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  • Salesforce Competitors: 5 Alternative Help Desk Software Apps to Choose From

Salesforce Competitors: 5 Alternative Help Desk Software Apps to Choose From

Category: B2B News

Getting a robust help desk software that scales to your requirements and one that is widely trusted is a logical business decision. So having Salesforce Service Cloud as your customer service backend is a sound step towards increasing customer satisfaction. We’ll discuss below the numerous benefits to be had with this solution, including the obvious: it’s part of the Salesforce infrastructure, arguably the industry benchmark for CRM and other key business processes.

However, not all businesses will require robust solutions and may find Service Cloud a bit on the costly side. There are plenty of help desk vendors that peddle comparable software features at a fraction of the price. Sure, they don’t give you the Salesforce advantage, but they do deliver their own merits.

In this article, we’ll present five fitting Salesforce Service Cloud alternatives, one of which may just suit your needs.

5 Salesforce Service Cloud Alternatives

What You Should Look for in a Help Desk Software

At their core, help desk solutions feature ticket management that routes customer queries to agents. This is a standard tool and you can expect the process to be automated and integrated with analytics. Likewise, most help desk apps give you reporting dashboards that display key indicators like resolution rate, ticket volume and pending issues.

Where the difference lies is perhaps in the depth of features or how advanced the tools are to meet certain requirements. For instance, omnichannel is a level higher than multichannel; the latter lets you communicate in different channels but the tools are still disparate, while the former allows you to consolidate all queries in one place, whatever channel.

In such case, you need to know first how much advanced features you need. The good news is, the Salesforce Service Cloud and the five help desk alternatives we’re listing here let you start off with a basic plan that you can scale readily to more advanced features.

Yes, you should invest in technology if only to ride on the increasing customer satisfaction rate in the U.S. where 8 in 10 Americans saying they’re happy with businesses, according to an American Express survey.

Source: American Express

What is Salesforce Service Cloud

Salesforce Service Cloud is the cloud customer support management solution built on the Salesforce platform. It complements and natively integrates with the widely popular Salesforce Sales Cloud (CRM) — and other Salesforce products for that matter — to help you deliver consolidated pre- and post-sales service. Like most Salesforce products, Service Cloud scales to business of any size and can be bundled with optional add-ons.

An omnichannel help desk, Service Cloud acts as a single console for customer queries from different channels, such as phone, email, chat and social media. As a cloud solution also, it can be accessed anywhere and via mobile. Service Cloud is especially useful to keep tabs on your social pages and mentions, allowing you to respond fast to negative posts or broadcast positive shoutouts. The solution helps you integrate social media support seamlessly into your customer service infrastructure, considering 90% of social media users have used the channel to communicate with a brand.

Benefits of Salesforce Service Cloud

Salesforce Service Cloud is suited for small business but can scale to enterprise. Whatever your business size or industry you can leverage the following capabilities:

  1. Built on the Salesforce platform. It natively integrates with the most popular CRM system, Sales Cloud and other Salesforce products for marketing, ecommerce, analytics and hosted platform.
  2. Omnichannel console. Omnichannel means you can reach customers (and vice-versa) through various channels: phone, email, chat, social from a single console. It ensures no tickets are missed and pending issues are spotted fast. Allows you to route tickets quickly to the right agent resulting in faster issue resolution
  3. Neat dashboard. The dashboard lays out key ticket information such as the product in question, complainant’s contact details, channel source and historical conversations. Agents can easily digest context off newly endorsed tickets.
  4. Task automation. Tickets can be routed to the right agent or self-service based on rules. For deep customized processes the system can be integrated further with the Salesforce Service Process and Automation module.
  5. Real-time metrics. Reporting features real-time metrics displayed on dashboards and can be accessed from mobile or desktop. Analytics allow you to make better business decisions or evaluate agent performance accurately.
  6. Smart self-service. You can create a knowledge base and customer communities and let customers find the answers on their own. Not only do you help customers help themselves, but you free agents from repetitive inquiries.

Top 5 Alternatives to Salesforce Service Cloud

1. Freshdesk

freshdesk dashboard example

Topping our Salesforce Service Cloud alternatives, Freshdesk leverages its own cloud architecture as part of the Freshworks suite of business apps. That means it can match Salesforce on integration, at least with a native CRM, ensuring your sales processes are closely coordinated with support. It is ideally suited for small business but can be upgraded for enterprise features. It also works with Android and iOS, so it’s highly accessible. Its key features include: email-to-ticket conversion; self-service portal; knowledge base; multiple SLAs; multichannel support; satisfaction surveys; and gamification. Freshdesk is considerably lighter than Salesforce and that may be an advantage if you’re looking for a plug-and-play app.

The vendor has an appealing free trial offer. You can easily sign up for a Freshdesk free trial here.

Freshdesk

This award is given to the best product in our help desk software category. It highlights its superior quality and underlines the fact that it's a leader on the market.

Freshdesk won our Best Help Desk Software Award 2018

Our score
9.8
User satisfaction
100%

Why use Freshdesk instead of Salesforce Service Cloud?

  • It’s got a free basic plan that includes unlimited agents, email channel, app gallery, knowledge base, but comes with limited phone and social support.
  • You need a lightweight but scalable help desk.
  • You’re already using Freshsales, the vendor’s CRM. Native integration means more seamless exchange between sales and support data.

Why use Salesforce Service Cloud instead of Freshdesk?

  • You need a robust help desk that can scale to highly advanced tools for business intelligence, marketing, hosted platform, among others.
  • You’re already using Salesforce Cloud, for smooth integration with your customer data.
  • You have an in-house IT team that can optimize the Salesforce API for deep data integration.

Even an excellent help desk app may not fit your unique requirement, so do explore Freshdesk alternatives.

2. LiveAgent

liveagent dashboard example

LiveAgent features a real-time live chat widget that you can embed on your website and effect a proactive customer service. The live chat can also help you engage prospects right at the moment when they are interested in your product, for example, they are viewing your Features or Pricing page. The app is ideal for small and mid-sized businesses.

Like Service Cloud, LiveAgent features omnichannel that consolidates in one place queries from various channels such as chat, email, phone and social. Queries are transformed easily into tickets and routed to an agent.

A key feature, it integrates with a native call center software, helping you expand to providing contact support with unlimited inbound calls. Other standout features include: robust ticket management with a universal inbox; Twitter and Facebook integration; SLA-based analytics, self-service; and gamification.

If you want to explore the features firsthand you can conveniently do so when you sign up for a LiveAgent free trial here.

Why use LiveAgent instead of Salesforce Service Cloud?

  • Your focus is on providing live chat, which the app is built around.
  • You want to include a fully featured contact center with minimum capital outlay.
  • You want to start low, the app’s price starting at $9 per agent per month.

Why use Salesforce Service Cloud instead of LiveAgent?

  • You need a robust help desk that can add more advanced features beyond live chat.
  • You’ve already built up a Salesforce suite of apps.
  • You want to develop custom apps for your help desk processes

You can always compare this software with LiveAgent alternatives and see how it holds up in features, pricing and other factors that matter to you.

3. Freshservice

freshservice dashboard example

Freshservice is an IT management service desk, but it can adapt to a help desk purpose. Think of it as a robust version of Freshdesk. So if your customer service needs are more complicated, for example, dealing with multiple layers of your own service providers to deliver customer support, you go for Freshservice, not Freshdesk. In short, where you might consider Salesforce Service Cloud for its advanced features, you can check Freshservice also, which can match the former in terms of complex modules. Here are some of the key modules you’ll get from Freshservice:

  • ITIL
  • Asset management
  • Change management
  • Release management
  • Service catalog

You can sign up for a Freshservice free trial here to check the features at no cost.

Why use Freshservice instead of Salesforce Service Cloud?

  • You deal with SaaS or IT-related service since Freshservice is designed around ITIL.
  • You have frequent product development projects, the service desk can document end-to-end project phases.
  • You’re looking for specific service desk modules like asset management and change management.

Why use Salesforce Service Cloud instead of Freshservice?

  • You just want basic help desk tools like ticket management and self-service.
  • Or if you want a robust help desk, but can do away with service desk features.
  • You’re already using Salesforce Cloud.

If you think the software does not fit your needs you can always check these Freshservice alternatives.

4. Vision Helpdesk

vision helpdesk dashboard example

Vision Helpdesk is a robust help desk that is part of a trio of support solutions, the other two being satellite help desk and a service desk. What this means is you can expand your support infrastructure significantly. Sold separately, the satellite help desk is especially useful for companies handling multiple brands or websites but want to keep all issues in one place. Likewise, the help desk scales to enterprise ITIL/ITSM-compliant processes like change management, problem management and release management. So in terms of handling complex issues, Vision Helpdesk can match, even surpass, Service Cloud.

It’s got omnichannel like Service Cloud, too, able to handle multiple channels such as phone, chat, Facebook/Twitter and email in one place. Similarly, it works with Android and iOS. An interesting feature is the on-premise option. You can purchase a license and install it locally.

If you sign up for a Vision Helpdesk free trial here you can better evaluate the features at no cost and commitment.

Why use Vision Helpdesk instead of Salesforce Service Cloud?

  • You have multiple brands or websites and want to consolidate their tickets in one place.
  • You handle ITIL/ITSM-compliant processes.
  • For any reason that you want to go on-premise.

Why use Salesforce Service Cloud instead of Vision Helpdesk?

  • You don’t need a service desk, just help desk.
  • You’re already using other Salesforce products.

If you think this help desk solution is offering more than what you need you can always check these Vision Helpdesk alternatives.

5. TeamSupport

teamsupport dashboard example

Rounding up our Salesforce Service Cloud alternatives, TeamSupport stands out for its intended users:  B2B companies, especially SaaS. It has strong emphasis on parent-child hierarchies for issue tracking and resolution. B2B client issues often involve multiple internal sources of client feedback. Agents need a system that can keep the context consistent as the issue passes from one client party to another. TeamSupport seeks to address this unique scenario. Its customer management features full company and contact database and a Customer Distress Index and Alerts. Its ticket management has conditional custom fields, while a products & inventory module makes it easy to connect products with feature requests and bug alerts.

The vendor has a comprehensive free trial offer. You can sign up for a TeamSupport free trial here.

Why use TeamSupport instead of Salesforce Service Cloud?

  • If your business is SaaS or B2B.
  • If often providing support requires team collaboration.

Why use Salesforce Service Cloud instead of TeamSupport?

  • If you’re not a B2B or SaaS vendor
  • If your key business processes are already hooked on the Salesforce infrastructure.

If this software cannot meet your exact needs, there are TeamSupport alternatives to check.

To recap, Salesforce Service Cloud is an appealing help desk solution that meets the requirements of business of any size. More so, it integrates with the Salesforce infrastructure. But the five Salesforce Service Cloud alternatives above are in and by themselves a good match, depending on specific features that we have spelled out above. Consider your priorities to make a better decision on which help desk software to go for.

Are you looking for small business help desk apps? You can check our top 20 help desk for small business here to fast track your product research.

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. No stranger to small business hiccups and drama, having been involved in a few internet startups. Prior to his for-profit ventures, he has had managed corporate communications for a Kansas City-based Children International unit.

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