Freshdesk is one of the most popular customer support platforms in the market. In fact, Freshworks, the parent of Freshdesk, was Gartner’s only “Visionary” on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for CRM Customer Engagement Center 2020.
Freshdesk markets itself as a “unified platform that enables teams to provide omnichannel support from a single interface, with a unified CRM, ticketing system, and efficient automation”. They provide two packages, Helpdesk and Omnichannel.
Freshdesk Omnichannel is a suite of other Freshworks products geared towards customer support, including;
- Freshdesk Helpdesk
- Freshworks CRM
Yet when it comes to that key word “unified”, you may find Freshdesk user experience is not unified, nor is the Freshdesk platform.
If you’re in the market for an omnichannel customer support software – you’re looking to provide seamless, frictionless and unified experiences to customers from channel to channel.
Freshdesk’s own omnichannel package doesn’t go as far as to provide a unified experience to users – requiring you to open multiple tabs, and download multiple apps, for each Freshworks product to carry-out certain tasks like calling and chatting with customers. Each with their standalone dashboard and layout.
This leads to an issue where if a customer chats with you on two different channels, it creates two different tickets – often requiring the customer to repeat themselves and have two very different experiences, which is not an omnichannel experience.
Freshdesk Omnichannel starts at US$79 per month, per licence, annually – and you need to pay extra on top of that to integrate instant messengers such as WhatsApp to your dashboard, to buy call and chat packages, or access your own analytics. If user experience and customer experience are equally important to you, then check out this list of the top 5 Freshdesk competitors and alternatives below that are also more cost effective.
Top 5 Freshdesk competitors and alternatives based on unified customer and user experience, and cost:
Perfect for start-ups, SMEs, as well as enterprises, maaiiconnect’s omnichannel capabilities are not only focused on customer support, but empowering businesses to optimise the customer journey, turning every touchpoint into a powerful engagement and conversion opportunity.
maaiiconnect’s biggest differentiator is that it was designed to be omnichannel – instead of adding communications channels like WhatsApp as APIs or “add-ons” later. maaiiconnect was designed with these interconnections as a native part of the platform to provide stronger insights and data analysis, such as customer identity previews, comprehensive real-time reports and performance measurements, that enable businesses to build solid data-backed strategies and customer experiences. maaiiconnect also provides the largest reach for any customer engagement platform – with the most popular instant messengers worldwide, and largest suite of virtual numbers with local phone numbers available for almost every country.
Top maaiiconnect features:
- Large Suite of Channels: maaiiconnect has the largest range of channels for global reach, all native and centralised in the same dashboard interface. Channels include WhatsApp Business, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Live Chat & Web Calls, virtual numbers, SMS, 1 -1 video demos, conferencing, and weblinks and QR codes that launch chats and calls from marketing materials online and offline. Line (the most popular messenger in Japan and Taiwan) and Google Business Messages are coming soon too!
- Virtual Numbers and SMS: maaiiconnect has the largest virtual number range for local phone numbers and SMS, covering 150+ countries. Businesses can easily build a global presence or expand to new markets from the same dashboard by connecting a local number from anywhere in the world, or set up dedicated international toll-free numbers for different business units or teams, that will always connect to the right person. maaiiconnect is also one of the only platforms with a native SMS campaign manager that doesn’t require any additional integration or subscription fees.
- Customer-first: maaiiconnect provides a unified customer profile that connects their identity between different channels online and offline. Each chat and call is bridged by a single chat room for each individual customer, instead of an “issue based” ticketing system. That way, businesses that value service quality can grow their long-term relationship with a customer, instead of only solving their immediate problem.
Great for: Personalised, contextual omnichannel chats and calls with customers anywhere in the world, at every touchpoint of the customer journey from marketing and awareness to loyalty.
ESSENTIALS Plan: Free – includes 5 licences
PRO Plan: US$25 per month, per licence, billed annually – 3 licences minimum
BUSINESS Plan: US$35 per month, per licence, billed annually – 10 licences minimum
Limited time only: FREE 60-day trial of maaiiconnect BUSINESS with a FREE WhatsApp Business Account. Package valued at US$1,780. Sign up here
Zendesk (Zendesk Support Suite)
Zendesk is a service-first CRM company that builds support, sales, and customer engagement software designed to foster better customer relationships. The Zendesk Support Suite enables businesses to have conversations with customers on channels including email, chat, voice, and social messaging apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat and more. The Zendesk Support Suite is a unification of other Zendesk products, namely incorporating Zendesk Support (ticketing system), Guide (Knowledge Base and self-service platform), Talk (call centre software), and Chat (live messaging).
In the past, Zendesk Support Suite delivered a similar structure to Freshdesk, with a de-unified workspace consisting of different interfaces, apps, and various subscriptions required for each product. But since mid-2020, Zendesk re-designed their software and now provides a unified agent workspace, keeping all the customer interactions and relevant context in one place.
Top Zendesk Support Suite Features:
- Advanced Ticketing System: Zendesk offers the leading customer support ticketing system out there! It’s easy to create, respond, and add assignees, while a built-in collaboration feature on each ticket makes it very easy to solve customer issues without interrupting the conversation.
- Self-service: Zendesk is also a leader in letting customers support themselves with Zendesk’s self-service Knowledge Bases, where customers can search FAQs or post questions with quick routing and responses from support staff.
- Integrations: Zendesk offers over 700 different integrations for everything from Slack to Outlook and more, meaning one business can centralise all of their subscriptions, services, and platforms into Zendesk.
Great for: Large-scale customer support operations that requires advanced ticketing systems and comprehensive self-service Knowledge base services – as long as you have the manpower to support it!
Zendesk Support Suite Pricing:
Suite Team: US$49 per month, per licence, billed annually
Suite Growth: US$70 per month, per licence, billed annually
Suite Professional: US$99 per month, per licence, billed annually
Suite Enterprise: US$150 per month, per licence, billed annually
Zoho (Zoho Desk)
Zoho Desk is web-based help desk software that provides efficient tools for customer support activities, and team collaboration. With their expertise laying in CRM software, this gives businesses a solid understanding of the customer’s profile when they engage with the business through social media and Facebook and Instagram shops.
Zoho Desk offers a more robust social media integration through its ticketing system, with integrations for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and email – mostly focused on handling public customer tweets and comments, and 1 – 1 direct messages. This puts Zoho Desk’s focus more squarely on social customer service and CRM.
Zoho Desk is, however, a very puzzling and confusing system to use with navigation menus on 3 sections of the screen. It also does not natively include any call functions, but these can be integrated from a third-party.
Top Zoho Desk Features:
- Zoho CRM: CRM is the backbone of Zoho Desk, and users can easily identify or merge identical contacts, leverage a comprehensive tagging and labelling system, and there’s extensive room for notes. Sorting through contacts is very efficient with a handy navigation menu for quick sorting and browsing. The best benefit of the CRM and social customer service focus is that businesses can see the profile of everyone commenting and engaging with public social media posts.
- Multi-department ticketing: If you offer various different services across product portfolios, you need a help desk that can support all of them. Zoho Desk enables multiple departments to create unique experiences for each one, with dedicated teams, SLAs, and multiple self-service portals.
- Mobile Apps: Although perhaps not necessary for all businesses or management styles, Zoho Desk offers 2 separate mobile apps. One for support agents, and one for managers. Agents can get ticket updates, resolve issues, and talk to teammates using the Zoho Desk mobile app, and managers can view real-time stats displayed on intuitive dashboards.
Great for: A CRM-centric approach involving multiple brands/products, departments, and teams in the social customer service process.
Zoho Desk Pricing:
Free: Free – includes 3 licences
Standard: US$14 per month, per licence, billed annually
Professional: US$23 per month, per licence, billed annually
Enterprise: US$40 per month, per licence, billed annually
Front is a customer engagement platform that uses automation and custom workflows to channel customers to the right support, or agent, in order to drive natural conversations at scale. Front includes live chat, Facebook Messaging, email, Twitter, Google Play Store reviews, and web form integration, but for other channels, third party integration with Front’s preferred partners are needed. For example, SMS and WhatsApp must be arranged through Twilio, while Front offers calling features through Talkdesk or Dialpad.
While those add-ons add more expense, what Front lacks in channels, it makes up in customisation and staff efficiency! Front is a platform that allows more customisation than others, with a big focus on individual agent productivity and efficiency. Businesses also have more control on automation, workflows and enquiry management processes through a workflow builder.
Top Front Features:
- Automate and Plan Workflows: Businesses can plan in-depth maps for the customer journey, with advanced rule triggers and assignments. Customer support is easily and efficiently automated with templates, and quality SLA’s can be set for every step before customers eventually reach an agent only when needed.
- Customisation: Businesses have a lot of flexibility in branding and designing their dashboard for staff, while agents are able to customise their personal workspace to suit their unique preferences. Front’s focus on individual productivity allows agents to integrate their calendar, save their own templates, and see their own individual analytics.
- Email management: Front has a big focus on emails, so it’s no surprise a lot of their unique innovations are around email handling and management. Email workflows are streamlined, drafts can be shared between colleagues, and agents can see who has viewed an email to make following up easier.
Great for: Businesses that want to automate much of the support process, and empower their staff to provide their best service, efficiently.
Starter: US$19 per month, per licence, billed annually
Prime: US$49 per month, per licence, billed annually
Enterprise: US$99 per month, per licence, billed annually
Gorgias is a help desk for small and medium sized e-commerce stores that allows your customer service team to manage all of your support in one place. Gorgias is integrated with Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce stores, connecting email, live chat, phone, Facebook, Instagram, and contact us page into one unified view to streamline support tickets.
As opposed to other solutions, Gorgias has an extremely powerful integration with Shopify and Shopify Plus, giving agents insights about the customer’s purchase history and intent at customer support/engagement touchpoints, such as during live chat or on Facebook.
Gorgias also allows smart integration with popular apps for subscription management and loyalty programmes, putting Gorgias as a strong player in loyalty communications. In terms of channels however, Gorgias is more focused on comments and tweets, with integrations for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but at this moment is unable to connect Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or WeChat.
Overall Gorgias is strong in supporting businesses mid-way through the customer journey, from purchase to loyalty and retention, but lacks tools to help businesses expand awareness or intelligently engage customers that aren’t yet interested in purchase.
Top Gorgias Features:
- Shopify Integration: Part of the powerful integration between Shopify and Gorgias means that businesses can simply see order details for a customer, refund, cancel, duplicate orders, and see the shipping details/timeline right next to the support ticket – without leaving the Gorgias help desk app.
- Loyalty Building: Unified customer communication history across different channels along with purchase data, and loyalty programme integration, businesses have rich data and tools to grow loyalty and target customers with relevant products, messaging, and offers.
- Reward Customers: Gorgias allows easy and quick rewards for customers, such as creating and sending loyalty programme points, gift cards, special offers and more straight to the customer in your current ticket, without leaving the help desk app or having to open another platform.
Great for: Small to medium sized e-commerce retailers with Shopify or Magento that have a strong flow of repeat customers.
Basic: US$50 per month, billed annually, 350 monthly tickets
Pro: US$250 per month, billed annually, 2,000 monthly tickets
Advanced: US$624 per month, billed annually, 6,000 monthly tickets
Summing things up
License cost is only one component of the total cost of your communications. There are costs beyond license fees – these are costs incurred when you have poor customer experience, an inefficient agent experience, messy and disconnected data, and a disconnected technology framework/product suite (remember that lack of unification).
When you consider these costs incurred, maaiiconnect offers a fantastic RoI for your communications investment through its native unification of channels and tools to make your business the omnichannel success story customers crave.
Get started for free! Right now for a limited time only, we’re offering a 60-day trial of maaiiconnect BUSINESS – our most powerful omnichannel suite. Act now and get a free WhatsApp Business Account with our official partner. This package is valued at US$1,780! Redeem now