Zendesk is primarily known for customer support, but that’s just one product in its platform that includes call center software, a knowledge base product, and more. However, while powerful, it can be costly and may provide more functionality than you need. Therefore, we’ve reviewed Zendesk’s competitors and compiled six alternatives to consider.
Top 6 Zendesk Alternatives for 2019
|Zendesk Alternative||Best for|
|(Best overall) Organizations that require scalable customer support and interaction tools with a built-in phone|
|Bitrix24||Companies that want to manage support, marketing, and internal collaborations in one tool|
|Agile CRM||Businesses looking for a CRM with customer support and project management|
|Zoho CRM Plus||Entrepreneurs who want customer support that includes social engagement, workflow management and analytics|
|Apptivo||Companies that need to manage customer support, orders, and transactions from a mobile app|
|Salesforce Essentials||Organizations that want a simple sales management and support platform|
How We Evaluated the Best Zendesk Competitors & Alternatives
Because Zendesk offers a lot more than customer support tools, we considered similar tools when coming up with alternatives. For instance, because they provide messaging tools which facilitate real-time customer engagements, we looked at providers with similar offerings.
A Zendesk alternative should be considered if you’re looking for the same functionality for a lower price or if you want all or most of the same features in a single product as opposed to getting separate products that are part of the same ecosystem. We came up with the top six alternatives based on affordability, ease of use, and comparable tools and features.
Here are the criteria we used to identify the top six Zendesk alternatives:
- Ease of use: We looked at how easy these alternatives were to use and navigate by researching user ratings and reviews.
- Affordability: We also compared the pricing of similar products and included those that would be budget-friendly for small business owners.
- Customer support tools: Tools facilitating customer support in a variety of ways were considered, from creating a knowledge base to managing tickets and phone calls.
- Communication tools: Because Zendesk facilitates communication from a variety of channels, we looked at other solutions with similar offerings.
- Reporting & analytics: We considered tools that offered reporting and analytics features to help business owners track sales and support performance.
Based on these criteria, we determined that Freshdesk is the best overall Zendesk alternative. Like Zendesk, Freshdesk/Freshworks is an ecosystem of products that offers a wide range of customer support and engagement tools like ticket creation and tracking, the ability to create self-service tools like a knowledge base, and a customer relationship management (CRM) to manage pre- and post-sale interaction. It also offers a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) phone system through the CRM or Freshcaller.
Best Overall Direct Zendesk Competitor: Freshdesk
Freshdesk is customer support management software with engagement tools like ticket creation and tracking and self-service tools like a knowledge base and is free to start. Like Zendesk, it is also part of a platform of other affordable tools like Freshsales CRM for managing pre- and post-sale interactions and Freshcaller which offer VoIP call features. This makes it the best direct alternative compared to Zendesk for most businesses.
Freshdesk pricing includes a free forever plan that comes with basic support. Small to medium-sized business (SMB) paid plans range from $15 per person per month to $29 per person, per month, making it one of the more affordable customer support tools, designed with small business teams in mind, available in the market.
Freshdesk Tiered Features
|Ticket Trend Report|
|Help Desk In-depth Reports|
|Customer Satisfaction Surveys|
|Multilingual Knowledge Base|
Note: There are two additional tiers priced at $49 and $109 per user per month for larger and enterprise organizations. In the table above, we focused on tiers most suitable for smaller businesses.
Sprout allows you to get started offering support via helpdesk to your customers for free, unlike Zendesk’s Support that start at $5 per agent per month. Features include email and social ticketing to resolve issues and a knowledge base for customer self-service. It also offers team collaboration tools and a ticket trend report to facilitate working across teams on customer issues and to gain high-level insights on ticket trends.
This free plan is right for businesses just starting to offer a helpdesk for their customers. It’s great for migrating away from email-based support and offers efficiencies with tools like canned responses or ticket communication templates. Use this plan if you’re not quite ready for specialized helpdesk features like automation features, collision detection which alerts you to multiple agents working on the same ticket/issue, or customer satisfaction surveys.
The features in this plan are great for taking the next step in supporting your customers with a helpdesk that has automation and advanced reporting. Blossom includes features in Sprout along with Helpdesk In-depth, which is the advanced reporting around key metrics such as the number of tickets created and resolved. These features are comparable with what is offered by Zendesk Support’s professional tier but come at a lower cost.
Blossom is right for businesses with a growing demand for customer support and multiple agents resolving tickets. $15 per month per user is a great value for businesses needing tools like the Collision Detection feature that alerts you to multiple agents working on the same ticket in a noncollaborative way. It also thinks it’s worth it to automate key tasks within the ticket resolution process, which can help agents become more efficient with their time.
The Garden plan is great for gaining performance insights such as performance reports and session replays, a Freshmarketer integration, which allows you to “replay” customer actions that led to support questions or tickets. It also gives the ability to create and send customer satisfaction surveys. Your agents can resolve customer support issues more quickly and accurately with these tools because they’ll have the right knowledge at their fingertips.
This plan is right for businesses wanting to take a proactive approach to customer support as it can help them spot patterns and fix any performance issues. Insights from customer satisfaction surveys can also be used to improve their product and support. The price is $29 per month, per user, which is affordable for a growing small business. It’s also less expensive than the Zendesk Professional Support plan that includes customer surveys.
Besides Freshdesk, Freshworks, Freshdesk’s parent company, also has several other products that make the complete platform an even more viable Zendesk alternative. Like Zendesk, Freshworks other offerings allow businesses to pick and close the products that will help manage their customer interactions and improve the overall experiences from end to end rather than force a business to purchase modules or functionality they don’t need.
Here are a few Freshworks products comparable to Zendesk offerings:
- Freshsales: This is the CRM product comparable to Zendesk Sell. Through this CRM, you can track and manage presale interactions and still reference them post-sale.
- Freshchat: Similar to Zendesk Chat, Freshchat allows you to have live customer interactions via chat on your website. There’s a free plan for up to 10 users. Zendesk Chat is free with the Professional tier of Zendesk Support.
- Freshcaller: Freshcaller is similar to Zendesk Talk in that it is call center software with a VoIP. One thing Freshcaller does not do that Zendesk Talk does is facilitates short message service (SMS) messages.
What Freshdesk Is Missing
Freshdesk is missing phone features that include SMS messaging. With people using their mobile devices more often, this capability could prove to be crucial. It’s also missing marketing tools like websites and landing pages that can be found with solutions like Bitrix24 or project management that can be found in tools like Agile CRM.
What Users Think About Freshdesk
Users like Freshworks products and Freshdesk in particular because it’s easy to use, has robust features, offers a free option, and has affordable paid options. Dislikes revolve around aspirational features like having alerts or other features work in a certain way that would be more beneficial to a certain business type.
Where to Find Freshdesk
Freshworks/Freshdesk can be found in small businesses with teams that could benefit from the support tools as well as other products like the CRM, chat, and phone. If you’re looking for a solution similar to Zendesk with more affordable pricing overall, Freshdesk is a great option. Give Freshdesk a try with a free trial.
Best Zendesk Alternative With Marketing & Internal Collaboration Tools: Bitrix24
Bitrix24 is an affordably priced sales and service CRM you can start using for free and paid plans starting at $69. Customer support features include a multichannel contact center where you can support customers via email, phone, or social media. It also offers robust email campaigns, online stores, and team collaboration features like group chat. This makes it great for marketing-focused businesses with web stores and collaborative support teams.
Bitrix24’s free plan is for up to 12 users and includes up to 5GB of online storage. Paid plans start at $69 per month for six users for the Plus Plan and go up to $99 per month for 50 users. This is less expensive and has more features than Zendesk.
Bitrix24 Tiered Features
|Price per Month|
|Number of Users|
|Contact & Lead Management|
|Online Payment Integrations|
|Task & Project Management|
|Helpdesk & Contact Center|
|Internal Collaboration Platform|
|Bulk SMS Texting|
Bitrix24’s Free plan, which supports 12 users, offers a variety of features, including a helpdesk and contact management center. In addition, this plan supports one online store that small business owners can use to sell products. Bitrix24’s marketing tools are more robust than Zendesk’s campaign management tools, which only include email and SMS channels. There’s also a built-in phone with recording capabilities chat functionality for team collaboration.
This plan is great for small businesses with teams just starting out with no budget. It saves you from the need to purchase a separate business phone and helpdesk that you can use to support and track customer issues.
The Plus plan builds on the Free plan offering more storage, from 5GB to 24GB of online hosted storage. You’re also able to record more calls with the built-in phone, from 100 to unlimited call recording. Pricing starts at $69 per month and includes six users. The number of websites you can build increases from one to 10, which expands your marketing capabilities. The number of online stores remains the same.
This plan is great for growing team-based businesses needing more websites and also needing more online hosted space. On a per-user basis, pricing is more affordable than Zendesk, coming in at slightly less than $12 per user. This works out great if you’re working with a small team of six.
The Standard plan builds on the Plus plan expanding its number of users to 50 and the amount of online storage to 100GB. Call recording is expanded to an unlimited number of records. You can also create up to 10 online stores and 10 websites. Prices in this tier start at $99 per month, which comes to about $2 per person.
This plan is great for medium-sized businesses with no more than 50 users that manage sales and marketing interactions along with customer support. The 10 online stores allow you to create a variety of stores to sell different categories of products. Unlimited call recording allows you to keep and refer back to calls with customers, which allows you to offer a better customer experience.
What Bitrix24 Is Missing
Bitrix24 is missing the ability to create a knowledge base so that customers have the opportunity to find information on their own. This could prove to be important if your customers are asking the same questions over and over again and providing answers is becoming more and more time-consuming. If this is important, a knowledge base integration may be a great add on if you like all the other aspects of Bitrix24.
What Users Think About Bitrix24
Users like Bitrix24 because it’s easy to use, has robust features, offers a free option, and has affordable paid options. Dislikes revolve around its mobile app having limited capabilities. For more information on user reviews, check out our Bitrix24 review article.
Where to Find Bitrix24
Bitrix24 is great for small businesses with teams that may be just starting out or on a tight budget. It’s also great for teams wanting to provide customer support, marketing, and sales management all from one platform. If you’re interested in a CRM with these features, try Bitrix24 for free.
Best Zendesk Alternative With Project Management: Agile CRM
Agile CRM offers customer support tools like a helpdesk, knowledge base, canned responses, and reporting with a free plan and paid plans starting at a low $8.99 per user. It also offers project management tools to help you and your sales and support team stay on top of projects and communicate things like tasks and due dates. These features allow you to communicate with customers throughout their customer journey, making it a great Zendesk alternative.
Agile CRM Pricing
Agile CRM is priced from $8.99 through $47.99 per user, per month. There’s also a free version for up to 10 users but has fewer features and more restrictions than paid plans. Unlike many other comparable products features like project and task management features are available with the Free plan.
Agile CRM Tiered Features
|Contacts & Lead Management|
|Unlimited Deals, Tasks & Docs/Project Management|
|Web to Lead|
|Landing Page Builder|
|Two-way Email Integration|
|Contact Level Analytics|
|Two-way Telephony (Third Party)|
|Custom Deal Tracks|
In addition to task and project management features, the Free plan offers CRM features like contact management with a 360-degree view of customers. This plan is great for businesses just starting out and can scale to grow easily.
Project management features make Agile CRM stand out from other alternatives we compared for teams of less than 10. If you’re looking for a solution with marketing, customer support, and project management, Agile CRM is a great Zendesk alternative, especially because it comes at a lower price point.
The Starter plan builds on the free plan, offering an expanded number of contacts, two-way email integration, three plugins/integrations, contact-level analytics, and a landing page builder. In terms of price, it’s much less expensive than Zendesk.
Priced starting at $8.99 per month, per user, the Starter plan offers marketing automation, social monitoring, and knowledge base tools that enable you to offer content-based support. It also offers web engagement so you can offer real-time relevant offers to website visitors. This plan is great for companies that want to offer a knowledge base and manage marketing activities and support in one platform.
The Regular plan builds on the Starter plan, offering more features like mobile marketing, custom deal tracks, and two-way telephony through a third party. Features like mobile marketing can allow you to create mobile campaigns to communicate with customers about support issues or marketing campaigns. This is comparable to Zendesk in that it offers telephone features. However, marketing features are a lot more advanced.
Prices start at $29.99 per month, per user. This plan is great for companies that would like to incorporate mobile marketing into their outreach strategy and want two-way telephony features. It’s also a great Zendesk alternative because of its price point.
The Enterprise plan builds on the Regular plan, offering a dedicated account rep, and onboard coaching. This plan is great if you want or need more support in getting your support solution set up. It’s comparable to Zendesk’s support at the enterprise and elite product levels.
Priced starting at $47.99 per month, per user, the Enterprise plan offers onboard coaching, which can increase adoption and decrease new hire ramp-up time. This plan is a great option for growing companies that want to streamline their onboarding process, reducing the time to get your customer support and engagement solution up and running.
What Agile CRM Is Missing
Agile CRM is missing a built-in phone. It offers two-way telephony features but through third-party providers. If this is important, Freshdesk may be a better option. It’s also missing intelligent call routing where calls are routed to the right sales or support individual.
What Users Think About Agile CRM
Agile CRM users like that it’s easy to use and is affordably priced. The negative reviews for this product were around glitches or features users felt could have been built out more. For user reviews, see our Agile CRM reviews article.
Where to Find Agile CRM
Agile CRM is great for businesses looking for a tool that can give their customer services teams additional insights on things like the status of projects resulting from sales while remaining at affordable prices. You’ll find companies on a budget with teams using Agile CRM. You can try it out for free for up to 10 users.
Best Zendesk Alternative With Social Media & Analytics Tools: Zoho CRM Plus
Zoho CRM Plus is similar to Zendesk in that it offers a variety of products that can support the customer experience. It offers a CRM, analytics, helpdesk, chat, and social media for $50 per month. Zoho CRM Plus also has team collaboration features that make it easier to resolve tickets together while on the same page as other departments. It’s great for teams needing analytics and social media functionality looking for a bundled all-in-one product.
Zoho CRM Plus Pricing
Starting at $50 per month, per agent, Zoho CRM Plus is affordably priced considering all the tools you’re getting in one package. Pricing is much more affordable compared to Zendesk Suite, which starts at $89, per month, per agent and goes up to $189, per month, per agent.
Zoho CRM Plus Features
The core features in Zoho CRM Plus include Zoho Desk (helpdesk), Zoho Social, Zoho Project (project management), Zoho Analytics, collaboration, and sales management. Similar to Zendesk, these features allow you to manage the full customer experience and goes beyond just allowing you to handle support issues.
Like Zendesk, Zoho CRM Plus’ helpdesk features allow you to provide customer support with tools like ticket management but also supports tickets coming from a variety of channels. It also provides the ability to create a knowledge base where you can organize your content and customers can find answers to their questions on their own, freeing up your agents’ time to focus on resolving more pressing customer issues. Communication channels like chat are also supported.
Sales & Marketing Activity/Automation
The sales and activity management features include the ability to set up basic workflow rules and capture social media interactions as well as the ability to track events and log call notes. You can also manage deals, leads, and interactions on social media. Marketing features also allow you to set up email and other campaigns to help you stay top of mind with customers and prospects.
Opportunity Management, Reporting & Analytics
Zoho CRM Plus gives users the ability to create and manage tasks, events, call logs, and notes and link them to your opportunities. Users can attach documents, see file versions, and share folders, which can make it easier to manage documents related to opportunities. Reporting and analytics are also available, allowing you to create dashboards and providing important information to help you make decisions.
Zoho CRM Plus allows you to interact with customers and prospects on social media, monitor social conversations and sentiments, and retrieve and resolve support issues that come up on social media. This is similar to Zendesk’s tool, which allows you to connect on Facebook and Twitter social channels, monitor conversations, and resolve customer issues.
Zoho CRM Plus Ease of Use
Zoho CRM Plus users say that it is easy to use with intuitive features. You can begin using it right away without needing technical skills. Users also find it simple to add to and use other Zoho productivity products with the CRM.
What Zoho CRM Plus Is Missing
While Zoho CRM Plus has a phone dialer integration, it is not offered as a built-in feature like what is offered by Freshsales. Therefore, it requires customer service teams to manually enter the results of calls with customers through a secondary process. In addition, it doesn’t offer online stores like Bitrix24 does or project management tools like Agile CRM does.
What Users Think About Zoho CRM Plus
Zoho CRM Plus users like the fact that the software is very comprehensive. However, some are disappointed with having to buy add-on products to get the functionality they are seeking but pleased with bundles like Zoho CRM Plus. For more information on reviews, see our Zoho user reviews page.
Where to Find Zoho CRM Plus
Zoho CRM Plus can be found in SMBs working in teams to generate sales and working together to retain customers by solving customer issues. For more information about how Zoho CRM Plus can meet your customer experience and support needs, sign up for a free trial.
Best Zendesk Alternative With Support & Order Management From a Mobile App: Apptivo
Apptivo is the best Zendesk alternative for businesses wanting to provide customer support yet manage orders and products to provide a higher level of service. Like Zendesk, Apptivo offers a variety of modules to help manage the entire customer experience beyond offering support tools. However, what sets it apart is its robust order management functionality. Its free and low $8 starting prices make it great for small businesses selling products with transactions to manage.
Apptivo is one of the most affordably priced CRMs for all the functionality it offers. There’s a free version for up to three users, and non-Enterprise pricing levels go up to $20 per month per user. There’s also a 30-day free trial to try it to see if it’s right for you.
Apptivo Tiered Features
|Lead and Contact Management|
|Task, Appointments, Notes & Notifications|
|Field Services and Work Orders|
|Quotes, Proposals, and Invoicing|
|Two-way Email Sync and Integration|
|Standard and Performance Dashboards|
The starter plan is free for up to three users. It includes basic features such as lead and contact management, opportunity management, invoicing and purchase order management, standard reporting, and activity management. It also includes the ability to set up and manage a helpdesk and includes features like ticket or case management, a knowledge base, and customer support portal.
This plan is the best Zendesk alternative for business owners who want to manage most aspects of their business in one place, from sales to transaction and shipping support. Should you decide these features are right for managing your sales process while in the field, you can upgrade to one of the paid plans, which will give you access to these features on your mobile device with Apptivo’s mobile app.
Starting at $8 per month per user, the Premium plan offers everything the free plan offers as well as additional features including workflows, the ability to create multiple pipelines, contract management, and email integration. It also offers custom reporting and dashboards to help you gain important insights into your business.
The Premium plan is best for business owners responsible for sales and customer support activities. It’s also great if they are responsible for managing projects. Apptivo offers the ability to manage projects and customer support issues within its app. Also, it offers the ability to manage contracts. This plan offers robust features with a mobile app for an extremely affordable price compared to Zendesk, which only has an app for Zendesk Support.
Starting at $20 per month user, the Ultimate plan offers additional territory management and a dedicated account manager. It also comes with a white label user interface, a higher level of file storage, and the ability to send a larger number of bulk emails, making it a value for the money.
The Ultimate plan is best for business owners or sales managers who don’t just manage a book of business but manage a territory-based sales team. Being able to manage a territory-based team from the field through a mobile app can help maximize sales across various geographies. It can also help you stay on top of support issues while you’re on the go.
What Apptivo Is Missing
Apptivo’s free plan doesn’t offer access to its standalone mobile app, which can be key for business owners and managers who are always on the go. If this is an important option, you should consider spending the $8 per month per user to gain access to the mobile app.
What Users Think About Apptivo
Overall, users like Apptivo, especially because of the price point and all of the advanced features it offers. Most of the dislikes were due to a few experiences of the system being a bit slow and occasional small bugs. Check out our Apptivo review article.
Where to Find Apptivo
You can find Apptivo on the desks and mobile devices of busy managers and business owners on the go. If you are a mobile business owner or manager who could benefit from a 360-degree view of your customer or prospect even while you’re on the go, sign up for a 30-day free trial of Apptivo.
Best No-frills Zendesk Alternative: Salesforce Essentials
Salesforce Essentials is small business-centric sales management and support software offered by Salesforce for $25 per month. However, while its features are not as robust as the full-blown version of Salesforce, it still provides the tools to manage both sales and customer support, like contact and opportunity management and case management and social customer service. This makes it a great alternative for businesses looking for a no-frills alternative to Zendesk.
Salesforce Essentials Pricing
Salesforce Essentials starts at $25 per month, per person up to 10 people. Once you’re beyond 10 users, you’ll have to upgrade to the more robust full-blown version of Salesforce, which starts at $100 per month, per user. However, the Essentials plan offers core CRM and customer support functionality, making it a great alternative option.
Salesforce Essentials Core Features
The core features in Salesforce Essentials include social customer service, knowledge base, case management, opportunity management, lead management, custom sales paths, web-to-lead capture, and a limited version of chat. However, it offers few marketing features found in other Zendesk alternatives like campaign management and mass emails.
Customer Support & Knowledge Base
Salesforce Essentials offers several customer support tools that include social customer support. Social customer support allows you to identify and solve customer issues on social media channels by creating cases. Another customer support tool is a knowledge base where you can create and manage content to help your customers research and solve their own support issues, similar to the knowledge base offered by Zendesk and other options featured here.
Sales & Marketing Management
Sales and marketing functionality include the ability to manage and assign leads with lead assignment and routing features. You can also customize your sales process with a tool called Sales Path, which is helpful for tracking where your customers are in the buyer’s journey. There’s also the ability to generate and capture leads with web-to-lead functionality.
Salesforce Essentials has opportunity management features that allow you to track your opportunities and stay on top of where your opportunities are with stages and quotes. You’re also able to take notes and connect opportunities to leads and contacts. This type of functionality can also be found in Zendesk with its Zendesk sell product.
Salesforce Essentials Ease of Use
Most Salesforce Essentials users say that it is easy to use, and there are no technical skills required, unlike what many users say is a chief complaint about the enterprise edition. It also comes with a sleek user interface that is simple with point-and-click and drag-and-drop features.
What Salesforce Essentials Is Missing
Salesforce Essentials is missing affordable pricing tiers for businesses with slightly more than 10 users. There is a significant jump from the Essentials plan to the Professional plan, which is the next tier from Essentials. The price increases from $25 per person per month to $100 per person per month. If you’re not ready for this leap in price, any of the other providers mentioned here would be a better fit.
What Users Think About Salesforce Essentials
Salesforce Essentials users like the fact that the software is simple, giving small businesses the right tools to manage their business. A few users find some of the features a bit clunky or hard to use. Other users wish there were more features at the $25 level. For more information on reviews, see our Salesforce Essentials reviews page.
Where to Find Salesforce Essentials
Salesforce Essentials can be found in small businesses with fewer than 10 users. Any business with slightly more than 10 users will find it difficult to upgrade to the next tier, which starts at $100 per month per user. For more information about how Salesforce Essentials can meet your customer service and sales management needs, sign up for a free trial.
What Makes Up the Zendesk Platform?
Zendesk is not just customer service and support software. It has expanded and evolved into an ecosystem of products dedicated to supporting the entire customer experience. For instance, Zendesk acquired a CRM called Base, which is now Zendesk Sell. This product manages pre- and post-sales interactions and relationships. It also offers a tool called Zendesk Guide, which allows you to create a self-service knowledge base.
Below is a list of Zendesk offerings to give you an idea of the scope of its solutions:
- Zendesk Support: The support product helps you track, prioritize and resolve customer support tickets
- Zendesk Guide: This product allows you to create a knowledge base so that customers can find answers to their questions on their own
- Zendesk Chat: Chat allows customers to speak to you live via chat and messaging
- Zendesk Talk: This is call center software that also includes a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP); customers with their own phones can also use the software
- Zendesk Connect: Connect allows you to create and manage communication and marketing campaigns
- Zendesk Explore: Explore offers analytics and reporting to track and measure your support and other customer interactions
- Zendesk Sell: This is the CRM where you can manage precustomer relationships
- Zendesk Suite: This product allows you to combine Support, Guide, Chat, and Talk to offer your customers a comprehensive customer support experience
- Zendesk Sunshine: Sunshine allows you to use and customize Zendesk’s platform according to your business needs; your team of developers build apps and create customizations to support your customers
Bottom Line – Zendesk Competitors & Alternatives
The best Zendesk alternatives have customer support as a core feature yet go beyond customer support and help you manage the entire customer experience. The competitors presented here are either providers that offer different products, product bundles, or one product with all the features to help you manage customer sales, support, and marketing in one platform. Depending on your needs, one of these solutions will be suitable for your business.
Managing customer support and engagement can be much easier with a provider that offers products that you can add on and scale as needed. Freshdesk helps small businesses manage sales, support, marketing, and customer interactions with its ecosystem of tools. Give Freshdesk a try by signing up for a free trial. Visit Freshworks to learn more about how you can expand your management of customer support.