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Why’s that?

Intercom/etc are incredibly useful both to businesses and customers alike. But not necessarily all customers, I respect that.

There will always be someone who doesn’t want a particular feature, etc. That doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable to someone else?

One of the problems is that the UX of these features is always pushy and obtrusive. The designers want to stick it in your face to make sure you use it (probably because decisions about resource allocation are based on how frequently they’re used). The result is that even potentially useful functionality gets presented in a way that’s obnoxious and makes people resent it. It’s like Clippy, but for everything.

They can be configured that way, but they can also be configured to hover quietly in the bottom corner until someone clicks the icon. That’s how we use intercom, and it’s definitely been a useful channel for support and for prospective customers to ask questions.

Yep, absolutely. Same for us. And only for logged in users, at that.

To be fair, the kind of people who need this kind of help are also the kind of people that will have a hard time finding said help.

I can dig deep in there to find the help desk, but I'm not sure my parents could.

I’ve needed this sort of help before, and I’m technical. Having an easy to spot way of chatting with a person directly is amazing. You shouldn’t have to dig deep into a site to do this.

It's just like autoplaying video --- users do not like the unsolicited aspect of it, and the annoyance that causes. I'm perfectly fine with having a chat widget that opens when you actively click on "Get Help" or "Chat with us" or whatever other phase implies something like that, just like I would not mind a video you need to click on for it to start playing.

(Incidentally, I have JS off by default, which naturally neuters these and other annoyances. It's only when I have to turn it on that I get assaulted with things like this.)

Agreed on Intercom, but I think it's regularly abused.

Often times you will scroll through a page and a chat popup will show, but nobody is actually there to chat with you (because it's outside business hours, or they never intended to have someone available). So it's a misrepresentation of service and becomes a spammy annoyance.

I also think it's debatable whether that floating chat modal needs to be on every single page on a website, which is often the case. If you're going through a lot of sub-pages on a website, it definitely becomes an annoyance.

You confuse "it's useful" for "it's done well". Chat is super valuable and users should feel like they have the option to initiate a chat. That is not the same as yelling at them the moment they open your page. And let's not even get started on how much you're fucking over people with screenreaders.

It doesn’t need to be and isn’t a lways done this way. Ours is configured to only pop up for logged in users, for instance.

Agree that they serve a useful need when searching for help but when you're just trying to browse a site the intercom widget randomly pops up taking a good portion of the screen and it also plays an unwanted notification sound.

It does not need to be configured this way. Ours is not.

The problem is not the chat but the widget that pops up on your screen.

This is dependent on the site’s settings. Ours is configured to display not a chat dialog, but just the widget, and only when logged in.

They're incredibly useful when you actually want them.

That point is almost never when they load when you’re halfway through scrolling down a page.

At that point they’re just another piece of cookie / GDPR / autoplay banner ad spam that does so much to ruin the web.

Why can’t they be housed as part of a separate customer support section? Other than that it wouldn’t make Intercom’s numbers look as good.

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