Find the Best Freshservice Alternatives for Helpdesks and IT Ticketing Solutions
A complete guide to employee help desk and IT ticketing solutions that are strong alternatives to Jira Service Desk.
A complete guide to employee help desk and IT ticketing solutions that are strong alternatives to Jira Service Desk.
If you’re currently searching for your next ticketing and IT operations system, it’s likely that Freshservice, an IT Service Management help desk ticketing software from Freshworks, is on your shortlist to consider.
In addition to Freshservice, what are some of the alternatives that you should be considering? This guide will walk you through ticketing solutions specifically catered to IT that help everyone in the company be more productive. No matter if you’re a company of 5 agents or 5000+, this guide will help you quickly get a clear picture of your best ticketing options to meet your needs going forward.
Let’s start out by answering: why do companies choose Freshservice?
Freshservice is an IT service desk software under the Freshworks portfolio of CRM and customer service products. It caters to IT teams within large organizations and also supports other functionality such as IT project management, asset management, knowledge base, and more.
Freshservice can feel overwhelming since there are so many features, options and workflows geared towards large IT teams with extensive resources. So whether you’re an enterprise, SMB or startup, you may be wondering what alternatives to Freshservice are out there to solidify your IT service desk.
Below are some key features that initially attract many customers to Freshservice.
Everything you need for IT support
Freshservice offers everything you need for IT support in a user-friendly way. In addition to being a modern IT service desk, you can also leverage Freshservice for ITSM, IT Project Management, Asset Management, Reporting, Incident/SLA/Change Management and more. It even has a knowledge base that is fully searchable.
IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a set of practices that focus on aligning IT services with business needs, is the most widely accepted enterprise approach to IT Service Management (ITSM). Freshservice is ITIL-certified, but it can be further customized for your organization’s needs with automations.
Freshservice empowers agents to be more proactive with Freddy AI. Freddy leverages Natural Language Processing (NLP) to predict field values for incoming tickets, confirm which tickets require responses, and search through your history to easily create reports.
Freshservice offers plug-ins for over 30 SaaS services like Zapier, Mulesoft, and Microsoft Flow which connect with hundreds of additional apps like Slack, Google Calendar, Salesforce, and Microsoft Office 365. If the native plug-ins do not solve your needs, your organization can also create custom plug-ins, integrations and apps using a powerful REST API.
Freshservice makes IT service desk management fun with a game-centered approach to ticket solving and deeply interactive reports that provide valuable insights.Their best-in-class gamification includes quests, leaderboards, and trophies to ensure that IT teams are incentivized to take on challenges and be rewarded when they help resolve issues.
Freshservice has a number of limitations that keep it from being the perfect ticketing and operations solution. Below are the top 5 biggest drawbacks.
Most IT teams will not need the full functionality that Freshservice offers. The extra features can feel like overkill to IT teams and overwhelming to end users. This can result in IT teams spending more time training in order to ensure processes are completed correctly and successfully.
Freshservice has a large price tag, due to its per-agent tiered pricing model and monthly upcharge for asset management features. Although it has a lot of features, the cost may not be worth it if you don’t need to leverage all of the functionality. The cost can also easily rack up as your team grows. For organizations that are cost-sensitive, Freshservice may not provide the best value.
While Freshservice offers Freddy AI to support agents with some processes like predicting tickets, sending auto-replies, and creating reports, it does not leverage AI to the fullest capabilities, and there are additional opportunities for AI to streamline even more processes. Most notably, Freddy AI does not significantly benefit end users.
While Freshservice offers a drag-and-drop Workflow Automator to auto-escalate or auto-assign tickets and the ability to set up rules-based automated approvals for processes like travel, the automations require manual maintenance and regular updates in order to ensure the processes are up-to-date.
In addition to its price tag and feature list, Freshservice is also focused on large enterprises from a UI perspective. There is a density of options and workflows, with no option for small teams to create a more tailored UI for their targeted needs.
Zendesk Freshservice issues experienced by mid-market and enterprise companies: For enterprise and mid-market companies, Freshservice poses some significant challenges that fall into two main categories:
Within larger organizations, AI is essential for streamlining processes and ensuring efficiencies. Unfortunately, Freshservice’s Freddy AI does not address all of the surface areas that have potential to benefit from AI. Specifically, the knowledge base does not currently auto populate based on past answers, nor does it automatically create the correct routing systems. Freshservice still requires a significant amount of manual work.
Freshservice’s automation features have been reported as prone to breaking, with IT staff often required to “teach” it how to do things which can defeat the time-saving benefits. IT teams at large enterprises may not be able to keep up with all of the evolving processes in a timely manner. This could result in automations becoming stale and not as updated as they could and should be.
So where should enterprise and mid-market companies turn for a more robust ticketing alternative? Let’s start out by examining atSpoke.
atSpoke is a modern workplace operations platform built to ITIL standards that helps businesses scale by giving every employee what they need to be their most productive. The product is purpose built to work with a company’s existing SaaS toolset, allowing IT teams (as well as HR and Operations) to get more done fluidly right where they work and resolve requests faster within one central command center, backed by intuitive ticketing, a dynamic knowledge base, and end-to-end machine learning. atSpoke allows for 5x faster ticket resolution and resolves 40% of tickets automatically through AI-driven workflows and conversational interfaces. IT agents are freed up while employees get convenient and immediate self-help in the tools they already use with conversational omnichannel experiences that allow organizations to unlock their workforce’s productivity and move work forward faster.
atSpoke outpaces other ticketing systems thanks to:
It’s never been easier for employees to make requests, and it’s never been easier for agents to move quickly through tickets –– giving everyone more time to focus on the highest value work. Thanks to atSpoke’s intuitive, modern, and connected platform, employees have convenient access to the knowledge and services they need –– when they need it. Agents also have a centralized “command center” that empowers them to resolve tickets faster with context from disparate systems (i.e., user profiles, user responses, and assets), access points to trigger events in integrated tools (i.e., SSO), and automated AI-powered answers. Tickets are also synced in real time across email, chat, and web, reducing the need for context switching.
How intuitive is the UI? No training is required for support teams in IT or support teams that are less familiar with traditional ticketing processes like HR, Marketing, Sales Ops, Design and Office Management.
Your organization will move faster when you leverage the power of AI in your ticketing system or help desk. With atSpoke, AI provides automated answers in a personalized way and uses AI to complete repetitive and mundane agent tasks. When an employee reaches out with a question, atSpoke uses natural language understanding (NLU) to auto-answer with a response based on that person’s profile for any routine question already addressed in the Knowledge Base. This deflects routine questions via AI to preserve time and resources without sacrificing a relevant, personalized touch. atSpoke then automatically updates Knowledge Base content as questions are answered, applying machine learning to answers for next time. For complex questions that do require human intervention, AI can help escalate, route and tag the best available expert at that moment, further prioritizing the most efficient service and scaling support across the business.
Your organization can get up and running with atSpoke in days, instead of months. The familiar, intuitive and polished interface reduces the need to invest technical resources in complex configurations, removes the need for instructions or training, and eliminates barriers to employee adoption. Without a learning curve, your entire organization will be able to jump in and experience the benefits immediately. Even machine learning requires zero out-of-the-box setup, and it gets smarter with every agent conversation. stSpoke’s Slack integration is seamless and leverages the full extent of the features you’re already used to: forms, buttons, threads, notifications, and actions. The robust capabilities do not need to be unlocked by IT staff dedicated to configuring the instance;atSpoke is designed for usability and engineered for speed.
More information: www.atspoke.com
ServiceNow offers service management software under the NOW platform targeting enterprise users across IT, HR, customer and field service. Their product focuses on scaling service and ticketing operations quickly by leveraging AI capabilities to “bridge the gap between traditional IT and modern business needs” through ITSM, business management, asset management, DevOps, security/compliance. While offering a robust solution, the feature-laden product may be under-utilized by IT teams for the heavy price tag, with long integration timeframes to implement at scale posing barriers to rapid deployment. A less-than-intuitive UX can also mean a steeper learning curve and ramp up time across teams.
More Information: www.servicenow.com
Zendesk is a customer service/support platform aiming to improve omnichannel customer experience by reducing resolution time of support issues. Primary users are customer service agents, marketing and sales teams as well as IT responsible for fielding numerous requests for support. In addition to the service desk tool, support offerings are divided into three levels: basic Support, Support Suite or Custom-Built. Some of the features available at the higher tiers include tracking and prioritizing requests, knowledge base for “smart” self-service, and live chat/messaging/voice to unify omnichannel operations. The Sales Suite offers the “Sunshine” CRM, analytics and reporting and community forums for external-facing customer operations. Founded in 2007 in Copenhagen, Zendesk has grown into a Silicon Valley success story now publicly-traded and with a customer base of over 150K worldwide.
More Information: www.zendesk.com
Jira Service Desk is an ITSM help desk ticketing software from Atlassian geared specifically for enterprise IT teams (many of whom already use sister product Jira) and officially ITIL-certified. While highly capable and extremely configurable, the complex UI and manual procedures can be intimidating and frustrating to end users, posing a barrier to usage and high training needs. The cumbersome nature of the tool often requires full-time staff to manage the instance. The ticketing process is still relatively manual, with Atlassian only recently moving to shore up conversational ticketing and AI capabilities through acquisitions.
More Information: atlassian.com/software/jira/service-desk
While you might know Spiceworks as an IT professional industry association, they also offer free software for the IT helpdesk integrated with sister product Inventory for asset management and monitoring infrastructure in the Connectivity Dashboard. The helpdesk product focuses on ticket and task management with self-service, Active Directory integration, configurable roles and team collaboration options all available free with no admin or ticket number limit. But be warned that “free”means dealing with in-product ads that are invasive to the UX, and more sophisticated enterprise users are cautioned to fully vet that all needs are met with this solution –– because migrating off of Spiceworks later basically requires going back to square one.
More Information: www.spiceworks.com
BMC Helix (formerly BMC Remedy) is an ITSM solution for enterprise companies. Aligned with ITIL best practices out of the box, the product offers service management with AI and machine learning to deliver intuitive, consumer-like experiences across channels through integrated Digital Helix workspace for conversational support across Slack, chat, SMS and Skype. The product focuses on predictive service to create and resolve incidents faster through intelligent, context-aware, and proactive incident matching.They also offer lifecycle management features on the Knowledge Base to keep content fresh. However, redundant and mandatory multi-step fields and “click happy” requirements to file and close tickets are known to frustrate users looking for a faster way to progress through tasks with less friction at each step.
More Information: www.bmc.com/it-solutions/remedy-itsm.html
Issues that SMBs and startups experience with Freshservice
Small-medium size businesses and startups run up against a different set of challenges with Freshservice in two key areas:
Too many features for small organizations
Most IT teams will not need the full functionality that Freshservice offers. The extra features can feel like overkill to IT teams and overwhelming to end users. Rather than cramming in features that go unused, teams should opt for the features they need most to ensure an intuitive and streamlined experience.
Too expensive for cost-sensitive teams
Freshservice has a large price tag due to its per-agent tiered pricing model and monthly upcharge for asset management features. Small teams will not find the cost worth it if they don’t need to use all of the features that are available. The cost can also easily rack up as your team grows. For organizations that are cost-sensitive, Freshservice may not provide the best value.
So what solutions are out there for startups? In addition to the above solutions like atSpoke that cater to startup and enterprise alike in feature and pricing, see below for four additional options to consider.
Freshdesk is a service desk solution under the Freshworks family of products, aimed at smaller companies with external-facing customer service oriented use cases vs its enterprise IT sister product Freshservice (covered above). Freshdesk is focused on omnichannel, bot-based self-service for customers to streamline and automate repetitive inquiries with unique features like a “thank you detector” to help agents quickly skip past lower-priority inbound emails. However the lack of change, asset, and project management features could be a dealbreaker for certain IT teams.
More Information: https://freshdesk.com
Zoho Desk offers an IT help desk and service solution catered to small business teams. With a relatively thorough IT feature set available at a startup-friendly price point that includes self service, automation, and a “Zia” AI assistant to proactively triages support tickets, analyze customer sentiments, and spot anomalies in ticket traffic along with VoIP the system can meet some needs for smaller teams. However the lack of asset, change, and problem management features even in the “enterprise” tier product may rule it out for IT teams intent on building their system around ITIL practices.
More Information: https://www.zoho.com/desk/
HelpScout provides support software solutions in the Zendesk model aimed at startups supporting external customer inquiries. Beyond its lack of alignment to ITIL best practices, you won’t hear them use the term “help desk ticketing system” or even ticketing at all except when forced to draw comparisons to explain what their offering actually is. Help Scout instead deliberately positions themselves as “not ticketing” in favor of viewing all interactions as “conversations” that should be personalized and handled collaboratively. The product centers around shared inboxes to deliver personalized experiences informed by user profiles for context. Automation through if/then logic and collaboration features for IT teams include private notes, saved replies, collision detection and tagging to categorize items for automation and reporting. Overall, for startup IT managers that actually need a ticketing solution at the end of the day, this “non-ticketing” outlook may go against the grain a bit too much to get the job done effectively.
More Information: https://www.helpscout.com/
Kayako offers customer service and help desk software aimed at startups. SImilar to Help Scout, their concept centers on shared inboxes and conversations vs the IT ticketing paradigm to enable unified customer service. They do embrace the term “ticketing” but emphasize personalization by consolidating all agent-customer conversations across live chat, email and social with context to immediately respond. Like Help Scout and Zendesk, this is another non-ITIL customer service solution retrofit to IT use cases vs designed for them from the ground up. Some IT teams may find this only goes so far to meet their day to day needs.
More Information: https://www.kayako.com/
Because IT traditional ticketing systems lack native AI capabilities and natural language processing, startups like Aisera and Moveworks have created solutions to layer on top of Freshservice and other ticketing systems to expedite workflows. These tools automate certain repetitive software-based tasks and are purchased in addition to a traditional ticketing system.
Aisera is an AI-driven service solution for IT, HR, customer service, sales, facilities, and operations teams. Heavily focused on AI, Aisera labels their offering “AISM” or AI Service Management bringing NLP/NLU and conversational RPA to detect intent and automate support through AI consumer-like experiences that plug directly into existing company systems of record and offer predictive service. However, IT teams may be cautioned by reports that the product feature is still playing catch-up to close the gaps in what is offered out of the box, and customers have publicly stated the need to invest in more than Aisera alone for their ticketing needs.
More Information: https://aisera.com/
Moveworks offers AI-driven IT service solutions for both startups and large enterprises. Through AI software pre-trained on 75M IT tickets to refine its ML/NLU capabilities, the Moveworks bot aims to completely automate IT service auto-resolving issues without human intervention. Features include understanding conversational requests with no scripting/training required up front, automated routing and predictive service capabilities to proactively contact a user when locked out of an account. However the standard eight-week deployment timeframe may rule Moveworks out for fast-moving startups that can’t wait this long, in addition to enterprise-grade pricing available only on request. And with certain flagship customers publicly providing testimonials for competitive solutions (such as Aisera), some companies may find that Moveworks does not hold as an end-to-end solution for all IT service needs.
More Information: www.moveworks.com/
And that completes our whirlwind tour! As you can see, while Freshservice is a well-known and heavily-utilized tool, it isn’t the solution of choice for all IT ticketing and operations teams. Exploring options that leverage deeper best practices specifically designed for IT teams can unlock net new levels of productivity for agents, and all the people they support.