Using help desk software solutions has become almost mandatory for the businesses these days. This is not only applicable for the technology giants and MNCs. A lot of midsized ventures are also resorting to such applications and the reasons are quite credible too.
Using Helpscout alternative brings a company several advantages. These include operational cost reduction, enhanced customer support options, better productivity at workplace and solid brand image development.
However, the reality is HelpScout no longer offers a free plan for the users. If you want a suitable alternative, there are some contenders on the horizon.
Suitable free helpdesk solution that can be used as substitute of Helpscout
It is quite natural for small and mid-sized businesses to look for free helpdesk solutions. There are quite a few free helpdesk solutions including freshdesk and 2 more competitors. You can compare these tools to figure out which one suits your bill the best.
Freshdesk is among the most widely used solutions in help desk segment, beyond any doubt. The customer support software has received a revamp in recent times- which gives it a fresh new look and a number of new features. The free version is aimed at the SMBs and there are several paid plans too. The dashboard of this tool is quite easy to use and customizing it is not much tedious either. The notification system of the app is neat and it can be customized as well. The live chat on-off toggle is ideal for busy support agents who have to cope with oodles of customers every day.
Choosing a helpdesk solution is pointless if it does not have enough features for ticket management. In this department, Freshdesk scores very well. You get robust feature set to handle ticket issuing, tracking and resolving. The dashboard gives a glimpse at status of all tickets-including unresolved, pending and resolved ones. Bulk assigning tickets is no hassle and you can set various filters to segregate them. Freshdesk comes with a useful social stream feature using which agents can make tickets from social media feeds and message posts. It is possible to define rules to let the app deal with ticket handling and trigger apt actions. There are several possibilities for setting ticket-resolution automations.
Freshdesk also comes with good analytics and reporting features. It’s intelligent querying and graphical response to querying makes things easier for the users. However, you do not get as extensive reporting capabilities as commercial counterparts like Jira ServiceDesk Plus. Freshdesk does not come with change management functionality. However, the free version is ideal for most of the SMBs.
2. Spiceworks IT Help Desk
Spiceworks IT Help Desk may be the free help desk software you are looking for if your expectations are not too high! This is a tool targeted at the technology experts. This includes more features than just ticketing. It is offered as a cloud based SaaS and has integrated network monitoring solution. You can track performance of all agents using the tool and customer support can be offered through many channels using the tool.
The tool also has options to set up and customize a self service portal. Setting up a knowledge base for the users is simple using the tool. The desktop software is pretty useful and you can also use its mobile apps. The nice thing about this tool is that there is no limitation on agents or admin accounts. You need not cope with complicated setup either. It also offers integration with over 150 apps.
3. Zoho Desk
Zoho Desk is among the most widely used and versatile help desk solutions. The basic and free plan is perfect for small sized businesses. The limitation of the free plan is support for just three agents. Setting up the software is quite simple and it can be done pretty fast. The UI is fluid and you can alter it to an extent to suit usage needs.
Ticket management in Zoho desk is as simple as it gets! Apart from direct ticket management you can resort to social media platforms to issue and manage tickets. The administrators can use the feature named Headquarters to look into activities of the support team. Inclusion of the customer satisfaction dashboard is useful. If your company uses Zoho CRM that can be integrated with this tool and it offers easy integration with other Zoho online toolsets.
Zoho desk also comes with a number of time saving features and one of these is the ‘auto-snippets’. This is like pre designed templates that can be used to revert to common customs queries within seconds. Another handy feature is ‘Agent Collision’ which lets agents figure out if a ticket is being handled by more than one agent at a time.
The tool comes with options to create knowledge base with a self-service portal. You can include sections like FAQs. Reporting is available in it for many defined categories.
Other services you may consider
While the three helpdesk solution listed above are feature packed and useful for SMBs, you can explore a few alternatives too.
Freshservice which is more feature rich sibling of Freshdesk is worth trying. It is aimed at midsized companies that are on fast growth track looking for free or moderately priced helpdesk solution. It is more than just software to deal with ticket management. In fact, Freshservice is ideal if your company runs diverse IT services and has several projects to manage.
The entry level plan is offered free but it is limited to only 100 users. The UI has 5 sections- Tickets, Solutions, Problems, Releases and Changes. The UI is more like typical Email client apps. The workflow adheres to basic of ITIL guidelines. Every agent can check ticket status in his/her accounts after logging in. The self service portal is there with integrated search and document storage. Report generation features are also quite good and the software uses graphical output. You can also set schedules for automated report generations. The reports can be emailed or sent as PDF files.
The Administration tab is useful but not complex to use as such. You will not run into troubles while trying to locate items. It has plug-ins for more than 2 dozen SaaS services. Integration with Microsoft Office 365 is bliss as is support for Google apps.
While not as famous as leading helpdesk tools, Mojo Helpdesk is ideal for SMBs seeking low budget helpdesk and ticket management solution. The SaaS based tool can be used in trial mode for a month without paying. The app has a nice and easy to use UI. The app has a Google like UI which will appeal to a lot of users. It also integrates very well with Google online apps. You can in fact, log in using your Google Apps account fast.
The app makes ticket handling a simple affair and you can use filters too. Tickets can be made from emails as well. Tickets can be handled from email inbox too. It supports Mac, Linux and Windows based PCs.
Summing it up
The free helpdesk tools are quite capable and suitable for SMBs. However, the paid plans of Zoho desk and Happyfox are also reasonable for midsized ventures. You should compare all options before choosing the final one.