Bad customer service isn’t just annoying — it’s costly for businesses. According to research by Glance, 78 percent of surveyed customers have backed out of a purchase due to a poor customer experience. With the goal of improving their customers’ experiences, many organizations turn to Zendesk — one of the most popular customer service software tools available today. While Zendesk offers a number of benefits and helpful features to its users, it’s not the perfect solution for everyone. Whether because of the high cost, complicated onboarding experience, or any other drawback, there are many reasons to seek out Zendesk alternatives for your business.
Continue reading for the five best Zendesk alternatives on the market in 2022.
Freshdesk: best minimalist Zendesk alternative
Probably the service desk platform most often compared to Zendesk, Freshdesk offers similar tools and features with a more minimalist and easier-to-use interface — and a smaller price tag.
Freshdesk’s omni-channel solution means that customers can reach your support agents through their preferred format (email, social media, live chat, phone, mobile, etc.), but it’s consolidated into one centralized place for your team.
When it comes to resolving help desk tickets, Freshdesk empowers your support team to work together collaboratively, without any confusion or issues falling through the cracks. Tickets can be shared between multiple agents (with notifications and transparency), prioritized based on keywords set by your organization, and filtered according to importance.
Freshdesk also features AI-powered ticketing to streamline your processes even more. This feature automatically suggests categories and priority levels for tickets, recommends solutions based on past tickets, and prevents tickets from being reopened accidentally after customers have thanked your agents for their help. Plus, you can make sure your support desk is running as efficiently as possible with Freshdesk’s analytics capabilities that allow you to monitor team productivity and customer satisfaction, along with reducing the time it takes to resolve tickets.
While Freshdesk offers a number of robust features, some users wish that the mobile app offered the same capabilities as the desktop version. It’s also not the easiest tool to customize, so if you’re looking to incorporate tons of unique features it might not be the best tool for you.
Freshdesk offers a 21-day free trial, with paid plans starting at $15 per month per user after that.
HubSpot Service Hub: best Zendesk alternative for SMBs
A leader and 2021 gold medalist recognized by SoftwareReviews, HubSpot Service Hub is a cloud-based Zendesk alternative with solutions for businesses of any size.
HubSpot Service Hub aims to help businesses solve customer problems as efficiently, effectively, and authentically as possible. By consolidating all of an organization’s customer service information and data in one spot, support teams are able to get more done in less time — and with less effort.
With features like live chat, a knowledge base (that lets customers help themselves with a searchable library of FAQs, help articles, and videos), and a customer portal (where customers can take ownership and check the status of their request, as well as conversation history), HubSpot Service Hub has numerous features that put the customer first and ensures they’re getting the most positive experience possible.
In addition to these features, HubSpot Service Hub has a fully-integrated CRM so your agents have all of the customer context they need, a shared team inbox, playbooks (a library of resources for your team to refer to), and conversation intelligence that uses AI to take notes and provide insights on your team’s calls.
Plus, existing HubSpot CRM users can connect customer profiles directly to the HubSpot Service Hub for an even more seamless workflow.
Due to the high number of features and tools available with HubSpot Service Hub, some users say that onboarding and organizational adoption can present a bit of a challenge at times.
HubSpot Service Pro offers a free version that includes contact management, ticketing, live chat, team email, and more. If you’re looking for additional features, their paid plans start at $45 per month per user.
Zoho Desk: best Zendesk Alternative for Zoho users
Used by more than 50,000 organizations around the world, Zoho Desk is a strong Zendesk alternative for mid to large-sized companies.
Calling itself the first context-aware help desk, Zoho Desk believes customer interactions are best understood and solved within the context of the client’s previous activities and interactions.
In addition to a natural integration with Zoho CRM and the customer data stored there, support tickets are filtered based on criteria such as client type, past interactions, and urgency. For example, an emergency ticket by a high-profile client will automatically be surfaced and assigned greater priority than a ticket that isn’t as time-sensitive.
While Zoho Desk has many similar capabilities to other help desk tools (omnichannel services, workflow automation features, integration with other platforms), it stands out for its AI capabilities. Zoho Desk’s AI-powered assistant, Zia, works proactively to sort support tickets, analyze customer sentiment, recognize patterns, and alert your team to abnormal activity.
With a Gartner report estimating that “30 percent of customer service organizations will deliver proactive customer service using artificial intelligence, process orchestration and continuous intelligence” by 2023, Zoho Desk is ahead of the trend thanks to these capabilities already existing within the platform.
Some users cite the advanced customization of the platform to be an issue at times, as it can require some effort to get started with. Additionally, others say that Zoho Desk’s search functionality isn’t as intuitive as it could be which can occasionally delay their customer response time.
You can try any of Zoho Desk’s plans free for 15 days. After that, paid plans start at $19 per month, per support agent.
JitBit: best Zendesk alternative for email
While it fully supports live chat, integrations, chat bots, and knowledge bases, JitBit is unique as it was built as an email-first platform. As explained on JitBit’s website, they “spent years polishing their email ticketing system” which includes collision avoidance (to ensure multiple agents aren’t answering the same ticket), real-time updates on agent activity, automated ticket management, and external CRM support and integrations.
JitBit provides all of the expected customer support platform features, including a mobile helpdesk, team mailbox, automation, and integrations with more than 500 tools and applications like Jira and Asana. Not only that, but it actually offers more than Zendesk when it comes to the number of active support tickets you can have open at once, as well as the number of team members who can be on each ticket.
With a very straightforward (or even dated) look, JitBit isn’t the prettiest customer support tool out there. Additionally, at the time of this writing, JitBit doesn’t offer built-in social media support. That said, you can use one of the available integrations to create this capability yourself.
JitBit’s hosted plans start at $29 per month (for one user), while the version you download to your own server starts at $1699 for up to 10 users.
Help Scout: best Zendesk alternative for small businesses
Trusted by more than 12,000 businesses such as Trello, Yeti, and Spindrift, Help Scout is a Zendesk alternative that’s particularly great for growing businesses.
Help Scout’s site shares that more than 80 percent of companies who use the platform remain clients for four or more years. They attribute this impressive feat to their focus on mid-sized and growing companies instead of larger, enterprise-level businesses. Instead of boasting a ton of complicated features and capabilities (which require a lot of dedicated onboarding time and energy), software review site G2 calls Help Scout “the easiest-to-use platform, with the fastest time to ROI.”
Some of the Help Scout features that earned them this title include a team email inbox, a knowledge base (that allows customers to solve their problems on their own when possible), live chat, in-app messaging, collaboration tools, reporting capabilities, and integrations with tools like Slack, MailChimp, and Shopify.
In addition to these features, Help Scout supports the automation of repetitive tasks with their Workflows tool. You’re able to easily build unique workflows using “building blocks” to make sure they’re aligned with your team’s specific goals. For example, you could build a workflow that automatically marks an active support ticket as urgent if the customer hasn’t received contact from your team in 24 hours. With features like this, Help Scout helps ensure that as few tickets and issues as possible ever slip through the cracks.
While Help Scout does provide analytics and reporting tools, these could definitely be a bit more in-depth. Additionally, the integrated Knowledge Base can be difficult to edit and customize if needed.
Help Scout offers a free trial, with paid plans starting at $20 per user, per month.
Find your Zen
With it costing five to twenty-five times more to gain a new customer than retain an existing one, it’s clear that positive customer service experiences can be crucial to the success of your business. A customer support tool like any of the top Zendesk alternatives we’ve shared above can help make sure your business nurtures and grows relationships with valuable customers as naturally and effectively as possible.