Top 10 Help Scout Alternatives for 2021

Top 10 Help Scout Alternatives

Help Scout has become a popular name in the current help desk industry. 

The tool comes across as an all-in-one customer service platform that helps you meet rising customer expectations and get productive teams. Features such as in-app messaging, keyboard shortcuts, shared inbox, etc. make it a promising ticketing software.

But if you look closely, Help Scout has its share of problems. 

While some Help Scout customers might complain about the company’s lack of phone or live chat support, others will tell you that internal communication has taken a hit and become more confusing than ever. 

Have you outgrown Help Scout?

Well, you have come to the right place. In this blog, we will discuss some major drawbacks of the tool and compare the best Help Scout alternatives in a clear and unbiased manner.

What Is Help Scout? 

What is helpscout software

Help Scout is a popular email ticketing software that allows you to manage all your support requests in a shared inbox. You can get the collaboration features your team needs to stay productive while delivering great support. Some popular features include multi-channel support, advanced search, 75+ keyboard shortcuts, in-app messaging, and more. The tool also offers native iOS and Android apps to support customers on the go. 

Why Look for Help Scout Alternatives?

Although Help Scout comes with some incredible features, it might fail to meet your expectations in several crucial areas. There are some serious drawbacks that first-time users need to know. Let’s discuss them right away. 

In Help Scout, there is no separate ‘Reply’ button for internal notes. For instance, let’s say a team member leaves a note in a ticket and assigns it to someone else. Now, if the other team member clicks the ‘Reply’ button, the message will be shared with the customer. An internal chat leaking to the customer can be embarrassing for your business. 

As shared by many users in their online reviews, there is no real-time notification when a new ticket comes in. Therefore, agents are forced to constantly hit the refresh button to check for new tickets. 

Help Scout, even after being a popular name in the help desk industry, does not offer phone or live chat support for its clients. You will have to either tirelessly scroll through their help docs or submit an issue on their website. 

Top Features that Help Scout Alternatives Should Have

In your quest to find the best alternative to Help Scout, different tools with their different features can leave you more confused than sorted. 

In this comparison blog, we have compiled a list of important features that the best Help Scout alternatives should have. 

  • Shared inbox to merge all support email accounts together
  • Easy to use help desk interface that requires minimum training and can be easily set up in minutes
  • Internal collaboration features to help agents resolve customer issues together. For instance, parent-child ticketing to break a ticket into smaller sub-tickets for easy resolution
  • Insightful reporting and analytics to monitor team performance, customer satisfaction, and track the overall progress
  • Help desk automation capabilities to rise above manual and repetitive processes, for instance, automated alerts and notifications

Our Selection Criteria for Help Scout Alternatives

There is a lot of work that goes into finding the perfect product alternative. You have to scroll through dozens of websites, explore product features, compare prices, and scan through hundreds of online reviews. 

But, don’t worry as we have done the heavy lifting for you. All the product alternatives have been carefully chosen to help you make the right decision. In order to make it to our list, the help desk systems should complete the following criteria: 

Core Help Desk Features: All the Help Scout competitors should offer core help desk features such as ticket tracking, ticket assignment, multichannel support, customer service reports, etc. 

Listed on Top Review Platforms: The alternatives should be listed on the popular software review platforms such as Getapp, SoftwareWorld, and Capterra. 

Minimum 10 User Reviews: The Help Scout alternatives should have a minimum of 10 genuine user reviews on the above-mentioned software comparison platforms. Online reviews offer useful pros and cons and make comparison easier. 

Software Key Features Price
ProProfs Help Desk Automated ticket routing
Internal collaboration
Create a dedicated knowledge base
Custom signatures
Smart reports & analytics
Forever free plan
Essentials: $10/user/month
Premium: $15/user/month
Freshdesk Create knowledge base articles
Parent-child ticketing
Track time & log billable hours
AI-powered chatbot
SLA management
Sprout: Forever free plan
Blossom: $15/user/month
Garden: $35/user/month
Estate: $49/user/month
Forest: $99/user/month
Zendesk Build a community forum
Ticket escalations
AI-powered bots
Easy-to-understand reports
Dedicated help center
Suite Team: $49/agent/month
Suite Growth: $79/agent/month
Suite Professional: $99/agent/month
Intercom Team inbox
Outbound messages
Publish help articles
Resolution bot
Product tours
Start: $59/month
Grow: $119/month
Accelerate: $499/month
Scale: $999/month
Zoho Desk Multichannel support
Multi-brand help center
Notifications for ticket updates
Forms & email templates
Android & iOS apps
Free: Forever free plan
Standard: $12/agent/month
Professional: $20/agent/month
Enterprise: $35/agent/month
Kayako Easy-to-search knowledge base
View customer activities
Kayako Messenger
Create pre-defined responses
Monitor internal performance
Inbox: $15/agent/month
Growth: $30/agent/month
Scale: $60/agent/month
Hiver Organize multiple email accounts
Assign owners to emails
Email tags
Agent roles & permissions
Connect with Slack & Zapier
Lite: $7/user/month
Grow: $22/user/month
Pro: $37/user/month
Elite: $57/user/month
Helpwise Tag & label email threads
Saved replies
Internal chat
Manage WhatsApp conversations
Avoid duplicate replies
Standard: $12/user/month
Premium: $20/user/month
Enterprise: (Price on request)
HelpDesk Group tickets together
Add private notes
Agent roles & permissions
New ticket notification
Monitor first response time
Starter: $4/agent/month
Team: $19/agent/month
Enterprise: (Price on request)
LiveAgent Internal notes
Customer resolution journeys
Merge multiple tickets together
Automatic spam filtering
Automated workflow
Free: Forever free plan
Ticket: $15/agent/month
Ticket + Chat: $29/agent/month
All-Inclusive: $39/agent/month

10 Best Help Scout Alternatives You Should Consider

Now that we have discussed the pros and cons of using Help Scout, let’s get to business and explore the top Help Scout alternatives. Here we go. 

1. ProProfs Help Desk– Feature-rich and affordable Help Scout alternative 

ProProfs Help Desk best helpscout alternative

ProProfs Help Desk is undoubtedly the best free Help Scout alternative. The tool comes at a similar price point to Help Scout but offers far more features. Every incoming support request is automatically converted into a ticket and assigned to the most relevant agent. 

In addition to robust ticket management, ProProfs offers multiple customer support tools such as Knowledge Base, Live Chat, Survey Maker, etc. that help you offer delightful support 24×7. Customer support teams can achieve more together with collaboration features such as internal notes, custom fields, ticket labels, internal chat, and others. 

You Can Use ProProfs Help Desk To: 

  • Automatically route tickets to relevant agents and teams
  • Collaborate using internal notes, canned responses, and parent-child ticketing
  • Empower customers to resolve their issues using a knowledge base
  • Use custom signatures to make your brand look more professional
  • Improve performance with the help of smart reports & analytics

Pros of ProProfs Help Desk:

  • Using ProProfs, you can create attractive surveys in minutes. You can even choose to share automated surveys with customers once their ticket has been closed. 
  • You can easily set the priority of every ticket as High, Low, or Normal based on the urgency of an issue. All priority labels are displayed in different colors so that you never miss an important ticket. 

Cons of ProProfs Help Desk:

ProProfs Help Desk Plans Include:

Free: Forever free plan with up to 100 tickets per month

Essentials: $10/user/month

Premium: $15/user/month

2. Freshdesk– All the features you need to offer an omnichannel experience

Freshdesk  helpscout alternative

Freshdesk is another best Help Scout alternative that deserves your attention. With the Team Inbox, agents can track and manage incoming support tickets from multiple channels such as email, phone, chat, and social media in a single dashboard. 

With Freshdesk’s auto-assignment features, tickets can be assigned based on an agent’s skill set, their workload, or they can be distributed equally amongst your customer support members. Customizable reports help you understand how different agents and teams are performing based on various help desk metrics.

You Can Use Freshdesk To: 

  • Allow agents to convert their ticket replies into knowledge base articles
  • Split tickets into multiple child tickets
  • Automatically track time spent working on support tickets and log your billable hours.
  • Deliver instant and precise answers to your customer’s questions with Chatbot AI- Freddy
  • Create deadlines for ticket response with  SLA management 

Pros of Freshdesk:

  • The ‘Thank You Detector’ feature prevents the reopening of tickets when customers respond with a thank you.  
  • Freshdesk comes with a modern & intuitive design and makes your team’s lives a lot easier. 

Cons of Freshdesk: 

  • Unclear distribution of features among subscription plans
  • Compared to other help desk tools, Freshdesk plans are quite expensive

Freshdesk Plans Include: 

Sprout: Free for unlimited agents with email and social ticketing 

Blossom: $15/user/month

Garden: $35/user/month

Estate: $49/user/month

Forest: $99/user/month

Recommended Read: Freshdesk alternatives

3. Zendesk– Help desk that can scale to meet your growing needs

Zendesk best helpscout alternative

Zendesk is another popular alternative to Help Scout that offers the right platform for tracking, prioritizing, and solving customer support tickets. All ongoing, and past conversations can be found in a single location so that communication between your business and your customers is efficient as well as personal. 

With Zendesk you can allow customers to help themselves without any agent intervention. You can build an extensive help center and a community forum to allow customers to resolve issues at their own pace- while reducing your ticket volume. 

You Can Use Zendesk To: 

  • Build an integrated help center and community forum
  • Easily escalate an issue to the most appropriate agent
  • Leverage automation and AI-powered bots to get customer context
  • Analyze trends and measure performance with easy-to-understand reports
  • Immediately set up customer phone numbers, voicemail, and text messages

Pros of Zendesk: 

  • Zendesk offers over a 100 plus integrations with 3rd party business apps
  • The tool is known for its robust IT ticket management features 

Cons of Zendesk: 

  • Chats, emails, and other channels are managed separately
  • For sharing automated emails, the email automation functionality is missing

Zendesk Plans Include: 

Suite Team: $49/agent/month

Suite Growth: $79/agent/month

Suite Professional: $99/agent/month

Recommended Read: Best Zendesk Alternative

4. Intercom– Expensive yet powerful Help Scout alternative 

Intercom best helpscout alternative

Intercom is another important alternative to Help Scout that offers the power and flexibility your business needs to provide personalized, human support to more customers. With the Team Inbox, agents can manage and reply to conversations, wherever they’re happening — Twitter, Facebook, Live chat, email, and more. 

Besides this, Intercom gives you the right platform to offer proactive support. You can use targeted messages to suggest quick tips to customers or simply to update them about scheduled outages.

You Can Use Intercom To:

  • Manage all customer communications using the Team Inbox
  • Use outbound messages to onboard, and proactively support your customers
  • Publish help-articles to your knowledge base to provide your customers with self-serve support
  • Use Resolution Bot to answer and resolve simple customer queries
  • Enlighten new customers with interesting product tours

Pros of Intercom: 

  • Intercom comes with many innovative features such as bots and product tours
  • You can use Custom Bots to prioritize issues and connect customers to the right people in your team

Cons of Intercom: 

  • Intercom can get very expensive once you need advanced features or detailed reports
  • Social media integrations such as Twitter and Facebook are only included in the expensive plans

Intercom plans Include: 

Start: $59/month (1 seat)

Grow: $119/month (5 seats)

Accelerate: $499/month (10 seats)

Scale: $999/month (10 seats)

5. Zoho Desk– The context-aware help desk software

Zoho Desk  helpscout alternative

Zoho Desk is another free Help Scout alternative that deserves to be on your list. Your support agents can use the power of customer context to better understand customer problems, improve productivity, promote self-service, and increase customer happiness.

When it comes to incorporating AI to speed up the issue-resolution process, Zoho does not lag behind. You can proactively reduce support tickets, analyze customer sentiments, and spot bottlenecks using Zia, the AI-powered assistant. 

You Can Use Zoho Desk To: 

  • Be available for customers on their preferred channels
  • Create a multi-brand help center for your different customer groups
  • Share notifications to update agents as well as customers
  • Create multiple templates for forms and emails
  • Support customers on the go with the Zoho app for Android and iOS

Pros of Zoho Desk: 

  • Customers can speak or chat with AI Zia from your website or mobile apps, Zia can process their questions and answer them based on knowledge base articles
  • The company’s help desk platform can be easily integrated with Zoho CRM and other important third-party apps

Cons of Zoho Desk:

  • Zoho Desk does not offer an on-premise version
  • Important features, such as email branding, can take a lot of time to configure

Zoho Desk Plans Include: 

Free: Forever free plan, limited to 3 agents

Standard: $12/agent/month

Professional: $20/agent/month

Enterprise: $35/agent/month

6. Kayako– Support your customers in multiple languages

Kayako  helpscout alternative

Kayako empowers customer service agents to deliver exceptional customer service in multiple languages across live chat, email, Facebook, and Twitter. Kayako gives you a complete picture of your customer’s journey so you can see their past support interactions and offer help accordingly. 

Support teams can enjoy collaboration features such as private notes, agent collision prevention, assignment rules, and canned responses. You can mark the status of a ticket as open, pending, and completed, or you can even choose to mark them with custom tags. 

You Can Use Kayako To:

  • Create an easy-to-search repository of self-help articles, videos and FAQs
  • Bring customer activities into Kayako for immediate context
  • Support customers in real-time with Kayako Messenger
  • Save time with pre-defined and saved responses
  • Stay on target with SLAs and measure internal performance

Pros of Kayako:

  • With this tool, you can take your customer service to a global scale and support customers in 40+ languages
  • Kayako’s SingleView dashboard displays the conversation along with the customer’s information, interactions, and activities

Cons of Kayako: 

  • The tool offers basic live chat widget customizations
  • Many customers have complained that there are situations where attaching and receiving files can be quite difficult.

Kayako Plans Include:

Inbox: $15/agent/month

Growth: $30/agent/month

Scale: $60/agent/month

Recommended: Look on best kayako alternative

7. Hiver– Deliver support right from Gmail

Hiver helpscout alternative

Hiver is quite different from other Help Scout alternatives that we are discussing in this blog. It helps businesses offer exceptional customer service right from their Gmail inbox. Rather than a full-fledged help desk, you can consider it as an extension of Gmail. 

Customer service managers can easily assign emails as tasks to their team members with a single click. The support agents can mark the status of an email as ‘Open’, ‘Pending’, or ‘Closed’ for improved organization. 

You Can Use Hiver To: 

  • Organize multiple email accounts and never miss an email
  • Assign delegated owners to support emails
  • Categorize and prioritize customer issues with Email Tags
  • Assign roles and permissions to your team members
  • Connect Hiver with other tools such as Slack and Zapier

Pros of Hiver:

  • Hiver offers a 14 day free trial for its new customers
  • The tool allows you to support customers right from your Android or iOS mobile devices

Cons of Hiver: 

  • The tool is limited to Gmail users only and is not meant for other email clients
  • You cannot use Hiver to offer multi-channel support 

Hiver Plans Include: 

Growth: $22/user/month

Pro: $37/user/month

Elite: $57/user/month

8. Helpwise– Friendly interface for email management 

Helpwise  helpscout alternative

Helpwise offers robust shared inboxes for email, SMS, WhatsApp, website chat widget, and social media accounts that lead to easy collaboration among your team members. You can easily share the ticket workload among your team members and reach Inbox Zero faster.

With Helpwise, you can get detailed analytics on your email frequency, response rates & individual performance. This makes measuring and improving your team’s performance much easier.

You Can Use Helpwise To: 

  • Tag & Label email threads for better grouping, tracking, and search
  • Answer common queries quickly with saved replies
  • Easily chat with team members within email threads
  • Assign WhatsApp conversations to the right team members
  • See in real-time if someone is replying to an email

Pros of Helpwise:

  • Access your team emails from the web and mobile apps
  • With Helpwise, it is easier to avoid duplicate and conflicting responses

Cons of Helpwise:

Cons of Helpwise:

Standard: $12/user/month

Premium: $20/user/month

Enterprise: You need to make a request on their website (minimum 100 users)

9. HelpDesk– Manage tickets from an easy-to-use dashboard

Helpdesk  helpscout alternative

HelpDesk makes it easier for support teams to manage incoming customer emails, requests from web forms, and any other sources. All your support representatives can collaborate effortlessly using private notes, multiple mailboxes, and automated assignment rules.

Moreover, HelpDesk is designed to make ticket assignment and ticket management as seamless as possible. You can easily integrate HelpDesk with LiveChat and give more options to your customers to contact your business for support. 

You Can Use HelpDesk To:

  • Group tickets together based on specific filters and create custom ticket lists
  • Add private notes in ticket threads that are visible only to your team
  • Assign agent roles to recreate company structure
  • Get notified when a new ticket arrives
  • Measure and improve your first response time

Pros of HelpDesk:

  • The ‘New tickets heatmap’ feature can help you spot peak times when your team receives more incoming requests than other times
  • With the help of Delivery Status, agents can confirm if a customer received and opened their message

Cons of HelpDesk:

  • As a relatively young product, HelpDesk offers limited functionalities and integration options
  • The spam filter can sometimes block important incoming support emails 

HelpDesk Plans Include: 

Starter: $4/agent/month with basic email management features

Team: $19/agent/month

Enterprise: You need to make a request on their website to get the pricing details for this plan

10. LiveAgent– Improve your workflow with advanced automation rules

LiveAgent  helpscout alternative

As one of the top Help Scout competitors, LiveAgent offers an advanced Universal Inbox to manage all support conversations from- emails, chats, calls, Facebook & Twitter tickets, forum posts, suggestions, etc. The hybrid ticket stream allows you to track a customer’s complete problem resolution journey. 

With LiveAgent, your team members can easily collaborate, attach images or documents to tickets, export tickets into PDF or HTML format, automate the ticket assignment process, and offer uninterrupted support. 

You Can Use LiveAgent To: 

  • Create internal notes inside tickets to help other team members
  • Follow customer resolution journeys across different channels
  • Merge multiple tickets into a single ticket
  • Avoid spam emails or messages with automatic spam filtering
  • Create an automated workflow through time, action, and SLA rules

Pros of LiveAgent: 

  • You can easily manage social media conversations, posts, and mentions from a single dashboard
  • LiveAgent gives you the option to create SLA compliance reports to monitor your support process

Cons of LiveAgent:

  • The interface looks outdated and needs a lot of improvement 
  • Lacks an important social media integration- LinkedIn 

LiveAgent Plans Include: 

Free: Forever free plan with limitations.

Ticket: Email ticketing tool at $15/agent/month 

Ticket + Chat: Multi-channel live chat plus ticketing solution at $29/agent/month

All-Inclusive: Omni-channel help desk at $39/agent/month

Comparison of Best Alternatives of Help Scout 

Software Price Forever Free Plan Shared Inbox Multi-channel Communication Alerts & Escalations Live Chat Self-Service Portal IT Help Desk
ProProfs Help Desk $10/month
Freshdesk $15/month
Zendesk $49/month
Intercom $59/month
Zoho Desk $12/month
Kayako $15/month
Hiver $22/month
Helpwise $12/month
HelpDesk $4/month
Live Agent $15/month
Help Scout $20/month

Final Verdict: Which Help Scout Alternative Should You Go For?

Help Scout is a reputed help desk tool that allows you to:

  • Manage all requests in a shared inbox
  • Route tickets to relevant agents
  • Attach files to tickets
  • Categorize tickets using Tags

Despite the features, the demerits such as lack of phone and chat support, no forever free plan, etc. make people search for the right alternatives. All Help Scout alternatives shared in this blog are well trusted, useful, and have been a popular choice among businesses of all sizes. 

If you wish to go for all-in-one help desk software that has a similar price point to Help Scout and better features, you must go for ProProfs Help Desk. If you are looking to manage customer support tickets right from Gmail, then Hiver can be a good option. Similarly, if your focus is on improving IT services, Zendesk can give an edge to your IT support team.

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About the author

Jared is a customer support expert. He has been published in CrazyEgg, Foundr, and CXL. As a customer support executive at ProProfs, he has been instrumental in developing a complete customer support system that more than doubled customer satisfaction. You can connect and engage with Jared on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

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