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Intercom vs Zendesk: What are the differences?

Intercom: A fundamentally new way to communicate with your customers. Intercom is a customer communication platform with a suite of integrated products for every team—including sales, marketing, product, and support. Have targeted communication with customers on your website, inside apps, and by email; Zendesk: The leading cloud-based customer service software solution. Zendesk provides an integrated on-demand helpdesk - customer support portal solution based on the latest Web 2.0 technologies and design philosophies.

Intercom and Zendesk are primarily classified as "Engagement/Lifecycle Marketing" and "Help Desk" tools respectively.

Some of the features offered by Intercom are:

  • Live customer data
  • Rich user and company profiles
  • Real-time customer segments

On the other hand, Zendesk provides the following key features:

  • Offer your customers a quick path to the answers they need with knowledge base and community features.
  • Zendesk takes customer communication from anywhere—your website, email, phone, Twitter, Facebook, and chat—and turns it into a ticket.
  • Zendesk simplifies your support team's workflow with custom automatic actions, meaningful organization, and streamlined systems for managing support content.

"Know who your users are", "Auto-messaging" and "In-app messaging as well as email" are the key factors why developers consider Intercom; whereas "Centralizes our customer support", "Many integrations" and "Easy to setup" are the primary reasons why Zendesk is favored.

According to the StackShare community, Zendesk has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1836 company stacks & 175 developers stacks; compared to Intercom, which is listed in 1405 company stacks and 212 developer stacks.

Advice on Intercom and Zendesk
Joshua Siegel
Product at Titan Casket · | 4 upvotes · 10.1K views

We sell a high-touch, high ASP product (caskets) and have scaled to where we're adding several more customer service agents to our company. Customers often call or chat with us multiple times prior to the purchase and post-purchase, as these are emotional, time-sensitive purchases. Nearly every customer contacts us pre-purchase. We are a Shopify shop. Customer service is our brand.

We need a solution that allows whoever picks up the chat or phone to quickly see the history of that customer, their request, notes, and the status of their order. We need a powerful chat tool that can enable immediate engagement, have some basic automation, and allows users to drop in.

Finally, we also have some B2B customers (funeral homes) and expect this part of our business to grow significantly in 2021.

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Replies (2)

Hey Joshua,

Would recommend using Freshdesk as your tool of choice. It has a direct integration with Shopify and other tools including powerful B2B customer handling. It also satisfies all the requirements you’ve outlined including order history, interaction history, notes, tickets etc. Along with Omni channel integrations with chat (their own or other chat solutions), email, phone and so on.

My company, JindalX can help you set up your customer service automation and journeys along with helping handle any extra volume through our own customer service reps if required. Can provide you with a free assessment if needed? Let me know, I’m contactable at

Best, Madhav

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Pamela Pierce
President at Learn About Green LLC · | 3 upvotes · 1.5K views

ActiveCampaign can do all of this for you. They have really great support. Their automation is second to none. They have a chat bot capability. They also have an integrated capability where you see everything related to the one customer in one spot - all their interactions with you, and can move the customer through your custom stages. If you do go with ActiveCampaign, I HIGHLY recommend that you take their paid training. It will really help you get up faster and understand the product deeper, and not waste time. I think they have the training every month. ActiveCampaign is difficult to learn on your own since it is so full featured. Sign up for a trial through a salesperson and then ask if it is possible to get in the class for less money. ActiveCampaign integrates with Shopify also.

If you don't go with ActiveCampaign, then Zoho would be my second choice. But their support and quality is not as good, they feel like a new product even though they have been in business a while. You keep having to get around their bugs, which you can, it is just annoying. ZohoOne may be less expensive than ActiveCampaign.

Both products are so full-featured that they both take quite a while to learn.

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Pros of Intercom
Pros of Zendesk
  • 167
    Know who your users are
  • 114
  • 107
    In-app messaging as well as email
  • 88
    Customer support
  • 67
    Usage tracking
  • 18
    Great Blog
  • 11
    Organized engagement, great ui & service
  • 9
    Direct chat with customers on your site
  • 3
    Onboarding new users
  • 3
    Very helpful
  • 2
  • 2
    Free tier
  • 2
    Filter and segment users
  • 2
    Github integration
  • 2
    Very Useful
  • 2
    No Mac app
  • 131
    Centralizes our customer support
  • 70
    Many integrations
  • 58
    Easy to setup
  • 25
  • 25
  • 11
  • 6
  • 4
    Woopra integration
  • 4
    $1 Starter Pricing Plan
  • 3
    Proactive Customer Support
  • 1
    Charitable contribution to SF hospital for $20 plan
  • 1
    Full of features
  • 1
    Remote and SSO authentication with CMSs like WordPress
  • 0

Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

Cons of Intercom
Cons of Zendesk
  • 5
    Changes pricing model all the time
    Be the first to leave a con

    Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

    What is Intercom?

    Intercom is a customer communication platform with a suite of integrated products for every team—including sales, marketing, product, and support. Have targeted communication with customers on your website, inside apps, and by email.

    What is Zendesk?

    Zendesk provides an integrated on-demand helpdesk - customer support portal solution based on the latest Web 2.0 technologies and design philosophies.

    Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

    Jobs that mention Intercom and Zendesk as a desired skillset
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    What tools integrate with Intercom?
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    Blog Posts

    What are some alternatives to Intercom and Zendesk?
    Drift is a messaging app that makes it easy for businesses to talk to their website visitors and customers in real-time, from anywhere.
    Chat with website visitors, integrate your favorite tools, and deliver a great customer experience.
    Front allows you to collaborate with your team, stay productive, and use email and social together. Currently available on Mac, Windows, Web, and Mobile.
    Attract, convert, close and delight customers with HubSpot’s complete set of marketing tools. HubSpot all-in-one marketing software helps more than 12,000 companies in 56 countries attract leads and convert them into customers.
    MailChimp helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results. It's like your own personal publishing platform.
    See all alternatives
    Reviews of Intercom and Zendesk
    Review of

    We love, from customer management to automatic emails. Great wat to stay in touch with your users.

    How developers use Intercom and Zendesk
    Tim Lucas uses

    Intercom powers both the email support, and support via the inline message window on the web. Custom events are sent from both the browser via click and Wistia video events, as well as from the Rails application, to give a complete view of user activity from within Intercom. Intercom let us segment the users based on trialling, purchased, and levels of engagement.

    Badge List uses

    I don't know what we would do without Intercom. It's the best tool I've ever found for knowing who your users are and establishing a bulletproof line of communication with them both outbound and inbound.

    Cyril Duchon-Doris uses

    Intercom popup for easy user interactions, displaying help messages. Static and event-based user context lets us send smart and targeted messages to users.

    MOKA Analytics uses

    We use Zendesk for customer support and hosting documentation. Additionally, we provide documentation search from within our application using Zendesk's API

    Adam Bird uses

    Receiving notifications when Tasks are assigned and being able to update the Tasks when the calendar event has changed.

    Tinker Travel uses

    Our Customer Care peeps use it and we synchronise customer data into it to help them organise and find things quickly.

    Grubster uses

    It's our customer service system for dealing with inbound ticket requests from any channel integrated.

    Gitt uses

    Have so many options, and can connect with our custom infrastructure and existing support channel.

    Lyndon Wong uses

    Full-lifecycle communications via email and in-app messaging, for batch and automated campaigns.

    bright machine uses

    Used by our clients to track what their users are doing, and for proactive support.