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Switching from Zendesk to Intercom
Switching from Zendesk to Intercom

This article explains how concepts from Zendesk work in Intercom, how you can easily get started with imports, and what to set up first.

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

Switching to Intercom from Zendesk is easy. With simple setup, and handy importers you’ll be up and running in no time, ready to unlock the Support Funnel and deliver fast and personal customer support.

First, here’s an overview of how concepts you’re familiar with in Zendesk map to Intercom.

Intercom's got tickets 🎫

As a Zendesk user, you’re familiar with tickets - you'll be able to continue using these in Intercom. Intercom tickets give your customers a delightful, messenger first experience, just like the way they chat to their friends and colleagues, but with all the power and automation behind the scenes for your team to work efficiently.

Let’s take a look at some of the most useful features of a tickets in Intercom:

  1. Ticket title — Summarize the specific “issue” or “case” that a teammate is dealing with, so it’s easy to understand at a glance, or scan in a list of tickets.

  2. Assigned team and teammate — Tickets can be assigned to a team and a teammate at the same time. This gives you persistent context on where a ticket originated from – and ensures it stays with the right team until it’s resolved.

  3. Ticket attributes — Create the attributes that work for you, to be able to collect data required to resolve issues quickly and efficiency. Ticket data can be provided by your customers when you send them a ticket to fill out or by a teammate.

  4. Creating tickets

    • Customer tickets - Support reps can create a 2 different types of linked tickets from a conversation or an existing ticket, allowing another team to take ownership of investigating and actioning the ticket.

    • Back-office tickets - Use when your front-office team needs to work with back-office teams to resolve an issue, create a linked Back-office ticket from a conversation for seamless collaboration.

    • Tracker tickets - Streamline problems impacting many customers, such as bugs, service interruptions, and feature requests.

  5. Add more apps — Your Help Desk is customizable with over 100 different apps. These apps bring in additional context about your customers and let you automate workflows, not just in Intercom, but the rest of your tech stack too.

Help Desk Migration also supports migrations to Intercom tickets. This means you can use the Help Desk Migration product to import data from a variety of source tools (e.g. Zendesk, ZOHOdesk, Freshdesk, SFDC etc) to Intercom tickets.

The Intercom public API (unstable) has:

Check out this tutorial to import ticket types and tickets data into your Intercom workspace.

We've also got conversations! 💬

Conversations allow you to chat to your customers in a personal way. Use them to quickly resolve customer question on, for example, how to use your product. You can then create linked tickets for any bug reports or issues that require further troubleshooting by technical teams.

Tagging your conversations

You’re used to tagging your tickets with Zendesk. Tags are similar in Intercom - they add context to conversations and tickets and help you gather valuable data.

To tag and keep track of feature requests and bugs, for example, just hover over the side of a ticket message, select 🏷️ icon to tag your ticket 👇

You can also automatically tag conversations or people with Workflows, based on the content of the messages, what type of user your customer is and more:

Use Conversation data in place of ticket fields

In Zendesk, when a user submits a ticket, they can be prompted to provide additional data about the request, or your team may fill out these fields while handling the ticket. In Intercom, you have ticket attributes:

You can collect ticket data from customers when they fill out the ticket, update them manually as you handle the conversation.

Conversation data attributes can then be used to filter your reports, or build customized views of your Help Desk:

From triggers to triggering Workflows

In Zendesk, you had triggers. With Intercom, you can automate your support with Workflows, These let you:

  • Tag conversations.

  • Assign them to the right team or teammate.

  • Mark them as priority.

  • Set SLA targets on each conversation.

  • Set or update conversation data attributes.

  • And much more!

Workflows are triggered exactly when you want them to be. At the start of a conversation, after each reply, or after a customer has been waiting a while:

Bring over your macros

When you switch from Zendesk, you can also create dynamic macros to speed up your response time to common queries, like feature requests and bug reports. If you’ve already set up macros in Zendesk just copy and paste them over.

From Answer Bot to Fin AI Agent 🤖

If you used Zendesk’s ‘Answer Bot’ add-on to suggest articles to your customers, you’ll get the same functionality included by default when you switch your Help Center to Intercom Articles. 👌

For even more support automation, Fin AI Agent can answer common questions when customers start a new conversation, then close the conversation when successful - so it never reaches your team all by using the power of AI 🚀

Reporting in Intercom

Intercom’s customer support reports let you dive deep into:

  • Your team’s workload.

  • The issues your customers are facing.

  • How quickly conversations are resolved.

  • The effectiveness of your team and your self-serve and automated resources.

  • Your customers’ satisfaction.

  • And much more.

Importing Zendesk data into Intercom

Import your users

Just export your users as a CSV list from Zendesk, then import the list to Intercom:

Import your help content

You can migrate your help content from Zendesk in just one click. Just visit Articles in Intercom, click Get started with articles and then Migrate from Zendesk.

Simply enter the URL of your Zendesk Help Center:

When you migrate your articles from Zendesk, we’ll retain your organizational structure for you. We’ll even flag any content you need to review and give you advice on how to fix it.

Note: If you have multiple languages in your Zendesk Help Center, you'll need to add them in your Intercom Help Center settings, in order for the imported translations to be visible.

Import your conversation history

After switching to Intercom, you can start training Custom Answers for Fin AI Agent right away by importing your historic data from Zendesk. Fin AI Agent will use your history to recognize and suggest common questions to create answers for.

Customizing Intercom - getting started

Finally, to start supporting your customers in the right way, we recommend:

When you switch from Zendesk, you can still stay integrated with your favorite tools like Salesforce, Slack, and Facebook. These integrations help you support your customers from one platform and resolve their issues faster:

  • Integrate with Salesforce to see your Intercom user data and conversations inside your Salesforce account and contact pages.

  • Integrate with Facebook to route your social media messages to your team inbox - from here, you can read, manage and respond to messages you receive.

  • Integrate with GitHub to keep Intercom conversations and GitHub issues in sync so your support team and development team can work together to resolve issues.

Check out our App Store for over 100 other ways to connect Intercom to your existing tech stack.


Does Intercom support localization?

Yes, you can localize the Messenger to work with multiple languages, resolve conversations automatically in multiple languages and support multiple languages in your Help Center.

Can I install Intercom to talk to customers on my mobile app?

Yes, you can install the Messenger on your iOS or Android app so customers can get in touch from your mobile app.

Can I support multiple brands with one Intercom account?

Yes, you can support multiple brands or businesses from a single Help Desk, while ensuring the Messenger is a perfect match for each of your different domains.

Stay integrated with Zendesk

If you're not ready to make the full switch to Intercom just yet, you can integrate Intercom with your Zendesk account. This will provide live data on who your users are and what they do in your app. And you can turn any Intercom conversation into a Zendesk ticket.


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