Let’s take a quick look at Zendesk first, before we dive into the alternatives.
An overview of Zendesk
Zendesk is a massive customer support solution. It’s been around for over a decade, and has more than 170,000 customers—from SMBs to enterprise organizations.
But why is Zendesk so popular?
The platform combines several advanced tools for customer support teams, like multi-channel ticketing, chat bots, a central knowledge base, and live chat It’s also equipped to handle complex interactions across multiple regions, products, brands, channels, and business rules.
Top Zendesk features
We’ve already shared some of our favorite Zendesk features, but this time around, we decided to hit the reviews and find out what their actual customers think of the platform. Zendesk earned mostly positive feedback for:
- A powerful ticketing system: Zendesk converts customer requests via email, chat, social media, phone, and SMS into tickets, which are then consolidated in a central workspace. It also includes customizable forms with conditional fields, CSAT ratings, and SLA management.
- User-friendly interface: In spite of some complex processes (which we’ll get to in a minute), Zendesk’s actual interface is intuitive, so agents can jump in and start using.
- Customization: Zendesk offers extensive customization options to modify customer support environments, including layouts, workflows, triggers, automation rules, integrations, and third-party applications.
Zendesk certainly has a lot to offer, but it isn’t perfect. In some cases, it might even be overkill. We’ve detailed some of our biggest challenges with Zendesk, including:
- Triggers and automation configuration: Zendesk’s maturity is both a blessing and curse. While it’s equipped with some of the most advanced customer support features out there, getting up and running can be needlessly complicated. Trigger and automation configuration, for example, often requires jumping back and forth between different settings to make sense of the functionality.
- Ticket routing: Zendesk’s sophisticated ticketing system has some technical shortcomings when you get into the weeds—like not being able to view all your routings in one place. This might be an acceptable inconvenience to some, but other teams may find it defeats the purpose of streamlining or upgrading customer support platforms in the first place.
- Salesforce integration: Like numerous Zendesk processes, loading Salesforce data into the platform can be cumbersome.
$49-$215 per agent per month (billed annually)
5 Zendesk alternatives to consider (and why we picked them)
Before diving in, we’ll share how we came up with these Zendesk alternatives, including:
- Feature parity: Platforms that offer the core features you’ll also find when using Zendesk.
- Customer reviews: Pulling the best alternatives from sources like G2.
- Customer ratings: Pulled star ratings from G2.
- Commonly compared software: Using data from TestBox, we also included the products that Zendesk is most commonly compared with.
Let’s dive in!
Similar to Zendesk, Freshdesk functions as a one-stop-shop for customer support teams. The cloud-based platform features a multi-channel help desk, knowledge base, chatbots, and a ticketing system, all wrapped up in a clean and simple interface. Freshdesk also gets rave reviews for regular feature updates based on customer feedback.
👉 Already using Freshdesk? Check out the top Freshdesk alternatives.
- E-mail, social media, and live chat support requests consolidated in a single-view inbox
- Bulk functionality for assigning, responding to, and closing tickets
- Rich ticketing features, including sub-tasks, comments, prioritization by SLA, and multi-owner assignments
- Pre-formatted canned responses for frequently asked questions
- Auto-assigned emails, chats, and calls based on available bandwidth
👉 Test drive Freshdesk in TestBox and compare it with Zendesk and other leading help desk software. No demos, no pitch decks. Evaluate software on your terms.
- Google Suite
- Microsoft Teams
- Office 365
$15-$69 per user per month (billed annually). FreshDesk also offers a “free forever” basic plan.
⭐ 4.4/5 Based on 2,600+ verified customer reviews on G2.
Another behemoth, Zoho boasts 45+ products and more than 75 million users worldwide. Zoho Desk, however, isn’t just another one of the bunch, but a standout customer support solution in its own right. This web-based platform includes a feature-rich helpdesk and ticketing system, “self-service” knowledge center, and an AI-enabled chatbot with advanced functionality.
- Multi-channel ticketing across email, social media, live chat, forms, and cloud telephony (make and receive calls within the help desk, and convert recordings into tickets)
- Collision detection to prevent two agents from working on the same ticket
- AI-enabled chatbot (“Zia”) to process questions and direct customers to specific knowledge base articles, convert chats into trackable tickets, identify sentiment (flagging any negatives), and alert managers about solutions that weren’t helpful
- Advanced response editor with snippets and intuitive keyboard shortcuts
👉 Test drive Zoho in TestBox and compare it with Zendesk and other leading help desk software. No demos, no pitch decks. Evaluate software on your terms.
- Zoho CRM
- G Suite
- Microsoft Teams
$14-$40 per agent per month (billed annually)
⭐ 4.4/5 Based on 3,800+ verified customer reviews on G2.
HubSpot Service Hub
If you’re a fan of HubSpot’s popular CRM, their cloud-based customer support platform Service Hub is definitely worth looking into. Beyond seamless integration with other HubSpot products, Service Hub combines the essentials for seamless customer support—like a shared multichannel inbox—with some more unique features, such as kanban-style ticket management and screen recording responses.
- Single-view dashboard for email, social media, and live chat requests
- Agent video responses and screen recordings directly from tickets (perfect for complex / technical problems or if customer isn’t available for a live call)
- Drag-and-drop ticket organization and kanban boards to visualize ticket pipeline
- Customer portal where customers can connect with support, independently track and manage their own tickets (or open a new one), view ticket status, and access the knowledge base
- SLA’s management with automation and reporting abilities
👉 Test drive HubSpot Service Hub in TestBox and compare it with Zendesk and other leading help desk software. No demos, no pitch decks. Evaluate software on your terms.
- HubSpot CRM
$45-$1,200 per month. HubSpot Service Hub also offers a free plan.
👉 See HubSpot vs. Zendesk pricing.
⭐ 4.4/5 Based on 1,200+ verified customer reviews on G2.
Gorgias isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” customer support solution—and they don’t pretend to be. This platform was designed specifically for e-commerce brands, providing easy integrations with Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce, plus some highly targeted features you won’t find elsewhere.
- Shared inbox for email, live chat, social media, voice, and SMS interactions (single help desk for unlimited online stores)
- Modify orders/subscriptions and process refunds directly from help desk
- Monitor percentage of “WISMO—Where is my order?” inquiries and activate auto-reply or self-service is volume exceeds particular threshold
- Automate ticket tagging and routing by customer sentiment or intent
- Support performance statistics with channel and tag heat maps to identify busiest days and times
👉 Test drive Gorgias in TestBox and compare it with Zendesk and other leading help desk software. No demos, no pitch decks. Evaluate software on your terms.
$50 per month for up to 300 tickets to $750 per month for up to 5,000 tickets (billed annually). Gorgias also offers custom enterprise pricing.
⭐ 4.6 out of 5 based on 340+ verified customer reviews on G2.
Help Scout’s approach to more personal customer support isn’t just evident in the features, but the way their entire product was built. Tickets, for instance, are referred to as “Conversations”, while relationship data is captured and organized in accessible customer profiles. Help Scout also emphasizes useability, with an unfussy, intuitive interface.
- Shared multi-channel inbox with real-time request queue for inbound messages (Tickets can be assigned to teams as well as individuals)
- Canned response library (Agents can also insert answers to frequently asked questions in their replies in just a couple clicks)
- Ticket sidebar displaying relevant customer information, including previous interactions, company and account details, and notes
- Automated workflows for tasks like assigning and tagging tickets, and notifying managers
- Widgetized “self-service” knowledge base which can be embedded on any page (Customers can also start a live chat if they can’t find the answer they’re looking for.)
👉 Already using Help Scout? Check out the top Help Scout alternatives.
- Google Apps
$20-$60 per user per month (billed annually)
⭐ 4.4/5 Based on 350+ verified customer reviews on G2
👉 Test drive Help Scout in TestBox and compare it with Zendesk and other leading help desk software. No demos, no pitch decks. Evaluate software on your terms.
A dedicated customer support solution is crucial for keeping up with customer demands. Finding the right fit for your team, however, can be a daunting ordeal. There are dozens of Zendesk alternatives out there to consider, and the process of buying software is rarely fun. Endless demos, gated products, non-stop phone calls. And after all that, there’s no guarantee that you’ll feel confident in your decision. It’s not a great use of your time.
However, testing and comparing different tools side-by-side will help you evaluate software faster, and in the end, you’ll be more confident with your choice.TestBox allows you to test and compare the top customer support software solution side-by-side—for free. Start testing software now!