Intercom vs Drift: How Do the Two Popular Live Chat Tools compare?

Luca MicheliMar 13, 2024
Intercom vs Drift: How Do the Two Popular Live Chat Tools compare?

Conversations are more important than ever when it comes to engaging your customers; that’s why live chat solutions became a go-to tool for businesses aiming to retain their customers and improve customer experience satisfaction. 

According to stats from Kayako, 38% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that offers live chat support. This proves that implementing a live chat tool on your website is crucial if you want to tap into the benefits it provides.

Intercom and Drift are some of the popular tools on the market, so naturally, if you’re looking for ways to improve your conversational marketing, you may be wondering which one could be the tool for you. We decided to help you understand how Intercom stands vs Drift by comparing key features, pricing, user reviews, and much more. 

Why use Intercom or Drift?

Intercom and Drift have made a name for themselves as some of the practical and efficient live chat and customer support solutions on the market. The Intercom vs Drift battle has been playing out on the market for a while, but what you need to know from the start is that these two tools share a lot of similarities – for instance, Intercom and Drift would be suitable for both small businesses and enterprises. Drift is mainly intended for sales teams, which makes its Live chat and help desk features ideal for capturing and nurturing leads.

On the other hand, Intercom serves as a messaging platform that practically provides support for most business needs. 

With Intercom, you can respond to customer requests, manage outbound messages, process a support ticket, and more.

In the next section, we’ll look more deeply into Intercom vs Drift through a feature-by-feature comparison.

Intercom vs Drift: features comparison

Now that we’ve highlighted the main reasons you should explore Intercom and Drift, let’s compare both tools in detail.

We’ll focus on key features, integrations, pricing, and plans, as well as customer reviews since you’ll need to know what business owners just like you are saying about them.

Intercom vs Drift: UI/UX and differences in setting up the chatbot 

Drift dashboard

Drift has an intuitive interface and is easier to set up. To get started, you can simply use its visual flow builder to set up your chatbot flow and customize it to suit your preference. For instance, you can use the flow builder to organize how you want your chatbot page to look by adding predefined rules. 

Drift reviews image

Intercom, on the other hand, has a less intuitive setup process. While the interface is easy to use, it doesn’t provide a visual flow builder. Instead, it uses a block builder that makes you explore different aspects of your chatbot, thereby making it harder to set up a chatbot.

In this case, Drift stands as a winner due to its intuitive UI and easy setup process.

Intercom vs Drift: breakdown of key features

While Intercom and Drift offer conversational support, various features set them apart. Let’s see how the Intercom vs. Drift features comparison plays out.

  • Types of bots — with Intercom, you can create two types of chatbots—the task bot and the custom bot. The task bot is quite straightforward and will only start conversations with users if there are no live agents available. The custom bot allows you to build your chatbot without coding. In this case, Intercom provides a block builder that you can use to determine the content and goal of your custom bot.
    On the other hand, Drift allows you to build a custom chatbot using a visual flow builder to customize your chatbot to suit your business needs.
  • User management — both Intercom and Drift enable you to manage your users similarly. With Intercom, you can filter users and create unique user segments based on specific custom fields and tags. Drift also allows you to create customer segments and it lets you see a detailed view of the users that have interacted with your chatbot. Whenever a customer asks a certain question, you can store the answer and use it at another time.
  • Meeting scheduling — with Drift, you can book meetings with customers by using its “schedule a meeting” feature. It includes the date and time zones for a user to book a meeting. Intercom also allows you to automatically book meetings with new leads so you can improve your sales cycle. Just like Drift, it includes the possible dates, time zones, and locations for a customer to schedule a meeting.
  • Email capture — with the Intercom chatbot, you can automatically capture your website visitor’s email addresses so that you can get in touch if they leave your site. Drift also allows you to capture the contact information of your leads via its chatbot.
  • Chat management — Intercom offers tools that help you deliver messages and keep conversations across multiple channels like emails, push notifications, in-app messages, and more.
    Drift also offers chat management tools that allow you to track conversations across different devices.

Customer engagement and conversation marketing capabilities (NLP)

Intercom’s resolution bot is responsible for conversational engagement and understanding customer intent. The resolution bot helps you to train your chatbot using several different questions. This way, it can gradually understand the user intent and automatically provide answers to the questions of your users.

As for Drift, you can only create keywords that will help you customize how your chatbot will react to different responses or phrases. A downside regarding the NLP of Drift is that it doesn’t understand the user intent, which makes Intercom the winner in this crucially-important category.

Intercom vs Drift: integrations 

Both Intercom and Drift offer numerous integration possibilities. Drift offers over 38 integrations with third-party platforms like HubSpot, Google Analytics, Slack, Zoom, and more.

Intercom also offers similar integration options just like Drift offers. With Intercom, you can connect your tech stack with different apps for support, marketing, and sales.

Intercom vs Drift: pricing and plans 

The pricing plans of Intercom are quite complex. Intercom offers a free plan and a pro plan for small businesses. It also allows you to customize your preferred plan at an additional cost. Here are more details on each plan:

  1. Starter – starts from $74/month and provides access to chat and email support and behavioral data
  2. Product tours – start from $199/month and include targeted guided tours
  3. Integration with Whatsapp – starts from $9/month and includes reporting
  4. Surveys – the starting price is $49/month and helps you capture first-party data

The most feature-rich business packages include three pro plans—Support, Engage, and Convert; however, Intercom doesn’t provide transparent pricing for each plan.

Drift provides a free plan and a free trial that you can use to explore its features. As for its pro plan, they are divided into three:

  1. Premium – starts from $2500/month and provides access to custom chatbots, intel, conversational landing pages, and more
  2. Advanced – provides access to custom chatbots, advanced routing, and more. Unfortunately, Drift doesn’t reveal pricing for this plan but you can chat with the sales team to get more pricing information.
  3. Enterprise – lets you scale your personalization and pipeline efforts across the entire customer lifecycle. The pricing information isn’t revealed on the website, so you’d have to contact the sales team.

Since both tools don’t provide full disclosure on their pricing plans, it’s hard to decide which one may be more affordable; therefore, there’s no winner in this case.

Intercom vs Drift: client list and customer reviews 

Both Intercom and Drift have clients in similar industries from e-commerce, technology, healthcare, financial services and education.

Intercom and Drift also have similar customer reviews. According to Capterra, Intercom scores 4.5 out of 5 based on 881 user reviews, while Drift scores 4.5 out of 5 based on 168 user reviews.

Intercom alternative—Customerly

Customerly dashboard

Obviously, taking into account the number of times you may see the Intercom vs Drift comparison while you research the best live chat solutions for you can make you think no other tools can compare. But actually, Customerly, the tool we create, is an alternative that you should consider. Customerly helps businesses start human-like conversations with customers and establish better human connections throughout the customer experience.

Unlike the complex Intercom setup process, you can set up the Customerly platform in an easy and intuitive way. 

What’s unique about Customerly is that you don’t have to shuffle between many tools to provide support, collect feedback and automate business processes.

Our behavioral messaging platform can achieve all of this without collecting data across many apps.

With our software, you can:

  • Provide real-time support to users (also with Video Live Chat)
  • Capture new leads and profile them
  • Collect customer feedback via in-app surveys
  • Create and send beautiful email campaigns
  • Automate Emails with Workflows
  • Run NPS surveys

You can sign up for free to explore some of our live chat features like

Here are more details on the core Live Chat features:

  1. Real-time chat preview – our real-time chat preview feature allows you to see the real-time live chat user in real-time and quickly respond to their questions. It also provides the profile details of each customer so that you can figure out if the user is the ideal lead for your company. What’s best, you can read what your users are typing before they hit the send button. This way, you can quickly figure out the right answer and respond in less time.
Real-time chat preview—Customerly
  1. Video live chat – Our video live chat functionality takes your customer support to a whole new level. It enables your live chat agents to video chat with your website visitors in real time without any add-ons.
Video live chat—Customerly
  1. Customize live chat – with Customerly, you can incorporate your branding needs into our live chat feature. For instance, you can use up to six different live chat icons, have conversations with website visitors using over 20 languages, and you can use your brand colors to better reflect your business.
  2. Live chat engagement – this feature enables you to engage with customers at every stage. You can add self-service support so that your live chat will automatically reply to customers when you’re away. You can also send pre-chat surveys to your new leads to get important information.
  3. Inbox dashboard – you can use our inbox dashboard to gain a bird’s eye view of your entire conversations with customers
Inbox dashboard—Customerly
  1. Live chat analytics – helps you to track the performance of your customer support efforts so that you can identify what works and what doesn’t work and improve overall customer satisfaction
Live chat analytics—Customerly

Now that we’ve introduced Customerly and highlighted its basic live chat functionality, let’s have a look how Customerly compares with Intercom and Drift.

Intercom vs Drift vs Customerly: comparison table

Here’s an overview of the key features of all 3 live chat solutions to help you choose which tool would be right for you: 

Live Chat
Video chat
Chat routing
Knowledge base
Chat management
Record user sessions
Free trial
Free plan
Intercom vs Drift vs Customerly: comparison table


Hopefully, at this point, you’ve gained a solid understanding of how Intercom compares against Drift when it comes to key features, functionality, pricing, and other characteristics. When choosing between Intercom and Drift, you need to consider your budget, business needs, and target audience.

While Intercom and Drift have excellent conversational marketing solutions, there are still other areas where both may be found lacking. For example, Drift doesn’t offer video chat in its chatbot feature and the Intercom setup process can be quite complex.

That’s why you can certainly consider Customerly as a viable alternative. Our behavioral messaging platform is easy to set up and allows you to provide real-time support to customers and create a valuable knowledge base for your business. With Customerly, you can improve the entire customer lifecycle through our real-time chat feature and inbox management.

Try it now for free!

  • What is Intercom and Drift?

    Intercom and Drift are live chat and customer support solutions that help businesses to communicate with customers, respond to queries, manage support tickets, and more.

  • Why Drift vs. Intercom?

    Drift and Intercom are two popular live chat solutions that provide similar messaging and knowledge base solutions. However, they aren’t completely equal. Intercom is an all-in-one tool for customer support, marketing, and sales, while Drift is more sales-focused.

  • What is chat by Drift?

    Chat by Drift is a messaging feature that allows businesses to communicate with leads, provide answers to their questions, and store their contact information for future purposes.

  • Is Intercom good for support?

    Yes, Intercom is good for support, it provides a chatbot feature that allows you to interact with customers and users that engage with your site.

Luca Micheli

Luca Micheli

CEO @ Customerly

Luca Micheli is a serial tech entrepreneur with one exited company and a passion for bootstrap digital projects. He's passionate about helping companies to succeed with marketing and business development tips.

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