Intercom vs Zendesk: Which Is Better?

Two incredibly useful customer support software platforms — but which is the best solution for your business?
Published on: Nov 30, 2022
Last updated: May 14, 2024


  • Both Zendesk and Intercom provide customer support solutions, but they are tailored to different businesses.
  • Since both products are so similar, it can be hard to tell which one is the best for your situation.
  • Zendesk is designed for large enterprises and offers more comprehensive features than Intercom, which is better suited to small-to-medium businesses.
  • However, Intercom is more flexible when it comes to pricing, and its capabilities are customizable, making it a better choice for some organizations.
  • Ultimately, the best product depends on your business's size, budget, and customer support needs.

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If you're in the market for good customer support software, you've undoubtedly come across both Zendesk and Intercom. Both are top-of-the-line customer support platforms that offer a variety of features to help make customer service a breeze. But which one is right for your company?

In this article, we'll break down everything you need to know about Zendesk and Intercom so you can make an informed decision.

What is Zendesk?

zendesk website - intercom vs zendesk

Zendesk is a customer service software company that provides businesses with a suite of tools to manage customer interactions. The company was founded in 2007 and today serves over 170,000 customers worldwide. Zendesk's mission is to build software designed to improve customer relationships. 

The company's products include a ticketing system, live chat software, knowledge base software, and a customer satisfaction survey tool. Zendesk also offers a number of integrations with third-party applications. 

One of the things that sets Zendesk apart from other customer service software providers is its focus on design. The company's products are built with an emphasis on simplicity and usability. This has helped to make Zendesk one of the most popular customer service software platforms on the market.

What is Intercom?

Intercom website - intercom vs zendesk

Intercom is a customer relationship management (CRM) software company that provides a suite of tools for managing customer interactions. The company was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Intercom's products are used by over 25,000 customers, from small tech startups to large enterprises. 

While the company is smaller than Zendesk, Intercom has earned a reputation for building high-quality customer service software. The company's products include a messaging platform, knowledge base tools, and an analytics dashboard. Many businesses choose to work with Intercom because of its focus on personalization and flexibility, allowing companies to completely customize their customer service experience.

Intercom vs Zendesk: What are Key Differences?

Now that we've covered a bit of background on both Zendesk and Intercom, let's dive into the features each platform offers.

Features Comparison

Zendesk Features

  • Help desk: The number one feature of Zendesk is its help desk. The tool allows businesses to organize, manage, and respond to customer inquiries quickly and effectively. From customized request forms to help desk automation, Zendesk's help desk helps businesses streamline their customer service process.
  • Live chat: Zendesk also offers live chat software that makes it easy to engage with customers in real time. The platform comes with features like automated messages, canned responses, and integrations with popular messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
  • Self-service portal: Zendesk's self-service portal helps businesses deliver information to customers quickly and easily. The platform includes a searchable knowledge base, community forums, and FAQs — so customers can find answers to their questions without having to contact customer service.
  • Sales CRM: Zendesk Sell is a powerful sales CRM that helps businesses manage their customer relationships more effectively. It includes features like lead scoring, contact management, and automated outreach — so sales teams can close deals faster.

Intercom features

  • Live Chat: Similar to Zendesk, Intercom offers live chat software that makes it easy to engage with customers in real-time. With features such as automated messages and conversation routing, Intercom makes it easy to manage customer conversations.
  • Customer data: With Intercom, businesses can collect customer data to better understand their customers. The platform includes a powerful analytics dashboard that provides detailed insights into customer behavior — so businesses can make informed decisions about how they interact with customers.
  • Outbound messages: Intercom allows businesses to send outbound messages, such as automated emails and push notifications, to customers. This helps businesses stay in touch with their customers and ensure they are kept up-to-date.
  • Chatbots: A great feature of Intercom is its chatbot capabilities. The platform allows businesses to create automated conversations with customers, which can help answer questions quickly and efficiently.
  • Help center: Lastly, Intercom's help center allows businesses to create a searchable online knowledge base for customers. This is especially helpful in reducing customer support inquiries and making it easier for customers to find answers to their questions.


Zendesk offers a free 30-day trial, after which customers will need to upgrade to one of their paid plans. From basic team subscriptions starting at $49 to enterprise plans starting at $150, there's a lot of flexibility in terms of pricing depending on how many seats you need, making it accessible for businesses of all sizes.

Intercom also offers a 14-day free trial, after which customers can upgrade to a paid plan or use the basic free plan. Unlike Zendesk, the prices for Intercom are based on the number of seats and contacts, with each plan tailored to each customer, meaning that the pricing can be quite flexible. This is especially helpful for smaller businesses that may not need a lot of features.

Mobile App

Zendesk has an app available for both Android and iOS, which makes it easy to stay connected with customers while on the go. The app includes features like push notifications and real-time customer engagement — so businesses can respond quickly to customer inquiries.

Intercom also has a mobile app available for both Android and iOS, which makes it easy to stay connected with customers even when away from the computer. The app includes features like automated messages and conversation routing — so businesses can manage customer conversations more efficiently.

Company Size

Zendesk is a much larger company than Intercom; it has over 170,000 customers, while Intercom has over 25,000. While this may seem like a positive for Zendesk, it's important to consider that a larger company may not be as agile or responsive to customer needs as a smaller company.

Customer Rating

Customers rated Intercom 4.4 on G2 Crowd, while Zendesk scored 4.3. This is not a huge difference; however, it does indicate that customers are generally more satisfied with Intercom's offerings than Zendesk's.

Product Focus

Both Zendesk and Intercom are customer support management solutions that offer features like ticket management, live chat and messaging, automation workflows, knowledge centers, and analytics. However, there are some key differences between the two products. Zendesk has traditionally been more focused on customer support management, while Intercom has been more focused on live support solutions like its chat solution.

Today, both companies offer a broad range of customer support features, making them both strong contenders in the market. One key difference to consider is in the area of automation. Zendesk offers more advanced automation capabilities than Intercom, which may be a deciding factor for businesses that require complex workflows.

Company Fit

Both Zendesk and Intercom are excellent customer service solutions. However, the right fit for your business will depend on your particular needs and budget. If you're looking for a comprehensive solution with lots of features and integrations, then Zendesk would be a good choice. On the other hand, if you need something that is more tailored to your customer base and is less expensive, then Intercom might be a better fit.

User Experience

Zendesk's user face is quite intuitive and easy to use, allowing customers to quickly find what they are looking for. Additionally, the platform allows users to customize their experience by setting up automation workflows, creating ticket rules, and utilizing analytics.

Intercom's user interface is also quite straightforward and easy to understand; it includes a range of features such as live chat, messaging campaigns, and automation workflows. Additionally, the platform allows for customizations such as customized user flows and onboarding experiences.

How to Connect Intercom to Zendesk Integration

Did you know that integrations between Zendesk and Intercom are possible? With the integrations provided through each product, you can make use of both platforms to provide your customers with comprehensive customer service. While Intercom Zendesk integration is uncommon, as they both offer very similar products, it can be useful for unique use cases or during migrations from one platform to the other. To connect Intercom to Zendesk, you can use the Intercom app within Zendesk. Here's a general guide on how to set up the integration:

Access Zendesk Apps Marketplace

  • Log in to your Zendesk account.
  • Go to the Zendesk Apps Marketplace.

Find the Intercom App

  • Search for the Intercom app in the marketplace.

Install the Intercom App

  • Click on the Intercom app.
  • Click the "Install" button to add the app to your Zendesk account.

Authorize Integration

  • Once installed, you'll be prompted to authorize the integration with your Intercom account.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to log in to your Intercom account and grant access.

Configure Settings

  • After authorization, you may need to configure some settings based on your preferences.
  • This may include selecting which Intercom data you want to sync with Zendesk.

Test Integration

  • Once configured, you can test the integration to ensure that data is syncing properly between Intercom and Zendesk

Related Reading

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use both Zendesk and Intercom?

Certainly! You can use both Zendesk and Intercom simultaneously to leverage their respective strengths and provide comprehensive customer support across different channels and touchpoints.

Can I use both Zendesk and Intercom?

Zendesk is popular due to its user-friendly interface, extensive customization options, scalability, multichannel support, robust analytics, and seamless integration capabilities. These features make it suitable for businesses of all sizes, helping them streamline their support operations and enhance the overall customer experience.

Wrapping things up

When it comes to which company is the better fit for your business, there's no clear answer. It really depends on what features you need and what type of customer service strategy you plan to implement.

For example, Zendesk may be a better option if you are looking for more advanced ticketing and analytics features, while Intercom will probably be more suitable if your focus is on live chat and automated messaging. On the other hand, for businesses that are expecting to scale quickly and need a more robust customer service solution, Zendesk might be the better option as it offers more integrations and automation capabilities.

Ultimately, it's important to consider what features each platform offers before making a decision, as well as their pricing options and customer support policies. Since both are such well-established market leader companies, you can rest assured that whichever one you choose will offer a quality customer service solution.

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