Ana Khlystova
Dec 01, 2020 | 9 min read

Last updated: Mar 18 due to frequent pricing changes

Intercom pricing doesn’t make sense.

Sorry, but this is true. Intercom prices are complicated, unpredictable, and, frankly, way too high for an average user. 

Of course, no one will argue that Intercom is a robust tool offering much value for its rather high prices. So, enterprises with large customer service teams could benefit a lot from all those features. But at what cost? And what are the main problems with the Intercom pricing?

  • Confusing pricing plans to the point where it is unclear which plan will suit your needs.
  • Unpredictable billing based on your monthly amount of users.
  • The starting prices are just too high.

At the same time, other similar tools don’t have such problems at all. For instance, HelpCrunch pricing plans start from only $15/mo per team member for live chat, knowledge base, and, most importantly, unlimited contacts.

So, if you’re the kind of a business owner who knows the value of money and wants to know exactly what they’re paying for, you’re in the right place here. 

In this article, we’ll try to crack that murky secret called Intercom pricing. (Because it seems that Intercom isn’t particularly interested in helping us here.)

Understanding your support tool’s pricing shouldn’t be a turmoil. HelpCrunch has a simple and transparent pricing system based on the number of seats. Live chat, knowledge base, in-app messaging, and unlimited contacts are included in all plans. Just sign up for a free 14-day trial.

Help center article on Intercom pricing

Intercom features

Perhaps, the most famous and highly demanded Intercom’s feature is their Business Messengers, or as we, mere mortals, call it — live chat.

You can enhance Intercom’s messenger with different chatbots, apps, knowledge base articles, etc. It’s also quite simple to integrate it with your SaaS product and send targeted messages there as well as shoot automated chats to your customers and visitors.

Intercom homepage with chat

Though live chat is their core functionality, Intercom offers a great number of other features as well:

  • Help desk (Team Inbox)
  • Basic CRM
  • Email marketing (Outbound Messages combined with Campaigns)
  • Knowledge base (Help Center Articles)
  • Product tours
  • Bots
  • Banners

… and tons of advanced enhancements and workflows that can accelerate your customer support and sales tasks dramatically. Depending on the Intercom pricing plan, you can combine these features and tools in your Intercom dashboard — anything for your money.

Intercom prices

In a nutshell, Intercom offers four different packages of tools based on the size of your business and its corresponding needs. If you’re only starting your struggle to the top of the corporate world, you’ll probably be more than satisfied with the ‘Start’ ( $59/mo) or ‘Grow’ ($119/mo) pricing plans.

‘Accelerate’ and ‘Scale’ subscriptions’ prices vary from $499 to $999 per month and include 10 seats, custom bots, Salesforce integration, and complex workflows.

Intercom pricing plans overview

QUICK NOTE

Not so long ago, the Intercom pricing system was way more complicated. They offered subscription plans based on specific business needs — lead generation, customer engagement, or customer support. If you wanted all at once, you could go with the fourth ‘all-in-one’ option. Each package was additionally divided into Essential, Pro, and Premium subscription plans. Which left us with as many as 12 options right there. However, they’ve simplified this system recently.

All in all, Intercom prices vary from $59/mo to $999/mo. However, you must be cautious since these are not the final numbers that you’ll see in your invoices. More on this in a moment.

So, why exactly is Intercom pricing so complicated and unpredictable? Well, because you can’t just choose a subscription plan with all the features you need and pay for it.

You will always have to keep in mind that Intercom charges additional fees not only for agent seats but also for active contacts. This is what makes their pricing so complicated — you can’t predict your business growth and definitely shouldn’t be “punished” for it.

Discussion on Intercom pricing
SaaS Growth Hacks

This is how Intercom pricing works

1. Subscription. You pay for a subscription plan you choose on a monthly or yearly basis. The ‘Start’ pricing plan includes only 1 seat, while the ‘Grow’ package will allow you to add at least 5 agents right away.

2. Additional seats. You will have to pay for every additional agent seat. The price depends on your subscription plan and fluctuates between $9 and $99 per each seat.

Intercom pricing: charges per seat

3. Active contacts. The most irritating thing about Intercom billing is that you have to pay for new contacts in your database. Basically, 2,000 new monthly contacts can be reached for free, and then you’ll have to pay an additional $50/mo for each 1,000 people. Moreover, all subscription plans have the limitation of 50,000 new contacts per month.

Intercom prices on people reached per month

4. Add-ons. If you want to use Intercom to its fullest, you will have to pay for such add-ons as product tours, account-based marketing, and multichannel campaigns separately. The product tours tool will cost at least $199/mo, while other advanced features are even more expensive.

Intercom add-ons

Intercom ‘Early stage’ subscription

If you’re building an early-stage startup, there’s the fifth option tailored just for you. It costs $65/mo and includes live chat and product tours, but has a limitation of only 2000 reached contacts. Other early-stage features include live chat, welcome messages, targeted in-app and email messages, and product tours.

But it’s not that great as it seems at first glance. Intercom’s ‘Early stage’ subscription plan has very strict requirements that not every startup will be subject to. Moreover, even if you do qualify, the happiness will last for only one year, after which you will immediately be transferred to one of the Intercom’s expensive subscription plans.

Intercom pricing for startups

So, how do you feel after everything that you’ve just read? I dare you to try and calculate that monthly invoice for Intercom. Quite a task!

Intercom pricing examples

One of Intercom’s former users has agreed to share this screenshot of their monthly Intercom invoices. In May, they were billed $49 (not great, not terrible, right?). The following month, the invoice showed $656 all of a sudden.

Intercom invoice example

This is a terrible pricing policy for businesses that plan their expenses in advance. No wonder they decided to switch to the HelpCrunch Standard ‘Live chat’ plan. Now, they pay $15/mo for the same live chat, help desk, and knowledge base features. 

I think it will be easier to understand Intercom prices if we break them down into the following three simple examples:

1. Basic customer support solution

Setup:

A small business with 2 customer support agents and 1,000 active contacts every month. Looking for a simple customer support tool with live chat, basic help desk, automated chat messages, and knowledge base for customer self-service.

Intercom solution:

Intercom prices for small businesses

Intercom chat pricing starts with the ‘Start’ subscription for live chat and all basic help desk features like shared inbox, customer data, and team collaboration features. However, there aren’t such essential support elements as canned responses and chat ratings

Since the package includes only 1 seat, you’ll have to pay $9/mo/seat on top of its core price. The final bill will be $68/mo with no additional charges for contacts. And this is for a simple live chat tool which will allow your customers to shoot you their questions and you to answer them, that’s it.

BUT! If you want to have a knowledge base portal on your website (which you absolutely should), the ‘Grow’ plan will be more suitable. It does offer a lot of practical features like outbound emails, banners, and a lead qualification bot. But it also costs as much as $119/mo!

Final price: 

  • $68/mo for live chat
  • $119/mo for live chat and knowledge base

2. Basic solution for support and sales

Setup:

A middle-size business with 4 customer support and sales agents and 3,000+ active contacts every month. Looking for a solid solution with live chat where they can also engage visitors proactively, collect leads’ data, and qualify them.

Intercom solution:

Intercom pricing for midsize businesses

In this case, the best option is probably the ‘Grow’ plan as well. The basic package does include 5 seats which means you won’t have to pay additional fees for them. Moreover, all the necessary features like lead qualification bot or outbound emails are already included.

On the other hand, you won’t be able to create multiple team inboxes or enjoy automated assignments. Since the primary use case here is to manage both support and sales from one dashboard, these features can become deal-breakers. You definitely need more options to prioritize and manage incoming requests for higher productivity and better results.

There’s one ‘but’, though. The basic package includes only 2,000 new people. Having those 3,000 new contacts in your user base will cost you another $50 each month.

There’s also an alternative path you could choose. The Intercom pricing system offers the Advanced lead generation add-on which costs $499/mo. Account-based marketing and bots with app integrations are definitely next-level features. But the price can scare even the most daring business owners.

Final price:

  • $169/mo for live chat, knowledge base, and lead qualification bot
  • $499/mo for account-based marketing

3. Premium all-in-one solution for marketing, support, and sales

Setup: 

An enterprise with 10 team members and 10,000 active contacts every month. Looking for a consolidated all-in-one solution with live chat, help desk, email marketing, knowledge base features. Something that will allow them to manage ALL customer communication in one place.

Intercom solution:

Intercom pricing for midsize businesses and enterprises

Frankly, the first two Intercom pricing examples are kind of lame. First of all, they’re just too basic. Secondly, no one keeps their marketing, support, and sales separately these days. These are all parts of customer communication that should be consolidated and managed from a single dashboard.

Intercom is actually one of the first companies that tried to do that. But something went terribly wrong with their prices along the way.

If you want to manage several teams with different goals and purposes, go with Intercom’s ‘Accelerate’ subscription plan. Its price starts at $499/mo for the account. On the plus side, it already includes 10 seats, so there won’t be any additional charges there. But be aware that the eleventh team member will cost you $49/mo.

Moreover, reaching 10,000 new contacts comes with a cost, too. The $50 fee for each 1,000 additional people reached will make an additional $400/mo.

And if you want to enjoy product tours, throw in another $199/month.

Final price:

  • $899/mo for an all-in-one customer communication solution
  • $1,099/mo for an all-in-one customer communication solution with product tours

Intercom alternatives

Just by looking at Intercom pricing, it’s quite obvious that Intercom can be somewhat too expensive for many companies and startups. 

Luckily, Intercom alternatives are not in scarce supply as there are hundreds of tools that provide live chat, ticketing, knowledge base, and even chatbots — either separately or all in one package.

HelpCrunch — all-in-one customer communication tool

HelpCrunch homepage
HelpCrunch pricing

HelpCrunch is the closest it comes to the Intercom alternative

It offers similar tools and features that Intercom does, except for a chatbot (which is in development and will be released soon, too):

  • Live chat with the ability to send automated and targeted chat messages.
  • Help desk with shared and custom inboxes, real-time customer data, team collaboration features, etc.
  • Knowledge base with built-in SEO features which is included in ALL pricing plans.
  • Email marketing tools for automated trigger-based and manual campaigns.
  • Pop-ups for capturing more leads on your website.

There are four pricing plans that HelpCrunch offers and NONE of them include charges per new contacts, because why would they. You get unlimited contacts on all subscription plans.

The Standard ‘Live chat’ pricing plan is just $12/mo/team member if billed annually. For this price, you’ll get a live chat, knowledge base, help desk, and unlimited contacts. 

If you’re looking for a premium all-in-one solution for marketing, support, and sales, it’s better to go with the Premium ‘Live chat + Emails’ subscription, which costs $39/mo/team member if billed annually.

Those 10 team members will cost only $390/mo in total. Now, compare the price to those $899/mo for Intercom.

Bottom line

Despite its complicated and even impracticable prices, Intercom can help your business a lot. But so can other similar tools like HelpCrunch. 

The only difference is that with HelpCrunch, you can be sure that you will pay exactly what’s stated on their pricing, not a cent more. That is why before rushing into anything with Intercom, just sign up for a free 14-day trial and give it a try.

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