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

Freshdesk: Top Help Desk Tool

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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, 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

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 won our Best Help Desk Software Award for 2017

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.

The software easily tops our Freshdesk alternatives in this list. Moreover, Freshdesk a recipient of our 2017 Best Helpdesk Software Award and Expert’s Choice Award for its intuitive ticket management, enhanced by essential features like automation and self-service portal. 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 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. 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 realt-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

3. 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

4. Desk.com

  

Desk.com by Salesforce is a popular helpdesk app targeted at small and medium-sized businesses. It centralizes customer conversations in one place where your teams can collaborate on unique tickets. The single-location platform also makes it easy to prioritize urgent tickets, route tickets, spot pending messages and basically any related issues forwarded from chat, email, phone and social media. Likewise, you can send replies through the same interface, greatly increasing the resolution time period.

Desk.com is also one of a handful apps on our list with solid social media integration. Particularly, you can create a Facebook Private Messaging-based support channel, better than many of the Desk.com alternatives on this list.

It also provides a customizable self-service customer portal, where the Content Manager allows for editing and updating the knowledge base. Similarly, Desk.com has good automation rules for standard processes like ticket routing, task assignment, setting of case status, role associations and priority tickets.

Why use Desk.com instead of Zendesk?

  • Native Salesforce integration
  • Universal inbox consolidates emails, chats, Twitter/Facebook posts, phone calls
  • Discussion boards for team collaboration
  • Comprehensive customer profiling including associate contacts, past and pending issues
  • Multilingual vendor support
  • Bulk updating
  • Reward system
  • Business rules for auto tasking

Why use Zendesk instead of Desk.com?

  • Reporting templates
  • More out-of-the-box third-party app integrations
  • Full CSS rebranding
  • Open API key for integrating your own processes and functions
  • Screencasting
  • Public and private forums
  • Lower price entry at $5 vs. $20 for Desk.com

5. 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 click also you can set automation to address repetitive tasks and issues. You can base automation on 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

6. 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

7. Vision Helpdesk

Vision Helpdesk is suite of three modules that can closely be integrated to give you a 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 modules 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

8. 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

9. Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk is the helpdesk app of the popular Zoho suite of more than 40 business apps. It has a free version but limited to up ten users only. This app is lightweight and designed for easy setup and quick ticket resolutions. It provides customers with multiple support channels and task automation to speed up resolution time of repetitive tickets, as well as free agents from daily administrative tasks.

Moreover, Zoho Desk acts as a collaboration platform of your various teams like support, sales, marketing and I.T. to deliver a unified customer service. It also features an integrated call center functionality to capture calls and feed these as tickets into the system.

The solution likewise supports social media integration to help you track posts about you and quickly respond with the right messaging. It can also aggregate resolutions and best cases and develop them into a knowledge base for future similar issues. Another key feature of this app is its analytics and reports for evaluating agent outputs and enhance their performance or for identifying key issues and insights for more informed business decisions. Arguably, this helpdesk app tops many of the Zoho Desk alternatives on our list, except Freshdesk and, perhaps, even Zendesk in terms of feature set.

Why use Zoho Desk instead of Zendesk?

  • Free app for up to ten users
  • Integrated call center capability
  • Part of the Zoho suite of around 40 business apps
  • Robust reporting and analytics

Why use Zendesk instead of Zoho Desk?

  • Over 100 out-of-the-box app integrations
  • Reporting templates
  • Multi-brand support
  • Screencasting
  • Group rules and macros

10. Deskun

Deskun is a multi-channel help desk solution that enables any company or organization to deliver high-quality communication and customer service to their clients, prospects, and more via email, live chat, and social messenger tools. All these happen within the familiar Gmail environment.

From Gmail, your agents are able to streamline communications with their clients and provide high-quality support and communication to help them with their issues and queries. By combining multiple customer support channels within the Gmail interface, it becomes easier and faster to provide support while managing tasks and support teams.

Deskun works smoothly with popular social messenger apps such as Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Viber. It also offers a shared mailbox functionality to make internal communication between agents and managers seamless and unhampered.

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