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Top 10 Alternatives to Zendesk: Analysis of Leading Help Desk Software Solutions

Category: B2B News
What is the top alternative to Zendesk?
The top alternative to Zendesk is Freshdesk because it offers a similar feature set that includes advanced tools such as automation, time tracking, and surveys. Moreover, the vendor offers a free plan called Sprout that is very functional and, in many cases, can handle all the basic help desk requirements of small- to medium-sized businesses.

It was reported that 53% of adult online shoppers in the US abandon their orders when they can’t find immediate answers to their questions while shopping. Thus, it is very important to have useful shopping information handy for your customers. Also, it’s best to have a customer service specialist available to answer important questions during this critical purchasing phase. The best way to do that is by arming yourself with a good help desk software. And, one of the best ones out there is Zendesk.

However, it is not the only solution at the top of the heap. Many others rival it in ease-of-use, price, additional features, and customer support. Also, many of Zendesk’s wonderful features are perched way up on its pricing tiers. Many potential users can’t get over this price barrier. So, in this article, we present to you the top alternatives to Zendesk available today. If you want to switch platforms or are just shopping around, we hope this article helps you make a well-informed purchase.

leading zendesk alternatives

The top five channels that customers use are voice calls (82%), email (62%), live chat (43%), social media (25%) and SMS (22%). A help desk professional knows that it is a real waste of time to have several devices at one time to deal with incoming and outgoing communications. This takes too much time and is very inefficient. So, the most successful help desk teams use cream-of-the-crop help desk software like Zendesk to keep everything in one place. Agents can then seamlessly move from channel to channel, providing support to customers. 

Top 5 Online Channels Customers Use

Voice Calls

%

Email

%

Live Chat

%

Social Media

%

SMS

%

Source: HubSpot

Designed by

However, there are a few things that make help desk professionals shy away from the software solution. Firstly, it has features like customer surveys, automation, and time tracking available only in its higher-tier plans. Secondly, its pricing scheme is not the friendliest out there. Thus, many opt for other solutions that are as powerful yet not as pricey.

Help desk software solutions today litter the market. But, not all of them are top-notch solutions. In this article, we compiled the best ones available and those that stand out as true alternatives to Zendesk. But first, let’s revisit what Zendesk is.

What is Zendesk?

Zendesk Dashboard

Zendesk is a powerful, cloud-based help desk software designed to help businesses deliver fast and effective customer support. Regarded by many as one of the leaders in the help desk software category, Zendesk provides scalable customer service and engagement tools tailored to cater to the needs of businesses, big and small. Whether you’re starting with the basic plan or premium package, you get to set up a multi-channel and extensive self-service support. This way, you can reach out to and engage your customers from all channels with ease.

Emails, chats, web form submissions, and social media posts by your customers are easily transformed into tickets and pooled into the system like a one-stop-shop for customer issues. Add to that the self-service portal that can host a rich knowledgebase and online communities for FAQ searches; you now have 24/7 customer service, even with only a few agents at the frontline.

The vendor has an appealing free trial where you can tinker with the features at no cost. 

Zendesk

An award given to products our B2B experts find especially valuable for companies

Try out Zendesk with their free trial

For managers and team leaders, Zendesk provides powerful reporting and analytics to measure key metrics like customer satisfaction ratings, resolution speed, and agent performance. Newbies to customer support management will also find the 20+ report templates helpful. Other notable features are screencasting, public and private forums, multi-location time zones, and a branded front-end web interface.

Zendesk is accessible from desktop and mobile via the cloud, a practical helpdesk app that puts your customer service on par with that of big companies.

Detailed Zendesk Review

Benefits of Zendesk

  • Flexible ticket management with configurable rules and macros
  • Can manage thousands of tickets daily even with a small team
  • Self-service allows for 24/7 helpdesk coverage
  • Branding and customization helps freelancers exhibit a corporate professional look
  • Wide integration with key systems like analytics & reporting, agent productivity, CRM, ecommerce, social media; specifically with Salesforce, Google Apps, Atlassian, FreshBooks and WordPress
  • More than a hundred off-the-shelf integrations with 3rd party apps, and API key for your apps

Top 10 Zendesk Alternatives

The ten Zendesk alternatives on our list include three service desk management systems that also act as helpdesk solutions for many companies. For each app, we highlight the features that are not present or limited compared to Zendesk and the other way around. In case the solutions on this list are still too advanced or expensive, you might also want to check out our list of top help desk software for small business.

1. Freshdesk

freshdesk dashboard

Freshdesk tops our list for its intuitive ticketing management, enhanced by key functions like automation and self-service portal. Our review experts conducted extensive testing of its features and, overall, considered the app a leading customer support software for small and medium-sized businesses. It helps drive the efficiency of your support agents and improve their overall customer service performance. It’s a key business app for keeping customers satisfied and establishing long-term profitability.

The software provides a wide range of support features best suited to support teams that are overwhelmed by volumes of tickets every day. The app includes smart automation, self-service portals, gamification, multi-channel options, and can handle varying SLA policies. But Freshdesk excels best in managing tickets, the bane of many a startup with small support teams.

The software covers most of the essential ticketing processes that a small team can manage tons of customer issues daily. Agents can collaborate, too, on tickets and provide fast but well-thought-of replies. Tickets are likewise routed automatically to the right person based on your settings. You can set rules, however, to override automation in special cases. 

If you want to know more about the features, the vendor has a free trial plan that you can take advantage of.

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.

Try out Freshdesk with their free trial

Moreover, it helps you track customers’ mentions of you on social media and quickly post a reply to complaints or questions before an issue escalates. Also, Freshdesk has a solid self-service feature, allowing customers to search the answers from a knowledgebase. As they type a query in the self-service portal, customers get suggested topics, thus, fast-tracking the search experience.

Furthermore, the app automates the entire helpdesk process from ticket routing to resolution. Combined with self-service features for FAQs, automation makes it possible even for a team of five agents to handle your entire customer service. 

In case you are still unsatisfied with the features that this platform has to offer, feel free to check out these great Freshdesk alternatives.

Detailed Freshdesk Review

Why use Freshdesk instead of Zendesk?

  • Free app available and is rich in features, such as unlimited agents, access to App Gallery, email channel, knowledgebase, standard phone channel, and basic social channel
  • Lower price entry at $19 vs. $25 for Zendesk
  • App users can turn to Freshdesk community for advice, tips, and ideas on how to optimize customer service using the software
  • Supports multiple SLA policies

Why use Zendesk instead of Freshdesk?

  • Prebuilt integration with Salesforce and SugarCRM
  • Integration with other specific systems like 123Contact Form, 3CLogic, AgileCRM, AppGuru, and Azuqua

2. Salesforce Essentials

salesforce essentials dashboard

Salesforce Essentials is a popular helpdesk application that combines CRM, sales management, and customer support in one convenient interface. Built for small teams who want to improve customer interactions and increase conversions, this software has the tools you need to drive efficiency and productivity. With it, you can easily route service requests promptly and make sure that calls are being forwarded to the right agents.

Salesforce Essentials also has great automation rules for processes like task assignment, ticket management, and role associations. In this way, you can speed up your operations without compromising the quality of your performance. Moreover, Salesforce Essentials is also good for small businesses

You can check the solution closely when you can sign up for their free trial plan.

Salesforce Essentials

Salesforce Essentials

Try out Salesforce Essentials with their free trial

Moreover, the platform has a customizable self-service customer portal, where you can create knowledgebases, FAQs, and forums. Thus, customers can try and solve problems themselves or together. This also helps reduce the number of your tickets and pull down your response time while increasing your issue resolution numbers. 

In case you don’t feel like this product is the right fit for your operations, worry not. Just take a look at these Salesforce Essentials alternatives instead.

Detailed Salesforce Essentials Review

Why use Salesforce Essentials instead of Zendesk?

  • Native Salesforce integration
  • Universal inbox consolidates emails, chats, Twitter/Facebook posts, phone calls
  • Built-in CRM tools
  • Comprehensive customer profiling, including associate contacts, past, and pending issues
  • Multilingual vendor support
  • Sales pipeline tracking options
  • Lightning app builder capability

Why use Zendesk instead of Salesforce Essentials?

  • Reporting templates
  • More out-of-the-box third-party app integrations
  • Full CSS rebranding
  • Screencasting
  • Public and private forums
  • Lower price entry at $5 vs. $25 for Salesforce Essentials

3. LiveAgent

LiveAgent dashboard

LiveAgent is a simple but powerful helpdesk focusing on live chat, email support, and social media integration. But don’t be fooled by its positioning as a powerful chat tool; it features a comprehensive set of helpdesk tools, including ticket management, reporting, and gamification. LiveChat features are scalable to meet the needs of businesses of any size. The app can handle tons of tickets daily, even with a small team.

As with Freshdesk, setup is simple and fast. Tickets are centralized via a universal inbox and routed to the right department based on your presets. You can automate routing of recurring issues to a knowledgebase, too, freeing up your agents to focus on unique or pressing tickets. The use of a universal storage bin also makes it easy to review tickets for agent performance reviews.

You can use all the features for free for a period of time to see if the software matches your needs.

Freshdesk

Freshdesk

Try out Freshdesk with their free trial

Furthermore, this app has perhaps one of the more solid social media integrations on our list. It scours Facebook and Twitter for tags, keywords, and mentions that relate to you, allowing you to monitor and capture social conversations that matter to your branding or sales.

But, of course, if you feel like this still isn’t a fit for your organization, you can always check out these LiveAgent alternatives.

Detailed LiveAgent Review

Why use LiveAgent instead of Zendesk?

  • Optimized universal inbox for ticket management and agent performance review
  • Hybrid ticketing combines ticket forms and live chat
  • Suite of live chat tools like proactive invitations, chat overview, chat history, chat distribution and real-time typing
  • Smoother social media integration (Facebook and Twitter)
  • Canned messages via macros

Why use Zendesk instead of LiveAgent?

  • Plenty of time-saving widgets like streamlined conversations, triggers, ticket views, sharing and automation
  • More robust self-service support with autofill searches and active online communities
  • 20+ template reports to match agent performance vs. targets
  • 100 off-the-shelf integration with key apps like Salesforce, Google Apps, Atlassian, FreshBooks and WordPress
  • Open API to add your apps

4. Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk Dashboard

Zoho Desk provides an affordable yet comprehensive help desk platform dedicated to improving agent productivity and delivering top-notch support to customers. With Zoho Desk, business organizations have different options for providing customer support, including a ticketing system, live chat, and even through popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Aside from its multiple channel customer support, Zoho Desk takes pride in being the first context-aware help desk software in the industry— a feature that has been further reinforced by the recent launch of Zia, Zoho Desk’s very own AI assistant. Unlike other AI assistants, Zia does not only provide real-time support to customers with nearly human-like precision, but its function also involves assisting agents in responding to customer inquiries. Zia’s role also includes monitoring the help desk and sending out alerts if there are anomalies, as well as providing managers with relevant insights and predictions that can help them identify issues and resolve them before they get worse.

You can try all its premium features at no cost through the vendor’s free trial plan.

Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk

Try out Zoho Desk with their free trial

When it comes to pricing, Zoho Desk is significantly marked lower compared to Zendesk with a starting price of $15/month per agent. Zoho Desk offers a free plan, too, with all the basic features and tools for businesses for up to 3 agents.

Don’t think this platform will meet your requirements? Don’t worry. There are plenty of other Zoho Desk alternatives that you can check out.

Detailed Zoho Desk Review

Why use Zoho Desk instead of Zendesk?

  • Fully integrated smart assistant
  • Offers a free plan
  • Affordable paid plans
  • Dedicated customer service software
  • Customizable help center
  • Remote support
  • Domain mapping
  • Social media and live chat channels

Why use Zendesk instead of Zoho Desk?

  • Multi-locale and multi-lingual support
  • Pre-built Salesforce and SugarCRM
  • Screencasting
  • Unlimited, free “light” agents
  • Customer-facing web interface
  • 100+ out-of-the-box integrations with third-party applications
  • Multi-brand support with linked accounts

5. Wix Answers

wix answers dashboard

Wix Answers is a comprehensive cloud-based help desk solution that may be newer than others but still rivals them in terms of features, power, and price. It is a complete customer support and a help desk product that allows agents to view all customer interaction details from one place. So, it doesn’t matter if a customer contacted you first on the phone, then on social media, then via text, and even through email. It caches all this information under an easily-searchable customer profile.

Because it is made by Wix, the top website builder platform, Wix Answers also allows you to create your very own help and support center, complete with branding and other customization options. If you don’t have the time or skills to design it on your own, you can even choose from many designer-made templates available in the system.

If you want to know more about the features, you may take advantage of the vendor’s free trial plan and test out the software at your own pace.

Wix Answers

Wix Answers

Try out Wix Answers with their free trial

Also, like other top solutions, it has modules for ticket management, customizable contact forms, and hybrid live chat, among others. Moreover, users definitely enjoy the call center module inside. This allows you to deliver support by phone to your clients using your own 1-800 number.

Furthermore, Wix also has robust insights and analytics modules that enable you to address the top issues that your customers are facing and how your team performs. What’s more, you can optimize the content of your help center based on the data and feedback on your most popular articles.

If you think this is not for you, you may check out other Wix Answers alternatives here.

Detailed Wix Answers Review

Why use Wix Answers instead of Zendesk?

  • Create help desk center easily
  • Easy-to-use and easy-to-learn
  • It has a friendly price for its premium version for only at $45 per month

Why use Zendesk instead of Wix Answers?

  • Screencasting
  • Has a sales CRM module
  • 100+ out-of-the-box integrations with third-party applications
  • Multi-brand support with linked accounts

6. Freshservice

Freshservice Dashboard

Freshservice is an IT-first service desk that keeps everything support-related simple. Like top general non-specialized help desk platforms, it offers a robust ticketing and a help center module. Being a specialized IT-based help desk platform, it offers modules to manage assets, release, incidents, and your service catalog.

It is a product from Freshworks, the company behind Freshdesk, our top alternative, and other popular programs such as Freshsales and Freshmarketer.

Should you want to investigate the platform firsthand, you may do so if you sign up for the vendor’s free trial plan. 

Freshservice

Freshservice

Try out Freshservice with their free trial

And like Freshdesk, it has a very friendly pricing scheme that starts at only $19 per agent per month, billed yearly. Other features include a knowledgebase, self-service portal, domain whitelisting, contract management, audit logs, sandbox, and many more. Of course, this is the help desk service of choice for companies with IT-heavy brands and products. This is especially so for B2B firms.

If you want to take a look at other IT help desk platforms, check out our Freshservice alternatives list.

Detailed Freshservice Review

Why use Freshservice instead of Zendesk?

  • If you need a specialized IT help desk, Freshservice provides it better
  • Has IT services-heavy features such as asset management, sandbox and change, problem, and release management
  • It is highly scalable

Why use Zendesk instead of Freshservice?

  • Stick to Zendesk if you are not offering much IT-related support like if you are in retail or real estate
  • Easy-to-use customer-facing UI
  • Simpler interface, navigation for average users

7. Atera

Atera Dashboard

Atera is another IT help desk platform specializing in making complex IT-related issues simple. It is a remote monitoring and management platform that has robust modules for billing, support, remote access functions, and analytics. Other important features include custom scripting, mobile technician management, IT automation, and patch management. 

Of course, like its general and non-specialized help desk solutions cousins, it has a ticket management module complete with a chat feature. The difference is that it is a very specialized platform, just like Freshservice. However, it is best known for having a best-in-class remote access capability. For its Pro plan, you get a maximum of two concurrent remote access sessions.

You can try all its premium features at no cost when you sign up for a free trial plan.

Atera

Atera

Try out Atera with their free trial

But, as it is advanced and highly specialized, it is a little bit pricey for some. Its Pro plan starts at $79 per month per technician, billed annually. That’s $948 for a year. This is quite affordable when you get many incoming questions and complaints from customers. If you don’t, then maybe this is not the right product for you. However, you can easily have a go at this yourself.

If you want more choices, take a look at some Atera alternatives here.

Detailed Atera Review

Why use Atera instead of Zendesk?

  • Top-notch remote access sessions
  • Highly specialized tools for IT-based support
  • Patch management module
  • Analytics and billing

Why use Zendesk instead of TeamSupport?

  • Lower price entry at $5 
  • Email templates and tracking
  • Much simpler interface
  • Group rules and macros

8. HubSpot Service Hub

Hubspot Service Hub Dashboard

HubSpot Service Hub is a relatively recent addition to the whole suite of HubSpot products like HubSpot Marketing and Sales. Like both of these, it is predicated on the core HubSpot CRM base, which, as its name suggests, offers a CRM framework for other business processes. And, just like its siblings, it is a top-flight program and one of the best alternatives out there for Zendesk. 

It provides you with comprehensive back-end features to manage interactions and provide support through all your virtual front-end touchpoints in just one place. The feature set includes conversational bots, reporting, live chat module, customer goals, knowledgebase, automation, routing, and conversations aggregator. Of course, like other top apps, it includes a ticketing module and other feedback options like surveys.

If you want to check its comprehensive feature set, you may take advantage of the free trial plan that the vendor offers. 

HubSpot Service Hub

HubSpot Service Hub

Try out HubSpot Service Hub with their free trial

Also, there are collaboration tools and performance tracking features for your team, as well. These include analytics, insights, and team email. These features are very comprehensive, especially for a software platform that is somewhat overlooked.

Service Hub is offered in three standard plans with its basic Starter plan at $50 a month with one paid user and a $400 Professional plan with five paid users. Enterprise, its highest tier, starts at $1,200 a month, including ten paid users.

Moreover, you can check out HubSpot Service alternatives here.

Detailed HubSpot Service Hub Review

Why use HubSpot Service instead of Zendesk?

  • It has a more comprehensive feature set.
  • When you are already using a HubSpot product, this is the next logical add-on if you want to level up your help desk processes
  • Conversational bots

Why use Zendesk instead of HubSpot?

  • Lower starting price at $5 per agent/month
  • Screencasting
  • Cleaner interface

9. JitBit HelpDesk

Jitbit Helpdesk dashboard

JitBit HelpDesk is a solution offered in both cloud-based and on-premise deployments. It is described as an email-first helpdesk, as this is their best module to date. Having been polished for a long while, it is smooth and easy to use. This is thanks to its intuitive design and years of live testing with real customer feedback. However, they also have other modules that round their core email ticket management features such as live chat, chatbots, and a knowledgebase like other top apps.

The platform also offers robust analytics and automation options. It has useful integrations with other popular software such as Slack, Dropbox, and JIRA as well. Its total number of integrations with other systems reach over 500.

The vendor offers a comprehensive free trial to get you up to speed with the features.

JitBit HelpDesk

JitBit HelpDesk

Try out JitBit HelpDesk with their free trial

What’s also great is that JitBit HelpDesk has an “Ideas” forum. This unique feature allows you to have your customers vote on new features or other ideas. They can also use this platform for public online discussions. With this free add-on, you can even improve your product management by making it more data-driven.

It’s hosted version is priced starting from $29 per month for a single user. Its on-premise version starts from $1699 for up to ten agents.

For more similar apps, please check out this JitBit HelpDesk alternatives list.

Detailed JitBit HelpDesk Review

Why use JitBit HelpDesk instead of Zendesk?

  • Robust and easy-to-use email ticketing system
  • Use the “Ideas” forum for product management and more
  • It has more comprehensive features included in its lower-tiered plans
  • Good integrations and very easy to set up 

Why use Zendesk instead of Vision Helpdesk?

  • Smoother multi-channel integration for emails, chats, web forms, calls, and social media
  • Analytics module is a bit easier to use
  • Reporting templates

10. SysAid

sysaid dashboard

SysAid is our last software on this list. However, it is definitely not the least in many respects. First off, this help desk software has a robust remote asset management module available. This allows you to control and manage assets across your businesses and analyze their performance easily. This module also includes a good inventory management portion, complete with service history records.

Like other top help desk platforms, it has a self-service portal, knowledgebase module, and ticket management. Furthermore, it has all the necessary features for a good help desk software such as live chat and automation.

You can use all the features for free for a period of time to see if the software matches your needs. 

SysAid

SysAid

Try out SysAid with their free trial

Another thing that makes this a very good alternative is that it also has an IT asset management module built-in already. So, this makes it a good choice for an IT or a B2C company selling tech products and services.

The platform is offered via a quoted based plan according to your needs. If you’d like to find similar products, you can check out our SysAid alternatives list here.

Detailed SysAid Review

Why use SysAid instead of Zendesk?

  • If your organization is a B2C tech company that offers both customer and technical support
  • Robust remote access management
  • Patch management powered by GFI
  • Monitor your IT network, servers, system processes, SNMP Traps, and even mobile devices, among others

Why use Zendesk instead of SysAid?

  • Easy integration with a wide array of third-party apps
  • Templates for quick reporting
  • Intuitive UI for non-technical users
  • Easy configurations with deep customization
  • API key for the integration of unique processes

Some Tips on Help Desk Software Hunting

People have different reasons for looking up alternatives to a software solution. Some users are not totally satisfied with features, pricing, or just the overall look and feel of the platform anymore.

Meanwhile, others switch because of poor customer service experiences. For a fraction of first-time software hunters of a particular tool category, many are just looking for good alternatives to their top pick, and this is wise. It follows the adage, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” and eggs here are time and resources invested in research.

However, there are a few ways to cut down the time it takes to decide and make efficient strides to adopting a new software product. This is just part of the overall digital transformation process. So, to help you start on the right foot, here are a few tips that you might find useful.

  1. Assess who will be the end-users in your organization
  2. Have representatives from your target end-users help you decide on which software to purchase
  3. Assign teams to evaluate software in your shortlist using free demos and trial
  4. Have teams report on their findings and discuss with them before deciding
  5. Let representatives help you create a software adoption and process implementation plan for your entire organization

But, if you are the one tasked to do this for your outfit, then it’s likely that you have to do all of these on your own. To give you a headstart in evaluating what’s the best help desk software for you, we suggest that you give our top Zendesk alternative, Freshdesk, a try. First, you’d see that it has a free edition with ample features for simpler help desk processes. Second, it is as powerful as Zendesk. And last, it is more feature-rich when it comes to its lower-tiered plans. You can try all its premium features at no cost when you sign up for a Freshdesk free trial.

Additionally, we suggest that you read about the latest help desk statistics to keep you abreast of the goings-on and practices across various industries.

You can also take a look at current customer service statistics and data as well in this report. Happy software hunting, and good luck with your software implementation.

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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