Zendesk Alternatives – 10 Best CRMs for Small Businesses

zendesk-alternatives

When searching for customer support software for your business, Zendesk is bound to come up frequently.

With over a decade-long existence in the market, Zendesk has many strengths on its side—stability, great support, and robust features.

Zendesk offers a comprehensive set of tools such as a help center, workflows & automation, collaboration tools, live chat, knowledge base, multichannel support, and call center management. 

This plethora of features makes Zendesk a great product for most organizations, but it also adds to the software’s complexity, making it a poor choice for businesses that may never need all of its features.

Zendesk’s expensive pricing is another major drawback.

The basic plan starts at $49 per agent (billed annually), which is at least 50% higher than comparative plans in some similar CRM tools.

Considering these limitations, it makes sense to find Zendesk alternatives that align with your needs and budget.

Table of Contents

How We Selected These Alternatives to Zendesk

We compiled our list of Zendesk alternatives by looking at:

  • Price: What’s the highest and lowest price options? Do they offer a free trial or free forever plans?
  • Features: Do they provide ticketing management, automated routing, multichannel customer support, and more?
  • G2 customer ratings: Are their ratings over 7.0 for ease of use, quality of support, and ease of setup?
  • The product’s best-fit users: Will this product suit small businesses, medium-sized businesses, enterprise, or SaaS brands?

With our selection criteria out of the way, here are the top 10 Zendesk alternatives we’ll discuss:

  1. EngageBay
  2. Help Scout
  3. Freshdesk
  4. Zoho Desk
  5. HubSpot Service Hub
  6. Intercom
  7. Salesforce Service Cloud
  8. GrooveHQ
  9. Front 
  10. Kustomer

Let’s dive in.

via GIPHY

Top 10 Zendesk Alternatives

We’re not ranking these CRM tools in the following order, but we’re starting with EngageBay because it is the most affordable Zendesk alternative for small business owners.

#1. EngageBay: Free Zendesk Alternative For Small Businesses

EngageBay is one of the best Zendesk alternatives that helps SMBs to automate their marketing, streamline their sales processes, and deliver excellent customer support.

While EngageBay’s Marketing Bay is popular, its products that are comparable to Zendesk are the CRM & Sales Bay and the Service Bay. You can get a combination of all these bays in the All-in-One Suite

Customer Service -- Canned Responses
Canned responses for customer support in EngageBay

Notable Features

Some of EngageBay’s notable features include:

  • Email, social media, and live chat support
  • Call scripts, recording, and reports
  • Automation and workflows
  • Customer 360 Degree View
  • Ticketing Management
  • Autoresponders

EngageBay Pricing

EngageBay offers one of the most budget-friendly pricing in the market. Users can choose between monthly billing, yearly (10% off), or biennial (20% off).

Here’s what EngageBay costs:

    • Free plan: $0 for over 20 features
    • All-in-One Suite: $14.99 for Basic, $49.99 for Growth, and $99.99/month for Pro, all billed monthly per user. 
    • Sales Bay: $12.99 for Basic, $29.99 for Growth, and $59.99 for Pro, all billed monthly per user. 
    • Service Bay: Free Help Desk & Live Chat

Pros

EngageBay review on G2
A customer review on G2
  • EngageBay offers a free plan and significantly lower pricing than Zendesk. For instance, pricing for the All-in-One Suite starts from $14.99, while Zendesk Suite’s pricing starts at $49 and it’s billed annually.
  • EngageBay has excellent features for SMBs and growing businesses like email sequences, social suite, multi-currency support, timezone-based delivery, etc.
  • You can get sales and customer service, and marketing features on one integrated platform. 
  • According to customer reviews, EngageBay offers excellent customer support.  

Cons

EngageBay negative review on G2

  • A common drawback of EngageBay is thin documentation. With this delay, users may have difficulties using features to their fullest potential. This also means that users often don’t know of new feature releases. 
  • There’s limited resending functionality. For instance, the email address bar in the conversational mailbox doesn’t autofill a contact’s address when you’re replying to a message.

Who’s EngageBay Ideal For?

Startups and SMBs that need affordable CRM and customer service capabilities.

EngageBay G2 Rating

  • Ease of Use: 9.2/10 stars
  • Quality of Support: 9.5/10 stars
  • Ease of Setup: 9.1/10 stars

Learn More About EngageBay Free CRM Software

 

#2. Help Scout: Cheap Zendesk Alternative Starting at $25

Help Scout is a help desk software that provides a complete customer support platform for businesses.

It allows you to manage your customer conversations, collect satisfaction ratings from customers, and set up workflows for excellent customer support.

Helpscout dashboard

Notable Features

  • Shared inboxes for email support
  • Live chat software
  • Customer data management
  • Workflows 
  • Knowledge base software
  • Reporting and analytics

Help Scout Pricing

  • Standard: starts at $25 per user per month, billed monthly
  • Plus: $40 per user per month billed monthly
  • Company: $60 per user per month, billed annually.

Pros

HelpScout-customer-review
HelpScout customer review
  • Unlike Zendesk, Help Scout is user-friendly and easy to set up.
  • Help Scout offers critical support features like Saved Replies, Merge Threads, Conversation Tagging & Assignment, and Real-time Collision Detection.
  • You can easily integrate over 80 software for eCommerce, Analytics, Marketing, and more. 

Cons

HelpScout customer review
HelpScout customer review
  • According to users, Help Scout has poor spam filters that prevent spam emails from being automatically sent to the right folder. 
  • It’s not suitable for companies looking for integrated software that supports customer service and sales. 

Who’s Help Scout Ideal For?

Growing teams looking for a customer support alternative with similar Zendesk functionalities.

Help Scout G2 Rating

  • Ease of Use: 9.2/10 stars
  • Quality of Support: 9.0/10 stars
  • Ease of Setup: 9.2/10 stars

#3. Freshdesk: Zendesk Alternative for Growing and Large Teams

Freshdesk allows you to automate agent workflows, prioritize inquiries based on severity, and reach customers in virtually every channel, such as email, phone, social media, live chat, and other instant messaging apps. 

Freshdesk’s primary products include a Support Desk and an Omnichannel Suite that combines Freshdesk Support Desk, FreshChat, and Freshdesk Contact Center.

Freshdesk helpdesk ticketing software

Notable Features

  • Ticket routing system
  • Omnichannel analytics
  • Advanced call management 
  • Multilingual knowledge base
  • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) survey & reports
  • Multichannel support (Email, Phone, WhatsApp, Website, Social Media, and Chat)
  • Agent collision detection (shows when multiple agents are viewing or replying to a single inquiry)

Freshdesk Pricing

  • Freshdesk Support Desk: Offers a free plan (Sprout) that allows for up to 10 agents. Paid plans start from $18/per agent per month, $59/per agent per month, and $95/per agent per month, all billed monthly. 
  • Omnichannel Suite: $35/per agent per month for Growth, $71/per agent per month for Pro, and $119/per agent per month for Enterprise.

Pros

freshdesk review
Freshdesk customer review
  • One advantage of Freshdesk is the availability of detailed documentation to ensure ease of product use.  
  • Freshdesk provides some of the most comprehensive features to manage customer support across every ‌channel.
  • Freshdesk provides regular feature updates. This ensures users have access to the latest features in the industry.

Cons

Freshdesk customer review
Freshdesk customer review
  • According to reviews, Freshdesk has limited analytics capabilities compared to Zendesk.
  • It lacks adequate dashboard customization options.

Who’s Freshdesk Ideal For?

Mid-sized to large organizations and teams.

Freshdesk G2 Rating

  • Ease of Use: 8.8/10 stars
  • Quality of Support: 8.8/10 stars
  • Ease of Setup: 8.5/10 stars

#4. Zoho Desk – Affordable and Feature-rich Alternative to Zendesk

If you’re looking for an affordable, feature-rich alternative to Zendesk, Zoho Desk ticks the right boxes. For a fraction of Zendesk’s pricing, you’ll get comparable features like call logging, assignment management, alerts & escalation, and automation. 

What’s more? Zoho Desk offers a free plan that allows you to start with limited features for as long as you wish.

zoho dashboard

Notable Features

  • Sentiment analysis
  • Automated routing
  • Call center management
  • Workflow and automation management 
  • Service level agreement (SLA) management
  • Multichannel support (phone, email, live chat, and social media)
  • Self-service system (knowledge base, multi-brand help center, and community management)

Zoho Desk Pricing

  • Free plan: Allows for up to 3 agents
  • Standard: $18/per agent/per month, billed monthly
  • Professional:  $30/per agent/per month, billed monthly
  • Enterprise:  $45/per agent/per month, billed monthly

Pros

Zoho Desk Customer Reviews
Zoho Desk customer review
  • Zoho Desk offers a free plan and more affordable pricing that’s nearly 3x less than the cost of Zendesk’s Suite’s lowest plan.
  • You’ll find comprehensive features to manage end-to-end customer support activities.
  • Desk has advanced analytics & reporting capabilities that allow you to generate custom reports easily, measure specific aspects of your customer support processes, and configure data-sharing rules. 

Cons

Zoho Desk Customer Reviews
Zoho Desk customer review
  • Zoho Desk has limited customization options in its customer surveys and ticket features, according to many customer feedback.
  • It takes a bit of a learning curve to understand how to find some features within the software. 

Who’s Zoho Desk Ideal For?

Businesses that handle a large volume of frequent customer interactions.

Zoho Desk G2 Rating

  • Ease of Use: 8.5/10 stars
  • Quality of Support: 8.2/10 stars
  • Ease of Setup: 8.2/10 stars

Zoho Alternatives: CRM Solutions You Can’t Avoid

#5. HubSpot Service Hub: Expensive But Powerful Zendesk Alternative

HubSpot Service Hub is a Zendesk alternative that allows you to connect all customer service data, handle requests from multiple channels, and get a unified view of each customer interaction.

If you want to go beyond the help desk functionality to sales-related tools similar to Zendesk Sell, you can use HubSpot’s Sales Hub along with the Service Hub.

HubSpot service hub dashboard

Notable Features

  • Knowledge base & playbooks
  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling
  • Help desk automation
  • Customer feedback surveys 
  • Mobile inboxes 
  • Conversation routing
  • Inbound calling system (For managing & tracking inbound calls made to a mobile device).

HubSpot Service Hub Pricing 

  • Free Service tools: $0 for tools such as email scheduling, ticketing, live chat, shared inboxes, and basic bots.
  • Service Hub: Starter plan begins at $50 for 2 users monthly and the Professional plan is $500 for 5 users per month, both billed monthly. The Enterprise plan starts at $1200 for 10 users per month, billed annually. 

Pros

HubSpot customer review
HubSpot customer review
  • HubSpot Service Hub offers an impressive list of features ranging from email tracking to advanced functionalities like sandboxes, forecasting, ticket pipelines, and conversation intelligence (AI).
  • HubSpot Service Hub gets you a 360-degree customer view of the entire customer journey.
  • Users have access to the latest features in the market thanks to HubSpot’s regular feature updates.   

Cons

HubSpot customer review
HubSpot customer review
  • There are limited customization options in the feedback surveys and knowledge base. This increases the risk of shipping generic designs rather than unique creations that align with the needs of each brand.
  • Poor collaboration features in the ticketing interface increase the chances of duplicate responses when multiple agents simultaneously work on the same ticket
  • The expensive pricing and the high one-off implementation cost make HubSpot Service Hub a poor choice for SMBs on a limited budget

Who’s HubSpot Service Hub Ideal for?

Mid-sized to larger teams with a substantial budget for customer support.

HubSpot Service Hub G2 Rating

  • Ease of Use: 8.6/10 stars
  • Quality of Support: 8.9/10 stars
  • Ease of Setup: 8.2/10 stars

What is HubSpot? Definition, Features, Pricing, Who it’s Best for

#6. Intercom: Costly Zendesk Alternative with Great Functionalities

Intercom is another Zendesk alternative that offers competitive features. 

This help desk software boasts of an all-in-one messenger that delivers 68% faster response time, self-service automation, and a multichannel functionality that helps you reach your customers wherever they are. 

Intercom also provides features for sales and marketing activities, which are two areas not fully developed on Zendesk.

Sales tools - Intercom

Notable Features

  • Automatic triaging
  • Conversational bots 
  • Customer data platform
  • Built-in and custom reporting
  • Team performance monitoring
  • Targeted messaging and product tours
  • Omnichannel inbox for app, website, phone, email, and social media support.

Intercom Pricing

  • Starter for Small Businesses: Starts at $74 per month, billed annually.
  • Pricing information for Intercom Support, Intercom Engage, and Intercom Convert is available on request. 

Pros

Intercom customer review
Intercom customer review
  • Intercom has advanced custom filtering functionality that allows for extensive user segmentation.
  • Their advanced workflows feature allows you to set up automated workflows for handling complex issues.
  • Intercom integrates with over 300 third-party tools like social media apps, analytics tools, CRM software, and marketing automation tools.

Cons

Intercom customer review
Intercom customer review
  • Intercom has a non-transparent and complex pricing structure that requires you to reach out to a representative to get a quote for first-time subscriptions and every subsequent upgrade.
  • Compared to Zendesk, Intercom’s pricing can be quite expensive for small businesses in the long run. For example, getting one feature you need may require upgrading to a higher plan that costs 5x as much as your current plan.
  • According to many users, Intercom has serious data reporting limitations in key areas such as email and user statistics. Rather than a single dashboard to view metrics on a grand scale, users have to click on each customer profile or email to view individual performance. 

Who’s Intercom Ideal for?

Companies looking for a Zendesk alternative for larger teams.

Intercom G2 Rating

  • Ease of Use: 8.9/10 stars
  • Quality of Support: 8.6/10 stars
  • Ease of Setup: 8.4/10 stars

#7. Salesforce Service Cloud: Zendesk Alternative for Organizations with Large Teams

Salesforce Service Cloud is a powerhouse that provides businesses with extensive features to connect every channel, personalize each experience, and deliver great customer support.

One of the biggest strengths of Salesforce’s Service Cloud is the availability of robust features such as cross-sell and upsell capabilities you’ll scarcely find in other customer support software.

Salesforce

Notable Features

  • Case Management
  • Self-Service Portals
  • Omni-channel Routing
  • Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)
  • Customizable Reports and Dashboards
  • AI-powered Contextual Product Recommendation
  • Multi-channel support (Phone, email, web chat, web form, in-app, social media, and messaging apps).

Salesforce Service Cloud Pricing

  • Essentials: $25/user/month, billed annually
  • Professional: $75/user/month, billed annually
  • Enterprise: $150/user/month, billed annually
  • Unlimited: $300/user/month, billed annually

Pros

Salesforce customer review
Salesforce customer review
  • Salesforce Service Cloud offers a great deal of customization in page layouts, profiles, and workflows to fit your specific needs.  
  • Its Web Services API allows you to integrate with third-party systems easily. 
  • Salesforce Service Cloud offers a mobile app that makes it easy to collaborate with your team on the go. 

Cons

Salesforce customer review
Salesforce customer review
  • A huge drawback to using Salesforce Service Cloud is the expensive pricing. To get critical features like Web Services API for integrations or even 24/7 support from Salesforce reps, you’ll need to subscribe to higher paid plans such as enterprise and unlimited. Also, add-ons like Appointment Assistant cost $50, which is 2x the cost of the Service Cloud Essentials plan.
  • Salesforce Service Hub has a steep learning curve because of the many features it offers.
  • Several users have also complained of bugs in the software. 

Who’s Salesforce Service Cloud Ideal for?

Large to enterprise scale organizations

Salesforce Service Cloud G2 Rating

  • Ease of Use: 8.0/10 stars
  • Quality of Support: 8.0/10 stars
  • Ease of Setup: 7.4/10 stars

#8. GrooveHQ: Zendesk Alternative Without Bells and Whistles

Groovehq

GrooveHQ is a Zendesk alternative that stands out with its simplistic interface and a handful of features for delivering exceptional customer support.

GrooveHQ has a shared inbox that allows you to organize everything in one place, have collaboration tools, and a knowledge base to reduce support volume. 

Notable Features

  • Centralized dashboards and reporting
  • Conversation assignment 
  • Rules and automations
  • Satisfaction surveys
  • Collision detection
  • Knowledge base 
  • Mobile apps

GrooveHQ Pricing

  • Basic: $60/350 conversations/month
  • Pro: $300/2,000 conversations/month
  • Advanced: $750/5,000 conversations/month
  • Enterprise: You’ll have to request pricing

Pros

GrooveHQ customer review
GrooveHQ customer review
  • The biggest advantage to GrooveHQ is its clean, minimalistic user interface. According to users, this makes it incredibly easy to set up and use.
  • Another selling point for GrooveHQ is its set of support-specific features. This ensures that the platform isn’t bloated with irrelevant features and users get the best value for money. 
  • The Knowledge Base comes with very helpful features such as customizable SEO settings, open graph, custom scripts, and IP restrictions.

Cons

GrooveHQ customer review
GrooveHQ customer review
  • While Groove’s simplistic nature is a win for most users, it’s a drawback for many users seeking a robust CRM that offers powerful features like email marketing, bulk ticket handling, and chatbots.
  • Most existing features have limited functionality. For example, a reviewer mentioned the lack of filter capabilities in the search feature. 

Who’s GrooveHQ Ideal for?

Small businesses that need a simple alternative to Zendesk.

GrooveHQ G2 Rating

  • Ease of Use: 9.0/10 stars
  • Quality of Support: 8.5/10 stars
  • Ease of Setup: 9.3/10 stars

#9. Front: Zendesk Alternative for Growing Teams

Just like GrooveHQ, Front is a simpler alternative to Zendesk.

It’s built for speed, combining an email-like interface and powerful automation to deliver fast, personalized customer support. It also provides team performance insights to help agents constantly improve.

Front

Notable Features

  • Multi-channel Messaging (Email, social media, chat)
  • Custom integrations via plugins
  • User and team management
  • Company-wide analytics
  • Automated workflows
  • Shared inbox

Front Pricing

  • Starter: $19 per person, per month, billed annually 
  • Growth: $49 per person, per month, billed annually
  • Scale: $99 per person, per month, billed annually

Pros

Front customer review
Front customer review
  • The team collaboration features are advanced. For instance, you can @mention a teammate in an email conversation, share email drafts, and add comments without alerting the customer. 
  • Another feature users love is the ability to snooze conversations that don’t require immediate attention.
  • The shared inbox feature allows you to assign emails to teammates and create custom rules to identify important conversations. This ensures high-priority emails don’t slip through the cracks.

Cons

Front customer review
Front customer review
  • According to many users, there’s no option to mute Front messages—meaning, users still receive notifications during off hours. 
  • Another common drawback to this software is the limited search feature that makes it difficult to find past conversations and items. 

Who’s Front Ideal for?

Growing teams that need a simple help desk for personalized support. 

Front G2 Rating

  • Ease of Use: 9.2/10 stars
  • Quality of Support: 9.2/10 stars
  • Ease of Setup: 8.7/10 stars

#10. Kustomer: Zendesk Alternative with CRM Capabilities

Kustomer is a Zendesk alternative that has CRM capabilities in its help desk software.

Kustomer’s CRM for Customer Service product focuses on helping you automate your business processes and deliver great support at every step of the customer journey.

Unlike most help desk software, Kustomer tilts toward self-service options instead of advanced features for direct contact. 

Kustomer

Notable Features

  • Omnichannel support (Email, chat, text messaging, voice, and social media)
  • Self-service System (Knowledge base, chatbots, and proactive messaging)
  • Custom reporting & analytics
  • Workflows and automations
  • Agent productivity capabilities
  • Sentiment analysis

Kustomer Pricing

  • Enterprise: $89 per month/per user billed annually
  • Ultimate; $139 per month/per user billed annually

Pros

Kustomer customer review
Kustomer customer review
  • Kustomer stands out with its ability to provide data on a customer throughout their lifecycle. This allows you to get insights for delivering personalized customer experiences
  • User reviews suggest the Kustomer team provides excellent support. You can get fast and helpful responses to resolve your issues.

Cons

Kustomer customer review
Kustomer customer review
  • Most Kustomer users have complained about frequent crashes and glitches. This opens up the possibility of experiencing disruptions in your services if these crashes happen for an extended time during work hours.
  • Kustomer’s plans are pricey for SMBs with limited resources.
  • It may not be ideal for customer-focused organizations that prioritize direct customer interactions.

Who’s Kustomer Ideal for?

Mid-sized and large businesses that need CRM capabilities in a help desk.

Kustomer G2 Rating

  • Ease of Use: 8.8/10 stars
  • Quality of Support: 8.9/10 stars
  • Ease of Setup: 8.3/10 stars

Zendesk Alternatives Chart

Software Pricing G2 Rating (Ease of Use) Key Features Ideal For
EngageBay Free plan available.

Paid plans start at $12.99/mo per user 

9.2/10 stars
  • Automation and Workflows
  • Customer 360 Degree View
  • Ticketing Management
Startups and SMBs who need affordable CRM capabilities.
Help Scout Starting at $25/mo per user 9.2/10 stars
  • Shared inboxes for email support
  • Customer data management
  • Knowledge Base software
Growing teams looking for a Zendesk alternative. 
Freshdesk Free plan available.

Paid plans start at $18/per agent per month

8.8/10 stars
  • Agent Collision Detection 
  • CSAT Survey & Reports
  • Multilingual Knowledge Base
Mid-sized to large organizations
Zoho Desk Free plan available.

Paid plans start at $18/per agent/per month 

8.5/10 stars
  • Automated Routing
  • Sentiment Analysis
  • Call Center Management
Businesses that handle a large volume of frequent customer interactions.
HubSpot Service Hub Free service tools are available.

Paid plans start at $50/2 users per month

8.6/10 stars
  • Knowledge Base & Playbooks
  • Mobile Inboxes
  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling
Mid-sized to larger teams with a substantial budget for customer support.
Intercom Starting at $74/mo 8.9/10 stars
  • Targeted Messaging and Product Tours
  • Omnichannel Inbox
  • Automatic Triaging
Companies looking for a Zendesk alternative for larger teams.
Salesforce Service Cloud Starting at $25/user/month 8.0/10 stars
  • Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)
  • Omni-channel Routing
  • Case Management
Large to enterprise scale organization
GrooveHQ Starting at $60 for 350 conversations per month 9.0/10 stars
  • Satisfaction Surveys
  • Collision Detection
  • Rules & Automations
Small businesses that need a simple alternative to Zendesk.
Front Starting at $19 per person, per month 9.2/10 stars
  • Multi-channel Messaging
  • Company-wide Analytics
  • User and Team management
Growing teams that need a simple help desk for personalized support
Kustomer Starting at $89 per month/per user 8.8/10 stars
  • Omnichannel support
  • Agent Productivity Capabilities
  • Sentiment Analysis
Mid-sized and large businesses that need CRM capabilities in a help desk

Why EngageBay CRM?

How To Choose The Best Zendesk Alternative For Your Business

While you’ve narrowed down your options with this list of Zendesk alternatives, there are key factors to consider before making a final choice. 

Below are specific points to keep in mind:

Cost 

How much can you afford to spend on customer support software?

You’ll need to budget for the initial subscription, implementation costs, training fees, and add-ons. This step can help you avoid investing in pricey software you can’t sustain.

If you have a limited budget, it makes sense to go for software that has little to no miscellaneous costs beyond the monthly subscriptions and a few add-ons. 

Functionality 

Your needs play an important role in the software you choose. Make a list of your must-have features that’ll help you achieve your business goals and another list of nice-to-haves.

The ideal software should provide your non-negotiable features and the ability to scale as your business grows.

Ease of Use

What are the skill level and roles of the people who’ll use the help desk? 

If the software is too complex, chances are your team may not use it to its fullest potential and may miss insights that could cost you a great deal of revenue.

7 Best Call Center CRM Software Tested and Reviewed

Wrap Up

While we’ve listed some Zendesk alternatives suitable for growing teams and large brands, some of them may not be suitable for a small business owner. 

If you’re a small business owner looking for an affordable Zendesk alternative that has powerful CRM features, EngageBay is a brilliant choice. You’ll get automation, a ticketing system, a free help desk & live chat, and all other features you need to provide excellent support. 

Sign up for free today and get access to a wide range of customer support tools for growing your business. 

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