Best Help Desk Software For Small Businesses

best help desk software

Is your small business looking for a new software to take care of your customer help desk needs? Well, look no further than our review of the top help desk software solutions.

Find out exactly what we like and what we dislike about each of the five products that we have chosen, hopefully it may help you come to your decision!

Use the table and individual reviews below to compare the products and choose your favourite based on what your small business needs.

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Top 5 Help Desk Software Solutions

Use the table and reviews below to compare the best help desk software solutions that we have chosen to help you make the right purchasing decision.

Rank

Free Trial

Mobile App

Support Service

Pricing

freshdesk

Yes

Yes

Yes

$19 per agent per month

happyfox

Yes

Yes

Yes

$29 per agent per month

 #3

Kayako

kayako

Yes

Yes

Yes

$15 / per agent / per month

zendesk

Yes

Yes

Yes

$19 / per agent / per month

xsellco

Yes

No

Yes

$79 / month (unlimited users)

Best Overall Help Desk Software

Freshdesk

freshdesk

5/5 Overall Rating

Freshdesk is the winner of our best overall Helpdesk software for small businesses. It has a comprehensive set of features, an easy to use and customizable user interface and an attractive price to boot.

The price packages for Freshdesk are as follows: $19/agent/month for the “Blossom” package (aimed at small teams), $35/agent/month for “Garden” (aimed at growing teams), “Estate” for $49/agent/month (for large teams), and “Forest” for $89/agent/month (for enterprises). Of course, as we mentioned, there is also the free version, “Sprout”. Each of these packages has varying levels of functionality, so choose carefully. Freshdesk also offers a free, but limited, version. While it won’t cover the needs for most businesses, don’t count it out of your considerations.

Freshdesk does all the basics well: its ticket management is top-notch, it integrates with a number of business applications (such as your CRM software), you can set up automatic actions on specific tickets based on time or event triggers, etc. All of the packages mentioned above even offer 24/7 email support and 24/5 phone support to your company in the case of any technical difficulties.

One of our favourite features that Freshdesks implements is their multichannel support. Your business’s email, phone, Facebook, or chat support can all be integrated into one inbox within the helpdesk. As customers raise issues on any of these platforms, your support staff will be able to create tickets to track these issues, find a solution and then even post the solution straight to the support knowledgebase.  Furthermore, all of this is accessible from a single inbox that the entire team has access too, ensuring that a ticket never goes unsolved.

Finally, if you need software that is more targeted toward handling your business’s IT help desk, you might want to have a look at Freshservice. Where Freshdesks takes care of your customer support help desk, Freshservice can do the same for handling your internal IT issues. It will help set up an IT system that is efficient, effective and customized to your company’s own needs.

Main Features

  • Single team inbox
  • Self-service knowledgebase
  • Multichannel ticket support
  • plus
    Mobile apps

What we like

  • Easy to use interface
  • Event-/time-triggered automation
  • Highly customizable

What we dislike

  • Setup could be more intuitive
Key Takeaway

Freshdesk is a well-rounded help desk software that has an affordable price tag for small business. It has all the functionality that any business (from small to enterprise) could need, and will greatly improve the way you deal with your customer support.

Editor's Choice

HappyFox

happyfox

4.5/5 Overall Rating

HappyFox is a helpdesk solution that any small business can implement with a minimal learning curve. Though simple, it still packs the functionality of some enterprise-level helpdesk software. It does everything you need helpdesk software to do, from advanced ticket management and assignment, to detailed analysis reports and insights. For these reasons, HappyFox wins our Editor’s Choice award for being both highly functional and a joy to use.

As mentioned, HappyFox is extremely easy to setup and get used to using. This could be important for some small businesses who don’t have much time to implement a new helpdesk system, or the budget for the extensive training that many helpdesk software solutions require.

Ranging from $29/agent/month to $89/agent/month, HappyFox has four different packages: “Mighty”, “Fantastic”, “Enterprise”, and “Enterprise Plus”. Budget permitting, we would recommend the $49/agent/month “Fantastic” package. It has all the features that a small business could need, and some other bells and whistles that will definitely improve your business’s support system. Otherwise, the $29/agent/month “Mighty” package should do just fine.

One of HappyFox’s best features is its extensive integration capabilities. From your company’s preferred CRM software, to Google Apps, to your social media accounts; all can be linked to HappyFox, and their various functions accessed from within the helpdesk itself.

There wasn’t a whole lot wrong that we could see with HappyFox. One complaint is that the lower tier packages don’t offer quite as much functionality as we would like, but they do still offer plenty for what most small businesses will need.

Main Features

  • Support for multiple brands
  • Mobile apps
  • Customizable support ticket status
  • plus
    Self-service knowledgebase

What we like

  • Integrates with social media and a host of business applications
  • Quick setup and small learning curve
  • Highly customizable

What we dislike

  • Issues with setting up knowledgebase articles
  • Window Close
    Can’t automatically assign tickets to specific staff member
Key Takeaway

HappyFox is a well-designed, easy to use helpdesk software that packs all the functionality a small business will need. Perfect for a small business that wants a simple setup and minimal issues down the road.

Other Great Help Desk Solutions

Kayako

Kayako is a helpdesk software that is targeted towards communication and flexibility. Unlike many other systems, it can take a bit of time to setup and may require some DIY coding in order to personalize. Because of this, however, it is highly flexible and customizable.

On top of the standard helpdesk features such as ticket management, ticket assignment, and various automation functions, Kayako emphasises communication and chat features. For example, Kayako Messenger is a useful tool that allows your support staff to speak directly with customers, while being able to track their information, past tickets and any other conversations that they are currently having.

Kayako has three pricing options, namely “Inbox” for $15/agent/month, “Growth” for $30/agent/month, and “Scale” for $60/agent/month. While not the most extensive range, these options should cover the needs for any small and growing business. The Growth and Scale packages also allow for 5 and 10 free collaborators respectively. This allows 5 or 10 people access to the helpdesk to leave internal notes but not to respond to customers.

We liked the ability to organize tickets into folders and subfolders, but we were slightly confused by the fact that there seems to be no real automatic ticket tracking system. If we wanted to find tickets that had been moved or allocated to different departments, we would have to remember the ticket ID ourselves.

Overall, Kayako is a decent helpdesk solution that achieves its main goal of targeting communication with customers. As an added bonus, the additional features like customizable reporting and customer inisights make it well worth the relatively low price tag.

Main Features

  • Self-service knowledgebase
  • Mobile apps
  • Single inbox for all channels

What we like

  • Automatic ticket assignment rules
  • Good reporting and analysis tools
  • Solid ticket organizing tools

What we dislike

  • Poor ticket tracking
  • Window Close
    Tends to be a bit buggy
Key Takeaway

Kayako is a solid, good looking helpdesk solution. It’s perfect for small businesses who want a highly flexible and personal software experience, and are happy to get down and dirty (so to speak) with the API to achieve that.

Zendesk Support

salesforce crm software

4/5 Overall Rating

Zendesk Support is an off-cut of the full Zendesk Suite, an enterprise level product that covers absolutely everything customer-oriented. Support is just, as the name suggests, the customer support portion of the Suite. However, just because it’s only a fraction of a full product doesn’t mean it has no uses as a standalone.

Firstly, Zendesk Support starts at an extremely reasonable price: $5/agent/month. From there it goes to $19/agent/month, then $49/agent/month, on to $99/agent/month, and finally $199/agent/month. While the lower tiers (specifically the $5 and $19 tiers) do, admittedly, lack in terms of functionality, they could be useful to small businesses who have very limited helpdesk needs.

What Zendesk Support does well is cover the basics. No real bells and whistles if you have one of the lower priced packages. It integrates all customer communication channels into one place, creates ticket forms for customers to fill out that will allow your support staff to know exactly what the customer needs, has support for macros, and integrates with over 500 public applications. Everything a small business could really need.

One of the biggest issues that Zendesk Support faces is that it becomes very expensive if you want more features. The $99/agent/month and $199/agent/month are simply out of reach for most small businesses. This means that this product won’t scale very well for businesses with growing needs.

Aside from that, Zendesk Support is a functional solution for small businesses with limited customer support needs. It runs smoothly, is well designed and easy to use. The mobile app needs a lot of work in this department, but that shouldn’t really be a huge issue for such small teams.

Main Features

  • Self-service knowledgebase
  • Mobile apps
  • Supports over 40 languages
  • plus
    Canned actions and macros

What we like

  • Good integration options
  • Customizable reports and dashboards
  • Very affordable for very small teams

What we dislike

  • Gets very expensive if you want greater functionality
  • Window Close
    Mobile apps need improvement
Key Takeaway

Zendesk Support offers plenty of space for small businesses to grow, with packages that can scale with the business. It’s perfect for small businesses with small budgets that don’t need over-the-top functionality.

Best Help Desk Software For eCommerce

xSellco Helpdesk

xsellco

4/5 Overall Rating

xSellco Helpdesk is unique on this list in that it is directly targeted to businesses who handle their retail via the internet. E-commerce is a huge market in this day and age, so any small business in the market needs to ensure that their customer support services are top notch if they want to be successful. If your small business has a desire for a product that can streamline your online customer support system, then you will find your needs met with xSellco.

One of the interesting factors that differentiates xSellco Helpdesk from most of its competitors is the way its pricing system works. Instead of charging by number of agents using the software, xSellco charges by number of support tickets received per month. There are four tiers: $79/month for 500 support tickets, $229/month for 2000 support tickets, $429/month for 4000 support tickets, and $799/month for 8000 support tickets.

xSellco’s advice on choosing a package for your company is to divide your monthly orders by 10, as that is the likely number of support tickets you will receive. That is, obviously, subjective to the type of company, as some receive more support inquiries than others.

Another benefit of this pricing system, is that the lower-priced package offers almost all of the same functionality as the highest. Automated responses, support ticket management, sales and performance analytics, a centralized dashboard, and social media integrations are all readily available to a small business using the $79/month package.

Main Features

  • Charge for number of support tickets, not number of agents
  • Auto-translates messages to/from customers speaking foreign languages
  • E-commerce orientation

What we like

  • Good integration with online retailers like eBay and Amazon
  • Customizable reply templates are useful
  • Easily customizable rules

What we dislike

  • Not great support
  • Window Close
    Occasional server errors
Key Takeaway

xSellco Helpdesk is a powerful helpdesk solution aimed at e-commerce businesses. From small to enterprise in size, it offers enough functionality for anyone.


Help Desk Software Buyers Guide

In order to truly excel as a retail company, you need for your after-sale services to be as good as your actual product.

Customer services can be a nightmare if not properly managed, but a help desk software can be used to make this process that much smoother.

The following factors are what we believe to be the most important to consider when choosing a helpdesk software solution for your company. Just remember that, as a small business, budget will be your main constraint.

So, be careful not to go over budget just because you want all the premium bells and whistles that you don’t actually need.

Help Desk Software Pricing

As is the case for pretty much any business software, small businesses have to be careful with their budgeting when choosing a new helpdesk software.

Positive cash flows can be hard to come by, so you definitely don’t want to be spending a good portion of them on a help desk software with additional features that you may not even need.

The rule of thumb with any cloud software as a service (SaaS) is that you will pay more to get more features. In general, small businesses don’t need the full functionality of enterprise level business applications, so there is no need to waste funding on a product that you really don’t need.

Pay careful attention to the packages that each help desk software provider advises for your small business: their recommendations are often based on experience with other small businesses.

Just don’t fall into the trap of signing a full year contract on a package that you won’t be using the full functionality of. We would advise trying before buying, i.e. see if you can get a free trial before signing any contracts.

3rd Party Integrations

This is a vital feature that you should look for when choosing your help desk software solution.

If your software is able to communicate or integrate with some of your other business applications, the data captured from your customer support systems can be used within other sectors of your business. 

By transferring some of this data to your company’s CRM or accounting software, for example, you will be able to boost customer relations and improve the insights that your financial reports can provide.

Along the same lines, if the helpdesk software has a simple to use API, you will be able to implement your own unique applications within the helpdesk, further adding to the functionality of the software.

Help Desk Features

We all want as many features as we can get when choosing any product that we use in our daily lives. The catch, unfortunately, is that the more we want the more we have to pay. As a small business, you’ll most likely be looking for the cheaper helpdesk software packages currently on the market. As such, you’ll want to make sure that the software you choose has all the basic functionality you will need, and nothing more.

The basics you should be looking for are some form of ticket management and assignment system, a simple yet functional UI, basic reporting and analysis functions, and a decent self-service knowledgebase.

On top of the basics, there are a few others that will add to the functionality of the software that you could look out for. These include, but are not limited to:

  • An easy setup process
  • A customizable interface
  • Custom role permissions
  • Single inbox for the whole team
  • Social media integration
  • Good identity and access controls and other security

About the Author Greg Jacobs

Greg is a business graduate from the University of Cape Town. Passionate about the interface of technology with small business, Greg covers all things business software at the Sustainable Business Toolkit.

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