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Intercom vs Drift

How do Intercom and Drift compare? And what does HubSpot Service Hub offer as an alternative?



Choosing the best customer service management software for your business is important for the success of your customers and agents. Let’s take a look at two customer service options, Drift and Intercom, to understand how they compare and aid in your evaluation of customer service software solutions.

What is Drift?

Drift was founded after Intercom in 2015 and spearheaded the category “conversational marketing,” which then expanded into conversational sales, and now revenue acceleration. Drift is a mobile and web messaging app for sales, marketing, and support teams with a focus on live chat and in-app messaging along with an AI chatbot to streamline the customer experience and route questions to saved resources. Today, Drift helps to connect companies with buyers in real-time via chat, video, voice, or email to help build trust and accelerate revenue.

What is Intercom?

Intercom was founded 4 years before Drift as one of the first chatbot software providers. Since then, Intercom markets itself as a conversational relationship platform focused on enabling personalized, messenger-based experiences. Under the platform, Intercom offers conversational support, engagement, and marketing solutions for front office teams, and additional tools like product tours and options for mobile.

  • Drift recently entered into the revenue acceleration space by combining conversational marketing and conversational sales to create a solution for go-to-market teams. The idea is that revenue-driving teams like sales and marketing should work together to deliver timely communication with their customers. Within the conversational suite, Drift offers chat, email, video, and voice tools that can then be synced with your CRM, sales enablement and ABM tools. Drift customers typically maintain a separate CRM to run their business. The integration with HubSpot is available for Drift Premium and higher customers. Although revenue acceleration is still in its infancy, the idea is different from Intercom’s product-focused approach. 

    Intercom offers conversational marketing and sales, similar to Drift. But Intercom also provides conversational support packaged in its customer data platform (CDP). While Intercom doesn’t explicitly call itself a revenue acceleration platform, it offers the set of sales and marketing tools that Drift offers (named conversational engagement and conversational marketing, respectively), with the addition of conversational support. Intercom customers generally maintain and integrate a separate CRM to drive their business. The Integration with HubSpot is available at Intercom’s Grow tier.

  • Drift chat is the functionality that powers the Drift platform. While it connects to your inbox in Drift, it lets marketing and sales folks engage customers on their website. Drift intel lets businesses store customer information so that reps and marketers have the information they need to deliver the right response. Right from Drift Chat, businesses can initiate quick conversations through Zoom or set up meetings for a later date. Drift customers can take notes of conversations, bring in templated messages, and understand who they're speaking to by utilizing the intelligence collected from the user. Drift chat features automation capabilities with its AI Chatbot which will qualify prospects and customer questions. Although not as robust as Intercom, Drift offers self-service functionality through Drift Help. 


    Intercom chat is bundled within its Business Messenger. It offers similar functionality as Drift Chat, like access to chat in real-time via your Inbox, automate work with chatbots via Ticketing Workflows, personalize chats with customer intelligence on hand, and target specific segments. Intercom extends its chat functionality beyond sales and marketing with the ability to help customers self-service and get serviced by a rep. For example, with Intercom, you can create resolution bots that will show users a self-service article that matches their desired inquiry. Intercom’s chat functionality extends beyond reactive support to provide proactive, in-app suggestions like Product Tours, Mobile Carousels, and Outbound Messages.

  • Drift offers a free tier with basic live chat functionality. From there, Drift offers Premium and Enterprise plans starting at $4,800/year (or $400/month). The Free, Premium, and Enterprise plans come with one included seat. Each additional seat for the Premium plans cost $80/month. 

    Intercom offers two paid pricing tiers for small businesses: Start and Grow for basic chat and messaging. Start and Grow packages start at $39/month and $99/month, respectively. 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 most businesses $499/mo for 10 seats. Note that product tours, account-based marketing, multi-channel campaigns, and resolution reporting are add-ons and are added costs.

  • Drift offers 39 integrations in its platform directory. Notable integrations include Slack, Google Analytics, Zapier, HubSpot, Salesforce, and Zendesk. Drift integrations with bi-directional syncing include Salesforce, Pardot, Marketo, Outreach, and Eloqua.

    Intercom offers more integrations than Drift, it’s most popular integrations being with Stripe, Salesforce, Slack, HubSpot, Jira, and Segment. For support teams, Intercom offers 20 integrations such as Jira, Zendesk Support, Statuspage, and Survicate Customer Surveys.

  • Drift includes it’s self-service articles called Drift Help within the Premium and Enterprise plans. Customers can use Drift Help to create support content and surface the content to users based on their input or route them to people who can provide an answer.

    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 other plans.

  • Drift support starts in the Premium tier, where customers get access to help docs, basic chat support, Drift Insider, and a dedicated customer success manager. With Drift Enterprise, customers get optimizations services, technical integration setup, and 24/7 priority chat support. Drift does not offer phone support. The Free tier gets access to the help docs only. 

    Intercom offers training webinars and 24/7 chat and email support to all paying 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 connect 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 understand a customers’ experience with your brand for the context to deliver an exceptional service experience.

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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 for growing companies. Service Hub enables you to drive efficiencies with ticket automation to deliver human touch faster. You can 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 Drift and Intercom with full chat, calling, and email functionality built-in. Intercom has additional chat features like Product Tours 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. Neither Intercom nor Drift offers foundational CRM features, and instead, customers will need to opt for integrating and maintaining their CRM of choice. Which naturally means that all their data is not in one place. Additionally, bi-directional integrations on both Drift and Intercom are limited. 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 Drift and Intercom, as well as higher-level concepts and techniques. customers get access to HubSpot Academy, a full suite of software certifications and courses. Plus, all customers receive outstanding phone, chat, and email 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. The three offerings have strong customer success programs, with G2 reviewers rating Service Hub and Drift at 8.8/10 in Quality of Support, and Intercom at 8.5/10.

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 Yoga International reduced churn by 20% and deflected over 1K tickets per month with Service Hub.

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.

The move [to Service Hub] gives us the visibility we were missing and helps us distribute the work more efficiently among teams...we created [a new approach] to take the pressure off our support team. HubSpot gave us the flexibility to make these kinds of changes on the fly and navigate everything smoothly.

Mari Luke

Director of Marketing


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