There are some key questions to answer when you set out to decide which help desk software service will work best for you and your business. Depending on the size of your team, the amount of internal or external people you seek to serve, and your particular use cases, you’ll probably want to consider:
- What can we realistically afford?
- What features do we absolutely need? (Most teams use only a small fraction of features they buy.)
- How will this help desk integrate with the current platforms we’re using to run our business?
- How much time and effort will it take to learn and implement?
With these questions in mind, we’ve gone ahead and identified which help desk tools we think offer the best solutions for small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses. Our hope is to help you answer these questions as you search for the right service for your company. And to back up this reaffirmation with supporting evidence, we based our choices on the G2 expertise and their user-generated software reviews.
In addition to our recommendations, we’ve included a short use case profile for our product Gmelius, before diving into our list of recommended services. We’ve built something that we see as particularly useful to SMBs that have grown beyond ad hoc email for ticketing but don’t need (or would be actively slowed down by) full blown, expensive ticketing software, so we thought we’d show you how Gmelius can match up well with the needs of many team-driven businesses.
Help desk software can certainly transform your small business and be an invaluable investment for those at an enterprise-level. Happy shopping!
Use Case Profile: Operations Team at Mid-sized Company Uses Gmelius as Gmail Help Desk Software
Here’s an example of a hypothetical client based on a group of customers we often serve: Operations Teams at mid and large size organizations. This company consists of 30 people. They are a tech company providing custom software solutions to their wide range of customers.
Like so many organizations with multi-department teams, this company started out using Gmail, Google Team Drive, and G Suite to run their operation.
Their initial approach to customer support was to have an email address that clients could send messages to when they had questions about their products or status of projects. As the volume of these inquiries increased, keeping their support email inbox organized and maintaining a quick response rate became a challenge.
They needed to find a way for multiple team members to coordinate responses to these inquiries together (and ideally in real-time), so it was time to look for a help desk. That’s when they discovered Gmelius.
Using our Shared Inbox and Shared Labels, they are able to use help desk style ticketing to create a simple email system for Gmail. Labels were created to reflect the different status of ongoing conversations—which allows anyone that’s a part of the shared support inbox to see the status of individual interactions and issues at any time.
Our clients are particularly pleased with the benefits of not needing to migrate outside of Gmail to manage their support system (and we don’t blame them). They’re now able to assign tickets to team members, keep track of their conversations with customers, and coordinate as a team to accomplish this with ease.
What's best is that Gmelius has become their cross team collaboration platform, seamlessly integrating, in a two-way sync, with their entire stack of tools. Departments are able to work from their favorite platforms including Slack and Trello, and be ensure that Gmelius will sync their data across their entire stack.
Help Desk Software for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMB’s)
- Price: Free for teams up to 3 users, paid plans starting at $9/user/month
- G2 Rating: 4.5/5
We’ve designed Gmelius around the idea that teams using G Suite require a more collaborative platform, one that allows their teams to get work done together and in real-time. It’s more efficient to handle both internal and external communication in one place, without leaving your inbox or adding external applications to the mix.
With the use of shared inboxes you get the essence of help desk software right inside Gmail. You can see who has responded to who, work off of the same lists, send private messages about email threads, and assign tasks to team members, all without leaving Gmail.
Our Shared Labels and Tags can be used for ticketing and tracking the status of support requests so your team is always on the same page. And with Gmelius, you get Trello-like kanban boards for visual project management as well as email automation and tracking—giving your business the ability to remain inside Gmail and avoid using many different types of software and platforms.
If you’re looking for a lightweight but powerful email ticketing system that lives inside Gmail, so you don’t have to bounce between software—while simultaneously allowing your team to maintain their current workflow habits—we think Gmelius is a great option.
You can start for free by clicking this link (or by clicking the "Try Gmelius" button).
- Price: 15 day free trial; starting at $20/user/month
- G2 Rating: 4.3/5
Help Scout is another lightweight support software for managing service requests. Support teams can assign each other the responsibility to respond to support tickets, see when each other are active inside of the app, and track which conversations with customers have been closed and which are still open.
Help Scout has integrations available for a long list of commonly used apps including Mailchimp, HubSpot, and Slack, so there’s a good chance you can integrate with the platforms you’re already using to run your business.
- Price: Starting at $13/user/month
- G2 Rating: 4.2/5
SupportBee is a complete ticketing system for customer service management. Their three core features include shared inbox, knowledge base, and customer portal. Shared inboxes allow teams to coordinate their communication and responses to incoming messages. Knowledge bases act as searchable FAQs that allow customers to find answers to their own questions. And the customer portal provides a place for customers to send, manage, and track the progress of their requests.
- Price: Starting at $15/user/month
- G2 Rating: 4.5/5
LiveAgent allows you to manage support requests from different channels including email, live chat, and social. They have a built in call center that can connect to a call button on your website, with no charges for call minutes or recordings. And they also have a self-service portal for customers who prefer to help themselves.
LiveAgent was featured as one of the best software companies of 2018 by G2 Crowd.
- Price: Mid-sized plan starting at $49/user/month if paid annually
- G2 Rating: 4.6/5
HappyFox help desk has a number of use cases including customer support, email management, internal help desk, and complaint management. It offers an intuitive user experience and a deep suite of features including a robust email ticketing system, knowledge management, and a self-service knowledge base with community forums. There are many integrations available with popular tools like Slack and Salesforce, as well as other business applications used for things like accounting and commerce.
- Price: 14 day free trial; Mid-sized plan starting at $30/user/month
- G2 Rating: 4.1/5
Kayako’s management tool makes support service communication personal and simple. It’s shared inbox and ticketing features are great for customer service, internal IT help desk, and eCommerce support. Their system is uniquely set up to provide context and access to “a complete picture of your customer’s journey.” For example, it lets you know what happened before they contact you, or notifies you when a customer’s Stripe payment failed so you can proactively reach out. This context element can be invaluable for providing quality support.
- Price: 14 day free trial; Mid-sized plan starting at $75/user/month
- G2 Rating: 4.0/5
While best known for customer relationship management (CRM), Salesforce offers a help desk system to streamline responding to support requests from multiple channels including email, phone, social media, chat, and your website, all from within their agent console. Set up can be done in hours and is meant to be easy for businesses to get up and running quickly on their own.
With their branded self-service feature, end users have a form of 24/7 support where they can resolve issues on their own. And as you bring your data into their platform, you can use it to generate insights that can lead to increased customer satisfaction over time.
- Price: Professional plan starting at $12/user/month
- G2 Rating: 4.3/5
Zoho Desk is another multichannel software solution for keeping customers happy by responding quickly and efficiently to critical communications. Their program focuses on providing the relevant context needed so that you’re always aware of the nuances of any given interaction. And their customization feature allows you to personalize the look, feel, and overall experience of your customer interactions, which can be done easily. No coding required.
Help Desk Software for Enterprise Businesses
- Price: Free trial; Enterprise starting at $109/user/month billed annually
- G2 Rating: 4.4/5
Note: Freshdesk is a sister product to Freshservice (IT support desk)
Freshdesk offers the full suite of features that you would expect from a robust help desk support platform. Issue tracking, collaboration, marketing automation, self-service knowledge base, reporting and analytics, and customization—the works.
One unique and useful feature that they also offer is “predictive support.” Predictive support is meant to improve the customer experience by recognizing frustration signals from users, spotting problems like abandoned carts and payment failures, and notifying you so you can reach out in advance through personalized emails to solve their issues.
- Price: Free trial; Enterprise starting at $99/user/month
- G2 Rating: 4.2/5
With an array of software products built for a globally dispersed team, Zendesk seeks to bring a personal touch to enterprise-level operations. They can help you set up a customizable workflow that is flexible and can meet the needs of your business at scale.
Customers use Zendesk for customer self-service, omnichannel customer support, or as an IT service management (ITSM) system. Note, however, that Zendesk has discontinued their inbox feature in 2019, so if that’s important to you, you’ll need to find an alternative.
- Price: Free trial; Enterprise starting at $149/user/month
- G2 Rating: 4.6/5
Atera offers a user friendly IT service desk and ticketing system for managed service providers (MSP’s) and IT service providers. Tickets can be created several different ways on both the customer and technician end of the platform to handle technical issues quickly and efficiently. Ticket management is synced between the customer portal (which includes a knowledge base) and the Atera UI for free flowing, instant communication.
- Price: Pricing varies on needs
- G2 Rating: 4.1/5
Atlassian’s service platform, Jira Service Desk, offers enterprise companies a management software that can scale to meet the needs of a large operation. They recognize the key issues for enterprises: preventing service outages, scaling technical support, IT asset management, and keeping your data secure.
With ITIL-certified templates, users can adhere to the most widely used service management framework. You also have access to service level agreements (SLA’s) which define the level of service customers can expect from you as the supplier.
Final Consideration: Mobile Apps
We’ve covered what we see as some of the best help desk software products out there that match the varying needs of different size businesses.
Now that you’ve seen the patterns of features available at the lightweight and heavyweight ends of the spectrum, we’ll wrap up with a note about mobile devices. When you’re selecting which service to use, you might want to consider which ones have mobile apps, and whether they’re compatible with Android or iOS.
We hope you found this useful, and if you fall into the category of an SMB looking for more streamlined internal and external communication, we would love for you to test out our service with a free trial.