Top 10 Zendesk Alternatives for 2021

Best Zendesk Alternatives

When we talk about customer service software, chances are that you must have heard about Zendesk. Big corporate brands such as Siemens, Mailchimp, and Tesco have used Zendesk to take their customer service to the next level. 

But, let’s be honest. Zendesk has some serious limitations and is not the right fit for every business. 

Right from complicated features to expensive plans that will make you think twice before going ahead with the tool, Zendesk falls short on more areas than one. 

In this blog, we have analyzed data from different help desk software and compiled a list of top Zendesk alternatives for you. We will discuss the top 10 tools like Zendesk, their features, and compare their pricing.

What Is Zendesk?

What Is Zendesk

Zendesk is one of the leading help desk software in the market that helps you deliver meaningful customer experiences. This robust ticketing system helps you gain 360-degree visibility into all customer interactions for an efficient, seamless process. Support agents can bring in customer issues or requests from almost any channel and use interaction history to respond faster with the right context. 

Zendesk provides a complete customer service solution that’s easy to use and scales with your business. You can build an integrated help center as well as a community forum to help customers resolve issues at their own pace and reduce agent workload. 

Why Look for Zendesk Alternatives? 

“Products similar to Zendesk” has become a popular search query among many leading businesses. Although Zendesk has been a market leader for years, it fails to hit the sweet spot in certain crucial areas. Let’s discuss them right away. 

  • Expensive Plans

Zendesk offers one of the most expensive plans that can burn a big hole in your pocket, especially if you are a business on a budget. Zendesk plans start at $49/agent/month and go up to as high as $215/agent/month. Now, not every business can afford to use this tool given the number of cheaper Zendesk alternatives available in the market that offer more or less the same features. 

  • Complicated Features

The tool offers an overwhelming amount of features and therefore, can make your customer service operations complicated. Moreover, Zendesk separates chats and email tickets, so you cannot manage customer requests in one queue.

  • Outdated Interface

If you check other modern help desk tools, Zendesk’s interface looks outdated, dull, and there is massive scope for improvement. 

  • Basic Plan Lacks Important Features 

Important help desk features such as self-service customer portal, knowledge management, SLA management, multilingual support, private notes, etc. are not included in Zendesk’s basic plan (Suite Team). 

Top Features that Zendesk Alternatives Should Have

In your journey to find the best alternative to Zendesk, different tools with their different features can grab your attention and leave you more confused than sorted. 

To make your life easier, we have compiled a list of important features that the top alternatives to zendesk should have. 

  • Easy-to-use and user-friendly help desk interface that can be set up in minutes without the need for extensive training programs
  • Shared inbox to allow multiple agents to access your support email accounts 
  • Internal collaboration features for addressing customer concerns faster together. For example, internal notes to discuss tickets before sharing a response
  • Anytime, anywhere access to easily support your customers from any part of the world
  • Smart reports and analytics to track individual and team performance, customer satisfaction, and monitor the overall progress
  • Help desk automation features to get more done in a limited time. For example, the Round-robin ticket assignment feature to automatically route tickets to your available agents

Our Selection Criteria for Zendesk Alternatives

Finding the perfect product alternative might seem like finding a needle in a haystack. You have to visit dozens of websites, dig out product features, compare prices, check for hidden terms and conditions, and scan through hundreds of online reviews. 

But, don’t worry just yet as we are here to help you. All the product alternatives mentioned in this blog have been carefully chosen to help you make the right decision. In order to make it to our list, the help desk software like Zendesk should meet the following criteria: 

Core Help Desk Features: All the Zendesk alternatives should have core help desk features such as ticket management, multichannel support, automation capabilities, customer service reports, etc. 

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

Minimum 10 User Reviews: All Zendesk competitors should have a minimum of 10 genuine user reviews on the leading software comparison platforms mentioned above. Online reviews posted by genuine users offer insights into the various pros and cons of the product and make comparison easier. 

10 Best Zendesk Alternatives You Should Consider

Now, that we have gained some deep insights into the various pros and cons of Zendesk, it’s time to move forward and evaluate the top alternatives to Zendesk. 

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

ProProfs Help Desk is a free Zendesk alternative

ProProfs Help Desk is a free Zendesk alternative that is built for productive teams and delightful customers. So what makes this tool take the top position? Well, features such as AI-powered chatbots, insightful reports, team collaboration features, and a self-service knowledge base, make this tool a favorite among businesses of all sizes. 

In addition to its effective ticket management functionality, ProProfs offers multiple customer service tools such as Knowledge Base, Live Chat, Survey Maker, etc. that help you offer 360-degree assistance to your global customers. Moreover, the tool makes it super easy for support teams to capture customer feedback with the help of automated surveys and improve performance. 

You Can Use ProProfs Help Desk To: 

  • Capture customer queries from email, live chat, help center, and web forms
  • Prioritize urgent customer issues that demand immediate attention
  • Collaborate using Internal Notes and organize tickets better using Labels, Status, and Filters
  • Use custom signatures to give your emails a professional appearance
  • Monitor CSAT, NPS, and other important metrics to improve the customer experience

ProProfs Help Desk Plans Include:

Forever Free: Forever free with limited features. 

Essentials: Starts at $10/agent/month

Premium: Starts at $15/agent/month

>> Try any plan free for 15 days

2. Freshdesk– Delight customers with the best omnichannel experience

Freshdesk is another popular alternative to Zendesk

Freshdesk is another popular alternative to Zendesk that enables you to provide hassle-free support to your customers. Whether you own a small business, a big enterprise, or a startup, you can easily use Freshdesk to connect with customers across multiple touchpoints, automate workflows, and resolve customer issues faster. 

Freshdesk offers extensive team collaboration features, powerful integrations, and customization options to help you deliver a stellar support experience to your customers. You can unify multiple channels on a single dashboard and delight customers with an omnichannel support experience. 

You Can Use Freshdesk To: 

  • Track all tickets from multiple channels using the Team Inbox
  • Automatically suggest ticket fields to categorize, prioritize, and assign incoming tickets
  • Ensure multiple agents don’t wind up working on the same ticket with agent collision detection
  • Link related tickets together to share consistent responses with customers
  • Interact with your customers instantly through WhatsApp and resolve their queries faster

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

Have a look at the freshdesk alternative in 2021

3. LiveAgent– Best for social media customer service

LiveAgent's help desk platform

With LiveAgent’s help desk platform, you can easily reach your customers on the channels they use the most- including email, chat, voice calls, and social media. Moreover, you can manage all leading social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Twitter, Viber, and Instagram from a single dashboard. 

Agents can resolve customer queries faster using a suite of powerful productivity tools and build loyalty through personalized customer interactions. Automatic ticket or call routing, workflow automation, and SLA reports are some of the key features of this Zendesk alternative.

You Can Use LiveAgent To: 

  • Automatically distribute tickets and create optimal workloads for your agents
  • Differentiate between customer and tickets using Ticket Tags
  • Avoid spam emails with automatic spam filtering in your help desk
  • Automate your workflow through time, action, and SLA rules
  • Add private notes to tickets that are visible only to team members and not to your customers

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

4. Zoho Desk– The context-aware help desk ticketing solution

Zoho Desk is a context-aware help desk tool

Zoho Desk is a context-aware help desk tool that allows businesses to use the power of customer context to improve agent productivity, promote self-service, manage cross-functional service processes, and monitor customer happiness.

Agents can automatically capture tickets from multiple channels – emails, social media, live chat, and web forms, and consolidate them on a single platform. You can easily cater to your global audience and support them 24/7. Simply build a robust self-service knowledge base and empower your customers to find solutions on their own.

You Can Use Zoho Desk To:  

  • Resolve tickets faster with the help of multiple departments
  • Streamline your social media presence through your help desk
  • Automate your process and master sentiment analysis with Artificial Intelligence named Zia
  • Share relevant knowledge base articles or guides in ticket responses
  • Develop and grow a community of prospects, existing customers, and visitors 

Zoho Desk Plans Include: 

Free: Forever free plan, limited to 3 agents

Standard: $12/agent/month

Professional: $20/agent/month

Enterprise: $35/agent/month

5. Kayako– Easy-to-use help desk ticketing system 

Kayako is another popular Zendesk help desk alternative

Kayako is another popular Zendesk help desk alternative that equips your team to deliver exceptional customer service in multiple languages across live chat, email, Facebook, and Twitter. The tool can work great for SMBs looking for relevant ticketing features to immediately start supporting customers. 

Trusted by businesses across the globe, Kayako makes customer service simple for your team. Support agents can easily collaborate across departments, distribute customer issues, and provide personalized experiences to every customer. 

You Can Use Kayako To: 

  • Gain visibility into a customer’s complete interaction history for a personalized experience
  • Connect your help desk with popular business apps such as Salesforce and Slack
  • Convert visitors into customers with live chat
  • Easily automate support workflows such as ticket routing, ticket updates, and more
  • Stay on track and measure performance with robust SLA management

Kayako Plans Include:

Inbox: $15/agent/month

Growth: $30/agent/month

Scale: $60/agent/month

6. TeamSupport– Build stronger B2B customer relationships

TeamSupport  is best zendesk alternative

TeamSupport offers its customer support tool which is built keeping the unique needs of B2B (business-to-business) software and IT companies in mind. Some of the top features of this tool include- screen recordings, live chat, customer self-service portals, ticket management, and ticket automation capabilities. 

TeamSupport offers all the features your team needs to work as a single unit and address customer concerns on multiple channels. For example, your support staff can work collaboratively with sales, technical, or finance departments for seamless operations. 

You Can Use TeamSupport To:

  • Easily track customer details and build a customer database
  • Group related tickets together for better organization
  • Set up groups for assigning, routing, and collaborating on tickets
  • Leverage internal chat to collaborate on tickets and hold quick discussions
  • Create custom reports, track relevant metrics, and improve your support process

TeamSupport Plans Include: 

Support Desk: $50/agent/month

Enterprise: $69/agent/month

7. HappyFox– The best multilingual help desk software

HappyFox is one of the leading Zendesk competitors

HappyFox is one of the leading Zendesk competitors that acts as a single platform for all your omnichannel customer requests. You can easily convert email, phone, chat, social media, and web requests into tickets and keep them organized in a single place. Moreover, you can build a robust contact portal for customers to log in and track their tickets. 

HappyFox is known for its multilingual capabilities that allow you to support your customers from across the globe. Users can easily create knowledge base articles in multiple languages and offer round-the-clock assistance. 

You Can Use HappyFox To: 

  • Organize tickets better with pre-defined ticket categories
  • Create canned responses to reply to customers with a single click
  • Share knowledge seamlessly with an internal knowledge base and ensure rapid training
  • Leverage AI-powered chatbots to deflect support tickets
  • Keep every team member notified with automated notifications

HappyFox Plans Include: 

HappyFox offers four agent-based plans- Mighty, Fantastic, Enterprise, and Enterprise Plus. However, in order to receive the pricing details, you need to make a request on their website. 

8. Groove– Best for effortless ticket organization

Groove’s is simple zendesk help desk tool alternative

Groove’s all-in-one help desk platform empowers customer support teams to deliver faster customer service, reduce costs, retain customers, and generate more sales. Agents can collaborate to resolve tickets together, see who is working on what, and respond to customers without stepping on anybody’s toes.

With the reporting features of this tool, you can quickly understand your team’s workload and identify trends. As a software cheaper than Zendesk, Groove allows you to monitor key metrics such as the total number of conversations and resolutions per day, the total number of customers assisted, trend insights, and more.  

You Can Use Groove To: 

  • Access step-by-step training guides and get started in minutes
  • Collaborate with internal notes that only your team can see
  • Respond faster to common customer questions with canned responses 
  • View the complete customer interaction history at a glance
  • Gain better visibility with reports and see where your team is doing well and where they can improve 

Groove Plans Include: 

Starter: $12/user/month

Plus: $20/user/month

Pro: $35/user/month

Company: For pricing details of the ‘Company’ plan, you need to make a request on their website

9. HelpDesk– Collaborate across departments to support customers

HelpDesk is another popular software like Zendesk

HelpDesk is another popular software like Zendesk that makes it easier for support teams to manage incoming customer emails, requests from web forms, and any other sources. Support agents and members from other departments can collaborate effortlessly using private notes, multiple mailboxes, and automated assignment rules.

With the ‘New tickets heatmap’ feature, you can help you spot peak times when your agents receive more customer requests than usual. This tremendously helps support managers in ensuring that an adequate number of staff members are available during peak hours. 

You Can Use HelpDesk To: 

  • Organize tickets using Filters and Tags
  • Automatically assign tickets to the right agents or teams 
  • Get notified whenever a new ticket arrives so that you don’t have to be online all the time
  • Monitor your team’s first response time and other crucial metrics
  • Assign agent roles and responsibilities to recreate company structure

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. Intercom– Expensive yet powerful Zendesk alternative

Intercom is best Zendesk tool alternative

Intercom helps you deliver the perfect blend of human, self-service, and proactive support to delight customers. Your agents can hold one-on-one interactions with customers, resolve repetitive questions automatically, and tackle upcoming problems before customers reach out. 

Intercom offers Custom Bots that can collect valuable up-front information, help prioritize urgent issues, and connect customers to the right people on your team. This way you can not only deflect a basic support tickets but also free up your agents to focus on more pressing customer issues. 

You Can Use Intercom To: 

  • Respond to all customer communications from the Team Inbox
  • Share relevant help articles with customers through your website or mobile app
  • Leverage Custom Bots to answer and resolve basic customer queries
  • Customize your workflows based on customer spending, business type, and more
  • Create intuitive product tours for the best onboarding experience

Intercom plans Include: 

Start: $59/month (1 seat)

Grow: $119/month (5 seats)

Accelerate: $499/month (10 seats)

Scale: $999/month (10 seats)

Comparison of Best Alternatives of Zendesk

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 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Freshdesk $15/month Y Y Y Y Y Y N
LiveAgent $15/month Y Y Y Y Y Y N
Zoho Desk $12/month Y N Y Y Y Y N
Kayako $15/month N Y Y Y Y Y N
TeamSupport $50/month N N Y Y N Y N
HappyFox Not Mentioned N Y Y Y Y Y N
Groove $12/month N Y Y Y Y Y N
HelpDesk $4/month N Y Y Y Y N Y
Intercom $59/month N Y Y Y Y Y N
Zendesk $49/month N Y Y Y Y Y Y

Final Verdict: Which Zendesk Alternative Should You Go For?

Zendesk is a renowned help desk tool that allows you to:

  • Meet your customers on multiple communication channels
  • Build an integrated help center and community forum
  • Offer self-service options to customers
  • Leverage powerful integrations

Despite the appealing features, the demerits such as outdated interface, way-too expensive plans, etc. make people search for the right Zendesk alternatives. All alternatives shared in this Zendesk comparison blog are feature-rich, well trusted, and have been a popular choice among businesses of all sizes. 

If you wish to give your team an all-in-one help desk software that comes at less than 1/4th the cost of Zendesk, you must go for ProProfs Help Desk. If you are looking to cater to your global audience in multiple languages, HappyFox can be a good option. Similarly, if your focus is on assisting customers with the right context, Zoho Desk can give an edge to your 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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