Zendesk is well known for its customizable interface and collection of apps and integrations. This highly usable customer service platform can definitely meet a range of business needs.
However, Zendesk comes with a relatively high price, even for their most basic packages.
While Zendesk is great, it’s understandable that it’s not the right choice for every business. Fortunately, the marketplace for cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) platforms is both diverse and competitive. That’s why we’ve done the research and found 10 excellent Zendesk alternatives.
In this article, we will:
- Go over the list of the best Zendesk alternatives
- Compare what each CRM has to offer relative to Zendesk
- Offer some guidance on how to choose the right Zendesk alternative
If you’re interested in CRM platforms, you can also check out:
- Best Web Chat Tools & Services
- 10 Best Chat Widgets for Your Website
- 20 Best Help Desk Ticketing Systems
The best Zendesk alternatives are:
|Name||Rating||Free Plan||Premium Features|
|1. Tidio||4.7/5||✅||From $39/mo|
|2. HelpCrunch||4.7/5||❌||From $12/mo|
|3. Intercom||4.4/5||❌||Individual cost quotes|
|4. Olark||4.3/5||❌||From $29/mo|
|5. Drift||4.4/5||✅||Individual cost quotes|
|6. Front||4.6/5||❌||From $19/mo|
|7. HubSpot||4.4/5||✅||From $45/mo|
|8. Pardot||3.9/5||❌||From $50/mo|
|9. LiveChat||4.5/5||❌||From $16/mo|
|10. Gorgias||4.7/5||❌||From $90/mo|
Zendesk produces software solutions to help businesses with their support, sales, and overall customer engagement. To do so, they offer two types of help desk software products:
- Zendesk Support—a customer support ticketing system
- Zendesk Support Suite —the same system, but enhanced with omnichannel functionality
Zendesk was started in Denmark in 2007 by three friends co-founding the company. Since then, it has become a well-known product in the SaaS industry.
As of 2021, Zendesk Chat had 11.28% of the live chat technology market share, as well as a 15.5% market share in the broader customer service management industry. Zendesk still currently supports over 85,000 companies worldwide, including some brand names like Lonely Planet.
Despite all of this, each business must determine how customer service software can fit into their existing frameworks. If Zendesk just isn’t what you’re looking for, we have some good news—let’s see which Zendesk competitors shine in one way or another.
Ratings: 4.7/5 ⭐ (948+ reviews) on G2
Tidio is a live chat tool that companies use on their websites for real-time conversations with their customers. Its service is known for its simplicity, but it provides much more than a simple web chat feature. Tidio also offers self-service chatbots, a shared inbox, and customer metrics analytics, making it a fully-fledged customer support software.
What Tidio ultimately offers is a less costly alternative to Zendesk and other competitors. If you’re curious about how Tidio can help your business, you can install Tidio on your website in a few minutes, for free.
- Simple, free setup
- 24/7 multilanguage chatbot customer service
- Extensive knowledge base
- Integrations with social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram)
- Android and iOS apps
- Free plan with unlimited chats for customer messaging for two operators
- Starter ($39/month/3 operators). Same offerings as free plan plus customer conversations with unlimited visitors, live typing, live website visitors overview and notifications about customers
- Team ($79/month/5 operators). Same offerings as starter plan plus quick responses templates, note-taking, and ability to see pages your visitors viewed
- Scale ($399/month/unlimited operators). All features from the Team plan plus dedicated onboarding provided by Tidio support team, custom roles, and a dedicated chat support consultant
- 14-day free trial period
Ratings: 4.7/5 ⭐ (165+ reviews) on G2
HelpCrunch is another highly-rated Zendesk alternative with a focus on marketing and sales. This help desk solution focuses on the ways you can solve customer issues and improve your conversions using a CRM. But it also provides more conventional features you’d expect, including live chat and messaging.
HelpCrunch stands apart from much of its competition for its focus on modern online marketing practices. On top of that, the product includes automatic messaging, email marketing, and customer engagement tools.
- A wide range of marketing tools
- Help desk management tool
- Service level agreement management (SLA)
- Multiple channel support
- Extensive FAQs
- No free version (just a short free trial)
- Users complain that the mobile app can be slow
- Basic ($12/month/operator). Provides widgets, popups, help desk, and educational resources, plus basic automation
- Pro ($20/month/operator). All the features from the basic plan, plus unlimited messages, advanced automation, and customization
- Enterprise (must contact them to receive a quote). Personal onboarding assistance, and a customized package to meet the needs of large customer support teams
Ratings: 4.4/5 ⭐ (2,112+ reviews) on G2
Intercom is another free Zendesk alternative. Its packages are fairly simple and straightforward. But some features, like their custom bots, offer unique functionality.
One way Intercom stands apart is by adding rules to your funnel, contributing to workflow automation. For example, you can manually set the rules for chatbot builders and automatically sort visitors into categories, which can help streamline communication in the future.
While these features are more difficult to apply than with the other Intercom alternatives, Intercom offers a lot of customization and flexibility.
- Trusted by significant platforms like Udemy, Loom, and Zeplin
- Highly customizable
- Available in dozens of European and Asian languages
- Includes ticket management feature
- Collision detection for support requests
- Multiple integrations (Slack, Gmail, and more)
- On the more expensive side, not ideal for small businesses or startups
- Steep learning curve
Intercom has no set price ranges. The cheapest product is their WhatsApp messaging service. Otherwise, the cheapest option for business is the “Starter” package, which starts at $69 per month when billed annually. The more comprehensive your needs are, the higher the price will be.
Ratings: 4.3/5 ⭐ (220+ reviews) on G2
Olark is another Zendesk alternative that focuses on direct solutions to problems as they pop up. This customer support tool is among the most popular when it comes to live chat, and they claim to serve over 12,000 businesses worldwide.
In terms of service, Olark offers a lot of customization. They focus on the small touches that make their interfaces more relatable to your customers. Their human-centered approach seems to have resonated well, with most review platforms giving them 4.5 to 5-star reviews.
- Relatively low price
- Great for small (and very small) businesses
- Chat routing for support agents
- Extremely intuitive customer portal
- Multiple add-ons and integrations
- Not as feature-rich as most alternatives
- 14-day free trial. No freemium plan
- Basic ($29/month/operator). Standard features without AI bots
- Pro version (individual pricing). Includes support automation
Ratings: 4.4/5 ⭐ (559+ reviews) on G2
Drift is a cloud-based solution that helps automate sales processes in much the same way as most of its alternatives, like Zendesk. But Drift stands out for its customer loyalty focus and some small touches that save its customers from several typical frustrations.
Drift offers a chatbot and a few features like an offline self-service portal and geotargeting, which makes the sales process more seamless.
- Highly customizable
- Marketing reporting features
- Integrations with Google Analytics (and much more)
- Multiple insider forums
- Only available in English
- Expensive premium packages
- Forever free. Some of the premium chatbot features are available during the free trial
- Pro (individual pricing). Paid plans include custom chatbots, lead qualification, and chat support routing features
Ratings: 4.6/5 ⭐ (1,190+ reviews) on G2
Front employs conventional ticketing software and makes greater use of email. The purpose of this is a more personal touch for your customers and a shorter response time.
Front is a more user-friendly alternative to Zendesk. The platform can be used via mobile or desktop app and includes the CRM features you’re accustomed to. However, they place a much higher emphasis on email than their competition.
- Ease of use
- Extensive training resources
- Remote team collaboration
- API customization
- Customer support is not easily accessible
- Technical issues with their Android app
- Starter ($19/month). Supports 10 members or fewer, but provides unlimited email and SMS, and most integrations are unlocked
- Prime ($49/month). All integrations, workflow templates, and advanced analytical tools are available
- Enterprise (prices vary). You must contact their sales team and discuss your specific needs to receive a quote for your tailored package
Ratings: 4.5/5 ⭐ (1,218+ reviews) on G2
HubSpot is well known for its collection of inbound marketing and sales tools. But it’s also a simple yet comprehensive powerhouse in the industry. The company is famous for its forever-freemium plan.
As an alternative to Zendesk, it is highly feature-rich. They offer a massive array of over 300 integrations. On top of that, their free and paid plans are very diverse, making them a good option for businesses of any size.
- Consolidates sales, marketing, and customer service on a simple interface
- Generous free package
- Hundreds of third-party integrations (including call center software and digital asset management)
- Simple, easy-to-use interfaces
- User permissions for team members
- Paid plans are relatively expensive
- Decent customer support with the free plan is lacking
- Free. Includes most basic features, analytics, email marketing, ticketing, and live chat. It’s ideal for small and growing businesses
- Starter ($45/month). Offers higher limits (up to 1,000) for marketing contacts and provides more advanced features
- Professional ($360/month). Some of the advanced features are unlocked
- Enterprise ($1,200/month). All features are unlocked and customers receive priority support and advanced automation
Ratings: 3.9/5 ⭐ (1,858+ reviews) on G2
Unlike most of the Zendesk alternatives we’ve covered, Pardot focuses specifically on the needs of B2B businesses.
It offers many of the same features as Zendesk but is more intuitive. However, as a B2B CRM, it’s a particularly comprehensive and expensive option.
- Lead nurturing and qualification
- Personal scoring system for agents
- A/B testing of templates and emails
- Long list of integrations
- Advanced analytical tools for most functions
- The best features require expensive subscriptions
- No built-in CMS
- Only feasible for large businesses
- Salesforce Engage ($50/month/operator). Offers Salesforce Engage with sales and service management
- Engagement History Dashboards ($300/month/operator). All features from Salesforce Engage plan plus enhanced service and analytics insights
Ratings: 4.5/5 ⭐ (729+ reviews) on G2
LiveChat has the most self-explanatory name of any software products we’ve covered so far. They offer a live chat service that’s integrated into your website, aimed at improving the overall customer experience.
As a Zendesk alternative, LiveChat is worth considering for small to medium-sized businesses. Typical features include alerts for escalation, geotargeting, live chat, and email response control. Where LiveChat stands out is in its many third-party integrations, filtering, proactive chat software, and rerouting capacities.
- Dedicated customer portal
- Built-in call center
- Dedicated plugins for WordPress, Shopify, Weebly, and more
- Over 200 integrations (Zoho Desk, Zapier, Facebook Messenger)
- Time tracking feature for performance measurement
- A bit pricey even for the simple services offered
- Some customers complain about ineffective spam filters
- Starter ($16/month). Provides limited chat history, a basic ticketing system, and its customization
- Team ($33/month). Offers unlimited chat history, basic reporting, and expanded features
- Business ($50/month). Unlocks advanced reporting and work scheduling
- Enterprise (contact company for a quote). Customized to your needs. You must contact the company for a quote
Ratings: 4.7/5 ⭐ (69+ reviews) on G2
Gorgias is a Zendesk alternative that has given itself a rather focused mission: supporting ecommerce businesses. They specialize in this one area of customer relationship management, and what’s important to underline—they excel at it.
Gorgias is rated as one of the best Shopify live chat apps, which also integrates well with BigCommerce and Magento. Other typical features include multichannel communication, loyalty plans, and customer reports based on user sentiment analysis.
- Cloud-based, convenient service
- Minimalistic interface
- Special dedication to ecommerce
- Multiple integrations
- Multichannel communication
- Some customers complain about ticketing system glitches
- High minimum costs
- 7-day free trial. No freemium plan available
- The Basic Plan (starts at $60). Includes basic tools and support 350 tickets
- Advanced ($1,130/month). same as the Pro plan but with a dedicated Success Manager
All plans include unlimited users, making Gorgias a better option for large ecommerce companies.
Read more: Discover the the best CRM software in 2022.
Conclusions: how to choose the best Zendesk alternative
All the Zendesk alternatives we’ve covered are widely used and trusted companies. They aren’t all equal, but they all have unique value propositions. A CRM that’s great for one company may prove less effective for another.
We recommend you give some of these companies an online visit. But to make your search easier here’s a breakdown of what each company is better at.
Best for small businesses:
Best for ecommerce:
Best for medium-to-large businesses: