Zendesk vs Freshdesk: The Ultimate Customer Support Software Comparison

Updated Dec 6, 2022.
zendesk vs freshdesk

Handling customer requests from your Facebook page, Twitter, and other channels is demanding, but it is crucial for maintaining a prosperous relationship with customers.

A customer support software will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by handling all this information from your customers and business partners for you, allowing you to focus on other aspects of the business.

Zendesk and Freshdesk are the two most popular top-tier customer support software that will streamline all communication channels under one dashboard and handle incoming requests on time and with an effective strategy.

But, which of the two is better suited for startups and which one has a more extensive enterprise feature set, and which one has better live chat capabilities?

Answer all these questions and more as you continue reading this article and gather the insights necessary for deciding whether Freshdesk or Zendesk is better-suited customer support software for you.

Zendesk vs Freshdesk: An Overview

Companies who decide to choose software to handle their ticketing, issue tracking, and customer communication often are first presented with a choice between Zendesk and Freshdesk.

This is no coincidence, as the two software have extensive customer support features and a clear and fast onboarding experience under affordable pricing plans for different budgets.

Zendesk

Overall, Zendesk will provide you with more enterprise features and a larger collection of app integrations while losing the battle to Freshdesk when we compare the simplicity of both platforms.

Zendesk's knowledge base has more advanced features and an accommodating multilingual capability, as compared to Freshdesk's clean, but necessary-tools-only setup.

The software is best suited for mid-sized and enterprise businesses looking for advanced customer support features, complex reporting capabilities, and an extensive range of native integrations.

Freshdesk

As for the tool within the Freshworks family, the Freshdesk ticketing system will allow you to operate on all levels, allowing you to route tickets by workflow and specific agent skills while avoiding any duplicates and handling unresolved, overdue ones, all costing less if you choose the full package.

Adding to Freshdesk's quality is their live chat functionality, which is superior to Zendesk's, with the Freshchat tool supporting triggered, user event tracking, and in-app messages.

Overall, Freshdesk is best suited for smaller and mid-sized companies looking for an intuitive tool that will help them streamline all customer inquiries off the bat and where a less-constricted working environment can benefit from the workload management tools like gamification.

Ease of Use

Zendesk

Zendesk will provide a governed and perceptive onboarding process, providing you with numerous helpful tips along the journey, but you still need time to get a grasp on Zendesk's interface.

Zendesk Ease of Use
Source: Support.zendesk

The software does allow incremental upgrades for company service and customer network with slow business development, but connecting your mail of choice to Zendesk is a lengthy process.

To connect your Outlook or Gmail with Zendesk, for example, you need to execute a series of steps on both platforms to secure a proper data transferring channel.

After you have connected the channels to Zendesk, you need to configure agents, fields, macro sets, among other things, while setting up a support email requires you to navigate through the administration menu after you have authorized the address on both ends.

If you have a hefty install-base with your previous email, managing multiple entry points can get complicated.

Freshdesk

The benefit of Freshdesk is that it allows you to get started earlier without taking too much time for you to get acquainted with the interface.

Unlike Zendesk's customizable views, Freshdesk's dashboard offers a unified view of different support channels.

When you first sign up, you will be directed to a short welcome video from the CEO, after which you will be offered a 20-minute demo where the software's team explains to you the basics of Freshdesk.

Requiring minimal customization, Freshdesk is one of the most simplistic customer support software on the market.

Freshdesk offers easy solutions for dealing with engagement operations, enabling you to comfortably compare the analytics from different social network achievements and generate lucrative commercial strategies as a result.

Being highly flexible with CRM platforms, Freshdesk makes it possible for you to easily incorporate sales functions and work with customers through its APIs.

Winner: Freshdesk

While bigger businesses can prefer Zendesk for its complexity and multi-faceted structure, it is Freshdesk's simplicity and coordination that will help smaller and medium businesses to get the ball rolling quickly in a more unified, intuitive, and affordable manner from one of the best help desk software in 2021.

Zendesk Pricing vs Freshdesk Pricing

Zendesk

In Zendesk, you will see two subscription plan categories in their pricing menu, with Zendesk for service being their core help desk software and Zendesk for sales offering a full-features sales CRM solution.

Zendesk's main suite for everyone consists of three subscription plans, Suite Team for $49, Suite Growth for $79, and Suite Professional for $99.

Zendesk Service Pricing Plan

All plans include a 30-day free trial and are priced per agent per month and billed annually.

If you want to access the full Zendesk Support, you can opt for Enterprise plans for $150 or the custom-tailored $215 Enterprise plan.

You should know that, through a little bit of browsing, you can find cheaper Zendesk alternatives that also have a more modern interface, robust email marketing functionality, and more manageable file exporting.

Zendesk Service Pricing Plan for Enterprise

All Zendesk Suites cover email, live chat & messaging, social, voice, help center, bots, community forums, agent workspace with customer context, collaboration tools, marketplace, workflows, automations & intelligence, and many more channels.

The entry-level Suite Team plan will equip you with a ticketing system to handle all your collection, prioritizing, and request solving needs, allowing you to message across the web, mobile, and social channels, along with premium email, voice, SMS, and live chat support.

Automations & workflows are easy to set up, and you get the benefits of 50 AI-powered automated answers, unified agent workspace, reporting & analytics, data & file storage, 1000+ apps and integrations, APIs, and much more.

The Suite Growth plan expands your capabilities to customizable ticket layouts, multiple help centers, 100 AI-powered automated answers, prebuilt + custom 1000+ apps and integrations, AI-powered knowledge management, SLA, multilingual support, etc.

If you are looking for lighter solutions and don't require all Suite plan features, you can check out the Support-only plans that start at $19 per agent/month.

Zendesk Sales Pricing Plan

Freshdesk

Freshdesk is less convoluted in displaying its pricing plans, which are also based on the number of agents, with a 21-day free trial.

While Freshdesk does offer a free-forever Sprout pricing plan which serves as a full-on ticketing service with other limited capabilities, their omnichannel packages are on the more expensive side, starting at $99 per agent/month when billed monthly.

Freshdesk Helpdesk Pricing Plan

That being said, their basic Blossom plan costs only $19 per agent/month if billed monthly, and it equips you with all the email & social ticketing, ticket dispatch and trend report, knowledge base, datacenter location features of the Blossom plan, plus automations, collision detection, marketplace apps, helpdesk report, SLA, and business hours.

The software's $45 per agent/month Garden plan will provide you with everything from Blossom, along with the additional time tracking, CSAT surveys, performance reports, multilingual knowledge base, and custom apps features.

If you aim for a truly stellar performance, you can scale up to the Estate plan that improves upon the Garden plan with round-robin routing, custom roles, portal rebrand, custom reports and dashboards, customer segments, knowledge base versioning, multiple products, dynamic ticket forms, and 5K collaborators for $69 per agent/month.

Their highest helpdesk plan Forest ($99 per agent/month) and the two omnichannel plans that go up to $169 are enterprise solutions.

Freshdesk Omnicheannel Pricing Plan

Winner: Freshdesk

While Zendesk does provide more robust enterprise feature tools, it is Freshdesk that is more suitable for small businesses wanting to leverage as many free customer support tools as possible with their free-forever Sprout plan.

Key Features of Zendesk and Freshdesk

Zendesk

1. Ticketing

Zendesk's flexible ticketing management with automated workflow provides extra assistance to agents, automating answers to simple, repetitive questions so your team can focus on more complex tasks.

With no need for integrations, Zendesk can leverage AI with your help center content and provide more informed answers automatically.

The software will convert all phone, chat, email, social media requests from customers into tickets which you can manage, resolve, and collaborate on easily, gathering all issues from different channels into one place and making a list of priorities to follow.

Just like you can respond and add new assignees, you can easily set up extensive automation based on triggers and SLAs.

Zendesk Ticketing Feature
Source: Impreva

2. Issue tracking and reporting

Along with organizing processes and workflows, the software lets you track customer engagement and the issues needed to be resolved in real-time.

Acting as a shared inbox for every customer inquiry and providing your agents an omnichannel view of the customers, Zendesk offers the service representatives and the customers a real-time view of the support ticket progress and state of the issue.

The activity log allows you to check the steps taken to resolve an issue and shows you the name of the agent handling it.

Standing out from the competition with detailed reports on everything, Zendesk can serve you with analytics and in-depth reports so you can recognize the opportunities for improvement as you analyze data about your customers and your support resources.

You can even create custom reports, monitoring how successfully you are meeting SLA targets, for example, or checking the average requester wait time for tickets outside of your business hours, which can signal if you need staffing during the weekends.

Zendesk Customer Supporting Feature
Source: Support.zendesk

Zendesk's issue tracking software can integrate with different applications and systems, expanding to e-commerce websites or project management software.

3. Live chat and collaboration

The proactive live chat functionality with automated triggers allows you to engage and keep the attention of prospects who are on your website or checkout page.

To complement the live chat functionality with the ability to reach out to prospects, Zendesk offers a messaging tool that allows you to reach out to customers and prospects in their favorite messaging apps, follow the leads as they are talking about you on different social media platforms.

Zendesk Live Chat and Collaboration
Source: Zendesk

Apart from deploying automated triggers, Zendesk's chat functionality lets you utilize shortcuts (saved responses) and live chat analytics.

4. Knowledge base and self-service

The software's smart knowledge base will make for better self-service and empowered agents as the Zendesk Guide tool lets you create new articles, categorize them into different sections, conduct localization, bot integration, and more.

The Answer Bot, which is available as a multilingual capability, will automatically suggest relevant articles to customers, while the software enables you to use its knowledge base and community features to create a self-service customer portal that will elevate the efficiency of your customer service workflow.

Zendesk Knowledge Based and Self-Service Feature
Source: Venturebeat

Freshdesk

1. Ticketing

Freshdesk's ticket management system is configurable to your specific operational processes, allowing the users to monitor the number of service requests and inquiries.

The completely configurable system allows the users to label, queue, and route tickets according to their workflow, while the built-in collaboration tools like agent collision detection let you avoid duplicate responses to a single ticket.

The Dispatch'r will automatically prioritize and assign tickets, enabling you to route the tickets according to the different skills of your agents and notify them about their tasks.

The Supervisor feature will audit unresolved tickets or overdue tasks so you can follow up on them as soon as possible.

By setting up your SLAs, you can define your ticket priorities and resolution time, with the tickets categorized based on your SLA policy, saving you time and managing customer expectations.

You can view the most urgent issues and their allotted response time and set operational hours for different priority levels so that the customers know when to expect a response.

Amazingly, it is possible to integrate your Twitter and Facebook pages with Freshdesk and receive customers' requests through these channels.

2. Multi-channel support and communication

With Freshdesk being one tool within the Freshdesk family, you will need to sign up for another tool called Freshchat, which is often listed among the best live chat software for winning more customers and keeping the clients happy. 

Alternatively, you can purchase the expensive all-in-one plan to access the website live chat functionality.

However, when comparing Zendesk's live chat with Freshchat, it is safe to say that Freshchat looks more modern and feels more simplistic, along with Freshchat allowing triggered, user event tracking, and in-app messages in its chat widget.

Just like tracking last visited pages and other user events, you can track properties such as location, browser language, and more, as well as connect your knowledge base with the chat widget and display the FAQ section.

A modern customer support solution like Freshdesk provides outlets for the phone, email, chat, forum, social media channels, while allowing you to manage multiple custom mailboxes for each account, access the support for Facebook pages & an in-sync Facebook support center, and a social tab.

The phone support system covers 30 countries, and the live chat solution allows you to engage in real-time conversations on your website.

3. Gamification and integrations

Freshdesk's Gamification capabilities allow you to elevate your agents' productivity and keep them at a high level of motivation.

Breaking the everyday monotony and turning the helpdesk into a game with scores systems, points, and rewards the agents can earn is a surprisingly effective way of achieving goals and nourishing improvement.

Freshdesk Gamification and integrations
Source: Techcrunch

You can set a target for the agents to resolve a specific number of tickets within a predefined period, encourage your agents to publish solutions for common problems on your knowledge base, reward agents for each forum interaction with a customer with points, etc.

Freshdesk integrates with 60+ productivity, eCommerce, CRM, cloud storage, collaboration tools, with Google's suite of products providing an ideal solution for businesses who rely on Google to conduct their daily operations.

4. Global customer support, self-service, and configurability

Freshdesk supports self-service options such as knowledge bases and forums, but, most importantly, they offer a clean multilingual help center feature and SEO features for you to prepare your content for Google indexing.

All the 26 languages the software supports can be adjusted by each agent individually, which is one of many components that can be configured within the system.

Agents can schedule work hours according to their local times and set multiple business hours for each shift, team, or location.

Even the distinct SLA policies can be configured for every product, department, or company the helpdesk supports, with automatic escalation emails for tracking violations.

Winner: Freshdesk

While Zendesk does offer more advanced bots and complex reporting & analytics within a robust enterprise feature set, Freshdesk's unique capabilities like gamification and configurable agent environments allow you to elevate your customer experience while maintaining simplicity.

Zendesk or Freshdesk: Who has the Better Reviews?

Being two of the biggest customer support software in the business, Freshdesk and Zendesk both have around 2500 reviews on the most trusted software review engines like G2 and Capterra, which means that their average results are a good indicator of the overall performances of the software on a larger scale.

Zendesk

Zendesk is praised for being very extensive and insightful and described as the fitting solution for businesses of all sizes to deliver stellar customer support.

Among thousands of reviews, you will find Zendesk acclaimed for providing the capabilities to automate processes and speed up customer support, save a lot of time and speed up resolution rates for all queries while making it easy to configure agent access and customer information, bulk upload customer data with CSV files, set up automation, triggers, views, SLAs, and so on.

Zendesk's Capterra reviews display an impressive 4.4/5 stars (based on 2,608 reviews), and the G2 score shows an average of 4.2/5 stars (based on 2,683 reviews).

Zendesk Review
Source : Capterra

Freshdesk

Freshdesk is described as the perfect solution to facilitate natural conversations with your customers while attending to your complex needs, enabling startups and enterprises to foster better customer relationships through support, sales, and customer engagement software.

Along with other things, you will find users from all backgrounds praising Zendesk for its integrations, simplified customization with the built-in custom apps, quick and self-explanatory client onboarding and learning processes, interactive social media integration and responsive notification/commenting functionalities, easily accessible data with APIs, configurable ticketing, and much more.

Freshdesk's Capterra reviews display the 4.5/5 stars average grade (based on 2,340 reviews), and the G2 reviews record an average of 4.4/5 stars (based on 2,376 reviews).

Freshdesk Review
Source : Capterra

Winner: Freshdesk

It was a bit more difficult to choose a clear winner in this category, but due to the slight advantage in the average score, we gave the point to Freshdesk.

Customer Support

Zendesk

Using Zendesk's live chat, you can ask any question and get an instant reply that's straight to the point and actionable.

Zendesk Customer Support Live Chat
Source: Chattooltester

When you need help using Zendesk features, there are several options for contacting customer support.

When your language is set to English, you can contact the customer support team from within your chat or support account.

You can type in a question in the search field to see the answers to FAQs, or you can access the live chat option and contact an agent.

Another way to receive customer support is to submit a ticket via the help center if you couldn't find a solution to your issue through the Answer Bot.

Zendesk help center provides end users for submitting tickets with forms
Source: Support.zendesk

Alternatively, you can add comments or questions to articles in the help center or engage with and seek answers within the Zendesk community.

Freshdesk

The great thing about Freshdesk is that it prepares you for what to expect, as it shows you the indication of how fast you can expect an answer to a message you left.

Apart from the standard community access and an FAQ repository covering everything from self-service portal, groups & agents, emails to ticketing workflow and feedback widget, Freshdesk will grant you access to their knowledge base that explores the how-tos and best practices for getting started, maximizing your email channel efforts, admin configuration, and more.

Freshdesk Knowledge Based Customer Support

The Freshdesk Academy is the learning channel within the customer support base that allows you to improve yourself with knowledge and tools, get certified, and accelerate personal growth.

Winner: Zendesk

While Freshdesk does indicate how fast you can expect an answer to your query, Zendesk delegates instant replies to most of the troubleshooting issues, and, when that doesn't work, you can always contact their always-reliable agents.

Software Integrations

Zendesk

Zendesk offers 700+ native integrations, featuring everything from the brand's sales force automation software Zendesk Sell, as well as Slack through which you can channel your Zendesk tickets, create tickets, and post comments, Shopify, Ada, Magento, BotXO through which you can elevate your e-commerce business, and more.

Zendesk Software Integrations

Integrating with PieSync, Zendesk can enable you to sync your Zendesk contacts two-way with more than 240 apps, which means that for any new or old tickets, the attached customer data will be synced with the other app without import/export.

Through PieSync, you can integrate your Zendesk account with HubSpot, Pipedrive, Google Contacts, 3dcart, Aircall, Autoklose, Bookeo, and many more email marketing, CRM, phone & email, lead generation, e-commerce, VoIP, and other tools.

HubSpot, for example, is among the best IT helpdesk ticketing systems that provides the perfect one-on-one support experience, allowing you to create multiple email aliases for specific department support, which just like Zendesk serves as the first line of defense when issues need to be solved.

Freshdesk

Counting more than 500 apps, which include social media management, collaboration, e-commerce, customer feedback, email marketing, cloud storage & document sharing, and numerous other categories, Freshdesk has constructed the tools that facilitate the best performances through AI, Machine Learning, and Internet of Things.

Freshdesk Software Integrations

Through multiple choices in each category, Freshdesk's integrations will help you amplify your success across agent productivity, knowledge management, e-commerce, CRM, email marketing, remote assistance, telephony service, along with Freshmarketer, Freshsuccess, and more.

The Solution Partner Program has enabled organizations to leverage their technical and sales capabilities to consult, sell, customize, and implement Freshbooks products to accelerate growth.

There are countless benefits to the Solution Partner Program (split into registered, authorized, and preferred tiers, which come with different rewards and incentives), as you can see below.

Freshdesk Solution Partner Program

Winner: Zendesk

While having access to the Solution Partner Program and in-brand tools like Freshmarketer and Freshsuccess can have its advantages, Zendesk's volume and to-the-point layout make the software more applicable for a wider degree of additional customer needs.

When to Choose Zendesk

1. You want a robust enterprise-level feature kit

Advanced reporting capabilities, training programs, dedicated support teams, in addition to customizable business flows, in-depth analytics, knowledge base suitable for operational optimization make Zendesk the more scalable option when compared to Freshdesk.

Zendesk will scale and keep adapting to your business needs as the organization grows and requirements change.

Customizable templates that show you the clients' names and information, for example, make it easy for you to answer 100 tickets or more simultaneously, which is one of the examples of how well Zendesk adapts to the volume and pace at which enterprise companies operate.

Zendesk Enterprise Level Feature kit
Source: Support.zendesk

2. You want the tool that better handles automation complexities and provides agent configurability

While both software deploy machine learning bots that analyze tickets and subtract relevant knowledge base info, Zendesk's automation capabilities enable higher usability, ease of use, and better self-service capabilities.

The Answer Bot is available as a multilingual capability, automatically suggesting relevant articles in any language, while the robust rerouting tools allow you to transfer chats or tickets from bots to agents or agents to other departments, even letting you route by specific agent skills.

Zendesk Robust Rerouting Tools
Source: Zendesk

3. You want the larger portal of native integrations

Compared to Freshdesk, Zendesk provides a significantly bigger collection of native integrations.

Along with PieSync that offers an additional set of 240+ integrations from email marketing, CRM, lead generation, e-commerce, and other channels and syncs your Zendesk contacts two-way, the software will grant you access to 700+ native integrations that will serve you with top-rated ticketing systems, the latest help center themes, as well as partner up with the most talented teams like Aktie Now, Eclect to optimize your growth.

Zendesk Native Integrations

4. You prioritize complex reporting and analytics

Adding to its suitability towards enterprise companies, Zendesk will equip your team with complex reporting and analytics capabilities, enabling you to monitor how customers interact with your brand on every channel, analyze team performance, and assess the quality of customer experience.

Zendesk will cover your issue tracking requirements with an activity log that displays the steps taken to resolve issues along with the names of responsible agents.

The software will serve you in-depth reports on SLA targets, average requester wait time for tickets outside of business hours, created, solved, open, and due ticket reports, resolution time and on-hold time, and much more.

Report Configured SLA Targets
Source: Support.zendesk

When to Choose Freshdesk

1. You want a connected experience with other products in the Freshworks family

When using Freshdesk, it is very easy to integrate with Freshcaller, Freshchat, Freshsales, and Freshmarketer, as the platform is designed with cross-purpose use and the unified customer experience in mind.

Not only that, their unified dashboard will centralize all your customer experience operations in one place so that everything is easily accessible from any Freshworks account you have.

Instead of moving conversations to Slack, Freshdesk allows your team members to utilize instant messaging directly within the ticket center through the discuss feature, while the neat feature like session replay lets you watch live recordings of customer sessions on your website to see what mistakes were made.

Especially suitable for multiple departments collaborating on tickets, you can eliminate any miscommunications, so you don't need to ask for customer screenshots, and you know what solutions were tried.

2. You are on a tight budget

With their free-forever Sprout plan, you can get started without paying anything, as the Sprout plan allows small businesses to tackle the basic helpdesk and ticketing requirements.

Also, the Blossom plan will cover all your social & email ticketing, ticket dispatch and trend reporting, automation, collision detection, business hours, and marketplace apps for $19 per agent per month.

This is a ton of value for a reasonable price, and even the smallest and most constricted companies can start their journey and scale up as they develop.

value for a reasonable price

3. You seek simplicity

Freshdesk is one of the easiest customer support software to set up, understand, and start applying to achieve a considerable improvement.

Thomas D, IT engineer says:

“Getting started with the software is really simple, yet customizing it can turn it into a very powerful tool for customer support. Growing with this software is also really simple, and upgrading to higher tiers unlocks more features while not overwhelming you with the unnecessary.”

Rajkishore M, founder & director says:

“Simple user interface. Easy to create tickets and resolve tickets. Best customer support system which can be integrated with your software, store, etc. The client onboarding process is easy, and you can also integrate with your social media, and it will give instant response to visitors, users.”

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Anastasia Belyh

Editor at FounderJar

Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.