads to your sales team. It also provides a 24/7 automated meeting scheduling.
  3. Fast-track conversion. When qualified leads come in, the system immediately connects them to the right team or department. The lead routing feature directly auto-assigns leads through an RR (round-robin) algorithm according to a number of factors, such as location and account owner. You can also send personalized pricing offers (via Stripe app) and start a call with hot leads (via Aircall and Google Meet apps).
  4. Personalized drip campaigns. A study conducted by the Institute of Applied Informatics of Leipzig in 2018 showed the positive effects of live chat on customer trust, satisfaction, and repurchase. This calls for the importance of personalization to customer service. Hence, adding leads to a personalized drip campaign and sending personalized messages are crucial for lead conversion.
  5. Performance Measurement. Measuring the performance of your live chat is crucial to your sales and marketing teams. It shows you insights such as the leads captured over a period of time, response rates, messages that generate the most leads, and the number of leads sent to sales teams. These types of information can help you improve your strategies and process and eliminate bottlenecks.

Intercom is packed with powerful features. At the same time, we understand it may not fit all your business requirements. If you’re looking for similar options, here are the top 10 alternatives to Intercom you can check out.

Top 10 Alternatives to Intercom

1. Zendesk

Zendesk dashboard

Zendesk is one of the leading live chat solutions and a great alternative to Intercom. It combines chat, customer service, call center solution, and knowledgebase modules all in one platform. To deliver a better quality of customer support, Zendesk allows you to switch between chat, social media, emails, and phone calls.

With knowledge base and community features, Zendesk Support lets you create a self-service customer portal. The chat and message tools will provide your customers with real-time support, which, in turn, increases customer satisfaction. The AI-powered bot also directs FAQs and low-touch tickets to the portal, eliminating repetitive agent tasks.

You can use all the features for free for a period of time to see if the software matches your needs. Simply sign up for Zendesk free trial.

Zendesk

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Try out Zendesk with their free trial

Zendesk is also empowered with chat rating features so you can gather customer feedback and easily identify specific areas that need improvements. Aside from that, the software also supports ticketing features. This way, you can efficiently receive incoming customer queries and quickly create customer service tickets. You may also look at Zendesk alternatives to see which other platforms may fit your needs.

Detailed Zendesk Review

Why choose Zendesk instead of Intercom?

  1. Pre-chat and offline forms. Zendesk provides pre-chat forms that collect contact information from your customers before starting a chat with you. Offline forms also ensure communication between you and your customers even while you are not online.
  2. Targeted messages. The software allows you to send automated and targeted messages based on the purchase behavior of your customers. By automatically sending a chat, you can encourage your customers to purchase from you.
  3. Scalable customer support. Zendesk is an end-to-end solution that is structured around live chatting, help desk, knowledge base, call center, and community portal.

Why choose Intercom instead of Zendesk?

  1. Stripe app integration. During a chat session, you can send personalized price offerings to empower conversion accordingly.
  2. Chatbot. Qualifying leads is automatically done by Intercom’s bot “Operator.”
  3. Personalized messages. By adding leads to drip campaigns, you can streamline sending personalized messages.

2. LiveAgent

LiveAgent dashboard

LiveAgent is one of the top choices when it comes to helpdesk solutions as it packs live chat, email, and social media support on a single platform. This simple and intuitive system comes in an easy to learn, use, and implement while offering a robust set of features to leverage the quality of your customer service.

Its built-in, real-time live chat solution comes with automated invitations on its messenger widget. This product’s top features include real-time typing view, chat history, chat distribution, and proactive chat invitations, among others. It shows a real-time overview of chats and your visitors—who are chatting, who are waiting in the queue, and who are browsing your website. If you’re interested in checking out LiveAgent’s features and offerings firsthand and at no cost, you can sign up for LiveAgent free trial.

LiveAgent

LiveAgent

Try out LiveAgent with their free trial

The chat buttons come with pre-made options and are even customizable, which you can easily place anywhere on your site. If you want to create your button, you can write your own HTML code or upload an image. It also offers customer feedback and drag-and-drop capability for files in the chat. If it doesn’t match your requirements, you may also look at LiveAgent alternatives.

Detailed LiveAgent Review

Why choose LiveAgent instead of Intercom?

  1. Ring-to-all feature. To lessen the waiting time of customers, it enables advanced chat routing by ringing all available agents until one of them picks up.
  2. Automatic live chat invitation. Custom URLs are used to invite customers to a live chat for engagement while staying relevant according to their browsing activity.
  3. Chat and visitor overview. Real-time insights of a visitor’s activity, including how much time they spend on a specific page and what they are browsing, to leverage how an agent responds when chatting.

Why choose Intercom instead of LiveAgent?

  1. Messenger bot. It uses a bot called Operator in qualifying leads automatically before routing to agents.
  2. Meeting scheduling. Automatically schedule a meeting with the sales team 24/7.
  3. A/B testing. Measure and optimize the performance of your solution through A/B testing.

3. Zoho SalesIQ

zoho salesiq dashboard

Zoho SalesIQ is a live chat software solution used by small and large companies in engaging customers and extracting valuable statistical data. The proactive messaging system enables you to connect with your customers in real-time to help you increase the ROI of your email marketing efforts, Adwords, SEO, and content.

If you’re interested in learning more about how this software works, be sure to sign up for the vendor’s free trial plan.

On top of its live chat solution, the platform also provides you with website tracking and analytics features. You can send customized messages to your prospects and customers. And because it directly integrates with other Zoho products, it lets you streamline how you facilitate data transfers to maximize the potential of each particular action involved in customer service. If you want to explore more options, here are some Zoho SalesIQ alternatives.

Detailed Zoho SalesIQ Review

Why choose Zoho SalesIQ instead of Intercom?

  1. Zoho CRM integration. By having a direct integration with Zoho’s CRM module, you can extract actionable insights, identify prospects, and track visitor’s activities in your site.
  2. On-the-go solution. It is available on desktop and mobile through Mac, Windows, Ubuntu, and SDK.
  3. Real-time lead scoring. It identifies hot, warm, and cold leads so you can prioritize prospects accordingly and convert them into proactive customers.

Why choose Intercom instead of Zoho SalesIQ?

  1. “Operator” bot. It automates the qualification of leads before forwarding them to the next agent.
  2. Messenger visibility. You can choose the visibility of Messenger to whom, where, and when.
  3. Visitor targeting. Use Clearbit Reveal data, referral URL, and browsing data to target visitors.

4. Freshdesk Messaging

Freshdesk Messaging dashboard

Freshdesk Messaging was developed so that sales teams can have a proactive messaging and customer engagement solution. It shares a significant similarity with Intercom as both are built for sales teams. This modern messaging software is an addition to Freshworks’ prominent solutions suite. It specializes in bringing customer conversations to a personal level through chat and adjusting them according to you and your customers’ expectations.

In case you want to further understand how you can use Freshdesk Messaging to reinforce your operations, the vendor allows users to try its functionalities firsthand at no cost through their free trial plan.

The preparation and distribution of contextual messages are optimized in the system. Additionally, it streamlines how you capture leads and qualify resources. In gathering valuable customer intelligence, you may collect them directly or use third-party applications. This product lets you engage existing customers and educate new visitors through in-app campaigns. There are also Freshdesk Messaging alternatives worth checking out if it doesn’t suit your preferences.

Detailed Freshdesk Messaging Review

Why choose Freshdesk Messaging instead of Intercom?

  1. Proactive customer engagement. Send targeted customer messages and enrich all messages with various file formats. The platform can support videos, images, and more.
  2. Built-in bot builder. Easily create chatbots for simple customer service workflows. It lets you design chatbots without the need to learn how to code.
  3. Centralized platform. Collect customer conversations across channels such as your website, mobile app, in-product, or social messages in a single platform.

Why choose Intercom instead of Freshdesk Messaging?

  1. Lead Routing. Use RR (round-robin) algorithm according to location and account owner or auto-assign leads to the right agent.
  2. Stripe integration. This integration lets you send personalized pricing offers while chatting.
  3. Messenger visibility. You have control of where, when, and to whom the messenger is shown.

5. Kayako

Kayako Dashboard

Kayako, a cloud-based help desk software, includes live chat in its customer support channels. It gives companies a unified solution for managing customer requests and conversations while staying personal. Additionally, it searches for relevant insights from customer queries, support bottlenecks, sales and trends opportunities, and performance metrics that you can use to improve your processes.

Live chat forms are customizable so that you can tailor them according to your workflow and branding. You can launch it across your website to address customer concerns or generate leads proactively and in real-time. It also allows your agents to handle multiple conversations at once. Additionally, its live chat is on mobile too, for mobile messaging and in-app support. Meanwhile, here are Kayako alternatives if you’re looking for other similar options.

Detailed Kayako Review

Why choose Kayako instead of Intercom?

  1. Continued conversation. When customers return, the conversation won’t restart. Instead, it will continue and pick up where it’s left off.
  2. Custom chat windows. The live chat interface is highly customizable for message title, welcome message, background, and primary colors.
  3. Kayako Messenger home screen. It provides the right answers right from the home screen by delivering the right content at the right time.

Why choose Intercom instead of Kayako?

  1. Live chat performance. Measuring the performance of your live chat is streamlined.
  2. Robust integrations. It fits with your existing workflows through APIs and its library of integrations such as those with Salesforce, Slack, and Clearbit Reveal, among others.
  3. Qualification and routing. Leads are automatically qualified and routed to the right sales team.

6. Drift

Drift dashboard

Drift is a conversation-driven live chat messaging solution designed for sales and marketing teams. This conversational marketing platform enables you to manage multiple interactions on a scale. It paves the way for creating seamless conversations across your channels, whether it’s on live chat or email. It streamlines how you identify prequalified leads, offer the right response, and schedule a sales call.

Its dashboard gives you visibility over how your interactions impact the performance of your business. It shows a comprehensive overview of the number of interactions with each lead, the meetings they scheduled, and the length by which the conversation was handled. Like Intercom, its chatbots automatically qualify leads on your website 24/7. If this product doesn’t match your requirements, here are Drift alternatives to consider.

Detailed Drift Review

Why choose Drift instead of Intercom?

  1. Leadbot. Drift’s bot, Leadbot, is a conversational bot built to ask qualification questions and generate leads.
  2. Sales and marketing. This offers specific solutions for sales and marketing teams.
  3. Mobile and browser apps. Teammates can share conversations and leave notes to ensure everyone gets the same context.

Why choose Intercom instead of Drift?

  1. Operator. Intercom’s bot that qualifies leads and routes them to the right agent automatically.
  2. Clearbit integration. A direct integration that enables you to pull up information about a visitor’s location and company size, among others, to enhance visitor targeting.
  3. A/B testing. Leverage the performance of your targeted messages by testing variants.

7. LivePerson

LivePerson dashboard

Considered as one of the pioneers and market leaders of real-time customer engagement, LivePerson continues to deliver agile solutions in aggregating, managing, and optimizing messaging across multiple digital channels since its launch two decades ago. It also revolutionizes customer care through its mobile messaging and voice call solutions.

LiveEngage, LivePerson’s popular messaging platform, enables businesses to communicate with visitors on websites, mobile apps, and social platforms in real-time. It hosts a plethora of features, such as routing to tracking and reporting. This open platform offers built-in automation and AI that enables you to utilize your interface to match your workflows seamlessly. We also compiled some LivePerson alternatives you can check out.

Detailed LivePerson Review

Why choose LivePerson instead of Intercom?

  1. Hot Topics. Specialized text analytics that identifies topics repeatedly talked about by customers.
  2. Meaningful Connection Score. During real-time conversations, this identifies customer sentiments effectively. This algorithm can be used alone or along with traditional CSAT methodologies.
  3. Chatbots and AI. It lets your agents work alongside bots under the same conversation window for bots take care of repetitive processes so that you can focus on engaging customers.

Why choose Intercom instead of LivePerson?

  1. “Operator” bot. Intercom’s bot handles the automated qualification of leads before routing to your sales team.
  2. Hot leads. You can start a call with hot leads through integration with apps such as Google Meet and Aircall.
  3. Messenger visibility. Choose to whom, when, and where to show your messenger.

8. Stride

Stride dashboard

Stride, a chat and messaging platform, offers a full team communication solution that’s equipped with smart features and the best elements of HipChat, the former product where Stride was re-engineered from. It has been added with new features in addition to the essential chat and messaging solutions. Some examples include a function called Action and Addition, where tasks can be isolated and assigned to “to-do” messages.

It is worth noting that Stride is built for group messaging and video meetings for teams. It currently doesn’t offer a live chat room for guest access. This means if you want to add customers to your live chat, they will have to go through registration first. Hence, this solution is suitable for organizations looking for a messaging and chat solution to improve communication and collaboration within their team. It has been added to our list due to its robust messaging solution that is similar to Intercom. Meanwhile, here are some Stride alternatives worth checking out.

Detailed Stride Review

Why choose Stride instead of Intercom?

  1. Group chat and direct messaging. This is personalized based on your workflow and customizable with image annotations, custom apps and bots, and message formatting.
  2. Voice and video conferencing. Built right into the platform, you can invite anyone on your team and outside of your team by sharing a URL to start the video conferencing without downloading anything.
  3. File sharing. No need to leave the chat while sharing files to stay in context.

Why choose Intercom instead of Stride?

  1. Live chat for sales. It lets you capture leads, qualify them automatically, and move towards conversion.
  2. Chatbots. The chatbot, Operator, automatically qualifies leads before routing them to your sales team for scheduling a meeting.
  3. Visitor targeting. Use referral URL or browsing behavior of a visitor to target your messages.

9. Olark

olark dashboard

Olark is a live chat software that enables you to transform your customer service to an opportunity to grow your business. It has three main approaches: increasing sales, providing support, and acquiring leads. Flaunting a clean and intuitive design, this simple platform enables you to leverage your customer engagement in real-time through proactive chat sessions.

This solution ensures you make each conversation count. Hence, its features, such as custom pre-chat surveys, detailed visitor insights, automated messaging, and comprehensive reporting, let you determine and engage your most qualified leads. To maximize your processes, it allows you to connect and send your data with third-party applications like ecommerce, CRM, and analytics tools, among others. There are also Olark alternatives if it doesn’t match your requirements.

Detailed Olark Review

Why choose Olark instead of Intercom?

  1. Unlimited conversations. For its paid plans, there’s no limit to chat volumes and a number of conversations.
  2. Automated messages. By observing a visitor’s behavior in your site, you can automate messages to streamline the delivery of the right message at the right time.
  3. Real-time reporting. Reporting of chat volumes, busiest time, and day, agents with the highest amount of chat messages, customer ratings are generated in real-time instead of refreshing daily.

Why choose Intercom instead of Olark?

  1. Stripe app integration. During a chat session, you can send personalized price offerings to empower conversion accordingly.
  2. Chatbot. Qualifying leads is automatically done by Intercom’s bot “Operator.”
  3. Personalized messages. By adding leads to drip campaigns, you can streamline sending personalized messages.

10. Smartsupp

Smartsupp dashboard

If you’re looking for a live chat solution with video recording, Smartsupp is an excellent place to start. This real-time solution alerts you with notifications when a visitor on your website sends a message so you can respond promptly. It also records the screen of your visitors to get a better grasp of their behavior based on their clicks and mouse movement on your site.

It also offers mobility. Even while you’re on the go, you can respond to customers through your Android device or iPhone. It is also highly customizable and can blend well with your web design. When it comes to tracking the impact of conversion rates and customer behaviors on sales, you can use Google Analytics seamlessly. Here are some Smartsupp alternatives you may also look at to explore more options.

Detailed Smartsupp Review

Why choose Smartsupp instead of Intercom?

  1. Video recording. It records your visitor’s screen to offer more insights on their behavior on your website.
  2. Automatic messages. Send personalized messages to your visitors by setting up your own custom rules.
  3. Measure performance. Google Analytics helps you track and measure the impact of customer behavior and conversions on your sales.

Why choose Intercom instead of Smartsupp?

  1. Operator chatbot. Operator is an intelligent bot that streamlines and automates the qualification of leads before routing to sales agents.
  2. Messenger visibility. If you want to control where, when and to whom you can show your messenger, you can do so from the platform.
  3. A/B testing. Test variants to leverage the performance of targeted messages and optimize your strategies.

Considering Intercom Alternatives

This article listed the 10 best alternatives to Intercom. We hope this gave you a better idea of how the other event management software solutions perform in comparison to Intercom. Use this article as your guide in choosing which solution would work best for you. Just remember that an excellent live chat software must be able to deliver high-quality customer support. In this case, we highly recommend Zendesk, one of the leading live chat platforms on the market today. In case you want to learn more about it, the vendor offers a free trial plan so you can get to know its features firsthand.

Christopher Robinson

By Christopher Robinson

Christopher Robinson is a senior productivity research analyst who specializes in optimizing online collaboration and project management using Scrum and agile approaches. In his work, he always emphasizes the need for distributed work training and the formation of efficient work habits. His work was mentioned in various business publications, including Entrepreneur and InfoQ. He’s a strong proponent of the GTD model. He has been cooperating with the FinancesOnline team for 5 years now, and his publications always focus on practical aspects of productivity tools that can have an actual, transformative impact on a company.

1 Comments »
Paulos says:

None of these comparisons address speed and the burden to page load. I use Live chat and I can triple my speed score on Google tool without it. In fact it goes from a 'good site' (in google's eyes) to a slow, mobile unfriendly dog when I install due to the plugins and java script (and the method it uses). I'm not saying a live chat facility isn't beneficial, but are any of these built with speed and light burden as a priority? I would have to speed test, install each chat product and speed test afterwards to see which is superior. A big job!

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