Intercom Review: How Much Can It Do for Your Business?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020
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Intercom is the biggest customer messaging platform currently on the market, as well as one of the best designed. How do I know this? Well, many similar products that were more recently launched have actually “borrowed” important features from Intercom in order to become successful. Yet Intercom is not for everyone.

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As most reviews will tell you, Intercom comes with a spicy price tag that not just any business can afford. I’ve taken a close look at every aspect of the platform in order to help you decide whether the cost is worth it.

Live Chat (The Inbox Module)

What makes Intercom unique is the fact that it integrates several modules into one messaging platform. This makes it easier for your company to get in touch with potential customers, answer questions, send on-boarding emails, and distribute informative articles, all in a single app.

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The Inbox module or the messenger is where support agents spend most of their time. For potential customers, this shows up as a neat live chat bubble on different pages of your website. If, for example, the customer needs additional information before they make a purchase, they can quickly bring up the messenger and ask you a question.

On your end, this triggers a notification, letting you know that someone is waiting for a response. Once you log into the inbox, you can see all the users that you have ever chatted with on the left-hand side of the app, the conversation you’re currently on in the middle, and useful information about the customer in question on the right.

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If the customer is asking you to make changes to their current plan (or pricing), you can easily do this by logging into the admin section on the right side of the screen. If, on the other hand, someone is looking for more information, you can provide links to articles that answer their questions for you.

Automatic In-App Messages and Emails (The Messages Module)

This module helps you do two important things: 1) design automatic messages that users see as soon as they land on specific pages of your website and 2) create sequences of emails that are automatically sent to people who decide to sign up.

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Automated messages are a great way to encourage a potential customer to start a conversation, especially since you can customize the text for different pages of your website. For example, if the customer is currently checking out one of your products or services, you can configure the live chat bubble to show up and ask an engaging question (“Did you know that this product/service includes…?”).

In addition, this module helps you create and schedule automatic emails to be sent to users who sign up to receive more information from you. You can then categorize these emails based on different campaigns, from trials and sign-ups to purchases and cancelled orders.

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When designed properly, the emails can either educate your target audience with regard to your products or encourage customers to provide feedback on various aspects of your business. If a user responds to one of your automated emails, their message appears in the inbox module, where you also have access to the rest of your conversation with the user, as well as useful information about them.

FAQ Section (The Articles Module)

Most of the times, customers ask very similar questions. You can have your support agents type the same answers over and over again or you can save time and energy by writing specific articles that answer these typical questions. Once the articles are written, Intercom helps you recommend them to customers by linking to them directly from the inbox module.

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Intercom also uses these articles to create a self-help section that people can use to find information before they get in touch with you. This saves you even more time and gives potential customers more options to find the answers they need before making a purchase.

Is Intercom Right for You?

The main issue with Intercom has to do with pricing, although this isn’t a problem for all businesses. For example, if you intend to use the platform solely for customer support, then you can get away with one of the basic plans (and the Team Inbox product), which will essentially charge you per “seat”; in other words, according to the number of support agents who use the platform.

If, on the other hand, you want to reach out to your customers and pursue leads, you have to sign up for the Outbound Messages product, to which you can add an Answer Bot, Product Tours, or other extra features, depending on your specific needs. In this case, the price of your subscription is no longer calculated per number of seats, but rather based on the total number of users you connect with on a monthly basis.

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As a result, the cost can grow exponentially and you might not even know about it until you receive the bill. By then, you can expect to pay upwards of $500 a month for 2,000 people reached plus another $50 for every additional 1,000 people.

If you’re a large business, the investment might be worth it, but if you’re a startup, for example, you might be better off with a more advantageous alternative to Intercom, such as Crisp or HelpCrunch.

It’s also worth mentioning that Intercom has an offer specifically designed for startups, which gives you access to most features of the platform at the great price of $49 a month. However, you can only benefit from the offer for up to one year and must have no more than 5 employees and $1 million in funding to qualify.

At the end of the day, Intercom remains a complete and highly scalable customer messaging solution for large businesses – one of the best in its field. However, whether or not the service is right for you depends largely on whether its utility outweighs its extravagant cost.