Is your business looking for a better customer support platform than Zendesk? Look no further! Check out this article where we explore the best Zendesk alternatives and competitors to make your decision easy.
Zendesk is one of the most popular customer service software options that come with an impeccable feature set and excellent automation. It offers many versatile capabilities, such as call center management, multi-channel communications, automated routing, escalation, etc.
But, obviously, it is not the perfect tool for everyone out there. Some find it too glitchy when it comes to call-based customer support, while others have pointed out some issues in integration. A majority of users even find it too expensive and wish to have the entire feature set in a more affordable bundle.
However, the good news is, the pace of industry disruption, digitization, and workplace automation has been such that there are countless other options to consider.
After a thorough and extensive study and comparison of various customer support tools, we have compiled a list of the top 10 Zendesk alternatives that will match your unique business and support requirements.
Why Do You Need Zendesk Alternatives?
The starter plan for an individual agent is priced at $49/month, and the payment is billed annually. This is highly expensive as compared to the other options that are priced around $10 to $15/month for one agent.
Further, many popular customer service tools even offer lifetime free plans with basic functionalities that match with the functionalities in the starter plan of Zendesk. Hence, Zendesk is highly expensive as compared to many other commendable Zendesk alternatives that we cover below.
2. Poor Customer Support
Zendesk has a crumpled and poor customer support system, and the resolution time even spans over months for some queries. The customers have repeatedly rated it poor for customer service because of billing issues, lacking team, and its downright inability to resolve their queries.
3. Glitches and Connectivity Issues
While the software for support works fine, there are many glitches and pitfalls, when it comes to integrations and connectivity. The business rules have limitations, and there are many other problems, such as no conversation history for internal use or paid add-ons.
4. Outdated and Clunky Interface
The overall UI of Zendesk is clunky and outdated. It is too overloaded as well when compared to the modern customer service tools.
5. Poor Channel Management
Zendesk has a separate channel for all the communications – emails, chats, and messages. So, there is no way to respond to customer queries in one queue.
Must-Have Features of Zendesk Alternatives
Apart from the core feature set for customer service, there are many other features that you must look for while searching for a Zendesk help desk alternative.
1. Visual Look (UI/UX)
The overall look and appeal of the dashboard and features must be effortless and clean. Adding too many controls, or hiding them under vague buttons, is only going to increase the operational complexity. Strong UX design involves the right balance of user satisfaction, and innovative design.
2. Shared Views
Support staff should have shared views of customer communication and must be able to collaborate in real-time.
3. All Communication Must Be in One Place
Whether it is an email, a chat, a message, a call, or a social media mention, it must land in ONE spot. This offers a holistic view of the incoming communications and your agents can resolve the queries without juggling between multiple tools.
4. Better KPI Tracking
Zendesk lacks in KPI management and trackings, such as service ratings and response time. So, its alternative must address that as well.
5. Delegation and Automation
The handovers, escalations, and process automation must be easy, and effortless. When it comes to offering call-based support, there must be no glitches during the call, as it adds to the frustration of the customers.
10 Best Zendesk Alternatives and Competitors of 2023:
1. ProProfs Help Desk
If you are a small to midsize business looking for a free Zendesk alternative that offers similar features at the most affordable price, then look no further. ProProfs Help Desk is one of the best Zendesk alternatives with its flexible pay-per-agent plans. It comes with a neat and intuitive UI and a negligible learning curve, to top the smart compilation of customer service features. Smart ticketing, impeccable automation, knowledge base, and built-in chat solution – the ProProfs Help Desk keeps your back at all times.
All the incoming queries and messages end up in the shared inboxes that have a centralized view and remove clutter from the personal inboxes. Further, there are many smart ticket operations, tags, escalation rules, internal notes, auto-routing, etc., that keep the support team’s load balanced. Moreover, you can create and share surveys, such as CSAT, NPS, and employee satisfaction, and monitor your agent’s performance as well as productivity.
Unique Features of ProProfs Help Desk :
- Canned responses for common customer questions.
- The knowledge base facilitates self-service for customers and self-training for support staff.
- Chatbots for basic support, collecting contextual information, and lead generation.
- Smart reports and advanced analytics to make the most of your customer data.
- Impeccable data export and import features with custom branding and alerts.
ProProfs Help Desk Pricing Plans:
- Forever Free: Forever free with limited features (The best Zendesk alternatives free plan).
- Essentials: Starts at $10/agent/month
- Premium: Starts at $15/agent/month
The perfect blend of pricing and features make ProProfs Help Desk the best software cheaper than Zendesk, which delivers sterling support.
Freshdesk is another popular help desk software like Zendesk, with better UI, and smarter capabilities. You can provide hassle-free support to your customers, irrespective of the scale and type of your business. You can connect with customers across various touchpoints in their journeys, leverage automated workflows, and offer a quick resolution for their queries.
Some of the best features Freshdesk offers include extensive team collaboration, powerful and glitch-free integrations, and awesome customization. You can deliver a unified customer experience and collect incoming communication from multiple channels, in one place.
Unique Features of Freshdesk:
- Team Inbox to track and work on all the tickets from multiple channels.
- Automatic suggestions for ticket fields, such as categorizing, prioritize, and assigning
- Agent collision detection to avoid getting two agents on one ticket
- Real-time and instantaneous interactions via preferred channels, such as WhatsApp, for faster and better query resolution
- Built-in reports for tracking performance, customer satisfaction, and discovering hidden trends
Freshdesk Pricing Plans:
- Sprout: Free for unlimited agents with email, social ticketing, and Knowledge Base
- Blossom: $15/user/month
- Garden: $35/user/month
- Estate: $49/user/month
- Forest: $99/user/month
3. Help Scout
Help Scout is a perfect choice when it comes to freelancers, early-stage startups, and very small businesses. It offers amazing collaboration capabilities, such as shared inboxes, email integration, and eliminates support complexities for effortless customer support. One of its distinctive features is its boundless integration capability and an amazingly short learning curve, which make it an outstanding alternative to Zendesk.
It comes with live chat to make your website more aligned towards customer happiness, and messages that allow you to offer proactive customer support. The knowledge base allows you to offer instant answers to your customers and the shared inbox capability allows you to manage conversations at scale.
Unique Features of Help Scout:
- Real-time data delivered in various formats via smart reporting
- Auto-reply feature for confirmations and acknowledgments
- Quick communication delegation to an expert agent in real-time
- Ability to attach files of up to 10MB in any outgoing message
- Auto-populated customer profiles that are editable and come with communication history as well.
Help Scout Pricing Plans:
- Standard: $20/agent/month
- Plus: $35/agent/month
- Company: Available on call
4. Zoho Desk
Zoho Desk is a context-aware help desk and is one of the best customer support platforms with a reliable AI assistant. Some of its best features include multi-channel communication, a multi-brand help center, and telephonic support. It comes with many advanced features, such as contextual AI for sentiment analysis and auto-tagging of tickets.
As it offers more innovative and advanced features, when we compare Zendesk with Zoho Desk, the latter emerges as a clear winner.
Further, it offers one of the most extensive feature sets for ticket management and covers all the channels – phone, social media, email, live chat, etc. Its smart automation features include SLAs and escalation, notification rules, smart ticket assignment, and custom functions for which you can code!
Unique Features of Zoho Desk:
- You can integrate customer service with all the departments.
- You can customize and extend the help desk for unique needs.
- Zoho Desk also offers a powerful SDK that you can use for building custom mobile apps.
- It offers layouts for collecting and storing details for service processes.
- You can also use extensions for embedding interactive widgets in the Zoho Desk interface.
Zoho Desk Pricing Plans:
- Free: Forever free plan
- Standard: $12/agent/month
- Professional: $20/agent/month
- Enterprise: $35/agent/month
Kayako is also one of the tools like Zendesk, that not only allows you to cater to your customers but also creates multiple help centers with unique content and automated responses. It comes with live chat functionality, SLA support, and effortless workflow automation. Other strengths include data-driven analytics and reports for performance metrics, sales trends, and customer support bottlenecks.
You can view the entire customer communication history in one place and deliver amazing customer service in multiple languages as well. You can track and use the interaction history for offering a more personalized experience and support. Finally, it comes with stellar team collaboration features, such as pooling knowledge together and sharing them via internal notes.
Unique Features of Kayako:
- You can create a centralized repository of self-help articles, support scripts, and FAQs
- You can use Kayako Messenger for real-time interactions with customers
- Kayako allows you to offer fantastic support with proactive messages as well.
- You can use the SLAs and stay on target all the while tracking the performance of support staff
- Engage your customers on social media and resolve their queries there as well
Kayako Pricing Plans:
- Inbox: $15/agent/month
- Growth: $30/agent/month
- Scale: $60/agent/month
A thorough Groove & Zendesk comparison reveals the amazing ticket organization capabilities Groove offers. It comes with shared inboxes that allow your support reps to keep the clutter away from the personal inboxes, and ensure that not a single incoming communication is missed. It offers smart and advanced email management features, such as attachments, auto BCC, auto replies, advanced formatting, and bulk actions. You get collapsible threads and custom folders to keep your interactions organized.
Groove also ensures that you stay in touch with your customers at all times and you “know” them like the back of your hand, with extensive customer insights. It offers impeccable team collaboration features, such as inbox permissions, assignments, and agent availability.
Unique Features of Groove:
- You can leverage the step-by-step training guides to reduce the learning curve
- Internal notes offer better internal collaboration for your teams
- Canned responses allow you to respond faster to FAQs and common queries
- The entire customer communication history is available at a glance
- Smart and detailed reports offer actionable insights into the team and its productivity
Groove Pricing Plans:
- Starter: $12/user/month
- Plus: $20/user/month
- Pro: $35/user/month
- Company: Pricing is available on the quote request
HappyFox is a fantastic solution for all your customer support requirements and comes with a robust ticket management system. It is easy to set up and use. It is competitive pricing, functionalities, and ticket-related features make it one of the best Zendesk competitors with the same or similar features. The dashboard is highly customizable and offers you in-depth controls, such as IP addresses and email servers. It has smart rules for automation, and also offers ticket escalation based on SLA.
It allows you to handle all inbound requests in a single ticketing system, and outsource redundant and complex workflows. You can leverage the help desk metrics to take solid actions on incoming customer queries. You can also tailor the software to your support needs, and deliver robust support to your customers.
Unique Features of HappyFox:
- It offers smart automation and asset management features that streamline your support system.
- Canned responses save time for your support agents and make the resolution time shorter.
- It comes with a reliable knowledge base that allows customers to avail of self-service.
- AI-powered chatbots allow you to reduce the number of tickets.
- Automated notifications and alerts keep every team member well-informed.
HappyFox Pricing Plans:
There are four pricing plans, namely – Mighty, Fantastic, Enterprise, and Enterprise Plus. Pricing for all of them is available on call.
8. Hubspot – Free Help Desk and Ticketing Software
Hubspot is undoubtedly a commendable alternative to Zendesk as it offers an advanced and more innovative customer-oriented set of features. It offers features for customer loyalty, support, and satisfaction. So, it covers the three most crucial bases for your customers. You can collect feedback and customer satisfaction results via CSAT surveys, customer support surveys, and NPS.
Hubspot allows you to set different pipelines for your tickets, and separate the internal and external tickets. You can also sort them across multiple teams and departments. It offers smart reports and advanced analytics of customer data as well.
Unique Features of Hubspot:
- You can initiate two types of live chat – regular live chat and knowledge base search and live chat.
- It comes with a smart and extensive knowledge base for stellar self-service and self-training features.
- You can leverage innovative workflow automation for reducing the burden of mundane activities.
- Smart ticket operations for better and more optimized resolution.
- A variety of reports, such as ticket reports, customer feedback reports, and knowledge base reports.
Hubspot Pricing Plans:
- Free: Forever free plan
- Starter: $45/month (2 users)
- Professional: $360/month (5 users)
- Enterprise: $1200/month (10 users)
Intercom is one of the best Zendesk help desk alternatives that enable you to look deeper into your customers and their behavior. It helps you leverage user intelligence and behavioral targeting to offer deep insights into your business. You can enjoy in-depth visibility across customer data, such as which customer is using your products, and facilitates sending personal communicators.
You can actually see which customer is using your products and facilitate sending personal communicators. This not only improves brand awareness but also helps your customers feel valued. You can also send behavior-driven emails and in-app messages to your customers and targeted messages to onboard users.
Unique Features of Intercom:
- It comes with improved lead-capturing capabilities that directly boost your business growth.
- You can leverage live segments and filters for better audience targeting
- Intercom offers intelligent data analytics and smart user/company profiles
- You can use triggered communication for automating the customer service
- Its real-time metrics prove beneficial in customer service and optimizing support.
Intercom Pricing Plans:
- Start: $59/month (for 1 agent)
- Grow: $119/month (for 5 agents)
- Accelerate: $499/month (for 10 agents)
- Scale: $999/month (for 10 agents)
HelpCrunch is an efficient and reliable customer support software like Zendesk, that allows you to cater to all your support needs. You don’t have to keep switching between different tools. You can create automated greetings, agent avatars, custom chat settings, and improve your workflows via auto messages, knowledge base, email marketing, and mobile apps & SDK.
And you can offer multi-channel customer support, and customer onboarding to boost conversions. HelpCrunch allows you to address your marketing, support, and sales needs in a better and more targeted manner. You can avail of a custom conversational experience via a 100% customizable widget.
Unique Features of HelpCrunch:
- It offers free migration from Zendesk.
- It has a unique chat-as-a-ticket approach that makes teamwork convenient.
- HelpCrunch sends newsletters, a feature that is entirely absent in Zendesk
- It offers a help center inside the widget itself.
- It targets your business growth in more than one way and more effectively by covering sales and marketing as well.
HelpCrunch Pricing Plans:
- Standard: $15/agent/month
- Premium: $25/agent/month
- Enterprise: Pricing is available on call
What Criteria Should Zendesk Alternatives Meet?
To create a list of the best alternatives to Zendesk, we have scoured the internet and explored its top competitors. Some of the criteria that a commendable Zendesk alternative must meet are:
1. Features That Are Relevant to Modern-Day Customers
Digital customers have access to all the major online platforms, such as mobile apps, web apps, social media handles, websites, and discussion forums. While Zendesk continues using separate channels for each line of communication, its competitors are offering smart and intuitive functionalities.
So, any alternative must offer core customer service features that are optimized and relevant to modern-day digital customers.
2. High “Likelihood to Recommend” Ratings
Most of the Zendesk competitors with the same or similar features have amazing “likelihood to recommend” ratings. So, the average rating for a commendable alternative must be 8 or higher.
3. Pricing and Add-Ons
With more and more companies offering forever free versions that work exceptionally well for MSMEs and start-ups, Zendesk continues to be pricey. Also, the customers are expected to pay for any add-ons that must be free. So, any paid or free Zendesk alternative must have affordable plans with a decent set of features.
4. Number of Reviews and “Functionality” Ratings
The helpdesk alternative must have more than 10 positive reviews and ratings on popular platforms, like GetApp and Capterra.
Without any further ado, let us look at the tools like Zendesk that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Zendesk is an industry-leading customer service software that offers:
- CRM functionalities
- Proactive visitor engagement
- Self-service portal
- Flexible ticket management
There are many other smart features this tool offers. Hence, choosing the right alternative can be a daunting decision. We recommend opting for ProProfs Help Desk, a smart, intuitive, and reliable helpdesk that offers innovative features, automation, and advanced analytics apart from the core feature set. Apart from ProProfs Help Desk, you can consider Helpjuice and Zoho Desk as more optimized and innovative Zendesk alternatives.