Updated Dec 2 2019 :: by Emily Hall

Zendesk is a popular choice in the help desk software market. It has integrated customer support with add ons like knowledge bases and live chatting. WIth a wide array of package choices, Zendesk has a powerful suite of tools to get any support team up and running at full-capacity.

They offer both individual packages and a suite option that bundles the most popular packages together. Many are happy with Zendesk and rave about their experiences.

However, not every company is the same. While Zendesk may be a great tool for many, it may not be the best tool for everybody. Zendesk touts a huge amount of features for edge cases and niche needs. While these are great for larger companies that need (and can afford) these features, it can be needlessly complex and overwhelming for small businesses and startups.

Likewise, Zendesk's complexity makes for a lengthy, complicated setup process, which busy business owners just may not have the time or resources to sink into. The price of Zendesk is reflected by the number of features and functionality that comes with the product, but some companies may not have the money for all the bells and whistles.

That's why we compiled this list. While Zendesk is definitely a well-liked help desk software, there are alternatives that may be better fits for those who find Zendesk is not for them.

Are you new to the help desk software industry? We've put together a free resource just to help you get your bearings. Download our list of Top Basic Features You Should Have with Help Desk Software here.

We organized the post into various reasons why Zendesk might not work for some companies:

Zendesk is too Expensive

Zendesk offers a variety of different packages, from support to knowledge base to live chat. However, a business may find themselves sinking a great deal of money into several Zendesk features to achieve the functionality that they desire. And those packages will add up fast. Which is why Zendesk offers a bundled price for their most sought-after packages. However, starting at $89 per agent per month can be steep, especially for small businesses.

So what is a cheaper alternative that doesn't skimp on features?

Alternative: JitBit

JitBit starts at $29 a month for a single agent. For that price, you get access to ticketing systems, knowledge base, reports, and even an "ideas" forum. If you have more than one agent, you can upgrade to the monthly package of $129 for up to seven agents. Zendesk, on the other hand, costs $109 per month per agent for their software suite (support, knowledge base, etc.). If you want a smaller price with Zendesk, you'll have to settle for one of the single packages instead of the suite.

JitBit, on the other hand, also comes with a mobile help desk, team mailbox, and a ridiculously fast set up time. We're not kidding - you can be set up and processing support tickets on our cloud hosted version in about 30 seconds flat.

All of this is in one package for one price. You can read a full list of JitBit features here.

For those who are looking for a Zendesk alternative that doesn't break the bank, but also gives you a lot of functionality, JitBit is a great option.

Zendesk is Too Big/Complex

One of Zendesk's main selling points is its many different features and functionalities. However, for some businesses, Zendesk may be too complicated. With additional functionality comes more setup, more instructions, and more of a chance for your support staff to be distracted by extraneous features.

So what is a less complex Zendesk alternative?

Zendesk Alternative: Groove

Groove is a help desk software specially designed to be simple and easy. It may not have all the bells and whistles, but for those who value straight-forward functionality, Groove steals the cake.

Groove CEO, Alex Turnbull, even said, "No clutter. No complexity. No extra features to confuse and overwhelm you." Groove has all the basics you need to get your small business support up and running, but it doesn't bloat the software with a bunch of extra, unnecessary features.

The starting package has:

  • 1 mailbox
  • Knowledge base
  • Assignments & @ mentions
  • And various collaboration features

If you want something that is simple, fast, and easy, Groove is a fantastic choice.

I want Email Read Receipts Built In

Sometimes our decisions come down to the small things. One thing we saw in our research was the complaint that the base Zendesk software didn't have the functionality to show you when a reader had opened a support email. If this is an important feature to you, Zendesk may not be your first choice.

Every company is different. Not just any old software will do. In this day and age, it's possible to find a software solution that will embrace your companies needs and help you excel.

Don't settle just because you think you can live without a feature. Make sure it's truly the right fit for your company. And that fit might be Zendesk. But it also might not be. So make sure you go over all of the possibilities before you make the choice.

If email receipts are important to your workflow, check out this alternative.

Zendesk Alternative: Helpscout

Helpscout is a help desk software with a strong focus on email. It's great for small companies -- in fact, it was almost tied with Groove for the best Zendesk alternative for small companies. But Helpscout also has the excellent functionality of email read receipts.

When you send an email with Helpscout, the email will update with a "Customer Viewed" marker when the customer has opened the email. This can help your support team know when to send reminders, check-in emails, and more. You can read more about Helpscout's read report feature here. If this functionality is what you're after, be sure to check out Helpscout.

I want more report customization than Zendesk offers

Another complaint we saw about Zendesk was that their reports were hard to customize. Reports are how you can assess how your support team is doing, how their interactions with customers are going, and much, much more important information.

After all, what's a manager without a report? So if report customization is one of your top priorities, check out this alternative:

Zendesk Alternative: TeamSupport

TeamSupport boasts hundreds of ready-to-use help desk reports, as well as a drag-and-drop report creator. You can design your reports to look any way you want, without complex backend configuration or code. All of this is simple drag-and-drop. You can generate complex reports without needing to go through a complex creation process. Who doesn't like when things are this simple?

One of TeamSupport's greatest strengths is its highly customizable functionality. Not only can you customize your reports easily, but your support staff can also customize TeamSupport's dashboard any way they like and it won't affect anyone else's work station.

You can read more about TeamSupport's awesome report and analytics customization here.

I want a more intuitive interface.

Sometimes when a product is powerful and ready for any situation, the interface can suffer. Zendesk has many features and great functionality, but there have been complaints about the interface being unintuitive and confusing to use. Several reviews mention that Zendesk can be difficult to pick up at first and can require a lot of time sifting through their documentation.

So, if you want a help desk software that boasts a very intuitive, easy-to-use interface, where do you look?

Zendesk Alternative: xSellco eDesk

xSellco eDesk touts an intuitive user interface, designed for simplicity and immediate understanding. They bring all the support queries across multiple channels into one place so you don't have to do any digging for them. It boasts a powerful AI and merging technology so that your support staff can pick up an issue and get up-to-date quickly.

However, just because the software is powerful, doesn't mean that it looks messy. The interface stays clean and efficient so that your support staff never have to waste time flipping from tab to tab or trying to remember a certain help desk process.

Bonus: xSellco eDesk has an automatic translation tool in place to translate incoming email, so your support technicians won't need to use Google Translate on the job ever again!

xSellco eDesk even put together a comparison between their software and Zendesk. Check it out here.

Want help narrowing down all the great choices? Check out our free resource for a list of Top Features You Should Have with Help Desk Software.

Zendesk vs Alternatives

Overall, Zendesk is a great help desk software and a mammoth in the help desk industry. But it might not be the best fit for all company needs. Assess you and your organization to be sure that the help desk software you are considering is the right one. No software is perfect. But if you're going to be paying for it, you might as well get the one that is as close to perfect for your company as it can be.

If you're still on the hunt for a help desk software, check out our picks for the Best Help Desk Software for 2019.


'Looking for Zendesk Competitors? Here are Some Great Alternatives' was written by Emily Hall
Emily Hall
Emily is our writer with a love for technology. She can usually be found reading, writing, or tinkering with her latest gadget.


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