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Intercom vs Zendesk

How do Zendesk and Intercom compare? And what does HubSpot’s Service Hub offer?



Selecting the best customer service management software for your business is critical for the success of your customers and agents. On this page, we compare two customer service options directly, Zendesk and Intercom, to help in your evaluation of potential customer service solutions. Both of these platforms provide different packages, features, and benefits that may help your team delight your customers and aid in your team’s success.

What is Zendesk?

Zendesk was founded in 2007 and as such, is one of the oldest customer service management software offerings available on the market today. Zendesk provides robust customer service software that is exceptional for support teams and organizations that need robust calling capabilities and a highly customizable solution with a lot of optional add-ons. Zendesk provides a variety of solutions including customized ticketing automation, self-service solutions, and customizable configurations based on your business needs.

What is Intercom?

Intercom was founded just 4 years after Zendesk and markets itself as a conversational relationship platform focused on enabling personalized, messenger-based experiences, For go-to-market teams, Intercom facilitates conversational engagement, support, and marketing and also provides self-service options like a knowledge base. 

  • Zendesk just recently entered into the Sales and CRM space, making their claim to “all-on-one” relatively weak. Zendesk CRM - known as Zendesk Sunshine -  is a newer offering in the market that was announced in winter 2018. Zendesk’s features beyond that of customer service management software are expanding, yet some software buyers may lack confidence in this relatively unproven extension of Zendesk’s core capabilities. Today, most customer service leaders expected their organizations to have both a primary CRM alongside Zendesk or Zendesk Sunshine. 

    Intercom includes a customer data platform with people and company lists and custom events, but it does not offer a full CRM platform like that of Zendesk Sunshine. Intercom customers generally maintain a separate CRM to drive their business, one that Intercom integrates with. The Integration with HubSpot is available at Intercom’s Grow tier.

  • Customization is an area in which Zendesk shines. Through paid add-ons, Zendesk allows for robust customization to fit your business’s data needs - at a premium, of course. One such customization includes Zendesk Explore, a proprietary analytics product that touts omnichannel analytics and customer engagement metrics across multiple marketing and service channels. Beyond Explore, Zendesk dashboard features enable service leaders to simply interpret, evaluate, and improve team performance and ticket throughput. Another interesting add-on offered by Zendesk is Collaboration. With this add-on, Zendesk provides the teams with the ability to share and align with team members across departments.

    Intercom is more of a specialized point solution and is suited for smaller teams than Zendesk, and therefore, is more difficult to customize. Intercom does offer customizable bots with code-free editing to match the look and feel of the website where they live. Intercom pricing packages can also be customized with add-ons for conducting product tours, account-based marketing, multi-channel campaigns, and resolution reporting.

  • In a relatively standard approach, Zendesk offers four paid pricing tiers to help customer service management software buyers identify and purchase the best configuration for their business. These package tiers are Essential, Team, Professional, and Enterprise. Zendesk pricing is designed such that customers will need to pay for every seat regardless of the level of access, with the exception of Zendesk Collaboration as described above. 

    Intercom also offers four paid pricing tiers: Start and Grow for basic chat and messaging and Accelerate and Scale for automation and messaging at scale. Intercom’s packages come with a fixed number of users and additional users can be added for an additional charge, based on the tier. Each plan includes the capacity to reach out to 2,000 people per month and then charges customers $50/mo for every additional 1,000 people reached. This pricing can add up quickly as an organization scales, and Intercom charges between $199/mo and $499/mo for each of its add-ons.

  • There are a number of Zendesk integrations, spanning 1,000 apps in over 15 categories in the Zendesk Marketplace. With standard features like sorting, filtering, and searching, it is easy for users and prospects to locate and integrate their favorite third-party apps. 

    Intercom offers far fewer integrations than Zendesk, its most popular integrations being with Stripe, Salesforce, Slack, HubSpot, Jira, and Segment. Noticeably lacking are its integrations for support teams, with less than 20 compared to the hundreds of helpdesk integrations with Zendesk.

  • Zendesk offers self-service functionality in its Support plans as Guide Lite and can be enhanced with add-on Guide purchases at various tiers. Guide includes powerful features like customization, permissioning, reporting, customer portal, and multilingual content. 

    Intercom offers a help center product for self-service that is available starting with its Grow plan and offers a multi-lingual and private help center in its Accelerate and Scale plans.

  • Zendesk support is steeply differentiated by tiers with 24/7 email, phone and chat support only available in the Enterprise tier. At the enterprise tier, Zendesk customers can purchase priority support which includes a 1-hour service level objective and a 99.9% uptime service level agreement. The opportunity to work with the Zendesk success team member on custom engagements is available at all tiers for an add-on charge. 

    Intercom offers training webinars and 24/7 chat and email support to all paid customers, with the opportunity to gain prioritized technical support and a dedicated relationship manager at the Accelerate and Scale tiers. The Scale tier includes the most support with tailored product onboarding, access to a customer success team, personalized training, and ongoing product consultation.

Service Hub Overview

A complete set of customer service management offerings to help you create human relationships with your customers.

Live Chat

Live chat allows you to directly connect with the real humans that visit your website - so you can create a human connection in real time, convert conversations into new leads, and ultimately close more deals, while providing better support to your customers.

Help Desk and Ticketing

Our help desk and ticketing features allow you to track customer requests seamlessly, keeping your team organized, making it easy to prioritize work and reach resolution faster - all while maintaining a consistent human connection with your customers.

Knowledge Base

Streamline the support you give by enabling customers to self-service with our knowledge base feature. Whether they need answers to common questions or just want to arm themselves with additional information, a well-populated knowledge base helps your team spend less time on the basics while giving your customers the best opportunity to succeed.

Customer Service Automation

Save your team time and provide more consistent support by establishing customer service workflows that enable you to automate repetitive tasks and route tickets to the right team member more efficiently.

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    An All-on-one CRM Platform for a Better Customer Experience

    Service Hub is built upon our CRM platform and provides a 360-degree view of your customers across Marketing, Sales, and Service - plus any favorite third party apps in our app marketplace, which boasts 500+ integrations. This allows you to have a unified view of your customers across all engagement channels, allowing agents to quickly understand a customers’ experience with your brand providing critical context for every service request.

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    A Uniquely Human Approach

    Service Hub is focused on enabling human touch, not eliminating it. Whether that be to allow customers to self-service through your knowledge base or by engaging directly with an agent via help desk, Service Hub is focused on bringing the customer experience to the forefront of every service interaction. With tools like NPS, CSAT, and customer feedback surveys, Service Hub customers can ensure two-way feedback with their customers, constantly evolving help offerings as they grow.

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    Grow Your Business Without Growing Pains

    Service Hub provides all the power of a large enterprise organization when you’re small plus all the human touch of a small organization when you’re big. Our CRM platform is designed to help customers grow better, and as part of that, Service Hub is designed by default for growing companies. Service Hub enables you to drive efficiencies with ticket automation to deliver human touch faster - and in the right context. You can also coach and grow your team with tools to enable consistent service across channels and agents.

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    Customer Outreach and Engagement That Doesn't Come at a Premium

    Service Hub offers a more complete outreach and engagement package than Zendesk with full chat, calling, and email functionality built-in - versus paid functionality with Zendesk Support. Zendesk has advanced customization and scalability of outreach as long as customers are willing to pay for it. For companies looking to purchase an all-on-one solution, Service Hub provides a well-packaged solution with robust customer outreach and engagement options that come standard in every package.

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    A Unified View of Customer Data That Enables Growth

    HubSpot unifies your customer data across applications for marketing, sales, and service. Zendesk has only just started to expand into Sales and foundational CRM features - meaning most Zendesk users will prefer to maintain a 3rd party CRM, fracturing their view of customers. Customers desiring strong stability, predictability, and robustness in their platform may prefer HubSpot. Service Hub includes more features in the core package, requiring fewer add-ons to implement for similar use cases.

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    Better Support for Service-led Organizations

    Service Hub offers better training resources on all aspects of the product relative to Zendesk, as well as higher-level concepts and techniques. All customers receive outstanding support, not just Enterprise customers or strategic accounts. Service Hub is also easier to learn and more intuitive to optimize, which could reduce reliance on support. Both HubSpot and Zendesk have solid customer success programs, with G2 reviewers rating Service Hub 8.7/10 in Quality of Support and Zendesk at 8.3/10.

Service Hub is the Leader in Customer Service

SoftwareReviews recognized Service Hub as a leader and gold medalist in their 2022 Customer Service Management Report, based on the input from HubSpot users.

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"The customer experience is everything"

Don’t just take our word for it. See how InspectionXpert switched from Zendesk to HubSpot Service Hub and decreased support tickets by 25%.

Read the full case study

What are customers saying?

Service Hub is consistently praised by HubSpot users on review sites like G2.com and SoftwareReviews.com

Our customer service reps can see all the information about the customer, so they’re not asking questions that have already been answered. As a result of that, we've been able to build stronger relationships with our customers… We couldn’t imagine life without HubSpot now.

Aarne Töllinen



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