Customer Support Management

Freshdesk vs Zendesk – An Expert Review for You

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Why do you even need a help desk application for your business?

In the time of startups, you would have noticed small teams coming out of nowhere with some of the most promising products (and some, not so much). The start-up culture has taken over across industries, where people choose to follow an open floor plan. With young team members working together, all you need to do is yell across the room and get the work done.

However, what happens when these startups are no longer small companies?

At a certain stage when a company does take off on its full growth plan, there are bottlenecks that they need to overcome. This could be an internal process that is not yet optimised or resource management that isn’t efficient enough.

It is to avoid such roadblocks that growing companies, both medium as well as large-sized firms, decide to take the help of third-party applications – more commonly known as help desk software applications.

Their objective is to smoothen out the knots that sometimes pop up in between processes, slowing down the momentum of the work and eventually, growth.

“Customer service is the new marketing.”
Derek Sivers, Founder CD Baby

Apart from getting rid of the roadblocks, help desk applications are built to take care of a whole lot of other things too – all of course directed towards making your job simpler, more efficient and result oriented.

a. Automation

One of the biggest reasons that help desk applications are a hit, is the ability to automate processes.Right from assigning tickets to updating the status for each issue in the pipeline, automation helps businesses keep tab on their customer relationships and how well they are being handled.

b. Multitasking Companion

It becomes a designated box of problems – IT issues and customer requests; all organised according to their category and assigned to the right people in the team. This level of organisation only helps growing businesses make their processes more efficient.

c. Customised Offerings

With so many apps available in the market today, the one thing that takes away the cake is customisation of solutions. All leading help desk applications enable you to customise their products based on your requirements and processes – after all, every business runs on a different model and needs a different growth partner.

d. Improved Efficiency

Since the processes are well organised and tasks get lined up according to priority, business communication becomes smooth as well. The productivity of employees increases automatically when they know what needs to be done, what is automated and what needs immediate attention. Efficient employees, sustainable business growth.

Zendesk:  An In-Depth Analysis

A leading help desk application being used by most businesses today is Zendesk.

Aiming to change the face of ticketing systems and customer support, Zendesk is a rather well built, all round product that you would love to work on.

Taking up most of your process and automating them, along with efficient ticket management, Zendesk is one of the best options available in the market. The fact that Zendesk is easy to deploy in any setup, has also played a major part in its popular adoption by businesses.

Since the platform aims at converting customer queries into conversations, it enables businesses to give a personal touch to their otherwise automated processes.

However, there are a bunch of features that will help you understand how nifty this particular tool is. Take a look!

1. Email System

Zendesk aims at gathering customer feedback through various avenues, email being one of them. Once an email is sent to the customer service team, it automatically gets converted into a customer ticket which includes all communication details.

These emails can also be molded as per your preferences, using email templates already available on Zendesk. This particular feature enhances the readability of the emails and also pushes for higher productivity levels from the reps managing the communication.

Zendesk email

2. Triggers

Another feature that makes Zendesk a smart choice, is the Trigger functionality.

Using this feature, you can easily automate certain processes, especially the ones customized for particular events. For example, you can directly specify the type of tickets to one particular person that you believe is an expert in their domain.

This reduces the to and fro of a customer ticket, and focuses on resolving it at the shortest turnover time.

Zendesk Triggers

3. Reports

Since no work is valuable until and unless you get to see their results, Zendesk provides the reporting feature in every plan available for their platform.

The reports cover various aspects of the activities carried out by your customer support team, ranging from SLA agreement and average resolution time to agent performance and efficiency.

Zendesk Reports

4. Insights

One step ahead of the regular reporting feature, Insights is offered only in the Plus and Enterprise plans.

The results reflected under Insights are much more detailed, and they cover the minutest of nuances that could be present in your day to day activities. The detailed insights help you pinpoint exact issues along with the degree of attention that they require at a particular time and optimize the processes to boost their efficiency.

Zendesk Insights

5. Customization

The competition for customer acquisition and retention is increasing by the day. The only way to stand out is to offer an authentic experience to the customer with a brand individuality and identity. The Customization feature on Zendesk gives you an opportunity to deliver communication that your customers and prospects are expecting from your brand.

By customizing services as well as the interface they work on, you not only give them the confidence of letting them trust you, but you also position yourself as a customer-centric businesses working at delivering the best of results to them.

Zendesk Customization

6. Knowledge Pools

There are tons of knowledge-based articles and content pieces available on the portal that Zendesk customers can directly refer to. The idea is to maintain a database that lets these customers serve themselves before they decide to shoot an email or pick up the phone to reach customer support.

By promoting this practice, Zendesk makes sure that the client feels self-sufficient and not entirely dependent on someone else. By instilling a sense of self-confidence, Zendesk earns bonus points for its self-sustaining platform.

Zendesk Knowldege pools

7. Connect

You would agree that creating a connection with your customer is of utmost importance when you’re trying to resolve their queries. Zendesk uses the latest technology to help you strike a personal connection with your customer.

By using Connect, you can easily anticipate customer needs and reach out to them with targeted and customized messages. By doing so, you not only win their trust for being a customer-centric business but also build brand loyalty.

The team at Zendesk has made Connect possible by using features that are targeted at making your customer communications personalized.

a. Contextual Communication

Communication is helpful as long as it is relevant and contextual. Keeping the importance of relevance at the center of it all, Contextual Communication is enabled through a bunch of functionalities. Under this feature, it is ensured that your customer receives in – product messages to help notify them of any updates or to onboard them faster.

Zendesk Contextual Communication

It also lets the user create customized email campaigns to reach out to their customer base in a more impactful manner. You get the option to design the emails as per your preference and add a Call To Action that brings you higher conversions.

Sending these campaigns is no longer a hassle. Unlike other auto emailing platforms, there is also an option of importing a CSV file of your database that you’d like to reach out to.

b. Customer Segmentation

No communication is effective if it is not directed at the right audience. By using the Customer Segmentation feature, you can quickly categorize your audience based on the type of communication you’d be required to send them. You can also segment them using appropriate filters to create holistic customer profiles.

Zendesk Customer Segmentation

c. Customer Journey

Another Connect feature, Customer Journey lists down the entire customer engagement history in the form of a timeline to offer a better perspective of things to the team member. By knowing the exact occurrence of incidents and the communication thread, any new rep can quickly take over the problem at hand and resolve it efficiently.

Zendesk Customer Journey

8. Zendesk Integrations

While a stand-alone platform is an excellent way to avoid any loops in the way, smart integrations have become a necessity to build more intelligent applications. Gone are the days when a user was expected to toggle between five different applications to get one job done. Seamless integrations are the way to go and with Zendesk’s integration with over 500 apps, work is a lot more fun!

Let’s take a look at Zendesk’s top integrations:

a. Channel Integration

Zendesk can be easily integrated with any of the communication channels – WeChat, Telegram, YouTube, Texting, Slack and others.

The brilliant thing about these integrations is that all customer chats and even comments on a YouTube video can be quickly converted into queries that are turned into tickets – a totally automated process.

b. Editor App Integration

Integrations under this feature are possible with Giphy, Emoji, and Wistia among others. The idea is to enable users to edit their messages and personalize them as much as they want! These can be found in the new ‘Edit and Compose’ category.

c. Trello Integration

Organized communication is one of the most important aspects of a winning customer support team. Trello, with its visual collaboration boards, makes organizing a lot simpler for Zendesk users. The integration offers the functionality to convert tickets into cards and organize them on your Trello board.

Who is using Zendesk?

Zendesk is a unique combination of industry knowledge, user and customer requirements as well as innovation. There are thousands of people and businesses that rely on Zendesk to manage their clients on a daily basis.

Some of them being, small businesses that are looking for help desk solutions that can scale easily with their growth and large businesses who are looking for robust solutions to manage their customer queries.

Zendesk has created plans and features that suit just about every business – irrespective of its size. Since each of their solutions is highly customizable, their adoption rate has been seemingly high in the industry.

Pricing: There is 30-day free trial available for those who would like to test the platform and its features first. The other plans on their list vary based on the features offered under each. 

Freshdesk: An In-depth Analysis

Freshdesk is another help desk solution which is not only cost effective and powerful but also delivers customized solutions to companies spread across the world. It is a winning alternative among the many options available in the market today and has competitive features in comparison to Zendesk.

With an aim to reduce the time spent on repeating the same processes manually, Freshdesk’s automation system has been built to take huge amounts of data at a time and optimize these processes for efficiency. The seamless integrations and reliable automation system ensures that customer support teams are well equipped to handle a significant chunk of queries – all at once.

However, it is not only these two features that have made Freshdesk a competitive choice. There is a lot more to this cloud based platform that is worth the consideration.

Let’s take a look at some of the top features that make Freshdesk a top runner:

1. Ticketing

Ticketing, which is one of the most crucial tasks for a support team, is wonderfully taken care of by Freshdesk’s automated workflows.

Freshdesk follows a Service Level Agreement policy that calls for pre-defined parameters for setting up these workflows. These are a set of rules that the backend system follows to assign  incoming tickets to the support reps for effective management.

freshdesk ticketing

If rightly defined in the parameters, you can convert all your incoming query emails into tickets, which can then further be forwarded to the concerned representative.

The system not only saves time but also makes sure that all tickets are taken care of in a well-defined timeline.

The tickets are assigned on a real time basis and during an overload, they get queued systematically, ready to be assigned to the right rep.

The automation of processes here is pretty strong, which is also the most important factor one should consider before choosing a help desk solution for their business.

2. Branding

Freshdesk has offered a functionality where you can modify and create a personalized email id, to suit your business and to keep it simple for your customers to remember as well as reach out on.

Customized email IDs also ensure that your email does not land up in the Spam Folder of the customer during the communication.

Freshdesk’s integration with FreshThemes is another feature to look out for. It allows users across the company to get the same visual experience by customizing the UI as per their liking.

freshdesk branding

3. Self Servicing

The self service portal available on Freshdesk holds all the relevant company documents and sheets, some self-help tips and a pool of information that helps out users when they’re stuck.

This portal helps eliminate query calls that could be resolved by the users themselves, and invokes a sense of self-dependence in the customers, which is great for more business!

However, if a customer is unable to find a solution, there are features like ‘Announcements’ and ‘Report a Problem’ within the portal that can be used to get help from the customer support team instantly.

Freshdek Self Service

4. Enhanced Reporting

Reports get you deep insights into productivity levels against the time available. The advanced time tracking system measures the quantity of work done as per the time available, for every user in the organization.

It automatically generates time sheets and assigns tasks and deadlines for each,  to ensure their timely completion.

Freshdesk Reporting

The final reporting is simple to  understand in a quick glance. The team’s performance can also be measured against key metrics which the admin can set up themselves and customize as required. This helps in better resource management and identifying proactive team members that have been adding to the growth of the business.

5. Gamification

Serving thousands of customers day in and day out can become monotonous, leading to teams losing their drive to perform well. But, gamification takes care of this problem.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Thomas Edison

On Freshdesk, the entire objective of serving customers has been turned into a ‘game’ where users are rewarded with points and badges when they finish a particular task. They are also moved up  across ‘levels’ to win a recognition for their performance.

Freshdesk Gamification

This keeps the customer service reps highly engaged in the process. Creating a sense of competitiveness also increases their will to push their productivity levels to a 100%.

Pricing:  You can always start with a free trial of any of the plans they offer. Each plan comes with a different set of features and can be chosen based on requirements. You can also contact them for an enterprise plan. 

6. Freshdesk Integrations

Smart integrations have become a need of the hour. Most businesses have all their data stored on the cloud and need smart tools to collate them all for use in various business processes.

Freshdesk integrates with more than 120 applications to enable quick navigation through tons of data available on other platforms.

Seamless integration comes handy for businesses that are scaling at a fast pace. You don’t need to toggle between multiple applications, saving you a whole lot of time and increasing the efficiency with which you complete a task.

a. Email Marketing and automation

With online marketing suddenly taking the centre of all types of marketing, emails have become important to stay in touch with the customer. Email marketing is also a great way to keep customers engaged and informed about all the latest updates related to the business.

Hence, it makes complete sense to have an integrated tool that allows efficient email marketing and automation. The options available on Freshdesk are MailChimp, Hubspot, Campaign Monitor, and iContact.

FreshdeskMailchimp_integration

b. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer Relationship Management is usually hosted on other applications in most companies. While help desks are an excellent way to provide customer support, these companies still opt for a CRM to keep better track of customer relationships.

However, if you’ve got both, there’s no need to worry. The tool easily integrates with all popular CRM tools in the market like Salesforce, Zoho, Nimble, Pipedrive, SugarCRM, CallPage and others.

Freshdesk CRM integrations

c. Surveys and Feedback

An excellent way to keep your customers engaged is timely interaction and asking for regular feedback.

By following this exercise regularly, you also get a chance to improve in areas where you might be lacking and serve your customers better. To get surveys and feedback filled by your clients, you can easily use SurveyMonkey, Callexa, and FormCrafts on Freshdesk.

FreshdeskSurvey_Monkey_Integration

Who is using Freshdesk?

Freshdesk is a great platform for growing companies. Startups that are beginning with very small teams are opting for Freshdesk because of the free package they are offering for the first three years.

The UI and workflows involved in building the platform resonate well with the younger generation which is another reason for startups and the growing new-age companies to opt for Freshdesk over the other options available.

Freshdesk VS Zendesk: A Comparison

Zendesk is the older of the two and has established itself in the market in the year 2007. But Freshdesk came into the picture pretty soon, giving a fierce competition to the former.

While both the platforms are all rounder help desk solutions, it is still imperative to carefully weigh the pros and cons of both, before you decide to deploy either of them for your business.

a. Pricing

Both platforms offer an on demand subscription model, which means you pay as you increase your features.

However, looking at all the packages offered, Freshdesk’s prices are a tad bit lower, where they also offer a free subscription for up to 3 users. So if you’re a startup, Freshdesk is a better bet for you!

b. Ticketing System

Another area where Freshdesk is winning the game is the Ticketing system, which is also the most important aspect of a helpdesk support platform.

All the incoming queries appear in an open folder before they are automatically assigned to the right person from your team. The workflows can be modified to a great extent giving you the liberty to completely customize your processing system.

c. Gamification

Gamification of the entire customer support platform helps keep the users going and boosts them to deliver a better performance. The rewards system keeps adding points to the users, basis their performance, which converts into badges for the best performers.

All in all, both the platforms are strikingly similar, having all features built with reliable backend systems. The creators of both platforms have kept in mind the ease of use, relevance and efficient customer support while building the products.

Hence, it really depends on your business requirement to decide which platform would suit your business the best.

But if you ask me, Freshdesk does have a slightly upper hand when it comes down to evaluating the two tools on the basis of creativity, efficiency and some exciting new features that you can customize as per your requirements.

Ankit is a Technology Entrepreneur. Technology Entrepreneur. Co-founder #Aritic, Founder #EasySendy.

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