Find the Best Zendesk Alternatives for Helpdesks and IT Ticketing Solutions
A complete guide to internal helpdesks and IT ticketing solutions that are strong alternatives to Zendesk.
A complete guide to internal helpdesks and IT ticketing solutions that are strong alternatives to Zendesk.
If you’re currently searching for your next ticketing and IT operations system it’s likely that Zendesk is on your shortlist to consider. Zendesk offers support, sales and customer engagement software through a modern, “consumer-like” ticketing experience.
So what are the best alternatives to consider? 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.
Zendesk is a platform that offers support, sales, and engagement through a seamless customer experience. Zendesk aims to reduce resolution time of support issues, allowing companies to boost ROI thanks to freed up staff and increased customer satisfaction. They offer both service desk and CRM products applied across external-facing customer service operations as well as internal-facing employee support.
Zendesk offers many benefits to its users. The automated ticketing and self-service features allows for a bot to answer and resolve tickets before an agent gets to them. When an agent is needed, omnichannel support allows users to receive a consistent experience no matter how they reach out. For example, when switching channels, like when a chat inquiry requires a phone call, agents don’t lose context or time with repetitive questions to resolve the issue. Additionally, Zendesk delivers a customizable experience through integrations.
Zendesk’s primary users are customer support teams, marketing, sales, and IT teams. If you are using Zendesk already, you know it serves as a help desk but is limited in Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices for your IT teams. This means you will have to turn to third party app integrations for key features like change management. This may have your IT teams searching for an alternative.
For IT teams, Zendesk has a number of limitations that keep it from being the perfect ticket management and operations solution.
Unlike other ticketing solutions, Zendesk was not built around the ITIL guidelines – the industry standard for IT Service Management best practices (ITSM). You won’t find Zendesk anywhere on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for IT Service Management (ITSM) and Forrester summed the tool up overall as: “good for less-complex transactions.” Generally speaking, Zendesk leaves the impression that IT use cases are more of an afterthought as compared to the real focus around external-customer relationships.
The top complaint from Zendesk customer reviews is the user experience and confusing interface. The feature-rich UI is complicated, makes it easy to lose track of issues and increases the overall learning curve of the system, further straining service teams under constant pressure to move fast. It has been described by customers in reviews as the most complicated UI.
Zendesk’s per-agent, module-based pricing structure is expensive and out of reach for many budget-conscious enterprises and smaller businesses/startups. While starting prices are just $5 for the most basic packages, the Professional pricing begins at $89 per user per month and $149 for Enterprise, making it expensive to deploy across many users and teams. Plus, there are hidden costs of additional modules with the best, higher-tier features only available at the most expensive plans. For instance, self-service and knowledge base features are not available at the basic tier.
One risk cited by customers is that it’s all too easy to lose track of tickets. Due to tickets arriving into a group inbox with blurry lines around accountability and a confusing experience of what happens immediately after a response, this injects uncertainty into a process intended to enforce clarity and security of who is handling which ticket and when. Zendesk’s tagging and routing also involve a complicated process, often requiring manual intervention to route tickets to the right agent. Users cite issues with the wrong people being assigned, or even no one answering at all.
If there’s a two-letter acronym that sums up Zendesk’s future focus, it would be CX – not IT. Today, their products are heavily oriented towards external customer support needs. And recent Zendesk investments and acquisitions all focus on the CX side of their business (i.e Base for Salesforce integrations etc) to build their customer support software with little activity on the IT side, suggesting this continues to be the top priority for the company’s future.
If you need a more comprehensive ticket management to solidify your IT service desk with a consumer-like experience, see the alternatives we found. We researched 9 different options for you to choose what works best for your organization.
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 internal teams to deliver better support faster. Teams that use atSpoke get more done right where they work and resolve requests faster within one central command center, backed by ticketing automation, a dynamic knowledge base, and end-to-end machine learning.
atSpoke offers personalized, conversational ticketing built for Natural-language Understanding (NLU) requests. The highly intuitive UI design accelerates agent productivity. atSpoke allows for 5x faster ticket resolution and resolves 40% of tickets automatically through AI-driven workflows. 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. atSpoke moves work forward faster at an affordable price for today’s enterprise and those aspiring to get there! Find full pricing and features listed here.
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, and 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 time frames 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
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. In May 2020, Jira Service Desk acquired the conversational ticketing solution Halp, which allows users to submit requests through Slack.
More Information: www.atlassian.com/software/jira/service-desk
Freshservice is the enterprise-IT service desk software, under the Freshworks portfolio of CRM and customer service software products. The product caters specifically to large IT organizations with complex workflows offering a robust feature set across the full scope of ITSM needs. The density of features however overloads the UI, leaving users confused and often causing more work for IT staff to course correct errors as a result. AI functionality (“Freddy”) is geared towards IT staff only for reporting use cases vs enabling self-service. Automation features (rules-based) have been reported as prone to breaking, with IT staff often needing to “teach” it how to do things which can defeat the time-saving benefits.
More Information: https://freshservice.com/
While you might know Spiceworks as an IT professional industry association, they also offer free software for the IT helpdesk solution 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. The “Free” does mean dealing with in-product ads said to be 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
SolarWindsService Desk (formerly Samanage Service Platform) offers a help desk software solution and service desk to support employee services. An all-in-one portal with a thorough IT feature set available that includes incident management, IT asset management, employee service portal, knowledge base, and problem management. The service desk is suited for companies of any size. However knowledge requests do not create tickets preventing insights into common employee requests and limiting analytics.
More Information: www.solarwinds.com
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.” Help Scout 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.
More Information: https://www.helpscout.com/
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 certain customers publicly investing in more than Aisera alone to meet 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 chat messaging 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.
More Information: www.moveworks.com/
And that completes our whirlwind tour! As you can see, while Zendesk is a well-known and heavily-utilized tool, it isn’t the solution of choice for all IT ticketing and operations teams. Exploring Zendesk alternatives 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.