8 Budget-Friendly Intercom Alternatives to Try in 2023

Ludovic Armand
by Ludovic Armand

Tired of jumping back and forth between multiple communication channels and drowning in customer inquiries?

We have the tools for you!

While Intercom is probably the most well-known to remedy your situation, it comes with a major drawback for any small to medium-sized business (SMB)—the price!

No need to break the bank with Intercom's starting price of $89 per month.

In this guide, we'll explore the top Intercom alternatives that will not only save you time but also keep your budget intact.

Let's get started!

What is Intercom?

Intercom website's homepage

Intercom is a customer service software that helps businesses connect with their customers on multiple channels, like email, chat, social media, and phone.

It provides a suite of tools designed to centralize all customer inquiries in one place and facilitate communications with clients. Intercom lets your team collaborate more easily to offer better service. It also offers several integrations with other tools and analytics to give insight into what's support team is up to and the common issues customers are facing.

Some key features of Intercom include:

  • Live Chat
  • Customer Support
  • Marketing Automation
  • Customer Onboarding
  • User Engagement
  • CRM

While these features are great, they come with a cost. And let's face it, as a SMB do you really want to pay for features you aren't using?

Intercom Pricing

Intercom pricing is somewhat like the Coke recipe, it's a well-kept secret. They only advertise their Starter plan priced at $89 per month for 2 seats or $74 per month if you opt for a 1-year contract.

To get the other pricing options for the Pro and Premium plan which include team inbox, rules, ticketing, role-based permissions, and analytics you'll need to sign up for a demo to get a custom quote depending on the number of seats and the number of people reached per month.

Not as straightforward as we would like!

However, if we have a look at reviews online we can see that their pricing model isn't appreciated by all their customers.

It's an awesome product that literally covers every aspect of customer engagement with your app but their pricing model is ridiculously: - intransparent - expensive (but like extreme) - volatile (they've changed their model like over 200 times)

Scherpste Mes on Trustpilot

We used to love it but their pricing is exorbitant and opaque. Once you are in a one year contract good luck getting hold of anyone to cancel it. They take over a day to reply and send you some minimal canned answer. There's nowhere in the interface where you can cancel or modify for the next billing period. and the whole thing is set to auto renew by default. Used to like them, now hate them in the extreme

Sam Matthews on Trustpilot

Why You Might Want to Look for a More Affordable Intercom Alternative?

Looking for cheaper Intercom alternatives?

While Intercom's popularity and features set are undeniable, its pricing can be quite high, with their cheapest plan starting at $89 per month or $74 with a one-year contract.

Plus to gain access to some advanced features such as multiple team inboxes, round-robin assignments, SLA rules, WhatsApp, SMS, and social media support you'll need to switch to even more expensive plans or pay for add-ons on top of your monthly subscription.

If you're looking for a tool to improve your customer service workflow, there are solutions that can offer the same benefits without costing an arm and a leg. It's important to evaluate your business needs and budget to decide whether Intercom is the right fit for you.

While other alternatives may be more cost-effective options, they may not have all the features of Intercom. But as a small business, you probably don't need all the bells and whistles of a big tool like Intercom.

You may find that a more affordable alternative has all the features you need, while still being within your budget.

Top Affordable Intercom Alternatives for Small Businesses

The best affordable Intercom alternatives

As a small business owner or decision-maker, you are likely facing the difficult reality of having a limited budget. You may have realized that as great as Intercom is, its hefty monthly price tag is likely too expensive for the features you really need.

In your search for an alternative, you have likely come across Drift, a great and close Intercom competitor. The problem is that, at a whopping $2,500 per month, you were probably looking at a more expensive alternative.

Here's a curated list of the best affordable Intercom alternatives for small businesses that want to provide exceptional customer service without going bankrupt.

Platform Features Pricing G2 reviews (out of 5)
  • Shared inbox
  • Live chat
  • SMS, WhatsApp, social media DMs, calls
  • Real-time draft collaboration
  • Assign conversations
  • Integrations with OpenAI, Hubspot, Shopify, Zapier, and more
  • Analytic reporting
Starts at $0/user/month. Advanced plans start at $14/user/month 4.9 ⭐️
  • Live chat
  • Help desk ticketing
  • Knowledge management
Starts at $25/agent/month 4.3 ⭐️
Help Scout
  • Email and live chat support
  • Shared inboxes
  • Knowledge base
Starts at $25/user/month 4.4 ⭐️
  • Support desk
  • Contact center
  • Customer feedback management
Starts at $18/person/month 4.4 ⭐️
  • Shared inbox
  • Emails, knowledge base, and live chat
Starts at $15/user/month 4.6 ⭐️
  • Shared inbox
  • Live chat
  • CRM
  • Email marketing campaigns
Starts at $25/month/workspace 4.6 ⭐️
  • Live chat
  • Ticketing system
  • Teams
  • Analytics
Starts at $24/agent/month 4.5 ⭐️
  • Shared inbox
  • Live chat
  • Analytic reporting
Starts at $25/user/month 4.7 ⭐️


Missive is a communication tool that offers a variety of features for businesses, including a shared inbox, live chat, SMS, WhatsApp, social media DMs, calls, and more.

Pricing starts at $0 per user per month. More advanced plans start at $14 per user per month. You can view all pricing details here.

Shared Inbox

Missive's shared inbox feature allows you to share shared aliases or shared accounts with multiple team members so they can access and manage them directly from their accounts. It allows you and your team to be more efficient when communicating and collaborating.

With a chat available in each conversation, you can discuss with colleagues for help and send files privately. You can also add anyone to a conversation by tagging them in the chat.

Collaboration goes a step further with real-time draft collaboration with team members. Best of all, you can also manage your personal account directly inside the Missive app and benefit from the same features.

Every conversations can be assigned
You can easily assign conversations to anyone.

Additionally, Missive offers shared contact, shared labels, and shared canned responses to help manage customer interactions. Another feature is the auto follow-up, which allows team members to schedule follow-up messages to customers.

Live Chat

Missive's live chat feature allows your business to connect with your customers in real-time through your website or mobile app. The chat can be customized to fit your brand and translate into any language you’d like.

Additionally, you can set a schedule to display an online/offline status based on your team's presence. And best of all, they can be easily received in a Team Inbox to benefit from all the advantages of a shared inbox.


Missive offers integrations with OpenAI, Hubspot, Shopify, Zapier, and more. You can also build custom integrations from scratch or by using Retool.

This lets you connect Missive with other apps like Pipedrive, a CRM, to make your work easier. It can be really useful if you are already using software and don’t want all of the hassles of migrating to a new solution.

Team and assignment

Missive's team and assignment feature allows you or any team member to assign specific people to specific conversations, so it’s easy to know who is responsible for handling them.

The feature also makes it easy to ping someone from the sales team, for example, to get some help. Missive also offers rules to automate workflow, such as round-robin assignments to only online members, SLA rules, auto follow-up, and more.

Team Inbox

Missive has lots of the same features as Intercom, but it costs less money.


Zendesk help desk software

Zendesk is a customer service and support platform that offers a variety of features, including live chat, help desk ticketing, and knowledge management. Its pricing starts at $25 per agent per month for its basic support plan. They also offer various more expensive pricing plans to fit the needs of different businesses.

It sounds pretty similar to Intercom. But is Intercom like Zendesk?

First of all, Zendesk is built with customer service and ticket management in mind while Intercom is built more around sales with a built-in CRM. Zendesk is a better solution to do strictly customer support but lacks some sales and marketing features of Intercom.

Zendesk provides a wide range of customer support features, and its pricing is more affordable compared to Intercom. However, it may not have all the advanced marketing features offered by Intercom.

Help Scout

Shared inbox in Help Scout

Help Scout is another customer service platform that offers features such as email and live chat support, shared inboxes, a knowledge base, and reporting.

Its pricing starts at $25 per user per month and scales based on the number of users and features you need. Much like Missive, Help Scout uses shared inboxes to help your team work together. It also offers assignments, private notes (which act like chats), saved replies, and tagging.

Help Scout provides a more affordable option compared to Intercom, but it doesn’t have all the advanced sales and marketing features offered by Intercom.


Freshdesk help desk software

Freshdesk is a helpdesk platform that offers features such as a support desk, contact center, and customer feedback management. It offers a free option with basic features. The paid plan starts at $18 per person per month and increases rapidly based on the number of agents and features needed.

However, if you want to get access to a live chat, you’ll also need to subscribe to their Freshchat tool.

Freshdesk works similarly to Intercom. Unlike Missive and Help Scout, the platform uses a ticketing system for every customer inquiry to help your team prioritize, categorize, and assign tickets.

While Freshdesk’s pricing is more affordable than Intercom, to access all the features that are offered in the latter you’ll need to subscribe to their different platforms tools which can rapidly add up and eat up your budget.


SMS shared inbox in Helpwise

Helpwise is a shared inbox platform that allows teams to manage customer service, emails, knowledge base, and live chat in one place. Its pricing starts at $15 per user per month.

Much like Missive and Help Scout, Helpwise is organized like an email client and organizes customer inquiries in inboxes.

It is more affordable than Intercom and is designed specifically for managing shared inboxes. While Intercom also has shared inbox features, it is a more comprehensive platform that includes sales and marketing tools.

Helpwise focuses on shared inbox management can be attractive for your small business. However, you should also consider that Helpwise may not have all the advanced sales and marketing features offered by Intercom.


Crisp help desk software

Crisp is a messaging platform that offers a range of features, including shared inbox, live chat, CRM, and email marketing campaigns. While they offer a free plan, its features are really limited and don’t support emails or social media.

The paid plans start at $25 per month per workspace for up to 4 users, with additional pricing options available.

If you're familiar with Intercom, you'll notice that Crisp provides many of the same features, but at a more budget-friendly price point. However, it's important to keep in mind that it may not have all the advanced features of Intercom.


LiveChat interface

LiveChat is a customer service platform mainly focused on live chat. in addition to its chat widget, it provides features like a ticketing system, teams, and analytics.

Its pricing starts at $24 per agent per month and scales based on the number of team members and features you need. LiveChat also supports emails, SMS, iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger so you can easily connect with your customers. They also offer integrations with Salesforce, Shopify, HubSpot, and Pipedrive.

LiveChat offers a more affordable option compared to Intercom, but not all the sales and marketing features offered by Intercom.


Groove help desk software

Groove describes itself as a Zendesk alternative. The helpdesk software offers features for customer service with features like shared inbox, live chat, and analytic reporting. Its pricing starts at $25 per user per month.

Groove is similar to Missive, Help Scout, and Helpwise in the sense that it presents itself as an email client and works in the same fashion. You can also assign the conversation to a team member, leave notes in a conversation and mention someone in the conversation just like Missive. However, it doesn’t offer features for sales and marketing that are offered by Intercom.

Groove is more affordable than Intercom, however, you should also consider that Groove may not have all the features offered by Intercom. Additionally, you should verify the ease of use, integrations with other tools, and customer support when comparing Groove and Intercom.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cheaper Alternative to Intercom

Factors to consider when considering more affordable Intercom alternatives

As a small business owner, it's important to consider various factors when choosing a cheaper alternative to Intercom for needs. Here are some key aspects to keep in mind:

Features and Functionality

Make a list of the features and functionalities you need in a customer support tool. This can include things like live chat, shared inbox, auto follow-ups, and more. Ensure that the alternative you choose provides all the necessary features that you need to effectively support your customers.

Integration with Other Tools

Consider the integration options available with other tools and software you use in your business. A good customer support tool should easily integrate with your existing tools and workflows, allowing you to streamline your processes.

Ease of Use and User Interface

Choose a customer support tool that is user-friendly and easy to navigate. The tool should be intuitive, so your team can start using it quickly without having to spend too much time on training or adaptation.

Level of Customer Support

The level of customer support offered by the alternative should be considered. Choose a tool that provides excellent customer support and resources to help you resolve any issues that may arise.

For example Intercom rates 8.7 for the quality of their support on G2, while Missive rates 9.7.

Potential for Scalability

As your business grows, so will your customer support needs. Choose a customer support tool that is scalable, so you can continue to use it as your business expands.

By considering these factors, you can find a more affordable alternative to Intercom that meets your business needs and helps you effectively support your customers.


In conclusion, when it comes to finding a more affordable alternative to Intercom, there are many great options available for small businesses. These options offer similar features and functionality to Intercom, at a more budget-friendly price.

When considering which alternative is right for your business, it's important to think about factors such as the features and functionality you need, the ease of use and user interface, the level of customer support, and the potential for scalability.

Each of these alternatives has its strengths and weaknesses, and by taking the time to consider your specific needs and goals, you can find the perfect solution for your business.

In the end, it's all about finding the right balance between cost and value. With the right tool in place, you can improve your customer support, increase efficiency, and grow your business more effectively. So why not give one of these alternatives a try today?

Ludovic Armand

Digital Marketing Lead at Missive
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