Intercom vs Zendesk

There are multiple factors to consider when choosing a customer support platform. Depending on your business needs, you may need varying levels of usability, customization, reporting, and security. You may also need to consider the pricing. Two big names, Intercom and Zendesk, may have captured your attention. Which one is better? See the detailed comparisons between Intercom vs Zendesk below!

Intercom Overview
Intercom is a customer support platform utilizing user intelligence and behavioral targeting, designed to help businesses understand, improve, and benefit from customer communication. Intercom is able to give you insights about who are using your products along with the tools for personal communications with your customers. Intercom is also able to send targeted in-app messages as well as behavior-based emails. See also: Zendesk vs Salesforce.

Intercom is ideal for sales, marketing, and customer support teams. It offers a new better way to engage and retain customers so that your business can grow faster. It has various features such as live chats, targeted messages, announcements, an integrated help desk, and a public knowledge base. With Intercom, you can also capture, qualify, and nourish leads to prospects and finally to customers.

The live database of Intercom is updated constantly. It supports emails and in-app messages across web and mobile devices. Furthermore, it can track customer data including what they do and don’t do, events, and other metrics. You can segment your customers based on their actions. This way, Intercom provides the business intelligence and data that you need to get and engage customers more effectively and efficiently.

Pros of Intercom
The advantage of Intercom vs Zendesk is the in-app support. Intercom has put so much focus on in-app support, and it offers great features and capabilities in this regard. With in-app support, you can create a more personalized customer support experience. It can give precise and accurate support to the customer based on the context. Therefore, if you are planning to provide customer support through an app, Intercom makes a great choice.

Intercom has a powerful filter system so that you can get more accurate data and reports. You can view and get notified about client status updates, including for new clients, active clients, and leaving clients. As mentioned above, Intercom allows you to create segments based on the customers’ actions or events. This is especially great to get the right complete picture of your customers, including their activities, social profiles, and locations. Such information can give you insights on how to build targeted campaigns.

Cons of Intercom
There are some disadvantages of Intercom vs Zendesk, too. First of all, automation is not exactly Intercom’s greatest strength. Intercom is currently using a trendy automation method for automation, which is the basic “if this then that”. This simple automation is indeed great for new users and people with little technical knowledge, as it is very simple. However, it is way too simple for complex business operations. You cannot use it for multi-step automation tasks. Using a separate automation tool may become too inefficient.

The second disadvantage of Intercom is the high pricing. Intercom provides a 14-day trial period so that you can test it out first. There are at least six subscription plans available with different features. However, compared to its competitors, the available pricing plans are quite more expensive.

Zendesk Overview
On the other hand, Zendesk is a software suite of customer support apps that can help your team maintain and optimize leads as well as customer retention. It features multiple base modules which you can upgrade separately, such as the support module, chat module, call center solution, and knowledge base. This is a very flexible and customizable design. You can just upgrade the modules that you need. For example, if your team only uses phone lines for customer support, you can leave the chat module and upgrade just the call center solution.

Zendesk is suitable for all kinds of businesses. It is suitable for startups and small businesses who want to start using more advanced tools, such as the web SDK, CSAT surveys, IVR phone trees, and even answer bots. Zendesk also allows you to create a help center, online community, and customer portal.

All customer interactions and communications are put in a single dynamic interface. It is seamless and very efficient. You can bring in customer queries from any channel through pre-defined ticket responses, web widgets, and customer search history. It allows you to respond quickly to any request. Overall, Zendesk is a comprehensive solution suitable for modern customer support challenges including a reliable ticketing system, live chat, community forums, and knowledge base.

Pros of Zendesk
Zendesk is a full-featured solution that is highly capable and reliable of handling large volumes of tickets and integrations. If configured correctly, Zendesk can scale very well with the numbers of agents, users, and channels. In other words, Zendesk is not only suitable for small businesses but also the very large ones.

One distinctive advantage of Zendesk in the comparison between Intercom vs Zendesk is the superior automation capabilities. Unlike Intercom, which only supports one-to-one automation tasks, Zendesk supports three automation levels which are triggers, automations and macros. Triggers are executed in real-time, and they can be configured to be very complex. For example, you can use Zendesk to assign a task that comes from group X via channel Y on day Z to agent A. This is very useful if you have a large team or complex business operations. Meanwhile, automations run periodically, and macros are manually triggered sets of changes.

Zendesk can be a more affordable solution. It is available in five pricing plans. Some of the pricing plans have lower rates than Intercom’s options, especially if you only have a few agents. Note that Zendesk applies a per-user-per-month rate.

Cons of Zendesk
Zendesk does have a good API for in-app support. However, the features and capabilities are currently not as powerful as Intercom’s in-app support. This is not a surprise, considering that in-app support is not Zendesk’s main focus. It is more focused on real-time communication support and other channels for customer engagement.

Note that Zendesk can be expensive too if you carelessly upgrade the individual modules. Before you choose to upgrade a specific module, make sure that you actually need the additional features. Otherwise, you will spend more money than needed.

- More focused on in-app support- Has separate modules and great features on multiple channels
- Simple one-to-one automation- Supports complex multi-step automation
- Six monthly subscription plans with different features- Four per-user-per-month plans with different levels of features
- Efficient for businesses with lots of agents- Efficient for businesses with just few agents

Zendesk is generally more recommended because of the wider range of features and modules. Zendesk can do many more things, and the automation capabilities are better. In addition, Zendesk may offer a better price for businesses with just few agents due to the per-user-per-month pricing. On the other hand, Intercom is great if you mainly need in-app support. Intercom may also be great for large businesses with lots of agents when the per-user-per-month pricing is no longer beneficial.

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