The best help desk software solution for small businesses is Zendesk. It is a comprehensive yet highly scalable solution that supports multi-channel options, self-service options, and ticket management. Moreover, it has workflow automation tools that streamline help desk processes.
Since customer service is often the winning edge in a competitive market, small firms and startups can now leverage the benefits of affordable help desk software solutions even against bigger competitors.
However, what combination of features should you consider, and what terms to keep in mind? Which products are worth checking out first? To simplify your research, we’ve prepared this summary of the leading help desk software for small businesses. This will help you compare the important features and unique propositions of each popular vendor and quickly find one that will match your business requirements.
Many businesses tend to think they provide excellent customer service, but one study suggests the exact opposite: most customers believe they receive poor service. Companies that had closed this customer service gap were able to succeed and win more loyal customers.
Source: Bain CustomerLed Growth Diagnostic QuestionnaireDesigned by
Making substantial investments to enhance customer experience, such as the use of help desk systems to improve customer support quality, is gaining ground among businesses.
There are certain factors to consider when looking for the right help desk system. The key features to look out for include customer management, user interface, ticket management, collaboration, security, and integrations, among others.
You may also read this in-depth guide on what help desk software is if you need a refresher or want to know the fundamentals of this software category.
Zendesk is a go-to help desk solution with a suite of products that work together to help you leverage the quality of your customer support. Its intuitive interface and responsive design allow you to easily deploy the system in your workflows. It supports email, live chat, social media, phone, and SMS. It also allows for effective collaboration, letting your agents solve issues efficiently and be more productive.
There’s a wide range of processes you can streamline with the software. For instance, if you have frequent customer inquiries that are constantly recurring, your agents can create standard replies by developing their own macros.
Users can also see a personalized view of their queue according to conditions such as ticket status, group, and assignee. It also enables empowers your customers and agents to utilize available resources for self-service such as knowledge base (KB), customer portal, help center, and online community.
Zendesk has various plans available for small businesses like yours. You may choose from products such as a knowledge base, call center, and live chat that are available for free and affordable premium plans.
Detailed Zendesk Review
Freshdesk is a leading help desk software solution for small businesses. Its robust software is packed with vital and advanced features for your customer support service at a cost-effective, scalable price. Some of its key features include ticketing, self-service, automation, customization, collaboration, reporting and analytics, and a multichannel helpdesk.
The product is intuitive and easy to use. Hence, you and your help desk team won’t have to spend much time learning how to navigate around the platform, and you can immediately utilize the solution. Its plans are great for small businesses as they are scalable to meet business demands as it grows. It even offers a free plan for an unlimited number of agents with basic customer support features. To know if it fits your requirements, you can sign up for a 21-day free trial to test drive the software and experience its features firsthand without commitment.
An area where Freshdesk excels is its dashboards. It gives you complete visibility and access to your contacts, tickets, reports, and forums, among others. Tickets that are unresolved, unassigned, due, on hold, and open are easily visible from the dashboard so you can ensure your team won’t overlook any tickets and requests. All conversations are tracked in a single place, and all support-related communications are centralized so your team can resolve issues together and increase productivity.
Freshdesk now has a sandbox that generates a testing venue to allow admins to securely try new settings and functionalities within the app without affecting any customer or agent. The new Freshdesk audit log keeps you informed about what’s happening in your support desk and allows you to easily keep track of important changes in the desk. It also has a social signals feature, which uses AI that scours the internet searching for relevant tweets for your support team, as well as a “to-do” list to remind you and your team of customer call-backs and other important tasks.
Detailed Freshdesk Review
SysAid is a help desk and IT service management solution that combines asset management, automation, and business intelligence in one platform. It offers all the essential tools you’ll need to manage your IT support—ticket management, chat system, industry benchmarking, IT asset management, and more. It also has a self-service portal where end users can submit tickets, check IT announcements, request services, and access the knowledge base by themselves.
Another notable feature is Sysaid’s automation feature. With it, manual and repetitive tasks are automated, reducing the amount of workload of your service desk agents and allowing them to focus on more productive tasks.
Moreover, Sysaid lets you customize incident forms for more detailed reports. For instance, you can detail to your IT team the urgency of the issue. For common issues, you can use a pre-populated service record template or load it depending on the category indicated in the ticket.
Detailed SysAid Review
Salesforce Service Cloud is Salesforce’s answer to the customer support concerns of businesses of all sizes, including small businesses. This software offers a plethora of functionalities for helping you manage everything from tracking support requests to routing inquiries. It consolidates service requests from multiple channels in one convenient location so you can sort, queue, and accommodate them more efficiently. Moreover, it has great contact management tools that will help you improve important customer support team metrics and KPIs.
What makes Salesforce Service Cloud really stand out is its simplicity. Setting it up is a straightforward process as you can use it straight out-of-the-box. Learning to use it is also easy, thanks to Trailhead, the official Salesforce online learning experience platform, which has Service Cloud modules. This app is also scalable, making it an ideal solution to accompany you on your journey as you expand your small business later on. Its Einstein AI comes in handy in automating many of your repetitive processes, enabling you to finish more tasks in a shorter time and focus on more critical aspects of your business.
This comprehensive solution also equips you with tools for case management, process automation, omnichannel routing, analytics, call center management, and telephony integration. More importantly, it also allows users to create self-service portals for them to utilize. For pricing, the vendor currently offers three plans that can support small teams to enterprise users.
Detailed Salesforce Service Cloud Review
Freshservice is a service desk built for IT support. Teams can easily use the system as its UI is intuitive and modern. Hence, minimal training is required. It is also customizable to the needs of IT and non-IT support. The multi-channel support automates tasks and handles support issues raised from various channels such as email, phone, chat, in-person, or self-service portals. It’s packed with features, such as incident management, asset management, service catalog, reporting, integrations, and gamification.
For support staff on the road, they can provide support with its mobile service desk app for Android and iOS devices. The plans for Freshservice are suitable for small businesses as it’s available for small and growing teams. You may even use its free plan if you have up to 3 agents and 100 end users.
Thanks to recent enhancements, users can now use APIs to create, list, view, delete, and update locations. In its project management function, all-time entries will now be monitored in the task activities of a project. In asset management, group-level access controls can now be performed. For instance, asset management can allocate assets to groups, while agents who are part of the corresponding group are the only ones with the permission to view or change these assets. Support for several new regions for Amazon Web Services (AWS) integration is now possible, including for Seoul, Ohio, Mumbai, Beijing, and Ningxia.
Detailed Freshservice Review
Zoho Desk is a context-aware help desk system that provides solutions for customers, agents, and managers. Customers get a timely response in an accessible channel. Agents have the right tools to increase productivity and provide quality support. Managers receive data-driven information for making informed decisions. Additionally, it automates redundant tasks so your team can focus on high-priority tasks.
It crunches performance metrics effectively to help you identify patterns and trends in your team. This helps you develop strategic improvements for better performance. With key features, including a multi-brand help center, multi-channel support, contract management, multi-department management, and role-based control, among others, this app is a robust solution for the help desk processes of small businesses. It’s also priced on a per-agent basis. It even starts with a free plan for up to three agents.
Zia, an enhanced, context-driven AI, is a new Zoho Desk offering that provides several critical support functions like anomaly recognition and sentiment evaluation. Zia also works in tandem with ASAP, Zoho Desk’s self-service tool, by guiding customers as they search for solutions. Zoho also recently launched a new process management tool called Blueprint to help your agents easily create processes to allow for more efficient, stable, and reliable customer experiences.
Detailed Zoho Desk Review
Wix Answers is an all-in-one help desk platform that is packed with smart tools like a multi-channel ticketing system, built-in call center, knowledge base, and other features that you need to provide efficient and timely customer support, all for free. Because all its functionalities are already integrated within the industry-leading Wix infrastructure, you can be sure that you’ll be able to deploy the correct and timely help desk solution that you need, and even much more.
Just like when building a Wix website, setting up your own Wix Answers help desk is easy and can be completed in a few minutes, even for non-tech users. Once you’ve chosen a template, you need to customize its features to match your brand, integrate the needed articles, publish it, and you have an elegant and functional help desk of your own, without costing you a dime.
Wix Answers’ knowledge base tool allows you to readily build and manage guides, product information, FAQs, and other library assets. Its multi-channel support ticket system enables you to easily handle customer concerns and achieve quick issue resolutions. You can even embed a widget in any area within your help desk portal so that your customers can self-serve themselves when searching for answers to their questions at their own convenience.
Wix Answers is also very flexible and scalable to suit your specific needs. It recently added the capability for help desk agents and support staff to open tickets on behalf of their clients. This innovative feature allows your team to assume a more proactive role in resolving actual issues that have emerged even when your customers have not communicated them directly to you and your team. Being able to solve an issue before it affects your customers does not only help you reduce the number of tickets, it also helps you increase customer satisfaction.
Detailed Wix Answers Review
HubSpot Service Hub provides the tools necessary for a more organized, efficient, and frictionless customer service. It is a complete business suite that offers built-in automation and reporting features, allowing you to turn customer chat and emails into tickets. The software lets you organize, prioritize, track, and resolve your tickets.
With powerful customer service tools, HubSpot Service Hub helps you connect with your prospects and turn them into loyal customers. One particularly handy feature is the conversations inbox, which turns your email inboxes, live chat, forms, and social media conversations into tickets and places them in one universal inbox.
ServiceHub also comes with powerful automation tools for ticket routing, escalation, and task creation. Plus, automated feedback responses give you a head start on your marketing strategies. You can also use the live chat function for contextual and personalized conversations with your customers.
As part of the HubSpot suite, Service Hub works well with the other HubSpot tools such as Marketing Hub and Sales Hub. Together, they make up the whole HubSpot CRM system, which gives you complete functionalities to boost customer satisfaction and improve business efficiency.
Detailed HubSpot Service Hub Review
Atera is an easy-to-use, all-in-one help desk suite designed to help IT professionals and managed service providers address their remote monitoring and management and professional services automation needs. Along with its intuitive ticketing, billing, and reporting functionalities, Atera enables you to closely collaborate with your clients and take care of their concerns without any difficulty.
As a complete IT management platform, you can have total control over the entire gamut of your business. Atera allows you to remotely manage and monitor the IT infrastructures of your SMB clients, automate their systems, and resolve their problems as they emerge, which enables cost-savings and prevents them from getting worse.
With Atera, you can have the option of creating tickets in a variety of ways, for your IT support team and your clients. Each ticket is instantly synced between your Atera platform and your client’s Customer Portal, which guarantees real-time communication. The Customer Portal also features a knowledge base which supports self-service among your clients, helps further hasten issue resolution, enhance your IT team’s expertise, and improve your clients’ user experience.
Detailed Atera Review
NICE inContact CXone is a leading customer experience platform that helps contact centers provide excellent customer experiences throughout the customer journey. This cloud-based solution helps businesses build seamless customer experiences for better customer satisfaction. NICE inContact CXone can be used not only for business process outsourcing but also for retail, healthcare, nonprofit organizations, and more.
The open cloud platform of CXone consists of multiple components. Its digital self-service component features conversational AI and chatbots that can serve as 24/7 virtual agents. Meanwhile, the journey orchestration product helps agents provide personalized service to customers based on their history, context, behavior type, and more.
On the other hand, the workforce engagement module of CXone helps call center managers forecast business demands. It also keeps them attuned to organizational goals while supporting agents through coaching and gamification techniques. CXone also has a customer analytics component that uses AI to analyze customer conversations to drive better outcomes. AI is also a key component in their automation solution, which uses virtual attendants and bots to multiply the strength of your workforce. All these solutions are housed on a platform that can be integrated with your CRM and Unified communications as a Service (UCaaS). Making your own custom integrations is also possible through RESTful APIs.
Detailed NICE inContact CXone Review
vtenex is a CRM software with help desk capabilities that helps businesses combine their CRM with marketing, sales, and after-sales in one platform. With vtenext, businesses can efficiently collect leads, manage business processes, and automate service processes. vtenext can be used by businesses of all sizes and can be used in various industries, including energy, engineering, pharmaceutical, and more.
One of the main features of vtenext is its marketing capabilities that allow users to create campaigns and manage leads. Customers can be confident in the way the vendor processes their data as the solution is compliant with General Data Protection Regulation. Most importantly, the CRM component of the solution can provide omnichannel support to customers. In this way, teams can assist customers whether they send it from their website, mail, phone, or other channels. With the solution, they can route the request to the appropriate department and coordinate with others for its prompt resolution.
The developers of vtenext see to it that not only external customers are taken care of, but also internal customers. With its human resources management capabilities, users can manage employee data, create custom training plans, and facilitate onboarding. And with its open-source framework, it can be easily integrated with other solutions.
Detailed vtenext Review
Velaro is a live chat performance management that allows businesses of all sizes to improve the customers connect with them. This Software as a Service solution lets you configure and tailor your live chat or bots to your unique needs. With Velaro, customers can engage with customers better within a secure computing environment. This flexible solution can be adapted to the needs of different industries.
One of the distinctive features of Velaro is its call routing and workflow features. Skill-based chat routing ensures that customers talk to an agent with the right skills to resolve their concerns. Meanwhile, you can better organize your agents’ workday, thanks to agent scheduling. On the other hand, Velaro has a wide range of reports available to agents and leaders to analyze and improve their performance. For example, you can get a glimpse of support time, total deal size, shopping cart abandonment, and other key performance indicators. All these features are housed in an environment with robust security features like 256-bit SSL security, role-based security, and IP address blocking.
Velaro offers three pricing plans: Small Business, Professional, and Enterprise. All plans include basic live chat features, visitor monitoring, skill-based routing, and agent scheduling. Velaro can be integrated with a wide variety of apps, including Microsoft Dynamics, Netsuite, and Salesforce.
Detailed Velaro Review
InvGate Service Desk is an ITSM, help desk, and ticketing software that enables IT teams to deliver outstanding customer support. The solution is targeted towards global IT teams and has three main product lines: Service Desk, Insight, and Assets. With InvGate Service Desk, teams can enjoy streamlined IT support, complete visibility into their service desk, and allowing help agents focus on critical tickets.
At the heart of the solution is its Service Desk product, which has capabilities for analytics, ticketing, workflow automation, and more. For one, service desk analytics gives IT staff real-time performance data and the ability to analyze more than 150 built-in metrics. Teams can get a complete view of their operational performance from an easily understandable dashboard. On the other hand, its ticket management system lets users apply varying service levels so they can better prioritize service requests.
For teams struggling with manual processes and long wait times, Invgate offers a solution through its ticketing workflow capabilities. It features a visual workflow engine that allows users to create a workflow with drag-and-drop motions. For workflow automation, it also has a workflow, editor which lets you map your target processes.
InvGate Service Desk offers quote-based plans for its products. Interested clients can request a quote from the vendor to get a plan that considers their unique needs.
Detailed InvGate Service Desk Review
Vivantio is a service management solution for IT teams and B2B enterprises that helps teams deliver outstanding customer service. This highly configurable solution gives them the tools they need to simplify service operations, optimize their services, and deliver value to the organization. With Vivantio, users can take care of the concerns of internal and external customers alike from one easy-to-use platform.
Vivantio offers three solutions: customer service management, IT service management, and enterprise service management. Its customer service management component lets users manage cases, get customer service feedback, and gives a complete 360-degree view of customers. With the IT service management module, users can set up SLAs for different tickets and manage tasks within your organization. It even lets administrators customize their service management tools themselves without the help of consultants.
On the other hand, enterprise service management allows you to deliver services across various departments. With its ITSM/ITIL functionality, you can create record types that fit your needs. It also has a portal builder for users to put in a request from one central location.
Customers can choose from four pricing plans: Value ($42 per user per month), Vital ($52 per user per month), Velocity ($82 per user per month), and Visionary ($142 per user per month).
Detailed Vivantio Review
VCC Live is a cloud-based contact center software that helps teams and agents perform to the best of their capabilities. This customizable solution steers your contact center to success by giving you a platform to engage with customers from multiple channels, be it voice, email, chat, or SMS. Customers who use VCC Live have reported enjoying smoother workflows, increased efficiency, and savings in terms of time and money.
VCC Live offers four different solutions to address the different needs of its customers. One of these is its customer service solution call and ticketing system capabilities. It features skill-based routing, VIP queues, and unlimited IVR levels and functions so you can manage incoming calls with ease. In the same vein, email routing and automatic email distribution let you sift through your service inbox faster. Meanwhile, its sales teams module includes predictive dialer and power dialer functions, helping agents automate dialing to focus on engaging with customers. VCC Live also has a debt collection solution with real-time payment options to enhance your agents’ debt recovery metrics.
VCC Live has three pricing packages with fixed rates: Standard ($50 per seat per month), Professional ($70 per seat per month), and Multichannel ($85 per seat per month). It also have a Premium plan that is quote-based.
Detailed VCC Live Review
Cayzu is a help desk portal that lets you easily manage all your support inquiries. Using automation, it streamlines your workflows such as redirecting emails with specific subject or descriptions to the right agent and labeling it with high priority—for instance, billing. It also ensures all tickets are active by automatically following up customers who don’t reply to your email and closing the ticket if there’s still no response within a certain number of days.
The software lets you utilize multiple channels for support, whether from your website, email, and social media sites, among others. While not as robust as the other products mentioned, it’s among the most affordable products in the niche that contains the necessary features for a small business’ virtual helpdesk. It has five plans packed with different features that fit your needs, and they’re priced based on the number of your agents.
Recently, Cayzu launched a new agent ticket screen design. You can enjoy the main ticket grid’s merging functionality, new internal notes for improved visibility, visualization enhancements for better merging, extended agent summary and SLA reports, new timesheet export function through the API, and breadcrumbs in end-user websites.
Detailed Cayzu Review
JitBit Helpdesk is a software that’s offered in a hosted version and an on-premise version for small and growing businesses. It is quick to set up so you can immediately start processing support tickets, especially in the cloud-hosted version. The ticketing system has an if this then that (IFTTT ) engine that lets you automate tasks with Automation Rules. These include enabling you to send automatic replies, setting due dates, assigning tickets to technicians, and sending HTTP requests to third-party servers. All this saves time for your team to focus on providing quality customer support.
It also has a team mailbox for collaboration, canned responses and knowledge base, and integrations. JitBit Helpdesk offers plans for its two implementation models that cater to freelancers, startups, and small businesses, which are priced on the total amount of monthly payments, not per user. It’s also scalable as it supports the needs of large companies and enterprises.
Some of its recently added features include KB reporting, various API methods, mobile device login form, enhanced live chat and widget, assets import from CSV, manager-level option for priority modification, various translation improvements, support for out-of-process sessions (for on-premise version), and support for CSV import numeric category ID.
Detailed JitBit HelpDesk Review
For businesses that need an IT help desk software, ManageEngine Service Desk is a robust choice. It’s equipped with key features such as integrations with IT management apps, ITSM workflows, automation, reporting capabilities, codeless customization, and cloud or on-premise implementation models. It also has push notifications and ticket progress tracking to ensure you’re on top of your tickets.
It’s available in flexible plans from which you can start from its Standard plan for the help desk module only and upgrade as soon as you need to scale. This already includes incident management, self-service portal, knowledgebase, multi-site support, SLA management, and help desk reports. Known for having an easy-to-use interface, you can immediately get the software up and running and start using its features.
Recent app enhancements include ManageEngine’s new customizable user interface, which provides greater control to users, project templates for faster and more efficient creation of new project docs, more service request fields, custom schedules, user profile images, and a host of integrations with several online and custom apps.
Detailed ManageEngine ServiceDesk Review
LiveAgent is a help desk solution built for small businesses. It’s equipped with essential solutions, such as ticketing, live chat, phone, social, and support portal. It transforms all your communications into tickets for a more organized and streamlined process of managing your customer support requests. The main products of LiveAgent are packed with tools and features that help you sort and keep up with your customer requests from various channels.
It is available in three SMB-friendly plans that are scalable according to the type of support you want to use, starting from basic tickets and live chat to all-inclusive, full-featured packages. Aside from the cloud-based deployment, you can also purchase the downloadable license for a one-time fee and install it on your server. These options give you access to its robust ticket distribution processes where you collect the information from your customers and route it to the right support representatives.
The app has an agent ranking feature that allows customers to rate your agents’ performance, which helps in ensuring high-quality customer support. It is also completely compatible with Emojis, which users can utilize for chats and in knowledgebase publications. LiveAgent’s new merge ticket functionality provides the capability to combine multiple tickets that share similar issues into a single ticket, which helps streamline actions and resolve issues faster.
Detailed LiveAgent Review
Hipporello Service Desk is a service desk solution that allows users to create customer requests from Trello boards. This straightforward yet robust solution helps service teams to be more productive and manage customer service from one centralized hub. Ideal users of the software are IT, support, and business teams.
With Hipporello, any request from customers can be turned into Trello cards in three easy steps. First, the user has to fill up a form on a branded service desk. Next, when the user clicks on Submit, a Trello board is created and assigned to a support agent. Third, the support agent fulfills the requests, and action taken on the Trello board will trigger an email to be sent to the user who submitted the request.
One of the main features of Hipporello is an intuitive form builder, which makes creating forms easy. Simply drag and drop form elements into the rich form editor. You can also collaborate with others through Trello cards and even set up inbound emails to automatically create a Trello board once a new message is received. The solution is installed as a power-up to Trello and only takes five minutes for an administrator to install, so you can have your own service desk solution in no time.
Detailed Hipporello Service Desk Review
Most of the leading platforms presented here epitomize what an ideal help desk solution should be—features that include easy setup, positive customer experience, intuitive interface for both agents and customers, custom reports, deep integrations, mobile apps, multi-channel support, sufficient knowledge base, automated help ticket management, and brand-friendly customization. You can also look up help desk ticketing system comparisons to see which ones would work best for you.
We encourage you to try the top choices, but of course, this doesn’t mean you forget the rest of the help desk software products included on the list. There will always be a software solution that’s not only suitable for your business but offers functionalities that can further enhance your operations and can truly support expansion and customer loyalty. This is why it is highly recommended that before you select and buy that help desk solution for your business, you must follow several best practices when choosing a platform. These include:
Ultimately, a comprehensive business evaluation is needed to help you determine the issues your small business is facing and what part of the customer support processes you want to enhance or fill in the gap. Again, you can easily check the robust features of today’s best help desk app, for instance, when you sign up for a Zendesk free trial.
You may also read this article on the purpose of a help desk in business if you need to learn the fundamentals of help desk software.
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