Helpdesk software has become a crucial component for providing customer service in the modern era. As the name implies, it’s a virtual helpdesk.
Years ago, if a customer had a problem with a product or needed assistance, they’d have to visit a physical help desk. That’s no longer the case. Now customers can communicate with your customer service team through live chat, social media, email, and over the phone using a ticketing support system.
Helpdesk software allows your team to manage everything in one place. It’s a versatile solution for businesses of all shapes and sizes, whether you’re selling products or services.
Larger companies can even benefit from using helpdesk software in-house. If an employee is having problems with hardware or software, your internal IT team can troubleshoot those problems from a virtual helpdesk.
The right helpdesk software can help you streamline your customer service communications and support tickets at scale.
The Top 8 Best Helpdesk Software
There are eight helpdesk solutions on the market today that I can confidently recommend. After extensive research, I’ve written an in-depth review of each one below. This guide will cover the features, benefits, pricing, and potential drawbacks of the best helpdesk software.
#1 – Zendesk Support — Best Overall Helpdesk Software
• Starts at $5 per month
• 500+ integrations
• 35% off Support Suite
• 30 day free trial
• Try Zendesk Support for free
Zendesk Support is our top overall recommendation for helpdesk software. Zendesk offers a wide range of support solutions for various business sizes and needs, as well as a full product suite that includes everything you could possibly ask for in a helpdesk solution.
It’s a powerful software, yet it’s extremely easy to set up and use. Zendesk Support is fully customizable and integrates with more than 500 different third-party apps.
Some of the top features of Zendesk Support include omnichannel integration, ticket forms, multi-brand support, conditional and custom ticketing, pre-defined ticket actions, and team collaboration tools.
Pricing for Zendesk Support starts at just $5 per month.
The entry-level plan will be a bit limited, but as you can see, Zendesk has a plan for everyone based on your business needs.
Every Zendesk Support plan comes with the Lite versions of Zendesk Chat, Zendesk Talk, and Zendesk Guide. For those of you who want to get the most out of your helpdesk software, consider upgrading to the Zendesk Support Suite.
Starting at $89 per month per agent, the product suite bundles the apps for Support, Chat, Talk, and Guide into a single package, at either the Professional or Enterprise level.
The Zendesk Support Suite is 35% cheaper than purchasing each of those products individually.
From simple to advanced helpdesk needs, Zendesk has it all. Try Zendesk free for 30 days.
#2 – Freshdesk — Best Helpdesk Software For Small Businesses
• Free forever plan
• Paid plans starting at $15
• Simple support ticketing
• 21 day free trial
• Get started for free
Freshdesk is a helpdesk solution provided by Freshworks, a company known for offering high-quality business solutions with a focus on customer service. More than 150,000 businesses trust Freshdesk for helpdesk software, making it one of the most popular options on the market today.
I’d recommend Freshdesk to small businesses that are outgrowing email for customer support. Freshdesk is a simple and effective introduction to ticket support.
With Freshdesk, you’ll be able to simplify service communications, collaborate with other team members, and automate repetitive tasks.
Freshdesk has an excellent free plan for startups and small businesses that are just getting their feet wet with Helpdesk software.
While the free plan will obviously have some limitations, you can use it for an unlimited number of agents and still benefit from basic features like email and social ticketing, ticket dispatch, and customer self-service via knowledge base.
For those of you who want features like automation, reporting, SLA management, and hundreds of apps to extend your helpdesk capabilities, paid plans start at just $15 per month per agent.
Try Freshdesk free for 21 days.
#3 – Zoho Desk — Best For Scalability and Growth
• Free for up to 3 agents
• Paid plans start at $12
• Supports all business sizes
• 15 day free trial
• Sign up for free
Zoho is another company that offers a wide range of solutions and software for businesses. More than 50 million users worldwide use Zoho solutions.
Zoho Desk is the helpdesk software issued by Zoho. Like everything else branded by Zoho, it’s robust, intuitive, and easy to use.
With Zoho Desk, you’ll be able to automate manual support tasks, manage conversations with customers across multiple channels, offer customer self-service tools, and connect your helpdesk with other tools like Slack, Trello, Salesforce, accounting software, CRM software, and more.
Zoho Desk is designed to work for businesses of all sizes and verticles. From SMBs to SaaS, Telecom, and Enterprise organizations, Zoho Desk has it all.
Zoho Desk is affordable as well. You can start using it for free with up to three support agents.
Paid plans start at $12 per agent per month. This software makes it easy for you to scale as your company grows and your needs change. Adding new support agents is a simple process, and you can always upgrade your plan.
You’ll also be able to provide support on the go using the Zoho Desk mobile app.
One potential downside of Zoho Desk is its own customer support for you as a business. Unless you’re on the Enterprise plan, you won’t be able to reach them on weekends and holidays. So while you might be offering support to your own customers on those days, Zoho doesn’t offer the same support to you.
In addition to the free forever plan, you can try any paid subscription free for 15 days.
#4 – Freshservice — Best For ITSM
• Starts at $19
• Used by 200,000+ businesses
• Designed for ITSM
• 21 day free trial
• Start for free
Freshservice is another Freshworks solution. But it’s nothing like Freshdesk, which we reviewed earlier. 200,000+ businesses use Freshservice. This software is designed specifically for IT teams and ITSM (IT service management).
Use Freshservice to modernize your business.
Provide service to your employees by departments, such as HR, finance, marketing, and facilities. Freshservice is a single platform that allows you to streamline service management roles with a consistent experience for everyone.
On the agent side, your IT team can automate monotonous tasks and benefit from AI-powered chatbots.
Freshservice has plans to accommodate teams and businesses of all sizes.
The rates start a bit higher compared to some of the other solutions on our list. However, this is the first helpdesk solution we’ve reviewed that’s built for internal business support.
For those of you who are in need of a back-office management solution for IT service management, Servicedesk will be a top choice to consider. Try it free for 21 days.
#5 – Jira Service Desk — Best For SME Internal Support
• 1,000+ app integrations
• Supports up to 5,000 employees
• Cloud or server deployment
• 7 day free trial
• Get started for free
Jira Service Desk is another helpdesk system for ITSM and internal support. But unlike Freshservice, Jira Service Desk is designed for larger companies like small to mid-sized enterprises.
Businesses like Airbnb, Twitter, Square, Domino’s, and other global brands trust Jira Service Desk for helpdesk support at scale.
You can use Jira Service Desk for both internal and external support, although internal support features are definitely the primary focus for this platform.
Jira Service Desk allows your employees to request services and support for anything. From a broken bathroom sink to infrastructure support, computer problems, or employee onboarding, this platform has it all.
The Jira Service Desk software supports up to 5,000 employees and an unlimited number of customers.
Jira Service Desk integrates with more than 1,000 different apps for nearly every use case you can imagine. From Zoom to Splunk, G Suite, Slack, and more, you can fully customize Jira Service Desk to accommodate the needs of you and your team.
One of the benefits of Jira Service Desk is its progressive pricing model. The more agents you have, the cheaper it costs per agent.
For example, 100 agents cost $15.75 per agent per month. But 1,000 agents cost just $5.33 per agent. This pricing structure is ideal for large organizations.
In addition to the cloud version of Jira Service Desk, you can deploy this software directly on your self-managed sever or data center.
Try Jira Service Desk free for 7 days.
#6 – HappyFox — Best For Omnichannel Ticket Support
• Starts at $29
• Helpdesk ticketing system
• Automation and advanced reporting
• Unlimited tickets
• Request a free demo
HappyFox is an award-winning helpdesk solution that’s trusted by Fortune 500 brands like Lowe’s and Whirlpool.
This helpdesk software is an all-in-one ticketing system. It’s designed for businesses that want to provide better and faster support across multiple channels from a single platform.
HappyFox supports ticketing for email, social media, phone, and live chat. It also has tools for customer self-service support and knowledge base solutions.
Pricing for HappyFox starts at $29 per month per agent.
At this price point, it’s a little more expensive than some of the other options on our list. But with that said, HappyFox’s entry-level plans are more feature-rich than some of the other basic plans we’ve seen on the market.
All plans come with unlimited tickets, smart rules, and knowledge base support. However, HappyFox does require a minimum of 3 agents per plan. So it’s not ideal for solo users.
From ticketing to automation, productivity tools, and advanced reporting, HappyFox is a top helpdesk software for any business to consider.
They don’t offer a traditional free trial. But you can contact their sales team to request a demo and configure an account for free.
#7 – Kayako — Best For Personalized Customer Support
• Starts at $15 per month
• Built-in live chat software
• Single inbox for all channels
• 14 day free trial
• Get started for free
While so many helpdesk solutions on the market today prioritize automation and self-service, Kayako puts a strong emphasis on providing customer service with a personalized touch.
With Kayako, you can manage customer conversations across any channel while gaining a deeper understanding of the entire customer journey for each unique individual.
Each conversation includes detailed information about the customers’ behavior. You’ll see what pages they viewed, what products they added to their cart, and more. This gives your support agents a deeper understanding of what’s happening before the customer even asks for help.
Live chat software is built-in to each Kayako helpdesk plan.
Pricing for Kayako starts at $15 per agent per month. For advanced features like automation rules, custom reporting, multi-language and multi-brand support, you’ll need to upgrade to the Growth plan, which starts at $30 per agent.
For small teams and small businesses, Kayako is a top solution for helpdesk software with a personal touch. You can request a demo or try it free for 14 days.
#8 – Cayzu — Best Cheap Helpdesk Software
• Starts at $4 per month
• Simple helpdesk software
• No installations required
• 14 day free trial
• Try it for free
More than 20,000 businesses trust Cayzu for helpdesk software. This is arguably the most simple helpdesk solution on the market today, for agents and customers alike.
Cayzu provides helpdesk software to small businesses, ecommerce websites, schools, MSPs, and nonprofits.
With prices starting as low as $4 per month, you won’t find a cheaper deal from a legitimate provider in this industry.
The Basic plan is exactly what it sounds like. It offers the bare minimum required to run your helpdesk solution.
These low-level plans won’t accommodate the needs of large organizations or businesses with complex ticketing systems. With that said, smaller businesses tend to find the simplicity refreshing. The software is cheap but still gets the job done.
All plans are cloud-based, so there’s no installation required. You can access Cayzu from anywhere, including the mobile app. You’ll also benefit from unlimited support, free app integrations, and automatic backups. Try Cayzu free for 14 days.
How to Find the Best Helpdesk Software For Your Business
Now that you’ve had a chance to review some of the top options on the market, it’s time to find the best helpdesk software for your business.
This is the methodology that I used to narrow down the choices on our list. You can take these factors into consideration as you’re evaluating and shopping around for helpdesk software.
Ticketing is one of the primary functions of helpdesk software. Ticket support allows your team to manage, route, and resolve problems for customers and employees.
The best helpdesk software supports ticketing on multiple channels and can even automate manual tasks like ticket creation and ticket routing.
Certain software will cap the number of tickets you can create in a month. Larger operations should look for unlimited ticketing plans.
Look for helpdesk software that allows your customers to communicate with your support team across a wide range of communication channels. Common communication methods include email, social media, live chat, and phone support.
Regardless of the communication method, the software should allow you to reply and manage tickets from a single dashboard. So if a customer sends a support inquiry via email, it will appear on the same dashboard as a customer who reached out via Facebook.
Make sure your helpdesk solution supports all of your customer service communication methods. Certain platforms have those tools built-in. In other cases, you’ll need to integrate your helpdesk software with a third-party communication tool.
Customer vs. Employee Support
What exactly do you need helpdesk software for?
Lots of helpdesk solutions are geared toward customer support. But certain platforms are designed specifically for ITSM and internal employee support.
For those of you in need of in-house helpdesk software, you’ll want to lean towards Freshservice or Jira Service Desk.
The size of your operation will have a significant impact on the helpdesk software you choose.
Businesses with a handful of agents won’t have the same needs as an enterprise with hundreds or thousands of support agents. In most cases, larger organizations will have more complex needs.
Freshdesk is our top pick for small businesses. Zoho Desk has the ability to accommodate the needs of scaling companies. Zendesk has the capability to support teams of all sizes, from startups to enterprises.
Plans and Pricing
The vast majority of helpdesk software pricing is based on two factors—agents and features. The per agent price is based on the number and quality of the features you need.
You’ll pay a fixed rate per month per agent. Committing to an annual contract will give you the best possible rate.
It’s important to weigh the features in each plan side by side. Most helpdesk software offers the best features with more expensive plans. But you might not need them.
Think about your team at scale. The difference between $20 or $40 per month might not seem significant. But what happens when you go from 10 agents to 50 agents? Or from 50 agents to 150 agents?
Some software, like Jira Service Desk, offers progressive pricing. Meaning the price per agent is cheaper if you add more agents to your plan. Larger organizations should definitely keep this mind when evaluating different options.
What’s the best Helpdesk software on the market today? Generally speaking, there is no “best for everyone” solution.
Zendesk Support is our top overall pick because of its extensive features, ease of use, affordable pricing, and ability to accommodate the needs of all business sizes.
But there are plenty of viable alternatives for specific business needs. Freshdesk is our top pick for small businesses. Zoho Desk is best for growing teams. Jira Service Desk and Freshdesk are better for ITSM and internal support.
Are you looking for a no-frills helpdesk software at the lowest possible rate? Try Cayzu.
Regardless of your business size, industry, and helpdesk needs, you can find exactly what you’re looking for using this guide.