How To Create A User Onboarding With Intercom (And how to make it even better)

Intercom isn’t only a simple customer support tool.

At the very least, not anymore.

It has added new features and enhanced itself in one of the best ways possible: it added an almost whole set of onboarding features to it’s feature stack.

As a marketer who is constantly in contact with our customer support and product teams, I realize how big of a change and ease this is. It’s awesome.

But, just like any other tool that is an “all in one” solution, Intercom has its downsides.

Today, I will be talking about how you can create the best user onboarding flow possible using only Intercom features and onboarding elements.

If you would like to skip to the onboarding creation part, simply click here ⬅️.

TL;DR

  • Intercom is a great tool that has most of the necessary onboarding features within the tool.
  • Those features are:
    • Live Chat
    • Automated email sequences
    • Welcome Messages
    • Product tours
    • Checklists
    • Surveys
  • It takes a few steps to create a full onboarding with Intercom, but even before you can start, you have to install the code. Yes, even to take a look at available features.
  • Intercom’s whole set is just too expensive, and quite honestly, a bit complicated.
    • Using Intercom for customer support, and integrating UserGuiding with it to handle the onboarding is easier, more affordable, and just better!

What Are The Components of a Good User Onboarding?

Fact:

86 percent of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience.

Problem:

How do you create this infamous good user onboarding?

Answer:

You start the onboarding process strong and turn it into a never-ending cycle.

➡️ So you have to start from scratch. From the very first second, a user becomes aware of your existence. If that’s an ad, a clear CTA would be a good start. If that’s your website, a chatbot or live chat especially on the pricing page – is a must.

➡️ Then comes the signup page. It should be short, clear, and if it has to be long, it should be multiple pages. Also, if you don’t have to, please skip the activation email. This makes the signup process to be less of a burden and helps smooth the user onboarding experience.

➡️ Next is the welcome message and email. People want their onboarding process to feel human-like. Therefore, you have to make them feel comfortable by showing them your appreciation with a welcome message.

➡️ Only then comes the product tour. Most people mistake “user onboarding” for “product walkthrough” and use both terms interchangeably. Wrong. The product tour is only a part of the onboarding process.

➡️ From this point on, the user onboarding process shapes according to the product. There could be a checklist with a list of other onboarding guides in it, there could be an onboarding email sequence, or it could be product update modals and banners that excite every early-stage user.

So how many of these steps can you cover with Intercom?

Is it really an all-in-one solution?

Let’s see:

Creating a Good User Onboarding With Intercom

Intercom offers a wide range of onboarding tools and features so that you can turn your “complex digital product” into a “simple product”, and increase feature adoption.

Intercom trial dashboard
This is what Intercom’s dashboard looks like

Intercom Features and Add-ons You Need For The Perfect Onboarding

There are five key features that Intercom provides to help you create the perfect onboarding:

1- Emails and Messages

Intercom treats all kinds of messages similarly, whether they are in-app messages or outbound emails. So, you can say that their emailing feature is far from being shallow, and it combines all aspects of communication with customers.

Intercom messaging feature

You can gather all your messages in one inbox so that all team members are in line with each other while helping out customers.

This feature is covered in all Intercom plans, and no matter which one you purchase, you will have access to emails and messages to personalize the onboarding experience for each user.

2- Automation

Let’s say that your product is way past its early stages, and now you have tens and tons of customers coming to you with questions and requests every day. It would be impossible to help them all manually.

Intercom automation feature

That’s why automation is highly important in user onboarding tools.

By using automated processes, you’re not only taking weight off of your teams’ shoulders, but you also provide a better and faster solution to all individual users at the same time.

Intercom helps with email and chat automation so that you can turn your trial users into active users in no time.

3- Product Tours

One of the newest features of Intercom is the “Interactive Product Tours” add-on which helps you create interactive guides.

And more, I guess?

Intercom has a few beta-stage features included in this add-on as well such as checklists and tooltips, and the previews looked pretty exciting.

Intercom's product tours feature
I’d rather not make a product tour with only “next” buttons, but OK.

I will get into detail about this feature a lot in the “how to” part below, so for now, let’s get to the other features.

4- Surveys

Most companies don’t even realize that their product isn’t as simple as they think because they lack proper and enough feedback.

That’s why feedback and NPS surveys play a big role in onboarding users.

Intercom's surveys

By knowing the pain points and the favorites of your customers, you can not only create a more successful onboarding, but also a better product that can convert more people easily.

5- Help Centers

We already know that Intercom can be categorized as a comprehensive onboarding tool, but this isn’t the end of onboarding features yet.

Intercom’s biggest strength among all onboarding platforms is that they provide help centers and knowledge bases at the same time.

Intercom help centers feature

Providing self-serve onboarding options is also a form of automation, and increases the effectiveness of the onboarding drastically. 

How much does Intercom cost to onboard users?

If you have fewer than 5 employees, you are eligible to get Intercom’s cheapest package, the “starter plan” (or startup plan) which costs $74/month for as long as you stay a very small business – which I hope you don’t remain there for long.

This price goes up to $89/month if you become a company with 6-10 employees. And so on.

And then you need the “product tours” add-on which costs $199/month alone. In this add-on, you get product walkthroughs, tooltips, hotspots that are still in the beta stage, and soon, checklists. Hopefully.

On top, you also need the surveys add-on to complete the package and offer the best value to your customers, which costs another $49/month.

In total, that makes:

74 + 199 + 49 = 322 🤯

$322/month is the base price of Intercom, only for “very small” businesses, and 1000 monthly active users.

This price increases if you need another seat for another person that will use Intercom, which costs $19/month for each seat.

Also if you get an additional 1000 active users that month, which is $50/month for each 1000 MAU.

As you can see, that base price escalates pretty quickly.

Does Intercom’s Value Add Up To The Price?

Good question.

The answer is both yes and no. Depends on what perspective you look at it from.

😰 If you have been trying to build an in-house solution for all these problems, then yes, Intercom’s pricing will be the better option for you.

🧐 If you aren’t familiar with such features and you needed them all in one place, well, it’s justifiable.

🤩 But if you know your money’s worth, then you should know that Intercom is more expensive than the expensive tools on the market.

And I mean it.

Intercom is expensive

There is a way to get Intercom’s amazing customer success features and user onboarding features all at the same time, for a better price.

Here is the deal:

Just leave the product tours, tooltips, banners, checklists, and surveys to UserGuiding, get additional features such as knowledge bases and announcement modals, have an actually interactive product tour, and pay less.

How?

Howwww?

UserGuiding costs only $89/month, and integrates with Intercom so that you can keep the automation and data benefits of Intercom while providing an effective onboarding sequence to your end users!

Also, UserGuiding just blends into your product, and is 100% no-code.

UserGuiding onboarding
UserGuiding is ACTUALLY INTERACTIVE and looks stunning on the go.

And that’s what I call an awesome deal.

How To Create a Good User Onboarding With Intercom

First of all, let’s list all the elements we need, and make the Intercom related ones bold and italic.

  • Live Chat
  • Signup page
  • Automated email sequence
  • Welcome Message*
  • Product tour**
  • Checklist*
  • Surveys
  • Resource Centers / Further Help

* The feature is in beta version now, so, can’t heavily rely on it.

** Real interactivity rather than simply clicking “skip” on each tooltip.

1- Install Intercom

You can’t show anything on your app/page without installing the code. So, you have to follow the instructions that Intercom provides, or get help from their support team (if you are lucky) and get them to do it.

Intercom's install empty state

2- Set up your live chat widget

At this step, you have to create your inbox, add your existing data (if you have any), and edit the “qualification data” to accurately reach the best layer among your user segmentation.

Intercom's live chat widget

Then, from the editor, you can create new messages and emails, and assign them certain attributes so that your customers get the perfect product experience with a perfect timing.

3-  Set up your welcome message and product walkthrough

To create a welcome message for web apps, use a tooltip (or preferably a modal that works better, if you use UserGuiding.)

👉 Here is a guide about onboarding UX to show you how you can create a successful onboarding message.

Then, it’s time to create a product tour.

Intercom product tours

The first few steps are easy, choose a template if you use UserGuiding, or start from scratch if you use Intercom.

Userguiding dashboard
UserGuiding is just much easier to use, honestly.

Once you’re done with creating all the necessary guides, it’s time to gather them in one place.

4- Create your Checklist(s)

It is important that your onboarding is fail-proof so that the end users’s technical level of knowledge doesn’t get in the way of them benefiting from your product, and you acquire them as customers.

Checklists are the most preferred design pattern since they don’t cover up much space, they work, and they gamify the experience in a way.

UserGuiding checklists
UserGuiding’s checklist and resource center just blend in with the Intercom Chatbot

Since you can’t publish Intercom’s checklists on your websites just yet, and they don’t offer another solution, you can use another tool like UserGuiding to make up for it.

5- Prepare the surveys

This is one of the rather easier parts of creating an onboarding with intercom, since working methods for surveys are set with rules, and you can simply use the ones you need from the templates.

👉 Here is a guide to in-app surveys to help you with different types of surveys.

Is Intercom Product Tours Worth It?

The idea of Intercom having product tours is just great.

But it kind of feels like a 3-in-one shampoo that is a bit overpriced…

I’m here to tell you that there are better options that work just as good as Intercom’s add-ons, if not even better.

You can find the details about Intercom Product Tours right here ⬅️

UserGuiding also offers free migration services for your in-app content created using other software to minimize your switching costs.

Schedule a demo with one of our experts or start your free trial now:

Don’t Pay a Fortune for Other Tools!

UserGuiding starts from only $89/month.
Create tours, tooltips, and surveys without coding

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Hilal Çökeli

Hilal Çökeli

I’m UserGuiding’s growth-obsessed product marketer. I like to research and write about product, onboarding, and inbound marketing. If you feel like we could exchange ideas, feel free to reach out via LinkedIn or email! P.S. If I don’t respond, please know that I’m on a road trip with my camera and motorbike.