Zendesk Pros and Cons: What’s The Best Help Desk Software

What are the pros and cons of Zendesk?
The pros and cons of Zendesk revolve around the key help desk features that it offers. It provides comprehensive tools that reinforce omnichannel customer support efforts. Moreover, it has a modular architecture for easy configuration. However, its Answer Bot is not the best in the market as of yet. Luckily, it still works for generic hybrid AI-human customer support workflows.

If you’re looking for a good help desk software for your company, you’ve probably heard about Zendesk. After all, it is one of the leading trusted solutions on the market. However, before you decide to purchase it, you must remember that due care is needed in making comparisons of top help desk software. This way, you can be sure that you are getting the most value for your money. To help you decide whether this solution is the best fit for your company, our B2B experts created a detailed review of Zendesk pros and cons. 

In this article on the pros and cons of Zendesk, we’ll comb through the software’s core features such as omnichannel support, ticketing, and agent support, among others. We will also discuss how Zendesk features can help your team offer excellent customer service (or not). Moreover, we will provide few use cases here and there so you could gauge how you can use Zendesk for practical scenarios pertinent to your business. 

pros and cons of zendesk

In recent years, around 67% of consumers worldwide feel that customer service has improved. This is a sign of great things to come. There are many market factors that drive customer service to a better trajectory. We can say that one of them is customer demand. Yes, customers demand better overall service and after-sales support. They want personalization and quicker responses. Also, they demand to have these on all channels available — online and offline. In the US alone, 47% use three to five online channels and 24% even use six or more channels to get support.

Source: Microsoft

This is especially apparent in the US. In fact, researchers found that the majority of customers abandon their purchases due to poor customer service.

Moreover, 91% of unsatisfied customers leave without warning. This can only mean that the power has shifted to the demand side. Many reasons may have led to this change. However, one involving the supply side stands out: the number of suppliers increased thanks to the democratization of technology.

Put simply, customers today enjoy more choices. They don’t need to have bad experiences or take a fraction of disrespect from one supplier. Customers can just proceed to take their business elsewhere. Thus, commercial establishments need to up their customer service game across all channels. Adopting the right help desk software is just one of the many things they can do.

Before we delve into the pros and cons of Zendesk, let’s find out what it is exactly.

What is Zendesk?

zendesk dashboard example
The Zendesk help desk solution is widely known for its multi-channel support, reliable ticketing system, advanced analytics, and excellent self-service options. However, it goes well beyond these functionalities. It offers a complete suite of application modules for customer service. The whole suite is made up of a total of four products: Support, Guide, Chat, and Talk. All of these form what is called the Zendesk Suite. When used together to the best of their potentials, these products provide a total solution to help firms improve their customer service performance.

The Support and Guide modules allow your customer service team to have everything in one place. Zendesk Support allows you to provide personalized assistance easily on different channels. It enables you to manage tickets and issues through a customized workflow. On the other hand, the Guide module supports your customer support team and provides your customers with a self-service portal. This knowledge base can contain FAQs, product details, policies, and many others. It provides both your support and customers with easily searchable detailed information.

The Chat and Talk modules provide you with channels where you can connect with your customers. Zendesk Chat lets you engage customers over mobile apps, popular messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, and even over websites. On the other hand, Zendesk Talk is a call center software that enables you to provide voice-based support. Moreover, the two contain robust analytics and reporting tools so you can monitor and track your performance.

You can use all the features for free for a period of time to see if the software matches your needs.


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Key features of Zendesk:

  • Ticketing Management with Automated Workflow
  • Public and Private Forums
  • Screencasting
  • Chat Support
  • Call Center Support
  • Knowledge Base and Help Desk
  • Open API
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Export Tickets to CSV
  • Branded Customer-facing Web Interface
  • Group Rules and Macros
  • Social Media Support

Pros and Cons of Zendesk

1. Unified Workspace

The Zendesk Suite provides your company with a unified workspace with a contextual interface. This helps each team member stay within the right context of every customer interaction. This is useful in instances where your agents work in shifts, and each representative doesn’t have a strict account. What this means is that work orders or tickets get passed around from one agent to another all the time.

For example, customer X contacted Agent A for a regular maintenance job. Thus, Agent A created the issue ticket for it. However, agent A is not available the day before and the day of the maintenance. A top help desk solution allows other agents to continue with the followup and coordination without losing sight of the context. This visibility can only be provided by a unified workspace. This is something that Zendesk delivers well.

With this, your customer service team can pull up all relevant customer information to have a continuity not just in service but also in relationships.

Moreover, the workspace for Zendesk is clean and designed for intuitive use. Getting used to it is a breeze. It is beauty and functionality weaved into a complete package.

Zendesk Unified Workspace

The Zendesk Suite provides easy-to-use and intuitive dashboards fitted with comprehensive customer service features.

2. Omnichannel Support

The Zendesk Suite’s unified workspace allows you to bridge your support and service teams with your customers across different channels. This is also embedded in Zendesk’s context-preserving unified workspace. This means that it doesn’t matter what channel customers contact you from. You get to continue your conversations and resolving the issues without losing context.

For example, let’s say customer X wants to follow up on a regular maintenance visit for his machine. He was contacted before by the agent through the phone. Now, customer X is at a meeting, and his boss wants him to make a follow up on the said maintenance. Customer X feels that it would be rude to go out of the room for a phone call, and it might take longer. He doesn’t want to miss much of the meeting. Thanks to the omnichannel support from Zendesk, you can receive inquiries from customer X through different channels other than a phone.

With Zendesk Support in your suite, your customers can get to you using mobile, web, email, Twitter, or Facebook. Also, you get to contact them using just one tool. This helps you maintain focus and provides your users with a seamless experience. This is what being omnichannel (not just multichannel) is for customers.

Moreover, this lifts the hassle from your support team. With Zendesk, they will no longer switch windows, programs, or devices. Omnichannel support is a prerequisite for all help desk platforms, and Zendesk offers just that.

Zendesk Omnichannel Support

You can browse past chats and conversations from any channel using Zendesk.

3. Ticketing and Routing

Zendesk has robust ticketing and routing capabilities. It includes a ticket forms module that allows your team to create multiple support requests. You can configure these forms to have a unique set of fields. This way, it is easier for agents to know the exact support items that your customers need.

Moreover, Zendesk’s ticketing module doesn’t just allow you to customize requests. It also enables you to be more transparent. With the platform, you can make your customized tickets visible to both your agents and customers. This makes your business more transparent. Customers love this. Remember, 86% of Americans state that transparency from businesses is very important. Thus, this very feature could very well save you and gain you more customers.

Also, Zendesk has a skill-based routing function. This module automatically assigns tickets to the proper agents based on presence, workload, and skills. Furthermore, there are predefined ticket actions available, as well. These allow your team to respond quickly to standard requests saving time and increasing efficiency.

These features do not just allow you to provide customers with the right support. They also ensure that you are not overloading your workforce as well.

However, like all tools, there are best practices to use it. With Zendesk (and other help desk solutions), can take a long time to configure. Even when you are already live. You have to optimize and change your configurations as you go. For large organizations, this can be a little complicated.

Zendesk Ticketing Dashboard

This is a screenshot of the easy-to-use Zendesk Ticketing Dashboard.

4. Agent Support

The best help desk solutions allow businesses to provide support to their agents so they can serve customers better. Zendesk does it with its Guide module. As mentioned, this provides a knowledge base for both representatives and customers.

In its back-end application, one handy feature in this module is the Knowledge Capture App. This provides you with a way to leverage the collective knowledge of your team. The feature allows agents to create new work-related content that can be shared with other representatives. Moreover, agents can link articles with tickets and even flag contents for improvements.

By doing this, your agents can create and store knowledge to use in-house. You can also use this information for training someday. Moreover, you can leverage this knowledge base module to help preserve knowledge within your organization despite employee churn. It is hard to build good customer service skills and improve them. Information about best practices should always be kept handy.

Lastly, Zendesk Guide has a built-in reporting feature to help businesses identify what content is working or not. This enables you to understand what not to write and what to write next. These analytics can also be shared with your team. So, your team can curate your knowledge base together.

zendesk knowledge base

This is a screenshot of the Zendesk internal knowledge base for agents.

5. Analytics and Reporting

Today, in a business milieu where data is considered king, you can’t do high-performance customer support without good analytics and reporting tools. This is true in many cases and may even be more so when it comes to customer service.

Unlike other business processes like ecommerce and portfolio management, customer service analytics is the right mix of qualitative and quantitative techniques. You can’t just rely solely on numbers. Also, you can’t just rely on feelings. You need to attach numbers on feelings and also make interpretations of the numbers you get.

Jut like other top digital tools; you don’t have to create spreadsheets yourself to track data on Zendesk. The solution includes an Explore module where you can view and analyze information easily. Moreover, it does this throughout different channels. Even the reporting is omnichannel as it supports email, phone, chat, and social media. Explore integrates this and measures how your brand interacts with your market easily.

You can also customize it to your own particular needs. For instance, you can configure it to have qualitative variables, including customer satisfaction and other surveyable qualitative metrics. This is what you want with your customer service platform. Anything less is unacceptable, especially with the price being placed on data today.

Considering analytics statistics and sentiments, you’d do well with a help desk solution that is data-driven. To wit, Zendesk provides you with one of the best analytics and reporting modules for customer service today. It has analytics for all of its modules from Support to Guide. These include analytics for its AI chatbot as well. With Zendesk, you can keep track of every metric you need.

Zendesk Analytics and Reporting

The analytics dashboard on the Zendesk Suite.

6. Answer Bot

Customers need 24/7 support and businesses need to cater to this. However, many firms don’t have the budget or manpower to pull this off. What’s more, is not all businesses get much traffic in terms of customer service concerns. That said, it would be impractical for some to set up 24/7 online support teams.

Thus, many customer support teams use AI-powered chatbots. Luckily, the Zendesk system offers this function in the form of the Zendesk Answer Bot.

The Answer Bot is recommended by Zendesk to be deployed as a hybrid chatbot. The bot works alongside your support team by helping answer your customers’ questions. It is marketed as the “only thing easier than self-service”. The reason for this is Answer Bot provides quick answers to customers’ inquiries from different channels using machine learning. It offers self-service articles from your knowledge base, a feature which we’ll be discussing in the next section.

In case the customer doesn’t find the self-service articles helpful, it will route the customer to a human agent. It is also multilingual and has open API capabilities. Thus, you can deploy it on all channels.

However, Answer Bot is not really the “most intelligent” chatbot around. This means that you cannot outsource your customer service fully to it (for now). It is still best to use it as help for your human support. This way, you can provide better-personalized service.

Zendesk Answer Bot Control Panel

A screenshot of the back-end controls of Zendesk’s Answer Bot.

7. Customer Knowledge Base

Like all top help desk platforms, Zendesk provides users with a customer-facing self-service platform. This allows consumers to search for related articles that can answer these questions. Combine this with the Answer Bot and the other features discussed, and you’ll have a set of 360-degree support features.

Remember, 91% of shoppers would likely use an online knowledge base than go directly to a service representative. Thus, it is important to cater to this preference of a significant fraction of customers out there.

Zendesk, through its Zendesk Guide, also provides a customer-facing self-service portal. It is the same module that allows you and your customer service team to create useful articles for internal use. Also, once your internal team has written useful articles, you can have this polished for customer use.

Furthermore, the customer-facing portal can be branded. Thus, you’ll keep your customer portal consistent with your other touchpoints. Also, it is automatically search-engine optimized. So, customers would easily find it on the internet. Moreover, Zendesk Guide allows you to create multiple self-service portals for different brands, audiences, and products. This module is truly a win.

Zendesk Customer-Facing Knowledge Base

Zendesk provides its clients with a customer-facing knowledge base interface. For example, this knowledge base for Canva was created using Zendesk.

Is Zendesk the Right Product for You?

Choosing the right solution can be hard at times. There are many things to consider, like its ease-of-use, core features, pricing plan, and many more. Moreover, you also have to think about whether it will fit your organization’s culture among other intangibles. So, is Zendesk the right solution for your company?

As one of the leading help desk solutions on the market, Zendesk will be able to provide you with comprehensive tools to reinforce your customer support efforts. It is designed to meet the needs of all types and sizes of support teams across industries. The platform is also great at helping you provide seamless omnichannel support and automate different support-related processes. Moreover, its robust knowledge base creator will help your employees provide support, and your customers find self-service articles.

What’s more, Zendesk provides great analytics and reporting across its modules from Support to Guide. So, it’s great for data-driven teams that want in-depth insights into their performance.

To conclude, Zendesk is a great option for your company. You certainly won’t go wrong trying it out. We suggest that you go beyond reading our pros and cons of  Zendesk and actually sign up for Zendesk free trial to know the features firsthand and at no cost. In case after the trial, you feel like it’s not the right fit, you can always choose from other leading platforms on the market. 

Remember, adopting a help desk platform is just a part of companies’ movement towards digital transformation today. Many more SaaS solutions are getting added to their technology stack every year. You can read this article on digital transformation if you think you need references and tips on how to pursue it.

Christopher Robinson

By Christopher Robinson

Christopher Robinson is a senior productivity research analyst who specializes in optimizing online collaboration and project management using Scrum and agile approaches. In his work, he always emphasizes the need for distributed work training and the formation of efficient work habits. His work was mentioned in various business publications, including Entrepreneur and InfoQ. He’s a strong proponent of the GTD model. He has been cooperating with the FinancesOnline team for 5 years now, and his publications always focus on practical aspects of productivity tools that can have an actual, transformative impact on a company.

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