A Review of Intercom. What are the Key Benefits and Features of the Intercom Live Chat App?

Last updated on June 13th, 2023

Pardeep Kullar
Pardeep Kullar

What difference did it make to our sales? Which existing tools and processes
did it replace? We review the key benefits and features of Intercom based on
our experience of using it for several years on 2 different applications.

Related: See an overview of
which explains what it is,
the key features and how to use it and we cover how to use Intercom for sales
and marketing


We run 2 SaaS companies and have several years experience in using Intercom.
The companies are:

  1. Upscope which is cobrowsing aka instant screen
    for sales and support where you
    can click to see their browser and click to take control.

  2. Anymail Finder is email discovery for marketing

Key point summary

  1. We now get 100 times the previous amount of feedback and fix bugs and
    improve the site 10 times faster because people prefer to engage in an
    informal conversation with a chat box rather than forms or formal email.

  2. Intercom chats have helped generate 60%+ of all sales as people are
    more likely to use it and ask questions, for which answers help build

  3. Intercom sends sequences of automated emails to users that help onboard
    them and convert them from user to buyer. Previously we needed a separate tool
    for that.

  4. All conversations with the customer, including emails and chats with all
    team members, are in one feed so we don’t have to spend time looking for
    what someone else said to them
    . Can’t imagine working without this now.

  5. See details about the customer as soon as they sign up including their
    browser, operating system
    and even their Twitter handle. You don’t have to
    ask questions to fix problems and you can follow them on social networks.

  6. Intercom allows us to add links into the chat panel so that we can chat
    about their request and in one click go to our own admin panel and change
    their settings. It’s an essential feature used many times a day.

  7. When a user asks a question we can insert an educational article from
    the Intercom articles module built to answer that exact question. It means we
    don’t re-type answers and they can learn by themselves.

  8. Intercom has a number of integrations in their app store that cover
    functionality the core Intercom modules do not.

Below is a list of what we did before using intercom live chat and what we did

1. Users now find it easy to contact us and that grew sales 60%

The change from a contact us form to a live chat box is a game changer. People
prefer chat boxes. They're comfortable with chatting, so they do more of it.


We had a typical contact us link at the top that would lead to them emailing


They click the chat box and straight away write exactly what they want without
the formality.


100 times the number of conversations with live chat giving us feedback that
helps us move faster.

We estimate that it is responsible for around 60% of sales because we’re
able to answer the key questions people have that might have stopped them

It just looks like the site is more active too and people don’t want to turn
up to something they think is dead and unsupported.

Any Problems with it? Some people say hi and expect an instant response
though, over time, most people understand we’ll get back to them the same day.
Benefits outweigh costs 100 to 1 though it takes months to appreciate this.

2. We can automatically convert users through Intercom drip emails

This is one key feature that currently separates Intercom from many other live
chat tools. Most don’t have built in automated emails.

See every single one of Upscope’s Intercom emails you can use as a



Used Campaign monitor and tested out a couple of other tools like Aweber and


Used Intercom ‘Engage’ (aka messages) module to create and send automated
email campaigns to customers and leads.


Once someone sign ups, they’re sent the sequence of emails over several weeks
to automatically educate them and encourage them to buy.

If they do reply to an automatic emails, all conversations (emails and chats)
are in one Intercom user chat feed for that user. There’s no flicking around
between apps to find all the bits of each team member’s communication with

Previously, having a separate tool for sending emails means, when they turn up
to the site, we need to put more effort into understanding where they came
from and why they are now interested in resuming a subscription.

Now we have the confidence to communicate more knowing we would not repeat

Any problems? No, this is actually the most brilliant time saving part of it.
The statistics for the email campaigns are pretty good but it would be nice if
they did more.

3. Our whole team can work together to quickly fix a problem

When all customer conversations are in one feed, it saves hours per day not
having to guess who said what.

A year later, you can still see the whole conversation with any single



Someone emailed us.

We’d email to each other or message on slack saying ‘Did you speak to this guy
before?’ or ‘Do you have the first email he sent you?’

We’d forward the email or copy and paste.

Then, after concluding the discussion, one of us would reply to the user’s
email. If they originally sent it to me then a team member would send the
response and have to after tell me about what they wrote or we’d discuss the
response in slack first. What a damn pain!


Within the client communication feed, we can send internal messages.

Everything is in one long feed.

We can see the communication with the client and see our own internal

The internal messages below are in yellow. The client communication in blue.
We get a rapid idea of our current status with that client.


Having to copy and paste and work across multiple applications is a pain.

Also, all the previous communication with that client is buried in an email

Having both external and internal communication in flowing list is just sense.

Any Problems? DON’T accidentally send internal communication to the client.
Even though it’s clearly marked and in different colours, this does happen
because of the speed at which we send communications. I don’t know how they’d
improve this but maybe a simple way of rapidly deleting something but intercom
doesn’t allow that yet. Be careful.

4. We can see details about each customer without having to ask

The intercom admin panel contains lots of attributes about the user including
their browser, location and even their social profiles on Twitter etc.



We’d get an email saying something is not working. We’d reply with “Hi, can
you please tell me what browser you’re using”. Then go through a conversation
to discover their system and likely problems.


We check the chat side panel which lists the browser, browser version, OS,
when they signed up, how many sessions they’ve had on the site, which features
they’ve installed and more.

We can also choose to follow them on Twitter there and then to learn more
about them as Intercom uses Clearbit to get user details.


Cuts the communication down significantly for them and us.

5. We’ve added our admin links directly into Intercom for fast response

You can add links to your backend database into the chat panel so if someone
asks you to make a change, you can go directly to your backend and change it.



We’d get an email asking for a change. We’d search for the user’s name or
email in our admin system and then edit their settings.


The email appears in the Intercom user chat feed as normal and having
integrated the link to our admin directly into intercom’s side panel, we’d
click directly from that users conversation and instantly edit their settings


Some of the seemingly small things like this make a big difference. Having to
do this 20 times a day manually takes up energy so doing it in one click is
something we don’t want to do without.

6. We can instantly create pop-up internal adverts for new users

You normally have to code up your own pop-ups or use another third party but
Intercom has that feature built in and directly integrated into chat.



We had to code a pop up to appear. This meant writing the html, css,
javascript and then fetching data about the user to figure out if they should
receive that pop-up. In other words, hours of work the first time round.


Click on the engage module and set up a new in-app message. We typed it up,
filtered out users, like existing customers, who should not receive it and set
it to go.

This is what the user sees when they come to the pricing page. It looks like a
regular chat message but it’s automatic and asks ‘Do you have enough
information to make your purchase?’ to prompt the user into communicating.


Create, edit and test in-app marketing very quickly to learn what works.

Conversions and sales increase thanks to well timed messages.

Easy to create separate marketing messages for each page to deal with
different user stages.

The messages look like chats and so encourage the user to respond.

Stats are available for each message.

We learned from user feedback that almost all buyers were fully aware of our
competitors and our relative pricing. We created a pop-up on our home page
linking directly to a comparison page. This drove sales.

We also created pop-ups on the pricing page with prompts to ask questions.
These little changes make a disproportionate positive impact over time.

7. Customers can help themselves using the Intercom articles module

The SEO friendly Educate (aka Articles) module lets you create articles with
either brief or in-depth answers that the user can search through or you can
insert directly and instantly into a chat when they ask a question.



Create an FAQ and blog posts. When someone asks a question we’d either write a
response from scratch or email them a link to an article. That would involve
opening up our blog, finding the relevant article and copying the link to
paste it back into the email.


Create an article for each regular question we get within Intercom ‘Educate’
module. This not only automatically builds our searchable help section but
lets us insert those articles directly into chat.

When someone asks a question, we click the article button, search for the
title and click ‘insert’. Done!

We’ve created articles for questions ranging from the simple ‘Why am I asked
to enter in my credit card?’ to ‘Give me an overview of how your service

can insert the articles directly into a chat.


Since the educate module was released we’ve regularly inserted articles into
chats. Intercom previously had ‘saved chats’ but for some odd reason we did
not use that. There is something a lot more intuitive about inserting short
articles — also, they help introduct someone to the help section. This cuts
response time back to seconds and minutes on average. A 5 to 10 minute written
response can be 30 seconds. Previously we’d find ourselves writing the same
things again and again in different ways.

Any problems? One key lesson learned. Don’t build the help articles until you
start understanding what people need help on and how they ask questions. I’ve
had to strip down pre-built help articles to match a user’s actual questions.
They don’t want a 3 page full document on a feature, they just want to go
straight to the answer to the question.

Third party integrations mean you can do instant screen sharing

Upscope is a modern instant screen
tool to onboard new confused
users and fix problems for even the most difficult non-tech customers without
asking them to install software.



We spent 10 minutes or 30 minutes or 1 hour or parts of an entire day trying
to figure out how to direct people who really struggle with sometimes even
simple interfaces.

If they really did not get it through email or on the phone, we asked them to
try and install screen sharing but that became it’s own nightmare because they
don’t understand that tech either. Asking for a screenshot and sending it over
itself was complicated enough.


We use the upgraded version of a tool we
that integrates with

to see their screen instantly. When they ask to be directed, we don’t ask them
to install anything, we click a link within the Intercom interface and go
directly to see them moving about on our own website. We then highlight where
they should go next and if they struggle with that, we’ll actually scroll and
click for them remotely.


This technology, known as co-browsing is
growing rapidly and is the difference between a 1 hour or a 1 minute
conversation. It’s also used for general purpose on-boarding and education but
really comes into its own when guiding some of the toughest customers from
sign up to purchase.

Don’t need all that functionality and just need a simpler chat system?

Before Intercom we used
LiveChat and our CTO
still lovingly talks about how good it was. I guess we moved to Intercom for
the onboarding emails but as a support tool it was perfect and it does now
have onboarding integrations.

Check out LiveChat
they're a solid

If you're running an e-commerce store then try Re:amaze live
. They've got 5 star reviews, simple pricing
and are used by both SaaS and e-commerce companies.

See a set of Intercom use cases that go into more depth

Intercom articles

The case studies include an overview of
which explains what it is,
the key features and how to use it and how to use Intercom for sales and

Pardeep Kullar
Pardeep Kullar

Pardeep overlooks growth at Upscope and loves writing about SaaS companies, customer success and customer experience.