Help desk software can benefit a wide range of businesses. But the exact type of help desk software you need will depend on the structure of your business and how (and where) you connect with your customers. With a wide range of options out there for different business styles, it's important to find one that satisfies your core business needs. That's why I wrote this article.
Below you'll find a curated list of the best help desk software available on the market today. I've intentionally included a variety of tools to serve specific needs, so you're guaranteed to find the right solution for your team. I'll also explain the pros and cons of each system, and how it can help you level up your customer support game.
What is Help Desk Software?
Help desk software helps businesses manage and track their customer support requests. They act as a central hub where businesses can respond to customer inquiries from multiple sources within one interface. Typical support channels include email, phone, chat, and social media platforms.
Standard features include ticket tracking, automated responses, knowledge base management, and reporting capabilities. Many also include the ability to automatically route requests to specific agents based on their skills and the nature of the query.
Zoho Assist is a customer support and remote access software. It can be used to provide customer support through both on-demand and unattended remote access sessions, and is compatible with other Zoho products.
Why I picked Zoho Assist: This software allows customer success teams to remotely accessing customer (or team member) devices. The unattended remote access capability also allows you to push updates, diagnose issues, and reboot devices even if the customer is not at their computer. High-level security features are included, providing peace of mind for agents and customers alike.
Customer service reps can also support customers via live chat, video, and voice calling. The software also has a scheduling feature to set up support sessions as needed. Files can be shared between support agents and customers seeking assistance.
Zoho Assist Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features include the system's session recording tool. You can record any remote access session, which is super helpful for record-keeping but also for auditing purposes. Session recordings can also be used for training new staff or reviewing performance with support agents.
Integrations include the Zoho product suite, Zendesk, ServiceNow, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Jira, Freshdesk, Spiceworks, and the Google Suite, among others.
- On-demand and unattended remote access
- Ability to deploy bulk updates
- High-level security (SSL, 256-bit AES encryption, 2FA)
- Some features may require coding knowledge
- Might not be ideal for non-Zoho users
Zendesk offers customer service software with powerful help desk functionality. Their customer support software is also customizable and scalable, allowing you to add more features as your operation grows. It lets you organize support from multiple channels including messaging, email, voice, and social media in a single inbox.
Why I picked Zendesk: I included Zendesk because they're a well-known platform and their combined features help your team offer fast support. You can create automatic routing rules so agents can answer tickets that best match their abilities, whether that's based on language preferences or a particular type of product expertise. You can also use the chat widget to automatically collect extra details about your customers' problems 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 the help you give in the community, not just the people who ask the question.
Zendesk Standout Features and Integrations:
One standout feature worth noting is how easy it is to create new self-service articles to help customers get future answers proactively. To do that Zendesk helps you identify common questions that are trending. Upon answering the initial customer's question, you can take that answer and transform it into an article, then feed it to the platform's chatbots. Then, the next time that same question comes up, the link to that article with the answer will pop up in the chat widget immediately. This feature can save teams a lot of time and cut down on the overall volume of help desk requests your team will receive.
Integrations are available with numerous apps, including Assembled, Exporter, PagerDuty, Mailchimp, Productboard, Stella Connect, and hundreds of others.
- Supports localized content in over 40 languages
- Has a user-friendly interface with robust features
- Internal ticketing system combines email, chat, voice, and social messaging queries into one system
- Analytics dashboard is pre-built (not customizable)
- Self-service portal isn't available in their basic plan
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.
SysAid is a comprehensive help desk software for IT teams. It offers tools for managing tickets, resolving issues, and handling assets, as well as automating these processes.
Why I picked SysAid: The self-service automation this software offers is what really made it stand out to me, and what earned it its spot on my list. The self-serve capabilities include automated password resets and one-click issue submissions. This allows staff to resolve common IT problems independently, reducing your IT support staff's workload and freeing up their time for more technical tasks.
You can opt to implement this platform either in the cloud or on-premise, which is nice flexibility for an IT solution. The company also provides exceptional technical support and training programs to help your team get onboarded quickly and effectively. It's an uncomplicated and efficient IT service management solution, but it can also be used for other purposes like HR and healthcare.
SysAid Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features include the platform's built-in asset management. You can cross-references tickets, users, and assets in the system to help you resolve issues more quickly with full context. The software also has remote control capabilities, which enables IT staff to troubleshoot issues by accessing devices from afar. Finally, the codeless configuration simplifies the setup process and makes the platform exceptionally user-friendly, especially for those without coding expertise.
Integrations include Azure, ADFS, Bomgar, CAS, Jira Software – Cloud Service, Microsoft Teams, Nagios, Office 365, and Okta.
- Integrates with IT service management (ITSM)
- Includes task automation
- Easy to implement
- Restricted customizations
- Pricing not transparent
LiveAgent is a help desk and knowledge base management software that helps customer support teams manage multi-channel ticketing flows and provide self-serve content for customers. Team members share an inbox where they can see all incoming tickets in one place, whether they're coming through via phone calls, email, or live chat.
Why I picked LiveAgent: I included LiveAgent in this list because their help desk software is known for its fast and easy customer onboarding and implementation process. They also offer excellent customer support for clients 24/7, and concierge migration services if you're looking to switch from a different help desk solution to theirs.
LiveAgent Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features for LiveAgent include automated spam filtering, ticket routing, and follow-up scripts, which can all be configured in the platform to help streamline workflows and alleviate busy work.
To create an abundant knowledge base to empower customers, you can implement the customizable themes available in the software and draft articles with the WYSIWYG content editor. Customer forums can also be established and moderated through the platform, giving customers an opportunity to share their advice and helping to nurture your community. Feedback buttons can be added to the customer-facing portal, helping teams collect insights into user needs, wants, and pain points.
Integrations are available with 200+ other SaaS tools like ActiveCampaign, BigCommerce, Clockify, Gmail, HubSpot, Jira, Pipedrive, Shopify, Slack, and Trello.
- Numerous third-party integrations are available
- White glove implementation services
- Includes the ability to merge or split help tickets as needed
- Some social media integrations require an additional fee
- An additional fee is required if you want to host more than one knowledge base (multi-knowledge base feature)
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.
Why I picked 3CX: As a software-based PBX solution, 3CX significantly improves productivity, customer service experience, and personnel mobility. Their contact center solution is tailored for in-house contact center agents, allowing them to save time by resolving various customer issues more efficiently.
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. Users can also streamline their processes by integrating 3CX’s contact center and helpdesk solution with existing CRM and ERP software. A click-to-call function is also available, which enables contact center agents to initiate calls directly from their CRM app.
3CX Standout Features and Integrations:
With 3CX’s contact center solution, customers have more ways to connect with the helpdesk and 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.
Other useful features include video conferencing, CRM integration, and access to secure communication via mobile apps. Their Microsoft 365 and native CRM integrations help extend their helpdesk and customer service capabilities even more. For example, users can match the caller ID feature to their Microsoft 365 and database contacts to unify all customer information.
Integrations are available with Bitrix24, Connectwise, Freshdesk HubSpot, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft Teams, mongoDB, Salesforce, vtiger, Zendesk, Zoho, and others.
3CX is completely free for up to 10 users, which makes it ideal for small businesses and startups.
- Includes mobile apps for iOS and Android devices
- Available as a cloud-based help desk (hosted) or self-managed
- Includes helpful features such as Listen in, Whisper, and Barge in
- Microsoft 365 integration is limited to their Pro plan or above
- Skill-based routing is limited to their top-level paid plan (Enterprise)
Hiver is a multi-channel help desk software built for Google Workspace. It helps teams deliver fast and empathetic customer service from the Google tools they're already familiar with. Over 1,500 companies — including well-known names like Flexport, Pluralsight, Harvard University, Appsflyer, Oxford Business Group, and Upwork — are powered by Hiver.
Why I picked Hiver: Hiver's software works in tandem with Google Workspace to add help desk functionality to your Gmail inbox. This means you can assign, track, and collaborate on customer emails, as well as run advanced analytics and automations from your Gmail interface, without sacrificing any time to learn new software or switch tabs. Once you install their plugin, you'll see a set of extra options in your Gmail sidebar to help you manage multiple support channels, including email and live chat, from a familiar user interface.
Plus, in addition to customer service, their platform supports other use cases, including finance operations, people operations, and IT service management (ITSM). Using their software as your IT help desk, your IT teams can track and collaborate on fixing technical issues from a shared team inbox.
Hiver Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features for Hiver include auto-assignment of incoming customer emails, email tags for better organization of queries, and email templates that allow for standardization of customer responses. Hiver also helps support teams monitor and improve performance by offering real-time analytics, custom SLAs, and customer satisfaction surveys.
Managers can use it to assign inbound messages to members of their support team and add notes to each contact record to provide further details. Managers can also use their team performance features to keep an eye on key metrics such as response time and resolution time to gauge the quality of their customer or IT support.
Agents can easily see all their assigned tickets in the inbox and can 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.
Integrations are available with Aircall, Asana, Jira, Okta, QuickBooks, Salesforce, Slack, WhatsApp, and Zapier.
- Customer support is available 24/7 via chat or email
- Includes knowledge base capabilities
- Can track Service Level Agreement details and send automatic notifications of any SLA breaches
- Advanced features like skill-based & round robin ticket assignments are limited to their top-level paid plan (Elite)
- Requires a Google Workspace account
Help Scout 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.
Why I picked Help Scout: This platform landed a place in this list thanks to its ability to 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 be automatically routed to someone in your sales team.
Help Scout Features and Integrations:
One standout feature worth noting is Help Scout's powerful website chat widget. This allows customers to contact your support team from the webpage they're browsing. You can also add additional information to the widget, such as help documents or a knowledge base search bar. Within the widget, 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.
Integrations are available with over 100 popular business tools including Aircall, Constant Contact, Google Apps, Gravity Forms, HubSpot, Jira, Intercom, Mailchimp, Salesforce, Slack, SurveyMonkey, and Trello. Further integrations are available by connecting Help Scout to a paid Zapier account.
- Includes mobile apps for iOS and Android devices
- Decent feature coverage in their most affordable plan
- Has an intuitive and user-friendly interface
- Additional charges apply to send proactive messages to engage customers
- Enterprise security and HIPPA compliance features are only available as add-ons
Intercom is an automated customer service solution and help desk platform that proactively cuts down on the volume of support requests using the power of automation tools and AI-powered chatbots and widgets.
Why I picked Intercom: I included Intercom in this list because of their proactive support functionalities which help 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. Their AI-powered bot, called Fin, can also accurately answer your customers' questions with zero training by drawing information from Intercom's integrated knowledge management system.
Intercom Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features that help you streamline your live help include Intercom's help desk ticketing system, ticket routing, templated responses, and collaboration tools. Intercom lets customers contact your support team from within your product or website, as well as via channels like social media and email. You can add resources to your chat widget and even customize what shows up depending on the page your customers are contacting you from.
Meanwhile, agents can access important customer information such as past conversations and issue details. Other advanced features 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.
Integrations are available with Aircall, Facebook, GitHub, Jira Software, Salesforce, Statuspage, Stripe, Zendesk Support, and numerous other platforms through their App Store.
- Their AI chatbot is included in all their plans
- The ability to save replies for future use saves teams time
- Decent reporting features are included in all plans
- Social media integrations are limited to Pro or Premium plans
- Ticket assignment rules aren't available in their Starter plan
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.
Why I picked HelpDesk: I included HelpDesk because I like their collaboration features. They make it easy for agents to tag other people in a post to get specialist help. Also, these side 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.
Another feature I found useful is their integrated AI text adjustments tool that helps agents adjust the tone and wording of their responses to make them more polite, formal, or casual, depending on your needs. It also automatically detects obvious grammar mistakes to ensure they're corrected before your response is sent back to your customer, improving the quality of your responses.
HelpDesk Standout Features and Integrations:
Standout features include 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.
Integrations are available with ChatBot, GitHub, HubSpot, Jira, LiveChat, Salesforce, Shopify, and Zapier.
- Offers customers the option to rate agents after receiving their help
- Ticket merging feature can combine numerous tickets from the same customer into one
- Includes many advanced features (such as AI text enhancements) in the basic level plan
- White label branding is only available for Enterprise plan customers
- Limited native software integrations
Best for providing remote access support
15-day free trial available
Best for setting up automatic ticket routing rules
14-day free trial
|From $19/user/month (billed annually)||Website|
Best workflow builder with automations
15-day free trial
Best help desk software for IT services
30-day free trial
|Pricing upon request||Website|
Best help desk and knowledge base in one
30-day free trial
|From $9/user/month (billed annually)||Website|
Best for managing multiple communication methods
Free for up to 10 users
|From $175/year (10 users)||Website|
Best help desk software that works inside Gmail
7-day free trial
|From $15/user/month (billed annually)||Website|
Best help desk software for creating no-code automations
15-day free trial
Best help desk chat widget for websites & apps
14-day free trial
|From $74/month (billed annually)||Website|
Best help desk and ticketing software for ease of use
14-day free trial
Best for advanced telephony features
Best for its mix of live support and chatbots
- ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus
Best help desk software for IT support
- Jira Service Management
Best help desk software for internal departments
Best for an advanced customer self-service portal
Best for a B2B focused customer service platform
- SolarWinds Service Desk
Best IT service management (ITSM) solution
- Salesforce Service Cloud
Best cloud-based help desk and customer service software suite
Best help desk software for online businesses
- ProProfs Help Desk
Best for managing customer emails using shared inbox
- Sprinklr Modern Care Lite
Best AI-powered customer service software
- Symphony SummitAI
Best AI-powered service management solution for enterprise organizations
Best ticketless help desk software
- Hubspot Service Hub
Best help desk software with additional CRM and marketing outreach features
- GoTo Resolve
Best web-based help desk software for remote teams
Best help desk tool for ecommerce businesses
Selection Criteria for Help Desk Software
If you're wondering how I selected the best help desk software, I'm happy to break it all down for you. First of all, I started off by reviewing recent help desk software market data and publicly available user satisfaction ratings to create my long list of help desk vendors to assess.
Next, using my own experience in customer experience as a guide, I created a list of the key criteria that are most important for help desk software. I then used these criteria to compare how each help desk provider stacked up against the rest.
I empathize with how much time it takes to source the right software for a job. That's why I do this work, so that you don't have to. I've been using and reviewing help desk software for years so you can trust me to do the heavy lifting and compile all the facts you need to make your final decision.
Most help desk platforms offer similar base features such as multi-channel support, chat widgets, and collaboration tools. For any system to land a place in this list, it needed to fulfill the following basic functionalities first:
- Have the ability to track customer support tickets using a ticket number, tag, or by some other means.
- Offer some sort of customer self-service portal, where customers can access key information themselves, proactively. This could include an FAQ section, a community forum, or an integrated knowledge base.
- Channel integration capabilities that combine requests from popular sources (email, live chat, phone, social media, web forms, etc.) into one unified user interface for your agents.
In addition to the core functionalities above, I also assessed the following key features to make my final selections for this list of the best help desk software:
- Scalable customer service desks: The ability to add or remove the number of customer service desks according to ticket volume during high (e.g., boxing day) and low periods (e.g., summer vacation).
- 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 media channels, and more.
- Collaboration: These features allow agents to collaborate to solve issues faster. It includes features like tagging, messaging, transfers, and whisper mode.
- Chat widgets: Many help desk systems allow you to install 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 equipped to help. This typically works by scanning the message for keywords that suggest why the person is messaging.
- Templates and processes: I looked 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, automatic call distribution (ACD), and interactive voice response (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.
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 a community forum for end-users. To assess this, I reviewed the structure of each software systems menu, and how easy it was to access key features.
Any help desk solution needs to be easy for support agents to use. The usability of a software system is closely tied to the design of their user interface, but there's more to it than that. I also look for additional features that make software intuitive and easy to use. That includes no-code functionality so all service leaders can create automation and processes, and AI-powered features to help your team access information faster and categorize tickets and tasks more efficiently.
To help you achieve ultimate efficiency, software integrations are key. Your help desk software should connect to all the channels you use to offer customer support. In addition, you'll also want to connect it to other data sources you're using, such as your CRM or ecommerce platform. To help you figure that out, I've noted key software integrations for each help desk in this list. I've also noted whether a system has an API to support custom software integrations too.
The tools on this list are available at a wide range of price points using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. Paying more typically gives you access to the more advanced features required by enterprise support teams, but small-business pricing is always a bonus! In general, you can expect to pay a monthly fee ranging between $9 to $150 per user or agent, per month. Also, most of the systems in this list do offer a free trial, which I recommend taking full advantage of. This will give you a first-hand feel for how the software will work for your particular business case.
What is help desk software used for?
What are the benefits of using help desk software?
How does help desk software work?
How can I choose the best help desk software for my organization?
What's the difference between help desk software and customer service software?
How can help desk software help with service level agreement (SLA) management?
Other Types of Help Desk Software
If you're looking for a specific sub-type of help desk software, one of these lists may be a better fit for your needs:
- Help Desk Software for Small Businesses
- Email Help Desk Software
- Internal Help Desk Software
- Enterprise Help Desk Software
- Help Desk Knowledge Bases for Customer Service
- Simple Help Desk Software for Ease of Use
- Online Help Desk Software
- Cloud Help Desk Software
If you don't mind fewer features or active-user limitations, you might also like my list of the best free help desk software too.
Other Software for CX Pros
Are you looking for a different type of customer service software? You may want to check out these other top 10 lists as well:
- Customer Service Software
- Live Chat Software to Connect with Customers
- Call Center Software For Small Business
- Customer Service Automation Software
- Customer Service Ticketing Software
- Call Queue Software
Find the Right Help Desk Software with these Next Steps
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 trial or a free product demo. This will give you a better idea of the pros and cons of each solution. If you're running a small customer support operation, you may even be able to get away with using a free plan too (though note, the features will be limited).
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