In 2022, there are loads of options for help desk software. That’s great– you can take your pick. But it also can make it difficult to make a decision. After all, which solution will best suit your needs?
It all starts with understanding why you need help desk software in the first place. Are you losing tickets? Is your support team complaining? Do you want to add features like live chat or click-to-call?
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably wondering which help desk software is right for you. We’re providing a criteria for choosing help desk software, as well as 7 of our top picks.
- What is Help Desk Software
- The Criteria for Choosing Help Desk Software
- 2022’s Best Help Desk Software
- Help Scout
- Zoho Desk
- Happy Fox
- Other Options to Consider
Wait, What Is Help Desk Software?
Help desk software makes it easy for you to respond to your customers’ questions and comments so that you can provide them with a stellar customer experience. Common features include handling of tickets, support for multiple agents, channels like live chat, knowledgebase capabilities, integrations with other tools, and more
In 2022, a stellar customer experience matters a lot, so you want to make sure that you’re using the best possible help desk software. Although there are many options on the market, some will be a better fit for you than others.
When companies are young, they usually provide customer support via email. But as the company grows– with more customers needing support and more team members working to provide it– email no longer works as a viable solution. It’s much too easy for support requests to get lost.
Enter help desk software.
The Criteria for Choosing Help Desk Software
When you’re choosing help desk software, it’s helpful to evaluate based on certain criteria. Depending on your company, some of these criteria will matter a lot, while others may not be as important.
Here are the criteria to look at when assessing help desk software:
Some help desk software are incredibly feature-rich, while others do a great job of providing the basics. While it may be tempting to go with the tool with the most features, it’s important to understand the trade-offs.
For example, sometimes the tools with the most features are more difficult to implement, or are bloated for a small team. A more basic help desk software may be substantially less expensive and easier to use.
As you’re assessing help desk software, use the following list to see how it measures up on features. For each feature, give a score from 0-5. Zero means the software does not offer that feature, while 5 means it offers more than enough to meet your current needs.
Assessing Help Desk Software Features
For each feature, give a score from 0-5. Zero means the software does not offer that feature, while 5 means it offers more than enough to meet your current needs.
___ Automation capabilities
___ Shared inbox
___ Knowledge base
___ Email support
___ Phone support
___ Live chat
___ Integrations with existing tools
___ Social media integration
___ Metrics & reporting
When you’re a small ecommerce shop, cost is a substantial consideration, especially when some help desk software can run upwards of thousands of dollars per year. It’s important to not only consider the monthly costs, but also which plans are right for you and how costs are structured.
When looking at costs, take a holistic approach. Don’t just look at how much the help desk software will cost you on a monthly or annual basis. You also need to explore whether the software has all of the features you need.
Education and Support
Help desk software companies tend to provide excellent customer support. After all, their software is created to help others do the same. But education and support is not the same across the board.
To assess education and support, consider visiting the Help Center for each of the company’s you’re interested in. Browse a few threads, see what people are asking, and most importantly, look to see if people are getting adequate support. If the help center doesn’t allow users to post questions, read through some articles and make sure they are easy to read and understand.
Browse through their Help Centers…
Another good idea is to sign up for a free trial, as many help desk software companies offer one. Not only will you get to test drive the software, but you’ll also see how much support you’re offered as you onboard. If a free trial isn’t offered, be sure to get a demo– see how the sales associate handles your questions.
First impressions matter a lot– if you don’t receive adequate support during your trial or demo, you’re unlikely to receive it when you become a customer
Ease of Use + User Experience
It’s easy to look at a list of features and say, “Yes! this will work.” But until you try out the software, you won’t know whether it’s easy to use.
To assess ease of use, scour online reviews of the software platforms. Do happy customers talk about how easy it is to set up? Do they refer to difficulties?
You can also explore ease of use during a trial or software demo. Can you easily configure the software to meet your needs?
User experience goes part and parcel with ease of use. After all, a good user experience is seamlessly easy. Sometimes, a software offers all the features you need, but just doesn’t make you happy using it. This can stem from simple problems like drab colors, hard to read fonts, and confusing navigation.
If you expect to be onboarding people into the help desk software, you want to make sure that it fits your business needs and is a joy to use for all who touch it.
This one’s easy. Does the help desk software integrate with the tools you already use? You not only want integrations, but you want them to be robust and easy to implement. Some integrations require substantial customization to get up and running.
Ability to Scale
As you grow, your needs are likely to change. You might want to offer new channels for support like live chat. Perhaps you want to hire a bigger team.
The help desk software you choose today doesn’t have to be the end-all be-all, but you do want to make sure you’re choosing something that can support you for the foreseeable future.
Reading Help Desk Software Reviews
As you’re deciding on help desk software, it’s extremely helpful to comb through software reviews.
While this may take a little bit of time, it will ultimately help you choose the best possible solution.
If you go into your purchase with a good understanding of the pros and cons, you’ll be better equipped.
Here are some of the most popular and well-regarded software review sites to check out:
We also recommend you dig deep for reviews and recommendations off these sites. Watch YouTube videos of individuals reviewing these products.
Comb through Reddit to see if there are any threads that discuss experience with certain tools, especially in certain subreddits that are most relevant to you.
Ask friends, family, and others what help desk solution they use.
2022’s Best Help Desk Software: Your Options
Groove is the shared inbox for small businesses looking for an alternative to Gmail. Organize all your support emails in one place, route them to the right people, and get more work done as a team – 100% free (forever).
Groove has a ton of features. Here are a few of the most notable.
- Shared Inbox
- Knowledge Base
- 30+ Integrations
- Internal Notes
- Workflows / Rules / Automations
For more info on Groove’s features, consult this list.
Education and Support: Groove’s Knowledge Base is extensive and extremely well organized. All of the Knowledge Base articles we looked at contained detailed instructions and screenshots. Groove also boasts an incredibly insightful blog which is filled with valuable information about customer support, remote work, and growing as a business.
Ease of Use + User Experience: Groove feels fresh and easy to use. The design is modern, the writing and explanations are easy to understand. We think you’ll enjoy using Groove’s help desk software.
Integrations: Groove integrates with the software tools you’re likely to use and they’re well-known for these integrations. More on integrations here.
Ability to Scale: Groove is a great option for small companies that have never had help desk software. But Groove can scale with your brand–big companies use it, too.
Help Scout is an all-in-one customer service platform. Its friendly offerings include shared team inboxes, the ability to create and manage a knowledge base, as well as robust reports that include metrics like Average Response Time and Number of Tickets Resolved.
Features: Help Scout offers a number of features that are easy to understand. Rather than include a long list of features on their site, they divide their features into the following categories:
- Shared Inbox
- Knowledge Base
- Customer Management
- Live Chat
Unlike some of the other options in this list, Help Scout offers an iPhone and Android app for your team.
Cost: $20 per user per month (Standard) and $35 per user per month (Plus). Help Scout offers discounts to nonprofits and startups.
Education and Support: This is an area where Help Scout shines. They offer 24 hour support, 6 days a week on email and chat, as well as training and classes to help customers get the most out of the platform. They also offer HelpU, an educational experience where they’ll teach your team how to get the most out of Help Scout.
Ease of Use + User Experience: Customers love the simple and elegant interface that Help Scout offers. Users describe it as “well-designed” and “easy and natural to use.” One reviewer even said that they’d “never come across a solution as elegant as Help Scout.”
Integrations: You won’t be disappointed by Help Scout’s ability to integrate with existing software. You’ll be able to integrate with HubSpot, Jira, and Salesforce. Help Scout provides an easy to use app directory where you can explore their integrations.
Ability to Scale: Help Scout is great for teams of all sizes– from freelancers to large enterprises. You should be able to easily scale your business with this help desk software.
Zendesk is one of– if not the most– robust help desk softwares available. It’s powerful and packed with features. Unlike help desk software options like Groove and Help Scout, Zendesk offers sales-oriented products, too, such as a Sales CRM. Although Zendesk offers options for smaller startups, it’s best suited for larger companies.
Features: For the purpose of this review, we’ll focus on Zendesk’s customer service product. Zendesk offers a ticketing system, live chat, a help center, reporting and analytics, community forums, and more. For more information about features, visit the pricing page.
Cost: $49 per user per month (Suite Team), $79 per user per month (Suite Growth), $99 per user per month (Suite Professional). Note that all Zendesk plans are billed annually.
Education and Support: Zendesk offers a robust help center that allows you to browse based on the solutions you’re using. They also offer a community so that you can chat with other users about how you’re using Zendesk.
Ease of Use + User Experience: Zendesk isn’t as highly rated when it comes to ease of use and user experience. It may be more difficult to use, but it might better meet the needs of your growing business than some of the more simple tools.
Integrations: Holy moly! You will not be disappointed with Zendesk’s integrations. Zendesk provides an App Store full of integrations, help center themes, and custom-built apps that complement the help desk software.
Ability to Scale: If you use Zendesk today, you’ll always be able to use it. It might be bloated and overwhelming for small businesses, though.
Freshdesk offers a complete customer support solution that helps companies have meaningful conversations with their customers. Freshdesk offers help desk support across channels, provides sophisticated chat bots to route customers, and helps you answer customer support calls seamlessly.
Features: Freshdesk provides features galore. These fall into the categories of:
- Support Across Channels
- End-to-End Field Service
- Self-Service Experiences
For more information about Freshdesk’s features, visit their features page.
Cost: $0 per month (Free), $15 per user per month (Growth), $49 per user per month (Pro), $79 per user per month (Enterprise)
Education and Support: Although customers are happy with Freshdesk as a solution, the customer service you’ll receive from Freshdesk might vary. One reviewer said that “question and ticket response time is long and requires constant follow-up.” Other reviews offered similar sentiment.
Ease of Use + User Experience: Customers like Freshdesk’s slick dashboard and say that it meets all of their customer service needs. Freshdesk is a comprehensive and robust solution with many features. If you need those features, that’s excellent. But if you’re looking for a basic solution, you might find Freshdesk complicated to use.
Integrations: Freshdesk, which is part of the Freshworks suite, comes with ample integrations that should fit your needs. However, when we were researching these integrations, we found trouble finding succinct and concise information about them. You may need to do a little digging to make sure Freshdesk can integrate in the way you want.
Ability to Scale: There’s no doubt that Freshdesk will be able to scale with your business as it grows. It’s a robust platform with features that can accommodate large scale customer service operations, such as those that require a call center.
Zoho Desk is another help desk software worth considering. It’s a comprehensive solution that offers help desk ticketing, self-service options like knowledge bases, automations, and mobile apps. If you use Zoho Desk, you’ll be able to provide support for your customers, no matter what channel they’re using.
Features: Zoho Desk offers the following features:
- Ticket Management
- Zia – Zoho’s thoughtfully built AI solutions
- Agent Productivity
- Insights and Impact
For more about Zoho Desk’s features, take a look through their features page.
Cost: $0 (FREE), $14 per user per month (Standard), $23 per user per month (Professional), and $40 per user per month (Enterprise)
Education and Support: Zoho Desk offers support based on what plan you’re on. All plans have access to the Knowledge base, community forums, email support, and the customer portal. The bigger your plan, the more support you get.
Ease of Use + User Experience: Customers like the user experience at Zoho Desk a lot. One described the user interface as “very user friendly, formal, and straightforward.”
Integrations: Zoho Desk is a part of the Zoho suite of products, and you’ll get the most mileage out of Zoho if you opt in to those, too. As one reviewer said: “The best part about Zoho Desk is its integrations within its own ecosystem of products and also with third party softwares. This helps us unify our customer support experience overall and track in one place.”
Ability to Scale: Zoho Desk can definitely scale with your company as it grows and ranks nicely as a competitive option to enterprise solutions likes Zendesk and Freshdesk. It’s less expensive though, with a free option for small businesses wanting to get their feet wet with help desk software.
HappyFox markets itself as a “modern support stack” with an all-in-one help desk software that provides nimble handling of support tickets. HappyFox not only offers help desk software, but provides live chat, chatbots, and business intelligence.
Features: Like the other solutions on this list, HappyFox offers a single platform for omnichannel requests. Customers love some of HappyFox’s more advanced features, citing their ticketing and knowledge base functions as particularly great.
They describe their features as:
For more about HappyFox’s features, visit their feature page.
Cost: HappyFox’s pricing is not readily available on their website. According to Capterra, pricing starts at $29 per feature per month. All plans require a minimum of 5 help desk agents, so it might not be the best option for very small businesses.
Education and Support: Customers are super happy with the support they receive from HappyFox. One user described the customer service team as “beyond exceptional” and the “best ever.”
Ease of Use + User Experience: HappyFox claims that it takes less than an hour to set up and customers report that the interface is incredibly easy to use.
Integrations: Happy Fox claims to be “a happy roof that can accommodate all your favorite business apps.” In its comprehensive Apps Directory, it offers integrations with Salesforce, WhatsApp, Microsoft teams, and many more.
Ability to Scale: Because of how their packages are structured, Happy Fox may be better suited for established businesses, rather than small ones just starting out. Some customers said that Happy Fox was particularly robust for the price– they are able to use it to support multiple brands without emptying their bank accounts.
Intercom is not exactly a traditional help desk software. Instead, it’s a considered a Conversational Relationship Platform (CRP) that allows users to build customer relationships through message-based experiences. Ultimately, Intercom allows you to offer support that’s more than just phone and email.
Features: Intercom’s Conversational Support product offers the following features:
- Personalized support
- Live messaging
- Follow-ups for dropped messages
- Fast answers to FAQs
- Self-serve help articles
- Personalized, proactive support
- Interactive product walkthroughs
- Consistent support devices
But these are just a few of the things Intercom offers. For a full list of features, visit Intercom’s features pages.
Cost: Intercom’s pricing is not readily available on their website. They do share that they calculate pricing based on seats (how many users have access) and number of people you reach using their messaging services. They do offer a package for early stage startups that starts at $65 per month.
Education and Support: Intercom’s support is highly regarded. Customers rate it highly. If you choose Intercom, you shouldn’t have an issue getting top-quality support.
Ease of Use + User Experience: Customers find Intercom to be particularly easy on the eyes. Reviewers call it “easy to use” with a “very nice UI.”
Integrations: Intercom offers an App Store with many integrations. Some of the most popular include Google Analytics, Stripe, Slack, Salesforce, and Calendly.
Ability to Scale: Businesses of all sizes take advantage of what Intercom has to offer, so it should be able to seamlessly scale with you as you grow.
Other Help Desk Options to Explore
These didn’t make our list for the best help desk software tools in 2021, but they may be a good fit for your business:
Conclusion: Choose What Works For You
It’s easier than ever to offer exceptional customer service thanks to the variety of help desk software available. No matter your budget or needs, there’s something out there that will work for you.
Just remember– your business and use cases are unique. A software solution that is great for one company might not be the best fit for you. That’s why it’s essential to choose the help desk platform that’s most likely to meet all your needs.