Customer support is an essential function for every business. However, small operations often don’t have the resources to hire a full customer service team to respond to every inquiry or concern. Luckily, help desk software can help you automate this process so you can take care of business over the phone, email, website, and other channels. These tools are designed to help your team get more done and scale with you as your business grows.
What is Help Desk Software?
Help desk software is a tool that serves as the first point of contact between a company and its customers or employees needing assistance. It’s designed to help businesses manage, organize, and respond to service-related inquiries efficiently. When someone runs into a technical problem or has a question, the software logs it as a ticket, which can then be tracked and resolved by support agents.
This tool makes the support team’s job easier by organizing tickets, automating routine tasks, and allowing customers to find their own answers through self-service options. It’s also geared toward enhancing communication with customers by providing features like live chat.
Moreover, it can work hand-in-hand with other business systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM). In the end, it’s all about solving problems faster and better, keeping customers happy, and giving businesses a clear view of how they’re doing in support.
Our Methodology for Picking the Best Help Desk Software
Selecting the best help desk software is essential for small businesses that aim to deliver exceptional customer service. Here’s our methodology for evaluating the most effective help desk software options:
Ticketing System Efficiency (10/10)
The core of any help desk software is its ticketing system. We look for robust systems that can effectively categorize, assign, and manage tickets with ease.
Multi-Channel Support (9/10)
An excellent help desk solution should offer support across multiple channels such as email, chat, social media, and phone, providing customers with various avenues to seek assistance.
Small Business Deals
Automation and Workflow Capabilities (8/10)
We value software that automates routine tasks and streamlines workflows, such as assigning tickets to the appropriate agent or sending follow-up emails.
Knowledge Base Functionality (9/10)
A comprehensive, easy-to-update knowledge base is crucial for enabling customers to find answers quickly and reducing the number of support tickets.
Customization and Scalability (8/10)
The software should be customizable to fit the specific needs of a business and scalable to grow with the business.
Reporting and Analytics (9/10)
Insightful analytics and reporting tools are essential for monitoring customer service performance and identifying areas for improvement.
User Experience for Agents (8/10)
We consider the user experience from the perspective of support agents. The interface should be intuitive, minimizing the learning curve and increasing productivity.
Integration with Other Business Tools (7/10)
Help desk software that integrates seamlessly with other business systems, like CRM or project management tools, can significantly enhance efficiency.
Affordable pricing without compromising on essential features is important for small business budgets.
Customer Support and Community (7/10)
Good vendor support for the software itself, along with a strong user community for advice and best practices, is highly beneficial.
By applying these criteria, we aim to recommend help desk software that not only helps small businesses respond to customer inquiries effectively but also enhances overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.
20 Help Desk Software Options for Customer Support
The right help desk software will include an effective ticketing system and provide a great customer experience. Here are 20 service desk options to consider for your business.
1. Zoho Desk
Zoho Desk offers an omnichannel help desk software with customer support for phone, email, website, chat, and social media.
You can also automate repetitive actions like customer notifications and scheduling. Zoho Desk also provides an AI-powered assistant to spot anomalies and analyze customer interactions in case further action is needed. And you can add a knowledge base and FAQ to help customers answer some of their own customer service questions.
As part of the Zoho ecosystem, this platform also integrates with a variety of other tools, from Zoho CRM to Microsoft Teams.
Zoho Desk offers a free plan that supports email inquiries for up to three agents. The paid plans range from $12 to $35 per agent per month and offer advanced features like multi-department ticketing and customer happiness ratings. There’s also a 15-day free trial available.
Freshdesk is a customer support software from Freshbooks. The help desk platform provides ticket management support across platforms like email, web, phone, and social media. Freshdesk also offers easy to use automation features to help teams set processes for complex workflows. For example, you can use no-code bots to answer common customer inquiries. And Freshdesk offers a full network of partners and third party apps like Shopify, Office 365, and Slack.
So you can easily take advantage of the tools you already use. And this allows customer service teams to customize the platform to their needs and scale with ease.
Freshdesk offers a free plan that supports unlimited agents with email and social media ticketing.
Paid plans range from $15 to $99 per agent per month. And they offer advanced features like automation, time tracking, and round robin routing. There’s also a 21-day free trial available for all features.
3. Zendesk Support
Zendesk offers customer support software for both sales and service. The platform offers helpdesk assistance across a variety of channels, including messaging apps and voice chat. You can also integrate a help center and community forum to empower customers so they can answer their own inquiries through a self service portal. And for the cases where customers do need to reach out, Zendesk provides AI powered bots and other automation features that provide conversational support.
The base plan for Zendesk for Service is $49 per agent per month. That includes an omnichannel ticketing system, single self service knowledge base, and up to 50 AI automated responses. There are also plans for $79 and $99 per agent per month.
These offer advanced options like multilingual support and integrated community forums. A free trial is available for all plans.
4. ServiceDesk Plus
ServiceDesk Plus is an IT help desk solution from ManageEngine. The software is available in both cloud and on-premises versions. It allows IT teams to create best practices using ITSM workflows and includes code free customizations and smart automation features.
ServiceDesk Plus integrates with a variety of business tools like Outlook, Jira Service Desk, and Microsoft Teams to create smooth processes.
ServiceDesk Plus plans range from $495 to $1,195 annually, with add ons available to enhance the experience even more. You can also get a custom plan tailored to your IT support team’s specific needs.
HelpDesk bills itself as a simple ticketing system for teams. You can save time on customer support tasks by managing all email communications within a single app. The customer support system converts emails into tickets, supports team collaboration, and automates repetitive tasks.
This help desk solution currently only supports email communication. But you can integrate it with other tools like LiveChat to enable multi channel support.
The base plan for HelpDesk starts at $4 per agent per month and includes a shared inbox, reports, and collaboration tools. The team plan is $19 per agent per month and supports advanced features like multiple mailboxes and LiveChat integration. You can also request a custom quote based on your business’s needs. And there’s a 14-day free trial option for the team plan.
6. Live Chat
Live Chat is an online customer service software that supports customer interactions through email, text, messenger apps, and websites. The solution uses automated chat bots to provide answers to common customer issues.
But it can also direct complex inquiries to customer support teams or sales representatives. So you can create customized processes to improve a wide array of customer experiences. Live Chat also integrates with more than 200 third party tools and apps, like Facebook Messenger, Hubspot, and Google Analytics.
Live Chat plans range from $15 per agent per month for small businesses and home offices to $50 per agent per month for businesses with full customer service departments. You can also request a quote for a custom enterprise plan. And upgraded plans come with a 14-day free trial.
7. Jira Service Desk
Jira Service Desk is an IT help desk solution from Atlassian. The tool allows IT teams to handle service requests from both teams and customers. You can configure a self service portal to empower team members so they can find help quickly. And Jira Service Desk provides a single dashboard to streamline tasks related to IT support. It even integrates with tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams to allow employees to request assistance in the platforms they already use.
There is a free help desk software available for up to three agents and one website. Paid plans range from $20 to $40 per agent per month.
They include extra features like service status pages and audit logs. And they support up to 5,000 support agents. You can also request custom enterprise pricing.
8. Salesforce Service Cloud
Salesforce Service Cloud provides a seamless digital customer service experience. It supports interactions across any channel and even supports call center service. It also includes AI features and offers the ability to automate intelligent workflows.
Of course, Salesforce also offers CRM and a variety of other customer communication and management tools. So integrations with these platforms is seamless.
The base plan is $25 per user per month and includes case management, service console apps, and a knowledge base. More advanced plans range from $75 to $300 per user per month and include additional features like service contracts and 24/7 support. Free trials are available with every plan.
HappyFox offers an all-in-one customer support and ticketing system. The help desk software provides a single dashboard for managing email, phone, chat, and web requests. There’s also a smart rules engine that allows you to easily outsource simple, repetitive tasks. And you can create your own workflows and fields to customize the process to the needs of your business. In fact, HappyFox offers help desk solutions that can work for basic customer support, IT operations, HR, and marketing.
Pricing is customized based on each company’s specific needs and the size of the support team. You can also request a demo to see each plan in action.
Vivantio is a flexible and scalable customer service management platform. The API platform allows each customer support team to create best practices, permissions, and tasks based on their ideal processes.
So you can essentially create a help desk that is completely customized to your small business. You can also streamline and automate tasks to save time on repetitive action.
The value plan starts at $42 per user per month and includes simple SLAs, branded self service portals, and a mobile edition. Upgraded plans range from $52 to $142 per user per month and feature advanced options like ITSM functionality and global support.
11. Hubspot Service Hub
Hubspot Service Hub is a customer service software within Hubspot’s marketing and sales platform. The platform unites front office teams within a single dashboard. It is powered by CRM technology.
So every customer interaction is included in a single view. And there are plenty of team management features to help you control things like permissions and availability across your business.
Hubspot’s starter plan for its customer service platform begins at $45 per user per month. It includes features like ticketing, calling, live chat, team email, and simple automation. The professional and enterprise editions are priced at $360 and $1,200 per month respectively.
ManageEngine offers an IT operations and service management platform. The company offers an array of help desk solutions, including network and server management, mobile device management, remote work management, and help desk management.
So you can customize the experience to fit the exact needs of your IT support team. When it comes to the help desk software specifically, you get access to a web based solution that tracks and manages customer tickets all in one location.
Every ManageEngine solution can be purchased separately. So pricing varies widely depending on the exact features you need. Free trials and demos are available for every product.
Agiloft is a contract lifecycle management solution. The company offers an array of solutions. But the customer support solution provides a flexible option. You can automate workflows and create self service portals to save teams time and provide better customer assistance.
There are solutions built for businesses from specific industries, from healthcare to education. All solutions offer the ability to customize applications and capabilities without coding using ITIL and ITSM protocols. And as an agile solution, it’s available in both cloud based and on-premises versions.
Pricing starts at $45 per user per month. And the service desk software is available with completely custom features. So you can create the plan that fits both your needs and budget.
TeamSupport offers a service desk software specifically for B2B businesses. The company specializes in providing better customer support for companies in the computer hardware, software, and IT spaces.
Features include ticket management, collaboration capabilities, inventory, and customer service management. In addition to providing tools for customer support teams, the tool also provides insights to help teams calculate ROI and make decisions that improve customer satisfaction.
The help desk software starts at $50 per user per month. That includes a ticket management platform that assigns, tracks, and manages customer service requests. There’s also an enterprise plan for $69 per agent per month that automates tasks like addressing product bugs and feature enhancements.
LiveAgent is a help desk software that combines a huge array of customer communication options in one dashboard. In addition to the basics, there are options for providing service on forums, video calls, and apps like Slack.
The live chat option is native to the platform. So it has an intuitive interface and provides a streamlined process that saves teams time. There are also automation options like ticket assignments, adding tags to a ticket, and setting unique rules.
The basic ticketing solution costs $15 per user per month and provides service desk support via email. The help desk software that includes email and chat costs $29 per agent per month. And the all-inclusive version costs $39 per user per month.
There’s also a free plan available that provides one customer service portal with email, phone, and chat support and a 7-day ticket history.
Hiver provides a shared inbox and helpdesk hosted in Gmail. This is perfect for teams that already use Gmail and want to provide a service desk for customers without having to learn a new platform.
You can create categories within the shared invoice to designate which messages have been addressed, assigned, or closed. Teams can also delegate specific tasks and add notes to each customer interaction. Hiver even provides metrics to help you measure team performance and improve customer experiences.
Plans range from $7 to $57 per user per month. The most basic plan provides one shared inbox for up to ten users. The upgraded plans provide features like custom user roles and auto assigning. There’s also a 14-day free trial available.
WixAnswers provides a unified customer help desk software that includes tickets, chats, calls, and knowledge bases. The self service option allows you to create resources like FAQs and video guides so customers can find the answers they need immediately. And the service desk platform keeps all interactions with each customer organized on one page. So your team always has access to information about past contacts.
You can even use analytics tools to learn about the issues customers care about and suggest improvements to your team.
The self-service option, which includes a single knowledge hub for team members and customers, costs $24 per agent per month. The call center support solution costs $56 per user per month. Multi-channel support starts at $60 per user per month. And the unlimited plan costs $80 per user per month. Free trials are available with all plans.
Intercom is a help desk software and relationship management platform in one. It includes live chat, email support, and messaging. You can also automate certain functions using features like bots and product tours. So if your customers need to learn something about one of your offerings, they may be able to answer their own questions quickly thanks to the resources you provide.
Intercom offers help desk software for businesses of all sizes. The options for very small businesses start at $59 for chat and outbound messaging. The option for growing businesses starts at $119 per month and includes options for email and self service support.
Front offers a collaborative inbox for managing help desk inquiries from multiple sources. Front focuses on the actual customer. So there are no ticket numbers, canned responses, or impersonal features. In addition to the inbox that brings in inquiries from chat, email, and more, the service desk provides analytics to help your business improve relationships with customers over time.
For example, you can see how many messages it normally takes to resolve an issue and find out the topics that are asked about most often. This can help you make changes like integrating common answers into a self service portal so customers can get answers quickly.
The starter plan costs $19 per user per month and supports teams of up to 10 with email, SMS, and social media support. There’s also a free trial available. The prime and enterprise versions cost $49 and $99 per user per month, respectively.
Cayzu provides a cloud based help desk solution that lets you track conversations from multiple sources in one place. The help desk includes an intuitive interface and automation features to help you create time saving workflows and processes.
You can even create a branded self service portal and knowledge base, support communication from mobile apps, and access analytics to improve business communications over time. Cayzu is available across multiple verticals, including IT services, marketing agencies, and construction companies. There’s also a general SMB version that is designed to make small helpdesk teams more efficient.
Cayzu’s basic plan starts at $4 per agent per month and includes email, social, a web widget, and self service knowledge base. Other plans range from $9 to $39 per month and include advanced options like custom fields and asset management. All plans also come with free trials. And pricing is calculated based on number of users. So you can get a lower per-agent price by signing up with a larger team.
The Best Help Desk Software Summary
|Software||Key Features||Pricing||Free Plan/Free Trial|
|Zoho Desk||Omnichannel support, AI assistant, automations, knowledge base integration||$12 to $35/agent/month||Free plan for up to 3 agents, 15-day trial|
|Freshdesk||Ticket management, no-code bots, partner network integration||$15 to $99/agent/month||Free plan available, 21-day trial|
|Zendesk Support||Omnichannel ticketing, self-service knowledge base, AI automated responses||Starts at $49/agent/month||Free trial available|
|ServiceDesk Plus||ITSM workflows, code-free customizations, smart automation, integration with business tools||$495 to $1,195 annually||N/A|
|HelpDesk||Converts emails into tickets, supports collaboration, automates tasks||$4 to $19/agent/month||14-day trial for team plan|
|Live Chat||Automated chat bots, integration with third-party tools, supports various communication channels||$15 to $50/agent/month||14-day trial available|
|Jira Service Desk||IT service management, self-service portal, integration with Slack/Microsoft Teams||$20 to $40/agent/month||Free plan for up to 3 agents|
|Salesforce Service Cloud||Multichannel support, AI features, workflow automation||$25 to $300/user/month||Free trials available|
|HappyFox||Unified ticketing system, smart rules engine, customizable workflows||Custom pricing||Demo available|
|Vivantio||Customizable platform, ITSM functionality, global support||$42 to $142/user/month||N/A|
|Hubspot Service Hub||Unified CRM-powered platform, ticketing, live chat, automation||$45 to $1,200/month||N/A|
|ManageEngine||IT operations and service management, network/server management, help desk management||Varies by product||Free trials and demos available|
|Agiloft||Contract lifecycle management, customizable without coding, cloud-based and on-premises options||Starts at $45/user/month||N/A|
|TeamSupport||B2B focus, ticket management, collaboration tools, inventory and customer database||$50 to $69/agent/month||N/A|
|LiveAgent||Extensive communication options, native live chat, ticket history||$15 to $39/agent/month||Free plan with limited features|
|Hiver||Gmail-hosted shared inbox and helpdesk, email categorization, performance metrics||$7 to $57/user/month||14-day trial available|
|WixAnswers||Unified help desk, self-service options, integrated customer support across multiple channels||$24 to $80/user/month||N/A|
|Intercom||Relationship management, live chat, email support, messaging, automation||Starts at $59/month||N/A|
|Front||Collaborative inbox for multiple sources, customer-centric, analytics||$19 to $99/user/month||Free trial available|
|Cayzu||Cloud-based help desk, multi-source tracking, branded self-service portal, mobile support||$4 to $39/agent/month||Free trials available|
How Help Desk Software Could Benefit Your Business
If you’re considering ways to elevate your business operations, integrating help desk software could be a game-changer. Here’s how this tool can specifically benefit your enterprise:
- You’ll offer stellar customer support by keeping track of every inquiry with a reliable ticketing system, ensuring your clients always feel heard and valued.
- Your response times will get a significant boost as the software swiftly funnels customer questions to the right team members, leading to faster and more accurate resolutions.
- Say goodbye to scattered data; help desk software centralizes all customer communication, giving you a unified view that can strengthen your customer relationship management.
- Imagine cutting down on the mundane tasks that eat up your day. Automation features within help desk software can take care of those, freeing you up to tackle more complex issues and innovate.
- Knowledge is power, and the detailed reports from help desk software arm you with actionable insights on customer trends, service efficiency, and satisfaction levels, enabling you to refine your strategies with precision.
Which help desk support software is best for your customers?
The customer support software that is best for your customers depends on the types of inquiries you normally receive. If customers contact you using a variety of outlets, a full service solution like Zoho Desk or Freshdesk is likely to be the best option. If you’re providing a specific type of support — for IT issues perhaps — opt for a more targeted solution like Jira Service Desk or ManageEngine. Those that want to focus on easy to use or self service features may opt for simple solutions like Hiver or HappyFox.
What help desk software does Microsoft offer?
Microsoft does not offer a standalone help desk software. But there are options available that are included or able to connect with various Microsoft platforms. For example, Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers help desk functionality within its suite of business applications. And Microsoft AppSource offers access to third party apps like HelpDesk and Help Desk Plus, which are hosted on Microsoft SharePoint.
What features should I look for in help desk software?
Choosing the right help desk software requires considering how your business usually interacts with customers. So it’s a good idea to examine your current customer service processes and list the features that are most essential before getting started. However, there are some functions and considerations that tend to be important for most businesses. Here are some of the specific features you might look for in a help desk solution.
- Multi-channel support: How do your customers normally contact you? If they mainly use email and phone, many helpdesk solutions provide support for those platforms. If they use social media, be sure to choose a tool that integrates those sites. If your customers want answers fast, live chat is a must. Many tools integrate all of these options and more.
- Automation: Automation features are designed to save time on repetitive tasks or inquiries. These may include things like chatbots to respond to common inquiries or the ability to set processes using custom workflows.
- Easy to use: Your help desk software is only going to help you improve customer satisfaction if your team understands how to use it. The best way to test this feature is by requesting a free demo or trial. Look for an intuitive interface and features that don’t include complicated processes like coding.
- Customizable: Many help desk tools provide the ability to customize the experience through app integrations and custom processes. Look for options that integrate with the tools you already use to optimize adaptability.
- Cloud and on-premises functionality: Some helpdesk solutions are available as cloud based tools. Others can be downloaded to on-premises servers. This simply depends on how you normally store software and if you need options for remote support.
- Self service features: If you can get customers to answer their own inquiries, it saves time for them and your team. Many helpdesk solutions allow you to create a knowledge base or other resources that they can use to answer FAQs or address common issues.
- Budget: There are some free help desk software options for businesses with small teams. But many require monthly plans. Keep in mind that you’re investing in your ability to improve customer satisfaction. But it’s still important to choose a tool with affordable monthly payments.
What is the best free help desk software?
There are several help desk support solutions that offer free versions for small business users, with Zoho Desk and Freshdesk generally offering the most useful features. Zoho Desk’s free plan includes support for email inquiries for up to three customer service agents. And Freshdesk’s free option supports email and social media ticketing for unlimited agents.
What is a help desk ticketing system?
A help desk ticketing system is a type of software that collects and organizes all customer service interactions. These may include email, phone, live chat, or even social media inquiries. The software details each interaction and assigns tasks to make sure each concern is addressed by the team.
What is ITIL and why is it important for help desk software?
ITIL stands for IT Infrastructure Library. It refers to a set of processes for managing IT services. In a help desk software, this involves creating a single point of contact for managing all interactions. This gives customer service teams access to set processes for dealing with all inquiries, whether they come via phone, online, or other sources.
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