Zoho Desk Review 2023: Is It Right for Your Business?
This article is part of a larger series on Customer Service.
Zoho Desk is one of our top recommended customer service software for small businesses. We evaluated this provider and it scored high in pricing, general features, niche features, ease of use, and expert score. However, it got a lower score in customer service because its basic support is limited to 24/5 email assistance, a knowledge base, and community forums.
- Free-forever plan (up to three users)
- Service level agreements (SLAs) are offered across all plans
- Customers can access self-service support for answers to frequently asked questions, leaving agents free to focus on more complex issues
- Robust AI functionalities
- Comprehensive ticket management capabilities
- Only three agents can use the free version—even small teams may need more seats than this
- No free or paid 24/7 customer support in any plan—must be purchased as an add-on
- Collaboration tools are available only for paid plan subscribers
- Zia AI assistant is included only in the highest-cost tier
- Public (customer-facing) knowledge base is not included in basic plan offerings
When to Use Zoho Desk
- Free customer service software: This is one of our top recommended free help desk software.
- Customer service software for small business: We included this provider in our list of the best platforms for customer service teams.
- Remote support agents: It offers Android and iOS apps across all plans. It also has an app called Radar that allows team managers to monitor ticket trends and team performance.
When to Use an Alternative
- 24/7 support: Consider using Freshdesk if you want a free customer service software that offers 24/7 support across all plan tiers.
- Simple customer service solution: Subscribe to Really Simple Systems Service Desk for straightforward customer service software that suits beginners.
- Free customer service software with AI capabilities: Try HubSpot CRM, since its free service tools include AI features like chatbots, mobile business card scanning, and automatic call recording.
Zoho Desk is cloud-based, omnichannel customer service software for managing customer conversations and tickets. It is best for large teams wanting artificial intelligence (AI) tools to improve agent productivity and customer satisfaction or for small teams wanting scalable customer support software that offers a free version.
Zoho Desk Deciding Factors
Supported Business Types
Startups, small to midsize customer service operations, and large to enterprise-level organizations with multiple support channels for ticketing
Monthly and annual plans are available
Not exactly sure what to look for? Check our step-by-step guide to choosing help desk software to keep your selection process organized.
Zoho Desk Alternatives
If this platform doesn’t meet your business needs, below are some highly rated Zoho Desk competitors to consider:
Businesses needing customer support software with built-in service level agreement (SLA) management tools
Businesses wanting a customer service system with voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) functionality
Companies needing customer service software with an omnichannel help desk solution
Free (two users) or $14 per user, per month;
Service Desk feature costs an additional $55 per month
Free (unlimited users) or $45 per month (includes two user seats)
Free (unlimited users) or $15 per agent, per month
*Based on annual billing; monthly pricing is also available at slightly higher rates.
For our Zoho Desk review, the platform earned a perfect score for pricing. It offers a forever-free plan for up to three agents and four paid plans that range from $7 to $40 per agent, per month when billed annually. The main differences between plans include support channels and help desk automations, as well as access to advanced features like ticket sharing, agent collision detection, an AI-powered assistant, and customer service analytics.
Support Desk Plans
Startups and small service teams looking for basic ticket management features
Small customer service teams that use social media support channels
Medium-sized businesses wanting additional productivity and collaboration tools
Large service teams that require a help desk software with service level management tools
Enterprise-level companies with multiple support channels that need an AI assistant
Max. Number of Agents
$6 per light agent, per month
$6 per light agent, per month
50 free light agents, and add more at a cost of $6 per light agent, per month
Default priority-based SLA
Default priority-based SLA
10 per department
20 per department
Email Tickets & Ticket History
Zia AI Assistant
*A light agent is a default profile that can be assigned to users outside of your support team without having to pay for additional seats.
For more information on Zoho Desk pricing plans, select a plan from the drop-down menu below:
The Free plan provides basic Zoho ticket management tools like email tickets, private comments, spam tickets, ticket history, resolution notes, and ticket tags. Agent productivity tools include a quick ticket view, a response editor with rich text support, the ability to search across modules from a single place, and response drafts. You can even automate help desk notification rules and macros (combined actions) that can be manually applied to tickets.
Aside from the above features, this plan offers basic SLAs, customer management, and mobile apps. It allows you to set up one support email address, a self-service portal for your customers, a feedback widget on your website, and advanced web forms for logging tickets on any web page.
However, this plan does not have collaboration, artificial intelligence (AI), or reporting features. The help center is also limited to a private knowledge base for agents. The public knowledge base for customers is not included in this tier.
The Express plan gets you access to extended Zoho ticketing tools like product-based ticket tracking, customer satisfaction ratings, and the ability to split, merge, and clone tickets. There are also added productivity features, such as ticket table views and keyboard shortcuts for routine ticket tasks. In addition, you can start responding to tickets via social media directly from Zoho Desk.
Compared to the Free plan, this tier offers more help desk customization options, which include email templates, ticket views, and ticket status. It also has added analytics features like pre-populated reports, ticket status dashboards, and customer happiness dashboards. Other features under this plan are workflow rules, direct ticket assignment rules, multi-level escalations for SLAs, and the ability to define help desk working hours.
Under the Standard plan, you get more productivity tools, such as snippets and email templates. You can collaborate with colleagues using the team feed, create custom reports, use ticket analytics dashboards, and integrate with third-party apps. Agents can manually track the time spent on tickets. Plus, you can instantly receive and respond to real-time customer requests via integrations with WhatsApp, Telegram, LINE, and WeChat.
This plan allows you to build a community forum for your customers and automatically assign tickets to agents and teams. Its help center has a private or agent-facing knowledge base. It also includes a public knowledge base for customers, a user community, and article revisioning capabilities (managing and viewing different versions of solution articles).
Upgrading to the Professional plan unlocks advanced ticket management and collaboration tools such as team ownership, team sharing, and agent collision detection. You can also start using computer telephony integration as an added support channel and use the round-robin ticket assignment function. You can define SLAs for specific customers and automatically track the time spent on each ticket.
One of the most significant advantages of subscribing to the Enterprise plan is access to an AI-powered customer service assistant called Zia. This feature is discussed in detail in the Features section below. You can also use Zoho Desk chat as an added support channel. Being the highest-level tier, this plan allows you to automate custom workflows, manage support contracts associated with SLAs, and use chatbots to answer your customers.
Zoho Desk Features
Zoho Desk provides an omnichannel, all-in-one customer service help desk platform. Its general features include reporting, analytics, productivity, and collaboration tools. Specialized features, on the other hand, cover help desk automations, self-service plugins, and ticket management.
In this Zoho Desk review, we gave this provider a perfect score for its general features. This platform allows you to manage tickets from all channels, engage with customers, and monitor your support team’s performance―all from a single platform. You can also integrate it with Zoho CRM to bridge the gap between your sales and support teams with context.
Check out this platform’s general features below:
- Ticket management
- Customer management
- Agent productivity tools
- Private knowledge base for agents
- Android and iOS apps
- Reporting and analytics
- Third-party integrations
This Zoho service desk software got a score of 4.5 out of 5 for its specialized features. It offers a context-based ticket management system, collaboration tools, and help desk automations. The Zia AI assistant also helps to improve agent productivity and efficiency. Zoho Desk allows you to provide 24/7 support to your customers using the self-service plugin and knowledge content repository.
Zoho Desk boasts an omnichannel ticketing system. It collects support tickets from multiple channels and organizes them in one interface so agents can respond faster. The context-aware system sorts and prioritizes tickets even before agents step in to reply. Use direct assignment and round-robin automation to immediately send tickets to the correct department or agent to save time and energy.
Zia is Zoho Desk’s smart customer assistant. It uses contextual artificial intelligence (AI) to respond to voice or text questions from your website or mobile apps based on content in your Zoho knowledge base.
You can use the Skill Builder to train Zia to perform specific actions, such as placing or modifying an order. Zia notifies managers if there are solutions or articles that are not helpful. The AI bot can even identify the sentiment behind every incoming ticket and tag possible issues that caused negative sentiment.
When Zia is not sure of the appropriate tag for a ticket, they ask you so they can learn how to help you better next time. Zia also types out a ready-made customer service response before an agent starts drafting one. Lastly, this smart assistant analyzes and identifies anomalies in your team’s performance. For example, if there’s a sudden surge in incoming tickets, Zia warns you so you can add more agents to a shift.
Real-time collaboration tools available to users include live ticket views and count as well as detailed views of each ticket. Team feeds allow agents to view and interact with recent updates on customer tickets.
The software’s agent collision detection feature sends instant notifications when another agent works on the same ticket or is typing a reply to a ticket that you are working on. You can also chat with the other agent who is working on the same ticket.
Zoho Desk’s help desk essentials include SLA and contract management. These features help you define your standard ticket resolution time and customer support plan commitment. You can also create rules for automatically escalating tickets that miss their resolution time. Other help desk processes you can automate include ticket assignments, notification rules for ticket progress, workflows, alerts, and task creation.
You can embed self-service capabilities and knowledge base content into your website and mobile app to make help accessible to your customers. You can also create distinct self-service portals for customers under each brand by customizing your help center’s appearance. Moderated community forums allow customers to help each other resolve issues, reducing your agents’ ticket load.
Get instant updates about contacts, accounts, and tickets you follow using the mobile help desk app. The priority views show you the list of tickets organized according to due time or customer type, and you can view complete contact details and full-length interactions. You can also create tickets on the go, pass on a ticket to a colleague when you’re busy, and close tickets.
Radar by Zoho Desk is a separate mobile app designed for support team managers that provides vital statistics at a glance. This includes live traffic, ticket traffic, and customer happiness ratings. It also notifies users of anomalies and identifies potential bottlenecks ahead of time.
Reports and dashboards provide actionable insights into your team’s performance. The Headquarters is a live dashboard where you can pull individual reports, view patterns, track agent activity, monitor negative feedback and customer happiness, and study your team’s ticket traffic. You can also track time spent on tickets and follow-up tasks to see your team’s overall productivity level.
Zoho Desk integrates with Google Workspace apps and can use the screen-sharing feature of Zoho Assist to help customers. Under the Standard plan, you can connect your help desk with other native apps like Zoho CRM and Zoho Analytics, access the Zoho Marketplace, and integrate with Slack, Salesforce, and Zapier. The two highest-tier plans also enable you to access telephony and PBX (private branch exchange) integrations.
Zoho customer support starts with access to the knowledge base, community forums, and 24/5 email assistance for Free plan users. Standard plan subscribers can reach customer support teams via email and phone, while Professional and Enterprise customers can use all support channels, including chat. The expected turnaround time is 24 hours for email support and eight hours for live chat and phone support during weekdays.
If you want access to priority support, you must subscribe to Zoho Desk’s paid support plans. The Premium support plan is priced at 20% of the recurring license fee and offers 24/5 live chat and toll-free support. On the other hand, the Enterprise support plan is priced at 25% of the recurring license fee and offers 24/7 live chat and toll-free support.
Zoho Desk’s Premium Support Packages at a Glance
20% of license fee
(annual subscription only)
25% of license fee
(annual subscription only)
All paid editions
All paid editions
All paid editions
(minimum of 25 users)
Knowledge Base, Community Forums & Customer Portal
Live Chat & Toll-free Support
8 hours x 5 days
Max. Response Time
Remote Assistance, Product Onboarding & Configuration Assistance
Technical Account Manager & Quarterly Report
Zoho Desk scored 4 out of 5 in ease of use because it has an intuitive interface that makes it easy to learn and use. While there is an initial learning curve, users at the beginner level can quickly get used to it. It also provides many free tutorials, resources, and tips on using the software. Paid tier users can also subscribe to its Premium or Enterprise support plans if they need professional assistance with product onboarding and configuration.
Based on Zoho Desk reviews online, users are happy with its ease of use, smooth navigation, and wide range of third-party integrations. They like its simple ticket management system and intuitive knowledge base. Some added that they get access to many features for the price, noting that SLA management and multi-language support are included even in lower tiers. Others praised it for its depth of customization and robust reporting capabilities.
At the time of this publication, we noted the following Zoho Desk reviews posted on popular user review sites:
- G2: 4.4 out of 5 based on 4,259 reviews
- Capterra: 4.5 out of 5 based on 1,842 reviews
- Gartner: 4.5 out of 5 based on 1,374 reviews
- App Store: 4.7 out of 5 based on 606 reviews
There are currently few negative Zoho Desk reviews online. Most of these comments were about the slight learning curve stemming from its rich features and customization options. Users, however, acknowledged that it is easy to navigate once they become familiar with the software.
Methodology: How We Evaluated Zoho Desk
To evaluate this program against other help desk software, we test each system ourselves. We examined crucial areas, such as pricing, core help desk features, quality of customer support, and ease of use. We also reviewed recent help desk ratings about this platform from credible review sites.
Click through the tabs below for our Zoho Desk evaluation criteria:
10% of Overall Score
Cost is typically an essential criterion for any business, so it was one of our considerations when evaluating the cost-effectiveness of this provider. We usually give a high score to providers that offer a starter plan that costs $30 or less. We also check the availability of a free starter plan, scalable pricing options, and options to pay monthly or annually.
10% of Overall Score
We assessed features essential for any customer service software, such as integration options, reporting, and analytics tools. We also considered the availability of a mobile app—which is crucial for remote support reps.
30% of Overall Score
We also looked at the niche and targeted features of the software to see the value a user can get by subscribing. For this customer service software, we checked if they offer specialized features such as ticket and case management, email management, self-service platforms, and workflow automation.
20% of Overall Score
We evaluated this provider’s platform usability and the level of technical experience needed to use the system. This was analyzed in terms of the expertise required to set up an account, the learning curve to use its features, and the ease of integrating with other third-party applications.
20% of Overall Score
Support is a critical part of running any customer service tool, especially for small businesses that don’t have in-house technical support. We analyzed the types and availability of support offered by these providers through live chat, email, and phone.
10% of Overall Score
We looked through existing and best customer service software reviews on credible sites to measure the level of satisfaction current users have and any problems they typically encounter. We also added our thoughts and expert opinion on essential features, value for money, and popularity.
Based on our Zoho Desk review, this platform stands out for its omnichannel ticketing system equipped with agent collaboration and productivity tools. These features make customer support processes faster and more efficient. It is recommended for startups and small support teams looking for free support solutions with self-service and SLA features. It also offers scalable paid plans suited for growing companies and enterprises.
Sign up for Zoho Desk’s 15-day free trial before committing to a subscription plan.