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Nonstandard Comparison of Zendesk vs. Jira Service Desk

Usually, Zendesk and Jira Service Desk are compared in terms of being the software providing customer service. Certainly, no one could downsize their effectiveness in this industry. But how about comparing these solutions from rather uncommon perspectives? Those will be:

  • how vendors themselves present their solutions;
  • the information technology service management (ITSM) of both platforms;
  • how Zendesk and Jira Service Desk can be used by product managers.

Once you look through the software review sites, you will find out that both Zendesk and Jira Service Desk are rated high and have numerous user reviews. If you want to check out their brief comparison on price and functionality, pop in here.

How Vendors Position Their Solutions

Both Zendesk and Jira Service Desk are considered efficient help desks. However, the vendors of these platforms target their services for a bit different audiences.

Zendesk promises to help support agents deal with customer requests and tickets successfully and on time. Unlike Jira, Zendesk was designed to drive customer interactions. With Zendesk family of products, your business will have opportunities to scale and easily adapt to the changes. Also, the functionality of the platform allows to customize reports, improve communication, make sense of data, and integrate with other tools. Plus, you can even integrate Jira Service Desk with Zendesk and enhance the product managers’ and development teams’ performance.

Jira Service Desk is built upon a software development platform for dealing with incidents and problems that occur in IT and support processes. It is also a certified ITSM service desk with a self-service portal. You may also extend the available functionality with plug-and-play apps from the Atlassian Marketplace. The solution is (quite) easily customizable to adjust to your business requirements. Jira Service Desk tickets can be linked to Jira Software issues to improve the collaboration of support agents with the development team which enables quicker resolution of requests and pushing changes.

How they differ?

Zendesk is just the job for end-user communication and tickets solving. Jira Service Desk will be an indispensable tool for project management, particularly for software development cycles.

Which one is the best for ITSM?

Successful companies strive to meet both external and internal requirements. External consist of meeting and satisfying the customer needs and wants. Internal requirements are expressed by the following: handling support needs, answering the stakeholders’ inquiries, and maintaining consistent communication. Both Zendesk and Jira Service Desk are the dominant platforms in this market niche.

Generally, ITSM platforms are expected to offer the following features: reporting tools, SLA, automation, and integration capabilities. The ability to be adapted for multiple teams is a big advantage. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and these platforms have their pros and cons. Below you’ll find a short list of advantages and disadvantages of Zendesk vs Jira Help Desk.

Zendesk Pros

  • Comprehensive UI and administration.
  • Built-in automation, triggers, and SLA.
  • Social media integration.
  • Reporting option with the ability to create a specific view for selected conditions.
  • Big app marketplace for more add-ons and new integration capabilities.

Zendesk Cons

  • No dedicated URL as the app is cloud hosted. It will look like this: “yourcompanyname.zendesk.com”.
  • Customization capabilities may seem limited for some users (e.g., for those who previously used Jira Service Desk).
  • Zendesk isn’t ITIL-compatible, but you can install plugins to make the platform closer to ITIL compliance.

Jira Service Desk Pros

  • Extensive customization capabilities for the administration section.
  • The platform is ITIL compliant and certified.
  • The reporting options based on Jira Query Language (JQL) enhance the collection of advanced reports, tasks search, etc.
  • Numerous add-ons from Atlassian Marketplace help extend the functionality of Jira Service Desk.

Jira Service Desk Cons

  • Most customizations should be performed by seasoned pros to handle the nuances of Jira Service Desk administration successfully.
  • If you use a server-based version of Jira Service Desk, it incurs additional expenses as the platform requires a separate service or hosted environment.
  • If you are an Atlassian Cloud user, your URL will look like this: “yourcompanyname.atlassian.net”.
  • Cloud and server versions of Jira Service Desk may differ in the speed of introduction of the new features. The cloud version gets updates first.

In short, almost every organization can find Zendesk or Jira Service Desk suitable for their in-house and customer support needs. If your organization runs successfully without the need for complex administration, then Zendesk will be a reliable platform to manage customer support. And in case your business requires more complex reporting and more sophisticated customization capabilities, then Jira Service Desk will serve well to cater for these needs.

Zendesk vs Jira Service Desk for Project Managers

The product manager who works on an application has to deal with different departments and levels within an organization. There are two sides of the issue that are equally important: feature development and customer requests, on the one hand, stakeholders inquiries on the other hand. Also, there is a backlog that craves to be reviewed and prioritized. Every product manager faces the difficulty in finding a balance between developing new features, fixing bugs and dealing with customer requests during development, support and product panel sessions.

Often, the long-term and short-term tasks in the backlog interchange depending on the context, strategic or tactical business needs. In addition, there is another important aspect - you also need to communicate the priority tasks back to the development and support teams, and to the customer community.

Setting up a background

Many companies have been there: customers and stakeholders log their requests and ask questions using Zendesk, while the backlog stays in Jira. Maybe your team also categorizes these tickets as bugs or plans them into the sprint. In Zendesk portal, the customers who want to understand how everything works, track the release notes updates. Therefore, support and development departments rely heavily upon Zendesk and Jira integration.

Within the two applications, the development team is working on the new features and fixing bugs. At the same time, the product team is working on the strategy and solving the critical issues, usually missing customer requests. To retain and keep customers satisfied, you need to understand the functional problems the end-users face. The goal is threefold:

  • use tagging and labeling to sort out the tickets and requests,
  • prioritize them for detecting the weakest links in the app,
  • get the trend and the desired features.

Challenges with Zendesk

What are the factors that can prevent you from reaching your goal when working with Zendesk?

Shared licenses. Your company bought licenses only for support agents - let’s say 5, and you share these licenses across the company. On the one hand, it is a wise solution to save funds, on the other hand - neither support manager nor another employee in your company can personalize the software for individual needs. So, the efficiency and usability of the help desk are rather low.

Another issue is data pull and aggregation. Zendesk and Jira integration solves this problem to some extent, but there is still a set of steps to take manually. The use case break down, customer validation and prioritization, and other business required data need automated collection.

You may disbelieve it, but the development team has to complete reports as well. It can be challenging to report on the work items, statuses, sprints, and workflows. With Excel, you can spend time sorting out different pieces of data to get a clearer overview or - use this time for more critical tasks.

If you are already using Jira, then the solution will be quite obvious - leverage the native app - Jira Service Desk for interaction with your customers. Once you extend your Atlassian Suite of products, you will get a seamless workflow, real-time notifications, standardized naming and labeling across all levels of your organization.

The native integration will help you to review the workflow stages and perhaps to remove the unnecessary ones. Apart from speeding up the processes, you will increase both customers’ and stakeholders’ satisfaction rates.

Also, your in-house collaboration will advance due to the real-time notifications. Fast detection of vital issues is going to impress your development and support teams, as well as your customers. In Jira Service Desk the customer portal is tied to the backlog and the workflow. You can crowdsource customer ideation, voting, and rating and get a first-hand response to the common functional problems and planned features before they hit the product management workflow.

The benefits of the new workflow will be even more substantial with the standardized naming and labeling. The new ways of classifying and grouping work items will optimize the performance and keep your teams focused on the strategic tasks.

By moving from Zendesk to Jira Service Desk, your company can automate the release processes and minimize the manual effort required. Simply choose a template, set up the automation rules, and that would be all the manual work in publishing the release notes.

To Conclude

The switch from Zendesk to Jira Service Desk will change the way product managers plan and prioritize the work, release it and bring the development process closer to the customers. Streamlined and automated processes are the win-win situation for all sides concerned. Want to migrate from Zendesk to Jira Service Desk? Stop by at Help Desk Migration and find out how you can deal with this task fast and easier than you can imagine.

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