The 5 Best Zendesk Alternatives to Help Improve Customer Experience

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It’s likely that you’ve heard of Zendesk if you’ve ever looked at customer support software. It has earned its reputation as a market leader by consistently providing superior products to its customers. Despite Zendesk’s claims that it is a good fit for any customer service department, this is not always the case. Its price and complexity are the main drawbacks of Zendesk. When compared to its competitors, Zendesk’s base plan is significantly more expensive, starting at $49/per agent per month. As if the monthly fee weren’t bad enough, many users describe spending months hiring extra staff to get Zendesk up and running.

If you’re wondering why it would take so long, it’s because Zendesk has so many moving parts. It’s a plus for people who have the patience and need to make use of all the options. In practice, however, this becomes an issue for more adaptive teams. Zendesk, in fact, is best suited to the requirements of organizations with more than 500 employees and their correspondingly massive support staff. There are a variety of Zendesk alternatives that may better suit your needs if your company is a leaner, developing SaaS, eCommerce, online services, or DTC businesses.

  1. Freshdesk

Freshdesk is one of the most popular Zendesk alternatives, with over 40,000 customers, including Panasonic, HP, and American Express. This customer service software provides many of the same features as Zendesk but with more flexible and affordable plan options.

Freshdesk’s mission is to assist businesses of all sizes in easily scaling their customer experience without the cost or complexity of legacy software. They accomplish this by allowing businesses to set up automation to automatically route help desk tickets to the appropriate support agents. This software also includes collision detection, which ensures that multiple agents are not working on the same issue or inquiry at the same time.

Main characteristics:

  • Simple ticketing system
  • Collaboration on customer service
  • Support via all channels
  • Service in the field
  • Automation of the helpdesk
  • Experience self-service with a knowledge base
  • Analytics for helpdesk performance
  • Workflow customization, customer portals, and agent roles

Best For: Small businesses that require a robust customer experience platform that is simple to use for their support team, as well as businesses that require multi-channel customer support.

Free Version: Yes

Freshdesk offers Helpdesk plans beginning at $15 per agent per month (billed annually), and Omnichannel plans beginning at $79 per agent per month (billed annually).

  1. Help Scout

Because of its robust features and ease of use, Help Scout appears on many customer service tool lists as one of the best Zendesk alternatives. Help Scout, which is trusted by over 10,000 businesses, including Reddit, Litmus, and AngelList, is on a mission to provide businesses with tools that “serve people in the most helpful way.” And they do so by providing a customer service platform designed with the customer in mind.

Help Scout makes it simple for businesses to track their customer engagements from opening to closing each ticket. Help Scout also provides self-service portals, such as knowledge bases, to assist customers in finding answers to their questions without having to contact support.

Main characteristics:

  • Excellent customer service
  • Inbox sharing for team collaboration
  • A knowledge base that is integrated
  • Messaging within the app
  • Customer service
  • Reporting in real-time
  • Live conversation
  • Integrates with HubSpot, Salesforce, Jira, and other applications.

Best For: Businesses that want to provide a customer support experience in which each customer feels like a human, not just another ticket, by using authentic and organic communication.

Free version: No

Plans begin at $20 per user per month. Help Scout also provides discounts to nonprofits and startups in their first year of operation.

  1. Jitbit

Jitbit is a help desk and ticketing system that is available in both self-hosted ‘on-premise’ and cloud-hosted SaaS versions. The application has several advantages over Zendesk, most notably the number of tickets that customers can open, file attachment sizes, the minimum and the maximum number of agents you can assign, and API requests – all while remaining a much cheaper alternative to Zendesk. A detailed comparison of the two software applications can be found here. ESPN, HP, Philips, Siemens, Oracle, Adobe, Xerox, GE, VMWare, and Vodafone are among the companies that use Jitbit services.

Main characteristics:

  • All email protocols are supported, including IMAP, native MS Exchange Protocols, POP3, SMTP, and others.
  • JIRA, Slack, and Dropbox integrations, to name a few.
  • Apps for iOS and Android are available for free.
  • Service desk automation
  • Inbox sharing
  • Base of knowledge
  • Pre-written responses

Best for: Organizations with their own IT management team will benefit from Jitbit’s on-premise version. Jitbit’s SaaS version is ideal for startups and enterprises transitioning from an email helpdesk.

Free version: No

Jitbit’s SaaS version starts at $29/month for freelancers and small teams and goes up to $249/month for the Enterprise version. A perpetual license for a self-hosted version of Jitbit ranges from $1699 to $3499.

  1. Groove

Groove streamlines the customer support process by allowing support agents to provide assistance via email, Twitter, Facebook, live chat, phone, and text message. This all-in-one customer experience software also includes a support widget that businesses can embed on their website to assist customers in engaging with their knowledge base and opening support tickets as needed.

This software allows businesses to create a knowledge base and customer portal to assist customers in proactively answering their own questions. Groove also provides users with an intuitive user interface that makes it simple to learn how to use the software quickly.

Main characteristics:

  • Inbox sharing
  • Collaboration within a team
  • Automation assistance
  • Base of knowledge
  • Communications via multiple channels
  • Live chat system for reporting
  • Mobile ticketing and tagging app
  • Slack, Stripe, Facebook Messenger, and other services are supported.

Best For: Businesses that want to reduce support hours by maximizing automation and businesses that require customer support software that integrates with existing systems.

Free version: No

Groove prices begin at $12 per user per month. Currently, all plans include a free 120-day trial. Groove also provides a 93% discount for startups with fewer than ten employees.

  1. LiveAgent

Another Zendesk alternative that assists customer support teams in streamlining ticketing and servicing is LiveAgent. Trusted by Forbes, NASCAR, and the University of Southern California, this all-in-one solution enables businesses to set up a call center, provide live chat support via website and social media, and build a knowledge base for self-service support.

One of the most significant advantages of LiveAgent is that it allows support teams to communicate with customers in a variety of ways, including live chat, email, phone, and video chat. LiveAgent also provides fully customizable customer-facing portals, allowing businesses to personalize the customer experience.

Main characteristics:

  • Ticketing via Universal Inbox
  • Automated ticket distribution
  • Time management Knowledge base
  • Chat in real-time, including video chat, social media, and phone support
  • Slack, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, and other services are all supported.

Best For: Companies that require a branded, customizable customer-facing portal and companies that want to provide support via multiple communication channels.

Free version: Yes

Price: LiveAgent plans begin at $15 per agent per month for a full-service ticketing solution, with free trials available for each solution.


There are so many different Zendesk alternatives available today that there is, in all honesty, something that will appeal to each and every customer service professional. The best Zendesk alternative for you will be the one that takes into account the features that are most important to you as well as the cost of the various software options.

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