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10 Best Zendesk Alternatives Customer Service Software In 2020

Zendesk-Alternatives
Shifat Jaman


16 mins

When it comes to customer service software, then you've probably heard of Zendesk. Till now, Zendesk is used by such companies as Airbnb, Squarespace, and Vimeo for their customer service needs.

Zendesk is the topper of its class. Still, feature options and pricing tier wise there are plenty of Zendesk alternatives in the market. Zendesk belongs with 72% of the help desk market share; however, due to some major flaws, people are moving over Zendesk competitors.

We have analyzed data from over 40+ different help desk software and made a list of 10 best alternatives to Zendesk for you. We will talk about individual alternatives, their features, pros & cons, and, most importantly, the pricing.

So, without further delay, let's see what Zendesk alternative are worthy of your attention.

What is Zendesk? 

Zendesk is a customer service solution that offers a customizable front-end portal, live chat features, and integration with applications like Salesforce and Google Analytics, and customer self-service features. The cloud-based help desk software is prevalent among businesses for ease of use, quick setup, and APIs.

The best part of Zendesk is that there is a centralized system for answering customer requests. There is a ticket number assigned to each application, which makes it super easy to keep track of. Customers can go through existing tickets to find answers from queries and can also raise their own tickets in the portal.

Zendesk Features

It is impossible not to love Zendesk! It is a reliable customer service tool withholding more than 72% of the help desk market, and almost 15% of the live chat market. With more than just ticketing, it is the ease of use and setup process that provides quality support.

However, let's see some of the best Zendesk features.

  • Flexible ticket management with automated workflow
  • Multi-channel support: email, web, phone, chat, social media
  • Mobile support with native iPhone, iPad, and Android apps
  • Robust reporting and advanced analytics
  • Customer-facing web interface that you can easily brand
  • AI-powered chatbot that directs customers to self-service options
  • Customer support report cards to track team/agent performance
  • Knowledgebase portal and community forums included
  • Over 100 out-of-the-box integrations with 3rd party apps
  • Open API enabling seamless integration into your business
  • Strong security and compliance measures such as TLS encryption, HTTPS

Zendesk Pricing

Essential: $5 per agent, per month
Team: $19 per agent, per month
Professional: $49 per agent, per month
Elite: $199 per agent, per month
Enterprise: $99 per month

Why Look for Alternative to Zendesk?

With almost 2375 reviews and 4.35 ratings, Zendesk is one of the highest-rated customer service software in Getapps. As of today, Zendesk proved itself a reliable and feature-rich ticketing system. Now the question is, Why did we need to find an alternative to this despite being so good?

Zendesk is good, but there's some dissatisfaction, too. Let's discuss the issues down below,

  • It's complex: It is incredibly difficult to keep track of business users. When you are a SaaS supporting clients who have end-users, organizing tickets, and documenting issues are very important to find patterns. This is not possible in Zendesk, at least at the Team feature level.
  • Chats, emails, and other channels are managed separately: Zendesk separates chats and email tickets, so there's no way to answer customer requests in one queue.
  • Lack of modern interface: Compared to modern advanced tools and other customer service software, Zendesk's interface looks very outdated.
  • Missing email automation functionality: Zendesk doesn't offer email marketing functionality, and you do not set any automated email sequences tool to cover your customer communication.
  • Missing kick features: Zedesk offers features like custom chatbots, product tours, or video support, which seems like an old ticketing system. Nothing innovative here.
  • It's expensive: Zendesk offers four pricing tiers. For customer service, the available Essentials plan is the cheapest plan with very unelectable features where the price for premium plans bites. Nowadays good cloud-based help desk software comes very cheaply.

Let's see some of the terrible user's experiences of ​Zendesk users. These rating breakdown sources are from Getapp

The Features Zendesk Alternatives Must Have

Though Zendesk has so many notable features, it may not be the right fit for all businesses. That's why Zendesk competitors are as popular as Zendesk, according to the market. Also, the other Zendesk alternatives provide equally good functionalities at comparable or lower prices.

In general, every helpdesk software provides some core set of features. However, if you are looking for a Helpdesk solution for your company, then you probably look for the following need below.

  1. The visual look of the whole software process and ticketing system
  2. Shared view and collaboration for customer support teams to work together
  3. KPIs trackings, such as time to response or service rating
  4. Delegation and assignment of tickets to agents, from end to end, in real-time
  5. Automation of the process like easy to reply to customers

Apart from that, there are some non-feature related value needs that may be considered while choosing a Zendesk alternative. For instance,

  1. Time invested to learn and implement
  2. Ease to use a new solution
  3. Competitive pricing plan
  4. UI/UX interface is friendly or not
  5. Support and trust issue for the brand

What was Our Selection Criteria for Zendesk Alternative?

To bring out the best Zendesk Alternative we have tried as well as studying plenty of Zendesk competitors. However, to give you the best guide here are our selection criteria to identify the best alternatives.

  • Core customer service features: The product must offer core customer service features: ticketing, knowledgebase, and multi-channel support.
  • Minimum of 20 user reviews on Capterra and Getapp: Real-time user review helps to analyze the pros and cons of the products and make decisions rapidly.
  • High "likelihood to recommend" rating: Each product should have a minimum average recommendation rating of 8 out of 10 on Capterra and Getapp's site.
  • High "features & functionality" rating: The products should have a minimum functionality rating of 4 out of 5 on Capterra and Getapp.

If you want a platform as Zendesk alternatives without actually being Zendesk, then Freshdesk is the best one to be considered. With a 7.84% market share, Freshdesk ranks second behind Zendesk and one of the top Zendesk competitor available on the market right now.

From the agent standpoint, Freshdesk is highly optimized with features like automation, automatic delivery of help desk tickets to the correct department, reports, and knowledge base construction. Making the customer success workflow more collaboration-driven Freshdesk can be adapted with just about any business model.

Features of Freshdesk

  • Ticketing made easy
  • Resolve issues together
  • Support across channels
  • Manage your field workforce
  • Increase your team's productivity
  • Chatbot powered by Freddy AI
  • Measure and improve efficiency
  • Complete customization capabilities
  • State-of-the-art data security
​Pros of Freshdesk ​Cons of Freshdesk
  • Modern and more intuitive design
  • The live chat widget by Freshchat is more advanced and feature-rich
  • Advanced workflow automation
  • Other Freshworks products are available and can be integrated for free
  • Can still feel disintegrated compared to all-in-one solutions.
  • Poorer analytics
  • Unclear distribution of features among subscription plans
  • Limited dashboard customization

Pricing of Freshdesk

Sprout: Free
Blossom: $15 per month, billed annually
Garden: $35 per month, billed annually
Estate: $49 per month, billed annually
Forest: $99 per month, billed annually

Help Scout is a relatively smaller customer service softwares solution that is super-accessible and effortless to set up. It is used by many freelancers and small businesses and is widely considered to be the best Zendesk competitor of time.

Trusted by 9,000 businesses over 140 countries, Help Scout is a wonderful asset for small to large teams. By doing away with automated emails and ticket numbers, Help scout provides the most robust notification systems to date. Also, It doesn't use a conventional UI, and so the tool is straightforward to use and super fast at the same time.

Features of Help Scout

  • Outstanding support, no matter plan
  • Integrated knowledge base
  • Deliver instant answers with Beacon
  • Looks like a normal email
  • Easy to use, no training manual required
  • Optimized for search
  • Send better replies in less time
  • Collaborate with teammates
  • Keep customers in the flow with Messages
  • Live chat software but more helpful
  • 40+ integrations with 3rd party apps
​Pros of Help Scout ​Cons of Help Scout
  • Very easy and friendly user interface
  • The reliability of Help Scout is second to none.
  • Tracking of incoming emails
  • Reports from tagging regarding common issues
  • Fairly easy for team members to get up and running quickly
  • The knowledge base is a nightmare to edit
  • The tagging function is a bit onerous and took a while to strategize and set up.
  • Added integrations would help in certain cases

Pricing of Help Scout

Standard: $20 per User per Month
Plus: $35 per User per Month
Company: On contact

Groove is another excellent Zendesk alternatives with simple design and ease of use. The process of collecting customer inquiries, providing support as needed, and converting support tickets into amazing customer experiences of Groove is impressive.

It allows multiple agents to collaborate via both customer-facing channels on a single support instance in real-time. The most exciting feature of Groove is its integration with an email like Gmail and Outlook. Besides, Groove also allows users to create a support widget that can be displayed on their website. 

Features of Groove

  • Email Integration
  • Customer DataBase
  • Self Service Portal
  • Live chat system
  • Alerts/Escalation
  • Knowledge Base Management
  • Multi-Channel Communication
  • Third Party Integration
  • Response Automation
  • Attachments/Screencasts
  • Ticket Collaboration
  • Automated Routing
  • Customizable Branding
  • Tickets and Tagging
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) Management
​Pros of Groove ​Cons of of Groove
  • Easy to understand and well organized
  • Good knowledge base
  • Pretty fast support
  • Categorize tickets according to the rules
  • Easy to keep track of all the support requests
  • Limited in functionality
  • Don't have any mobile app
  • Difficult to figure out how to properly format emails

Pricing of of Groove

Starter: $9 per User per Month
Plus: $19 per User per Month
Pro: $29 per User per Month
Company: On contact

Front is a collaborative email platform that brings all of your business communications in one place. As of today, nearly 5,000 businesses rely on their Front inbox for better workflows, efficient collaboration, and smooth communication.

One of the most significant benefits for Front is assigning internal dialog around external communication. These will keep your team synchronized behind the scenes. You can also automatically assign messages to the team members and even localize other chat content in a single intuitive user interface.

Features of Front 

  • Unified inbox
  • Auto reminders
  • Auto responders
  • Multi-channel management
  • Real-time Analytics
  • Social Media Integration
  • Real-time notifications
  • Collaborative workspace
  • Activity audit and tracking
  • Email tracking and Search
  • Rules-based workflow
  • Native iOS, Android Apps
  • Custom Integrations
​Pros of Front ​Pros of Front
  • Centralized Communication
  • Multi-Channel Management with powerful automation
  • Full-Featured Mobile Apps
  • Email templates and reminders are very handy
  • Flexible pricing
  • Centralized Communication
  • Multi-Channel Management with powerful automation
  • Full-Featured Mobile Apps
  • Email templates and reminders are very handy
  • Flexible pricing

Pricing of of Front

Starter: $9 per user per month
Plus: $24 per user per month
Prime: $49 per user per month
Enterprise: $79 per user per month

If you want to shift away from a traditional ticketing approach and move to something handier and cheaper than HelpCrunch is the best alternative to Zendesk. This innovative option includes live chat for mobile apps and web, ticketing, marketing automation, and email marketing, and many more relative things.

The chat widget is 100% customizable, and even after sign up, you can create knowledge base articles, optimize them, and divide that by categories and sections. In a single tool, HelpCrunch gives you multiple communication channels with email marketing and popup functionalities, which Zendesk doesn't offer at all.

Features of HelpCrunch

  • Live Chat with Email Automation
  • Help Desk and Ticketing
  • Real-Time Messaging
  • Customer Engagement
  • Customer Conversion
  • Personalized Email Marketing Campaigns
  • Multi-Channel Customer Communication
  • Unlimited Conversations, Contacts, and Leads
  • Free Chat and Email Support
  • Customer Onboarding Campaign
  • Triggered Auto Messages
  • Customer Data and Actions Tracking
  • Default and Custom Filters
  • Precise Targeting
  • Selective Feedback Collection
  • Promo Campaigns
  • Time-Limited Offers
  • Mailbox Forwarding
Pros of HelpCrunch Cons of HelpCrunch
  • Drive customer conversion
  • Maximize revenue for each customer
  • Engage customers and leads proactively
  • Optimize seamless communication
  • Need more integrations
  • Lack of SEO friendly knowledge base

Pricing of of HelpCrunch

Standard: $15 month per team member billed monthly
Premium: $25 month per team member billed monthly
Enterprise: Custom plan

Kayako is the oldest alternative to Zendesk and one of the prior Zendesk competitors from the very beginning. However, with limited functionality compared to Zendesk, it's an all-in-one tool that looks and functions like a ticketing system, something Zendesk lacks.

You will receive all customer requests in a shared inbox to support customers as a team and keep the personal touch. Customers will enjoy collaboration features like private notes, collision prevention, assignment rules, and real-time visitor monitoring. Also, integrate the live chat with your website and mobile apps through mobile SDKs.

Features of Kayako 

  • Unified conversations across multiple channels
  • Real-time messaging for your help center and website
  • Real-time visitor monitoring
  • Beautiful Help Center so customers can help themselves
  • Advanced ticket workflows and automations
  • Custom fields to collect all the information you need
  • Rich customer and organization profiles
  • Set SLAs to keep on top of your customer conversations
  • Define business hours for accurate performance tracking
  • Automatic escalations ensure nothing gets forgotten
  • Native mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Simple Insights into your team's performance
  • Advanced Insights - coming soon
  • Multilingual customer support and localizations
  • Manage and offer unique experiences for multiple brands
  • Full control over the look-and-feel of your Help Center
  • Zapier integration to connect with over 500 business apps
  • Simple webhook integration to push customer data into Kayako
  • Slack integration
Pros of Kayako Cons of of Kayako
  • The shared inbox for all customer service channels
  • The ability to add collaborators for free
  • Helps you with its 100 out-of-the-box reports
  • Multi-brand support for large companies
  • accessible via its mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and Blackberry phones and tablets
  • Integration of the custom fields created on Ticket/time tracking/Billing
  • Basic live chat widget customization
  • Basic knowledge base functionality

Pricing of of Kayako

Inbox: $15 per agent per month
Growth: $30 per agent per month
Scale: $60 per agent per month

Intercom is a flexible Zendesk alternative focused on enabling organizations to build authentic relationships with their clients not only for support but also for sales and marketing. In terms of support-oriented solutions, Intercom is a far better option than Zendesk.

From custom live chat, account-based marketing, targeted product tours, advanced email marketing functionality, no other tool comes even close to the level of innovation that Intercom offers. Apart from this, features like live chat, help desk, and knowledge base also make it so great. 

Features of Intercom

  • A/B testing
  • Audience segmentation
  • Behavior triggered messages
  • Conversation search
  • Customer user profiles
  • Email campaign creation
  • In-app message/email composer
  • Inbound email address
  • Real-time performance monitoring
  • Personalized reply templates
  • User event tracking
Pros of Intercom Cons of Intercom
  • Modern interface
  • Feature-rich live chat
  • Shared inbox for emails and chats
  • Has many innovative features like bots and product tours (for additional costs)
  • Gets very expensive once you need advanced features or detailed reports
  • Additionally charges for active contacts
  • Twitter and Facebook integrations are only included inexpensive plans
  • Limited reports

Pricing of Intercom

Start: $39 per month. Free trial available
Grow: $99 per month. Free trial available
Accelerate: $499 per month
Scale: $999 per month

HappyFox is a multi-channel helpdesk solution that is very similar to LiveAgent. With some seamless notable integration options and a vast knowledge base, HappyFox is an all-in-one organization solution for any customer service needs.

It provides information to the clients via email, live chat, social media, and even by phone. With incredibly helpful and knowledgeable support, HappyFox allows organizations to easily update their knowledge base and other customer-facing content. Also, the self-service portal provides information regarding the content of every customer's inquiries.

Features of HappyFox Customer Service Software

  • Live Chat Integration
  • Group Contacts
  • Intuitive user interface
  • In-depth reporting
  • Over 35 languages supported
  • Convert emails into tickets
  • Smart rules for automation
  • Social media integration with Facebook
  • Supports voice, email, chat, social media, and mobile channels
  • Works on iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices
Pros of HappyFox Cons of HappyFox
  • Great response from the sales team
  • Tracks customer support tickets very well
  • Assist Customers from Anywhere
  • Comprehensive Insights
  • Sometimes chat website shows some javascript errors 
  • App logging issue
  • Initial setup required some back-end programming

Pricing HappyFox

Mighty: $29 per month
Fantastic: $49 per month
Enterprise: $69 per month
Enterprise Plus: $89 per month
Unlimited Agents: $1499 per month

Zoho Desk is an AI-based context-aware Zendesk competitor and a great tool to increase agent productivity. It's included automation system powered the ticketing system just like Zendesk does. For the managing capabilities, Zoho Desk dedicated asset management system is the best.

You can customize the layout, design, and color of the tool to match your brand and connect it to popular third-party platforms like JIRA and Slack. With ticketing service, live chat, and multi-channel customer support, It also offers collaboration features such as tagging and commenting.

Features of Zoho Desk

  • Accounts and Contacts
  • Alerts and Notifications
  • CRM integration
  • Contracts and SLA
  • Customizable reports
  • Customization
  • Scheduled reports
  • Self-service portal
  • Service escalations
  • Social Media Support
  • Third-Party Integration
  • Ticket assignment and management
Pros of Zoho Desk Cons of Zoho Desk
  • Integrates well with the other Zoho products, such as Zoho CRM, as well as third-party apps.
  • Good user interface and dashboard, as well as the reporting, keyboard shortcut, and autosuggestion features.
  • Doesn't have an on-premise version.
  • The learning curve is steep and some features, such as email branding, take time to configure.

Pricing of Zoho Desk

Free: 3 Free Agents
Standard: $12 per month billed annually
Professional: $20 per month billed annually
Enterprise: $35 per month billed annually

Crisp is an all-in-one multi-channel help desk software solution for customer messaging and a strong Zendesk competitor available in the market. To interact with customers and improve customer satisfaction, Crisp keeps the workflow simple. All over 100 000 businesses use Crisp at crisp.chat now.

The Crisp Knowledge Base allows customers' support team to rely on existing content to better serve their customers and easily link content to customers' questions. With Live Assist, users can grant agents temporary control to resolve issues directly and see what visitors are typing in real-time. 

Features of Crisp

  • Alerts / Escalation
  • Automated Routing
  • Customizable Branding
  • Document Storage
  • Email Integration
  • IT Asset Management
  • Interaction Tracking
  • Knowledge Base Management
  • Multi-Channel Communication
  • Network Monitoring
  • Real-time Chat
  • Self Service Portal
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) Management
  • Ticket Management
  • REST API and Frontend API
  • Mobile SDK
Pros of Crisp Cons of Crisp
  • Transparent and predictable pricing
  • Fast and helpful support
  • Lots of integrations
  • There's no teams feature
  • Old conversations get dragged into new conversations

Pricing of Crisp

Basic: Free
Pro: $25 per month per website
Ultimate: $95 per month per website

Wrapping Up

This was the list, guys. Here, we are trying to cover almost every popular alternatives to Zendesk, as well as top Zendesk competitors. Each of this Helpdesk software is well trusted, useful, and proved themselves worth using by millions of companies.

Which one did you use or decide to use after reading this article? Let me know in the comment sections below. Also, share your user experiences after using them too. Till then, enjoy the article. 

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Comments (4)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Very informative blog and just what I was looking for online. I really appreciate the writer for solving my problems by writing this blog. By the way, I am also a writer and I write about the mortgage rates Washington in 2020 so do read out my blogs.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thank you Jenny.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks. And what about FreeScout helpdesk?

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

You are most welcome Mike. According to our list, we considered FreeScout as an 11th option.

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