Ana Khlystova
Sep 07, 2020 | 10 min read

Have you ever tried playing tennis with that devilish tennis ball machine that keeps shooting balls at you while you have to return them really fast? Now, imagine doing all that while balancing on a monocycle. On the edge of a mountain. With your eyes shut.

Working in customer support requires tremendous effort, concentration, and time management skills as customer requests are just coming from everywhere. You log into your company’s Facebook page and see 2-3 new messages there. You go to Twitter, and someone has already complained about your service there. Not only that, but you open your inbox, and it’s stuffed with inquiries from your customers, business partners, parents, cats, and whatnot.

Got that suffocating little feeling already? That overwhelming feeling of not being able to keep up with the pace?

Well, you don’t have to feel that way if you choose the right help desk tool for your support team. These solutions take all these communication channels, unite them under one dashboard and give you everything you need to handle incoming requests effectively. And two most famous help desk tools out there are Zendesk and Freshdesk.

Note! If you’re looking for a seamless all-in-one support tool, HelpCrunch can be a great alternative to both Zendesk and Freshdesk. Just sign up for a free 14-day trial and see its live chat, chatbot, shared inbox, knowledge base, and email automation features in action.

Companies that decided to switch to ticketing systems often face this ‘Zendesk vs Freshdesk’ conundrum. Both tools are extensive in their customer service features, have affordable pricing plans for different budgets, provide a pleasant onboarding experience, and, overall, are quite great in what they do.

So how does one make a choice in a situation like this? There are no two ways about it. Let’s compare Freshdesk to Zendesk in detail.

TL;DR

Freshdesk feels simpler and easier to use while costing less if you choose to buy the full package. Zendesk, on the other hand, wins by integrations and in rare cases by features but feels a bit disconnected. Huge support departments would be better off with Zendesk.

If you need an all-in-one customer service solution, Freshdesk might feel simpler, easier, and more wholesome. Its live chat is also more advanced compared to Zendesk. Besides, Zendesk’s live chat widget looks a bit behind the time.

All in all, comparing Zendesk and Freshdesk at a glance, I’d say corporations with big support departments would probably feel better with Zendesk and its robust ticketing options. Freshdesk is more suitable for smaller businesses.

If you’re looking for something equally powerful yet more affordable, why don’t you try HelpCrunch? It offers the right set of features for support, marketing, and sales.

Freshdesk and Zendesk comparison on-the-spot

Here is a quick table that surpasses the core differences between Freshdesk and Zendesk. Read carefully and choose wisely 🙂 

FRESHDESK ZENDESK
Free trial 21 days 30 days
Free plan available not available
All-in-one subscription costs from €35/month per agent €59/month per agent
Basic subscription costs from €18/month per agent  (email + social media + knowledge base) €25/month per agent (email + social media)
Pricing based on number of agents number of agents
Best suited for small and mid-size businesses, enterprises mid-size businesses, enterprises
Ticketing system shared inbox with features like issue tracking system, macros, etc team inbox with features like canned responses, real-time status view, etc
Live chat clean, modern chat interface, has all the necessary features outdated, but has all the necessary features
Knowledge base clean, modern, has all the necessary features multilingual, has advanced features
Overall impression more intuitive to use can feel a bit complicated and disconnected
Reports extensive, includes gamification very extensive and insightful
Capterra reviews 4.5 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(based on ‎2,568 reviews) 4.4 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐(based on 3,142 reviews)
G2 reviews 4.4 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐(based on ‎2,676 reviews) 4.3 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐(based on 5,073 reviews)

Freshdesk vs. Zendesk: how it all started?

To draw this picture in full, we should start the Freshdesk vs Zendesk comparison with a quick history lesson.

Hence, if customer service tools were an Italian mafia, Zendesk would be its godfather. It’s one of the oldest and most comprehensive help desk tools on the market. Founded in 2007 in a small loft somewhere in Copenhagen, Zendesk is one of the oldest customer service tools out there. The very idea of it arose from the complicated old-school ticketing systems. They worked like a mess back then, and Zendesk’s mission was to fix all that was wrong about them.

Fast-forward 12 years and Zendesk is one of the most extensive help desk tools and is still going strong.

And what about Freshdesk? According to the CEO of Freshdesk, their story was actually inspired by Zendesk itself. It was 2010 and it was a mafia-esque story:

I was reading this article on Hacker News. This article was about Zendesk raising their prices 60 – 300% and how their users were unhappy about it. That comment was like a slap on my face. Here was an opportunity sitting right in front of me.

Girish Mathrubootham, CEO @ Freshdesk

So basically, Zendesk gave rise to its nearest competitor. Isn’t it a nice little plot twist? And also, what a pretext to talk about pricing right away.

Zendesk vs Freshdesk: pricing

Freshdesk and Zendesk both used to offer forever free plans, but as of now, only the former provides some of its tools for free. Sure, they are limited in many ways, but it’s free stuff. Good news for all money-saving fellows out there. Until 2021, Zendesk also had free versions of their products, but the company has discontinued them.

You can go and sign up for their free trials and test any of the paid subscriptions. Zendesk offers a 30-day trial (which is rather a long trial period for SaaS companies), while Freshdesk’s plans are available for a 21-day trial (not too bad as well).

But what if you’re willing to pay for the tools you use? Let’s go through the Zendesk vs. Freshdesk real price comparison 💸

Zendesk pricing

Zendesk-pricing

If you choose the Zendesk Suite, it will cost you at least €59/agent per month for the Team subscription. More advanced packages can cost up to €199/agent. Or, you can pay annually and save 35% on them.

Every Zendesk Suite covers the following channels:

  • Ticketing (helpdesk tool for collection, prioritizing, and solving requests)
  • Voice support (aka call centers)
  • Live chat
  • Social media
  • Knowledge base

Even though these channels are covered by all Zendesk Suite subscriptions, they have quite a different set of other features. For instance, multiple knowledge bases are available starting from the Growth plan, which costs €99/agent/mo. Setting operating hours in your live chat widget will cost you at least €125/agent/mo. And if you want to remove the Zendesk branding, you better have €199/agent/mo.

Alternatively, you can go with one of Zendesk’s Support packages. It offers email and social media ticketing and costs discernibly less. The basic support plan starts from €25/agent per month.

Freshdesk pricing

Freshdesk pricing 1-2

When bought as a ticketing service, Freshdesk can be a little more affordable than Zendesk. Their most basic subscription plan costs only €18 per agent per month if billed monthly, while the most expensive plan is €95 per agent per month. Zendesk Support’s pricing plans start from €25/mo and don’t include knowledge base integration.

However, if we compare Freshdesk and Zendesk’s all-in-one subscription plans, Freshdesk’s omnichannel packages are more affordable. They start from €35/agent/mo if billed monthly.

Freshdesk pricing 2 1-2

Freshdesk vs Zendesk: what do they offer?

I’ll be honest with you. If I had to choose between Zendesk and Freshdesk right this moment, I wouldn’t know which one is better. It is widely thought that Zendesk is the most comprehensive help desk tool out there. They have everything a customer support team needs and more. But the thing about Freshdesk is that it’s every bit as good a tool. The Freshdesk vs Zendesk problem is real. What a clash!

Zendesk features

Zendesk-page
Zendesk homepage

Help desk

As I’ve already mentioned, Zendesk is the godfather of help desk tools as we know them. Their ticketing features are the richest on the market and work wonders. (Though I must say their dashboard may feel overwhelming at first glance.)

The tool converts all phone, chat, email, and social media requests from customers into tickets that are easy to manage, resolve, and collaborate on. Zendesk helps customer support teams gather all issues from disconnected channels and centralize them into a prioritized and actionable list. 

There’s a plethora of features to help bigger teams collaborate more effectively. Customer service teams get a real-in-time view of how each particular issue is being resolved with an easy issue tracking system. For instance, they can see the activity log and the name of the agent handling it.

What also makes Zendesk stand out from the competition are its reports. They provide the most detailed reports on everything – like how quickly service representatives resolve tickets and the development of a ticket’s status from open to close.

Live chat

To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Zendesk’s chat widget because of its limited customization options and outdated design. Still, in terms of functionality, it has most of the necessary features like shortcuts (saved responses), automated triggers, and live chat analytics.

Knowledge base

The Guide tool from Zendesk is very rich in features – from localizations to bot integration to feedback forums. Basically, you can create new articles, and divide them by categories and sections – make it a high-end destination for customers when they have questions or issues.

Zendesk also offers the Answer Bot, which can take your knowledge base game to the next level. The Answer Bot automatically suggests relevant articles to customers, reducing the workload for your support agents. And it’s multilingual, too.

Freshdesk features

Freshdesk_homepage
Freshdesk homepage

Help desk

It is the very core of Freshdesk’s functionality. Its ticketing system works like a charm and is really pleasant to deal with. Basically, every email, chat, or call is converted into tickets, where they can be prioritized, assigned, or grouped. It’s also possible to integrate your Twitter and Facebook pages with Freshdesk and receive customers’ requests from there, too. 

And yeah, all this can be done automatically. You can automate the routine tasks in your help desk such as setting priorities, following up on tickets, and other operational tasks that help you run your support.

Freshdesk likes emphasizing its Team collaboration features – like auto assigning tickets to the right person or real-time insight into who’s already managing a given ticket, etc.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to work with Freshdesk’s ticketing tools.

Live chat

It goes like this. Freshdesk is actually just one tool (or rather a set of help desk tools) from the Freshworks family. So if you want a live chat for your website, you should sign up for another tool called Freshchat (or choose an expensive all-in-one plan). Its pricing varies from €0 to €83 if paid monthly.

Freshchat allows triggered and in-app messages inside its chat widget as well as tracking user events (e.g. last visited pages) and properties (e.g. location, browser language). You can also connect your knowledge base with the chat widget and display an FAQ section there.

Freshchat pricing 1-2

If we compare the looks of Freshdesk and Zendesk chat widgets, I like Freshdesk much better, as it looks simpler and more modern.

Freshdesk vs Zendesk live chat widget comparison

Knowledge base

As knowledge management software, Freshdesk provides a nice and clean help center feature. And it’s multilingual, too (meaning you can provide a translation of your articles in any language you need).

Probably, the nicest thing about their self-service tool is that it includes some search engine optimization features to help you prepare your content for indexing by Google.

Except for that, I didn’t find anything particularly outstanding about their self-service tool. It’s nice and clean, but not as well-developed as the Zendesk Guide.

Freshdesk vs Zendesk: review

Freshdesk scores 4.5 / 5 stars on Capterra and 4.4 / 5 stars on G2 based on 2,676 reviews. Numerous users mention the ease of configuration and usage as major pros of the tool. However, some customers complained that their support team can be almost unreachable at times while the tool is not always as reliable as they wish.

Zendesk is not far behind with its score of 4.4 / 5 stars and 3,152 reviews on Capterra. More than five thousand of G2 reviewers have rated it with 4.3 / 5 stars. The tool has got many loyal customers sticking to it for many years. They often mention that Zendesk is easily scalable because of the number of features and subscription tiers it offers. However, its strongest side can sometimes be its most annoying feature, as users mention the complexity of the tool.

Freshdesk vs. Zendesk: what about customer support?

Zendesk’s own customer support is what I really liked about them. I asked them a question in their live chat and got an instant reply – nice and right to the point.

When you leave a message in Freshdesk’s live chat, you can always see an indication of how fast you can expect their answer. When I was leaving mine, it said ‘Currently replying in under 15 minutes.’ 3 hours later – and I’m still waiting for someone to get back to me.

Zendesk vs. Freshdesk: my honest overall impression

Let’s put it straight. I liked Freshdesk better right after I signed up for their toolset, and they gave me access to the dashboard. And here’s why.

You need time to understand Zendesk. While it’s true that Zendesk offers a great onboarding process and provides you with numerous helpful tips on every step of your journey, I’d still want to get started right away rather than struggling to understand how things work there. 

Also, while working with the Zendesk dashboard, you find that you need to open their tools in separate browser tabs. That is definitely not the best solution for smaller customer support teams.

On the other hand, Freshdesk is shouting from the housetops that their interface is more intuitive and easier to set up and dive right into. And in all honesty, that was my impression, too. I liked how Freshdesk is built and how they onboard newcomers. 

When you sign up for their tool for the first time, you’ll get to see a small welcome video from their CEO and then will be offered a 20-minute demo where their team explains the basics of Freshdesk. And this video is more than enough to get you started.

All in all, I’ve settled the Zendesk vs Freshdesk dispute in favor of the latter. Freshdesk is actually cheaper, more intuitive, and more unified. However, my understanding is those bigger businesses like Zendesk exactly because of its complexity and lack of coordination.

What should you go with: Freshdesk or Zendesk?

Honestly, it’s your individual business needs that can help you make the right choice, whether it’s Zendesk or Freshdesk. If you ask me, I’d go with Freshdesk. It’s just that I liked their dashboard the minute I logged into it. And I can’t dismiss this feeling. It’s also cheaper making it a more obvious choice for smaller companies.

Zendesk can be an excellent choice for bigger (read: huge) companies with all its tools, departments, features, and stuff.

Zendesk’s pros: Freshdesk’s pros:
More integrations Nicer overall interface
More advanced bots Cheaper when bought in a package
More features to a help center tool Live chat is cleaner and more advanced
Cheaper when bought in package (for basic packages)  Reporting features with a grain of gamification
Way better customer support of their own

However, I’d recommend looking into more unified alternatives – like HelpCrunch. With HelpCrunch, you get a modern fully customizable live chat backed by help desk features like assigning tags and statutes, adding private notes for your colleagues, re-assigning customers’ requests from one agent to another, etc.

Test any of HelpCrunch pricing plans for free for 14 days and see our tools in action right away.

Read Also

Tools

Advantages and Disadvantages of Chatbots for Customer Service

Nov 16, 2022 6 min read

Are you wondering if a customer service chatbot is worth your time and money? Before making a decision, you might want to go through our quick yet informative list of the pros and cons of chatbots. Read and build your strategy wisely 😇

Tetiana Shataieva
Tools

7 Zendesk Alternatives to Give Your Support a Boost

Sep 26, 2022 13 min read

Zendesk is one of the most widely known help desk tools out there. But it has its flaws, too. Check these 7 Zendesk alternatives that will help you improve your customer support, sales, and marketing.

Ana Khlystova

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.