Looking for free Zendesk alternatives? Then, you’re in the right place. For people in search of reliable, easy-to-use services and help desk tools, there are few names with more clout than Zendesk. The solution is one of the most popular in the world, with hundreds of thousands of users.
Unfortunately, for beginners in the business world, Zendesk does have a downside – its cost. If you’re limited in terms of budget, then you might find it difficult to manage the expenses associated with running a tool like Zendesk. Fortunately, you’re not completely out of luck.
While free helpdesk tools rarely have the advanced features and functionality you’d get from a fully-featured solution like Zendesk, they can offer the basic tools you need as a beginner, to serve your audience. Today, we’re going to be looking at some of the top free options on the market, to help you determine if one of them is right for you.
What is Zendesk?
Zendesk is a convenient all-in-one SaaS solution for improving customer satisfaction. Suitable for all kinds of businesses, from startups to well-known enterprise companies, Zendesk can empower your support agents, deliver crucial notifications to supervisors, and even help you manage your support tickets more effectively.
As one of the top customer communication tools on the market, Zendesk combines everything from Android and iOS app access to templates for customer responses, website chat widget functionality, and more. It’s one of the top customer support software options out there, but it’s far from the only option.
Like most of the tools we’ll cover in this article, Zendesk has a somewhat limited solution to offer if you want to access the free service. Though you do get access to tools for unlimited agents, you’ll also miss out on some bonus features like automation and collision detection. On the plus side, you will receive tools for email and social ticketing, knowledge base creation, ticket trend reports, combined mailbox tracking, and team collaboration features.
Zendesk Pros 👍
- Excellent range of tools even on the free plan
- Easy to use when you want to streamline multiple channel support
- Good for customer engagement
- Easy to manage customer issues with ticket tools
- Collaboration tools for team members
Zendesk Cons 👎
- Can get expensive outside of the free plan
- May lack some more advanced features
Who is Zendesk best for ✅
If you’re looking for comprehensive help desk ticketing with a minimal learning curve, you can avoid finding the best alternatives to Zendesk, and stick with the service itself. This solution is one of the leading help desk tools for a good reason. It’s feature rich, and reasonably easy to use, but can get expensive with time.
Best Zendesk Alternatives
HubSpot is probably the software most commonly compared with Zendesk for service management. The company offers a wide variety of tools for marketing, website building and sales. One of the component’s of HubSpot’s product portfolio is the “Service Hub”, a comprehensive suite of service tools packaged into an easy-to-use ecosystem.
Unfortunately, the Service Hub can be just as expensive as Zendesk. If you’re looking for a freebie, you may want to consider the free helpdesk and ticketing software from HubSpot instead. Although this free service is somewhat basic, it does allow you to keep track of customer requests in a unified space, so your team can remain as organized as possible.
The easy-to-use environment allows for quickly prioritizing work, managing tickets, and tracking solutions to problems, so you can drive a better quality of customer service. You can even consider upgrading to a full version of the help desk software and service solution from HubSpot to access extra features like a shared inbox and real-time reporting. However, the paid version of HubSpot generally can cost more than many of the alternatives on the market.
- Excellent, easy-to-use interface for beginners
- Can be upgraded with the Service hub
- Access to all emails and tickets in one environment
- Full organization and tracking for customer requests
- Centralized space for teams
- Lacks a lot of advanced features for service
- Can be expensive to upgrade
Who is this best for ✅
If you want a basic ticketing system for keeping track of customer requests, HubSpot’s service is pretty impressive. You can even access things like “goals”, for helping you to reach your targets, live chat, and team email too. HubSpot can be one of the more comprehensive multi-channel service, sales, and marketing tools, but you’ll get the best results if you’re willing to pay for a premium package.
👉 Read our HubSpot review.
Like Zendesk, Freshdesk is another pretty well-known tool for customer support. The easy-to-use environment ensures businesses can collect valuable information about business consumers. There’s an environment for automating routine tasks, to improve your agents’ productivity, and an aligned inbox for multiple customer service channels too.
The free plan from Zendesk is pretty comprehensive, covering things like insights into team performance with ticketing reports, and a handy mobile app. Similar to other market-leading tools like HubSpot, you can also give your customers self-service opportunities, with the knowledge base feature in Freshdesk.
Overall, Freshdesk’s convenient selection of tools offers a nice entry point into enhanced digital customer service. You can spend less time jumping between communication channels, and more time having important conversations. While Freshdesk and it’s free tools aren’t going to give you the same overall functionality as tools like Salesforce (with Slack), you can still enable and empower your customer support teams.
- Excellent assistance from Freshdesk support
- Automation for routine tasks
- Unified inbox for tracking customer information
- Mobile app for support on the go
- Insights into team performance
- Basic self-service for end-users
- Not the best reporting features
- Requires paid plan to access better lead tracking tools
Who is this best for ✅
Freshdesk is a feature rich and generous solution for small businesses hoping to offer excellent customer service. The technology is easy to use, and it comes with a decent level of customer support, even on the free plan. You can easily track conversations across social media and other channels, and Freshdesk ise one of the best zendesk alternatives for ease of use too.
3. Zoho Desk
A dedicated helpdesk solution from leading customer experience company, Zoho, Desk makes it easy to track omnichannel customer interactions. With more than 50,000 business users worldwide, Zoho Desk is a pretty popular service. Gartner recognized it as one of the best help desk tools in the world in 2021, and customers say it helps with both employee and client experience so you can generate better results.
The full Zoho Desk experience comes with everything from an omnichannel inbox for managing customer conversations, to workflow automation tools. There’s access to live chat and self-service tools, as well as artificial intelligence for a smarter way to manage business conversations. This customer service software has plenty of tools for enhancing customer relationships, particularly if you’re willing to upgrade to a paid package.
The free plan for Zoho Desk is quite generous, including a help center, email ticketing, customer management, and your own private knowledge base. You’ll get predefined SLAs, and a multi-language help desk, as well as mobile apps and support 5 days a week.
- Excellent for omnichannel communication tracking
- Mobile app access
- Predefined SLAs
- Good customer management
- Support for customer self service
- Multiple languages
- Free plan only supports 3 ages
- No advanced features like social or community channels
Who is this best for ✅
If your helpdesk needs are pretty basic and you only have a small team, Zoho Desk gives you a good starting base for service. We’re particularly impressed by the pre-defined SLAs, and the multi-language help desk.
LiveAgent is a simple solution for companies looking for reliable support software. The easy-to-use omnichannel system helps companies of all sizes to interact with their customers across a variety of channels. You’ll have access to unlimited email addresses, a customer portal and forum, advanced reporting tools, APIs and integrations, and that’s just for the basic plan.
More advanced packages from LiveAgent feature call center support, call routing and transfers, video calling, instant chat for your customers, and even call recordings. Although LiveAgent may not have the same presence in the market as Zendesk, it’s extremely effective if you’re looking for a rich customer service solution.
LiveAgent’s free version makes it easier for smaller companies to begin investing in customer service. However, it’s worth noting the features are somewhat limited compared to what you’ll get from the other plans. Of course, you can always upgrade your functionality over time. The free plan includes 7 days of ticket history, 1 phone number, email address, and chat button, a customer portal and forum, and basic reporting.
- Live chat, email and phone in one package
- Reasonably easy to use
- Lots of pricing options when you’re ready to upgrade
- No contracts (cancel any time)
- Free trial if you want to test all features
- Free plan is somewhat basic
- Outdated interface
Who is this best for ✅
If you want to combine simple ticketing solutions with plenty of extras, like email tracking, call recording, and even live chat, LiveAgent has a lot to offer. It’s surprisingly affordable, and quite versatile too. You can even build a self-service strategy for customers.
Engagebay is a convenient tool for marketing, service, and CRM technology, all bundled into one package. You can access everything you need in one bundle, or you can buy your sales, marketing and other tools separately. The free version of Engagebay is its “Service Bay” which is a simple, easy-to-use customer help desk.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, you won’t have nearly as many features with the Service Bay as you would with things like Engagebay’s “all-in-one” package, but you do get free live chat software and basic help desk functionality, for tracking conversations. More extensive paid packages go beyond FAQs and simple ticket management to offer advanced software solutions like chatbots and extra reporting tools.
Engagebay helps business leaders to maintain a more complete view of the customer journey. You can track conversations with clients across multiple channels, and make sure you’re taking advantage of lead opportunities. However, the service is best when it’s paired with the landing pages, email marketing, and lead capturing tools offered in the paid plans.
- Simple solution for beginners
- Easy access to upgrades
- Lots of information on leads
- Live chat included with free service desk
- Good community support
- Limited ways to manage your service team
- Very basic for beginners
Who is this best for ✅
Engagebay is a great choice if you’re looking for a very simple tool for service. This help desk isn’t as advanced as some alternatives, but it will help you to jump in to customer support with live chat.
Choosing the Best Zendesk Alternative
There are countless tools out there for asset management, customer service , and relationship management, from Happyfox to Jira, Kayako and Help scout. The key to success is finding the solution capable of empowering your team and delighting your customers.
When looking for your service management solution, consider what kind of metrics you want to track, like response time and customer satisfaction, and how you can measure your performance over time. Think about how easy onboarding is likely to be when you want to bring new staff into your software, and whether you can offer more advanced features, like a self-service portal.
While Zendesk offers a lot of functionality to companies in the right circumstances, it won’t be the right solution for every team. With various free versions of leading software out there, it’s definitely worth checking out some of the other tools on offer to see which might be able to serve you better.
Keep in mind you may need to upgrade from your free software eventually to get the right range of tools. Although free services are great for beginners, they’re often intended as an entrypoint for other, more advanced packages. With this in mind, consider the affordability and feature sets of your free Zendesk alternative outside of the free plan when you’re comparing options. It’s best to be prepared for your needs both now, and in the future.