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LiveAgent Alternatives: 6 Best Help Desks for Customer Support

Written by Ian Landsman, published on 11.22.2021

LiveAgent is a feature-rich help desk software advertised for large customer support teams offering omnichannel support. It comes with advanced tools like automation routing, social media widgets, and live chat management.

Started in 2004, LiveAgent is one of the longest-running providers of customer support software.

However, LiveAgent may not be a good option for everyone, especially:

  • If you don’t need a lot of features. Features like video chat, IVR, and call routing increase the price, onboarding time, and complexity of the software.
  • If you don’t have a large budget. LiveAgent’s basic plan is geared towards small-to-midsize support operations. However, it is significantly more expensive than other email management systems on the market, even the self-hosted version is priced higher than many alternatives — costing a minimum of $50 per agent per month.

So, we created a more versatile help desk, HelpSpot, that provides customer service teams with only the essential tools to deal with high volumes of support tickets. By keeping our feature-set simple yet effective, our help desk software is one of the most affordable on the market.

In this post, we’ll review six LiveAgent alternatives for customer service teams, starting with a deep dive on our own, Helpspot.

We’ll cover:

Onboarding new software can be disruptive and time consuming. Contact our team today to find out how you can be up-and-running with HelpSpot in a few hours and get started with a free 21 day trial.

HelpSpot

HelpSpot homepage: Just Enough Help Desk Software

To make HelpSpot’s email help desk software a practical option for any size team, we focused mainly on two things: ease of use and fair pricing.

Onboarding new software can be disruptive, particularly for smaller customer service teams that don’t have the capacity to cover support while other agents upskill. So, we created HelpSpot using familiar processes from popular email, messaging, and word processing apps. This way, teams can quickly get moved over without a lot of training (and onboarding new agents thereafter isn’t a big challenge).

Although HelpSpot looks and feels like a regular email account, it comes with advanced functionality to:

  • Organize all requests (even from multiple mailboxes) in one place.
  • Assign requests and allow agents to easily collaborate with each other.
  • Track and analyze team workload, agent performance, and customer data to make better decisions.

HelpSpot comes in two versions: cloud-based and self-hosted.

Both versions have the same feature-set, so you’re never forced to upgrade plans to access new functionality.

Plus, HelpSpot’s help desk — even the on-premise help desk — is supported by mobile apps (iOS & Android), so your agents can deal with support tickets on-the-go.

Since we offer simple pay-per-agent pricing, you can easily modify your package when you need to add or remove agents. We charge the same for every agent and don’t tack on extra fees for large teams.

Let’s look at some other perks of using HelpSpot.

Organize All Incoming Requests in One Place

All emails are added to one central inbox, as shown here.

HelpSpot stores all of your team’s support tickets in a central inbox.

You can connect one or 100+ mailboxes — our platform supports unlimited email accounts — allowing you to conduct all of your support from one single software.

Plus, having a unified view allows for easier ticket management and ensures no request is overlooked or delayed.

From the team inbox, agents can assign themselves tickets and pull them into their queue, called “My Queue“.

To maintain a consistent customer experience, all responses to that ticket will remain with the same agent. This establishes a clear team workflow, where agents always know exactly which requests they are responsible for resolving.

To further improve the efficiency of your shared inbox, HelpSpot can be trained to do repetitive tasks like ticket routing with automation rules and triggers.

Say an eCommerce brand designates one agent to handle all requests dealing with refunds, a trigger can be set up to detect the word “Refund” in a request, and automatically assign it to the relevant agent.

Enable Smoother Team Collaboration

Easily see who is currently editing or responding to any messages received with HelpSpot.

In order to keep your support agents on the same page, HelpSpot provides collaboration tools that streamline team communication.

Internal notes allow agents to message each other in the ticket, reducing the need for outside threads like email or Slack. These notes are recorded as a historical reference (“Complete History”) for any future interaction in that ticket.

For example, if an agent needs to jump in and assist on another agent’s ticket, they can simply access the ticket’s Complete History and get up to speed without consulting the other agents.

Collision detection alerts an agent in real-time when another agent is responding to the same ticket.It also eliminates blunders like duplicate replies to customers.

Increase Productivity & Save Time

Automated responses, as shown in this GIF, can save your team a lot of time

HelpSpot offers a number of features aimed at saving your agents’ time and increasing team productivity (i.e. customizable templates for common support requests, a built-in knowledge base, and a self-service portal for customers). Let’s talk more about these.

Templates

Templates eliminate the timely process of writing a unique response to each and every support request.

In HelpSpot, you can create a library of canned replies to pull into your support tickets.

Templates can be quickly personalized and sent off to customers to reduce response time. They also ensure customer communications are accurate, free of typos, and consistent across your service team.

Knowledge Base & Self-Service Portal

Another way to increase the productivity of your customer service team is to create an accessible knowledge base.

A knowledge base is a library of troubleshooting or FAQ docs your support agents can reference or even pull into customer responses, at any time. This way, your agents will be able to deliver up-to-date, accurate, and in-depth support to complex requests with just a couple clicks.

All relevant articles can be published in a public knowledge base or self-service portal that allows website visitors to quickly find solutions to their issues.

Although a self-service portal is shown to reduce your team’s support load by up to 20%, it can be difficult to maintain. The good news? HelpSpot comes with a user-friendly editor that allows you to create articles in the backend of your site, and post them without any technical expertise.

Note: We mentioned earlier that HelpSpot supports unlimited mailboxes. However, HelpSpot differs from other customer service software because each linked mailbox also supports a self-service portal with unique branding. While all requests will be funneled into a centralized location, agents can conduct support on each brand separately. This way, one customer support team can use HelpSpot to handle multi-brand support for an entire enterprise.

One of our clients has over 500 brands, with 500+ mailboxes, and 50+ self-service portals, all run from a single HelpSpot account.

Make Data-Driven Decisions with Built-In Reporting

Requests Over Time Analytics in HelpSpot

HelpSpot’s integrated reporting feature tracks metrics like average time-to-assignment, first response speed, and average resolution time.

All metrics can be customized for different time frames, allowing management to analyze:

  • Team workload: To better resource teams for busy seasons with new hires and knowing whether or not they have enough agents on deck.
  • Agent performance: To keep tabs on how each agent performs.
  • Customer engagement and needs: What questions are they asking? Are there gaps in our messaging? How is customer satisfaction overall?

Note: For more information on customer reporting tools and how to use them, check out our other post, The Complete Guide to Customer Service Reporting.

HelpSpot was designed to be fully customizable. With a Zapier connection and our open source API, HelpSpot easily integrates with any of the tools your team uses.

For example, if you integrate your CRM, HelpSpot can pull all relevant customer data into each ticket. As a result, your customer service team doesn’t waste time toggling between software to provide the best customer experience. Or, if you want to see how your customer service performance affects the overall ROI for a campaign or project, simply integrate our API with your dashboard reporting tool, and start blending the data.

Pay-per-Agent Pricing

HelpSpot’s pricing is transparent for both versions of our help desk: You get all the features and you only pay for the seats you use.

Plus, there are no hidden costs for customizing our software. If you decide you need to add a channel or feature, you simply integrate it with our open source API and a Zapier connection.

Want to see how easily HelpSpot integrates with the other tools your team uses? Talk to us today to see how HelpSpot can be tailored to your specifications. Get started with our free 21-day trial.

Other Best Alternatives to LiveAgent’s Help Desk Software

To help you choose the best help desk software for your budget and team size, we reviewed five other LiveAgent alternatives to consider.

Like LiveAgent, these help desks are geared toward customer service but range in price and complexity.

Zendesk

Zendesk homepage: Champions of Customer Service

Zendesk is an all-in-one customer service ticketing software with advanced features like social media widgets, task management, and a built-in CRM. It’s equipped with every tool so your agents can handle customer relationships and offer omnichannel support.

  • Pros: The reporting features are super in-depth. The opportunities to automate tasks are endless — giving your team(s) more time to spend with customers.
  • Cons: Reviews state prioritizing and grouping requests can be glitchy. Plus, the learning curve on a tool this size can be a strain on the capacity of your support team.

At this price, it is only sustainable for large to enterprise-level support teams with a bigger budget.

Freshdesk

Freshdesk homepage: Delight your customers and win them for life.

Freshdesk is a cloud-based service desk ticketing system with notable features like SLA management, automation to prioritize support tickets, and built-in reporting.

  • Pros: The interface is slick, easy to learn, and use. It also comes with a suite of field service management tools that allow on-call trade services to prioritize support based on the availability/location of their agents and reduce customer waiting time.
  • Cons: Features to customize and format emails are unnecessarily complicated. The more useful features are dispersed in higher-priced plans, forcing users to upgrade.

Freshdesk’s broad feature-set puts considerable pressure on startups and small businesses to take the time out and learn, so it’s generally recommended for midsize to large companies.

Help Scout

Help Scout homepage: One-Stop Customer Service


Help Scout is a cloud-based email management software with advanced features like built-in reporting, knowledge management, and automated ticket assignment. Help Scout supports two channels — email and live chat — but it can be integrated for omnichannel support if you also field requests from social media or SMS.

  • Pros: Known for ease of use and its clean interface. Customer support is always available and friendly.
  • Cons: The knowledge base is hard to customize, so articles can be hard to find. Inboxes are capped in lower pricing plans, forcing brands to upgrade prematurely.

Due to the capping of inboxes, most brands outgrow the lower pricing plans quickly. Help Scout’s help desk is more suited to midsize and large companies that have the budget to begin with a mid-tier pricing plan and grow from there.

Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk homepage: Customer service, now easier done than said.

Zoho Desk is a cloud-based help desk designed for customer service teams that need sophisticated functionality to handle multi-channel support. This ticketing system comes with advanced features like AI chatbots, live chat software, and asset management.

  • Pros: Zoho is a broad ecosystem and its many tools seamlessly integrate with each other.
  • Cons: Per user reviews, the user interface is somewhat dated, and many of the more useful features are only accessible in the higher-priced plans.

Zoho Desk comes with a slightly cheaper price tag than other robust help desks on the market. This makes it suitable for midsize support operations that need a lot of advanced features. That said, the complexity of the software can strain teams lacking the bandwidth for the onboarding process, so we recommend Zoho Desk for large support operations.

Front

Front homepage: Make millions of customers feel like one in a million.

Front is a cloud-based help desk software. It lets your agents conduct support through live chat, email, and a call center. It comes with advanced features like automation, ticket escalation, and a knowledge base.

  • Pros: The tool is intuitive and easy to adopt. The notifications feature is helpful for team collaboration.
  • Cons: The dashboard can be awkward to use, and requests can be missed as a result. Plus, sometimes there are syncing issues with Gmail.

Front is not a strain on bandwidth as much as it is on budget, so it is suitable for well-funded small to midsize support operations. That said, other email management solutions match its feature-set and are considered better value for money.

Get Started with HelpSpot for Free

To make shopping for the best help desk software as simple as possible, ask yourself:

  • What challenges are my customer support teams trying to overcome? This will allow you to identify the exact features you need in a help desk, and it can prevent you from overpaying for a lot of unnecessary features.
  • What is my budget and does it match the software’s pricing model? Understanding pricing models, potential hidden costs or how features are bundled in plans can save you pain when you have to add a feature to support your team as it grows.

At HelpSpot, we strive to keep our help desk software simple — but not simplistic — and budget-friendly. We offer just the features you need to manage support requests, improve customer interactions, and work productively, without all of the extra bells and whistles that clunk up the process. Our help desk allows for limitless customizations, so you can connect it with your tech stack and tailor it to meet your specific criteria.

To walk through the ins and outs of HelpSpot and see exactly how you can set up our software to support your teams, get started with a free 21-day trial.

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