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Ever wanted a way to talk to people visiting your site the way you can call a specific office using your building's intercom? The aptly named Intercom tool is what you need. It’s the tool that powers so many of the small round chat icons you see on sites today, offering real-time help and support as you browse their company’s website. But it’s more than chat. Intercom’s a detailed marketing automation and customer support tool to help you turn visitors into happy customers.
And it’s smart. Intercom can identify who’s using your site or app, filter through customer data quickly, see who's slipping away or where a timely message might help most, and then send them emails or in-app messages automatically. Or if someone starts chatting with Intercom and they ask a question you’ve already answered, it can offer appropriate support documentation to help them out.
Intercom works best deeply integrated into your site or app. It identifies who’s using your site or purchasing your products, where they came from and what they’re viewing, and more—and it does that for free. That way from the start, you can identify your customers and see detailed info about them without paying anything.
And it’s easy to drill into the data that Intercom uncovers. On the sidebar, there’s a prominent list of criteria that you can use to filter through the people that have visited your site. You could sort people by most recently added, identify people that visited from social networks or a partner’s website, or find those who are slipping away. And if someone does start chatting with your team, Intercom will fill out their profile with their name, email, and other details so you can connect the dots backward.
That’s where Intercom’s Messenger comes in. Every time someone visits your site, they’ll see the small chat icon in the corner—along with in-app messages with tips and news if you’d like. You can have it show different messages to first-time visitors or those browsing your pricing page, say. And if you don't want to bombard everyone with the info, you can have your subsequent messages only go to users who, say, haven't revisited your site recently. Or, keep the info hidden until people click the chat icon—Intercom Messenger lets you customize your chat box with apps and widgets to show new blog posts, highlight new features and more.
You can also get in touch via email. Once someone starts a conversation with your team, you can follow up with custom support emails if no one on your team was around to answer them in real-time. Or you can make drip emails to reply with more details automatically. And with the Articles tool, you can document how to solve common issues so Intercom Messenger can share those tips automatically and your team can reference them to do support faster.
It’s a marketing and support tool that works around your team’s needs. When you’re available, it’s a great way to offer live support. When you’re not, Intercom will help answer the simplest questions, and let you know what’s most important to respond to first when you get back. It’ll help you learn more about your customers, market to them directly, and help them out when they need it most. And if you're running an early stage startup—with less than 5 employees and $1 million in funding, and need only 500 active people and 3 inbox seats—you can use all of Intercom's features for $49/month for your first year with its Early Stage program to help start your marketing out right.
Originally published November 13, 2014; updated July 5 and September 10, 2018 with new screenshots, pricing, and details.