The Ultimate Guide to the Cost and Feature Comparison of the Top Help Desk Software Systems

Updated on :March 29, 2024
By :James Mordy

The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.” - Sam Walton

Winning and retaining customers is an all-time concern of all businesses in all eras. Increasing customer satisfaction can increase business growth and sustainability.  However, with thick competition, and ever-growing demands of the customers, businesses can encounter issues to handle the issues, and grievances. Such situations led to the rise of help desk software systems. Since their inception, these tools have been widely used by businesses to improve customer service, boost productivity and performance, efficiently handle customer queries, and enhance collaboration in an organized manner. 

Why Help Desk?

Organizations that strive for excellence, and go that “extra mile” to satisfy the customers round the clock, will know the value of help desk. There are many factors that influence the need for a help desk depending upon the service differentiator. However, a help desk stands as a connector between a brand and the users, automating tasks in lesser time, resource, and budget. 

Why Do Users Need a Help Desk?

The market for help desk software is growing phenomenally as customer satisfaction is the top priority of every business. Consistently measuring consumer satisfaction and helping businesses improve profits by working towards what customers want requires a system that establishes a single database of information about the problems, issues, or complaints, and automates tasks that deliver customer satisfaction and service quality.

What are Help Desk Software Systems?

A help desk software system is a tool designed for customer service professionals to accept, track, manage, and resolve user/customer requests from a centralized location. It comes with many features and functionalities to automate customer support operations, create a learning path for new users, and deploy self-service assistants. Help desk software systems are the need of the hour for small, medium, and large enterprises to promptly address user concerns and enhance customer satisfaction and experience.

However, given the number of available tools, selecting the top help desk software systems is not easy. People often argue about;

  • How scalable is the help desk system?
  • What are the top features of the help desk tool?
  • Which tasks can be automated and optimized using the help desk tool?
  • What is the overall budget for implementing help desk software?
  • What are the alternatives to help desk software systems?

In this article, we will help you with an ultimate guide to the cost and the feature comparison of the best help desk software for your business by providing an overview of these top help desk tools and explaining the key features to look for in these help desk solutions. To come up with the best comparison, GoodFirms considered key features like ease of use, cost, customer service, and functionalities, such as ticket management, knowledge base management, and integration with third-party tools.

History and Evolution of Help Desk Software Systems

history evolution help desk software systems

Help desk systems have come a long way since their inception. Here is a detailed timeline of the history and evolution of modern help desk systems as follows;

Before the digital revolution: Businesses relied on face-to-face interaction by visiting the designated spaces or offices to explain their problems. 

1980s: The emergence of PCs and telephones transformed the entire system from face-to-face interactions to virtual mode. Businesses started setting up call centers to manually log customer interactions and used basic tools to resolve issues.

1990s: During this time, the internet boomed, introducing the first generation of modern help desk software systems. Businesses started using ticketing systems, web-based help desk systems, customer service outsourcing, chat systems, email, etc., to effectively interact and connect with customers regarding their issues.

2000s: With the maturity of software development, internet, and digital technologies, help desk systems became more advanced. Features like knowledge base management, self-service portals, asset tracking, and SLA management started becoming common to further strengthen the performance and efficiency of help desk software.

2010s: During this time, modern help desk systems were available equipped with multi-channel support, self-service, automation, CRM integrations, etc. In addition, they also began supporting mobile devices to further improve the efficiency and performance of help desk functions.

Present day: At present, the new generation help desk software systems come equipped with digital technologies such as AI, ML, IoT, Blockchain, bots, etc., which hugely contributes towards the advancement of the  help desk software systems. 

Who Can Use a Help Desk Tool?

  • IT Departments
  • Customer Service Companies
  • Ecommerce businesses
  • Small, Medium and Large Enterprises
  • Software Development Teams
  • Service Providers
  • Educational Institutions
  • Healthcare Organizations
  • NGOs
  • Banks and Finance Organizations

Why Use Help Desk Software Systems?

Help desk software systems, as the name suggests, are used by a vast number of departments and businesses to assist employees and customers mainly with two purposes as follows;

Internal IT Support: A help desk software system acts as a centralized place for employees to submit requests for IT help, track the progress of those requests, or find solutions to common problems. These requests include training, onboarding, IT asset management, user account management, hardware/software support, problem reporting, etc., that may commonly arise during the working of employees. Many businesses also use help desk software for performance monitoring of customer service executives or the whole It support department.

External customer support: In terms of external support, businesses use help desk software for various functions ranging from technical support, sales support and product information to billing support, service requests and feedback management. Help desk systems can streamline the customer support processes, improve communication with customers, resolve issues efficiently and enhance the overall customer experience which further helps in achieving meaningful relationships with clients. 

Benefits of Help Desk Software

benefits of help desk software

You’ll never have a product or price advantage again. They can be too easily duplicated. But a strong customer service culture cannot be copied.” - Jerry Fritz

Improved User Experience

Better user experience is one of the most crucial elements for better customer satisfaction and this can be achieved with a proper help desk system in place. Such systems streamline the creation, tracking, and resolution of tickets, support multiple communication channels, provide personalized assistance, set up knowledge bases, etc. Through these functions, businesses can promptly address the grievances and issues of the customers that help customers feel valued, meaning improved user experience. Chatbot is one of the advancements in the help desk arena and its role is only going to improve in the future days to come for improved user experiences, and customer satisfaction.

Help Desk Automation

Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report indicates that when technology changes, 81% of consumers expect faster service. Currently, we live in an era of  automation, and help desk software can automate complex and repetitive tasks. A reliable help desk software can automate ticket creation, knowledge base maintenance, chatbot deployment, SLA management, reporting, and various other customer service-related functions. Help desk automation can also help customer service agents to automatically close the inactive tickets, redirect them to relevant existing threads, set alerts, track requests, etc., freeing up service agents of mundane tasks and enabling them to deliver quality service faster.

Streamline Workflows

A help desk software can simplify tasks such as ticket prioritization, initial response generation, agent assigning, duplicate ticket identification, etc. This helps agents easily track the status of each ticket and ensure that no requests are overlooked or duplicated. 

Real-Time Report Generation

Help desk software also offers robust reporting features that can be used to automate report creation or generate custom reports with targeted KPIs. These mainly include first contact resolution, SLA violations, backlog tickets, mean resolution time, etc., through which help desk performance can be easily determined and optimized. Help desk tools with the features of Data Visualization Software can display data into visually appealing graphs and charts, allowing them to understand their data better. Such tools can visualize real-time metrics such as response time, customer satisfaction score, ticket volume, agent workload, etc., to make data-driven decisions, identify bottlenecks, set real-time alerts, and deliver exceptional customer service.

Auto-Assign Help Desk Tickets

This is another benefit of a reliable help desk software solution in which a ticket is analyzed based on specific criteria in order to assign it to the relevant department. It uses a set of routing rules, skill-based assignments, load balancing, automatic escalation, and various other features to automate the entire help desk ticket-assigning process. 

Better Communication

Another leading benefit of using help desk software is better communication. These tools offer multiple communication channels, tools, and integrations that help technicians and requesters communicate back and forth, saving the time required to switch between various apps. These customer service tools with better communication abilities can also help customer service agents send and receive emails from the request itself, route queries to relevant departments, ensure context when responding to queries, use canned responses, etc., leading to better communication along with the coordination among business units and customers.

Scalability

Modern help desk software use cloud based scalable architecture that are widely used to scale resources as per the demand and need. This flexibility ensures that the business can trust that the tool can handle the growing volume of tickets and users without experiencing performance related issues. In addition, they can be designed in a way that can accommodate the growing requirements using features like advanced pagination, filtering and search capabilities to navigate through extensive ticket histories and user profiles for better scalability.

Efficient Ticket Handling

Efficient ticket handling and management is important for the customer service functions in ensuring that the requests are addressed on-time, with utmost care and professionalism. A help desk software comes with strong ticket handling capabilities to prioritize, manage, route and assign tickets. In addition, it also helps with escalation management, response automation, SLA monitoring, ticket archiving, etc., to make sure that all tickets are addressed and no tickets are lost or went unnoticed. 

The benefits of help desk systems are many that can help a business achieve its goals, mission and vision. But, it is critical to select the right help desk tool that comes with proper features to ensure efficient execution of help desk tasks. It is very critical for businesses to stay aware of the top features, costs and major players in the help desk software market to only shortlist the best ones.

Top Features of Help Desk Software

  • Analytics & Reporting
  • Alerts
  • Customer Review
  • Customization
  • Dashboards
  • Document Storage
  • Email Integration
  • Escalation
  • Interaction Tracking
  • Knowledge Base
  • Live Chat
  • Multi-Channel
  • Multilingual
  • Response Template
  • SLA
  • Ticketing Management

List of the Top Help Desk Software

list of top help desk software

Below are top help desk software to help your business automate, streamline, and optimize customer support operations. 

Freshdesk

Freshdesk is a top-notch help desk software that helps streamline customer service and establish meaningful relationships with customers. This service desk tool comes with omnichannel support and advanced automation rules to rapidly deliver world-class customer service with faster resolution time and reduced costs. One of the unique features of this tool is Freddy AI, which can be used to deploy Freddy Copilot, leverage self-service, streamline ticketing, and acquire proactive insights to identify issues and potential opportunities. The tool offers extensive integration options, custom widgets, and a knowledge base. Other notable features include SLA management, scenario automation, report generation, portal customization, identity and access management, etc. 

HubSpot Help Desk

HubSpot Help Desk is another help desk software system to track all customer requests from a centralized location. It has a unified interface to log and organize tickets, automate customer support, track customer sentiments, create and refer documents, etc. Customer care centers and similar businesses widely use the software to provide personalized support to their customers at lower costs with better precision. It helps track vital metrics such as agent response time, ticket volume, customer history, etc.

Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk is a leading name among top help desk software owing to its strong ticket management, automation, extensibility, customization, and security capabilities. The software comes equipped with Zia AI, which can be used to deploy a KB bot, automate ticket tagging, perform sentiment analysis, create dashboards, field predictions, etc. Its self-service features like guided conversations, embedded self-service, multi-brand help center, and reply assistant differentiate it from the competitors. Businesses mainly use this tool for omnichannel support, service level agreements, contextual support, advanced reply editor, built-in analytics, and predictive intelligence functions. The software can integrate with more than 200+ Zoho and third-party extensions to extend functionality, scalability, and flexibility.

GoDesk

When it comes to the list of premium customer support solutions for B2B firms, GoDesk is a prominent option to ensure optimized customer service. Features like total email ownership, response tracking, customer profiling, mini-CRM, priority setting, reporting dashboard, multiple shared inboxes, and portal customizations set it different from the competition. This software can convert all incoming emails into easy-to-manage tickets. The knowledge base function also helps the customer support executives in writing articles for the company’s wiki and offering self-service for faster response. Other notable functions of GoDesk include ticket merge, ticket splitting, private knowledge base, filtered search, CSV report exports, etc.

Live chat

Livechat is an all-in-one customer service platform for the eCommerce, IT, education and finance industries in increasing sales, quickly resolving customer problems and lowering customer service costs. It comes loaded with tons of features such as inbuilt chat tools, multiple chat messaging channels, chat widget customization, sales tracker, team management, routing rules, chat transcripts and many more. The tool also comes with extensive security measures such as credit card masking, access restriction, Google sign in, encryption, etc., to safeguard against unauthorized data access. Additionally, the software supports integrations and APIs like Mailchimp, WooCommerce, Dropbox, customer SDKs, webhooks, chat API, etc.

Salesforce Service Cloud

Salesforce Service Cloud is a top-notch help desk tool that delivers fast and efficient customer service. Field service teams and customer service agents use this software for case management, field service management, omnichannel routing, incident detection and response, asset service management, workflow automation, and many more functions. The software is widely known for its integrated AI capabilities that can automate service replies, recommend articles, and search for answers to address consumers' concerns. 

Feature Comparison of the Top Help Desk Software

Here is the feature comparison guide of top help desk software. The below-mentioned table compares the prominent features of leading help desk software solutions such as analytics, alerts, customizations, escalation, live chat, knowledge bases, etc. 

feature comparision of help desk software

Cost Comparison of the Top Help Desk Software

The below-mentioned table reflects the prices of top help desk software. The prices may vary depending upon number of users, supported devices, deployment type, monthly/annual payments, etc. The most commonly followed pricing models are pay per user basis, pay-as-you-go, license fees, and free and open source.

Name of Software

Deployment

Devices Supported

Free Trial

Pricing Model

Prices

Freshdesk

Cloud Hosted

Web-based, iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux

14 Days

Monthly and Annual Payment

Free version

HubSpot Help Desk

Cloud Hosted

Web-based, iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux

N/A

Monthly and Annual Payment

Free version

Zoho Desk

Cloud Hosted

Web-based, iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows, Mac

15 Days

Monthly and Annual Payment

Free version

GoDesk

Cloud Hosted, On-Premise

Web-based, Windows, Mac, Linux

14 Days

Monthly and Annual Payment

£19.99 per user

Livechat

Cloud Hosted

Web-based, iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux

14 Days

Monthly and Annual Payment

$20/month

Salesforce Service Cloud

Cloud Hosted

Web-based, iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux

30 Days

Annual Subscription

$25/month

Factors to Consider When Selecting the Best Enterprise Help Desk Software Systems

Use the below-discussed tips to choose the best enterprise help desk software systems as follows;

Features

Features are very important in ensuring complete RoI on your software investment and optimizing the customer support service functions. You should carefully analyze your business and customer service functions to determine which features are suitable for you and which can be avoided. Through this, you can avoid paying for features that are not useful to you. Some essential features are SLA management, ticket management, knowledge base, etc.

Scalability

Every Customer Service Software, whether a help desk tool, live chat system, or others, must be scalable. Check the scalability scope of the software. Check which features are offered by the tool to support the scalability requirements of the business. These include cloud deployment, data storage options, customizations, etc. Also, take a look at the downtime issues, ability to add new tickets, loading time, etc.

Budget-friendly

Determine the overall costs of implementing the desired help desk system. Check for the pricing model, whether it is one-time or recurring. Also, check out the setup, add-ons, and extension cost.

Integrations

One should also consider the integration options of the help desk software before selecting. The software needs integrations with Accounting, Payment Processing, CRM, and various other systems to ensure smooth functioning and real-time data access. These integrations can significantly reduce the time and effort wasted in switching across systems.

Support

To mitigate the challenges that one can encounter while working with the tool, it is critical to check  the customer support options available to contact the vendor. The popular support platforms include social media, email, live chat, and phone calls. The support is mainly needed for training, onboarding, customizing, and debugging the software to ensure better results.

While these are only a few  tips, you should also consider other factors such as compliance, technologies used, existing clients of the tool, etc., to research and filter the best vendor from the pool. Also, GoodFirms is a one-stop B2B listing, review and rating platform to look out for top help desk software solutions tailored to meet the needs of every type of business, ranging from small startups to well-established organizations.

The Future of Intelligent Help Desk Software

the future of intelligent help desk software

Generative Artificial Intelligence or Gen AI

Around 60% of support professionals believe AI in customer service is a valuable technology. It has already been used in the help desk tools for data analytics, decision-making, response automation, sentiment analysis, virtual assistance, predicting consumer behavior, etc. Soon, newer AI models like Gen AI are likely to become a key feature in building strong relationships with customers, deploying precision chatbots, and managing daily queries. Generative AI in the customer service market has already crossed $371.06 Million in 2023 and is anticipated to grow at a whopping CAGR of 24.17%. Gen AI will further improve the tracking of incident logs and historical data, which can help agents decipher inappropriate email incident responses for immediate resolution. 

Auto-detecting and correcting systems

This trend will transform the help desk functions in the upcoming time. These systems can autonomously work to identify and rectify the customer’s issues on their own. Such systems could reduce downtime and maintenance efforts, improve system reliability, proactively resolve issues, and do many tasks with minimal or no human intervention. These systems using data analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc., technologies can anticipate and understand issues and automatically take suitable steps to correct them.

Blockchain

With a market size of $12.3 billion in 2023, Blockchain is one of the most trending technologies to achieve better security, transparency, and traceability in software systems. In help desk tools, this technology will further improve cross-border payments, data access and management, and loyalty programs. In addition, it will also help implement smart contracts, best crypto wallets, create immutable records of help desk tickets, facilitate interoperability, and track the status of tickets in real time.

Conversational automation

Customer service is ushering in a new era of success and transformation, all thanks to conversational automation. Although the technology is gaining traction, there are high chances that it may evolve over time, bringing new opportunities for the customer service functions. Conversational automation is rapidly being deployed across the help desk systems to augment agent capabilities, lower query response time, automate processes, and personalize customer experiences.

Conclusion

The secret of building an organization lies in the quality of service offered to the customers. “Exceptional service - exceptional profit.” A reliable help desk software has the capacity to support a business to reach the highest level of service. Everything changes when customers start trusting a business. 

Help desk software systems are proving to be a worthy investment for businesses looking to streamline help desk queries and complaints. In addition, dynamic customer expectations, technological developments, ease in regulatory compliance, etc., will further propel the growth of help desk systems in upcoming years. Technologies like AI, ML, Blockchain, IoT, automation, Big data, etc., will further enhance omnichannel support, ticket management, data analytics, reporting, cross-functional collaboration, mobile accessibility, tailored recommendations, and many more functions, ultimately boosting the features and capabilities of help desk software. The day is not far when help desk functions will become fully autonomous and will  need minimal human intervention to operate or handle help desk tasks. 

James Mordy
James Mordy

James Mordy is a content writer for GoodFirms. A voracious reader, an avid researcher, a logophile, and a tech geek, he loves reading about the latest technologies shaping the world. He often articulates the very nuances of the tech world in his blogs. In his free time, he loves to watch movies and analyze stock markets worldwide.

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