Customer phone numbers

Manage and import customer phone numbers using correct number formatting.

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

Outbound SMS and WhatsApp messages rely on the Phone attribute inside each customer’s profile. This number is used when sending an SMS or WhatsApp message to the customer as well as to match any inbound SMS/WhatsApp conversations to a customer’s profile.

You must use the default Phone attribute available in the customer's profile.

To view a customer’s phone number, go to Contacts and click on their profile:

Phone number formatting requirements

To be able to send/receive SMS or WhatsApp to and from a phone number, the number must:

  • Be a valid phone number.

  • Contain a country code (either with an appended +XX at the front or using the 00XX format).

    • The country code is used to populate an internal user attribute called Phone Country Code which is used for geofencing and targeting.

    • If a number has no country code, then it won’t match the implicit targeting predicates and the customer won’t receive any outbound SMS.

    • Inbound SMS/WhatsApp messages can’t be matched to a profile if the saved number doesn’t have a country code.

  • Be SMS/WhatsApp compatible (in many countries, landlines and non-mobile numbers don’t support text messages).

Other characters such as ( ) - and spaces will be stripped from the phone number, so they won’t cause a problem. For example +1 (555) 192-1922 will be recognized as +155519219222.

When importing numbers into Intercom you should follow E.164 formatting.

Importing phone numbers

You can use any of the following ways to add and update customer phone numbers:

  • Manually adding them to a customer’s profile under Contacts.

  • Including the phone number in the User data passed to the Intercom Messenger snippet.

  • Including the Phone attribute in any contact API create/update requests.

  • Using the CSV importer and importing the Phone number field for customers via CSV.

  • Syncing it from integrations such as Salesforce.

Phone number validation

Improve the quality of the phone number data captured at source by ensuring that the number format conforms to standard structures.

  • Enable validation, so that all invalid phone number updates are aborted.

  • Prevent the Messenger from updating phone numbers.

A phone number is considered valid if:

  • It conforms to the E.164 format.

  • It conforms to the phone country’s numbering plan. Example: +34270112233 is not a valid number. Spanish phone numbers can only start with +34 followed by 6, 7, 8, or 9.

To change the settings on the Phone number field, go to Settings > Your workspace data > People data and click the pencil icon next to the Phone field.

Here, you can manage two settings:

Prevent updates via the Messenger

When enabled, any request to update this attribute from the Messenger on web, mobile or via the Javascript API will be ignored: The value provided will not be stored and the users will not have any feedback about this. All attributes that don't have this selection checked will still be updated as normal.

This setting can be toggled on or off by updating the attribute and it does not affect updates from other sources like our Public API, CSV Imports, etc.

Validate user phone number

When enabled, Intercom will reject any attempt to store an invalid phone number in the system.

This validation will not take effect on the Messenger to prevent the validation from disrupting your service, so we recommend enabling the prevent updates via the Messenger options together with validation.


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