With so many different help desk software solutions available, figuring out which is the best fit for your needs is tough — especially if you're set on using free help desk software. You know you want software to help you manage essential support tasks and troubleshoot customer queries efficiently, but you need to figure out which system is best. In this article, I'll help you make this choice easier by sharing my insights on the best free help desk software for handling customer support requests without impacting your bottom line.
What is Free Help Desk Software?
Free help desk software are cloud-based tools that help customer support teams organize, track, and resolve customer requests, but with no monthly costs. These free SaaS solutions cover the basic help desk features you'd expect, including a ticketing system for tracking issues, basic automation abilities for repetitive tasks, and communication tools that help customer service teams collaborate on tickets or escalate them as needed. They're a cost-friendly way to improve the efficiency of your customer service operations without incurring more monthly costs.
Zoho Assist is a customer support software that lets you provide remote access assistance, both on-demand and unattended. This means your customer success team can troubleshoot issues and offer support by accessing customer devices. It's an especially helpful solution for providing support with digital products.
Remote access is available both on-demand and for unattended devices. That means that whether a customer is with their device or not, your team can access it to provide support. Unattended access allows for things like pushing updates in bulk, rebooting devices, or diagnosing issues whether or not you have the customer on the phone live. On-demand access allows for real-time troubleshooting and chat, video, or voice calling.
The software offers plenty of security safeguards to give both clients and support agents peace of mind. These include chat encryption, action logs to document all events, and inactive session timeouts.
A 15-day free trial is available, and paid plans start from $12 per user, per month.
Zendesk is customer service software with powerful help desk functionality. It lets you organize support from multiple channels including messaging, email, voice, and social media in a single inbox.
The tool has features to help your team offer fast support. You can create routing rules so agents can answer tickets that best match their abilities, whether that is language or a particular type of product expertise. You can also use the chat widget to automatically collect extra details about the customer problem or identify intent so you can route them to the most relevant agent.
Another cool feature is the ability to create a customer community you can use to offer support. Your team can use this as an extra support channel, or you can encourage members to help each other.
It’s particularly useful because any community member can benefit from help you give in the community, not just the people who ask the question.
Basic Zendesk Service starts at $19 per agent per month when billed annually. The Zendesk Suite plan starts at $49 per agent per month when billed annually.
Front is a customer operations platform designed to facilitate team collaboration and manage communications across various channels. It stands out as a tool for collaborative customer service by combining the efficiency of a help desk with the personal touch of email, enabling teams to maintain strong customer relationships and improve operational efficiency.
I chose Front as a tool for 'free help desk software' because it offers a unique approach to managing customer interactions across various channels, including email, live chats, and SMS texts. Its collaborative hub stands out by enabling teams to work together seamlessly, which is essential for delivering exceptional customer service. I believe Front is best for collaborative customer service because it provides a single view of every customer, which is crucial for personal and efficient support.
Front provides a customer operations platform with a shared inbox that allows for team collaboration and efficient management of customer communications. It features omnichannel capabilities, enabling businesses to handle messages from various channels in one place. The platform also offers insights and analytics to track performance, automated workflows to save time, and a knowledge base to support customer self-service. Live chat functionality and integrations with other tools enhance the overall customer service experience.
Pricing for Front starts at $19/user/month for their Starter plan when billed annually, which supports up to 10 user seats.
Zoho Desk is a cloud-based help desk solution that helps you manage support tickets through a customer service portal. The software collects interactions received by email, phone, chat, social media, or forms. Features include ticket assignment, notification rules, service escalations, and time-based actions.
You can set workflow rules to reduce the need for human intervention, schedule reports, and measure customer happiness rates. A graphical dashboard makes it easy to analyze customer satisfaction levels. You can also customize the system by renaming tabs, adding new departments, or customizing email templates.
This tool integrates with business applications such as Google Workspace, ScreenMagic, Jira, Slack, and Salesforce.
ZohoDesk offers a free plan for up to three agents.
LiveAgent is a popular online help desk system. It supports live chat, ticket management, self-service portals, and license management.
Each ticket contains the complete history of conversations with that particular customer. This includes emails, chat messages, phone calls, or communications via other channels.
The software can be customized to scale with companies as they grow. LiveAgent is available in both cloud-based and on-premise versions.
This tool integrates with business platforms such as Shopify, Mail.ru, PipeDrive, and Twilio.
LiveAgent offers a ‘forever free’ plan with limited features.
ServiceDesk Plus is the full-stack service management software for enterprises from ManageEngine. It provides a wide range of IT solutions that support IT service management (ITSM) workflows, no-code customizations, advanced reporting, native integrations, and smart automation.
One of the key features of ServiceDesk Plus is its 13 distinct ITIL4-compatible practices including incident management, change enablement, and request management to help you improve your operations. The software also comes with comprehensive problem management features that provide IT support teams the ability to categorize, analyze, and resolve issues, while also identifying issues that are similar or repetitive so they can close tickets at a much faster pace.
The platform’s change management system is another feature that is designed to help IT teams better implement IT modifications with reduced risk, thanks to more streamlined planning, approval, and implementation processes. ServiceDesk Plus also has an integrated knowledge management system, a virtual assistant feature, and AI capabilities.
On the client side, the platform offers self-service portals where people can create requests and follow up on the status. It also has a live chat for real-time support, a knowledge base where you can record solutions to common problems for users, and help desk mobile apps that can help you get support whenever you need it.
Other capabilities of ServiceDesk Plus include automatic ticket routing, and escalation rule creation to avoid SLA violations.
Hiver is software that adds help desk functionality to your Gmail inbox. This means you can run support without any extra software or tools. When you install the plugin, you see a set of extra options in your Gmail sidebar. Managers can use this to assign inbound messages to members of their support team.
They can also add notes to this contact to provide further details. Agents can easily see all their assigned tickets in the inbox. They can also collaborate on replies by leaving notes and tagging other team members. It’s also easy for agents to see when someone is working on a particular ticket, therefore reducing the chances of collisions. Once agents finish support, they can easily mark tickets as closed.
The tool also supports automation. You can assign tickets to particular agents when the message contains a keyword related to their area of expertise. Or you can use round-robin rules to evenly distribute tickets to active agents.
Pricing starts at $19 per agent per month. You need to sign up for the pro or elite plan to access advanced features like analytics or round robin ticket assignments.
LiveAgent is help desk software with plenty of features and integrations. You can connect the tool to all your communication channels including calls, chat, email, video, and social. And you can bring in customer data from the other platforms your business uses including Salesforce, Pipedrive, and Shopify. The tool also has a powerful chat widget you can connect to your website.
This has features like the ability to proactively message customers based on triggers like time on site or the number of pages they visit. There’s also phone support with features like call recordings, IVR, transfers, and automated callbacks.
It has outbound calling features so you can contact customers when needed. And agents can login to handle calls anywhere with softphones.
LiveAgent starts at $15 per agent per month for the ticketing software. The all-inclusive plan with call center support costs $49 per agent per month. You can try each plan for free on the website.
ProProfs Help Desk is a customer service tool that helps support teams keep track of customer request issues. Managers can prioritize, assign, and label tickets to ensure they are handled most appropriately.
Core features include a shared inbox, canned responses, collaborative email, ticket prioritization, and reporting. You can apply filters and sort by labels, assignees, milestones, status, or workflow configuration.
You can also use Round-Robin or advanced ticket assignment to ensure that tickets are evenly distributed. The Gmail-style interface ensures that agents will feel comfortable using the system.
This tool integrates with business tools such as Survey Maker, Chat, and Knowledge Base.
ProProfs allows you to start with a free plan and upgrade when you are ready.
Using HubSpot’s help desk software, you can capture, organize, and track all customer inquiries in one dashboard. You can easily track metrics such as agent response time and support ticket volume. The routing and automation features reduce manual data entry and improve efficiency.
The system automatically converts customer emails or chats into tickets and routes them to the right person. Requests can be prioritized so that critical issues are handled first. You can also assign owners to individual tickets and organize them into a personal pipeline of work.
This tool integrates with software applications such as Salesforce, Survey Monkey, HotJar, and GoToWebinar.
HubSpot offers a free starter plan for new users.
Other Free Help Desk Software Options
Here are a few more that didn’t make the top list.
- Web Help Desk (WHD) Free - Best for linking multiple incidents with specific problems
- osTicket - Best for filtering tickets to the correct department
- help desk - No-nonsense approach to help desk software for small business users
- UVdesk - Best free help desk software for eCommerce companies
If you have outgrown your free help desk software, take a look at our 10 best customer service software suggestions.
How I Selected the Best Free Help Desk Software
Are you curious about how I selected the best free help desk software for this list? To begin, I looked at a number of different free help desk software with plenty of positive user ratings. I explored each platform at length to gain an understanding of what features they had to offer and what made them stand out from the competition.
I chose the best from this group to finalize my long list. From there, I used the below evaluation criteria to see how each platform stacked up against the next. I drew on my years of experience in customer experience to identify which solutions were likely to provide the most value, free of charge. This is how I arrived at my shortlist.
What do I look for when selecting the best free help desk system? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): I look for ticketing software that everyone from support agents to senior managers can get to grips with easily.
- Usability: I’m seeking tools that help you find the features you need in just a few clicks.
- Integrations: I expect online help desk software to integrate with sales, marketing, and business software platforms.
- Value for $: I look for apps that are affordable, regardless of how many agents are using the system.
What are the key features of free help desk software?
When evaluating customer service ticketing systems for this blog, I’m looking for tools that offer most or all of the following:
- Multiple points of contact: Customers and prospects should be able to get in touch through various channels such as phone, email, social media, and chat.
- Problem escalation: Customer issues that cannot be resolved on first contact should be moved up the management ladder until the case is closed in a satisfactory way.
- Ticketing management: Organizing inquiries into tickets and tracking their progress from receipt to resolution.
- Dashboards: A clear overview of current activities that allows agents and managers to understand what needs attention next.
- Knowledge base: The ability to compile documentation into a form that can be easily accessed by agents or used in a self-service manner by customers.
- Automation: Eliminating repetitive or routine tasks by taking care of them on autopilot. For example, converting inquiry emails into customer tickets.
- Analytics: Visual representation of customer service activity that highlights key metrics and isolates potential problem areas.
- Surveys: The ability to poll customers to determine their satisfaction with the level of customer service received.
- Performance tracking: Monitoring key metrics such as time from first contact to resolution, resolution rate per agent, etc.
- Access management: Allowing different levels of access for agents, support team leaders, and managers.
How does free help desk software work?
Free help desk software offers many of the same features as paid help desk software. These tools are often entry-level tiers of plans that extend into higher priced options as you add greater depth of functionality or users. Some of the tools on this list are freemium plans (meaning, free forever), while others offer a free trial for a set amount of time.
What Do You Think About This List?
So is free and open-source help desk software up to the mark, or should you pony up for a paid service? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
If you found this article on the best help desk software helpful, you might also like our blog posts on the best customer support software. With the right free help desk software, you can turn customers into raving fans. And that means you will be on course for unstoppable success!
If you'd like a bit more guidance for the next phase of your selection process, read this article explaining how to choose the best help desk software for your needs.
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