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

Category: B2B News

Helpdesk solutions are key to business of any size to keep customers satisfied and guarantee their long-term relationship with you. In fact, it may be key to a first purchase. Forrester reported that 53% of adult online shoppers in the US abandon their orders when they can’t find immediate answers to their question while shopping. A live chat or knowledge base could have easily addressed their issue.

Helpdesk is an essential part of CRM, but has its unique set of processes that only a separate system can completely address. These include ticket management, task assignments, agent performance evaluation, and issue tracking.

One of the more popular helpdesk apps today is Zendesk. It’s robust with pricing that’s easy on the budget. It has reliable vendor support and scalable features to meet your growing customer service requirements. But sometimes, having a robust, rightly priced helpdesk solution isn’t enough. There are just some nuances that must be accommodated which Zendesk might have missed.

In this guide, we listed ten possible Zendesk alternatives. Some apps like Freshdesk are clearly a better option; however, the other apps may simply provide a choice and don’t instantly reflect superior features over Zendesk’s. Take a close look at the reasons why you should prefer the app over Zendesk or vice-versa.

What is Zendesk?

Zendesk is a highly flexible helpdesk app that caters to business of any size. It can accommodate 5 to 500 agents, a reflection of its scalable features. Whether you’re starting with the basic plan or premium package, you get to set up a multi-channel and extensive self-service support.

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 knowledge base and online communities for FAQ searches, you now have a 24/7 customer service even with only a few agents at the frontline.

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, branded front-end web interface.

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

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, e-commerce, 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

But sometimes, having a robust, rightly priced helpdesk solution isn’t enough. There are just some nuances that must be accommodated which Zendesk might have missed.

In this guide, we listed ten possible alternatives to Zendesk. Some apps like Freshdesk are clearly a better option; however, the other apps may simply provide a choice and don’t instantly reflect superior features over Zendesk’s. Take a close look at the reasons why you should prefer the app over Zendesk or vice-versa.

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.

1. Freshdesk

Freshdesk tops our list for its intuitive ticketing management, enhanced by key functions like automation and self-service portal. Our review experts conducted an extensive testing of its features and, overall, considered the app a leading help desk 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 to keeping customers satisfied and establishing long-term profitability.


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
User satisfaction

The software easily tops our Freshdesk alternatives in this list. You can immediately test its potential to improve your customer service with their great free trial. You simply sign up for Freshdesk free trial here.

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

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 for special cases.

It also helps you track customers’ mentions of you on social media and quickly post a reply for complaints or questions before an issue escalates. Moreover, Freshdesk has solid self-service feature, allowing customers to search the answers from a knowledge base. 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 5 agents to handle your entire customer service.

Why use Freshdesk instead of Zendesk?

  • Free app available and is rich in features, such as unlimited agents, access to App Gallery, email channel, knowledge base, 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 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 in a timely manner and make sure that calls are being forwarded to the right agents.  

If you’d like to learn more about this platform, you can sign up for Salesforce Essentials free trial here.

Salesforce Essentials

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

Salesforce Essentials won our Expert's Choice Award for 2018

Our score
User satisfaction

Salesforce Essentials also has great automation rules for processes like task assignment, ticket management, and role associations. This way, you can speed up your operations without compromising the quality of your performance. Moreover, the platform has a customizable self-service customer portal, where you can create knowledge bases, FAQs, and forums. 

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.

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 is a simple but powerful helpdesk with focus 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. In fact, LiveChat features are scalable to meet the needs of business 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 recurring issues to a knowledge base, too, freeing up your agents to focus on unique or pressing tickets. The use of universal storage bin also makes it easy to review the tickets for agent performance reviews.

Furthermore, this app has perhaps one of the more solid social media integrations in our list, more powerful than our LiveAgent alternatives in the 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.

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 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 of 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 with the recent launch of Zia, Zoho Desk’s very own AI assistant. Unlike other AI assistant, Zia does not only provide real-time support to customers with nearly human-like precision, but its function also involves assisting the agents in responding to customer inquiries. Zia’s role also includes monitoring the help desk and sending 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 when you sign up for Zoho Desk free trial here.

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. You may also check out other Zoho Desk alternatives.

Why use Zoho Desk instead of Zendesk?

  • Fully integrated smart assistant
  • Offers 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. Groove

Groove is a cloud-hosted help desk solution trusted by over 8000 companies across the globe. Equipped with a complete ticket management system, knowledge base, customer communication options, and reporting suite, this platform snagged a spot on our list because of its simple interface that does not skimp on powerful functionalities.

Aside from the essential help desk functionalities, this platform also comes with more advanced tools for team management, workflow automation, customer insight and profiling, white labeling, and HIPAA compliance management. With these at your disposal, it is easier to accelerate your processes without compromising the quality of service you provide your customers.

If you want to investigate the features closely you can easily do so when you sign up for Groove free trial here.

Another thing that makes this platform unique from its competitors is that it is significantly easy to use and set up than other software. For starters, it has a shared inbox feature that consolidates support tickets in one place so that no inquiries are overlooked. The system also makes these requests look and feel like email so you and your team don’t have to worry about steep learning curves. What’s more, it has fuss-free report customization options.

In case you feel like this platform will not be able to suit your operations, you can simply take a look at these Groove alternatives.

Why use Groove instead of Zendesk?

  • Groove has more user-friendly navigation which is great for tech-averse users.
  • It offers more features that are created for small to mid-sized businesses.
  • The platform has a more detailed performance tracking tool.
  • It allows you to add private notes to your tickets.
  • It has a better social media integration tool.

Why use Zendesk instead of Groove?

  • Zendesk can support interactive FAQs and customer portals.
  • This tool has a more flexible ticket management tool
  • It allows users to execute live chat and call center efforts with ease.
  • It is built to cater to the needs of all business sizes.
  • It is cheaper than Groove with plans starting at $5/month.

6. Samanage

Samanage is actually an IT service desk and asset management software with powerful helpdesk tools. This fact immediately separates it from  Samanage alternatives. Larger companies are using this software as an integrated service desk management for customers and employees alike.

The software helps I.T. to collect the company’s hardware and software assets including their configurations and specs. It also allows for creating multiple SLA targets and track their resolutions.

As a helpdesk tool, customers or employees can search for FAQs on the knowledge base, which can be integrated with a hotline email. One notable aspect of Samanage is that, as you build a heap of resolved incidents, you can organize these into insights on best practices and standards; thereby, further reinforcing your ticket-to-resolution pipeline.

But Samanage is optimized as a service desk, helping you monitor licenses, contracts, SLAs and potential risks to your assets.

Why use Samanage instead of Zendesk?

  • If you need to integrate service desk functions into your helpdesk or vice-versa
  • Manage assets and anticipate risks to them
  • Manage multiple SLAs and provide appropriate service
  • Can integrate with popular helpdesk apps like Zendesk to expand its set of customer support tools

Why use Zendesk instead of Samanage?

  • More focused helpdesk tools like ticketing management and reporting
  • Customer-facing UI
  • Report templates match small business needs
  • Simpler interface, navigation for average users
  • Pricing plans fit small business budget better

7. TeamSupport

TeamSupport aims to help your company operate as a single customer service unit with the departments linked to speed up ticket resolution or leverage insights based on the tickets. The app targets software development startups but can as well apply to any small and large B2B businesses.

The helpdesk software provides a centralized communication and collaboration platform that TeamSupport alternatives will find hard to match. This platform greatly streamlines activities between teams. Sales, support, I.T., marketing, and even finance can organize ad hoc groups and collaborate on a special ticket or discuss ideas that impact on customer service.

Likewise, TeamSupport helps you manage resources and clients with a range of advanced features, such as: sophisticated reporting, robust self-service portal, screencasting, live chat, and ticket automation.

Why use TeamSupport instead of Zendesk?

  • More comprehensive UI for team collaboration
  • Ticket engagement analytics to capture positive/negative trends
  • Advanced Customer Service Portal for cases the knowledge base can’t address
  • Advanced management tools like rights management and business intelligence integration

Why use Zendesk instead of TeamSupport?

  • Lower price entry at $5 vs. TeamSupport’s $40
  • Native Android and iOS apps
  • Email templates and tracking
  • Import/export data
  • Group rules and macros
  • Real-time monitoring and updates

8. Help Scout

Help Scout is preferred by many freelancers and small businesses for the right balance of features and affordability. In fact, it offers a free app for shared inbox. Its paid plan starts at $20 per user/month, providing you with a reliable set of automation, reporting and integration tools.

With this app, a small team gets to provide multiple channels for tickets and a shared inbox to collaborate on tough tickets.

Help Scout can build for your team a rich knowledge base, too. It’s fast to set this up, either import your existing FAQs or consolidate day-to-day resolutions in the base.

With a few clicks also you can set automation to address repetitive tasks and issues. You can base automation on the subject line, tags or response delay time, features that are not readily available in Help Scout alternatives.

You can also create rich customer profiles by adding notes and tags to associate customers to related data. You can prompt this profile for future conversation with the same customers.

As with most helpdesk apps, Help Scout allows for messaging options, You can format emails, insert signature and send personalized or canned response.

Why use Help Scout instead of Zendesk?

  • Free app featuring share inbox only
  • Flexible automation settings including sorting repetitive tasks from unique incidents
  • Detailed customer profiles with associated related data

Why use Zendesk instead of Help Scout?

  • Lower starting price at $5 per agent/month
  • More powerful ticketing
  • Robust reporting and analytics
  • Community forums
  • More integrations (over 100)
  • Multi-brand support
  • Screencasting

9. Vision Helpdesk

Vision Helpdesk is a suite of three modules that can closely be integrated to give you comprehensive customer service. It provides your customers with multiple channels to contact you.

Specifically, the Help Desk Software module focuses on ticket management and centralizing customer data like conversations, calls, chats, emails and social media posts. On the other hand, the Satellite Desk module is designed for corporations with several brands or products. It allows for individual portals for each brand but organized under a centralized place. Lastly, the Service Desk module serves as an I.T. service desk management system for asset management and technical requests. Together, the module becomes one of the most extensive customer service suites in our list. But if you’re a small team with basic helpdesk requirements, one of our Vision Helpdesk alternatives may be a better fit.

Why use Vision Helpdesk instead of Zendesk?

  • Covers I.T. service desk management requirements
  • Individual helpdesk portal for each brand organized under one mother portal
  • Ticket billing calculates allotted time on a ticket for invoicing
  • Third-party single log-in
  • Multiple SLA policies
  • Two-way email parsing

Why use Zendesk instead of Vision Helpdesk?

  • More flexible ticket management and automation workflow
  • Smoother multi-channel integration for emails, chats, web forms, calls, and social media
  • Reporting and analytics built in helpdesk system
  • Reporting templates
  • Wider integration with third-party apps and key systems like Salesforce, SugarCRM

10. JIRA Service Desk

JIRA Service Desk is another I.T. service desk management system that can be utilized as a helpdesk solution. It’s popularly used by software developers to build their helpdesk workflows over an open-source framework. Specifically, the service desk is deployed as a bug tracker to help I.T. identify, locate and resolve glitches.

Issues can be submitted as tickets or resolved through a self-service portal. The open-source platform adapts to core helpdesk functionalities like customer portal, knowledge base, collaboration interface and performance metrics. However, if you lack an I.T. team you might want to consider the out-of-the-box JIRA Service Desk alternatives we have in the list.

Why use JIRA Service Desk instead of Zendesk?

  • If you’re developing your own helpdesk workflows via an open source framework
  • Focused on issue requirements of  I.T. and product development teams
  • ITIL compliant

Why use Zendesk instead of JIRA Service Desk?

  • Off-the-shelf core helpdesk functionalities
  • 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 integration of unique processes

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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