Help Scout vs Intercom: Which One is Best For You


For a business to thrive and prosper, you must listen to your customers’ needs. You must build trust among your audience, attend to customers’ feedback, and provide satisfying resolutions to their problems on a unified platform. And this is where the dilemma of Help Scout vs Intercom comes to play.

Both are very popular and widely used customer service tools that enable businesses to support their customers by listening to their problems, pinpointing them, and resolving them over time to serve their customers better.

Both provide credible customer management solutions for online businesses, as per the need and scale of their customer base. But what is the right one for you? Incorporating a customer support system in a new business can be tricky and confusing as new tools are released daily.

In this article, we will help you get past all the Help Scout vs Intercom debates and choose the best platform for your business to cater to a broader audience and expand your business without losing sleep.   

At A Glance Intercom vs Help Scout vs ThriveDesk

At A GlanceIntercomHelp ScoutThriveDesk
Rating4.4/5 stars with 2,265 reviews4.4/5 stars with 357 reviews5/5 stars with 12 reviews
Market SegmentSmall-BusinessSmall-BusinessSmall-Business
Entry Level PriceFrom $65 / MonthFrom $20 / MonthFrom $25 / Month
Free Trial14 Days15 Days7 Days

Help Scout vs Intercom vs ThriveDesk: A Quick Overview

Help Scout customer service platform for growing businesses, proved itself trustworthy and useful helpdesk software among so many competitors. At a pocket-friendly price, it is the most easy-to-use help desk software you need in the initial stages of your business. 

On the other hand, Intercom is a pro in the field and offers a feature-rich platform with all the necessary tools to serve your customers better. And therefore, it can make a dent in your budget. It is an ultimate communication platform for medium and large-scale businesses and brands. In simple words, if you want to go big and build an excellent rapport with your customers, then Intercom is what you need.

Here is the third option though – ThriveDesk – a one-stop solution for companies of all sizes especially for SAAS startups and eCommerce businesses. Being a platform for enhancing customer relations, ThriveDesk has everything you have ever wished for support solution including live chat, knowledge base, shared inbox, WooCommerce integration, reporting, and community support for more effective user engagement.

Intercom and Help Scout are very reputed and well-established names in the customer service sector. Both are genuinely credible at their jobs, and numerous users worldwide have vouched for what they do.

In this section, we will break down the key features and functionalities between help out vs intercom and help you decide which is better for your business and client growth and a smooth customer support transition.   

Comparison Table: Which One Should You Choose?

IntercomHelp Scout
✅ Alerts / Escalation❌ Alerts / Escalation
✅ Appointment Management❌ Appointment Management
❌ Call Center Management❌ Call Center Management
✅ Email Management✅ Email Management
✅ Knowledge Base Management✅ Knowledge Base Management
✅ Live Chat✅ Live Chat
✅ Performance Metrics✅ Performance Metrics
✅ Queue Management✅ Queue Management
✅ Self-Service Portal✅ Self-Service Portal
✅ Social Media Integration❌ Social Media Integration
✅ Surveys & Feedback✅ Surveys & Feedback
✅ Virtual Assistant❌ Virtual Assistant
✅ Workflow Management✅ Workflow Management

Features of Help Scout: Simplified Customer Service Platform

Help Scout Shared Inbox Help Center Live Chat Software - ThriveDesk

Help Scout was first developed in 2011 and has been the first choice for many. The most prominent Help Scout features are:

Live Chat Widget:

The live chat widget of Help Scout is named ‘Beacon.’ It is a no-nonsense, clean and new-age CRM tool that looks good.

Beacon comes integrated with a ‘help center’ that endorses a ‘customer self-service’ environment for quicker customer support. You can provide users with an experience tailor-made just for them by incorporating specific modes such as Self Service, Ask First, and Neutral.

Beacon also allows you to add images to your messages in the ‘proactive chat messages’ section. The other convenient features of the Beacon Live Chat widget are:

  • Power to send instant responses to respective articles from right within the widget itself.
  • Freedom to choose your desired communication channel (chat or mail) for swift user interaction. 
  • It provides the choice to start a live chat whenever the customer likes it.

Help Scout doesn’t adhere to false promises; the live chat widget gets active only when a human representative is on the other side. 

Shared Inbox:

The Help Scout customer support tool works based on a shared inbox, which goes by the name ‘Mailbox.’

The most highlighting aspect of the shared inbox is its simple and easy-to-use User Interface (UI). You can organize all your dialogue and communication in one place. And to add to that, in terms of conversations, it gives you the freedom to toggle dynamically between email, chat, and phone in real-time.

The power to add multiple mailboxes for various customer support teams down the line also comes in handy. The Mailbox can broaden the scope of customer relationship management of your business by providing these essential additional features:

  • Create pre-written ‘saved responses’ for frequently asked queries and schedule their delivery.
  • For better synergy and synchronization among your team, you can also create ‘private notes’ and share them within your team to solve the user’s problems in collaboration with your team. 
  • Automate workflow by tagging specific conversations, group user requests into categories to deal with a massive overflow of user requests, and streamline all the commotion.
  • You can provide more practical and dedicated customer support using the Mailbox’s sidebar to store and process customer data.
  • Enables you to schedule effective automation that executes itself on repetitive callbacks.

Knowledge Base:

The knowledge base vertical of Help Scout is called ‘Docs’. It mainly functions as a text editor. Here’s a list of other essential things you can do with it,

  • Make a simple hierarchy of all the information present on your site, by publishing individual articles, then put them in categories, and create collections later for ease of access.
  • Being a standard WYSIWYG text editor, it gives you the freedom to add images, videos, and gifs to your articles.
  • Assess the ‘actionable data’ (what the customers actually seek and that percentage of your customer support reach) and react accordingly.
  • Specify proper keywords to make your article more SEO-friendly, so that it can stand out and get ranked higher on the web when people search for it.
  • Choose from the various knowledge base locations in-hand, like Beacon, Modal, Popover, and Sidebar, and embed your article accordingly to be displayed in one of them. 

Report Bundle & Traffic Cop:

  • Help Scout can evaluate reports on the categories of Conversations, Productivity, Team, and Happiness. These vital metrics can be used to assess first response time, average response time, and average resolution time, depending on which, you can get a brief idea of the customer’s experience or happiness on your site. 
  • Traffic Cop is a visual indicator provided by Help Scout. It is used to identify who is currently working on a conversation at a given instance. It has an in-built traffic agent that always keeps a close eye for duplicate replies.

Features of Intercom: Powerful Customer Engagement Platform

The Engagement OS Intercom - ThriveDesk

Intercom was first developed for the web in 2011, the same year as Help Scout. Although the software is more than a decade old, still it is one of the best live chat software for customer service solutions.

We’ve come a long way since then and adapted the basic principles of Intercom into lines of code. And for modern times, the most prominent Intercom features are:

Automated Ticket Assignment:

  • One of the most simple yet useful features of IntercomIntercom is automated ticket assignment. Based on the customer’s queries, you can assign tickets to specific members of a team or even whole groups, depending upon the issue faced by the customer.
  • This way, you can determine which complaint or issue gets to whom or which department and who is the ‘right fit’ to deal with it. This can empower you to reduce the hours of tedious labor and decrease communication gaps, thereby yielding better time management and efficiency.  

Customer/User Profiles:

  • Whenever a customer or user connects to your support team, Intercom identifies them as prospective leads and automatically creates a live user profile.
  • Only their names, phone numbers, emails, and company info are present by default. But you can always build detailed customer/user profiles.
  • These user profiles can be beneficial for the Marketing and Sales department. By analyzing these profiles, they can provide better service and support.
  • You can also offer users questionnaires to assess their needs more attentively.


  • The operator is a bot built within Intercom that provides logical suggestions to end-users and support personnel.
  • Like every other bot, it executes repeated tasks that are otherwise time-consuming and reduces workload.      
  • It can also handle commonly asked questions. For instance, when you ask a question in Messenger, the operator immediately steps in to find an answer. 
  • It can also suggest relevant information and articles to the support staff to help them respond faster.
  • The operator is a one-of-a-kind feature of Intercom. You won’t find it in Help Scout or any other third-party widget. It was made from scratch, specifically for Intercom.

Pros And Cons of Help Scout and Intercom

Although both Help Scout and Intercom have been in the market for the same time, there are few nooks and crannies between them based on their functionality and performance.

Help ScoutIntercom
🔹Efficient customer-support-to-one interaction 
🔹Real-Time support through
🔹Clean and functional dashboard
🔹Cheap, very feasible for small businesses.
🔹Very easy to use for making conversations with customers
🔹Compelling and the feature-rich platform
🔹Easy to learn and set up even for rookies
🔹 End-user-friendly interface
🔹Automated ticket generation
🔹Offers the operator bot that drastically reduces workload and improves time efficiency. 
🔸Poor ‘search’ tool
🔸Keywords incompatibility needs to be addressed
🔸Not heavily feature-rich
🔸Less engaging or interactive, a bit mundane. 
🔸Messages get lost sometimes, and it becomes difficult to follow the trail of a specific thread
🔸Sometimes it fails to identify customers
🔸There are a lot of technical terminologies used in the API, which can make it a bit confusing
🔸Intercom pricing falls on the more expensive side, not suitable for small-scale businesses.

User Reviews

The G2 platform states that Intercom has 4.4 out of 5 stars and record-breaking 2,265 reviews and Help Scout has 4.4 out of 5 stars but only 357 reviews. Let’s have a look at how users reviewed them.

Help Scout Review

Intercom Review

Better Alternatives to Help Scout and Intercom 

  • ThriveDesk: A potent alternative to Intercom is ThriveDesk. Helmed by everyone as the best customer service software, it has the lightest and fastest live chat assistant. It is simple, straightforward, and user-friendly. It can attract a large number of customers, and it doesn’t slow down your website.
  • Zendesk: Zendesk is a prevalent Help Scout alternative that uses Web 2.0 technologies and design principles. It offers an integrated ‘on-demand’ helpdesk and customer support portal to provide solutions to customers’ issues.
  • Groovehq: Groove is another customer support software that uses a shared inbox, much like Help Scout. It allows small businesses to organize all their support mails in one place. It works as an alternative to email.    
  • Crisp: Crisp centralizes all your conversations and lets you communicate with your customers.
  • Freshdesk: Another Intercom alternative that provides ‘on-demand’ customer support across multiple channels is Freshdesk.
  • LiveChat: LiveChat provides a powerful customer service platform through which you can satisfy your customers much faster and get more business on the way. 
  • Kayako: Kayako is also a feature-rich customer support system, a worthy alternative to Intercom. It comes with its helpdesk and a fully customizable knowledge base. It is available for customer support 24/7, even when your team is not. 

Final Words

On the one hand, Help Scout works wonders in managing multiple shared inboxes and various brands. It improves workflow as well as promotes teamwork. And most importantly, it helps you build an exceptional rapport with your customers.

It is a more feasible solution for startups and small businesses. Your support team can become a well-versed problem-solving machine with features such as live chat, knowledge base, shared inbox, API integrations, and automation tools. The company has also priced the software reasonably at $25/ month, which seals the deal for many. 

On the other hand, the identity of Intercom is not that of a help desk solution, but it is a large web-based platform that handles massive customer communication. It surpasses Help Scout in terms of features and then some more. The Intercom comes with a versatile and varied set of features and tools that can simultaneously satisfy the criteria of sales, marketing, and customer support teams.

The main drawback of Intercom is its confusing and costly pricing. The intercom pricing is divided into four packages, $59/month (Start), $119/month (Grow), $499/month (Accelerate), and $999/month (Scale). You can see that even the cheapest package is pricier than Help Scout, which may seem like a deal breaker for many.

However, I’d recommend you to look into more unified alternatives – like ThriveDesk. With ThriveDesk, you get a modern easy-to-use customer service solution with built-in functionalities like shared inbox, live chat, reporting, knowledge base, email signature generator, and a lot more integration.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

What is Help Scout used for?

Help Scout is a support software that allows businesses to provide customer support over email. Help Scout offers features such as live chat, phone systems, CRM and marketing tools.

What is Intercom used for?

Intercom is a Customer Communications Platform. It allows you to monitor end users of your product or website and allows your reps to personally communicate with them with targeted content, behavior-driven messaging and conversational support.

What companies use Help Scout?

Many companies use Help Scout for their customer service management. Some famous ones being Michelin Group, Phillip Horz, Nordstrom. Inc and Henry Schein. Inc.

What companies use Intercom?

Intercom is the preferred Customer support tool for many big companies. Some notable ones are Sysco corporation, Arkansas, AEG, Bell Flight and Core-Mark Holding Company. Inc. 

Is Help Scout cloud based?

Yes, Help Scout is a cloud based help desk service designed to help small to mid sized businesses manage their customer relations efficiently and swiftly.

Is Intercom cloud based?

Yes, Intercom is a cloud based help desk service designed with functionality to serve a business of any size. Be it a full fledged enterprise level company or even a small to mid business.

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