Zendesk Alternative - How to find the right help desk software

Jan Schäfer

Zendesk is a comprehensive help desk software that helps companies manage customer support, improve the customer experience, and support sales teams. It also increases employee collaboration and productivity. But whether it's right for your business is another matter. 

Even though Zendesk is one of the most comprehensive platforms on the market, your company's needs and requirements will determine whether Zendesk or perhaps a Zendesk alternative is the right choice.

We will introduce you to 6 important Zendesk alternatives for different focus areas. We'll show you in detail the advantages and disadvantages of each application. We also explain how you can connect artificial intelligence, with helpdesk software and benefit from it in practice.

The most Important in a Nutshell

  • To find a suitable Zendesk alternative, companies should define budget and required features as well as test the usability and customer support of the software.
  • Depending on the application focus, ServiceNow, Zoho Desk, Freshdesk, Intercom, Front, and HappyFox are compelling Zendesk alternatives.
  • In interaction with Konfuzio's AI software, companies automate and optimize customer service. Try the software now for free!

Why are Companies looking for a Zendesk Alternative?

Zendesk offers comprehensive tools for efficient customer support, especially for large companies. However, companies are always looking for a Zendesk alternative that is better aligned with their needs. Because: Zendesk comes with these weaknesses:

Cost structure

Zendesk's prices are high for small companies, especially if you only need basic functions. You pay 49 euros per month per customer service representative if you choose the cheapest plan. This is a challenge for companies with a small budget.

Complex user interface

Numerous functions mean confusion and complexity for users at first. Users therefore have problems finding their way around the user interface. Zendesk requires a steep learning curve, which impairs efficiency.

Limited customizability

While Zendesk offers a comprehensive set of features, some of them are not flexible enough. This is only true for large and medium-sized companies that need a wide variety of options when it comes to customer support and sales. For them, however, the limited customizability could be a challenge. 

Overloaded customer support

During peak times, Zendesk's customer support is often overloaded, resulting in longer wait times for customers. This affects customer satisfaction.

Select zendesk alternative

How Companies choose the right Zendesk Alternative

If Zendesk doesn't fit your organization's needs, there are dozens of other tools to choose from. But how do you find the right alternative to Zendesk? Prepare yourself with the following 4 steps to find software that fits your business:

1. Set budget

As a first step, define a maximum budget that you would like to spend on a Zendesk alternative in Germany. You should then stick to this guideline. Although Zendesk is quite expensive, this is not representative of what is available on the market. Many Zendesk alternatives are significantly cheaper.

2. Define functions

In the second step, you define the functions that you absolutely need for your business. Divide this into functions that are non-negotiable for you and functions that are "nice to have". If this is not clear so far, it is worthwhile to conduct a requirements workshop. 

3. Test usability

Especially because Zendesk requires some lead time for employees to use the software efficiently, you should ask the competition for a demo or free trial. If this is not available, find out about the usability and accessibility of the Zendesk software alternative in advance by other means - for example, via YouTube videos.

4. Test customer support

To best serve your customers, the Zendesk alternative should raise as few questions and issues as possible. If ambiguities arise, the tool provider should offer quick-response, competent support. Therefore, test the support in advance by challenging them with a theoretical concern or with a real question when testing the software.

zendesk alternatives

6 Zendesk Alternatives for 2023

Every company is different. We therefore present 6 Zendesk alternatives, each with a different focus:

1. ServiceNow - Best Zendesk Alternative for IT Teams

ServiceNow provides comprehensive IT service management capabilities and Automations. This is particularly advantageous for larger companies with complex IT structures and diverse requirements. The software enables efficient incident management and problem resolution in accordance with ITIL standards.

ServiceNow is known for its high performance, but also for a higher price. Smaller companies might find the cost a barrier. In addition, learning the software may require some time due to its complexity.

This makes ServiceNow a good choice for companies that actually need the most important functions of Zendesk, only with a focus on IT teams.

Practical example for the use of ServiceNow

A global company uses ServiceNow to manage IT requests and issues. Its automation capabilities allow routine tasks to be automated, freeing IT staff to focus on more complex issues.

2. Zoho Desk - Best Alternative to Zendesk for sales-oriented Teams

While Zoho Desk is a feature-rich help desk tool, companies can integrate this with Zoho CRM. This enables them to seamlessly connect support and sales data. In practice, this means that Zoho Desk is a good choice, especially for sales-oriented teams.

In practice, the interaction of Zoho Desk and Zoho CRM enables better understanding of customer inquiries and identification of upsell or cross-sell opportunities.

Zoho Desk also offers automation capabilities that make the support process more efficient.

What you need to be aware of: Zoho Desk's customization options are more limited than Zendesk's. For organizations with specific user interface or workflow requirements, this could be a challenge.

Practical example for the use of Zoho Desk

An e-commerce company uses Zoho Desk to manage customer support requests. Through integration with Zoho CRM, the company can easily identify which products a customer has already purchased. When the customer submits a support request, the support agent is able to make personalized recommendations for additional products.

3. Freshdesk - Best Alternative to Zendesk for larger Teams

Freshdesk is ideal for larger teams because it is scalable and customizable. The software offers a comprehensive solution for ticket management, analytics and self-service options for customers. Plus, unlike Zendesk, Freshdesk has an intuitive user interface that makes it easy for employees to get up to speed.

What companies should expect: Freshdesk is often too complex for smaller teams. The multitude of features and customization options is overwhelming when simple support needs are the primary focus.

Practical example for the use of Freshdesk

A software development company uses Freshdesk to manage customer requests. Freshdesk's customizability enables it to set up specific ticket statuses to visualize the development process and inform customers about the progress of their requests.

4. Intercom - Best Zendesk Alternative for Chat Support

Intercom provides extensive chat capabilities that enable real-time support for customers. The ease of use and the ability to see customer data directly in the chat interface improve support efficiency. This makes Intercom the best Zendesk Chat alternative.

However, in direct comparison to Zendesk, Intercom offers less support in other support areas. So companies that need other support channels besides chat may find that Intercom doesn't meet all their needs.

Practical example for the use of Intercom

An online store uses Intercom to provide real-time support to customers. The chat function enables the company to answer customer questions immediately and present products directly in the chat. This improves customer satisfaction and increases sales opportunities.

5. Front - Best Zendesk Alternative with Focus on Account Management 

Front stands out for its seamless integration of email, social media and other communication channels.

For smaller businesses that rely heavily on email communication, Front provides an intuitive platform to efficiently handle customer inquiries.

With larger teams, companies may run into scalability issues with Front. The limited customization options may also not meet overly specific needs.

Practical example for the use of front

A SaaS startup uses Front to manage customer emails. Front integrates seamlessly with the company's other tools, allowing the team to quickly respond to customer inquiries and have internal discussions about customer concerns.

6. HappyFox - Best Zendesk Alternative with Project Management Features 

HappyFox not only offers extensive support features, but also integrates project management tools. This is especially useful for teams that need to manage customer projects and provide support at the same time. The ability to manage support and projects on one platform saves time and increases efficiency.

However, HappyFox might be too complex for companies that have only simple support requirements. If companies do not need the project management features, there are leaner alternatives with an exclusive focus on helpdesk.

Practical example for the use of HappyFox

A marketing agency uses HappyFox to process client requests and manage marketing projects at the same time. The integrated project management tools allow the team to manage client orders and ongoing projects in a single platform, facilitating communication and collaboration.

Zendesk Guide - Alternatives at a Glance

ToolDescriptionAdvantagesDisadvantages
ServiceNowServiceNow is ideal for IT teams in large enterprises with complex structures. It offers comprehensive IT service management functions and automations according to ITIL standards.- Efficient incident management and problem resolution- Automation functions for routine tasks- Suitable for complex IT structures- High costs, especially for smaller companies- training period due to complexity
Zoho DeskZoho Desk is a popular alternative for sales-oriented teams, especially when integrated with Zoho CRM- Seamless integration with Zoho CRM for sales data - Upsell and cross-sell opportunities through better understanding of customer inquiries- Automation to increase efficiency- Limited customization options compared to Zendesk
FreshdeskFreshdesk is good for larger teams because it is scalable and customizable. It offers comprehensive ticket management and self-service options.- Scalability and adaptability for large teams- Intuitive user interface eases learning curve- Too complex for smaller teams with simple support requirements
IntercomIntercom is especially suitable for teams that focus on chat communication. It enables real-time customer support.- Extensive chat functionality for real-time support ease of use and direct display of customer data in the chat- Less support in other support areas compared to Zendesk
FrontFront seamlessly integrates email, social networks and other communication channels. It is ideal for smaller companies with a focus on email communication.- Seamless integration of various communication channels- Efficient processing of customer inquiries via e-mail- Scalability issues for larger teams- Limited customization options for specific requirements.
HappyFoxHappyFox is a good choice for teams that need project management capabilities as well as support.- Integration of comprehensive support and project management tools- Efficient management of support and projects in one place- Too complex for companies with simple support needs- project management features could be overwhelming when not needed
ki for helpdesk software

How Artificial Intelligence improves Zendesk Alternatives

Customer support - despite help desk software - still requires a lot of manual work from your employees. To enable them to focus on other, more complex tasks, companies should integrate AI into these processes. Combined with suitable helpdesk software, this is one of the ways you can benefit in practice:

Faster response times

AI-driven chatbots automatically answer frequently asked questions in real time. This rapid response is critical to customer satisfaction, as customers receive immediate solutions to their concerns without having to wait for support agents to handle them manually.

Intelligent ticket routing

AI analyzes incoming requests and automatically routes them to the most appropriate support agent. This ensures an efficient distribution of tasks and enables requests to be processed more quickly.

Automation of routine tasks

AI automates repetitive tasks, such as categorizing tickets, updating customer information, or sending standardized responses. This automation allows support agents to focus on more complex tasks.

Language and text analysis

AI algorithms recognize the tone and mood in customer requests. This makes it possible to understand not only the words, but also the emotions behind the requests. Support agents are thus able to respond more empathetically and individually to customers, which improves the customer experience.

Predictive Analytics

AI analyzes historical support data to identify trends that predict future customer needs. This gives companies the ability to proactively respond to potential issues or requests before they occur.

Multi-channel support

AI-driven systems seamlessly switch between different communication channels such as e-mail, chat, social media, and even phone calls. This ensures a consistent experience for customers, regardless of the channel they choose.

Personalized customer experiences

By analyzing customer data, AI makes personalized recommendations and suggests individual solutions to customer problems. This not only creates a personalized customer experience, but also improves cross-selling and up-selling.

Real-time monitoring and reporting

AI analyzes large amounts of data in real time and provides instant insights into customer support performance. This real-time analysis enables companies to respond quickly to changes and adapt their support strategy to continuously improve customer satisfaction.

Connect your Zendesk Alternative with Konfuzio

Konfuzio is an established expert in the intelligent automation of business processes. To do this, the provider uses software that combines artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning. For an interaction with helpdesk software, this means: You automate and optimize large parts of your customer care. At the same time, you can align Konfuzio entirely with the individual needs and requirements of your business by training the software as you need it.

Try Konfuzio now for free!

Do you need support to properly integrate AI into your business? Our experts will advise you on your individual case without obligation.

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