Intercom's AI Chatbot Fin versus AINIRO

Intercom's AI Chatbot Fin versus AINIRO

Intercom's AI chatbot called Fin is almost a decent AI chatbot. It's able to answer most questions I throw at it fairly accurate, and it doesn't completely destroy my website if I embed it. However, compared to an AINIRO chatbot, it's nowhere even near the quality you would need from an AI chatbot intended to be embedded on your website.

Technological debt

I created a demo of Intercom's Fin, and after some 30 minutes I got an email telling me it had scraped 113 pages from our website. Initially I though; "Hmmm, interesting, at least there is something here". However, the demo chatbot page was slow to load, and when I inspected it using Chrome Developer tools, I quickly realised why.

Watch me break down the Intercom AI chatbot in details below, and compare it to the industry standard; AINIRO.

Iframes are NOT OK!

Intercom's AI chatbot is embedded as an iframe, at least my demo was. This was the way we used to "hack" widgets together 15 years ago, and is arguably dying technology. I completely understand why, since dealing with "whatever" website's DOM, and making sure you've got working reCAPTCHA keys on "a bajillion" domains is hard, very hard. I used to work for companies like Intercom, and when we were discussing new projects, we would argue as follows.

  • This is hard, let's simplify it
  • Let's apply a bajillion shortcuts
  • Who care, it's not like it's our intellectual property anyway
  • We just need it to work
  • Catching - Project finished! Intercom Fin AI chatbot done!

You would be surprised to know how many huge companies like Intercom are actually working as illustrated above. Huge companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, all have projects that are finished according to the above "process". Just because you've got a big name in the industry, does not mean you're able to create high quality software - Quite the contrary in fact, the bigger they are, the more junkware they tend to create.

At AINIRO we don't work this way. I would rather spend two more weeks creating the perfect solution than to take shortcuts such as iframes. It took us months to stabilise the CSS for our AI chatbot such that it would work on "everything out there" for instance. Intercom never did this, and took the shortcut, which was iframes.

An iframe is not an "OK" technology to serve an AI chatbot in 2024!

3MB of download

Counting all resources and everything, Intercom needs 3MB of additional bandwidth to work. This implies that for the average website out there, it would easily add another 2 to 3 seconds in initial page load time, even on a high bandwidth connection.

This is especially true for phones. This isn't anywhere near as bad as CustomGPT, but it is still a deal breaker for an AI chatbot you want to embed on every single page in your CMS. If you get yourself an Intercom AI chatbot, I suggest you only embed it on one page in your website, and rather link to this page from the rest of your site - Everything else would result in you paying 20% more for CPC on your Google Ads, and effectively loosing 20% (more) of everybody clicking links to get to your website.

The reasons for this is that after 10 seconds, 50% of your website visitors will click the back button according to Google. Intercom adds an additional 2 to 3 seconds of page load time to your existing website, implying a lot of users will simply not bother to wait for the website to even load before they click the back button.

Intercom's Fin cannot be embedded on all pages in your CMS

For the record, AINIRO download roughly 50KB of resources when embedded on a web page, implying Intercom is 50 times as large on bandwidth connection consumption as AINIRO.

  • AINIRO chatbot - ~0.05 MB of bandwidth
  • Intercom chatbot - ~3.00 MB of bandwidth

If you have no idea what I'm talking about here, just remember that less is better.

Hidden costs

In addition to the above, Intercom charges $39 per month for their least expensive AI chatbot. This seems like a bargain until you realise they also charge you 99 cents for every single "resolution" the AI chatbot delivers. A resolution is defined as a conversation the AI chatbot has with a visitor where the visitor left the page without asking a human for help.

One of our clients have their AI chatbot answer 1 question every 3 minutes. This would result in almost 15,000 "resolutions" per month. This client is on our professional plan, that costs them $298 per month. Below is the comparison between what they are paying today with AINIRO and what they would have to pay with Intercom.

  • $298 per month with AINIRO
  • $15,000 per month with Intercom

For the record, this client also pays their own OpenAI API tokens, but that's an additional $500 per month, and nowhere even near the $15,000 Intercom would charge them for an AI chatbot.

UX issues

I don't want to blame Intercom in particular here, they're just doing what everybody else is doing here, which is to create a tiny widget in the bottom right corner of your page - However, I hate it, and I suspect most other with experience in regards to using AI chatbots does too.

Our AI chatbot is not intrusive at all, and barely noticable - Which is a conscious choice. But, when you open it to interact with it, it "takes over". This creates a 100 times better user experience, with larger fonts, less cognitive noise, and makes it much easier to interact with. Try it out below if you wish.

Try asking Intercom's AI chatbot the same question, and notice the difference in formatting and readability.

Quality of answers

Intercom's AI chatbot is one of few AI chatbots that have (almost) the same quality as ours on its abilities to answer questions. Its answers are of high quality, and it responds fast. Intercom actually seems to be a little bit more verbose when answering, but if you like long answers, our AI chatbots can also be configured to provide long answers.

However, Intercom does not generate Markdown, which implies they cannot display images, inline hyperlinks, bold or italic text - In addition to that it's impossible to show lists.

Having the ability to generate Markdown makes the response 10 times more easy to read, since it allows you to "scan" the response for the most important parts. This combined with the bad UX experience of Intercom, results in low quality of readibility, and makes it more difficult to manouver and interact with.


All in all, if an AINIRO chatbot is 100 out of 100, I would say Intercom is 60 out of 100. This is still far better than Salesforce's AI chatbot and Zendesk's AI chatbot - But nowhere near what you would expect from a professional grade customer service AI chatbot in 2024.

If Intercom had released Fin 10 years ago, I would have been impressed - But today it falls through, on everything. In addition, it carries hidden costs that can rapidly make it very, very, very expensive for you if you've got a lot of website traffic.

Intercom's Fin AI chatbot is not quite junkware, but there are at least 100+ AI chatbots out there with far superior quality

Watch me go through both AINIRO and Intercom's AI chatbots in the video below.

Thomas Hansen

Thomas Hansen I am the CEO and Founder of AINIRO.IO, Ltd. I am a software developer with more than 25 years of experience. I write about Machine Learning, AI, and how to help organizations adopt said technologies. You can follow me on LinkedIn if you want to read more of what I write.

Published 7. Apr 2024