Quality customer service is one of the most important aspects of every successful business, be that a small startup or an established multinational company. In the corporate arena, there is only one rule to adhere to: if you don’t address customers’ issues on time, someone else will.
This is the reason why the market is overwhelmed by help desk solutions, most of them going beyond simple query resolution, and offering us valuable insights and vertical operability features. As a buyer, you will be challenged to select a good option for your business, which is why we recommend you to examine the differences between top performers.
This article will present the best help desk software solutions and explain the value of each by comparing their main advantages and disadvantages.
Freshdesk is known by its unique and well-equipped feature suite, ease of use, flexibility, and premium customer support. It fits perfectly in any corporate scenario and meets the needs of both small and large companies, which is exactly what it heads this category. You can deploy it as SaaS or in cloud, and implement it easily to meet your horizontal support demands.
What Freshdesk is best known for is automated email-to-tickets conversion, but it also offers 24/7 service and self-service portals for end customers in several languages. It will let you include all SLA policies, and make use of an array of gamification features to engage employees. Among other features, you will also get to use productivity and CRM functionalities, core operations automation, multi-channel support, and many more.
As to pricing, teams up to3 agents get to use Freshdesk for free. Paid plans are also reasonably priced, the lowest one starting from $15/month.
- Scalable and flexible enough to meet your service desk needs, both for companies demanding basic support and enterprises looking for an advanced help desk.
- Instant conversion of emails into tickets
- A 24/7 knowledge base and self-service portal for support outside business hours
- Different support channels for customers to reach you, including social media
- A unified view of all tickets available to all agents (dashboard panel)
- No double-entries and ticket duplication
- Immediate routing of tickets between departments & collaboration
- Accurate time-tracking of turnaround rates per agent
- Gamification mechanisms used to motivate employees to improve their performance
- Premium support and customer service
- No guarantee that it will meet your vertical support needs
- Won’t adhere strictly to ITIL
- It is not the most affordable help desk out there
LiveAgent is another comprehensive help desk app that focuses on live chat support for small and medium businesses. You can choose whether to deploy it on premise or in cloud.
Due the fact it was designed exclusively as a live chat widget, LiveAgent doesn’t offer the same scalability as Freshdesk. Ticket management is nevertheless powerful, and agents can also engage customers while they’re checking out their products. gamification, reporting, and support in several languages are also included in the package.
There are several pricing plans to consider, depending on the deployment option you’ve chosen (in-cloud plans start at $12/user, and on-premise ones at $899/3 users).
- Makes it possible to nurture buyers at the most important stage of their purchase – looking at your products.
- The live chat widget is intuitive and simple to install
- Live chat has an offline mode that redirects users to your email/self-service portal (guarantees you will stay in touch with them).
- Affordable and easy support delivery
- The essence of the system is live chat, other modules may be too basic
- Reporting and ticket management are not too flexible
- The mobile UX could use some improvements
- No free plan available
Samanage is another ITIL-compliant tool designed to manage assets in medium and large business environments. It is because of its versatile application that Samanage ranks as a complex application, and may overwhelm teams with modest knowledge and training budgets. Plus, you should also give it a second thought if you’re looking for a basic help desk, as it is created to handle large inquiry influx from several channels.
The most prominent features of Samanage are: asset management, ITIL-compliant ticketing, SLA management, self-service portal, open API, risk management, and full mobile optimization.
Pricing is quote-based, depending on whether you are looking for an integrated IT solution, asset management module, or a basic service desk.
- Fully ITIL-compliant solution for asset and ticketing management
- Meets even the most complex of your customer service needs
- Manages workflows query-to-fulfillment
- Allows you to manage your licenses, contracts, and IT assets
- Integrates easily with popular third-party software
- It is fully optimized for mobile access (no dedicated apps though)
- Small businesses with basic support needs may find it overwhelming
- Too many advanced features you won’t use
- Costs more than most help desk solutions
- The interface is a bit outdated and could use modernisation
Zendesk is one of market’s leading help desk solutions with more than 40,000 companies making use of its amazing features. Most of those are in fact small businesses and startups, while Zendesk is also the favorite app of many freelance service providers. Large businesses with modest support needs should consider it as well.
Why is Zendesk so popular? The secret of this product is the expandability of its ticket management capacity to thousands of queries and agents. Another feature you may like is the possibility to direct tickets to the system’s Q&A base and rich self-service portal. Zendesk is also recognizable by accurate reporting you can use to compare customer satisfaction indexes, and benchmark those to your targeted audience.
There are five plans available, the lowest of which starts at $5/month/agent.
- It is scalable enough to support your growth, as it handles thousands of tickets every day
- Great for retail environments looking to handle seasonal sales influx such as holidays or Black Friday
- Affordable prices that meet the needs of small businesses and freelancers
- Accurate reporting and analytics, and possibility to measure customer satisfaction
- Automated connection between tickets and FAQ
- A single platform for all support channels for accelerated resolution
- Personalization & branding that will make your service credible and more professional
- Answers to your questions arrive only after 2-4 days
- Features are too general, and won’t always meet the specific scenarios in your industry
- Paid plans are slightly more expensive than the average rate in the industry
- Custom templates are not available
Desk relies on Salesforce’s infrastructure and reputation to deliver impeccable service to small businesses looking for scalability and reliability. The company noted incredible growth rates in a short lapse of time, and that’s mostly because it can be related to Salesforce Service Cloud and be used in enterprise environments.
Integration is definitely the highlight of this system, as Desk.com can be connected to social networks for private messaging, and solving immediate queries. This means you can target more users than usual, and store all conversations in a base where their status will be automatically updated.
Desk.com can also be purchased for case management, business intelligence, and mobile usage. Pricing is not limited per agent – there are three packages overall, the lowest of which costs $20/month.
- Fully enabled for seasonal support influx
- Reasonably priced; plans don’t depend on the number of agents
- Stores and updates all conversations on one platform – no way you will miss an important customer query
- Expands your reach by engaging audiences on several support channels
- Handles several languages, and helps you sell abroad.
- Not exactly suitable for large companies
- Admin functions are cumbersome and limited
- Business insights take time to update
- Phone support is not available
- Customization is limited
Freshservice is a cloud-based IT service management tool our experts recommend due to simplicity. It is one of the most affordable, plug-and-play help desk widgets for small/medium companies, but allows users to expand its functionality and use it in larger companies.
The core feature is ITIL compliance, but the system also offers timely ticket management, service level resources, escalation & risk management, smart alerts, and a handy service catalog and self-service portal. It is fully enabled for mobile usage.
Freshservice offers four per-month plans, the lowest of which is priced at $29/month. A free package is also available.
- Fully ITIL compliant from submission to resolution
- A free package is available for micro companies or such changing their deployment mode
- A robust self service portal and automated notifications for users requesting a particular service
- User-friendly service catalogues ideal for eCommerce environments
- Mobile apps that keep agents connected
- Fairly basic reporting
- Asset management needs modernisation
- Integrations are limited
7. Salesforce Service Cloud
Salesforce Service Cloud is a leading CRM system and member of the reputed Salesforce family. It boosts of scalable features that make it useful in all business environments, and integrates natively with any business app/system the company may be using thanks to its open API.
What Salesforce Service Cloud is best known for is multi-channel support and robust ticket management, while it also offers a collaboration suite that connects even the most decentralized teams. The same as our previous suggestions, Salesforce Service cloud offers a robust knowledge base. From the admin’s perspective, this is also a secure and reliable system where all workflows and cases need to be approved, and roles and permissions are easy to adjust.
Due to its reputation, Salesforce Service Cloud costs slightly more than similar help desk systems, with plans starting from $75/month.
- Native Salesforce integration and open API that help it fit any software ecosystem
- Support via several channels for customers to reach you at any time
- Scalable ticketing management that will support the growth of your business
- Advanced collaboration suite that lacks in most help desk apps and systems
- A complex interface that takes time to learn
- Unintuitive navigation
- Bugs and glitches happening when users try to access the same information at the same time
- More expensive than similar solutions
TeamSupport is a specific help desk system designed for business-to-business support, which is why we recommend it to B2B companies. What this means is that it offers a more robust and comprehensive support kit, and offers an inbuilt video tool you will rarely find in any other similar system.
In TeamSupport, you will discover five different modules: Collaboration, Agent Tools, Multi-Channel Support, Management Tools, and Self-Service Portal. You will get to use features such as SLA and risk management, customizable dashboards, statistics and reporting, and many more.
TeamSupport’s pricing is flexible, as there are plans tailored for small businesses and large ones. The lowest among them start at $40/month.
- Enabled to meet the vertical support needs of B2B firms
- In built instructing videos
- Universally applicable collaboration suite
- Dedicated features for Submission Deflection that suggest answers to customers’ queries
- A confusing, single-tab view on all items and queries
- The interface could use some modernisation
- The mobile app is not as friendly as the desktop version
- No possibility to pull off recurring tickets
- Occasional crashes reported
9. Help Scout
Help Scout’s core value is email support, as it offers a shared inbox for your agents to collaborate, and come with the best and most accurate solution and personalized answers for each customer query. The target group are small businesses and freelancers trying to simplify customer support and help desk delivery.
For the moment, Help Scout integrates with more than 40 popular business apps and multi-brand support systems. Inside, you will also find accurate reporting, robust knowledge base, and a dedicated app for iOS users.
Help Scout’s shared inbox comes for free, while fully-featured plans move from $20 upwards.
- Simplified interface reminiscent of common email providers
- Personalized support for each client
- 75+ keyboard shortcuts to save time and effort
- Expandable functionality (more than 40 integrations)
- Several types of bulk operations that reduce the admin’s workload
- Restricted flexibility and customization
- Lack of alerts and notifications on new emails (you have to refresh the page to see them)
- The mobile app can use more optimization
- File attachment may cause bugs and glitches
Intercom is a single platform that bundles sales and marketing features, and allows all of your support teams to work together and solve issues in real time. Its targeted audiences are mostly small and midmarket businesses.
There are 4 main components in this SaaS product: web live chat, email management, knowledge base, and a standardized help desk. The main features of each are real-time updates, message targeting, shared team inbox, and the unique A/B testing.
Users get to choose between individual and bundled plans, where pricing starts from $49/month.
- Understandable and intuitive user interface
- Simplified setting of email drip campaigns
- Pausing, resuming, and editing important campaigns
- Capturing live chat while customers are familiarizing with your product
- Confusing pricing for the individual and bundle packages
- All important parts and modules are sold separately, and may break the bank for growing businesses not sure what they need from the very beginning.