Intercom vs. Zendesk: Which Is Better?

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Jun 27, 2022

It wasn’t all that long ago when customer service just consisted of support agents speaking with customers over the phone Since then, the landscape of customer service has changed drastically, incorporating various other touchpoints that a customer can have with your company. Whatever people are using to communicate with each other, whether it be online or over the phone, they expect to also be able to talk to the businesses they use with those same tools and platforms. Among the many challenges facing businesses today is the pressing need to meet their customers where they are. 

In navigating this conundrum, several digital tools can come in handy, and two of the most popular options are Intercom and Zendesk. As both platforms have their pros and cons, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for your business. To guide your decision-making, we explain the key features and qualities of each, and the role that a multichannel conversational AI platform (Netomi!) can play, for the ultimate CX strategy.  

What Is Intercom?

Intercom has positioned itself as a messaging platform rather than a comprehensive CRM solution. This differentiates it from Zendesk, which offers a more traditional CRM experience. Intercom’s primary focus is engaging and communicating with customers through live chat, in-app messaging, and email. This makes it a great choice for businesses that want to provide their customers with a more personal experience.

Intercom also offers a few features that are unique to its platform – one of these being the ability to segment users based on their behavior. This means that you can send targeted messages to different groups of users based on how they interact with your product. Intercom also offers a suite of tools for customer support, including a knowledge base, a help center, and a community forum.

What Is Zendesk?

Zendesk is a comprehensive CRM and support suite that offers a variety of features for customer support, sales, and marketing. One of Zendesk’s most notable aspects is its robust ticketing system. As Zendesk initially began as a help desk ticketing system, it’s no surprise that the platform makes tracking and managing customer inquiries seamless.

Zendesk has over 160,000 customers, including some well-known brands like Siemens, Uber and Instacart. Zendesk identifies itself as a growth-enabling, all-in-one solution. 

Feature Comparison: Intercom Vs. Zendesk

Helpdesk

Zendesk’s core feature has always been its ticketing system, and it remains the industry’s finest. Since Zendesk’s inception, its ticketing system has remained the best in the business.

Zendesk’s dashboard ties together your customer interactions from every possible channel. This makes it easy for agents to manage requests and communicate with customers more efficiently. They also offer features that enhance collaboration amongst employees if you have a bigger team.

Intercom’s helpdesk is the most popular option, which complements their chat tools rather than replaces them. It’s well-designed and simple to employ, but it lacks the more complex capabilities of Zendesk.

Knowledge base

With Zendesk’s Answer Bot, relevant articles are automatically suggested to your customers, saving them time while they look for solutions. This also reduces the workload of your support agents.

Both Intercom and Zendesk provide you with their own Operator bot, which immediately suggests relevant material to clients via the chat widget. When it comes to creating an optimum knowledge base experience, both Intercom and Zendesk are excellent choices with similar capabilities for your needs.

In-app messaging

While Zendesk offers a wide array of support features, many more than Intercom, there are a couple of major features it lacks that Intercom has. The first is proactive, in-app messaging, and the second is email marketing capabilities.

In-app messages are notifications sent to users while they’re engaged with an app on mobile or PC. It allows companies to interact with customers while they’re active in the app, delivering information based on time or behavior. They may be utilized to alert consumers about product updates, provide assistance, and promote specials that are relevant to them.

Email marketing

Another feature Intercom offers that Zendesk doesn’t is email marketing tools. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your customers.

Intercom’s email marketing service provides value for businesses at every stage of the customer lifecycle and can be combined with in-app messaging for even more interaction. These interactions can take the form of newsletters, onboarding emails, and product setup emails.

Real-time analytics

As a full-featured all-in-one solution, Zendesk has one big feature that Intercom lacks: real-time analytics. Zendesk’s real-time analytics are displayed on a live feed, and help agents decide where they should spend time to assist customers best.

Pricing Comparison: Intercom Vs. Zendesk

ZendeskIntercom
Team PlanStart Plan (1 seat)
Grow PlanGrow Plan (5 seats)
Enterprise PlanEnterprise and Pro Plans
30 Day Free Trial14 Day Free Trial

Zendesk offers tiered pricing based on the level of service you need, the size of your teams, and other factors. Every feature is available in the broadest option, Zendesk Suite, which is the version most companies would be implementing. After all, most businesses find it easier to use one solution for all of their needs rather than parceling duties out to different tools. 

While Intercom offers a “Starter Plan” for very small businesses, the price for larger companies is scaled upward, too. If you only need the services Intercom offers, then you’ll only spend around $75 a month for two seats. Zendesk is around the same price for its smallest suite offering. Larger companies should expect to spend more.

​​Zendesk is ideal for both sales and messaging solutions with sophisticated features, whereas Intercom is best for finding the greatest messaging solution and, with the ability to add and subtract add-ons, its price customization is a nice benefit.

The Verdict: Intercom vs Zendesk – Which Is the Best CRM Solution?

Having the two presented side by side, which is the best CRM solution? The answer, as with most things in life, is that it depends on your specific needs and ultimate goals. Both play a key role in a strong CX strategy – if you’re looking for a comprehensive solution that can handle all of your customer interactions, then Zendesk is a great choice, while, if you’re looking for a messaging-focused solution that will help you streamline your customer support, then Intercom might be the better option.

There is no harm in testing the waters before committing to one or the other, as both Zendesk and Intercom offer free trials. 

How to leverage AI to get even more out of Intercom and Zendesk 

There is power to be realized in partnerships and the strategic combination of forces, and companies using chatbots for customer service can further enhance the CX, taking it to new heights. While platforms like Zendesk and Intercom streamline the agent experience and can decrease resolution times, multichannel conversational AI platforms like Netomi are now acting as the first line of defense when it comes to customer support. Netomi’s virtual agents sit alongside human agents to supplement and enhance the capacity of support teams, ensuring the seamless resolution of customer queries.

Once you get a better sense of clarity on the defining features of Intercom vs Zendesk and decide on which platform to implement, the Netomi AI takes the best course of action with every incoming support ticket:

  • The AI can automatically resolve common, highly repeatable tickets without having to loop in a human agent (‘auto-pilot’ mode)
  • For more complex tickets, the AI can gather information from the customer or back-end systems, and even draft a response for review, before handing off to a human agent (‘co-pilot’ mode) 
  • For the most complex tickets that require a human hand, the AI can summarize and route tickets to the most appropriate  agent for the task 

By leveraging the out-of-the-box Netomi virtual agent integration, companies enhance both the agent and customer experience, while also reducing costs. Other chatbots don’t sit natively within the agent desk, but with Netomi, virtual and human agents work alongside each other, creating an efficient and ultra-powerful customer service team.

Interested in learning more? Take a look at how Netomi seamlessly integrates with Zendesk.

The Top 11 Zendesk Alternatives

Written by Amy Wallace  on   Apr 7, 2022

Today, providing strong customer service is key – according to Zendesk’s CX Trends 2022 report, 72% of business leaders say that their organization views customer service as a critical business priority. Moreover, customers today are engaging more with service teams, with support requests – ranging from technical questions to assistance with a return – up 14%, in comparison to last year.

So, in order to deliver the best possible experience, it becomes essential to equip support teams with robust tools and resources, setting them up for ultimate success. To provide customers with a seamless, personalized, and connected experience, across all channels. When it comes to service desk platforms (aka agent desks) that help accomplish this feat of providing a best-in-class customer experience, there are no shortage options available.

If you are considering help desk software, you’ve likely heard of Zendesk.

What is Zendesk?

Zendesk is one of the most well-known and best help desk platforms in the market today. In a nutshell, Zendesk helps companies manage the entire experience for their customers and improve customer relationships – bringing all marketing and support functions together into one platform.

Zendesk also has a spunky side and is known for bold messaging. Take a look at how Zendesk describes themselves in their own words:

While Zendesk is an exceptional customer service solution, there are other options available, all with their own unique and sophisticated features. Here, we take a look at 11 alternatives to Zendesk.

How can you seamlessly introduce Netomi’s AI into your workforce? Get in touch with our team to learn more!

11 Top Zendesk Alternatives

  1. Freshdesk
  2. Gladly
  3. Salesforce Service Cloud
  4. HubSpot Service Hub
  5. Intercom
  6. Zoho Desk
  7. Front
  8. Groove
  9. Help Scout
  10. Kustomer
  11. LiveAgent

  1. Freshdesk
  2. Best Zendesk alternative for larger teams

     

    What makes Freshdesk one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    Freshdesk helps businesses to deliver seamless customer service across digital and traditional channels, including email, chat, phone, and social media. Complete with a help widget and multilingual knowledge base that supports 42 languages, the platform lets businesses design a self-service experience for their customers, one in which they are free to help themselves.

    Freshdesk’s key features

    • Built for omnichannel support
    • Collaboration features that fuel teamwork and efficiency, including shared ownership of tickets and parent-child ticketing (splitting tickets into smaller tasks that respective teams can work on in parallel)
    • Open-source API to integrate powerful Freshdesk chatbot solutions
    • Analytics to measure improved efficiency, including team dashboards, custom, and curated reports, and customer satisfaction ratings
    • AI-powered automation to streamline workflows, such as scanning through tickets hourly to check if there’s a need for an update or an alert, and auto-assigning tickets to the right agents
    • Complete customization capabilities, including custom ticket forms, custom apps, and portal customization

  3. Gladly
  4. Best Zendesk alternative for retailers

     

    What makes Gladly one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    With a strong emphasis on providing personal customer service, Gladly is a customer service platform that “treats customers like people, not tickets.” Its people-centered rather than ticket-centered approach means that all conversations, across all channels, are tied to customer profiles, in one single place. As voice, email, text, and chat are all built-in natively to the platform, agents can respond across all channels during a conversation from a single screen, while also having the historical context from a customer’s previous interactions.

    Gladly’s key features

    • ‘People match’ that pairs customers with the best “service hero” to assist them, based on their own unique situation, history, and needs
    • Open-source API to integrate powerful Gladly chatbot solutions
    • ‘Conversation timeline’ that stores customer communications across all channels in one lifelong conversation thread, and in one centralized view
    • Customer service analytics that offer cross-channel insights that make a true impact, such as action-oriented reports and data exports
    • Integrations with applications such as Shopify, Twitter, Messenger, and Netomi

  5. Salesforce Service Cloud
  6. Best for integrations with other tools

     

    What makes Salesforce Service Cloud one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    Built on Salesforce Customer 360, Salesforce Service Cloud gives businesses a 360-degree view of their customers, allowing them to deliver smarter, faster, and more personalized service. The platform gives agents the tools to deliver an exceptional customer experience, enabling them to work faster and more productively, which, in turn, improves customer satisfaction and reduces costs.

    Salesforce Service Cloud’s key features

    • Open-source API to integrate powerful Salesforce chatbot solutions
    • An agent workspace that allows agents to seamlessly handle cases from one screen with an easy-to-use service console, affording them a unified view of every case detail and customer interaction
    • Omni-channel routing to deliver more efficient support by automatically routing cases to the best agent or team for the job, based on their skill set and availability
    • A point-and-click interface that enables teams to easily design and deploy automated processes, such as orchestrating workflows, creating and updating records, logging calls, and sending emails

  7. HubSpot Service Hub
  8. Best Zendesk alternative for teams that are already using HubSpot

     

    What makes HubSpot Service Hub one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    Part of the HubSpot CRM platform, Service Hub includes conversational tools, help desk automation, customer feedback surveys, reporting, and more, to provide businesses with one unified view of each customer interaction. The comprehensive, end-to-end service allows for better customer service management and satisfied customers, at each stage of their journey.

    HubSpot Service Hub’s key features

    • Reporting dashboards that surface actionable data to improve customer service, highlighting the top service requests
    • A secure customer portal that empowers customers to gain ownership over their experience, and keeps ticket conversations between customers and reps flowing
    • Live chat that enables teams to assist customers on their website in real-time, automatically routing them to the right support agents
    • A shared inbox that connects team email, live chat, Facebook Messenger, and more to one universal inbox, so support teams are able to manage and reply to conversations in one place

  9. Intercom
  10. Best Zendesk alternative for early stage businesses

     

    What makes Intercom one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    An all-in-one customer communications platform, and one that offers conversational support, conversational engagement and conversational marketing, Intercom’s comprehensive solution enables businesses to personalize all customer interactions, and deliver support that is personalized as well as proactive. Ideal for both large as well as growing businesses, under Intercom’s Early Stage Program, eligible startups receive advanced Intercom features and Early Stage Academy at a 95% discount.

    Intercom’s key features

    • Product tours that introduce customers to a company’s products, offering guided experiences that spotlight new features and drive adoption
    • Management tools, including a collaborative inbox, rules and automated workflows, and reporting tools to help teams be more efficient
    • Customer messaging that allows agents to communicate with customers across platforms, chat in real-time or follow up later, and help customers self-serve
    • Integration with 300+ apps, including Slack, WhatsApp and Google Analytics, to maximize customer experience and team efficiency

  11. Zoho Desk
  12. Best Zendesk alternative for sales-focused teams

     

    What makes Zoho Desk one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    An omnichannel customer service solution, Zoho Desk works across verticals including telecom, hospitality and finance, catering to businesses of all sizes, from startups to enterprises. With actionable insights, ticket management and automation, Zoho Desk helps support teams stay on top of all aspects of their customer service efforts. Additionally, Radar, the company’s mobile app, allows teams to monitor ticket traffic and key support metrics, wherever they are.

    Zoho Desk’s key features

    • A multichannel ticketing system that collects support tickets from various channels (such as email and social media), and organizes them in a single interface
    • Zoho’s AI-powered assistant can identify the sentiment behind tickets, process incoming tickets, and assign them appropriate tags
    • Open-source API to integrate powerful Zoho chatbot solutions
    • Instant remote assistance with the Zoho Assist add-on that enables teams to provide cloud-based remote support from within Zoho Desk
    • Different ticket views that help agents automatically organize tickets based on priority, due time, status, or CRM status, and ‘ticket peek’ that shows a preview of every interaction that team members have had with the customer, as well as the ticket’s properties

  13. Front
  14. Best Zendesk alternative for companies that offer the majority of their customer support through email

    What makes Front one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    Offering a hub for all things related to customer communication, Front combines the simplicity of email with the intelligence of a CRM. The platform’s intuitive design allows for smarter collaboration between teammates, so they can deliver unmatched and tailor-made service to their customers.

    Front’s key features

    • Custom workflows that automatically route, triage and escalate messages, and prioritize VIPs
    • A universal inbox that consolidates work all in one place, and each message gets a clear owner, so no customer requests fall through the cracks
    • In-depth analytics to track performance, customer satisfaction, and growth
    • 100+ integrations with apps such as Asana, Gmail, and Facebook, so teams can manage projects, consult their CRMs, and view all communication channels right in their inbox

  15. Groove
  16. Best Zendesk alternative for small businesses

    What makes Groove one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    A shared inbox for small businesses seeking an alternative to Gmail, Groove provides a space for teams to organize all of their support emails in one place, route them to the right people, and get more work done as a team.

    Groove’s key features

    • Reporting functionalities, including team analytics, conversation insights, and performance metrics
    • A 24/7 smart, self-service knowledge base, that can be easily edited and designed to match a company’s brand, featuring insights such as most-searched terms, most-viewed articles, and article suggestions
    • Automations such as instant replies, rules and tags, to organize conversations and speed up workflows
    • Integrations with hundreds of apps, such as Slack, Shopify, and MailChimp

  17. Help Scout
  18. Best Zendesk alternative for growing businesses

     

    What makes Help Scout one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    An all-in-one support platform, Help Scout is designed to help growing companies “turn customers into brand ambassadors.” Complete with an integrated knowledge base, 50+ integrations, in-app messaging and live chat, it helps keep support teams on the same page so they can focus on delivering a great customer experience. What’s more, with Help Scout’s free iOS and Android apps, teams can easily check their inboxes and reply to customers, while on the go.

    Help Scout’s key features

    • Workflows that automate repetitive tasks, keep response times low and act based on pre-set conditions (if one event takes place, what action should happen after?)
    • A single shared inbox that houses all support requests, allowing teams to collaborate with ease, and personalize conversations with customers
    • “Beacons” that can be placed on any page of a website or app, standing as an easy way for customers to flip through a knowledge base or reach out to a support team
    • Reports that do all of the heavy lifting, providing summaries of phone calls created, key chat metrics, trending topics among customers, and more

  19. Kustomer
  20. Best Zendesk alternative for teams looking for more native CRM capabilities in their helpdesk

     

    What makes Kustomer one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    Kustomer brings together CRM, customer engagement, and helpdesk software into a single omnichannel platform. With a strong emphasis on omnichannel, the platform allows agents to view the entire experience and seamlessly switch between channels to meet customers where they are.

    Kustomer’s key features

    • Kustomer IQ’s AI capabilities contextualize conversations, generate predictive insights, and recommend next-best actions
    • The Kustomer Timeline – an easy-to-use agent workspace for managing customer conversations, displaying each customer journey in a chronological timeline view, including website visits, historical interactions, and purchase history
    • Integrations with various apps to unify CX operations, including Gmail, SurveyMonkey, and Instagram
    • Reporting and analytics features that enable teams to generate reports about conversations, team performance, and customer base

  21. LiveAgent
  22. Best Zendesk alternative for larger teams who have the need for the platform’s numerous support desk features

     

    What makes LiveAgent one of the best Zendesk alternatives?

    A pioneering customer service software established in 2006, LiveAgent was the first solution to offer both live chat and help desk capabilities. Its advanced help desk ticketing system integrates with numerous communication channels to provide customers with exceptional support, going “beyond an IT ticketing system.”

    LiveAgent’s key features

    • A comprehensive ticketing system that allows teams to handle all customer inquiries from one interface, complete with automated ticket distribution, time rules that prioritize tickets, and a ‘to solve’ button that reminds agents about incoming tickets
    • 15 live chat features, including proactive chat invitations, chat button animations, real-time typing view, and chat embedded tracking
    • A built-in call center with unlimited call recordings, internal calls and call routing
    • Social media integrations with platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, to save agents time by streamlining all customer interactions into a single, unified inbox

    Are you using Zendesk to its fullest potential?

    “Alone we are one, yet together we are stronger,” Alexandra da Silva Rodrigues, Radisson Hotel Group’s Strategical Advisor for Global Contact Centers, noted in a recent Netomi webinar. While Alexandra was referring to teams of call center agents, the same idea rings true when it comes to integration of systems and softwares. Because one platform alone can be powerful and make a true impact, but two combined? Now that’s a whole other story.

    This is why we work to bring together the best of machine and human intelligence. Netomi’s AI-powered Zendesk chatbot ​​works natively within the Zendesk Chat window and agent console, to resolve up to 80% of repeatable customer tickets within seconds with zero human effort. Issues that are sensitive, critical or high-risk are routed to human support agents. Netomi’s virtual agents are there to supplement and enhance live chat support teams, working alongside them to create the ultimate customer service team. Best of all, the seamless integration means that agents do not require any re-training, they need not master new tools.

    The possibilities for service desk platforms are endless, yet not all are the same. As your needs are unique to your team and your industry, it is important to select the one that fits your organization, and will deliver the most impact to your support team and your customers.

    How can a powerful AI-powered chatbot like Netomi’s integrate with your service desk solution? Send us a message to learn more!

Zendesk vs. Freshdesk: Which Is Better?

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Oct 25, 2021

Service desk platforms – also called agent desks – help companies enhance the customer experience, scale conversations across multiple channels and reduce customer service costs. Two of the most established ticket management software platforms – and often compared platforms, too – in this space are Zendesk vs Freshdesk. Both are used by hundreds of thousands of companies around the world as customer support software and help desk software service solutions.

Both offer a suite of sophisticated features, some are the same and some different, that help agents resolve issues faster and also make support easier and more convenient for customers. The platforms are highly reviewed and rated on G2: Freshdesk rates 4.4/5 stars with 2,482 reviews and Zendesk Support Suite rates 4.3/5 stars with 3,267 reviews (at the time of publishing). So, what’s right for you: Zendesk or Freshdesk? 

In this post we’re diving into everything you need to know about Zendesk vs Freshdesk including features, pricing, customers, customization and more. After reading this post, you’ll be able to figure out if Zendesk or Freshdesk would work better for your company. 

Zendesk: Everything you need to know 

Zendesk is one of the most well-known and established help desk platforms. It has over 160,000 customers, including some of the largest enterprise brands in the world such as Siemens, Uber, Instacart and Polaris. It’s targeted at high-growth and enterprise companies that need sophisticated features, and because of this, is the more expensive option.  More than just a help desk, Zendesk can help companies manage the entire customer experience – bringing marketing and support together into one platform. 

Zendesk enables customers to deliver a consistent experience across multiple channels and provide agents with a unified workspace to manage and even collaborate on conversations. The platform gives agents a 360-degree view of customer data so context can be carried forward (similar capabilities are available on Freshdesk). This has a major impact on the customer service KPIs: on average, Zendesk increases customer satisfaction by 25% and agent productivity by 30%1.

Key Features of Zendesk

Zendesk Ticket Management

The ticketing system on Zendesk consolidates all of your tickets into a single platform – including from social media, email, chat, in-app support, phone, and the web. It boasts features including ticket routing and assigning tickets to the right agent. According to one review, this feature makes an impact: “the built-in intelligent routing ensures appropriate customer-to-agent fit and automates ticketing queues to reduce resolution time2..

Leveraging the Zendesk platform, you will never lose a request as each ticket, regardless of channel, is entered into a queue for agents to pick up. 

Zendesk Knowledge Base

Zendesk is one of the best knowledge base software platforms that is self-service via customizable and user-friendly. This lets your customers find the answers to their questions via an online help center without needing to interact with an agent, and essentially deflecting tickets. These intuitive help centers can be deployed on mobile or Web via a simple SDK. 

Apps and Integrations 

The Zendesk marketplace has over 1,250 apps and out-of-the-box integrations including Zendesk chatbots to automate conversations,  productivity tools, time tracking, collaboration and customer surveys. These Zendesk apps amplify the power of the platform and many can be implemented with a single click. 

Zendesk Pricing

Zendesk offers a variety of pricing plans based on the number of agent seats you need, channels, and access to features like the self-service Zendesk Knowledge Base. At the time of this post, the most basic plan starts at $49 / month / agent and this increases to $215 / month / agent for the most robust enterprise plans. Though Zendesk does not offer a free tier, it does have a free trial.

Zendesk Customization

Zendesk allows you to customize all reports and graphs, as well as chat colors, text, logos, and branding. Views within the Zendesk dashboard can be “extensively customized to your preferences as well—an area in which Freshdesk tried to do something similar, but we preferred the way Zendesk Support shows the information, including ticket expiration times.” 

Zendesk Reports and Data Analysis

Zendesk offers a suite of beautifully-designed reports to help you measure the success of your customer support operations. You can quickly identify areas that require improvement, and areas of development for your agents. The best part?  You can track your performance against best practice metrics so you can see how you’re performing.

Zendesk Security

Security is core to the Zendesk platform. The company is SOC 2 Type II, ISO and FedRAMP LI-SaaS compliant.


Hear how AI can improve the customer experience in this webinar featuring Greg Dreyfus from Zendesk.


A complete guide to Freshdesk

Freshdesk is a top Zendesk alternative and might be the better option if you’re looking for a simple, more affordable option. Over half of the reviews on G2 come from small companies, but that’s not to say that larger companies don’t also use Freshdesk.

The platform is used by over 50,000 brands, including Bridgestone, HP, Harvard University and DHL to improve customer service. While Zendesk has a broader lens of the entire customer experience, Freshdesk is more narrowly focused on customer support (although it can be integrated with other Freshworks products). 

The platform is touted for its usability and you can get set up in just a few minutes. According to one review, “Freshdesk is easy to set up and get started. It has the quickest go-to-market deployment, even when considering novice users3.”

Key Features of Freshdesk

Freshdesk Ticket Management

The Freshdesk ticketing system lets you close tickets faster with a centralized inbox that brings in tickets from multiple channels (email, phone, web, chat and social) Tickets are assigned to agents in a few ways – skill-based, load balancing and round robin – and agents can collaborate on tickets in real-time. It is the only platform to provide in-app notifications to agents if a ticket status changes or a customer responds, and canned responses help to provide consistent responses to common questions. The platform has unique tools like a “Thank you detector” which prevents reopening of tickets when customers respond with a thank you. 

Freshdesk Knowledge Base and Self Service 

Sometimes customers want to help themselves and Freshdesk boasts a suite of self-help tools. One such tool is a fully-customizable Knowledge Base (or help center) which can be accessed on your website, mobile app or even chat. Another form of customer self service is community forums, which allows your users to ask each other. 

Freshdesk Integrations

While not as robust as the Zendesk marketplace, Freshdesk has an app store with over 800 pre-built integrations including productivity, remote work, file sharing and collaboration tools. 

Freshdesk Reports and Data Analysis

Freshdesk users can make data-based decisions by accessing a variety of reports, including ticket volume trends, agent performance, group performance, satisfaction surveys, customer sentiment, etc. 

Freshdesk Pricing

Freshdesk offers a variety of pricing plans from FREE (Yes, free!) to high-growth companies ($15 month / agent) all the way up to enterprise plans starting at $79 / month / agent (pricing at the time of publication). Plans vary based on features, channels and integrations available, but they have done a good job of providing tremendous value in every tier based specifically on the stage of your business. According to one review, “Even on the [basic and free] plan, there aren’t many restrictions [when it comes to features4.”

Freshdesk Customization

Freshdesk offers a large number of ways you can customize your experience. You can brand your entire help desk to align with your company’s branding, choosing the style or color of elements of your portal, or selecting from a library of plug-and-play “FreshThemes.” You can also have your portal built in over 40 languages and even map your Freshdesk domain to your own support URL. 

Freshdesk Security

Like Zendesk, Freshdesk has rigorous security controls and is GDPR, HIPPA, SOC and ISO compliant. 


Get 5 strategies for successful customer service automation
in this webinar featuring Rajiv Ramanan from Freshworks.


Zendesk vs Freshdesk Feature Comparison

Feature 

Zendesk 

Freshdesk 

Pricing 

Five Tiers: 

  • Suite Team ($49/agent/month)
  • Suite Growth ($79/agent/month) 
  • Suite Professional ($99/agent/month)
  • Suite Enterprise  ($150/agent/month)
  • Suite Enterprise Customization ($215/agent/month)

Four Tiers: 

  • Free 
  • Growth ($15/agent/month)
  • Pro ($49/agent/month)
  • Enterprise ($79/agent/month)

Free option 

N/A

Free plan with unlimited agents which includes: 

  • Email & Social Ticketing 
  • Ticket Dispatch 
  • Knowledge Base 
  • Ticket Trend Report 
  • Datacenter Location 
  • Team Collaboration

Self-help

  • Knowledge Base 
  • Community
  • Answer Bot
  • Knowledge Base 
  • Community Forums 
  • Chatbot

App Store 

  • 1,250 apps
  • 800+ apps 

Channels 

  • Email 
  • Chat 
  • Help Center
    Messaging 
  • Social Messaging 
  • Voice 
  • Text
  • Web Widget 
  • Mobile SDK 
  • Email 
  • Phone 
  • Chat 
  • Website 
  • Social Media 
  • WhatsApp
  • Mobile SDK

Ticket Management 

  • Centralized Inbox
  • Customer context – Agents get access to order history, web activity and loyalty status
  • SLA Management
  • Alerts/Escalation 
  • Macros
  • Conditional and Custom Ticket Fields
  • Agent Collision Detection
  • Help desk automation
  • Triggers that initiate a workflow based on changes in a ticket
  • Team Inbox 
  • Agent Collision Detection
  • SLA Management
  • Ticket Field Suggester
  • Custom Ticket Status
  • Thank You Detector
  • Scenario Automation
  • Canned Responses
  • Help desk automation

Agent Collaboration

  • Light agents: Give limited permissions to certain agents who can provide subject matter expertise and advice via private comments.
  • Side conversations: Enable agents to bring in other people from internal and external teams to collaborate. 
  • CCs and followers: Include both Carbon Copy (CCs) and Followers fields.
  • Team Huddle: Discuss specific parts of tickets with experts from across your company.
  • Shared Ownership: Share ownership of tickets with other teams. 
  • Linked Tickets: Link related tickets together to keep track of widespread issues.
  • Parent-child Ticketing: Resolve complex issues by splitting them into smaller child tickets.

How to leverage AI to get even more value from Zendesk and Freshdesk 

Companies using chatbots for customer service can further enhance the CX experience. While ticket management platforms like Zendesk and Freshdesk streamline the agent experience tremendously and decrease resolution time, AI chatbots like Netomi are now acting as the first line of defense when tickets come in. Netomi’s virtual agents sit alongside human agents to supplement and enhance live chat support teams.

Once you get clarity on this decision comparing Zendesk vs Freshdesk, the Netomi AI takes the best course of action with every incoming ticket:

  • For highly repeatable tickets, the AI can automatically resolve it without having to loop in a human agent 
  • For more complex tickets, the AI can gather information from the customer or back-end systems, and even draft a response for review, before handing off to a human agent 
  • For the most complex tickets, the AI can summarize and route tickets to the right agent 

By leveraging the out-of-the-box Netomi virtual agent integration, companies enhance both the agent and customer experience while also reducing costs. Most other chatbots don’t sit natively within the agent desk, but with Netomi, virtual and human agents work alongside each other, creating the most efficient customer service team that we’ve ever seen. 

Interested in learning more about how Netomi integrates with two of the leading helpdesk AI platforms? Take a look at how we can integrate with Zendesk and how we can help you connect your Freshdesk implementation to Netomi.

References we used for this Zendesk vs Freshdesk comparison

  1. https://www.capterra.com/p/164283/Zendesk/
  2. https://www.trustradius.com/products/zendesk-support-suite/reviews
  3. https://www.g2.com/products/freshdesk/reviews/freshdesk-review-5036680 
  4. https://www.g2.com/survey_responses/freshdesk-review-5036680

How To Maximize Your Zendesk Answer Bot With AI

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Jan 30, 2021

Today we’ll be exploring Zendesk Answer Bot. Companies of all sizes are adopting AI to automate resolution of the 265 billion customer support requests made every year. A customer support chatbot serves as the first line of defense to respond to customers and help resolve a customer’s questions before looping in a human. As a result, the best chatbots can help save up to 30% of customer service costs while also improving the customer experience.

Zendesk, one of the largest customer service platforms in the world, has its own AI offering: Answer Bot. In this article, we’re going to dive into what the Zendesk Answer Bot is, costs and features, how to best leverage the technology, and when you would choose the Answer Bot over a more advanced solution like Netomi’s AI customer service.

What is Zendesk Answer Bot?

Zendesk Answer Bot is an artificially intelligent Zendesk chatbot that aims to improve customer experience on any customer-facing website. Answer Bot leverages machine learning technology to suggest articles from a company’s Zendesk Knowledge Base to answer customer questions. Essentially, when a customer asks a question in the chat window, mobile app or Slack, the Answer Bot scans the knowledge base and instantly provides links to multiple articles within the chat while a customer is waiting for a human agent. It serves as a way to deflect a simple, everyday question like the details of a refund policy from human agents, ultimately reducing resolution times.

If a customer is able to find an answer to their question, they can mark their answer as resolved. If the customer needs further assistance, a human agent is looped in. Answer Bot can also suggest articles to a human agent within the Zendesk dashboard.

How much does Zendesk Answer Bot cost?

Zendesk’s Answer Bot is priced per resolution, based on when a customer marks that their question was resolved. Pricing is also dependent on the total number of answers, or depth of a knowledge base. You can use the calculator on Zendesk’s website (linked in the “What to expect from Zendesk Answer Bot” section below) to get a ballpark estimate on how much Answer Bot will cost you.


To see how Netomi’s chatbot tools can integrate seamlessly with the best knowledge base software for your company, get in touch to book a personalized demo!


How can I make the most of my Zendesk Answer Bot installation?

Before you adopt Answer Bot, you’ll want to first focus on creating your Zendesk Knowledge Base. A knowledge base is essentially a library of articles covering recurring topics and questions on products and service. For retailers, this could be questions related to return or refund policies, the process of how to modify or cancel an order, or how to best care for or clean products. Before building out a travel chatbot, travel and hospitality companies would benefit more by first building out their knowledge base to cover customer questions including the process of booking or upgrading, checking-in, or required documentation.

Implementing the Answer Bot is an effective way to extract more value from a Knowledge Base as it further amplifies all of the content that already exists. Without an extensive Knowledge Base that covers the most frequently asked questions, the Answer Bot will deflect few tickets from a support team.

What’s the difference: Netomi AI Chatbot vs Zendesk Answer Bot

While both leverage machine learning, the Zendesk Answer Bot and Netomi AI chatbots are very different offerings that are designed for different support teams with different automation goals. With that said, Zendesk does offer an intelligent integration with Netomi which could give you the best of both worlds.

What to expect from Zendesk Answer Bot

The Zendesk Answer Bot can be looked at as a great first step into AI. Answer Bot leverages machine learning more to deflect customer questions from human agents, not fully resolve issues on a personal level. The bot suggests articles by picking the best answer from the available library of content, but not necessarily the most accurate response. According to its website, Answer Bot automates an average of 6% of incoming tickets and charges approximately $1 per resolution. Answer Bot is ideal for Zendesk customers who are already using Zendesk Suite and want to offload a few basic customer questions.

What to expect from Netomi’s AI Bot

Netomi’s solution is purpose-built for AI-powered customer service. Compared to Answer Bot, Netomi can automate between 5x-8x more tickets depending on the industry (30%-50%). In fact, Netomi’s AI has recorded the industry’s highest resolution rate at 87% for WestJet. One major difference is that Netomi’s AI chatbots focus on personalized resolution rather than just deflection. Netomi’s AI chatbot is designed to replicate a human agent: it can decipher the intent of what a customer asks based on a semantic analysis and sophisticated natural language understanding (NLU). Additionally, Netomi can understand un-natural language, typos, emojis and errors. Netomi also maintains business-specific entity maps to understand business jargon, locations and information unique to specific industries.

If the Netomi chatbot hasn’t been trained on a specific topic it can pull articles from a knowledge base like the Answer Bot. Furthermore, Netomi’s AI bots integrate with back-end systems – like CRM or order management systems – to provide personalized, contextual resolutions for an individual customer, not simply generic articles. So, instead of just providing a link to an article on a return policy, Netomi bots can actually process a return. Netomi’s AI can also be deployed across a variety of channels including email and social, whereas Answer Bot can only be used via chat for now.

How Zendesk and Netomi work together

Netomi partnered with Zendesk to create the ultimate Zendesk chatbot – a seamless experience for Zendesk customers who want to up-level their customer support. According to Greg Dreyfus, a Zendesk Platform Architects Team Manager: “Partnering with Netomi, you can have your own bespoke AI chatbot, your own way of engaging with AI to give exactly the experience you want to offer. This is their core. This is what they do and they are very good at it.”

The Bottom Line on Zendesk Answer Bot

Both Zendesk Answer Bot and Netomi’s chatbot platform help to decrease resolution times by providing instant answers. Deciding which solution to adopt depends on your support team’s needs and your customer expectations. Zendesk and Netomi partnered together to offer customer service teams the best of both worlds. If you’re looking to automate a little, Zendesk Answer Bot is for you. If you are looking to implement a more robust AI solution that is still very Zendesk-friendly, check out Netomi.

Find out what your ROI will be if you build an AI chatbot. Try our free chatbot ROI calculator.

Check out our on-demand Webinar: Zendesk & Netomi Present: The Future of AI in Customer Service. Watch Now!

Getting Started with Netomi on Zendesk

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Apr 6, 2020

Bringing AI and customer service into your workforce has never been easier, and implementing chatbots can help your business to save up to 30% on your customer service costs, according to Gartner.

With our out-of-the-box, Zendesk chatbot native integration, you can quickly launch a sophisticated and highly accurate chatbot that works alongside your human agents

When you choose to work with Netomi, you don’t have to worry about code and nothing changes for your customer service team. Based on the end user experience that you want to provide and the level of customization you want to have for each use case, you can choose between two options: 

  • AI premium service: This is our best-in-class solution that comes with a dedicated customer success team that provides white-glove support every step of the way. We’ll create a really engaging, natural chat experience. You will have complete customization on the conversational design and the ability to integrate with multiple back-end systems. 
  • Zendesk Knowledge Base service: A self-serve option that links to your knowledge base and will be up and running immediately. 

Whichever option you choose, launching Netomi’s AI on Zendesk chat is quick and simple.

Zendesk Chatbot: Netomi’s Premium Service   

When you select our conversational customization option, you’ll create a highly-tailored experience that is expertly designed for the chat interface. The below six steps are completed in as little as two weeks. 

Step 1: Gather historical data 

Historical data is the best place to start when you’re launching a new conversational AI experience for customer service. Pull historical customer service tickets from your Zendesk account. You’ll send an export to your dedicated Netomi customer success team for analysis. 

Step 2: Analyze data to identify use cases 

It’s critical that each ticket is managed properly. By leveraging historical tickets, you’re taking the guesswork out of which tickets to delegate to a chatbot tool, and which should be always routed to a human agent. 

High-risk, critical or rare issues should always be routed to a human agent. Inquiries that are highly-repeatable, pose low-to-medium business risk and require low-to-medium exception management are the ideal customer service tickets to automate

During our clustering process, we’ll identify the right use cases. Essentially, our algorithms will group together historical tickets that have the same intent, making it really easy to determine which use cases account for a high volume of tickets and uncover trends in how human agents have responded in the past. During this step, you’ll select the tickets you will delegate to your AI.

AI can work for almost any industry from eLearning to eCommerce. For instance, a subscription company will likely see that order modifications, skipping a delivery, or address updates, account for a lot of tickets and therefore would make great candidates for AI. Edge cases, such as specific questions regarding a recipe or preparation, would likely account for fewer tickets and therefore would yield a lower benefit when automated. 

This clustering process also helps jumpstart utterance training, giving your AI the ability to understand how people ask things in real-life, not simply the wording on your online wiki or FAQ page. This extensive utterance training helps your AI more accurately classify your customers intent from launch, ensuring a positive customer experience

Step 3: Conversational design 

Once the use cases that will be delegated to AI have been selected, the conversational design process begins where you bring your virtual agent to life. This consists of a few key things: 

  • Bot Personality: Within Netomi’s AI Studio, you’ll bring your bot to life through the tone of your bot responses, making sure it aligns with your brand.
  • Tailoring Use Case Journeys: Create and tailor your responses for each use case within AI Studio. Don’t forget to add emojis and other conversational U/X features like buttons, suggested responses and more. 
  • Conversational Elements: You will also create responses for conversational copy (greetings, common questions), create menus and bridges back to core functionality. 

Step 4: Connect your Netomi bot with your Zendesk Chat 

It’s really easy to integrate a bot with your Zendesk chat account. You’ll simply need to create a dedicated Netomi API client for your particular Zendesk subdomain which will have the ability to access Zendesk, just like any human agent would. 

To link Zendesk to a bot on AI studio, your dedicated customer success team at Netomi will create a simple social configuration on our end. 

Step 5: Connect to your knowledge base

Do you want your bot to provide recommended, relevant articles to use cases that you haven’t trained? You can integrate with your Zendesk help center by linking to your Zendesk knowledge base in AI Studio. This way, even if your AI isn’t providing a full resolution within the chat interface, it can offer the potential for customer self service and subsequently deflect tickets from other channels. 

Step 6: Launch, measure and optimize  

All that’s left now is to embed the Zendesk chat Web widget on your website and we’ll activate your bot. You’ll want to watch performance and review how the AI is interacting with your customers to identify opportunities to enhance the training, add additional use cases or adjust the conversational flow and responses. 

You should start seeing increases in customer satisfaction and agent productivity within days. Check for all the most critical customer service KPIs within the Netomi AI Studio. 

Zendesk Chatbot: Netomi’s Knowledge Base Service

Do you want to get up and running immediately? Our quick and easy Knowledge Base integration is for you. Just enter the URL of your knowledge base into AI Studio and you’re up and running. When your customers ask your bot a question, they will be sent relevant articles to supercharge self-service. 

Step 1: Train the AI by integrating with your knowledge base 

Are you looking to launch immediately and have a robust knowledge base on your website? You can train our AI by simply providing a link to your Knowledge Base. Our AI will immediately get to work analyzing your information so that it can serve up the most relevant ones when users ask a question.

Step 2: Create conversational and human handoff copy

Within Netomi’s AI Studio, you will have the ability to customize how your bot responds to  customers with greetings, hand-offs to human agents and other conversational elements.

Step 3: Launch 

Press “Go Live” and you’re all set!

Step 4: Measure  

See trending topics, customer engagement and other key customer service metrics within AI studio. 

It’s never been easier to launch a next-generation AI on Zendesk. Following these simple steps, you’ll get up and running quickly. What are you waiting for? Let’s get started

For more information on customer service, visit:

5 Ways Customer Service Managers Can Create a Better Experience With AI

Written by Hannah Wren  on   Mar 3, 2020

AI for customer service is no longer a new technology. It’s now table stakes for providing a great customer experience. Increasingly, customer service managers are incorporating the technology in their strategies to empower agents to build better relationships with customers. And it pays off—Zendesk’s Customer Experience Trends Report 2020 found that high-performing customer experience teams are twice as likely to embrace artificial intelligence (AI)

Here are five ways customer service managers can enable their teams to deliver fast, personalized, and proactive support experiences with the help of AI.

1. Make strikingly accurate and fast predictions

Machine learning and deep learning are two types of AI that use algorithms to parse data, learn from that data, and make strikingly accurate and fast predictions based on what it has learned. Customer service managers are using these machine-aided predictions to boost agent performance.

For example, Pinterest’s customer service team uses machine learning to predict customer satisfaction during live interactions with customers, before they take a satisfaction survey. This enables agents to salvage the experience before it goes south and proactively handle customer complaints. 

Other customer service teams are using AI-powered performance management tools, like Dōjō, which combines AI and gamification to make predictions about overall agent performance and provide them with meaningful recommendations for reaching team goals.

2. Improve self-service 

Research is clear: Customers want the option to help themselves. And Zendesk’s Trends Report uncovered a compelling link between customer success, AI use and customer self service. In fact, 84% of managers using AI to help customers have a self-service strategy in place.

Knowledge-base content is rarely evergreenit needs to be regularly updated to stay relevant for its audience. AI can suggest new help center articles to write and flag existing ones to update based on trends in customer inquiries. For instance, if a rising number of customers are asking questions about your return policy, machines can proactively flag this trend and suggest related article topics that best meet customers’ needs. 

AI-powered solutions can also help teams put their self-service resources to use to reduce agent workload and deflect repetitive, frequently asked questions to virtual assistants. For example, Dollar Shave Club deployed a virtual assistant to answer common questions that members could easily solve on their own, such as how to cancel or pause their accounts. 


Help agents work faster and smarter with a Zoho chatbot


3. Enable 24/7, always-on support

24/7 service is important now more than ever as support is increasingly changing from in-person appointments only to 24-hour account access, and customers expect support teams to keep up. In fact, 89% of customers say getting a quick response is important when making decisions about which companies to buy from. 

Besides helping customers help themselves, AI-powered assistants are essential to providing fast, always-on support. It wouldn’t be practical for your agents to wait online for every visitor that comes across your website, but a virtual assistant can proactively welcome customers and give them the opportunity to ask questions, before they abandon their cart. 

4. Personalize interactions

While consumers tend to prefer AI agents for quick fixes and simple issues, they often still want to speak with a human for more complex problems, like ordering food for ten different people or handling bank fraud. For higher stakes situations like these, virtual assistants can seamlessly hand off the conversation to a human and relay relevant information to make the experience more personal. 

For example, a virtual assistant can track if a customer has tried to self-solve their issue already and let the agent know which help center articles and webpages the customer has visited. When agents have immediate access to that relevant context and background information, the experience feels more personal because agents don’t have to waste time repeating answers the customer has already seen.


Looking to give your customers a more personalized experience? Check out this comparison of Intercom vs. Zendesk before you choose a platform.


5. Provide a more human agent experience 

According to McKinsey, just 4% of the work activities in the US involve creativity at a median human level of performance, and only 29% involve sensing emotion at a median human level of performance. AI can help customer service managers provide a more human agent experience by letting machines handle the repetitive tasks that lead to agent burnout. 

This allows agents to focus their time on more engaging tasks that require empathy, creativity, and more complex problem-solving. And investing in the agent experience pays off–CSAT ratings for agents increase by 2.3% every year they stay on the same team, according to Zendesk’s Trends Report.

To create a more engaging agent experience, some companies are using AI to automate the translation of tickets in other languages, fostering a more inclusive customer service in addition to giving agents time back for less manual and more engaging work. Or, AI can populate responses right inside a ticket, suggesting sentence completions and macro predictions based on key terms and phrases, so agents don’t have to spend time searching for answers or typing out repetitive sentences. 

The key to successfully incorporating AI in your customer service strategy is to approach it as something that empowers your agents to work better and smarternot as something that is meant to replace them. And when a customer service manager gets that agent-machine partnership right, they have the secret sauce for delivering a fast, personalized, and proactive AI customer experience

Hannah Wren is a Content Marketing Associate at Zendesk. 

To learn more about improving the customer experience, visit:

Zendesk customers now have access to the Netomi Virtual Agent, a powerful AI counterpart for human agents

Written by Shail Gupta  on   Aug 21, 2019

Netomi has launched the Netomi Virtual Agent that extends Zendesk, Inc.’s leading cloud-based customer service platform. Netomi’s Zendesk chatbot integration enables companies to leverage AI to provide faster resolutions to customer service queries, responding in seconds. 

We already work with many Zendesk customers, and our new app will make it incredibly easy for companies to easily introduce AI customer support into their customer experience workforce. Through seamless integration into the Zendesk dashboard, companies can leverage Netomi’s AI to automatically resolve tickets or empower human agents at a virtual contact center to work more efficiently with AI-recommended responses. By leveraging AI, companies dramatically reduce response times, boost agent productivity and provide a brilliant customer experience.  

“Zendesk helps organizations build better relationships with their customers. Through this partnership, we’re giving companies the power of AI to deepen those relationships by meeting quick-rising customer expectations for immediate and convenient support. Simultaneously, we’re empowering agents with transformative efficiency. Our platform automatically resolves over 50% of a company’s incoming service tickets immediately, without delay. Our customers delight customers with quick resolutions, and enable agents to focus on complex customer needs,” said Puneet Mehta, Founder, and CEO of Netomi. 

The Netomi Virtual Agent for Zendesk app, which works across customer support email and website chat, provides: 

  • AI-assisted responses:  The Netomi Virtual Agent drafts recommended responses for human agents to review, edit or approve before responding to a customer. This enables companies to respond and close tickets within minutes. 
  • Full automation capabilities: Companies can delegate certain use cases to the Virtual Agent to automatically resolve and immediately close tickets. If a customer asks an untrained question, the Virtual Agent creates a ticket within Zendesk for an agent to manage directly. 
  • Data discovery and training: We work with our customers to identify where AI can make an impact. Within the Netomi AI Studio, companies select pre-trained AI skills and customize responses to align with their brand personality and business policies. 
  • Robust analytics: With the Netomi Virtual Agent you also have access to Netomi’s full suite of analytics including average handle time, first response rate, AI Performance score and more. Our customers can also view untrained queries to plan and prioritize future training. 
  • Integrations: Connect with core systems business systems including Order Management Systems, CRM platforms, and inventory management systems to resolve customer issues, not simply respond. 

To get started, visit the Netomi app page in the Zendesk App Marketplace by clicking the link above in the first paragraph. 

Zendesk customers, we look forward to providing brilliant customer service with you! Questions about our Zendesk chatbot integration? Get in touch and we’ll get back to you right away.