Freshdesk vs. Zendesk: How to Choose from Two Industry Leaders?

Working in customer support can be overwhelming. You have new tickets coming in, you have people waiting to talk to you in the live chat, and you also have to keep an eye on the cases that you're already working on. Stressful, right? Fortunately, a good help desk app can make things easier and more efficient.

Two of the most well-known and commonly used help desk apps out there are Freshdesk and Zendesk that are, on the one hand, very similar in terms of feature set, but on the other hand, have some aspects that differ. This article will run a Zendesk vs. Freshdesk comparison and cover the similarities and differences of both helpdesks. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with a clear understanding of what customer service software you should roll with by comparing Freshdesk vs. Zendesk.

So, which one should you choose? Let's start our Freshdesk vs Zendesk review!

Check out the video for a Freshdesk vs Zendesk comparison to decide which help desk should power up your business:

The History and Background of the Two Helpdesks

Zendesk team comes from Copenhagen, Denmark. There were the first three guys who worked as freelancers for different companies. So one day, they united their efforts and brains to create software that would bring more zen into customer management service. They officially launched a startup in 2007, October. In about one year, Zendesk boasted of acquiring the 1,000th customer and moved to San Francisco. Today the company has over 2,000 employees and serves 119,000 paying clients. Among them is Uber, Shopify, Loreal.

Freshdesk was founded in 2010 in India by two friends. As the official story on their website says, it was all due to the broken TV and lousy customer service they experienced. In 2011, June, Freshdesk overtook all rivals in the Microsoft BizSpark Startup Challenge and became a winner in providing excellent customer service. It took them six months to get 100 customers and use that successful start as a platform for further growth. Today Freshdesk serves over 80,000 customers, among them Honda, Unicef, Cisco, and other famous names.

Quick Facts

Launched In20072010
Notable clientsAirbnb, Tesco, Slack, Uber, Shopify, LorealHugo Boss, Honda, Toshiba, Goodreads, Unicef, Cisco
Notable featuresUI usability and customizabilityGamification
Starting price$5 per agent per monthFree Sprout plan with basic features for unlimited agents
Number of employeesOver 2,000Over 900

Pricing Plans: Freshdesk vs. Zendesk

Monthly payments for the help desk software can account for thousands of dollars if you have a large support team. So let’s review Freshdesk vs Zendesk pricing to find the one that fits you best.

To begin with, the approach to forming the price on Zendesk and Freshdesk is different.

Zendesk Pricing

Zendesk has a suite of products:

  • Support — a tool to manage tickets;
  • Chat — solution for a live chat;
  • Guide — knowledge base and community forum;
  • Talk — tool for a call center.

You can buy each product separately or combined in a Zendesk Support Suite. The Suite is a platform that integrates all support channels: email, chat, phone, social media. It also provides self-service functionality.

Freshdesk Pricing

In turn, on Freshdesk, all features are united in a single product. You can’t purchase them separately.

Pricing Verdict

Both Freshdesk and Zendesk have five pricing plans. Freshdesk offers a free plan for an unlimited number of agents while choosing Zendesk cheapest plan, you start with $5 per agent per month. If you compare Zendesk vs. Freshdesk plans one by one, you will find Freshdesk to be slightly cheaper. And by the number of features, Freshdesk usually beats Zendesk, too.

On the other hand, the number of features has never been the core advantage in choosing software for business. It is all about providing the best possible customer service. Your objective is to figure out what features are essential to your business and provide the most significant advantage to the serving team.

Therefore, looking at Zendesk and Freshdesk pricing options, it’s clear as day that Freshdesk is cheaper, although Zendesk has a better enterprise feature set. Yet, it depends on how many agents you have and how many customers you are planning on serving. We suggest that you consider the potential growth of customers and agents and then decide which system to choose.

Let’s compare the differences in price on the example of Zendesk vs Freshdesk pro plans as these are the ones that are recommended by the platform holders themselves.

Figure 1: Pricing Plans

Freshdesk EstateZendesk Pro
  • Everything from previous plans
  • Ticket Assignment Automation
  • Custom Roles
  • Portal Customization
  • Enterprise-level reporting
  • Access to multiple SLAs & timezones
  • Everything from previous plans
  • Support for multilingual content
  • Support for CSAT surveys
  • Zendesk Explore dashboards and report functionality
  • Live Chat System


As you can see, both systems have a lot to offer, but, if we compare Zendesk and Freshdesk, it is clear that it is Zendesk that is lacking in premium functionality. Even still, features aren’t everything these days. Zendesk is a highly polished system that has several accessibility options, themes, knowledge base tools, among other things. We suggest that you consider the unique features each helpdesk offers before deciding which option to go with, which leads us to the next section.

What Makes Each Software Stand Out?

Zendesk and Freshdesk are two of the biggest players when we speak about the HelpDesk market and customer support software. So, it is natural to expect from them a comprehensive set of features.

Providing a set of necessary functions, both leaders try to distinguish themselves with some unique functionality and reporting features. Each company tries to offer its customers a range of unique advantages. After all, people usually look at the feature list before making any decisions. Here’s how each system tries to win its customers.

How Freshdesk is Different

Freshdesk is not a newbie on the market. Over the years, the company developed many great little features that will allow you to automate, simplify, and accelerate many activities. Here are some of the most notable features you can rely on.

Arcade (Gamification)

Freshdesk is the one who offers a gamification system called Freshdesk Arcade. The system aims to raise agents’ productivity and make the work of the customer support team less routine. An administrator sets the goals and defines rewards like badges and points for completing specific tasks.

This unique gamification functionality in Freshdesk turns customer support into a game and helps to break the monotony of work. You can track the performance of agents and reward and motivate the most successful of them. The game is built around a quest. Agents can pass the quest points by getting rewards and prizes for their work, as well as acquire custom agent roles. You can either use the premade quest on the Freshdesk dashboard or create your own.

Freshdesk arcade


Proactive Outreach

Another great Freshdesk feature is Proactive Outreach. Its main working principle is to identify possible customer issues and then resolve them in advance. The system will detect some frustration or trouble signals and help your support team reach out to them via live chat to offer assistance proactively.

Freshdesk proactive outreach


To-do Reminders

The Freshdesk team has also thought about reminders for their users' teams, so that's why there's a feature like to-do reminders. Their functionality enables both agents and admins to create lists that contain the tasks for later. But! There's also an ability to set up a reminder that will send a notification to the chosen agent when it's time to complete the task, update the knowledge base, and whatnot. Let your support reps remember everything they have to do and, thus, boost the agent performance within your team!

Freshdesk to-do list reminders


Helpdesk In-Depth

Another cool little feature Freshdesk has in-store is the Helpdesk In-Depth functionality. Now what this Customer Service Software does is allowing you to set up custom metrics regarding your tickets. Whether you want to learn about ticket resolution rate/time or outline the most common issue reported or even track the best agent, this feature got you covered. It is pretty easy to use too. All you have to do is launch the initial setup wizard, specify the metrics, and wait till the rest is done for you automatically. It takes both real-time and historical data to compile a report that you can schedule and even share.

Freshdesk helpdesk in-depth


What's Special about Zendesk

Zendesk also didn’t wait for its competitors to develop an edge and created its exclusive functions suite. The platform’s key focus is scalability and growth, as well as customer support, so here’s what you will get by opting to use the tool.

Looking to switch to Zendesk? Migrate your data from Freshdesk to Zendesk with ease. 

Ticket Sharing

One of Zendesk’s unique features is automated ticket sharing. Big companies appreciate this feature as it enables share tickets sharing between multiple Zendesk accounts. Freshdesk, on the other hand, allows us to speed up the work by using keyboard shortcuts. This feature might seem small, but when you have to scroll through hundreds of menus each day, the number will add up, especially if you have a massive customer support department.

Zendesk ticket sharing


Multibrand Support

As the name implies, this function is designed for larger companies with the sole duty of easing the process of managing different brands with different demographics. Indeed, with this system onboard, you will not only separate the two products but get individual analytics, reports, sales figures, and live chat, among other things. Besides, this system completely silos the two brands (unless specified otherwise), meaning you can change whatever you want on your secondary brand without being worried that the main one will be affected.

Zendesk multibrand


The Benchmark Tool

Moreover, Zendesk can also boast one more unique feature, which is called The Benchmark tool. The tool compares company metrics against the metrics of other players and leaders of the market. The benchmark tool uses the statistics of over 45,000 companies in 140 countries all over the world.

The Benchmark tool presents info on the following metrics:

  • customer satisfaction;
  • time of the first reply;
  • new ticket volume.

Using the data, companies can define customer support tendencies and get insights on how to improve their customer service.

To view the metrics of the companies similar to yours, you have to complete Zendesk's Benchmark survey. In the form, you answer the questions about your company industry, number of employees, customer type, and some others. Later on, you will find benchmark results in the Benchmark widget in your agent interface. The Benchmark widget is located in the Reporting section of your dashboard.

Zendesk Explore

Even so, Zendesk is not done yet. Recently, the company swapped its analytics module in favor of another in-house product, Zendesk Explore. Yes, no longer you have to rely on half-baked reports and analytics systems that were previously available.

Zendesk explore


Essentials Card and Interaction History

Last but not least important features of Zendesk are Essentials Card and Interaction History, which always work together for providing customer context. They enable agents to know and remember the basics and peculiarities of each customer case. And could you not agree that they are the best opportunities for making your customer support more personalized than ever?

Zendesk customer context features


Main Drawbacks

Stacking Zendesk vs. Freshdesk customer service tools, it is clear, the two systems are great, but they do have a fair share of disadvantages that you might want to consider before making the big purchase.


Freshdesk tries to be super accessible, but some features are way out of that realm. Take, for instance, the login system. For the agent to get to his dashboard, he has to go to a separate domain, instead of his branded one, just to reach the backend, and once he is there, he will be redirected. These transitions add up and can cause a lot of confusion within the customer service team. And then there is the lack of the ability to modify default roles. While it might seem like a minor thing, most help desk solutions of this caliber allow such customization.


The first thing that Zendesk should allow is the fact that once a message is sent, there is no way you can retract it. It seems small, but what if your intern made a grammar mistake or attached the wrong file? Or specified the incorrect address? That’s why this feature should be a thing, especially considering the overall focus on live-chat channels. Another issue that we wish Zendesk could assess is statuses. There is no way to add your statuses as those that are available don’t always meet demands.

For better readability, we also have created a comparison table for you to digest. These are the drawbacks that we feel are just as complicated as the previous ones and will most likely affect your performance to some degree.

Figure 2: Drawbacks

Some features are needlessly complicated (i.e reporting module)Steep learning curve (takes a while to get comfortable with advanced functions)
Lack of certain social media integrations (i.e LinkedIn & Instagram)The “Mention” system needs further refinement
Ticket merging can be buggy and takes a while to completeThe tool can be a bit expensive in the long run
Lack of a project management board means more expensesNot ITIL compliant out of the gate (requires extra configs to be made)


As you can see, each tool has its own set of flaws. If you are paying a premium, you want only the best there is. Thankfully, we can’t consider these issues as dealbreakers, but they will indeed cause inconveniences, so keep them in mind if you plan on using the tools.

What is Common?

Customization and Branding

Both Zendesk and Freshdesk offer various customization options, the ability to adjust the Help Center and Support Portal being the most valuable. Be it logo implementation or adjusting the interface’s color, they have everything to get you started. Also, be it Freshdesk or Zendesk, you get HTML and CSS support right out of the box, and the best part of it, it does not require a deep understanding of web development. Thus, they will feel like your websites’ extensions so that customers won't lose themselves in an unfamiliar environment, kind of what you get from a dedicated knowledge base center but a little more elaborate.

Ticket Organization and Management

Similarly, Zendesk and Freshdesk are built around tickets. When a user contacts a company via email, phone, chat, social networks, or phone, the software converts their inquiry into a unified ticket form.

Eventually, you get requests from different channels organized in one place. And then, you have a host of features to manage those tickets effectively and collaborate with the team.

As for now, looking at Freshdesk vs. Zendesk in terms of ticket management, they are practically identical. However, each of them provides a few extra features (listed below) that you might be interested in.

Zendesk Ticket Management

  1. Zendesk offers perhaps the most feature-packed ticket management suite we’ve ever seen. The amount of options you get with this system is mind-boggling, and the best part is that they are polished and refined. From Zendesk support to automation, you can adjust just about everything. A single Zendesk ticket can be transformed into a story, a report, a case study, you name it. Another cool thing about Zendesk is that they allow you to draw information from a database so that provided customer experience would be much better.
  2. Zendesk also has the Macros system. The idea behind this tool is to provide a better customer experience by delivering proven solutions. It scans your database and provides a list of potential solutions. It's not always accurate, but it can address basic complaints without any issues. You can pair this functionality with an AI-powered chatbot and gain some great results.
  3. Also, as part of the ticket suite, we have CCing. There’s nothing special about it as it tries to mimic email functionality. However, what's cool is that it’s reliable and you don’t have to explain it to your staff.

Freshdesk Ticket Management

  1. Freshdesk includes basically in all of their plans a robust ticket management system. It might not be as rich as Zendesk's one, but it does have a few advantages. The very first that comes to mind is the Discuss tab. This feature allows you to communicate with your team members directly within the ticket. It might seem like a small thing, but how many times a day you switch between Slack, Skype, and Discord just to answer a few questions? Yep, a lot, and this is what makes this function so great.
  2. Another interesting feature Freshdesk offers is canned responses. A canned response is a template made from your previous messages. The system will detect if the customer case is similar and propose a suggestion based on your previous attempts. It saves a ton of time, and most of the time, it’s accurate.
  3. Last but not least, there’s the adding assignee system. Just like in Zendesk, it’s also part of the Freshdesk ticket system. It's pretty straightforward in terms of use and has a few cool little features such as a preview screen that makes it the right choice for those who put their soul into the message.

Ticket Management Comparison

Freshdesk offers powerful ticket filtering. With a Ticket List View feature, you can select a specific set of tickets. In a dropdown menu, you can choose a view by specific criteria.

Zendesk views provide a visual and informative interface. Zendesk arranges all your views on the left side of the screen. This way, you can select them with one click instead of two. There are counters in front of each category of the messages.

Zendesk ticket counters help to monitor message volume in real-time.

Using answers to typical questions as templates save a lot of time. You can use predefined replies with Zendesk as well as with the Freshdesk platform.

Moreover, you can personalize the answers using a customer’s name, surname, and other information collected about the client. This individual data is put in placeholders.

In Freshdesk, placeholders are grouped into categories that make them easier to find. In Zendesk, placeholders are presented in a long list, and inserting a new placeholder into macros requires extra copy/paste actions.

Knowledge Base and Self-service Opportunities

Both help desks allow you to create separate knowledge bases: for clients and internal needs.

Self-service features are essential for excellent customer service. They give customers quick access to information, saving the company’s time and resources.

In Freshdesk, a knowledge base feature is included in all plans. The Blossom plan provides:

  • public knowledge base with answers to common questions;
  • private knowledge base with training materials for internal usage;
  • automatic transformation of replies into article drafts (“Email to Knowledge Base” feature);
  • search feature for customers;
  • automatic sitemap generation to help new articles appear in search results faster.

In Zendesk, when you use the Team plan, you get access to the following self-service features:

  • public knowledge base;
  • integration with Google Analytics;
  • a contact form to submit a question to;
  • integrating the knowledge base with a free Knowledge Capture app to search for answers without leaving a ticket.

Customer Service Provided by Freshdesk and Zendesk Themselves

Using help desk software as a client, you need to be sure that you can count on quick and professional support.

Both companies provide customer support over the phone, email, and live chat. Freshdesk and Zendesk also offer an extensive knowledge base to help you get the most out of each product, where you can find apps to integrate with your help desk. You can integrate the tools you’ve been using or find new apps to enhance your help desk software’s functionality.


Both platforms offer integrations with eBay and Amazon marketplaces. Besides basic functionality, Zendesk offers additional tools - eBay and Amazon autoresponders and multilingual Amazon support. The Dispatch tool for Freshdesk helps to set advanced triggers based on specific customer and order data from eBay and Amazon.

Both Zendesk and Freshdesk offer integrations with other channels:

  • email, Twitter, and Facebook;
  • telephone integration;
  • free live chat integration via FreshChat Sprout and Zendesk Chat Lite;
  • free integrations for Shopify and MailChimp.

But when it comes to more specific integrations, Zendesk outruns Freshdesk with over 700 available integrations compared to 330+ applications for Freshdesk.

Reporting Tools

Both Zendesk and Helpdesk provide you with various reporting capabilities. Let’s take a look at them.

With the Zendesk Team plan, you can:

  • display the most important metrics on a dashboard;
  • display detailed reports on the specific performance zones;
  • compare company metrics with the metrics of other companies in the industry;
  • track Zendesk help center usage metrics.

Freshdesk Blossom plan users get the following reporting functionality:

  • reports on agents’ performance;
  • some in-depth reports to track tickets, time, and SLA metrics;
  • tracking the time spent on a ticket to bill the clients;
  • surveys and reports to track customer satisfaction.

Automation and Triggers

When it comes to the Freshdesk vs. Zendesk automation and triggers comparison, both helpdesks are quite similar: both platforms allow automating routine tasks through automations, triggers, and smart bots.


Automations are time-based notifications. With their help, you can define a rule based on the workflow, and the help desk sends an email. For example, you can automatically send reminders to those users who have to provide additional info about an issue.


Triggers are based on the customers’ behavior and tickets. As agents perform some actions with the tickets, the system checks if any of the triggers should be run. For example, when a user submits a ticket, they receive an email notification with the confirmation and ticket number.


Lastly, there are bots. They can help to reduce the load on agents answering the most frequent and typical question. Both Zendesk and Freshdesk use smart machine learning to provide the best answers. For example, when users submit a ticket, they will receive an email with suggested articles to solve an issue. A customer can either close the ticket if the information was helpful or wait for an agent’s answer.


The final metric in our Freshdesk vs. Zendesk's description of common tools is security. It is perhaps the most important part of the whole review, and we are happy to state that both of them passed flawlessly. Essentially, Freshdesk and Zendesk support SSL certificates, and digital signatures are HIPAA compliant.

What is Not?

Live Chat

Both Zendesk and Freshdesk have Live Chat functionality. These chats are widely used and are very useful in after-sales service. They enhance customer experience and push you as a brand. Thankfully, Freshdesk and Zendesk provide a really good service, but you will notice a difference when comparing both.

First off, Freshdesk provides a really sleek app called Freshchat. Its user interface is stylish, eye-catching, and you can place it on your website. Moreover, with it, you can reroute chats into tickets and vice-versa. The navigation is reminiscent of Slack, but unlike it, Freshchat tracking history has the aforementioned rerouting possibilities and customer details. The only downside of this tool is that it can be slow.

Zendesk, on the other hand, is not as magnificent as Freshdesk. Zendesk Chat is a separate product that is integrated for the extra fee. But it is speedy and can gather all kinds of info on your customers. The most prominent feature of this chat is that it allows you to reroute the issue directly to an agent. This way, you will save time on the conversion process and completely eliminate the need to investigate the issue. Also, it offers proactive messaging based on user behavior. And you can Integrate AI-powered bots via API to automate simple routine tasks.

Dashboard Systems

As in our previous section of the Zendesk vs. Freshdesk comparison, both helpdesks have many similarities when it comes to their dashboard systems. The main difference is that one is less convoluted (Freshdesk) in terms of user experience, and the other (Zendesk) has a few extra features that help it stand tall.

Freshdesk offers a nice feature set, but most of them are tailored for small to medium size businesses. If you have a large organization or plan to expand, you can always use a third-party app to add up those missing features. It will add up to the bill in the long run, but you will have more flexibility.

Zendesk, on the contrary, has several sorting options and was designed with large corporations from the get-go. Zendesk offers support for managing roles right from the dashboard, which is a huge plus in our books. Last but not least, you get the ability to add social media channels. The main downside of this dashboard system is that it loads slowly and sometimes can take a while to update. If you are working in a fast-paced environment, this will be a huge step down for you.

How to Make the Right Choice?

Key Takeaways

There’s no doubt that both companies provide robust and feature-rich solutions.

Both Freshdesk and Zendesk are leaders in the industry of helpdesk solutions. Choosing one software or another, you will anyway get great software with all the tools to provide first-class customer support.

Freshdesk stands out with an affordable price, convenient reporting, and self-service functionality. On the other hand, Zendesk offers training programs, dedicated teams support, and over 770 integrations. For smaller teams, Freshdesk can be more attractive, while middle and larger teams would benefit from Zendesk flexibility.

Then there is the fact that each system handles social media platforms differently. Zendesk can automatically transform incoming messages into tickets, whereas Freshdesk allows you to do the same but in a manual fashion. Freshdesk’s social media module allows for the same channel response and resolution, much like Zendesk.

Moreover, looking at Zendesk vs. Freshdesk, each has an agent and team performance tracking system. However, Freshdesk offers this kind of functionality in all of its plans, whereas Zendesk delivers the feature from the Team plan, but with wider functionality, so it depends on your needs, which option is more comfortable.

Therefore, the best way to compare Freshdesk vs. Zendesk is definitely to try both tools. During the trial period, you will see what system is more comfortable to work with, especially in the knowledge base department.

An approach to make the right choice

Finally, here is an approach you can use to make a final choice:

  1. Create a shortlist of the critical features
  2. Find a plan that offers these features
  3. Communicate with the company managers and support on different issues.

After using this approach, some of you might find Zendesk better, and others might prefer Freshdesk. But what we were aiming to do was to help you decide what tool you might want to migrate to. And speaking of migration, if you experience difficulties with moving your user, agent, ticket data, we have a solution. Our tool can transfer all your information in just a few clicks. You don’t have to take our word for it as you can sign up for a free trial and see for yourself. Don’t hesitate and start migrating now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Both Freshdesk and Zendesk are customer support services affordable for small and middle-size businesses. They offer custom forms, a knowledge base, reporting, and different ticketing options.

Yes, Freshdesk has macros. You can set it up with Scenario Automation, an in-built feature. If you turn it on, you can perform repetitive actions in one click.

Zendesk differs from other help desk solutions because of its packages, custom metrics, and reports. Plus, this help desk platform gives users lots of integrations and tools.

Zendesk has a user-friendly interface, many useful features in all packages, and native add-ons to meet the needs of both small and large businesses.

Both help desk platforms offer feature-rich solutions. It doesn’t matter which one you choose: you still get great software to provide excellent customer support.

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