Detailed Review of Freshdesk: An Award-Winning Help Desk Software
Freshdesk: Top Help Desk Software
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Freshdesk is a cloud-hosted helpdesk solution that combines the simplicity of intuitive interface and power of robust features. It served over 50,000 satisfied customers including such big brands as Boss, 3M, and Cisco. This helpdesk software is also regarded as one of the most cost-effective support systems for businesses of all sizes.
In this detailed Freshdesk reviews, we’ll show the key highlights of this app to give you a quick picture what it can do for your company. We’ll also give you an in-depth look at Freshdesk’s top benefits by presenting our B2B experts’ top six things that they like about Freshdesk.
We also interviewed a Freshdesk executive to find out more about the software from the vendor’s point of view. He shared some insights on the unique features of Freshdesk and presented three scenarios of how the software can solves typical customer support problems. Finally, we share some reasons behind the major awards won by Freshdesk, mainly our Best Help Desk Software Award for 2015 as well as our Expert’s Choice Award for 2015. If you want to see for yourself how well Freshdesk works as a help desk solution for your company you can easily get Freshdesk free trial here.
What are the highlights of Freshdesk?
- Multi-channel support, such as, email, phone, social media, live chat, self-service portal
- Powerful ticketing with functions accessible right inside each ticket
- Smart automation that categorizes, prioritizes, and assigns tickets at once; auto closes the day’s resolved tickets or sends alerts for unresolved issues
- Gamification with varied mechanics, such as, speed racing, sharp shooting, and earning wow points
- SLA customization that allows you to meet customer expectations at different levels
- Corporate branding including simple HTML tweaking to match your self-service portal with your corproate website
- Tight integration with over 60 apps including Google Apps and CRM systems
- Free mobile native apps for Android and iOS, plus HTML5 for mobile browsers
Six things we like most about Freshdesk
1. You stay on top of customer queries
Giving customers more ways to reach you reflects your transparency and empathy that in turn build user trust. Freshdesk offers multiple channels like phone and email, as well as newer channels, such as, social media, chats, and forum. There are two crucial aspects that the software lets you address to ensure efficient customer support: you can see all queries fast and identify the type of response for each.
Whatever channel customers use, you see all support queries converted into tickets in one place. From this single dashboard, you can prioritize, categorize, and assign the tickets. Likewise, you can set priorities based on your service level agreements (SLAs). For example, premium plan customers get 24/7 response, while starting plan tickets are scheduled on business hours. This helps you meet customer expectations at different levels and make your support an efficient machine.
Finally, Freshdesk has a feedback widget and support portal, which give your customers 24/7 access to your helpdesk even if your support team is offline. Integrated with the knowledge base and forums, the portal is a one-stop destination, where customers can ask or discuss with other customers, read about FAQ issues, or give you a ping. This section can even be optimized for SEO, using high-value how-to keywords.
2. Powerful but easy-to-manage ticketing
Despite its simplicity, the software actually features enterprise-grade ticketing that can serve the needs of big companies, such as, 3M, BOSS, Unicef, Toshiba, and CISCO. But why would a small business with a thousand customers use the same app used by a large enterprise with millions of customers? Simple: scalability, especially if you’re selling online, when one day you end up with ten times your normal orders and more customer queries, too. Another scenario is when you decide to add premium products that feature premium SLA. Freshdesk has a powerful ticketing system that can handle different scenarios from a small traffic to rush hour magnitude.
Ticketing functions are accessible right inside each ticket. Even if your agent is swamped with support queries, she can immediately focus on each ticket without shifting to another window for relevant tasks like status change or customer details, which can eat up valuable time and add to the confusion during intense engagement.
They can also collaborate on difficult tickets using private notes for internal communication. Conversely, an agent collission detection–a visual tickler on the upper left corner–quickly alerts everyone who is working on the ticket. This simple feature avoids different or repetitive responses, which usually annoy or anger customers. Inside the ticket, you also see customer information on the right column to help you put the issue in context, and a quick lookup for ticket status and due date. Likewise, tickets are easy to manage: you can change the properties including status, source, and priority right inside the ticket window. After all, you want your agent to focus on the issue, not on how to navigate the helpdesk app.
The Team Inbox is also indispensable for the support manager to keep tab of all tickets. Imagine getting swamped with a hundred customer emails in one day. Customer emails are automatically converted into tickets in the Team Inbox, where you can set the category and priority of each ticket and assign it to agents with a few ticks or clicks. Both the manager and agents can monitor the status of all tickets in this window, too.
3. Increase productivity with smart automations
You can add more agents to handle more customer queries or you can increase the productivity of your existing agents. There are two ways in which Freshdesk increases your support team’s productivity.
One is the software helps offload repetitive tasks. In many cases, FAQs can be addressed with a canned response. But Freshdesk gives you more smart automations to help your agents focus on priority tasks. For example, the Dispatch’r automatically categorizes, prioritizes, and assigns tickets so the manager can focus on monitoring performance, while agents get their continuous flow of tasks. You can also set the assignment based on agents’ expertise, or send automated bug reports to technical staff or refund issues to billing.
The second way of improving productivity is enabling the software to help you to pre-empt complications. Time-based actions like auto-close and reminders save agents precious time wasted on manually closing each resolved ticket or sending out reminders for the day. The “Supervisor” crawls the system for the day’s unresolved or overdue tickets and alerts you with escalations or follow-ups. You can set conditions and the corresponding actions in various automations, including triggering workflows or sending smart email notifications. This feature prevents bottlenecks in your support workflow.
4. Great way to keep your support team motivated
Gamification isn’t new in support software. The noticeable difference with Freshdesk, however, is its gamification sounds and looks like an arcade game, really, without a monotonous coupon-like mechanics that are common in other gamification implementations. You can set competition in various modes, for instance, speed racing, sharp shooting, or earning wow points. The variety of games lets you create more excitement and engagement to constantly drive up agent motivation. More importantly, you set the games to align with your business goals (e.g. zero backlog, faster resolutions, higher customer satisfaction rating), so while agents are having fun, goals are being met.
5. Easy setup & great customization
Freshdesk is great for small businesses because it’s easy to set up and you can get a powerful helpdesk solution in an instant. It’s as simple as signing up for, say, Twitter or Facebook, then you just add up agents and you’re good to go. If you’re busy, you can even assign the installation to a clerk.
Moreover, there’s a golden nugget in Freshdesk that can help you impress customers. It’s a feature that allows you to set up your service level agreements (SLAs) to define ticket priorities and resolution time. Each ticket is now categorized based on your SLA policy (priority, response and resolution time, business hours, escalation). Not only does it save you time, but it helps you manage customer expectations. You can now see at once the most urgent issues and their allotted response time even if you have different SLAs with different customers. If you have multiple products, for instance, you’ll love the SLA customization. Likewise, you can set the operational hours for different priority levels, so your customers know when to expect a response.
You can also customize the support portal with your brand colors and logo or do a simple tweak in the HTML code to align the support portal with your corporate website. This may be the only slightly complex step for non-technical users–writing few simple lines of code. But that’s an optional benefit.
Overall, the software is simple enough to help a small business owner run her own support team. The interface is neat and familiar, the tips are intuitive, and you get global customer support whenever you find yourself in a dead-end. You can easily try out Freshdesk on your own with their great free trial plan that will let you test all key features and see if the tool can meet all needs of your company. You can easily get Freshdesk free trial here.
6. Tight integration with standard and popular apps
No single software stands alone today that’s why it’s important to think of integration when buying software for various business processes, including helpdesk. Even if you have the most powerful helpdesk software, if it cannot work with the CRM app your sales team is using or the accounting software of your finance departament, you’re undermining productivity.
One notable thing about Freshdesk is its tight integration with Google apps and CRM systems. This allows for smoother collaboration between sales and support, the two departments that deal with customers extensively. Similarly, Freshdesk smoothly integrates with Facebook and Twitter to extend your support channels to social media. Specifically, an in-sync support center integrates with Facebook pages that let you see mentions about you, taking your customer support to the millennials and the younger set.
Likewise, the software can integrate with over sixty apps from productivity and e-commerce to cloud storage and collaboration solutions. This is helpful to put different business units under one helpdesk system even if they are already using various apps for their respective workflows.
Here’s one more thing we like: the mobile app is free
You can take Freshdesk with you using its native apps for Android or iOS. It also has an HTML5 for mobile browsers so you can use the software across all mobile devices. This is handy when you have team managers with smartphone or tablet versions who, for one reason or another, can’t access the native app. The mobile app has all the niceties of Freshdesk web, especially the powerful ticketing features: responding to tickets; changing ticket properties; and assigning tickets to agents.
Freshdesk Pricing Plans
Freshdesk five paid plans. If you want to try out the software and see if it will fit the requirements of your company you can sign up for a 30-day free trial. 24/7 email support and 24/5 phone support is included with all plans. You can learn more about Freshdesk pricing here.
The free trial supports unlimited agents for 30 days. You get access to all the features of Freshdesk Estate Plan. No credit card is needed to sign up. The vendor will email you when your trial expires. You can then select a plan and pay with a credit card to continue using the product. If you choose not to continue, your account will simply expire.
Sprout Plan: free up to 3 agents, thereafter, $15/agent/month
Features included in the Sprout Plan include email support that lets you provide speedy responses through email to promptly resolve customer issues. You get phone support – Freshdesk’s integrated phone channel that lets you quickly set up a call center that is closely integrated with the rest of your support channels. There is also no need for any hardware installation. You can buy a local or a toll free number, plug in your headphones and start taking calls right away. You also get a gnowledge base features such as: email to knowledge base, ability to edit meta title, description, and keywords, and suggested solutions.
Blossom Plan: $16 per agent billed annually or $19 monthly
In the Blossom plan you will get social support features that provide customer support through social channels such as Facebook and Twitter. You also get community forum features which lets you encourage your customers to use these forums to interact with one another and exchange information and updates. Game mechanics features are also included allowing you to inspire your agents with game-centered mechanics that keeps track of their performances.
Garden Plan: $25 per agent billed annually or $29 monthly
In the Garden plan you gain access to a live chat channel that can be used to engage customers who visit your website and to resolve customer issues. Multiple products and multiple time zones features are also included. With Freshdesk, your agents can provide support to customers on their local time, and even account for service levels and business hours based on the customer’s time zone. That way, you don’t end up disturbing customers half way across the globe in the middle of the night.
Estate Plan: $40 per agent billed annually or $49 monthly
Estate plan enables you to use enterprise reports that let you track your entire helpdesk, or just a customer, agent or group of agents. You an also enjoy portal customization features that let you customize your customer portal to enable customers to easily register, browse your knowledge base, interact on your forums, and raise and track tickets. It is also possible to assign custom agent roles and decide who gets to see and do what.
Forest Plan: $70 per agent billed annually or $79 monthly
This most expensive Freshdesk plan includes the security features such as IP whitelisting and custom email servers.
What customers say about Freshdesk
Ease of use is one of the top positive aspects mentioned by Freshdesk users. James, who runs a real estate agency in the Cleveland-Chicago area, said it only took him about two hours to customize the look of their website. “I was impressed. I’m a marketer not a coder, but I was able to write simple codes to change the look.” He said making their self-service portal project the color and layout of their website was critical in projecting credibility to prospects. “They’ll check on you, your site, Facebook pages, and if I have “my own” self-service portal, I look like a real big agency.”
Meanwhile, Emily, who is based out of Minnesota, runs an online shop for casual jewelry and she said that being a small business owner, she worries about a lot of things. Here’s what she said as her company started growing and getting busier: “It’s ironic–we needed help to manage our helpdesk.” Freshdesk, she said, gave them a quick solution. “It’s easy to start, the price is right. Customer support is great. We’re hooked!”
Marlon Sunders, a business owner from Nevada, mentioned a rarely discussed aspect of Freshdesk. “We test the system and it’s great. Clean UI. Comprehensive phone support. Nothing to complain about. One specific thing we like is the data export. We’re able to get our .XML file into it.”
A few cons came from users who would like more reports available or who had problems with logging in, but this can be a case-to-case scenario depending on external factors like connectivity and device. In our Freshdesk review you can find more details about what our experts and other users think about the software.
Awards and Quality Certificates won by Freshdesk
Best Helpdesk Software Award for 2015
Freshdesk exemplifies the right combination expected from a perfect helpdesk: robust yet simple to use. After a close inspection of its features in various contexts and problem scenarios, we concluded that Freshdesk is an ideal helpdesk software that can match both the needs of small businesses and large enterprises. This range of flexibility makes the software unique in its category, giving its clients great capabilities to adjust to their current support needs.
Expert’s Choice Award
After our experts closely evaluated what Freshdesk has to offer feature by feature, we’ve concluded that it merits top performance with our Experts’ Choice Award. We have put the software through a battery of tests set by our reviewers, specifically to handle queries from different channels and automate varied SLA scenarios. We also put Freshdesk’s ticketing system to test. Results of our extensive testing make us confident that its clients can expect to be using one of the best helpdesk solution in the market today.
Verified Quality Seal
Our panel of B2B experts have awarded Freshdesk the Verified Quality Seal for meeting the strictest quality standards. The seal is a unique trust seal exclusively awarded by FinancesOnline, which highlights the quality of the software’s features and tools, as well as the reliability of vendor to provide excellent customer support. The seal indicates that after an in-depth inspection of the functionalities of Freshdesk against the vendor’s claims and marketing promises, the app passed our quality tests and is guaranteed to meet customer expectations and offer full satisfaction.
Great User Experience Certificate
Freshdesk was granted this award for its depth of features, customization and integration capabilities. These three aspects allow users to extend their support functionalities and adapt to the context of their customers’ needs. Likewise, we evaluated how easy it is to start using the product and how well-designed its interface and features are to facilitate the work process.
Useful Free Trial Certificate
This certificate is granted to products that offer a versatile and useful free trial to their customers. We evaluated the quality of options included in Freshdesk’s free trial–including its freemium–its limitations and the ability to judge the software itself based on the free trial contents. The free trial period gave us a holistic look at the software, which greatly aided us to assess the benefits of the software. If you’d like to test Freshdesk with their free trial plan you can easily sign up for Freshdesk free trial here.
An Interview with Fresdesk
We asked one of Freshdesk representatives what he thinks are Freshdesk’s unique features that set it apart from the competition. Aside from the features that we’ve presented above, he mentioned a few more functionalities that are worth quoting here.
Unique features of Freshdesk
He explained that each Freshdesk account can have multiple custom mailboxes, which allows the agents to manage all customer emails in one location. He also reiterated that support emails are automatically converted into tickets, categorized, prioritized, and assigned. “We are focused on making sure we offer a broad set of features for every channel a customer support team wants to engage with users,” he added, citing the software’s depth of multi-channel features as one of its key strengths.
Likewise, the built-in phone channel, he said, is the first of its kind in the market. “Businesses in 37 countries can set up a call center affordably in less than 15 minutes, without having to invest in expensive infrastructure. Localized phone numbers, customizable IVRs, call routing and transfer enable easy workflows with respect to phone support.” He also mentioned the live chat as a very useful Freshdesk tool. You can place it anywhere on your website and engage visitors with real-time support.
Another great feature of Freshdesk, he said, is its global customer support with customizable tools. “Freshdesk makes it extremely easy to scale support across multiple products, languages and timezones.” The software supports 26 different languages, even as it allows customization based on the agent’s language. Likewise, agents can set work hours on local time zone to match local customer traffic. “Similarly, distinct SLA policies can be set for every product, department, or company that the helpdesk supports, with automatic escalation emails to track violations,” he added.
3 popular problem scenarios that Freshdesk can solve
We also asked Freshdesk to give us some cases of typical problem scenarios that can be solved by using their software. Here are some of the scenarios he described to us:
1. Managing chaotic email communication: A small business uses a common inbox and shares access credentials with agents as its initial customer support infrastructure. As the business grows and it gets more customers, the company is now swamped with more customer queries. Soon, messages are buried in the inbox, agents reply to the same question twice (or even worse, with different answers), or they have no context about the customer, and the whole customer support system is in chaos.
After migrating to Freshdesk, agents can easily see who is handling what ticket (Agent Collission feature), track ticket statuses, see customer details, and practically streamline the whole support process. The whole change can be immediate. “Bearing in mind that most small business support teams have no more than two support agents sharing a single email address, Freshdesk offers up to three agents free forever on the Sprout plan which supports email and phone support,” said Freshdesk representative.
2. Collaboration between teams on support issues: Difficult tickets require collaboration between agents, managers, and even suppliers to address a technical issue. “They may also need to loop in other teams, like developers or testers, on a ticket to fix bugs or analyse issues,” he said, pointing out that Freshdesk’s private notes allow for internal communication right inside the ticket.
Likewise, replies from an external vendor are visible as private notes in the ticket thread. For phone calls, agents can forward the call to another agent or manager for assistance. On the other hand, chat queries can be routed to another agent or an expert in a private internal communication. “This is most used in situations where a specific person or team specializes in fixing a particular issue.”
3. Executing mundane repetitive tasks: According to Freshdesk, agents waste a lot of time categorizing, prioritizing, and assigning tickets to the right people using email or legacy systems. Yet again, they waste more time answering repetitive questions. “Freshdesk comes with a host of automations to reduce time, agent workload and boost productivity,” said Freshdesk representative. He mentioned four automations in Freshdesk that can boost agent productivity:
- The Dispatch’r, which runs on every new ticket and automatically categorizes, prioritizes and assigns the ticket to the right team
- The Supervisor and Observer, which are time-based and event-based triggers respectively, and can be used to set up rules to automatically send out notifications, manage escalations and follow ups on tickets.
- Agents can create pre-formatted reply templates to common questions as Canned Responses and reuse them with a single click
Category: B2B News
Freshdesk SmartScore and Customer Satisfaction
Our B2B experts conducted thorough Freshdesk reviews of its functionalities, user experience, customer support and other key elements of the service. Final results as summarized by the SmartScore system gave Freshdesk a score of 9.8/10, while the results provided by the Customer Satisfaction Algorithm place the overall user satisfaction rating at 98%. This puts Freshdesk at the very top of our list of best help desk solutions in 2015. If you want to try out the app on your own you can easily get Freshdesk free trial here.