In a perfect world, you would always exceed customer expectations, and you wouldn’t even need a help desk.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. And since the success of your small business depends on your customers, you need to make it easy for them to get help.
But what if you’re a small team and can’t afford to offer 24/7 customer support? Here’s where help desk software can make all the difference.
You can use help desk software to keep on top of customer communications, provide personalized support, and maintain relationships with clients.
Now, if you’re in the middle of a Google search, you know there are a lot of options. Not all are right for your small business. Here we’ll help you find the best fit for your needs.
For a quick glance at help desk software, jump to our comparison table.
- What is Help Desk Software?
- Comparison Chart of Help Desk Software
- Help Desk Software: 12+ Options Reviewed
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Help Desk Software?
Help desk software is designed to help businesses and their support teams track and manage all of their customer service-related communications.
Some of the features you should look for:
- Customers can easily access a self-service portal to start requests for help
- Ticketing system for your team to sort and prioritize requests for assistance
- Ticket management tools to reply to customers, maintain notes on their interactions, and document information related to the case
- Custom service level agreements (SLA) so that your customers get responses back within a specified period
- Support for knowledgebases so that you can provide static content customers can access without having to contact you
- Social media integrations to facilitate ad hoc contact with users who reach out via social platforms
- Mobile applications so that customers can get in touch with you while on the go
Some help desk apps come with free plans or trial periods so you can try it before you start a paid plan.
Comparison Chart of Help Desk Software
With so many options, it’s not always simple to find the right help desk software for your business. Here’s an at-a-glance comparison of how these different tools stack up in terms of price, free trials, and free plans.
|Company||Free Plan||Free Trial||Plans start at ...||For more|
|Yes||30 days||$ 15||Visit Zendesk|
|Yes||21 days||$ 19||Visit FreshDesk|
|Yes||30 days||$ 50||Visit HubSpot|
|No||30 days||$ 25||Visit Salesforce|
|No||14 days||$ 9||Visit LiveAgent|
|No||30 days||$ 22||Visit Groove|
|Yes||15 days||$ 12||Visit Zoho Desk|
|No||No||$ 29||Visit Happyfox|
|No||14 days||$ 19||Visit Helpdesk|
|No||30 days||$ 69||Visit Kronodesk|
|No||14 days||$ 65||Visit Teamsupport|
|No||7 days||$ 10||Visit Jira|
|No||14 days||$ 15||Visit Kayako|
Help Desk Software: 12+ Options Reviewed
To narrow down the list of options to just the ones that will work for you, we provide brief reviews of the best help desk software options, according to customer ratings and feedback.
Freshdesk offers ticket management, self-service support, and team collaboration.
Small businesses with limited staff may benefit from its automation and knowledgebase options; these might help reduce agents’ workloads.
Freshdesk comes with predictive support and that means you can detect problems before customers reach out. The software looks for frustration signals like rage clicks or dead clicks to flag potential issues.
You can configure SLAs for different customer groups, and the Freshdesk mobile app means that you can resolve customer problems on the go.
Pricing: Basic features are free for an unlimited number of agents, but premium plans start at $15/agent/month.
If you’re engaging with your customers over several communication channels, try Zoho Desk.
Zoho Desk includes ticket management and communication tools. The platform allows agents to interact with clients via email, phone, live chat, and social media.
It provides support for knowledgebases, and its reporting tools provide feedback on your agents’ performance. Zoho Desk comes with iOS and Android apps, and all paid editions come with custom SLAs (the free plan only includes priority-based SLAs).
Pricing: Free of charge, but premium upgrades are available.
HubSpot Service Hub
You may know HubSpot for its marketing products that promise to attract your dream customers. Now, its help desk product is designed to help you keep those customers.
The HubSpot Service Hub provides you with a universal inbox where you can see your emails, live chat messages, form submissions, and more.
Your agents get the tools they need to respond to these communications, as well as automation and reporting so that you can view agents’ performance.
Unfortunately, HubSpot’s mobile app focuses only on marketing and sales tools. HubSpot utilizes pipelines instead of custom SLAs.
HubSpot only accepts annual payments. Depending on your cash flow, a large upfront payment may put this one out of reach.
Pricing: Starts at $50/month for one agent.
LiveAgent supports ticketing, live chat, and call center interactions. All communications are listed in a single dashboard that can be organized using department labels and tags.
You can set up a support-portal for self-service, and LiveAgent offers Facebook and Twitter integrations.
iOS and Android apps mean you can help customers anywhere. There are also custom SLAs to help keep response times down.
Pricing: Free 14-day trial, followed by subscriptions beginning at $15/agent/month.
If you want a simple shared inbox for customer support, consider Groove.
Groove’s shared inbox can help with all-in-one request handling, knowledgebase support, and reporting.
It’s automation features can help you scale your responses without expanding your team, and the mobile app makes it easy to work on the go.
Groove does not appear to support custom SLAs, however, which may be a dealbreaker for you.
Pricing: Free 14-day trial, followed by subscriptions starting at $15/agent/month (two user minimum).
HappyFox’s all-in-one system comes with everything you could possibly want out of help desk software.
HappyFox features include:
- Ticketing support
- Social media integration
- Knowledgebase/self-service features
- Mobile apps, as well as automation
- Custom SLAs
- Auto-assignment of new tasks
Although its packed full of features, you may not require all of them. To avoid paying for features you won’t be using, evaluate each one carefully to make sure you really need it.
Pricing: Starts at $29/agent/month with annual contract.
ZenDesk is one of the most significant players in the help desk market.
You also get live chat/messaging and call center tools, so you can reach your customers across several platforms.
Its mobile apps make it easy to respond to questions, no matter where you are.
Pricing: Starts at $5/agent/month.
Kayako features support for live chat, a shared inbox for your agents, and Facebook/Twitter integrations.
Kayako strives to be an easy-to-use solution that ensures you don’t miss anything from your customers. You won’t find advanced features like custom SLAs or automation, but the mobile apps make on-the-go support possible.
Salesforce Desk is an out-of-the-box customer service app for small businesses, which can be set up in just a few hours.
You can handle requests coming in from email, phone, live chat, Twitter/Facebook, and your website via a single dashboard, implement automation, and report on your agents’ performance.
Pricing: $25/user/month (maximum of 5 users, billed annually).
HelpDesk allows you to convert emails into tickets, track all of your conversations with customers, and collaborate with your teammates.
HelpDesk comes with basic organization features like filters and smart search, canned responses, and you can add a chat widget to your website.
Pricing: $19/agent/month with yearly billing.
KronoDesk offers a simple, but integrated, customer support system.
Try KronoDesk if you’re looking for a ticketing system and email notifications for your agents, so your team doesn’t miss customer messages.
Plans provide a custom home page with knowledgebase articles, forum posts, and open tickets. KronoDesk doesn’t offer a mobile app, but its site is fully responsive.
Pricing: Starts at $21/user/month with annual billing for the cloud app.
TeamSupport targets B2B organizations, offering a platform that includes customer and ticket management, product and inventory support, team collaboration, self-service tools, and reporting.
TeamSupport comes with integrations in case you want to use it in conjunction with other apps.
Pricing: $65/agent/month with annual billing.
Jira Service Desk
Jira is a full-featured service desk aimed at companies looking for an internal solution — it is not a customer-facing option.
The service desk features self-service tools and automation to lighten your agents’ workloads, SLAs to improve productivity and prevent questions from slipping through the cracks, and reporting to monitor team success. Jira integrates readily with Atlassian’s suite of productivity tools.
Pricing: $10/month for up to three agents.
Customer service is a crucial part of your business. With the right help desk application, you can provide your customers with fast, quality support, even with a small team.
Evaluate your customers and consider how they reach you and the platforms they use. This information can guide your decision to finding help desk software that keeps your customers happy, frees up your team, and grows your business.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best help desk software?
The top help desk software platforms will let you customize them according to your business needs. Look for tools that come with a ticketing system, easy integration with your current applications, and a flexible pricing structure. Tools like Zoho Desk, Freshdesk, Zendesk, and HubSpot start with affordable (or free) plans. The cost increases along with your demands.
Where can I find free help desk software?
Services like Freshdesk and Zoho Desk offer free help desk software plans. Others, like Zendesk, offer plans that start at $5. Most offer a free trial, so you can test-drive the software before you commit.