Recently Intercom announced their new pricing scheme which resulted in a 2X price increase for using the same product for me. I made a comment on Twitter about this price increase and the folks at Intercom were nice enough to reply.
They are the industry leader and have to do what is best for them. However, as a small business owner I had no choice but to move away from their product to minimize my overhead.
According to the Crisp website I wouldn’t lose any core functionality whatsoever and instead would GAIN value.
TL;DR Instead of paying ~$500 per month using Intercom with limited functionality, I switched to Crisp and gained access to Bots, Help Desk, and a Status Page for just $95 per month. By switching to Crisp exclusively, they save me at least $5,000-6,000 per year.
But before I get to the good stuff, let’s take a look at the stuff that isn’t so great.
Intercom is better at Design
The most obvious thing you will miss when moving to Crisp from Intercom is the difference in the interface. Intercom has such great attention to detail and has such a slick interface. It feels like a modern app and is the reason why I refer to Intercom as the industry leader in this space. (I don’t know if that is true or not, but that is my perception)
Every aspect of Intercom’s interface is better, including the floating help box where the customer interacts and the backend side of things. Everything from replying to tickets to setting up automated campaigns just feels better on Intercom.
Ticket Replies Should be Better
Let’s take an in depth look at ticket replies and how their interface falls short.
Why is the reply window box so small? The box should be much bigger and the whole screen itself is a bit more basic compared to Intercom. The method in which you close tickets is also a bit wonky. There is a color coated bar on the top of each ticket that you have to click on to close it.
Crisp will NOT autosave your responses as you type. This one will be missed because sometimes during a ticket we might get distracted or accidently close the tab.
There is no point and click interface for Saved Replies, so instead the only option is to type in the shortcut interface of “!texthere”. (Make sure your support team knows this ahead of time)
When creating new Message Shortcuts (aka Saved Replies), you have to go to a different area completely, which is under Settings. I can’t just quickly type one up without leaving this area and save it. In addition to that, it uses a markup language rather than a point and click interface to create links, images, and formatting. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it means that the average Joe might be a bit confused at first glance.
When you attempt to include an image in a Crisp ticket, it will automatically send the image in it’s own response. There is no option to add the image inline with your text response. Needless to say, it’s a bit cumbersome.
I often find myself accidently pressing the enter key twice while replying to a ticket in an attempt to start a new paragraph, but instead it sends my half-completed response to the customer. Whoops.
Limited Segments Functionality
Crisp does not have the ability to create segments like Intercom. On intercom, it was basically a mini database that I could interact with and create my own segments in a few clicks.
For example, I cannot easily save a new segment consisting of all of my users who are paying members that like football and have logged in the past week. That data can still be sent via the API and saved for a user, but you can’t manipulate it like on Intercom.
Instead it is much more basic and just lists your Contacts for a specific segment. If I wanted to duplicate that functionality, I’d have to add a custom segment via the API and assign this user a segment using my own code.
Automated Campaigns are Different
When I say different I mean this in a bad way. In Intercom I can add an automated campaign based on any user data entry I add via the API.
In Crisp, I can only set up Automated Campaigns based on Events that push via the API. So for example, I can’t set up an automated campaign for users who first logged in today or first appeared as a new trial member segment.
Instead I have to create a “New User” event and push it to the API. This requires additional work that I didn’t have to do before. I don’t like how this works and wish I can set up automated campaigns based on user data rather than Events, but it’s not the end of the world.
The way in which Intercom organizes campaigns is also better. I can create a campaign and call it “Onboarding User” and once I click that it’ll show the series of emails I send off.
In Crisp, it’s not like that and just lists all of the emails I have set up, and I don’t know what event they are attached to unless I click on it. Messy.
It’s Not All Bad, Seriously
I realize this entire article thus far is me nitpicking features that Crisp has in comparison to Intercom. After everything I have listed above, you would think that I hate Crisp. The truth is that I would still without a doubt migrate to Crisp.
In the end, the biggest functionality that you lose is the Segment interface, aside from that, everything else is there.
Bots Bots Bots
I had never used the Bots feature in Intercom simply because it was too expensive so I have nothing to compare it to. However, once I migrated to Crisp, I eventually set up my first bot after getting the core functionality working and was super excited to finally have this feature live on FantasySP.
It took a bit of time to understand the flow but they do have examples to go by and a good help section.
This should cut down on the same type of support tickets and make both the end user happy and the person answering support tickets happy.
Switching to Crisp means no more dealing with additional packages. I don’t have to add the Help Desk package or the Bot package. I don’t have to worry about how many contacts I have added over at Crisp. I don’t have to worry about how many active contacts will affect the price during my busy season versus my low season.
Crisp has 2 plans to choose from and offers up a dedicated IP option. That’s it. Simple. Elegant. Straightforward. Honest. No complex (shady?) bullshit to deal with. No more guessing how much September will cost compared to May.
I am getting peace of mind at Crisp. Companies like Crisp who offer up simple pricing like this should be rewarded for doing the right thing.
I am on the cusp of a pricing rant and want to talk about email companies absurd pricing model, but I am going to reel myself back in.
Dedicated Email IP
So far I haven’t seen the need to add a Dedicated Email IP. All of the emails sent to my test email addresses arrived without any warnings and did land in the inbox.
Crisp recently launched a new analytics section that shows Campaign deliverability rates among other things. Based on what I see there, I am not overly concerned about deliverability rates as of writing this. However, I do wish that they included more in depth reporting for email bounces. Are they bounces because of invalid email addresses or because of another issue like AOL sucks? Crisp doesn’t tell you.
The price of the dedicated email address appears to have increased from $35 to $55 a month? I’m not 100% sure, but I remember seeing a much cheaper price just a few weeks ago.
Another cool perk of Crisp is that they include the Helpdesk in their unlimited package for $95 a month. This is another feature I wish I could have used at Intercom, but again, the price was way too much to justify it.
So instead I was using GrooveHQ to handle the FAQ and help section, which was around $240 per year. Now I can finally ditch that additional expense and keep everything inside one interface to make it easier for my customers to get the help they need.
I am happy to report that the Crisp Helpdesk is possibly my favorite feature. It looks great. Writing and organizing articles is a snap. Not to mention, Crisp automatically includes a working certificate as soon as you create it.
Have a look at the FantasySP helpdesk.
Don’t forget about the Status Page
Yet again, Crisp proving why it has so much value. They also include a Status Page so you can easily inform your users of an outage. I personally don’t need to use this feature but I created a basic status page just for the email alerts.
The Crisp Support Team Rocks
When I first started researching which product to switch to I had a lot of questions. I contacted customer support multiple times and they were always extremely helpful. I’m not talking just generic questions that sales could handle, but real in depth questions a developer would ask about the API, etc.
Angelique was especially awesome when it came to answering my questions.
Again, I want to reiterate that Crisp offers amazing value for a great product. A lot of the things I picked on in this article should not deter you from making the switch. I just wanted to let you know that there are some key differences.
In fact, you would be stupid not to switch in order to save thousands of dollars.
I understand a lot of companies are lazy and won’t make the switch and just swallow the additional cost like it’s no big deal. Heck, I didn’t want to migrate away either but money talks.
So if you take away anything from this post, hopefully you walk away knowing you’ll be in good hands over at Crisp.