Customer Service Software
Help Desk

Help Desk Software Comparison: 5 Popular Choices

Published by in Customer Service Software


“No, no there you go, no there you go. I just heard it come on… no, no, that’s the music you heard when it come on… no, that’s the music you hear when… I’m sorry, are you from the past?” The IT Crowd’s Roy asks a caller in series one, episode one.

It’s a scene many IT support professionals can relate to. But while your clients might be from the past, your software shouldn’t be. Help desk software is supposed to make your life easier. Here, we’ve got a comparison between the most popular players, to help make choosing a software solution easier as well.

We’ve chosen the top five players, based on a combination of their total number of customers, users, and social presence. Below we’ve compared them based on how well they automate your most time-consuming tasks and how easy they are to learn and use.


1. Zendesk

Stand-out features

  • Social media integration
  • Will build new features as requested
  • Leaderboard display stats for each of your customer support reps

Customers end up spending 20% to 40% more with companies that engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, according to a Bain & Company report. Realizing this, Zendesk’s social media integration allows you to accept customers’ help requests, complaints, and feedback through most social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, which impressed PC Magazine.



PC Magazine described Zendesk’s CRM integration as “limited,” which is odd because Integration with Salesforce, SugarCRM, or Microsoft Dynamics is automatic. And BatchBook, NetSuite, and HighRise integrations are possible as well.

The magazine also found it difficult to quickly add large numbers of customers from contact lists, calling the process “antiquated,” and also notedemail configuration during initial setup was confusing.

A Quora user called Zendesk “the hardest to learn,” compared to Uservoice and


$1-$195 per agent, per month.


While it doesn’t have every feature other solutions have, its app store, covering everything from live chat and eCommerce, to marketing and project management tools, helps make up for that. PC Magazine calls Zendesk “an ideal solution for helping customer service-oriented small businesses add finesse to the management of support.”

2. Kayako


Stand-out features

  • Real-time visitor monitoring
  • Track and record phone calls
  • Comes with 100 helpdesk reports out of the box.
  • Create custom ticket fields for individual departments
  • Can host your help desk on your own domain
  • Mobile apps allow users to create tickets without having to call or text.
  • Users can live chat on their phones.

Kayako’s robust SLA system allows users to create complicated rule sets to ensure that you meet all your SLA requirements. And automated follow-up actions can save your helpdesk staff hours.



One reviewer wrote, “Overall support for Kayako was horrible.” Another warned about integrations, “Seriously consider other options if you need to integrate with any other system.”


$29-$39 per agent, per month.


The standout features make Kayako a great choice for larger organizations with more diverse customer needs. These organizations will be the main beneficiaries of capabilities like API, editable code, and the ability to ask different form questions for different departments.

3. UserVoice


Stand-out features

  • Recognizes and suggests words and phrases as the user types
  • Facebook integration
  • Feedback reports help customer support representatives know where they can improve


One Quora commenter described the community forum features as “weak, just doesn’t feel like a forum also.”

Chat functionality requires integration with SnapEngage.

One reviewer found the start screen “extremely dangerous looking. I simply was overwhelmed by the tons of information there.”



$0-$95 per agent, per month.


The standout features most closely relate to UserVoice’s main selling proposition: organizing, ranking, and processing suggestions from users on how to improve your product. It doesn’t help to be able to eliminate hundreds of versions of the same suggestion spelled or worded slightly differently if those suggestions aren’t that numerous.

UserVoice is the best choice for companies who are getting a ton of customer feedback and need a better way to process it.

4. Freshdesk


Stand-out features

  • SLA policies allow agents to easily prioritize certain customers
  • Easily turn emails and tickets into knowledgebase articles
  • Self-hosting possible
  • Available in 16 different languages
  • Mobile friendly site

Excellent IT and customer service reps are hard to find, and harder to keep. Gamification, with points and rewards for excellent service, can help boost service desk employee engagement and morale. As Product Marketing Manager at Freshdesk Sairam Krishnan put it, “In customer support, winning that one moment of satisfaction justifies all the work that you put in.” The Freshdesk Arcade turns every support ticket into a chance for agents to score. Answering fast, getting the problem fixed in one go, and getting positive reviews from customers win agents trophies like Speed Racer, Sharp Shooter, Customer Wow Champ, and Most Valuable Player of the month.

SmallBizTrends was impressed with Freshdesk’s ability to help shops deal with temporary increased demand. “For a low $1 – $3 you can add extra agents for a day to help get you through high volume times without changing your plan. To make the transition quicker, you can purchase these in advance and use them as needed. Sweet.”

One Capterra reviewer found the customer service “incredible.”

brilliant (1)


A SmallBizTrends reviewer found Freshdesk a bit slow. “I read in other reviews related to Freshdesk (and some other solutions) that access could be a bit slow. I personally didn’t find it to be lightning fast, but I wouldn’t complain about it, especially given it offers a robust free level. But I’d suggest beefing up the speed component to keep the ‘always-on, gotta-have-it-instantly’ crowd happy.”

The same reviewer also thought sample reports would be helpful “so I can understand better what’s possible from that option. But as you can see here, there is no shortage of options once you have some data/tickets flowing.”


$0-$79 per agent, per month.


The full plan is free for three agents. But the biggest draw, gamification, relies on competition among agents to really work. Larger shops who are focused on keeping employees happy and productive will be able to best take advantage of this feature.

5. Bomgar

Stand-out features

Comparing Bomgar to the other help desk software products is a little hard, because Bomgar does something totally different. Bomgar gives support professionals access to clients’ computers, inside their firewalls, reporting back system issues and allowing agents to fix them remotely.

Beyond that, as the agent is helping the customer, Bomgar will capture the screen into a flash movie of the assistance.




PC Mag calls the support for non-Windows clients “limited” and says there’s no phone integration.


One-time cost of $1,188+.


The ITSM Review calls Bomgar “the leader in enterprise remote support solutions.” With it, technicians can securely access and fix nearly any system, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and BlackBerry devices, and unattended systems, such as kiosks, POS systems, servers, and routers.

Bottom Line

Any of the above solutions will help save you time, increase your efficiency, and help improve your service. To compare other solutions, check out Capterra’s help desk software category.

What features are most important to you in a help desk software product?  How do you think these solutions stack up to one another?  Add your thoughts in the comments!

Looking for Help Desk software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Help Desk software solutions.

About the Author

Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz is a former Capterra analyst.


Comment by Hemant Jani on

There are other help desk solutions such as that are very capable and incredibly simple to use. Pointing out just 4 or 5 does not do justice to the other offerings as this limits the choice for the readers.

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