Looking for a help desk software for your business? In this blog post we cover the top players, pros and cons of each and a guide on how to select the right software for your use case.
TLDR. Here's a review summary if you do not want to read the full post.
Help desk software is used to organize and respond to large number of queries. These queries could be from customers or internal employees. Most businesses start by using emails or slack to manage them in early days. But after a certain scale, you run into challenges like
This is where a help desk solution comes in handy. A help desk software will help you a) unify messages from all channels; be it email, chat, sms, phone, social media. b) distribute incoming queries between teammates c) measure and improve customer satisfaction
To assist you in your search, we have compiled a list of all popular help desk software in the market.
Best help desk software for scaling your customer service without hiring more agents.
Richpanel is a complete customer support platform that packs all features needed to deliver outstanding customer service and delight customers with super-fast resolutions.
With Richpanel help desk software, you can manage customer communication from email, live chat, SMS, Instagram, Facebook, and phone calls all in one place. The inbox integrates with all popular apps to bring customer context such as ecommerce orders, CRM data, loyalty points, and more next to each ticket.
This multichannel capability and integrations eliminate the need for agents to switch between applications, making their work streamlined.
Other key features of the help desk include:
Enable your customers to resolve common issues immediately and in real-time 24/7. The self-service portal integrates with your cart platform, allowing your customers to perform common actions such as order tracking, editing orders, cancellations, and returns without the need for agents.
The self-service portal is similar to Amazon's "My Account" section, which has become the go-to tool for Amazon customers to resolve their issues.
The live chat software enables customers to receive real-time assistance while browsing your website or mobile app. The appearance of the live chat widget can be customized to match your brand and make it your own.
With the campaigns feature, you can proactively engage customers based on specific conditions. During off-hours, the chat widget converts into a contact form and collects all necessary information to reach out to customers when agents resume work.
The Richpanel help desk software also comes preloaded with default reports that measure all aspects of your support centre’s performance. The reporting goes beyond regular help desk software and enables you to analyze what topics customers contact you about, self-service rates, and customer retention, satisfaction, and revenue influenced by live chat.
Richpanel help desk software integrates with several apps to simplify agent workflows. Integrations bring additional context inside the agent inbox, eliminating the need to switch between applications. Integrations play a crucial role in executing rules based on data from other applications and enabling workflows to take actions on external apps
Popular use cases include allowing customers to track order status in self-service, letting agents edit orders from the help desk, and asking customers to leave a review on Trustpilot after a positive customer sastisfaction survey rating.
Richpanel help desk software offers mobile iOS and Android apps users on the move. These apps are perfect for customer service teams who need push notifications to resolve customer issues while away from their desktops. With the mobile apps, you can easily manage your customer support workflow and provide excellent service, no matter where you are.
Best for businesses that want to prioritize email support
Help Scout is best suited for businesses that prioritize email-based customer support and collaboration within their support teams. It's help desk solution is well-regarded for its simplicity and ease of use, making it suitable for businesses of various sizes.
Help Scout's full knowledge management functionality is particularly beneficial for companies aiming to provide self-service options to customers.
Businesses seeking a customer support solution with robust reporting and analytics features will find value in Help Scout's ability to provide insights into customer support processes, customer satisfaction scores and performance.
Most popular amongst enterprise teams
If you're considering a help desk software solution, chances are that you're either already using Zendesk or thinking about using it.
Zendesk was one of the first companies to offer cloud-based help desk software and has since acquired several companies to add a host of other capabilities, such as live chat, chatbots, knowledge base, social media integration, and phone support. It's a preferred solution for enterprise teams and integrates with over 1,000 apps.
Because Zendesk is sector-agnostic and allows for customization, users often struggle to determine which features they want to use and how to customize it for their specific needs. Another issue is that it's extremely difficult to get support from their customer success team, who have relatively small numbers compared to their large customer base.
We have heard complaints from customers paying over $100K in annual fees struggling to receive adequate support.
Most cost effective alternative to Zendesk
Zoho started as a Salesforce alternative but has since ventured into many other categories, including Zoho Desk, a help desk software solution. Like all of their products, Zoho Desk has all the essential features of modern help desk software too, such as ticket management, automation, and knowledge base.
Zoho has never been known for innovation or great UI. The interface for all their products is basic and cluttered. However, you'll get an affordable help desk tool that can do the same things as Freshdesk and Zendesk.
Help Desk solution with the best chatbot builder.
Freshdesk started as a “better & cheaper alternative” to the incumbent, Zendesk. Their claim to fame was that their online help desk software, was more simple and “fresh” compared to Zendesk. In many ways, players like Freshdesk have put pressure on Zendesk to upgrade their products which is obviously good for the end customers.
Freshdesk help desk solution in many ways is similar to Zendesk in terms of capabilities, number of integrations and also takes a horizontal approach which makes it a flexible product for all kinds of use cases. One advantage over Zendesk is its flexible chatbot platform, which can be used for a variety of use cases.
However, setting up this help desk system can be complex and time-consuming.
Best Help Desk software for Hubspot customers
HubSpot is a well-known company that offers both CRM and marketing automation software. Among their products is HubSpot Service Hub, a cloud-based help desk software that provides advanced features, such as a ticketing system, customer relationship management tool, automation, and a knowledge base.
If a business already uses other HubSpot tools, it may find Service Hub to be a natural fit due to its seamless integration with HubSpot's ecosystem.
However, because HubSpot Service Hub is a relatively new addition to their product portfolio, it is not as feature-rich or mature as their CRM and email marketing platform. In particular, the live chat widget and ticket assignment features have room for improvement.
Additionally, all HubSpot products have the same login, unlike Zendesk or Freshdesk, which have separate UIs for each product. This can make the HubSpot UI feel cluttered, and a customer service manager may see and have access to a lot of things they will never use. Similarly, a marketing manager will see and have access to a lot of areas they will never use.
Best for SaaS companies
Intercom began as a free live chat tool, and its messenger became popular due to its modern design and interface. The company has since added other products to its suite, including a help desk tool, ticket management, product onboarding tours, and in-app messaging.
SaaS and tech product teams looking to streamline the user onboarding journey and provide live chat support often choose Intercom. The tool offers great UI and integrations. However, the pricing can quickly become expensive, as it is based on agents, contacts in your database, and monthly users.
Many customers have complained that the pricing is not only high but also unpredictable.
Popular amongst Shopify merchants. Best for low volume support teams.
Gorgias started as a Chrome extension that assisted Gmail users in drafting and using canned responses. They soon discovered that most of their users were customer service agents; who used it to reply to their support requests and messages.
Consequently, they pivoted to becoming a Shopify app and now serve as a lightweight alternative to Zendesk for Shopify merchants.
The Gorgias help desk tool integrates with more than 150 Shopify apps, making agents' work more manageable. If you're a customer service agent working on a Shopify website, this tool can save you a lot of time in switching between different applications.
Currently, Gorgias has over 10,000 merchants who use their Shopify app. Their pricing is based on ticket volumes, so it can be expensive if you have high ticket volumes.
Basic help desk for small businesses. Built inside Gmail.
Hiver is best suited for businesses that heavily rely on Gmail as their primary email and customer support platform. It is particularly useful for teams that require shared inboxes, streamlined email collaboration, and efficient workflow management within the Gmail environment.
It’s not the ideal help desk software as the business scales or if you have too many agents but if you want to continue using Gmail while adding collaboration features & clear assignments then Hiver is a good choice.
Best help desk for customer 360 view.
Kustomer is a help desk software & CRM well-suited for businesses that prioritize unified customer 360 profiles and personalized customer experiences. Kustomer started off on the premise that customer data exists in silos across multiple applications and their software helps teams to unify this data and make it available to agents inside the CRM.
This help desk software does require decent amount of developer effort to get it working and build the unified customer 360 profiles.
Best ticket management system for incident management
Jira Service Desk is commonly used help desk software by engineering teams, but it can also be useful for support teams as a central location for reporting and tracking bugs.
Users can create custom workflows and forms to ensure smooth project management. They can also assign statuses to specific tasks to keep everyone informed. Reports provide support reps asset management with insights into the work being done and the overall workload, providing context for asset management, bug-tracking and requests.
That brings us to an end of the top help desk software and their review. Now we'll cover a free alternatives, self-hosted options and a guide to select the right help desk system for your business.
If you have low volumes or low budgets, you can start by using email instead of a dedicated help desk. All you have to do is create an email or a group with something like firstname.lastname@example.org or IT@yourcompanyname.com and request users to send all their queries and requests on that email address. Two popular options are:
Free help desk alternative for teams that use G Suite.
Most people start by creating a new pseudo email ID like email@example.com but a better way to do this would be to create a Google Group and convert that to a Collaborative Inbox. A Collaborative Inbox is where group members can take and assign conversations and perform other collaboration tasks.
Setting up a Google Group is fairly simple. If you're not familiar, follow the instructions in this link. Finally, add people to the group. That's it! Now, everyone in the group can respond to emails in the group mailbox without sharing login information, which is a huge security benefit.
Free help desk alternative for teams that already use Microsoft Outlook.
Microsoft Outlook's Shared Inbox is similar to Google's Collaborative Inbox. It allows your teams to work from the same queue, supports assignment and adding/removing group members.
If you already use Outlook, setting up a shared mailbox won't cost you anything extra.
Follow these steps to select a help desk system:
Simple solution: Jus visualize and note down the 'ideal' experience for customers & agents.
Here's a simple table that you can copy and replace with your requirements.
You'll have to decide what features are needed for your implementation. But here's a quick check-list of features that is expected from every help desk system.
If your business has some regulatory requirements. Example: Some financial institutions have very strict requirements to host data internally. And you are required to host data yourself, your options are self-hosted help desk or an open source help desk.
Types of help desk based on where they are hosted.
Generally, we do not recommend the self-hosted or open-source options as they are much more complex to maintain, you'll always play catch up with cloud-based players since they update the software very frequently. The software will struggle to keep up with evolving times.
If you feel frustrated with the customer service of your bank or healthcare company - this is one of the main reasons. Their tech is self-hosted and need to work hard to build new features. Unlike clients of a cloud-based solution which is getting access to newer features every month, every quarter.
In simple words, help desk software is used to help you respond to queries efficiently and effectively. It is responsible for:
Choosing the right help desk software depends on your use case, team size, and goals. If you are just starting with help desk software, a system like Hiver or Help Scout would be ideal. If your business is scaling and you need a comprehensive, flexible system, your choices include Zendesk, Richpanel, and Freshdesk.
ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) is a help desk software used by internal IT teams to track and manage service requests of a company's employees. It includes modules for asset management, service catalog management, knowledge management, and handling IT incidents and problem resolution.
In simpler terms, if a company has several thousand employees, an ITSM helps with tasks such as provisioning laptops for new employees, deploying necessary software, handling IT issues, and off-boarding employees.
The simplest example of a help desk is your company's email inbox, firstname.lastname@example.org. You receive support requests from customers through this email. One of your team members picks it up, resolves the customer query, and then responds to the customer. A help desk system can help you do all of this at scale, with additional capabilities and reporting.
The lines between the two applications are blurring. Some modern systems are capabale of doin the job of both applications. Traditionally a a Help Desk software provides users the possibility to ask questions on the website & help agents resolve these queries. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems store customer info and help send targeted messages to customers. Today’s help desk softwares like Richpanel provide a ton of context inside the agent interface and let businesses send targeted messages based on certain triggers which is why many businesses use it like a CRM.
A help desk tool, also called a service desk tool, provides a one-stop service for your internal and external problems. Support representatives are capable to quickly monitor all issues if needed and prioritize pending urgent tickets.
It’s essentially the same thing. The “Ticket” is a unique ID given to track a service request. This way if a customer reaches back again, they can give the ticket # to the agent and the agent can look it up to give an update to the customer. Modern help desk systems don’t need ticket # because they store customer’s info and all service requests (tickets) are connected to the customer’s profile. If the customer calls back again, agents can look up all previous tickets on their profile.