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Battle of the Helpdesks: Freshdesk vs. Zendesk

Published at Oct 02, 2017.

“Zendesk vs. Freshdesk: who would win?” It’s a question many ChannelReply customers ask when trying to decide which helpdesk would be best for managing eBay and Amazon messages.

Since we work closely with both businesses, we are officially neutral. But, since people often ask, here are our opinions about which helpdesk is better for what.

1. Freshdesk vs. Zendesk Pricing

Zendesk vs Freshdesk Pricing

This area has a clear winner: Freshdesk. And that’s not just because they offer totally free service desk software in the form of their Sprout plan.

Freshdesk plans are all-inclusive. You can clearly see what you will get with each one, and excluding optional third-party apps, you don’t have to worry about add-ons. All Freshdesk features are included in their highest-level plan—no asterisks.

Zendesk plans are often pricier. Many features (such as advanced live chat and self-service functionalities) also require purchasing additional paid services. The added costs are often worth it, but when budget comes first, go Freshdesk.

2. Zendesk vs. Freshdesk Features

Let’s even out the playing field from this point forward. We’ll focus on Zendesk Team and Freshdesk Blossom. Both of these plans cost $19 per month per agent, so we can see how the two stack up when matched pound for pound.

Ticket Organization

In my opinion, this is a place where Zendesk really shines. Freshdesk does offer very powerful ticket filtering using views, letting you see any specific set of tickets you want. But Zendesk views provide a much more visual and informative interface.

With Freshdesk, you select a view from a dropdown menu and then see your messages filtered accordingly. A great advantage of their system is that you can very easily combine views to see a specific subset of messages.

Freshdesk Ticket Organization

But Zendesk arranges all your views on the side of the screen and lets you select them with one click instead of two. They also all have counters showing how many messages are in each one. This is extremely helpful for monitoring message volume.

Zendesk Ticket Organization

There are definitely points for both sides, but for me, Zendesk’s ticket counters win.

Ticket Management

Both Zendesk and Freshdesk offer predefined replies / canned responses / macros, allowing you to save answers to common questions and reuse them at will.

Freshdesk Macro Creation

They also both include placeholders. Placeholders can automatically fill in just about any piece of information collected from a customer when they contact you. For example, the most common use of placeholders is to automatically enter the customer’s name in each canned response so you don’t have to type it in every time.

Zendesk Macro Creation

Finally, both offer collision detection features. These can help prevent your agents from writing different replies to the same tickets, saving your company money and your customers a lot of confusion.

Agent collision detection is one case where Zendesk makes all their features available on a lower plan while Freshdesk reserves some for later. Zendesk’s collision detection features on Team are therefore a bit more advanced than Freshdesk’s on Blossom.

This is a very tight race. Zendesk wins by a nose in ticket management.

Multichannel Message Management

You can integrate Zendesk and Freshdesk with eBay and Amazon, of course. But what about other channels?

  • Both Zendesk and Freshdesk can integrate with email, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Basic telephony integration comes included with Freshdesk, and can be added to Zendesk for free with the Zendesk Talk Lite plan.
  • Both can integrate with tons of other services through the use of apps, including free integrations for Shopify and MailChimp.

For the most part, this is a tie—but see the next section.

Apps

Zendesk App Store, October 2017

The vanilla versions of both Zendesk and Freshdesk are pretty slick, but what if you want the additional features of third-party apps beyond those mentioned above?

Both platforms will give you options for plenty of integrations. But Zendesk is the absolute king of apps. While Freshdesk provides 190+ apps, Zendesk has over 600. Whatever you want to integrate, there’s a good chance it’s possible with Zendesk—or will be soon.

Self-Service

Both platforms offer tools for reducing ticket volumes by letting customers support themselves. We’re going to look specifically at what you get with Zendesk Team and Freshdesk Blossom without paying for anything extra.

Freshdesk’s Knowledge Base

Freshdesk Knowledge Base Article Writing Interface

All Freshdesk plans include a knowledge base, and most of the features are available on Blossom. These include:

  • A public knowledge base where your customers can find answers to common questions.
  • A private knowledge base where you can store training materials for your agents and similar content out of view of your customers.
  • Automatic sitemap generation so your help articles are more likely to appear in search engine results.
  • Email to Knowledge Base,” a feature that lets you automatically transform replies to customer messages into drafts of new help articles.
  • An embeddable help widget that customers can use to search your knowledge base or contact you.
  • Dependent fields for your contact form; these allow you to gather more information about each problem.

Zendesk Guide Lite

With Zendesk Team, you automatically get access to Zendesk Guide Lite. Its features are:

  • A public knowledge base.
  • Google Analytics integration.
  • A contact form.

That’s about it with Lite.

Who Wins on Self-Service?

This is another point for Freshdesk when you’re paying the same amount for Zendesk Team or Freshdesk Blossom. However, while you would have to pay more for Zendesk Guide Professional, it’s worth noting that it’s much more powerful even than all the good stuff Freshdesk includes for free.

Reporting

Zendesk Reporting

Zendesk Reporting Overview Dashboard

Zendesk Team comes with robust reporting features, including:

  • Multiple reporting dashboards, including an overview and more detailed reporting on specific areas of performance.
  • Benchmark comparisons against other Zendesk users in your industry, allowing you to see if your support team is performing above or below average.
  • Basic info on the performance of your Zendesk Guide Lite help center.

Freshdesk Reporting

Freshdesk Blossom offers:

Who Wins on Reporting?

Freshdesk wins the point for reporting. Zendesk Benchmark is a really cool feature, but you need to upgrade to Zendesk Professional to get time tracking similar to Freshdesk Blossom’s, and Freshdesk’s in-depth reporting can be very useful.

Other

Freshdesk Arcade Admin

We have to give Freshdesk another point: we haven’t seen any other helpdesk incorporate game mechanics. They offer cool features like high scores and achievements that make it a lot more fun to compete for Employee of the Month. Used right, these can be great morale boosters.

3. Customer Service Availability

Just because you’re using the software to provide customer service doesn’t mean you’ll never need help yourself.

Zendesk offers Team subscribers customer service via email eight hours a day, five days a week. Freshdesk provides 24/5 phone support and 24/7 email support on all plans.

If support availability and the option to call support are important to you, then this point goes to Freshdesk.

What Wins: Zendesk Team or Freshdesk Blossom?

Business Decision

Here’s a quick recap of which helpdesk won which points:

  • Ticket organization: Zendesk
  • Ticket management: Zendesk
  • Multichannel message management: Tie
  • Apps: Zendesk
  • Self-service: Freshdesk
  • Reporting: Freshdesk
  • Other: Freshdesk
  • Customer service availability: Freshdesk

All told, things are pretty even! Freshdesk Blossom won more categories and often by a wider margin. However, Zendesk Team won in what we consider the most crucial areas: ticket organization and management.

This is extremely subjective and based on opinions held only by some of our team. The contest of Zendesk vs. Freshdesk is best decided by which works better for your customer service department. And it’s easy to find out: both offer 30-day free trials. Try out both Zendesk and Freshdesk and discover which one best fits your company!


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