Jira Service Desk vs Zendesk: How to Make an Informed Decision

Zendesk is one of the leaders on the help desk software market. But what happens when another leader like Atlassian’s Jira software extends its product line and launches a help desk of its own?

Do these companies become direct competitors? How to make the best choice comparing Jira Service Desk vs Zendesk? Let’s find answers together.

Before you jump into the article, take a look at the visual comparison of the two:

Jira Service Desk vs Zendesk: The Background

Jira Service Desk was launched in 2013 as another product by Atlassian that complements popular issue tracking platforms. Built with IT Service Management in mind, Jira assists businesses with incident, problem, and change management. In just a few years, Jira Service Desk managed to acquire giants like Twitter, Square, Cisco, Vistaprint, Sotheby’s, Puppet Labs as the customers. As of now, more than 20,000 companies have chosen Jira as a service desk for their support teams.

Comparing Jira vs Zendesk

Source: in.pcmag.com

Zendesk started in 2007 and was launched as a startup by three developers. The years have passed, and today over 40,000 companies, including Uber, Slack, Shopify, L'oreal, and others, use Zendesk as software for customer service. It's possible to use Zendesk Support as a standalone or purchase the Suite to take advantage of the Guide (self-service), Talk (call center), and Chat (live messaging) functionality. Recently, Zendesk added features for ITIL practices so that companies can focus on both internal and external services, just like with Jira Service Desk.

Deciding between Jira vs Zendesk

What do They Have in Common?

As we are assessing two leading products, it is not discussed that both have all the essential features like ticket management and run a polished UI.

Jira Service Desk ticketing

The ticket menu and possible actions for agents in Jira Service Desk. Source: IP moment

Zendesk ticketing

The appearance of  Zendesk Support ticket with all the details on the case. Source: Zendesk

Among other features, they offer knowledge base integration, which is also possible to customize according to your personal needs. In Zendesk, you'll have to purchase a separate product called Guide to be able to provide self-service options. In its turn, Jira Service Desk offers it as an integration with another product called Confluence.

Confluence interface

The main dashboard in Confluence for managing the knowledge base. Source: Atlassian

Zendesk Guide view

Agent interface in Zendesk Guide. Source: Dribbble

Multichannel support

The same situation is with multichannel support. You can link any of your company's accounts from email to social media and receive customer queries right in the system. As well as you don't have to sort them out by hand or jump between thousands of tabs. Both help desks get the job done for you. Zendesk offers it out of the box starting from their cheapest plan, while Jira Service Desk has a paid integration with their partner Hootsuite.

Either using Jira or Zendesk, you’ll notice numerous options for your support team to eliminate mundane tasks and make the support process as automated as possible. But it doesn’t mean that your customer support will become less humanlike. No, pre-defined ticket responses, customer search history, ticket prioritization, routing, self-service portals, and even more will only simplify a huge part of your agents’ workflow.

creating automation rules in jira service desk

Creating a new automation rule with Native automation in Jira Service Desk. Source: Atlassian

Jira Service Desk vs Zendesk automation

Creating a new automation rule in Zendesk. Source: Youtube

Both help desks offer wide reporting options, which help your team easily identify the main trends in customer behavior and change the customer support approaches accordingly. Use any way you like from the available - from analytics of any part of the workflow to customer satisfaction ratings. The dashboard with all the key data will always be on hand for the analysis. Anyway, the main purpose remains the same - to assess and improve your customer service quality.

Jira Service Desk vs Zendesk reporting

The reporting dashboard in Jira Service Desk. Source: Atlassian

reporting dashboard in zendesk explore

The reporting dashboard in Zendesk Explore. Source: Zendesk

SLA Reporting

Continuing our Zendesk vs Jira Service Desk comparison, another important point is the availability of SLA reporting on both platforms. Why? Because your customers should always be assured of the services they pay for. And your team should know which tasks are key at the moment. And whether you choose Zendesk vs Jira Service Desk, you'll have that feature available. At any time of day and night.

Both Jira and Zendesk have extensive add-ons ecosystem. Using Jira Service Desk, you get access to 1,800+ add-ons from the Atlassian Marketplace. In its turn, Zendesk offers over 500 apps from its marketplace.

Lastly, both help desks have an open API that seamlessly integrates other solutions into your business. Both Zendesk and Jira integration possibilities are equally good, considering the wide range of applications they’re supporting.

How is Jira Service Desk Different

jira service desk vs zendesk

Most notable features

Jira is one platform that serves the needs of development and support teams. What is more, it is a great choice for companies who already use Atlassian products. Among the features that make Jira Service Desk stand out of the crowd we would name:

  • Asset management options. With dedicated asset management tools at hand, Jira can help you work most cost-effectively by managing both your software and hardware. Agents can link assets to their requests and, thus, get more context about the issue right from the ticket.
  • Enterprise-level data center. You can keep all the information safe from corruption and loss and don’t have to worry about running out of storage space. Your data will be secure as well as compliant with any policy of your company. Moreover, Jira data center will always satisfy your needs as it scales as your company and customer base grows.
  • Filtering capabilities. In Jira, they enable you to set up and view custom filters. Make the workflow even more convenient using these filters you created beforehand and share them within the company or even outside of your organization. You can even create lists of your favorite filters, export the search results in many formats, and have the search results emailed on schedule.
  • Project management. Create your projects and assign tasks for each team member to simplify the process, spare costs, inspire teamwork, and keep up with the timelines. Also, the project management system in Jira Service Desk is highly customizable. So, you can be sure about the max adjustment of the tools to any step of your team's workflow.
  • Server and cloud versions. Jira Service Desk cares about its users' comfort. So, it made the system available in both on-premise and cloud versions. Each one has its own pros and cons. But, this also allows you to choose a more comfortable form for running your business. To trust your service desk to the professionals or to control everything yourself - it’s up to you.

Pricing model

Compare Jira vs Zendesk

The pricing is based on the number of agents. For smaller teams up to 3 agent accounts, they have a $10 plan/agent per month. While for larger teams, you will have to pay a $20/agent per month. Both plans offer equal features.

Although comparing Zendesk vs Jira Service Desk, Jira software is free for non-commercial organizations and open source projects.

How is Zendesk Different

jira service desk vs zendesk

Most notable features

Zendesk’s flexible plans and a host of features make it an excellent tool for small as well as large companies.

For your information, here are the most prominent features:

  • Rich customization options. Customize almost every feature in your Zendesk account. Starting from the custom ticket views and the possibility to create various custom fields to the own design of your knowledge base and customer support portals. Everything to give them the idea of your brand.
  • Customer support portal and community forum. Create and customize an in-bound customer portal and community forum apart from the knowledge base so that customers can help each other in resolving common issues. Indeed, this is a huge time-saver for both your agents and customers. For instance, it will significantly reduce the number of repetitive questions. That's because your customers can just save the answers for later.
  • Chatbot system. Another helping hand for your support reps is this small but extremely effective feature. In Zendesk, you can set up a chatbot (as well as customize everything about it). Thus, it will resolve the simplest tasks and create a better customer experience using artificial intelligence.
  • Agent collision detection. The special system enables agents to view if another support rep is working on the issue and how they are interacting with this very ticket. As a result, your team can avoid spending time on the same task. And this is a huge time saver and productivity booster.
  • Real-time dashboards in Zendesk Explore. Zendesk offers the opportunity to view key metrics across all the live support channels - Support, Talk, and Chat. The data refreshes automatically and allows you to get a hold of the most recent information, which is crucial for making the right decision.
  • Benchmark tool. This unique Zendesk tool enables companies to measure their success by comparing their indicators to the competitors on the market. Sounds motivating, isn’t it?

Pricing model

Compare Jira vs Zendesk

If you look at Zendesk vs Jira Service Desk from a price to feature perspective, you'll notice that Zendesk offers more. It has five plans that differ by the features available and cost per agent per month. The cheapest Essential plan with the basic features would cost $5 per agent per month (billed annually). To get access to the add-ons and custom themes, users would have to purchase a $19 plan and higher.

Additionally, Zendesk provides a free trial for the $49 Professional plan and higher.

Note: You can link Zendesk Support for Jira Service Desk, which essentially means you’re bringing the best of each platform together. This way you can create a seamless workflow and unite your support and engineering teams together.


As we see, the Jira Service Desk and Zendesk are both strong solutions with robust features and equally good user interface. However, each of them has its focus and peculiarities. In essence, Zendesk and Jira Service Desk are two different platforms.

Jira Service Desk offers the ability to manage not only customer requests but those from the employees as well. Even more, its combo with other Jira products creates a strong synergic effect.

Zendesk, on the other hand, is user-oriented and flexible. In its turn, it offers powerful real-time reporting and analytic tools.

However, the best way to solve the Jira Service Desk vs Zendesk dilemma is still to try both solutions yourself. So, don’t be afraid to ask for an extended trial. Most companies would do you such a favor. Especially if you mention that you are trying out their competitor.

And if you are looking for data migration to one of these platforms (or any other help desk system), just drop us a line, and we'll make sure to get you started right away!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Zendesk better than Jira?

Both solutions are great in their respective fields. Jira Service Desk is better for organizing and managing projects when Zendesk is more suitable for end-user communication.

Can Jira be used for Service Desk?

Yes, it can be. Jira Service Management includes all features of Jira Service Desk with richer ITSM capabilities.

What is the difference between Jira and Jira Service Desk?

Jira Service Desk is designed for customers to submit their requests to a support team. Jira, on the other hand, provides features to operate projects and teams.

Why should I use Jira Service Desk?

Jira Service Desk offers its users an intuitive portal to choose the services they need or track their tickets’ progress. Plus, Jira workflows can increase team efficiency.

Does Zendesk use Jira?

You can install the Jira integration on Zendesk to encourage collaboration between support and product teams. For example, your customer can report a bug in a ticket in Zendesk. Then your agent files a bug in Jira.

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