6 Best Customer Support Software: Compare Popular Solutions

Written by Ian Landsman · 12.29.2022

Savvy customer support teams use dedicated help desk software to effectively manage large volumes of customer requests. Help desk software works by consolidating new customer requests into a manageable dashboard — where you can assign tickets, use collaboration features, and track the customer support journey from ticket opened to ticket closed.

But there are several different customer support software: email-to-ticket systems (like HelpSpot), multi-channel systems (like Zendesk), or live chat help desks (like LiveAgent). Although many solutions have overlapping features, some tools cater to certain customer support teams better than others. It depends on your customer support operations, business goals, team size, and budget.

In this article, we evaluate six of the best customer support help desks and provide product recommendations based on your needs. We start with a review of our customer support software, HelpSpot, an email-based help desk.

Jump to a software solution based on your category:

  1. HelpSpot: Best customer support software for email-based customer support and team management.
  2. Freshdesk: Best customer support software for midsize and enterprise-sized customer service (CS) teams.
  3. Zendesk: Best customer support software for enterprise CS teams to provide advanced multi-channel support.
  4. LiveAgent: Best customer support software for teams that want live chat functionality.
  5. Zoho Desk: Best customer support software for midsize businesses that provide multi-channel support.
  6. Salesforce: Best customer support software for small and mid sized businesses already using Salesforce CRM.

HelpSpot’s email to ticket system has user-friendly tools so agents can see incoming requests, assign support tickets, collaborate in the help desk, and improve the customer experience. Start a 21-day free trial to see how HelpSpot simplifies email management.

1. HelpSpot: Email Management System with Scalable Features & Flexible Pricing

HelpSpot: Efficient and Effective Help Desk Software

HelpSpot is an email management system that’s recommended for teams that use one or more email accounts to provide customer support. HelpSpot scores well in customer reviews for our intuitive features and ease of use. Our core help desk features include:

  • Centralized team inbox
  • Agent queues
  • Multi-brand support
  • Quick replies
  • Customer self-service portals
  • Help desk knowledge base
  • Reporting dashboard

We offer straightforward help desk packages based on user seats — all of our users have access to the same features. Pricing is the same across all versions of our software (cloud-based, on-premise, or mobile).

Organized Team Inbox (with Multi-Brand Functionality)

All incoming email requests populate as tickets in the central inbox. You can connect multiple email accounts to HelpSpot if you manage more than one shared inbox. Depending on your operations, you can have all customer queries flow into one dashboard, or you can use multi-brand support to segment tickets by team, brand, or department.

Central inbox

You can take organization a step further with HelpSpot’s custom filters — these make it easy to sort requests based on ticket status, category, priority, agent, and other fields. You can also use filters to automate repetitive actions, like managing service level agreements and ticket routing.

Once you assign tickets to agents, the request automatically moves to the assigned agent’s queue, so everybody knows exactly what request to work on.

Read more: The #1 Best Way to Manage a Shared Inbox

Collaboration Features for Agents

HelpSpot provides agents several tools to help them streamline processes and provide better customer experiences:

  • Saved replies and email templates let agents send immediate replies to common questions.
  • Private notes allow agents to comment with other team members directly on tickets, instead of using a third-party messaging app, like Slack.
  • Collision detection is used to send agents notifications when other team members are viewing or responding to the ticket they’re working in.
  • Ticket merge lets agents instantly merge conversations when a customer sends separate tickets about the same request.

Self Service Portals & Knowledge Base

HelpSpot’s self-service portals are customizable pages that live on your website where you can publish FAQs and troubleshooting resources for customers, and provide an easy way for users to get in touch with support agents.

The resources on your self-service portals are powered by your help desk knowledge base. Here, you can post all documentation (for internal teams and customers) and choose who can access what information. This is helpful for customer service agents because they can reference information on policies and procedures during the support process. And they improve customer satisfaction because users can find quick answers to questions without submitting a ticket to your team. As a result — everybody can resolve queries more productively.

Helpspot self service portal

However, we also have a contact form feature on these portals so customers can easily submit tickets if they can’t find resources on your site. You can customize these contact forms any which way to gather important request information upfront.

Then, we also have a feature where customers can track the status of their request and see what steps your agents have taken to reach a resolution. These features eliminate back and forth, thus boosting agent productivity.

Self service portal

Note: Our built-in reporting tool tracks what customers are doing on self-service portals so you can gather data on customer issues and brainstorm ways to provide better support. For example, you can monitor what customers search for in the knowledge base, so you can see which resources are helpful to users.

Configurable Reporting Dashboard

HelpSpot’s reporting tool provides an in-depth look at how efficiently your customer support team is running. You can easily view key metrics in real-time like average response times, resolution times, and ticket volume. You can even use filters to create and save customized reports. And you can export a report to Excel or schedule it for email delivery on a recurring basis.

Helpspot reporting tools

Read more: Help Desk Reporting: Key Support Metrics and How to Use Them

Hosting Options, Mobile Apps, & Simple Pricing

HelpSpot offers both cloud-based and self-hosted help desk software (so you can run HelpSpot on private servers if needed). We also offer EU hosting to accommodate brands with agents and customers in Europe. With our EU hosted help desk, all your data remains in the EU and you can easily manage customer data with our GDPR tools.

We also have iOS and Android mobile apps that are compatible with any of our hosting options. All of HelpSpot’s features, including our mobile help desk, are available for the same affordable price.

Lastly, you can integrate HelpSpot with other software in your operations via Zapier or API — for example, if you want to connect your help desk with your eCommerce site, consolidate ticket data from external support channels, or aggregate reporting data in other business tools. You can learn more about integrations here.

Try a 21-day free trial to see how HelpSpot organizes your email management and maps to your customer support operations. You can also contact our customer success team if you have questions.

2. Freshdesk: Top Enterprise Help Desk
Freshdesk: Use the power of collaborative ticketing and AI to deliver the best customer experience.

Freshdesk is an online help desk software with advanced features that appeal to mid and enterprise sized customer service teams. Freshdesk’s ticketing system comes with multichannel integrations (like call center and chatbot), SLA management, automation rules, and reporting. Therefore, it’s recommended for teams that manage requests from a variety of communication channels.

Customer reviews of Freshdesk are positive, but some users expressed frustration over set-up and onboarding — saying it can be a lengthy implementation time if you don’t have the resources to dedicate to the task.

Freshdesk offers a free plan (up to 10 agents) and packages based on the features and seats you need. We suggest checking out the pricing page to learn more about your options and if Freshdesk fits in your budget.

Great support and customer experience system.

Read more: Freshdesk Alternatives: 9 Help Desk Software for Support Teams

3. Zendesk: Top Enterprise Software for Multi-Channel Support

Zendesk: The best customer experiences

Zendesk is one of the most robust customer support software available. They provide a cloud-based help desk with multi-channel integrations, a CRM solution to track sales leads, IT add-ons, social media widgets, built-in reporting, and a lot more. (As a result, this customer service solution is mostly reserved for enterprise or global brands with the budget and bandwidth to manage this advanced software.)

Customer reviews of Zendesk say the unified ticket inbox and agent workspaces are easy to navigate and simplify workflows — especially when managing tickets from several support channels. However, some reviews note that Zendesk’s onboarding can be time-consuming because of its large feature set, especially if you don’t pay for extra product support and have to do the configuration yourself.

Easy and intuitive for everyone.

Read more: Zendesk Alternatives: 6 of the Best Help Desk Competitors

4. LiveAgent: Top Help Desk with Live Chat Integration

LiveAgent:  Provide excellent customer service.

LiveAgent is a cloud-based help desk that’s recommended for teams that want to use live chat in their support process. In addition to the advanced live chat functionality, LiveAgent help desk comes with a built-in customer relationship management suite, automation rules, integrations with social media channels, and a help desk knowledge base.

LiveAgent’s pricing is based on the features you’re looking for — their basic ticket management software is well-priced for small and medium businesses, but more advanced packages with multichannel integrations and live chat can get pricey. LiveAgent is worth researching if you’re looking to streamline customer conversations with an online messenger. Otherwise, you may want to consider another customer support system.

Great value for live chat tools and features.

Read more: LiveAgent Alternatives: 6 Best Help Desks for Customer Support

5. Zoho Desk: Top Help Desk with Multi-Channel Support for Midsize Business
Zoho Desk: Healthier businesses

Zoho Desk is a web-based customer support tool with advanced help desk features — like customer sentiment analysis and an AI chatbot named “Zia” — and omnichannel integrations. Typically, it’s recommended for medium sized businesses because it has advanced functionality and competitive pricing. Zoho Desk is comparable to Zendesk, with similar features for a slightly more affordable price.

Overall, Zoho Desk receives positive customer reviews — users say the features are modern and intuitive, and there’s a minimal learning curve when getting adjusted to the software. However, some reviewers expressed frustration over Zoho Desk being entirely web-based, they do not provide on-prem functionality and you have to conduct all of your work out of an internet browser.

Zoho Desk offers a variety of software tools (e.g. Zoho CRM), so their help desk solution is a popular choice for teams that are already using other Zoho products. Prices start at $14 per agent/month and increase to $40 per agent/month for advanced features like their Zia bot.

The best ticket handling platform that is a business essential tool

Read more: Zoho Desk Alternatives | Top 8 Help Desks for Customer Service

6. Salesforce: Top Help Desk for Businesses Using Salesforce CRM

Scale  service to deliver success now.

Salesforce Service (complimentary of Salesforce Essentials) offers a cloud-based help desk tool with built-in reporting and customer tracking. If you’re already using the Salesforce CRM, then adopting their customer support ticketing system is already half done. However, implementing Salesforce from scratch is a laborious process that typically requires a paid specialist, so it’s not ideal for teams that aren’t already using Salesforce.

Salesforce’s ticketing system doesn’t have a ton of advanced features like dedicated help desk brands, but their help desk features, automation, and mobile apps can be enough for small businesses. Pricing starts at $25 per agent/month (for Salesforce Essentials).

Salesforce service cloud is good for case management.

Choose the Best Customer Support Software for Your Team

There are a variety of customer support solutions, so you should compare help desk software by looking at the available features and pricing. What features do you need to improve request management? What’s your budget look like?

HelpSpot is the best customer service software for support teams that use email to fuel customer interactions. HelpSpot’s features like the central inbox, saved replies, and private notes save agents time and simplify email management. Plus, setting up HelpSpot is quick and easy, whether you’re using our cloud-based, on-premise, or EU hosting solution.

See how HelpSpot can support your customer service team with a 21-day free trial, or contact our team to talk more about what you’re looking for in customer support software.

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Ian Landsman
Ian founded HelpSpot in 2005 with the goal of making every interaction with your customers simple and efficient.
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