Intercom has become an industry standard for talking to customers via live chat. In its 10 year history, Intercom set the bar for customer engagement with SaaS businesses pretty high.
However, open source challengers are on the rise. The indisputable advantages of open source software over its proprietary counterparts have experts looking for open source alternatives to Intercom, too.
Keep on reading to find out what are the benefits of open source technology and what are the best open source alternatives to Intercom.
Why are people exploring Intercom alternatives?
Intercom features include live chat, shared inbox, product tours, chatbot, email marketing, and more. With these extensive functionalities also comes a steep price, and not all businesses can afford it.
Some businesses don’t have the use for the full spectrum of Intercom’s features. However, Intercom’s complex pricing structure is unscalable and unpredictable, charging for both features and the number of customers you can engage with.
For smaller businesses that are new to the game, having a smaller vendor with more attentive customer service than Intercom’s might also be an advantage.
For these reasons, many businesses explore alternatives to Intercom. Open source alternatives are especially interesting to businesses that also feature open source code, or operate in highly regulated industries such as education, healthcare, or the public sector.
Find out more:
What are the biggest benefits of open source software?
Open source software is different from closed source or proprietary software in one way - its code is publicly available. The code’s transparency brings many advantages to its users.
Considering the main objections addressed to Intercom, these open source software benefits are especially meaningful:
- Affordability. Many businesses are dropping Intercom due to steep pricing, whereas open source software almost always has a free and freemium version. Also, the fully-featured open source alternatives to Intercom are still very affordable in comparison.
- Data security. Since Intercom is a SaaS-based business, all your customers’ data runs on their servers. Open source solutions often offer the possibility for on-premise hosting, making it critical to companies operating in highly regulated industries.
- Flexibility. Although Intercom is pretty flexible and adaptable, nothing beats the possibility to intervene in the code yourself and build a solution exactly the way you want it.
5 best open source alternatives to Intercom
Rocket.Chat is a versatile open source chat solution. It can be used as an in-app chat that offers secure conversational experience for customers. Also, it can serve as an omnichannel customer service solution that connects to channels such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and others, to streamline conversations to a single inbox.
With this open source alternative to Intercom, you can build a customizable, feature-rich, and flexible solution to talk to your customers. You can deploy Rocket.Chat on-premise and safeguard your communications with the highest data security standards.
Due to its features focusing on data protection, Rocket.Chat is a great tool to use in industries such as healthcare, education, financial services, and e-commerce.
Chatwoot is another open source alternative to Intercom that enables omnichannel customer support. It features a simple live chat that you can embed on your website. The chat itself can be customized in several ways. It supports more than 10 languages, switching to email to continue the conversation, and applying branding to the widget itself.
You can also integrate with popular chatbots built on Rasa od DialogFlow to automate conversations and reduce the agents’ workload.
Papercups is a great way to streamline communication coming from chat, email, Slack and SMS to a single inbox.
In their own words, Papercups is privacy-focused, open source alternative to Intercom, Drift, and Zendesk (you can find out more about Zendesk open source alternatives here).
It features a customizable chat widget that you can embed on your website to talk to customers, and then integrate it with Slack, Gmail, SMS, and more to receive and reply to incoming messages. Moreover, you can manage conversations and make private notes to share with your team only.
This AI-powered live chat features an integrated chatbot to help you qualify leads faster, offer instant response to users, and pass control to agents when needed.
As an open source alternative to Intercom, Tiledesk allows you to engage with customers over the website and Android and iPhone apps.
You can also add the chat to your mobile app, providing a great user experience for your customers. With easy shortcuts, push notifications, and file sending, customers can get all the help they need with Tiledesk.
Chaskiq is a conversational marketing platform that makes a great open source alternative to Intercom. It offers more than 30 plugins that can really elevate the customer experience: Calendly to schedule meetings, Zoom to initiate video calls, Zapier to integrate your shopping carts, and more.
Chaskiq’s live chat can automatically assign conversations to agents. The chat can be made to support images, videos, and gifs as well.
5 affordable closed source alternatives to Intercom
If you’re looking for an alternative to Intercom that’s not necessarily open source, here are our picks.
GoSquared offers businesses the opportunity to mix multiple growth tools within a single powerful platform. Their differentiation from Intercom can be seen in their transparent pricing for all the modules they offer - targeted messaging and user analytics, web analytics, and live chat for sales.
GoSquared enables you to build personalized sequences and get real-time reporting to improve your employee engagement efforts.
HelpCrunch offers chat and email automation, live chat, and help desk software - this makes it a well-rounded Intercom alternative.
In their own words, HelpCrunch differentiates from Intercom in that it offers unlimited contacts and transparent pricing, and great customer support. Moreover, they offer free data migration from Intercom and offer multi-channel communication in a single window.
Olark is a chat solution that offers features to “listen, learn, and improve”. Automation features allow businesses to save precious time. A useful feature is routing chats to the right department after initial questions and based on visitor behavior.
Detailed live chat reports - updated in real-time - let you monitor customer satisfaction and agents’ activity. By integrating with software such as HubSpot, Google Analytics, Salesforce, and other, you can easily fit Olark into your existing app ecosystem.
Drift platform offers several features that compete with Intercom, such as live chat, custom chatbots, conversational Ai, reporting, and more. This tool is built to equally serve marketing, sales, and customer service teams.
When it comes to live chat, Drift is all about creating experiences that drive pipeline and grow existing relationships. With tailored answers coming from chatbots, you can quickly engage your website visitors, qualify leads, and redirect them to the right person in your company.
Deskero brands itself as a simple help desk software that allows you to create effective customer engagement.
The multi-channel support ticketing system is at the core of this Intercom alternative. A self-service portal and chat solution to talk to customers is built on top of it. A chat widget can be set up on your website to streamline customer and prospect inquiries.
All in all, Deskero is an easy-to-use solution that will take your team no time to get a hang of!
Open source live chat like no other
Open source technology and principles lie at the heart of Rocket.Chat. We are supporting our clients in building chat solutions tailored to their needs and the needs of their customers.
Rocket.Chat’s in-app chat enables you to scale as you go and enable two-way communication to increase engagement and retention.
In sum, every app benefits from a strong chat experience - so get in touch with us and start building yours.