Help desk software benefits a wide variety of businesses. From small startups looking to take their first steps into customer support, to enterprise companies with complex needs.
The issue is that the best help desk software for each of these use cases differs wildly. And it's important that companies choose the right tool for their needs to avoid overpaying while ensuring they get the features they need.
That’s why we wrote this article. We hope that by introducing ten great help desk tools, we’ll make the job of choosing one a little easier.
What do I look for when I select the best help desk apps? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): A clear UI ensures all functionality is easy to access and use. This is especially important if the tool has customer-facing features like a knowledge base, chat widget, or community.
- Usability: The tool needs to be easy for agents to use. Also look for No-Code functionality so all service leaders can create automation and processes.
- Integrations: Help desk software should connect to all the channels you use to offer customer support. Also look for those that connect to data sources such as your CRM or ecommerce platform.
- Value for $: Tools on this list are available at a wide range of price points. Paying more typically gives you access to the more advanced features required by enterprise support teams.
Help Desk System Key Features
Most help desk platforms offer similar base features such as chat widgets, omnichannel support, and collaboration. But there are differences in the advanced functionality these tools offer.
Here are some of the top features to look out for.
- Omnichannel support: This allows you to connect all your support channels to the help desk inbox. You can receive and reply to messages from email, chat, social, and more.
- Collaboration: These features allow agents to collaborate to solve issues. Look for tagging, messaging, and transfers.
- Chat widgets: Instal a chat widget on your website to make it easy for people to contact your team. Most widgets allow you to add resources and articles to offer self-service help.
- Automated routing: Most tools let you set up automation to route support tickets to the agent best placed to help. This typically works by scanning the message for keywords that suggest why the person is messaging.
- Templates and processes: Look for features that help you create processes and templates to standardize support responses in common situations. This ensures quality support and saves time.
- Telephony integration: Some tools allow you to integrate your phone tech so you can make and answer calls and SMS. Tools may also offer advanced features like routing, ACD, and IVR.
- Extra support tools: Many of these help desk platforms come with extra tools that help with support. Communities and knowledge bases can be particularly useful.
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Tidio is a help desk software that helps businesses streamline their customer service. It consolidates all customer queries in one place, making it easy for businesses to respond to customers promptly and efficiently.
A knowledge base is a great way to provide self-service support to your customers. With Tidio, you can create a knowledge base that is easily searchable and includes relevant articles, FAQs, and resources, so customers can quickly and easily find answers to common questions. You can also track customer support tickets to see how each issue is progressing and who is working on it.
Its most notable feature is its live chat function, enabling users to provide live chat support to customers 24/7. In addition, the live chat feature allows you to collect data about customer preferences and behavior. Finally, Tidio can track key metrics such as first response time, resolution time, and satisfaction rates.
Tidio offers 25+ integrations, including email integration, which is helpful for having multiple email inboxes. Integrations include Zendesk, Google Analytics, Pipedrive, Mailchimp, OpenCart, and thousands more through Zapier.
Pricing for Tidio starts at $19 /operator/month and offers a 7-day free trial.
3CX is a modern business communications system that is based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standard. It is suitable for any business size across different industries. As a software-based PBX solution, 3CX significantly improves productivity, customer service experience, and personnel mobility. The software is easy to use, cost-effective, and highly flexible, as it can be self-managed on-premise or hosted on a remote server in the cloud. The platform is equipped with a multitude of features and tools, including video conferencing, CRM integration, and access to secure communication via mobile apps.
3CX’s contact center solution is tailored for in-house contact center agents, allowing them to save time by resolving various customer issues more efficiently. With 3CX’s contact center solution, customers have more ways to connect with the helpdesk/customer service team using other means of communication such as SMS, live chat, and WhatsApp. The software can help simplify the call management process with multiple queues and interactive voice responses (IVRs). It can also automate repetitive tasks by allowing users to create custom voice apps.
Users can also streamline their processes by integrating 3CX’s contact center and helpdesk solution with existing CRM and ERP software. The platform supports seamless integration with Zoho, Salesforce, and Freshdesk to extend their helpdesk/customer service capabilities. It also allows users to match the caller ID feature to their Microsoft 365 and database contacts to unify all customer information. A click-to-call function is available, which enables contact center agents to initiate calls directly from their CRM app.
3CX is completely free for up to 10 users, which is ideal for small businesses and startups. For companies that want more features and capabilities, their professional plan starts at $175/year for up to 10 users.
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.
It lets customers contact your support team from within your product or website, as well as via channels like social media and email. Meanwhile, agents can access important customer information such as past conversations and issue details. The stand out features are all the self-help options. You can add resources to your chat widget and even customize what shows up depending on the page.
Or you can use proactive support functionality to solve customer problems before they even occur. For example, you can send automated messages when users perform a particular action, such as spending a certain amount of time on a particular page. Other self-help options include the ability to create product tours to help people get up to speed with your features, and automated messages that go out when customers show signs of struggling with your product.
The tool also has plenty of features that streamline live help. These include a help desk ticketing system, collaboration, ticket routing, and templated responses.
Intercom has a starter plan for very small businesses that costs $74 per month when billed annually.
Larger businesses should contact the sales team for pricing information.
HelpScout is help desk software built for email and live chat. All contact is collected in the shared inbox which has plenty of features like private messaging, ticket management, and the ability for managers to assign tasks. Agents can access customer data from within the inbox, including information from other apps. For example, you can connect Shopify to see the customer’s purchase history. You can also create automations using a simple if/then No-Code builder.
Just choose an action to act as a trigger and then select what happens when this occurs. For example, you could assign all messages with the keyword “product demo” to someone in your sales team. The tool has a powerful website chat widget. This allows customers to contact your support team from the webpage they are browsing. You can also add information to the widget, for example, documents or a knowledge base search bar.
With thisin place, customers can access the information they need without contacting your support team, therefore reducing inbound contact volume. You can also provide relevant help by proactively sending automated messages to people as they browse your website.
HelpScout integrates with plenty of business tools including Slack, Google Apps, and Mailchimp. Further integrations are available via Zapier. The tool starts at $25 per user per month but proactive messaging to over 2,000 unique website viewers costs extra.
You can sign up for a free trial on the website.
Freshdesk is powerful help desk software with plenty of advanced features. It enables collaboration through features like messaging, collision detection, and the ability to tag teammates. Meanwhile, organizing your inbox is easy via messaging tagging and assigning tickets.
You can connect almost any communication channel you can think of to the tool. As well as email and website chat, you link to Messenger, Whatsapp, SMS, iMessage, and Line. There’s even a contact center feature so you can handle inbound and outbound phone contact.
The tool has plenty of self-service options to help customers find answers independently. The highlight is the ability to create chat bots and deploy them on your website help widget. You can also add a knowledge base search bar to the widget so people can easily search for help documents.
Another cool feature is that the tool supports 42 languages. This is useful for global support teams, and agents can even switch languages from within the tool.
FreshDesk pricing starts at $35 per agent per month. You can grab a free trial on the website.
HelpDesk is easy-to-use software with all the features you need to manage support. The tool brings email, messaging, and chat into a single dashboard so you can respond to communication easily. And it gives each agent full visibility into the customer’s support history to provide context into their issues. I like the collaboration features. They make it easy for agents to tag other people in a post to get specialist help.
And these conversations are clearly marked as private so you know the customer can’t see it. It’s also easy for agents to see when people are already working on a ticket to avoid collisions. The tool has several automation features that speed up support. A useful one is that you can automate replies based on keywords in the message.
For example, if the text contains the word “refund,” you can automatically send a message with instructions about how to request a refund. Other time-saving features include the ability to create templated responses and perform bulk actions.
HelpDesk connects with Zapier to enable integrations. It costs $34 per agent per month for the team plan.
This also comes with unlimited viewer roles. You can sign up for a free trial on the website.
Gladly is service desk software that helps brands offer more personal service. The tool has voice, text, chat, social, and email support built in natively, so you can offer support on all these channels out of the box. Each customer has a profile that agents can see when talking to them.
This includes information about their interactions with the company including past purchases and conversation history. You can get this information by connecting the tool to your ecommerce platform, CRM, or other relevant tool.The tool also offers access to an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system you can use to automatically answer incoming calls.
This tool collects context about the call and provides it to agents so the customer doesn’t repeat themself. You can also offer customers alternative support channels such as SMS when incoming call volume is high. Or you can offer callbacks so callers don’t have to wait on hold.
Customers hate waiting on hold so this can have a huge impact on CX.
Gladly costs $150 per user per month on an annual contract with a minimum of ten users. You can request a demo on the company website.
Zoho Desk is omnichannel help desk software. It allows you to connect all the contact methods your customers use including email, social media, web chat, and even telephony. Respond to contact from all these channels in a single inbox. The tool also has powerful workflow automation features.
This allows you to create best practices—known in the tool as blueprint—to help you respond to common requests. You build these blueprints with a visual drag and drop editor that allows you to add actions with different outcomes depending on specific conditions. Use these workflows to ensure agents follow the correct process when offering support.
This is especially helpful for quickly getting new hires up to speed because the tool tells them the correct response to take in different situations. Beyond this, the tool has all the features you’d expect from customer service software, including self-service resources, collaboration, reporting, and integration with other business tools.
Zoho Desk costs $20 per agent per month for the standard plan. You can grab a free trial on the website.
7-day free trial
|From $19/user/month||Visit Website|
Free for up to 10 users
|From $175/year (10 users)||Visit Website|
7 days free trial
|From $19 per agent per month||Visit Website|
14-day free trial
|From $49/agent/month||Visit Website|
14 Days Free Trial
|From $74/month (billed annually)||Visit Website|
|From $25/user/month||Visit Website|
21-day free trial
|From $35/agent/month||Visit Website|
|From $34/agent/month for the team plan||Visit Website|
|From $150/user/month on an annual contract with a minimum of ten users||Visit Website|
15 days trial for each plan
|From $20/agent/month for the standard plan||Visit Website|
Here are a few more that didn’t make the top list. If none of these fit your needs, you can also check out our article on the best customer service software for other related tools.
- Front - Ticketless help desk software
- HubSpot Service Hub - Help desk software powered by Hubspot CRM
- Gorgias - Help desk tool built for ecommerce
- Re:amaze - Help desk software for online businesses
- TeamSupport - B2B focused customer service platform
- SolarWinds Service Desk - IT service management solution
- Jira Service Management - Help desk for IT, Dev, and business teams
- SysAid - IT service automation platform
- Symphony SummitAI - AI-powered enterprise service management
- Sprinklr Modern Care Lite - AI-powered customer service software
- GoTo Resolve - Web help desk software for remote teams
- Salesforce Service Cloud - Customer service software suite
What Do You Think About This List?
This list contains the best help desk software around. Before deciding which one to choose, I recommend clearly defining your needs. You can then research which products offer these features.
The next step is to test out a few of the services. All tools on this list offer either a free plan or a product demo. This should give you a better idea about the pros and cons of each solution.
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