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Control inbound conversation volume
Control inbound conversation volume

Choose which users and visitors can start a new conversation with your team in the Messenger.

Beth-Ann Sher avatar
Written by Beth-Ann Sher
Updated over a week ago

You can control who has the ability to start a conversation with your team and tailor the level of support you offer. This lets you encourage some users or leads to search your Help Center, or take advantage of other self-serve options instead.

You can define a different set of rules for each of these options:

  • Visitors (this includes Leads)

  • Users

For example, to only show the Send us a message button to visitors on a certain page, select Let visitors start a conversation, then click + Add display conditions.

Here you can choose the conditions that must be met for the new conversations button to display. For example, "Current page URL contains enterprise”:

This example will only allow visitors to start a new conversation if they’re on the “Enterprise” page of your website, to ensure that your sales team are only chatting with high value leads. There are many other ways to tailor the ability to start a new conversation, like users on a certain plan or those who are participating in a beta.

When you add multiple display conditions, you can also switch from Match all to Match any rules. For example, you could set this up for visitors who match a specific page, or those who have visited more than 2 pages on your site would see the new conversation button:

People without the new conversation button will still be able to reply to messages you send.

Get even more targeted with who can start conversations

If you’ve set up our Clearbit Reveal app, you'll have additional data that you can use to target your ideal visitors. For example, you could set the new conversation button to appear for high value prospects who work at eCommerce companies with over 50 employees, who have raised $1,000,000 in funding.

You’ll need a Clearbit Reveal API Account to integrate with Clearbit.

What does it look like for users and visitors?

When someone visits your site or app, who isn’t able to start a new conversation, they’ll still have access to the Articles Search app, and other apps in your Messenger. To offer clear expectations, the Messenger launcher will have a Search icon instead of the Intercom chat icon.

The search icon cannot be customized, but if you have a custom launcher set up, the custom launcher will override this icon.

The search icon will only appear if you have Intercom Articles and your Help Center is enabled.

Preventing duplicate conversations

Customers can sometimes end up creating duplicate conversations. This can be problematic because multiple support reps would end up resolving the same query for the customer via more than one conversation.

Use the Prevent multiple inbound conversations setting to reduce this behavior. This can be targeted to only apply to visitors or users who match certain data criteria.

This setting impacts:

  • When the button to start a conversation is visible in the Messenger.

  • The position of "Open conversation" in the Continue the conversation card in the Messenger.

This also works for mobile users providing you are on the latest versions of the Android/React/iOS SDK and the most up to date Cordova plugin.

Note: This only prevents multiple conversations created from the Messenger. It does not prevent new conversations from other channels like email, facebook, instagram etc.


Prevent replies to closed conversations

If the customer has old conversations that are closed, it might still be possible to create duplicates by:

  • Creating a new conversation about an issue.

  • Replying to the earlier conversation, effectively reopening it.

To mitigate this, it is recommended that the new settings we are shipping should be used in tandem with existing “Prevent replies to closed conversations” settings. What this does is:

  • While the customer can create a new conversation from Messenger, they will NOT be able to reply to any old conversation that is closed.

  • Leading to only 1 open inbound conversation per user/visitor.

Outbound conversations

This setting only controls the “inbound” conversation value i.e. conversations started by the customer. If the customer has existing outbound conversation, it will still be possible to create duplicates by:

  • Creating a new conversation about an issue.

  • Replying to the outbound conversation for the same issue.

Interplay of Prevent Duplicates with OSC (Outbound support conversations)

The setting allows for limiting one conversation per user/visitor. This might lead to scenarios where a single conversation is about many issues. To gracefully handle such scenarios, you can leverage OSC.

For each issue in the single running conversation, teammates can create an OSC chat or email with the given user and also assign the new OSC to the relevant team to action on. The customer will be able to see all the OSC chats in the Messenger.


When the setting is turned on any outbound Workflows will be prevented from firing whilst that user or visitor has an open inbound conversation in order to prevent duplicates being created via a reply to a conversation initiated by an outbound Workflows.

Duplicates can be created whilst a bot is handling the conversation

If a user starts a conversation and whilst the bot is handling the conversation the end user starts a new conversation in a different browser tab a duplicate will be created. iOS has the same issue. Instead of tabs being the issue, if the user has an inbound bot set up, they can open a new conversation, select a quick reply and leave the conversation before the bot responds….then just start a new conversation the same way. This results in two conversations being opened at the same time.

Using the Messenger APIs to directly open a new Conversation

On both the web and mobile messengers (SDKs) a developer can directly present the Messenger to the new Conversation screen using the Messenger API. Doing this will skip any checks that block duplicate conversations. This behavior will occur if a developer:

  • calls Intercom(‘showNewMessage’) as shown here in the web Messenger

  • calls [Intercom presentMessenger] as shown here, in the iOS SDK

  • calls Intercom.client().displayMessenger() as shown here, in the Android SDK

There are variations of those methods where a customer can pass in a default message, eg. Intercom('showNewMessage', 'pre-populated content'). These methods will also skip any checks to prevent duplicates.


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