The news about Parature support being discontinued by Microsoft in May, 2018 has left lots of its users vague as to whether to transition to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service that is offered by the vendor, or to swim against the tide and switch to a more suitable customer service software. We have handpicked five decent and popular help desk solutions - alternatives to your current Parature that can hit the spot for your business. Enjoy!
Zendesk has been around since 2007, which makes it one of the most seasoned players on the help desk software market. The vendor has successfully used the time to keep pace with the latest developments, which is why Zendesk preserves its position among the leaders of the industry. It takes into account numerous little details and provides an outstanding platform for a support agent’s workflow.
From the set-off, Zendesk excels in being easy to get it up and running, and very flexible. It pulls together a variety of channels to communicate with customers, like email, live chat, online communities, Facebook and Twitter. It has to be mentioned, though, that its social integration might feel clunky when you try monitoring users’ feedback via Twitter searches.
Zendesk is a viable choice if you’re looking for a software to let you create a self-service portal for customers, a robust knowledge base, user community etc.
But what really makes it stand out of the crowd is the versatility of out-of-the-box integrations (100+). It seamlessly integrates with numerous eCommerce and CRM solutions and popular software or apps. Google Apps, WordPress, Salesforce, Atlassian are just a few names on the list.
You must be already wondering, what is the price for such a rich feature set. The cheapest Zendesk plan starts at $5 per agent/month, but it’s quite limited in terms of features, and you’ll need to pay $19 per agent/month for more functionality.
Freshdesk is considered the closest competitor of Zendesk, as they do have much in common, even the “last names”. It was launched in 2010, and today is considered the best choice for small support teams that handle a surge of tickets daily. Freshdesk is mostly used by SMBs and startups for which managing numerous customer communications is often a pressing issue.
The software does a great job of streamlining the support process thanks to its smart automation that works for all the stages from dispatching a ticket to resolving it. Add a self-service portal, knowledge base that offers solutions according to the customer queries, quick ticket labelling, agent email collaboration and high quality social media integration that allows easy customer mentions monitoring and responding - and it will become clear how a team of 5 agents can handle a company’s entire customer service without feeling overwhelmed. As a bonus, the elements of gamification serve an additional motivation for agents to demonstrate agility and accuracy in resolving tickets.
Freshdesk offers a free plan with basic functionality for an unlimited number of agents, and its paid plans start at $19 per agent/month with quite a decent feature set.
Desk.com is a popular help desk software that has been acquired by Salesforce (its previous name was Assistly). It is mostly geared towards small and medium-sized businesses.
Like its numerous counterparts, Desk.com enables handling customer requests from email, chat, social networks and phone in one place for better productivity. It provides automation functionality to auto-assign tasks, status, priority etc. based on a set of rules.
With Desk.com Editor, creating a custom Support Center and adding a community discussion board to your website is fast and accessible. Instant access to a customer’s previous issues history, company and contact data help agents personalize their responses with ease.
What Desk.com is particularly good at is social media integration. Aside from monitoring customers’ experience on Facebook and Twitter, it allows creating a support channel based on Facebook Private Messaging, which can make a world of difference for consumers.
Another its distinctive feature is the ability to provide multilingual (36 languages) customer support, which makes it stand out among competitors offering just one or a couple of languages.
If your agents are often on the go, there are native Desk.com apps for iOS, Android, Blackberry devices, which let them stay connected at all times.
Finally, it must be clear that since Desk.com is a Salesforce product, it seamlessly integrates with Salesforce CRM to ensure consistent service across all departments.
As to the price for using the software, there’s no free plan, the cheapest one starts at $20 per agent/month and should suffice for a small business needs.
Help Scout is a popular support software among freelancers, as well as small and medium businesses, as it is a great combination of rich functionality for an affordable price.
Unlike other solutions we’re dealing with today, HelpScout is unique in being an email-based customer support software. It presents an app for a shared inbox that enables collaboration over any email requests. Help Scout can integrate with your mailbox, which facilitates mastering the software.
Thanks to the flexible automation settings, detailed customer profiles that auto-populate with the available info, canned responses and the opportunity to pull in data from third party sources, Help Scout saves agents’ time and increases efficiency. It already boasts 20+ integrations with most popular business apps Salesforce CRM, WooCommerce, HubSpot, Kissmetrics, Mailchimp etc. and more are coming.
If you’re considering this software, pay attention to the fact that it doesn’t provide any community interaction, like forums, as well as feature requests or bug reports functionality.
Concerning Help Scout pricing, it starts at $8 per agent/month for a shared inbox, and $15 per agent/month for a more advanced plan.
Kayako is among the most popular help desk software solutions, chosen by NASA, FedEx, Peugeot and many more large companies. It has been around since 2001, has undergone many transformations, as well as has collected a rich feature set.
To start with, Kayako is available both as an on-premise and cloud software, which sets it apart among the numerous online solutions. It allows communicating with customers via numerous channels like email, live chat, tickets, phone, as well as provides branded self-service support portal functionality. It’s automation rules, macros, easy sorting let ensure that timely personalized support is delivered to each customer.
Kayako excels at providing powerful reports to spot potential bottlenecks, can track agents’ time and provides mobile apps for Windows, iOS, Android and Blackberry devices. Integration with Zapier opens up wide possibilities of connecting Kayako to the tools your business is using.
Kayako offers a free plan for up to 3 agents, with basic help desk functionality and live chat software. If you need more, be ready to pay at least $9 per agent/month.
Depending on what are the essential features of the helpdesk software you’re looking for, each of the abovementioned tools can be a great alternative to your Parature.
For instance, Kayako would be right if you aren’t ready for the cloud-hosted tool, Help Scout is quite affordable and easy to use, Desk.com is a viable choice if multilingual support is critical, Zendesk and Freshdesk are tempting as very popular solutions that are in fact very similar and easy to use. While the info provided here can be a kind of guidance as to which help desk products to look at, the ultimate way to find out which will work best for your case is to give it a try.
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