Zendesk is still a dominant player in the customer support solutions market — most commonly compared against Kustomer, Freshdesk, Gorgias, Intercom and several other alternatives.
Zendesk is best known for its ticketing system, automation features, and integrations, making it a fan favorite for thousands of SMBs globally.
While Zendesk Suite provides seemingly everything you need from a help desk software, it does come with some hefty drawbacks.
Some Zendesk customers have reported they make it very hard for you to cancel once something goes wrong, plus you’ll be dealing with unresponsive customer support.
Another major concern with adopting Zendesk is its complexity and steep learning curve — not to mention their recent price increases.
A user on G2 recently cited their dissatisfaction with Zendesk’s reporting, specifically the challenges associated with filtering and sorting tickets:
“I do not like Zendesk reporting and searching. Trying to find specific tickets or filter them in existing views can be a pain. Having to create queries for reports as opposed to just selecting the fields you want on the report is confusing.”
Despite Zendesk’s shortcomings, they’re still a powerhouse player in the market, so here’s a breakdown of their most popular features along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Zendesk’s Most Popular Features
- Ticketing System
- Multi-Channel Support
- Self-Service Knowledge Base
- Chat, Messaging and Phone Support
- Analytics and Dashboards
- Automation, Workflows and Macros
- Customization and Integrations
1. Ticketing System
- Zendesk’s ticketing system is at the core of email or chat-based customer support. It helps you manage the tickets and keep things streamlined.
- It works by tracking each customer query or issue in the form of tickets (basically records with unique IDs) that can be created, assigned to specific agents, updated with all relevant information, moved through different stages of the support cycle, and validated to ensure proper addressing of each customer inquiry.
- The typical functionalities of an all-in-one SaaS ticket management system are creating, managing, and routing support tickets. You should also be able to view and manage your SLAs with your ticketing system.
- Zendesk’s ticketing system is also designed to help customer service agents. They are given CSAT ratings, time tracking, and SLAs to make quick decisions and resolve the query as soon as possible.
Disadvantages of Zendesk’s Ticketing System
- While Zendesk provides a complete ticketing system with support for automation and analytics — the biggest downside is its complex interface.
- New support agents might face a steep learning curve with Zendesk’s ticketing UI.
- There is also a risk of improper management with Zendesk, which could accumulate backlogs and delayed customer responses, at least initially.
- Personalization and customization are possible, but only for enterprise-level plans.
2. Multi-channel Zendesk Support
Zendesk helps you track all customer interactions with its multi-channel support system, offering the following functionalities:
- Integration with email, social media, phone support, and web widgets with coding.
- Real-time messaging and chatbot functionality.
- Omnichannel experience for seamless customer interactions.
Disadvantages of Zendesk’s Multi-Channel Support
- Similar to the ticketing system, the multi-channel support provided by Zendesk also requires additional training for the support team. This can be a challenge for quick adoption and can lag your customer support operations.
- You also stand the risk of delivering inconsistent messaging across your channels if your multi-channel support is not centralized, as each channel operates independently in Zendesk.
3. Self-service Knowledge Base
- Knowledge base is another crucial component of most help desk solutions that play a big part in providing customers self-service options.
- Zendesk customer support software allows you to build a vast knowledge base for your help desk. You can add as many articles, guides, manuals, and FAQs as needed.
- It also supports community forums to boost customer engagement and organically build a knowledge base.
- While the basic plan allows you to create a knowledge base in one language of choice, the advanced plan allows you access to over 40 languages and self-service features, albeit at a much higher price. The community forum is only available for high-tiered users subscribing to the Pro and Enterprise plans.
Disadvantages Of Zendesk’s Self-Service Knowledge Base
- Content management and maintenance are your major concerns with the Zendesk knowledge base. You must ensure that the content is always up-to-date and accurate, but regular Zendesk updates can be resource-intensive for smaller businesses.
- You also have to continuously monitor your knowledge base to check for outdated or incorrect information, which could lead to customer confusion and, in the worst case, liability issues.
- To get the advanced knowledge base features, you must upgrade to their most expensive plan starting at $115 per agent, per month.
4. Chat, Messaging, and Phone Support
Zendesk customer service software offers all-encompassing chat, messaging, and phone call support as part of its multi-channel support. Notable features in this regard include:
- Real-time chat support with Zendesk’s chatbot
- Integration with messaging apps and phone call support
- Mobile app functionality for support on the go
On top of these features, Zendesk allows you to conduct customer interactions within a context. The customer context feature lets you retain information about previous interactions, relevant details about the customer, and visibility on the overall interaction history to enable seamless interaction across all channels.
Disadvantages of Zendesk’s Chat, Messaging, and Phone Support
- Zendesk is reported to have some performance issues during peak usage. During peak times, real-time chat demands can strain customer service agents.
- Over-reliance on Zendesk’s chatbot platform may lead to misinterpretation of complex customer queries.
5. Analytics and Dashboards
Zendesk customer support platform offers some of the best-performing analytics and dashboard features for a help desk solution. The Zendesk Explore feature provides a complete analytics application to collect, measure, and analyze customer data.
Companies like Instacart use data to delve deeper into it and uncover data trends to optimize their business operations further.
Some of the relevant features provided are:
- Performance dashboards that provide useful metrics and insights into customer support operations
- Analytics tools to measure customer satisfaction and engagement
- Customizable dashboards for Enterprise and Pro customers
- You can also export the Zendesk data into a centralized database to manipulate and analyze data.
Disadvantages of Zendesk’s Analytics and Dashboards
- The high level of features Zendesk provides can sometimes be overkill and make it difficult to use the tool. While Zendesk is powerful, the vast array of metrics and data can overwhelm small businesses without dedicated analysts.
- Another challenge with Zendesk reporting is that it doesn’t offer deeper insights into actionable items. Data is only as good as the actions taken on it; without actionable insights, it can be just noise.
According to a user on Reddit,
“Getting reports is freaking difficult and many times it doesn’t even show accurate, reliable data. They also messed up the Reporting and Admin sections. You used to be able to look for macros, triggers and others and it would only open a tab within Zendesk. It now opens a whole new tab in your browser, making it all so much noisy.”
6. Automation, Workflows, and Macros
- Zendesk offers several automation facilities to make workflows and customer support operations more efficient and error-free.
- It can automatically create tickets based on customer messages and help you route them using an automated workflow.
- With Zendesk, you can automate support requests using triggers and create workflows to track the ticket status at all times.
- You can customize your workflows to align with your business operations and use macros to automate simple tasks.
- Pre-configured macros can improve response times and can be created by agents to serve the common tickets.
Disadvantages Of Zendesk’s Automation, Workflows, and Macros
- The initial setup of automation rules and workflows can be complex and may require the technical expertise of someone already using Zendesk products.
7. Customization and Integrations
- Zendesk supports many third-party apps and add-ons that can add more features to your help desk implementation. You can get access to a lot of useful apps and add-ons from Zendesk’s marketplace. The integrations do not require any coding effort.
- On top of that, you also get a good range of customization options and templates to align your customer support interfaces with your branding.
- You also get API support so your in-house team can develop and integrate their features with Zendesk to support your unique requirements.
Disadvantages of Zendesk’s Customization and Integrations
- While the customization options can make your help desk unique and fit your requirements, it requires a lot of expertise to get it done correctly. Such expertise and technical resources do not usually come cheap.
A user on Reddit recently voiced the same issue about having difficulty with integrating Instagram, Facebook, and Google Pay.
8. Collaboration and CRM in Zendesk
Teams, especially in large organizations, are often accused of working in silos. Zendesk recognizes that and offers collaboration tools.
You can use Zendesk if you are a company with 500+ employees, as it can make collaboration among huge teams easy. This will enable transparency, keep everyone in the loop, and help you boost productivity.
Some of the features that allow for easy collaboration and efficient CRM with Zendesk are:
- Internal collaboration with shared views and macros.
- Notifications and internal communications for support agents.
- Automated ticket sharing from one Zendesk account to another as required.
- Real-time agent collision detection to power up efficient real-time collaboration.
- Support for private agent comments on tickets to share important information with other agents.
- Available third-party integrations with apps like Shopify, Salesforce, Slack, Jira, HubSpot, Office365, etc.
Disadvantages of Zendesk’s Collaboration Suite and CRM
- Zendesk provides an exhaustive list of customer experience features, but it can become difficult to manage financially and operationally as you add these features.
- Moving to higher-tiered Zendesk plans can become significantly more expensive as businesses grow.
Where Kustomer Outshines Zendesk
Let’s compare Zendesk to Kustomer — where you can decide what matters.
Here’s what real customers say after switching to Kustomer:
Implementation and Support
Kustomer is hands-on from the very beginning. Mapping out what needs to integrate, and where customer data needs to flow. They support you 100% throughout the data migration process with a team of experts that knows the product from a technical level. Implementation and even evaluation is a team effort.
Unified Customer View
Kustomer is known for its ability to provide a unified view of customer interactions across different channels. This allows agents to see the entire customer journey in one place, which can lead to more personalized and efficient support.
Kustomer presents an overall easier interface than Zendesk, which often requires a complex setup.
Kustomer is scalable. It offers a high degree of customization, allowing businesses to tailor the platform to their specific needs. This includes custom workflows, reporting, and integrations. And you don’t need an expensive enterprise plan to use customization features.
AI and Automation
Kustomer has invested significantly in AI and automation to help businesses streamline their support processes. This includes features like automated conversation classification and suggested responses.
Kustomer is known for its robust integration capabilities, allowing businesses to connect the platform with other tools and systems.
Kustomer supports various communication channels, including email, chat, and social media. This can be particularly useful for businesses interacting with customers across multiple touchpoints.
While both platforms offer various pricing plans, some users have found Kustomer’s pricing model more transparent and flexible than Zendesk.
Ease of Use
Kustomer’s interface is more intuitive and user-friendly, especially for agents juggling multiple interactions simultaneously. Thus, your customer reps (even those in non-English speaking, second or third-world countries) can get started with little training.
Why switch to Kustomer?
Compared with Zendesk, Kustomer shines with a cleaner UI, better omni-channel support, modern AI capabilities, and overall value pricing.
Learn why 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 their enterprise plans.
- Kustomer provides 360-degree customer insights by allowing you to merge data from different channels, whereas Zendesk has limited customer visibility.
- Kustomer makes it easy to switch between various support 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 has a very low learning curve, and maintenance with Kustomer can be done in-house without hiring any expensive third-party consultant help.