An introduction to Intercom

Last updated on June 13th, 2023

Natasha Hoke
Natasha Hoke

Discover the simple solution that will change the way you interact with your customers. We answer key questions from an Intercom customers point of view. What is Intercom? Why use it? How much does it really cost? What are the main features and benefits?


What is Intercom?

Imagine talking to your customers like you would on Facebook messenger.

It’s simple, quick and casual.

No one has to wait around for the other person to reply. The customer can respond when it’s convenient. This is what live chat is.


Intercom is a live chat tool for your website and yet so much more than just live chat.

More than a live chat tool?

Behind the Intercom live chat is an entire customer management system with automated emails, in-app messages, insertable educational articles and more. Intercom is automating the entire process.


How does Intercom work?

This is typically what will happen with a user who turns up to your site when you’ve got Intercom:

  1. They see your Intercom automatic in-app chat message that says ‘hi, how can I help?’
  2. They chat to you, you answer their question and insert help articles using the Intercom Articles that help explain the product.
  3. They sign up and receive a series of automated onboarding emails over a few weeks that you set up in the Intercom Messages module to encourage them to go from trial to purchase.
  4. After purchasing, whenever they have further questions, they open up the chat box and you can see your entire chat history with them.

At this point, Intercom has become the main or only method you’ll need of communicating with customers.

Do I need Intercom? What will it change for me?

Intercom replaces a number of tools and combines processes.

The best way to evaluate the product is think about what you’re doing now compared to what you will be doing after using intercom.

If you’re wondering why companies use Intercom then click here to see the real before and after.

In addition, if you send out special offers to customers and sometimes struggle to manage the response then see a case study covering how to send offers with Intercom Engage and manage responses with Intercom Respond.

Who uses Intercom?

With over 20,000 customers, and continuously growing, we can all agree, Intercom is doing pretty damn well with companies of all sizes from small startups to larger corporations taking it up.

It’s a brilliant tool for small and mediums sized companies that want to chat with users but also automate all their backend email processes. Unexpectedly, over time, it has been taken up by larger companies like Moz, Invision, Yahoo and Hootsuite.

What does it cost?

Intercom charges for basic modules and then according to how many users are on the system, so the cost can vary greatly. The basic modules can cost between $49 / month for one, up to $200 for 3 modules / month. Adding 10,000 users on top of that will bring the costs to around $550 / month.

See real examples of Intercom costs and how to manage them here.

What can Intercom do for your customers and your business?

Intercom is essential to customer success in converting good fit customer leads and helping them achieve the ‘result they came for’ through:

  • Providing rapid customer support through Intercoms live chat Respond module.
  • Communicating the value of a product and giving direction, in steps, through automated messaging using the Engage module.
  • Educating them on your product through the rapidly generated SEO friendly help section of the Educate module.

With the range of Intercom add-ons and integrations, the following general sectors are also greatly improved:

  • Product development
  • Sales
  • Marketing

If you’re a customer success manager then you’ll be interested in specific actionable ways of using intercom as your customer success software.

Intercom Integrations

Well this is the point where you get really spoiled for choice.

Intercom integrations, add-ons, whatever you want to call them. They are epic. Think about it this way, if Intercom was an Xbox 1, Intercom’s add-ons would be the games you get separately. You need the Xbox 1 for the games in order for the games to work.

Of course, there are a lot of Intercom integrations. So, choosing the right ones for your company may be a bit of a pain in the ass. But once you have the right integrations… Oh dear god. They are magical. See our Top 10 Intercom Integrations for some inspo!

Intercom Features

Below is a rapid list of the main Intercom modules and features.



-See users and leads

-See who is online/active now

-Create segments → (Group customers and visitors together)

-See where your customers and leads are. (demographics)


-Manage and send automatic message to visitors

-Create and store email marketing campaigns

-Send manual messages to visitors and customers

-View statistics


-Respond to visitors and customers

-Assign conversations to different agents

-See information about customers and visitors i.e company email address etc.

-Save replies

-Add notes and tag customer service agents

-View reports


-Add Articles to further help customers

-See what your customers are searching for

-See how many views each article has

See this Intercom case study covering the main modules

A full case study in using all 3 of Intercom’s main modules in supporting users, sending emails and educating them in how the product works.


Using Intercom to generate sales

This case study covers generating $1000s in additional revenue by using Intercom’s manual bulk email feature and managing the resulting enquiries using Intercom’s Respond module.


Using Intercom as a customer success manager

If you’re in charge of customer success then see how you can use Intercom and its add-ons to reduce churn, onboard customers, get feedback and many tasks that are core to achieving to both achieving outcomes for customers and measuring your own progress.


See an entire real campaign of Intercom on-boarding emails

We’ve listed the entire set of Upscope emails we use within Intercom fro sign up, installation, trial and purchase. This shows you how much work Intercom does in the background and acts as a template to use for your own set up.


Using Intercom to overcome onboarding issues

This is a very specific example of using Intercom to and other tech to overcome the toughest onboarding obstacles. When the biggest obstacle is getting people to install and set up your software then having tactics to deal with that help.


See how Intercom attributes lead to faster support and sales

As with many great applications that grew quickly like Slack, Intercom has many customisable features and one of the most important is the right hand side attributes list that tells you about your user when chatting with them. This list shows standard and new attributes and a couple great theoretical attributes.


Natasha Hoke
Natasha Hoke

Natasha Hoke was Upscope's head of marketing.