Zendesk is a mega player in customer service software, competing primarily with Kustomer, Freshdesk, Intercom and Gorgias. And with over 50,000 paying customers (largely small businesses with B2B transactional models), Zendesk is a respectable brand name.
But don’t get lost in the allure of their mighty brand name and powerful corporate marketing, because the Zendesk customer disappointment is real.
Zendesk’s resources and willingness to prioritize customer relationships has come under fire since it was acquired for $10B in a private equity deal. In this guide, we’ll break down the many reasons why customers are switching away from Zendesk.
Scroll down to see a list of the most popular alternatives to Zendesk, along with the top features, pricing, pros and cons of an ideal customer service platform.
So why look for an alternative to Zendesk?
Zendesk suggests switching to them for stability, but it comes at a cost — Zendesk just raised their prices by 15%, but promises a “grandfathered rate” to customers who agree to an annual commitment.
Limited customer support leading to frustration
Users on Reddit recently voiced their dissatisfaction with the company’s limited customer support options.
One user even said: “Quit limiting the way we can contact support. It’s really annoying to spend almost 60K a year on Zendesk, and not be able to call.”
Another frustrated user on G2 recently said:
“At the end of my experience, this service felt like it was a scam. They take your money, won’t let you downgrade, keep charging your card, and you can never speak to a real person.“
Given the critical importance of excellent customer service, it’s no wonder why users are frustrated with Zendesk.
In a recent study we ran here at Kustomer, we found that customer service is ranked #2 as the most important attribute when selecting software or a solution right below price as the #1 ranked attribute.
- Zendesk is considered a premium service with an expensive subscription that may not be within the budget range for startups.
- The starting price for a monthly suite plan at Zendesk is $55 per month, which could increase depending on your varying needs. Cheaper options are available but come with limited facilities, such as fewer agents supported.
- Their professional plan starts at $115 per user / per month, and their enterprise pricing is currently not disclosed.
Steep learning curve and overwhelming setup process
- On top of being expensive, Zendesk can also be quite feature-heavy with a steep learning curve before getting ramped up with the platform.
- Onboarding with Zendesk can be an intimidating and overwhelming process.
- Zendesk makes you rely on their self-service resources for deployment, so you won’t have access to a live customer support team if you need help.
One user said it took nearly 3 months to fully deploy Zendesk:
“It took me 3 to 4 weeks to learn Zendesk. Then another couple of weeks to meet with the various department leaders to help refine their processes and design workflows. It took me 3 weeks to build the whole thing out in the production environment and test everything. Then we spent a week migrating our tickets over from the old system and training all the agents.”
Top 20 Zendesk Competitors On The Market Right Now
- Help Scout
- Zoho Desk
- Salesforce Service Cloud
- HubSpot Service Hub
- Jira Service Management
- ServiceNow CSM
- SolarWinds Service Desk
With Kustomer securing a recent $60M investment, the company’s future shines brighter than ever, and also holds exciting expansion plans. Kustomer is projecting to double the size of the company while making significant investment in their product — this is Kustomer’s commitment to AI-driven customer support innovation.
Overview of Kustomer
Kustomer is an omni-channel customer engagement platform providing a 360-degree view of all customer interactions — to summarize, Kustomer’s suite of support tools is the ultimate CX solution for modern businesses.
Using Kustomer for your entire helpdesk, you can:
- Deliver a consistent customer experience across all channels.
- Reduce the cost and complexity of customer support operations.
- Aggregate customer data from all business segments to attain a holistic understanding of each customer.
- Customize business logic and automate CX workflows.
- Reduce turnaround time when support agents aren’t available.
- Track agent performance and reduce ticket volume.
Kustomer’s Advanced Features:
- Unified Customer View: Consolidates customer conversations from various channels, offering support agents a comprehensive picture of a customer’s history.
- Intelligent Automation: Features smart workflows to automate tasks and manage customer requests efficiently.
- Real-Time Analytics: Feature-rich dashboard for monitoring customer experience and agent performance.
- Self-Service Portal: Add an easy-to-navigate, searchable, and SEO-friendly help center to your website to reduce contact rates at scale. Customize the look and feel of your knowledge base without writing code. Cater to different audiences, regions, or brands and localize content in over 70 languages.
Why switch from Zendesk to Kustomer?
Compared with Zendesk, Kustomer shines with a more user-friendly UI, better omni-channel support, enhanced AI capability, and overall value pricing.
Check out what real users on G2 are saying about the benefits of Kustomer:
- It’s an omni channel platform for all types of interactions like chats, emails, calls, social media, SMS and WhatsApp.
- The flexibility of customizing the platform based on what we need to support the business aside from the ease of use.
- Kustomer keeps their platform up to date with the latest AI technology.
- Collaboration capabilities make all team members work together on support tickets, saving time and effort.
- Many 3rd party apps can be integrated so easily.
- Finally, the most important part is reporting and analytics. Kustomer provides detailed reporting and analytics, enabling businesses to gain valuable insights into their customer support performance and identify areas for improvement
Here are some of the ways Kustomer exceeds expectations when compared to Zendesk:
- Pricing is a no-brainer. Kustomer starts at $89 per month / per user for the enterprise package, meanwhile Zendesk does not disclose.
- Kustomer provides 360-degree customer insights by allowing you to merge data from different channels, whereas Zendesk has limited customer visibility.
- Kustomer makes it effortless to switch between the various channels and connect data across all your digital channels, allowing you to provide a high level of personalized customer support. There are no channel limitations as you would encounter with Zendesk.
- AI capabilities provided by Kustomer are enhanced for high speed and low response times. You can easily embed AI into your automated workflows and deploy bots when required.
- Kustomer offers a rich set of essential tools to boost agent productivity. The learning curve is very low, and maintenance with Kustomer can be done in-house without hiring any expensive third-party consultant help.
- With Kustomer, you get easy report generation for tracking all tasks your agents are currently working on. Kustomer presents an overall easier interface than Zendesk, which requires a complex setup.
What real people are saying on LinkedIn:
A prospective customer recently shared their rollercoaster ride with Zendesk, and it’s a whirlwind:
- Zendesk notified the customer of an upcoming price hike, clearly driven by their private equity overlords’ profit demands.
- Not seeing the value, the Zendesk customer sent them a cancellation notice two months before the contract’s end, but of course — Zendesk played hard to get.
- Zendesk went radio silent for a month, leaving them hanging in suspense.
- When they finally replied, Zendesk claimed they sent the notice to the wrong email and now they couldn’t cancel because it wasn’t within the mandatory 30-day window.
- They just want to switch to Kustomer, but Zendesk’s throwing up roadblocks.
- So, here’s the deal: Zendesk took a swing at Kustomer, but it boomeranged right back at them. If you’re stuck in a Zendesk contract and need a way out, Kustomer’s got your back.
- Kustomer can also help with the data migration process – making the switch easy and painless.
Freshdesk is another cloud-based support platform that helps you manage customer interactions, queries, and issues. It provides all the essential helpdesk features such as omni-channel support, knowledge base, and automation.
With Freshdesk, you can automatically create issues based on incoming communication through email, chat, social media messages, and phone calls. The ticketing system provided by Freshdesk is easy to use and can integrate with a range of third-party applications, allowing you to multitask from a single platform.
It is also powered by AI, therefore enabling the best use of automation and analytics in your customer relationship management.
Why users like Freshdesk: (according to G2)
- It’s great for handling customer emails.
- It makes routine tasks fun and interesting.
- The basic functions work well for small teams.
Some key features of Freshdesk:
- An excellent ticket management system with support for categorization and priority-based scheduling.
- A thank you detector feature that automatically reopens or resolves tickets based on customer messages.
- Facilitates collaboration with other teams by sharing ownership of tickets with complete transparency.
- Automatic creation and assignment of tickets based on chats, emails, or customer calls.
- Progress analysis reporting to keep track of issues and overall productivity.
- Agent collision detection to enable efficient ticket management.
- Template responses to speed up response times.
Who is Freshdesk a good fit for?
- Freshdesk is a simple and easy-to-use tool when compared to the feature-heavy Zendesk.
- Freshdesk users seem to be happy with the bundle option for $15 a month, offering a Shopify integration plus the custom knowledge base.
- It’s great for efficiency, ease of use and presents a good ticket management system that any company can use.
- While Freshdesk suffices the need for most common use cases, it lacks the level of customization that you can get with Zendesk.
- So, this tool could be a good alternative to cash-strapped startups and small businesses that might find Zendesk too expensive.
- Freshdesk is also good for collaboration functionalities like real-time chat, ticket assignment, and internal notes, foster smooth collaboration among support agents.
- Freshdesk is a solid choice for omnichannel support, offering diverse communication channels such as email, phone, social media, and live chat.
Freshdesk has a free plan with basic features like ticketing, analytics, and email support. Its premium subscription rates start from $15 per month per agent.
3. Help Scout
If you are a growing business needing extra support for your customer service operations, Help Scout could be a solid alternative to Zendesk. It is cheaper yet feature-rich, has an intuitive UI, and comes at a lower learning curve when compared to Zendesk.
Why users like Help Scout: (according to G2)
- It’s easy for basic customer email management.
- It’s great for streamlining collaboration between agents.
- Doesn’t “nickel and dime you” on features like the bigger brands.
Some key features of Help Scout:
- One of the coolest features you get from Help Scout is shared inboxes for enhanced email support.
- Shared inboxes allow you to drive collaboration among your teams by being able to share information and be up to date on all previous customer interactions.
- It also provides a saved replies database that makes it easier to respond to customer queries and has built-in automation features and AI capabilities that make ticketing and workflows efficient.
- Help Scout also gives you access to a Docs feature that you can utilize for self-service support. You can build a knowledge base and share it with your customers for quick issue resolutions.
- Help Scout integrates readily with e-commerce platforms like Shopify and supports data migration tools to help you bring customer data from multiple sources.
- It also provides a wide range of tools for improving your services, such as Customer satisfaction surveys and metrics tools.
Who is Help Scout a good fit for?
- SMB companies: Help Scout’s simple interface, affordable pricing, and focus on basic features make it ideal for smaller teams that need a user-friendly solution.
- Remote and distributed teams: Help Scout’s easy to use mobile app enables teams to work effectively from anywhere.
- Teams needing light customization: With Help Scout, teams can customize workflows, branding, and reporting to meet specific needs.
Help Scout Pricing
Help Scout offers a very competitive pricing model, which starts at $20 per user per month. It also provides a free trial for 15 days to help you assess the tool.
4. Zoho Desk
Zoho Desk is another cost-effective Zendesk alternative that provides an extensive list of features to manage your CRM functionalities. It is a great fit for sales-focused teams with features like an easy-to-use customer portal, SLA management, and customizable templates.
Why users like Zoho Desk: (according to G2)
- Robust set of features for a fair price.
- An economical way to connect with clients.
- Great option for small businesses on a budget.
Some key features of Zoho Desk:
- Zoho is known for its CRM tools and business applications, which integrate seamlessly with the Zoho desk solution.
- It is also cloud-based and can be a centralized platform to manage customer interactions from multiple channels like social media, chatbot, email, or phone calls.
- It has everything you look for in a helpdesk solution, such as a knowledge base, instant messaging, a chatbot called Zia, automatic ticketing from customer messages, workflow automation, alerts, and more.
- Zoho allows for integration with more than 800 third-party apps, giving you a high degree of flexibility you couldn’t achieve with Zendesk API integrations.
- It also has more transparent pricing options compared to Zendesk.
Who is Zoho Desk a good fit for?
- Medium and large businesses: Zoho Desk offers advanced features and functionality suitable for larger companies with more complex support requirements.
- Zoho Desk appears to be a solid choice for companies who want to develop a robust set of self-service options.
- Teams that need extensive integrations: Zoho Desk integrates with wide selection of third-party applications, enhancing its functionality and connecting it to other business tools.
Zoho Desk Pricing
Zoho Desk services start from $14 per month per agent. There is also a free plan available with limited features.
5. Salesforce Service Cloud
If you already use the Salesforce platform, you can easily integrate with the Salesforce service cloud, which provides a comprehensive CRM and support solution.
Salesforce has a long track record of providing SaaS-based services for businesses, therefore providing access to a wide range of features and easy integrations with third-party apps.
Why users like Salesforce Service Cloud: (according to G2)
- Helps support agents deliver “top notch” customer experiences.
- Out of the box features allow you to “hit the ground running”
- Collects data in one place, providing a better understanding of customer pain points.
Some key features of Salesforce Service Cloud:
- Chatbots (or bots).
- AI-driven customer insights via their predictive analysis tool, Einstein.
- Omni-channel support, including phone (call center), live chat, and social media.
- Salesforce health cloud (provides healthcare-specific services).
- Drag and drop UI functionalities.
- Personalized email and SMS.
Salesforce can provide complete visibility into customer data, which is not the case with Zendesk. It also has a more accurate reporting feature when compared to Zendesk.
Who is Salesforce Service Cloud a good fit for?
- Salesforce Service Cloud is particularly well-suited for businesses with extensive customer bases and a high volume of inquiries.
- Salesforce Service Cloud is an obvious choice for those businesses already using Salesforce systems such as the CRM and marketing cloud.
Salesforce Service Cloud Pricing
Pricing is very wide ranging, however it starts at $25 per month / per user, with a 30 day free trial.
Gorgias is a customer service solution that is geared towards eCommerce businesses, with a customer base of around 12,000 merchants.
It easily integrates with all major eCommerce platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify, and Adobe Connect.
One of the stand-out qualities of Gorgias is their high quality customer service. Unlike Zendesk, which provides generic support, Gorgias customers say they are able to resolve issues with a quick turnaround time.
Gorgias also has an easy-to-use interface with built-in features for customer feedback and marketing, which usually come as add-ons with additional costs in Zendesk.
Why users like Gorgias: (according to G2)
- Great for eCommerce integration.
- Designed for businesses using Shopify.
- Helpful tools, add-ons and external integrations.
Some key features of Gorgias:
- Omni-channel support including SMS, WhatsApp, phone calls, live chat and email.
- AI-driven responses for customer inquiries and chatbots.
- Integration with e-commerce platforms, notably Shopify. You can let your customers carry out important operations like order placements, refunds, and order cancellations on Shopify through Gorgias.
- Automation for enhanced personalization and agent assistance.
Who is Gorgias a good fit for?
- Gorgias is a standout choice for companies primarily selling through eCommerce monetization models.
- Gorgias is an excellent option for companies running on Shopify, or want to integrate with tools like Klaviyo.
The starter plan for Gorgias is one of the lowest, starting at $10 per month — however it comes with limitations and you need to pay more for feature upgrades and management of higher support ticket volumes.
LiveAgent is a simple customer support platform that provides all the basic features that you need for essential customer relationship management. It offers live chat, a ticketing system, and social media integrations.
LiveAgent is best suited for small teams and startups looking for a “quick and dirty” helpdesk implementation. It is extremely easy to set up and get started, whereas Zendesk requires much effort and a learning curve to get acquainted with.
Why users like LiveAgent: (according to G2)
- It’s a reliable system.
- Easy to communicate with clients in real-time.
- The knowledge base punches above its weight class.
Some key features of LiveAgent:
- Omni-channel support with an intuitive interface.
- Metrics and analytics for improved customer experience.
- High-resolution rates are enabled with a call center feature.
- A cost-saving ticketing system.
- Knowledge base feature to build your information hub for self-service facilities. The articles, how-to guides, and manuals can all be directly accessed from your dashboard.
Who is LiveAgent a good fit for?
- LiveAgent appears to be a good fit for small businesses that need the simplest and cheapest possible customer service platform.
LiveAgent offers various plans that start from $9 per month / per agent for small businesses, meanwhile their enterprise plan starts at $69 per month.
HappyFox goes beyond the basic functionalities of a helpdesk platform by offering additional capabilities that help with project management and team collaboration.
Compared to Zendesk, HappyFox stands out with unique features like helpdesk automation, multi-brand SSL support, and shared inboxes at a fraction of the cost that you would pay for Zendesk.
Ultimately, HappyFox is well suited for companies that require heavy cross-departmental collaboration, but are seeking an affordable alternative to Zendesk.
Why users like HappyFox: (according to G2)
- Extremely basic, therefore simple to use.
- Great choice for essential ticket handling and management.
- Ideal option when graduating from Gmail to a ticket management system.
Some key features of HappyFox:
- Offers a knowledge base.
- Ticket system with automatic conversion of customer messages from chats and emails into tickets.
- The ticket management system also provides accessible interface options like quick actions, previews, and list views.
- Advanced automation capabilities.
- SLA management tool.
- Categorized integrable apps and widgets.
- In-app training modules to familiarize your agents with HappyFox features.
Who is HappyFox a good fit for?
- HappyFox is good for small startups who have outgrown Gmail and need to start managing customer support in a more systemized way.
- HappyFox can be set up and running fast. For small teams with basic needs, HappyFox can definitely be a solid option for getting off the ground and running.
- HappyFox is one of the easiest CX platforms to use. So if you just need the essentials, it’s not a bad option.
HappyFox subscription price starts at $39 per agent / per month. But unlike other platforms, you must subscribe to at least five agents for every plan.
Nextiva is an AI-powered, omnichannel customer experience platform designed to empower businesses in effortlessly managing their digital brand presence and customer service experiences.
With Nextiva, you get a unified dashboard and helpdesk for monitoring and engaging in digital conversations across social media, messaging, chat, email and online review channels. With features like real-time analytics, sentiment analysis, and automated responses, Nextiva enables businesses to enhance engagement, monitor brand sentiment, and create positive customer experiences.
Nextiva is more than just a cloud communication solution – it’s a CX platform designed to elevate your brand.
Why users like Nextiva: (according to G2)
- Exceptional customer support.
- Great value for smaller budgets.
- Ideal for teams that need VoIP integration.
Some key features of Nextiva:
- Digital Customer Service: Omnichannel customer experience dashboard and helpdesk (ticketing, routing, responding)
- Online Review Management: Listen & respond to reviews on local and digital listings, as well as online and app stores
- Social Media Management: Connect, observe and engage with communities across all major social media platforms
- Live Chat: Improve sales & support interactions on your website and messaging apps with real time response to customer inquiries
- Conversation AI: Automate sales & service engagements, optimize workflows and let technology do the heavy lifting
Who is Nextiva a good fit for?
- Nextiva is the best choice for teams who need to integrate with a VoIP phone system or call center software.
Nextiva has plans for businesses of all sizes and offers a 30 day free trial.
10. HubSpot Service Hub
HubSpot Service Hub is a customer service software designed to help businesses manage and improve their customer support and service operations. It is one of the most basic tools on the market today. Because of its simplicity, HubSpot Service Hub is also one of the most popular solutions out there.
Why users like HubSpot Service Hub: (according to G2)
- Ideal for direct integration with other HubSpot tools.
- Great for versatility and pre-built integrations with other software.
- Satisfactory outcomes after switching from Zendesk to HubSpot.
Some key features of HubSpot Service Hub:
- Ticketing System: For prioritizing customer inquiries, complaints and support requests.
- Knowledge Base: A basic knowledge hub where businesses can store information such as FAQs, guides, and other resources to help customers find answers on their own.
- Live Chat: Basic live chat functionality for communication between customers and support teams.
- Analytics: Reporting tools to track key metrics related to customer service performance.
- Integration with HubSpot CRM: HubSpot Service Hub is natively integrated with HubSpot’s CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, a popular choice for unifying customer interactions across marketing, sales, and service.
Who is HubSpot Service Hub a good fit for?
- HubSpot Service Hub is the best choice for companies who want to stick within the HubSpot ecosystem of tools – such as their CRM and marketing automation platform.
- This interview on the George B. Thomas podcast goes in-depth into the pros and cons.
HubSpot Service Hub pricing starts at $450 per month.
Intercom claims that “Customer service has evolved. Zendesk hasn’t.”
Intercom shines with its “all-in-one” platform that allows you to handle all customer support tasks in one place. No more clunky dashboard with an overwhelming number of options.
The cloud suite also seems to beat Zendesk at utilizing AI. It seamlessly combines human-powered customer support with AI-powered capabilities, ensuring efficiency and speedy responses.
Why users like Intercom: (according to G2)
- We were able to get better customer feedback and increased our conversion rate for sure.
- It’s simple to use, and I was able to complete my training in 2 weeks.
- Their constant innovation feels like having a tech-savvy buddy in our corner.
Some key features of Intercom:
- Intercom allows businesses to provide customer support across various channels, including email, in-app messaging, and social media, ensuring a seamless and integrated experience.
- You can segment customers based on various criteria, such as behavior, location, or other custom attributes.
- The platform offers automation features, allowing businesses to set up automated messages and responses. This helps handle routine queries, provide instant responses, and improve overall efficiency in customer support processes.
Who is Intercom a good fit for?
- Intercom seems to be a better choice for personalization and utilization of AI in customer service.
- One user said this about Intercom: “Since moving our support ticketing from Zendesk to Intercom, we’re not only saving both money and agent time by consolidating to one support platform, but we’re also delivering a faster and more personalized experience to our customers.”
Intercom starts at $39 per month per seat.
Not all customers are created equal. Some are more complex than others. Solving their issues requires you to coordinate across teams and departments. That’s where Front comes in. Its team-friendly customer service software allows multiple teams to solve a customer’s issue collaboratively.
Front’s navigation is also designed for speed. Agents are presented with an email-like interface that requires minimal click. They can aggregate multi-channel support into one inbox message and deliver the support customers want – all within a single window.
Why do users like Front? (according to G2)
- Excellent communication and info organization. Our team can chat internally on the chain on emails.
- We switched from Outlook to Front. I like how it is similar to using a cell phone.
- I’d rate Front 9 out of 10. We are solving different problems with it.
Some key features of Front:
- Front offers a shared inbox where teams can collaborate on handling customer inquiries and support tickets. This centralized platform ensures that all team members have visibility into customer communications, reducing the chances of duplication and improving response time.
- Front emphasizes collaborative workflows, allowing teams to assign, comment, and discuss customer interactions within the platform.
- Front offers analytics and reporting features that offer insights into team performance, response times, and customer satisfaction metrics.
Who is Front a good fit for?
- Front is a good option for B2B industries like manufacturing, logistics, software, and financial services.
- Any business providing cross-department customer support, where several teams are working together to solve customer issues.
Starts at $59 per month per seat (minimum two seats required).
A single customer can raise multiple tickets throughout their lifetime. Having this ticket history logged in one place can give you a lot of insights. Gladly organizes this for your agents so they can serve customer well in the long-run.
The tool provides several customer insights, such as preferences, intent, and purchase history. That’s why Gladly can help you prioritize tickets and serve the important ones first.
Why do users like Gladly? (according to G2)
- I like the way it is easy to find and link any task or profile.
- Efficient and robust. Really easy to get the hang of it as most things are self-explanatory.
- The usefulness in managing a customer’s profile.
Some key features of Gladly:
- Gladly has built-in channels including voice, IVR, text/SMS, chat, social platforms, and email, eliminating clunky integrations.
- It helps you procure a wide range of information including agent status, payments, voicemail, and knowledge base, along with various other proprietary features like Dedicated Hero, Gladly Sidekick, Liveboards, Proactive Voice, and more.
Who is Gladly a good fit for?
- Businesses looking to improve first call resolution.
- Those looking for customer service software with a low learning curve.
Starts at $180 per month per customer.
Formatting and customization are some of Zendesk’s largest limitations. But Helpjuice takes that pain away, making it one of the top competitors to Zendesk on the market.
Helpjuice is a dedicated knowledge base platform that easily enables the set-up, management, and analysis of a knowledge base. Among other features, you can set up authors, publish multiple versions so users see the most updated content, structure content for easy navigation, control content visibility, analyze content impact, and optimize for search.
With intelligent analytics, you can dig deep into what users search for and which content solves their problems.
Zapier integration allows you to use Helpjuice with any software of your choice.
Why do users like Helpjuice? (according to G2)
- Helpjuice was the quickest to respond to all of our questions and meet all of our criteria.
- Helpjuice’s search engine is comparable to Google’s search engine.
- Helpjuice has transformed our knowledge management.
Some key features of Helpjuice:
- Helpjuice is primarily designed to create comprehensive knowledge bases. Users can easily create, manage, and organize articles and documentation to provide self-service resources for customers.
- Helpjuice includes a robust search engine that helps users find relevant information quickly.
- With version control features, Helpjuice enables users to track changes made to articles over time.
Who is Helpjuice a good fit for?
Helpjuice shines with their robust knowledge base capabilities. Therefore, it’s a great option for businesses that prioritize maintaining a comprehensive knowledge base.
Starts at $120 per month.
15. ProProfs Help Desk
At first glance, ProProfs resembles any other help desk software. It has a ticketing system, email management, help desk time tracking, and knowledge base features.
But it does something no other tool does. With ProProfs, you get all these features for free for a lifetime. The catch is it’s limited to just one account.
ProProfs was designed to improve agent productivity. Thus, it has features like collaborative email, contextual data, automated workflow, and so on.
Simple yet robust, ProProfs allows anyone to get started with customer support for free.
Why do users like ProProfs Help Desk? (according to G2)
- Loaded with robust ticketing features. This tool is a great bet.
- The best part of being associated with ProProfs is that they offer incredible support.
- Becomes 10x powerful with Salesforce integration.
Some key features of ProProfs Help Desk:
- ProProfs enables users to easily create quizzes and surveys for educational purposes, employee training, or customer feedback.
- The platform supports the creation of online courses, making it suitable for businesses and educators looking to provide interactive and engaging training materials.
- The platform allows users to create surveys and polls to gather feedback and insights from customers or employees, helping organizations make data-driven decisions.
Who is ProProfs Help Desk a good fit for?
ProProfs Help Desk is a great choice for startups since it allows freemium access for one account.
One account is free. Additional accounts cost $19.99 per month.
16. Jira Service Management
Jira is often thought of as a task management tool. But it also has a Service Management feature that is similar to Zendesk. It allows us to manage in-house and customer tickets and serve their needs.
Jira Service Management is a complete suite to help you manage customer service. From live chat to email support to knowledge management, you get everything under one roof.
Jira is a perfect choice for those already on the Atlassian platform.
Why do users like Jira Service Management? (according to G2)
- Jira Service Desk is a great tool to manage customer requests and SLAs.
- It has ticketing management for almost all departments.
- Easy tool for collaboration and customers.
Some key features of Jira Service Management:
- Jira Service Management allows teams to create, track, and prioritize tickets, ensuring a systematic approach to handling customer issues.
- You can create automation rules to streamline repetitive tasks, such as assigning tickets, sending notifications, and updating statuses, improving overall efficiency.
- The tool seamlessly integrates with knowledge base systems, enabling the creation and maintenance of a comprehensive repository of articles and documentation.
- Jira Service Management allows teams to set and manage SLAs to ensure timely resolution of customer issues. This feature helps maintain service quality by establishing and monitoring response and resolution timeframes.
Who is Jira Service Management a good fit for?
Jira Service Management is well-suited for organizations that require a robust IT service management (ITSM) solution with a focus on streamlined incident and request management.
Starts at $20 per month per agent.
17. ServiceNow CSM
Like Jira, ServiceNow is not known for its customer service features and is more renowned for IT management. However, it has a dedicated customer service management platform that is on par with Zendesk in some regards.
The CSM feature is integrated into the Now platform, and you get those capabilities inside the same dashboard. The most basic CSM feature is the Intelligent chatbot. It is a virtual chatbot that understands human speech and offers reliable support.
Then, there are advanced features like workflow optimization, ticket management, process mining, guided decisions (contextual next actions recommendation), and predictive intelligence, among others.
An undesirable aspect of ServiceNow CSM is its lengthy deployment period. Deploying it requires you to work with consultants and can take months.
Why do users like ServiceNow CSM? (according to G2)
- Best CSM solution for large enterprise organizations to handle case management and resolution management.
- Excellent ticketing tool to handle incidents, service requests, changes, and problem tickets.
- The platform is made with automation focus and provides a lot of control on the entire process workflow.
Some key features of ServiceNow CSM:
- ServiceNow CSM provides omni-channel support, allowing businesses to interact with customers through various channels, including email, chat, phone, and social media.
- It also supports workflow automation, helping streamline processes and handling cases systematically.
- The platform includes self-service portals where customers can find answers to common queries, access knowledge base articles, and submit requests.
Who is ServiceNow CSM a good fit for?
ServiceNow CSM is particularly beneficial for large enterprise organizations seeking a unified platform that integrates seamlessly with other IT service management functions to provide a holistic approach to customer service.
Customizable. Provided upon request.
18. SolarWinds Service Desk
SolarWinds is another IT management suite along the lines of Jira and ServiceNow. And Zendesk’s rival feature is the Service Desk functionality.
Categorized as an IT Service Management suite (ITSM), the platform’s guiding principle is to accelerate the resolution process and improve efficiency. Its cross-functional design, combining data from various departments, is a testimony to that principle.
It integrates with other products in its suite, like asset management, to provide a 360-degree view to the service reps so they can resolve queries faster. On top of that, it gives the team complete flexibility to organize the columns as per their preference.
All in all, it’s a great alternative to Zendesk if you have complex ticketing needs.
Why do users like SolarWinds Service Desk? (according to G2)
- The best thing about SolarWinds Service Desk is the Asset Discovery where we can easily scan assets like servers, databases, applications, computers, and mobile devices.
- SolarWinds offers strategies for achieving exponential growth in IT business solutions.
- The service was quick and straight to the point, necessary questions and answers provided.
Some key features of SolarWinds Service Desk:
- SolarWinds Service Desk lets IT teams log, prioritize, and resolve issues, ensuring a structured approach to managing service disruptions.
- It supports change management processes, helping organizations implement changes in a controlled and systematic manner.
- It provides automation capabilities and allows organizations to customize workflows.
Who is SolarWinds Service Desk a good fit for?
SolarWinds Service Desk is aimed at large companies with complex IT infrastructure and lots of users.
Customized pricing. Provided upon request.
Kayako is similar to Zendesk in a lot of ways. But it’s dubbed as one of the most affordable Zendesk Alternatives out there.
One notable cost-effective feature is its integration with 700+ apps through Zapier free of cost. In Zendesk, you’d have to do it through the Zendesk marketplace, which charges a fee.
Another feature is the collaborative functionality that allows you to include external vendors or teams without paying extra. Zendesk would charge you for this.
Kayako also understands the needs of the smaller businesses and does away with ticket silos. Its proprietary SingleView technology allows you to gather context, send personalized responses, and prevent asking redundant questions that waste both the agent’s and customer’s time.
Why do users like Kayako? (according to G2)
- Best and affordable helpdesk system.
- Kayako is one of the best ticket management and live chat platforms to use.
- The color coding is definitely one of the strongest features, as other ticket systems I’ve used do not have this feature.
Some key features of Kayako:
- Kayako includes a knowledge base where businesses can create and maintain articles, FAQs, and documentation.
- Kayako provides automation features and customizable workflow rules. This allows businesses to automate routine tasks, such as ticket routing and responses, improving efficiency and ensuring consistent and timely support.
- The platform supports the implementation of customer satisfaction surveys.
Who is Kayako a good fit for?
- Kayako is suited for small businesses that need a robust and affordable ticketing system.
- E-commerce businesses and companies with internal IT support desk needs will also find it valuable.
Starts at $15 per month per agent.
Groove has identical features to Zendesk for the most part. Yet, customers dub it as an easier, better, and more productive tool.
The first feature that helps Groove outperform Zendesk is its intuitive dashboard, which is superior to Zendesk’s clunky one. It is visually appealing for the agents and offers robust customization. Because of this, Groove is also more personal to the users who receive personalized support.
Unlike Zendesk, Groove’s integrations are free to connect, making it more appealing to businesses looking to cut costs. On top of that, it is cheaper than Zendesk. Thus, it’s not hard to see why over 50,000 of its customers prefer Groove over Zendesk.
Why do users like Groove? (according to G2)
- There are so many tools that are in Groove that makes it so very useful. The tracking of the emails is the start.
- Groove creates efficiencies and growth in Business Development and Account Management.
- Enjoy Using Groove, it makes my day so much more productive!
Some key features of Groove:
- Groove provides a shared inbox where teams can collaborate on managing customer emails, messages, and inquiries.
- The platform includes a ticketing system to help teams organize and prioritize customer inquiries.
- Groove offers automation features and customizable workflow rules.
Who is Groove a good fit for?
Groove is a good fit for businesses looking for an affordable alternative to Zendesk. Both startups and small business owners prefer it.
Plans start at $19 per month per agent.
Most Important Factors When Choosing a Zendesk Alternative
- Internal Team Needs: Ensuring that the chosen software solution meets the needs of customer support teams as well as cross-departmental partners.
- Customer Experience: How the software impacts customer communication, satisfaction, and overall experience.
- Add-ons and Extensions: Availability and variety of add-ons to expand the software’s capabilities.
- Support and Onboarding: Availability of resources for onboarding team members, support agents, and CSMs. How easily do these resources integrate with your company’s LMS for employee onboarding?
- Pricing: Comparing free plans, enterprise plans, and other pricing structures for different solutions.
- Automation Capability: Demo the features that will help agents streamline repetitive tasks and set up workflows like ticket routing and escalations.
- Functionality and Customization: Evaluate how intuitive and customizable the platform is. For example, can you change plans as your business needs grow and evolve? How customizable is the knowledge base? Etc.
- Knowledge Base: How quickly can your customers get answers to FAQs? How easy is it for administrators to publish how-to guides, manuals, useful articles, setup tips, video demos, and more. How many languages are supported? Etc.
- Omni-channel Support: Today’s expectations are to service your customers everywhere, no matter which digital communication channels and interfaces they contact you from. This extends beyond your corporate website, to social media channels and beyond. Your helpdesk solution should provide a unified customer experience across all these channels.
- Personalized Support: Multi-channel support encompassing email, chat, social media, WhatsApp, Messenger, etc. can help you engage customers on a deeper level and allow for personalized support. Agents should be able to quickly pull up account history to save time while helping customers.
- Ticketing System: This is one of the bare minimum features that a customer support software solution must provide. The key is resolving customer issues fast and efficiently, with automated ticket system optimization.
- Integrations: While helpdesk solutions have their own ticketing systems, they may still have to integrate with other ticketing tools used by other teams like dev teams, IT teams, marketing teams, and more. So, depending on your workflows, you should also look into the available support for integration with tools like Salesforce, Jira, Slack, Shopify, etc.
- Real-Time Features: This can be in the form of notifications, collision detection, collaboration, automatic ticket creation, reporting, and other real-time functionalities.
- Cloud-Based vs. On-Premise: On-premise helpdesk software has the limitation of being tied to just the physical location where it is installed. In comparison, cloud-based helpdesk solutions can be used from anywhere and anytime, making them more adaptable to increasingly digital transactions.
The Bottom Line on Choosing a Zendesk Alternative
- Zendesk is often quoted as the de facto choice for customer service software — despite its massive customer base, may not always be the best fit for every company.
- Evaluate your alternative options and pay attention to what’s involved in the deployment of a new customer service platform — including factors such as total cost of ownership, the data migration effort and the overall amount of onboarding support needed if you switch from Zendesk to any of these alternative solutions.
- It’s worth considering Kustomer, a top rated alternative to Zendesk — especially if you need a ticketing system with built-in service CRM capabilities.
- Kustomer provides in-depth customer data insights, offering incredible omni-channel support and self-service options. Kustomer is a great fit for eCommerce, hospitality, marketplace and other consumer-focused businesses that need a detailed picture of every customer profile with a rich history of all the interactions within the customer lifecycle.