This will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best helpdesk software, including helpdesk ticketing software and IT helpdesk software.
As our workplaces become more interconnected, help desk software is more useful than ever across a wide range of applications. Product teams, development studios, ecommerce companies, and many other types of teams are adopting ticketing systems that streamline the way they handle customer service and IT support.
There are two main kinds of service desk software: those intended to help your employees and those intended to help your customers.
Depending on your needs, you may find yourself drawn to tools that address one, the other, or both types. Improving the “customer journey” has proven to increase revenue up to 15% while also boosting customer satisfaction by around 20%. On the other hand, your internal employees may be losing up to two weeks of work time per year to technology and computer issues.
Knowing this, it’s easy to see the importance of support desk software for your customers, staff or both. A robust IT help desk can help keep your customers happy, help you identify issues and route them to the correct people to resolve them, and help your support team manage their workload.
You might be wondering: Okay, so…what are the top helpdesk software? What does my team need? How can I best make these decisions? While we can’t definitely match every group with the ideal help desk solution, we can give a concise review of the best help desk management software available today.
In this post I’ll:
- Share with you the best service management tools to include on your help desk support software shortlist.
- Explain what IT service desk tools are.
- Explain how service desk software tools can help you streamline customer and/or employee service.
- Answer some FAQs about helpdesk system tools.
- Tell you what you should look for in IT support software tools and our evaluation criteria.
By the end of this article you should have a well-rounded list of some of the best helpdesk software on the market. That way, you can make the best call for your company and your team.
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Helpdesk Software Comparison Criteria
What criteria do we use to determine the best IT help desk software? What does it mean to have support desk software that stands a cut above the rest? How do we evaluate help desk ticket systems in our ticketing system comparison?
We like to be completely transparent in our evaluation methods so we have broken down the who, what, where, why, and how for you here.
- User Interface (UI): How well-designed is the support desk software? Does it offer clear displays and intuitive navigation? Is it aesthetically pleasing or all-business? Who does the UI cater to and do they succeed in addressing their target user?
- Usability: Is this easy to learn and master? Are there tutorials and training? What tech and user support is offered by the software company?
- Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations? How many different integrations are available and how easy (or costly) are they to implement?
- Value for $: How much does it cost? Are there different tiers? What features do you have access to at each stage?
- Features & Functionality: How many of the key helpdesk software features and functions does it provide, and how powerful are they? Specifically, I looked for:
- Multi-Channel Ticketing System: Tools should have a robust ticket management software. They should streamline tickets from multiple sources so you can communicate across channels (email, phone, etc) from one place. It should help you manage this stream tickets by providing the ability to automatically tag, categorize, prioritize and assign incoming tickets from any channel. Help desk ticketing system comparison between product tiers.
- Collaboration: Tools should keep users informed of ticket owners, statuses, responses and priorities to help sync your team efforts.
- Automations: Helpdesk systems should offer the ability to set time-based and event-based triggers, as well as custom workflows with automations that route tickets to the right user for the best response.
- Reporting and Analytics: The helpdesk system should offer configurable dashboards that display key helpdesk data as well as live reporting to get a bird’s eye view of current operations.
- Knowledge Management System: ITSM utilizes a repository of previously resolved problems. Could be a public customer self-service website, or an internal repository for customer service reps and technicians. Should incorporate advanced search technologies (such as auto-suggest) to help users find answers quickly.
- Self-service: This includes things like product documentation, downloadable patches, and forums or user communities that help customers solve their problems. Tools should provide a way to submit issues when customers can’t resolve through self-service.
The 10 Best Help Desk Software Overviews
1. LiveAgent – Best help desk software for analytics and reporting
LiveAgent is for customer support teams of all sizes. The software collects and organizes customer queries from multiple channels, and enables agents to collaborate to resolve them.
The software has tons of useful help desk features. LiveAgent’s multi-channel ticketing system converts all received messages from social media, email, phone and live chat into tickets, and then organizes them according to importance. The software is collaborative, and eliminates account sharing, device and account monitoring, duplicate answers, and confusion. The software has powerful automation rules that can be either time-triggered, SLA triggered, or action triggered.
LiveAgent’s reporting and analytics features enable users to create comprehensive reports on agent availability, resolution times, rebukes, and more. The software also recognizes the need for self-service in customer support and enables users to create internal and external knowledge bases that are fully customizable and equipped with FAQs, feedback, suggestions, and forums.
The software’s UI is very clean and minimalistic, however, it does have quite a learning curve. Not to worry though, LiveAgent provides integrated guides so you can utilize the software in no time. The biggest pro of using LiveAgent is its price to value ratio. LiveAgent offers over 179 advanced help desk features and integrates with over 40 third party applications. The software is fully customizable– from general appearance and sounds to specific feature customization. The cons include a steep learning curve and limited mobile app capabilities.
LiveAgent supports both native and third-party integrations. Native integrations include but are not limited to Braintree, Slack, Instagram, Shopify and more. LiveAgent also provides built-in migration plugins that enable you to migrate data from your old help desk software into LiveAgent.
LiveAgent costs from $15/user/month. They also offer a free trial, a forever free account, and a product demo.
2. Jitbit Helpdesk – Best email ticketing system for medium and large businesses
Jitbit Helpdesk is a help desk software that was built to help you provide email support for your customers and users. With its pricing, Jitbit is a great fit for medium and large businesses across different industries. If you want to host the app on your own server and use it internally, Jitbit also offers an on-premise version.
Although email is the primary channel, Jitbit supports various other channels, like live chat, web-portal, API and multiple built-in integrations with third-party apps. Jitbit updates in real-time and offers ways to collaborate on user issues with your team; for example, you can see when other techs are looking at a ticket or typing a reply. You can also assign multiple people to a single ticket.
Automation Rules is a pretty slick feature in this tool, designed to carry out the more boring parts of the job. You can do simple things like “if a ticket comes from this company assign it to this agent” all the way up to something more sophisticated like “if ticket subject contains ‘word’, send an HTTP request to this URL”.
This helpdesk software offers more than 10 built-in reports and a custom report builder on all aspects of customer support. You can see various metrics, including response speeds, the number of tickets you get per day, and your team performance is broken down by individual techs. Most reports allow you to export data to Excel, too.
They also offer a Knowledge Base with some AI-powered self-service features. So, this means that if you take your time to fill out your Knowledge Base with helpful articles, Jitbit will suggest those articles to your users as they are submitting the tickets. I’m sure you’ve seen this type of support feature on a couple of the sites you have accounts with, and it can be useful as it sometimes takes care of the issue without even needing to open a support ticket.
I’d say that Jitbit has a very small learning curve, thanks to clean design and easy-to-use UI. You can customize both the public-facing and the private parts of your help desk to match your company branding—so you can change colors and add your logo and a favicon. For more customization, you can change pretty much anything else through CSS and JS code.
Jitbit integrates with a lot of apps out of the box. Apps like Slack, Jira, Github, Dropbox and a lot of others are really easy to set up and start using. If that’s not enough you can use Zapier to integrate with 500+ other apps.
Jitbit Helpdesk costs from $29/month. They also offer a free trial and an on-premise version.
3. ProProfs Help Desk – Best help desk software for email ticketing
ProProfs Help Desk has an easy to use ticket automation system with round-robin ticket assignments. This is a great tool for teams who manage most of their customer interactions through email. Team members can collaborate using shared inboxes, attach files to support tickets, and resolve complex tickets using parent-child ticketing. Internal integrations like Live Chat, Knowledge Base, Survey Maker, and more make this tool a complete powerhouse.
Users can prioritize tickets, add internal notes, or simply leverage the Canned Response feature to resolve tickets quickly. You can also share CSAT or NPS surveys to gauge customer satisfaction after tickets have been closed.
ProProfs also has a plethora of training videos and an FAQ section so your team can handpick the right information whenever an issue arises. Their human support team can be reached over chat, email, or phone. This tool is also compatible with mobile, tablet, and desktop.
ProProfs Help Desk starts at $10/user/month and offers a free premium trial for first-time users.
4. EngageBay – Best for creating personalized ticket views
EngageBay offers help desk software in the form of their Service Bay tool. Users can answer unlimited tickets in one place, as well as create a personalized ticket view to suit their needs.
The tool also offers advanced service automation tools so users can automate routine customer service processes and tasks. Users can also create canned responses to common queries and questions to save time and increase productivity.
EngageBay also includes capabilities for grouping and organizing tickets in order to boost efficiency. You can also manage tickets like tasks in order to keep track of closed and open tickets. The tool offers custom reporting and analytics to ensure you make informed decisions about the support process and specific tickets.
EngageBay’s Service Bay software is free to use.
5. Hesk – Best open source help desk software
Hesk is asset management built into your help desk—to secure, monitor, manage, and patch assets. Completely customizable, Hesk supports unlimited custom fields and forms. It also features a ticketing system, self-service portal, knowledge base, password reset, remote control, and more.
Hesk runs away with the evaluation category of value for cost because it is free and open source, making it a great option for small businesses and start-ups. On top of that, it’s very easy to use and setup so you don’t need the time and training manpower that other software requires.
HESK doesn’t integrate directly with other software. HESK was developed to be a stand-alone help desk application.
As per the above note, one of the biggest cons of the software is complete lack of integrations. A forum note does mention that there may exist third party tutorials on integrating HESK with some third party scripts, but these are not supported or endorsed by HESK.com.
Hesk starts at $39.95 and has a free demo and a freemium version (which will include “Powered By Hesk” text on your site).
6. Jira Service Desk – Best help desk software for DevOps
A service desk allows employees to ask for help, report incidents, or request new services. It can encompass everything from basic help to full fledged ITIL-compliant service management. Jira service desk features include service management, knowledge management, DevOps, and more.
JIRA is relatively affordable and also scalable, which is why it scored highly in our evaluation criteria for value for dollars paid. The flexibility to log in anywhere and fill in customizable forms requesting the services needed is the kind of added value that any team will appreciate.
I docked a few points off usability simply because there is so much to learn and not nearly enough resources available to do so. While the online community of users is robust, you won’t find much in the way of training videos or customer service resources when any issues arise. The reporting functions are also a bit limited.
Integrations listed on their site include Draw.io, GitHub and other Git products, Scriptrunner, Worklogs, Google Drive and Docs, Microsoft Teams, Zephyr, and many more listed in their app marketplace.
Jira Service Desk starts at $10/month for 3 agents and has a 7-day free trial.
7. HubSpot Service Hub – Best conversational customer support chat bot
Everything you need to organize, track, and nurture your relationships with leads and customers; grow traffic and convert more visitors with tools like landing pages, automation, analytics, et cetera; time-saving tools that help you get deeper insights into your prospects, automate the tasks you hate, and close more deals; and more.
Hubspot is excellent about quality of life features, which is why it scored well across our features and functionality evaluation criteria. For example, Hubspot creates transcripts of any phone conversations, it adeptly organizes both contacts and task flows, and tracking and segmenting audiences is convenient and intuitive. It also has an outstanding conversational chat bot you can add (and you can try it out for free, a major plus).
A few minor gripes, though by no means dealbreakers: You can’t merge two Hubspot accounts so when we were doing testing through two different users we would have to manually input all the data from one to the other should we ever need to combine them. Also, Gmail integration so that you can email clients right from Hubspot would have been a plus.
Hubspot has a host of integrations listed in its app marketplace, including Gmail, Outlook, Cyfe, Arena, CallPage, Zoom, LeadSpace, Facebook, TwentyThree, and over a thousand more with Zapier.
HubSpot Service Hub starts at $400/month and has a freemium version and a free demo.
8. ServiceDesk Plus – Best support software for building ITSM workflows
A division of Zoho Corp., ServiceDesk Plus provides great visibility and central control in dealing with IT issues to minimize business downtime. Features include: best practice ITSM Workflows, powerful integrations with IT management apps, smart automation, extensive reporting capabilities, codeless customizations, and more.
ManageEngine scores well in our value for cost evaluation criteria section in particular because of their straight-forward and relatively inexpensive licensing for this system. Being able to get advanced help desk functionality for free will appeal to small businesses and start-ups.
Integrations listed include Analytics Plus (on-premise) or Zoho Analytics (on-cloud), AD Manager Plus, ADSelfService Plus, PasswordManager Pro, add-in for Microsoft Outlook, Office 365 calendar integration, and more.
A few cons that may be of note: reporting could be a lot more user-friendly and is often confusing to wade through; and the interface was not as smooth or intuitive as others on this list.
ServiceDesk Plus offers customized quotes upon request and has a free demo.
9. Zendesk – Best help desk for AI-powered self-service
Zendesk centers its product around building a knowledge base and self-service capabilities, live chat and messaging services, call center software, and more. Zendesk is an omnichannel ticketing system that is a shared inbox for all your customer inquiries so that any agent can see a customer’s story and trajectory at a glance.
An intuitive and detail-oriented ticketing system makes Zendesk excel in the features and functionality evaluation criteria section.
Zendesk has an app marketplace with an assortment of first-party and third-party apps, some paid and some free. Here you will find integrations with the likes of Zendesk Sell, Slack, Aircall, Qualtrics, Textline, Trello, Dojo, Google Play Reviews, Zoho CRM, Harvest, and many more.
While tons of integrations are available, setting them up can be rather tricky. Customer service wasn’t as responsive as some of the other apps on this list. That lost them a few points in the usability category.
Zendesk starts at $5/user/month and has a free trial.
10. Samanage – Best ITSM help desk
A robust employee service management platform that combines IT service management to ITIL best practices, IT service desk, asset management, and service management for HR and IT. The app also boasts a comprehensive, user-friendly menu of services for all of your employees across departments, complete with automated workflows and approvals.
I want to hone in on the automations section of the features and functionality evaluation criteria compartment. Samanage is quite easy to automate, offering a host of features in this area, like notification emails that are automatically forwarded as a ticket progresses.
Integrates with over 200 Cloud Applications, including NMAP, Google SSO, Microsoft Azure, OneLogin, Okta, TeamViewer, and even more through a paid Zapier plan.
The learning curve for Samanage was a bit steeper than others on this list but the software was robust enough that it makes it worthwhile. Additionally, the search bar functionality wasn’t great—something more responsive would be better.
Samanage starts at $19/user/month and has a 30-day free trial.
The Best Help Desk Software Comparison Chart
Other Helpdesk Software
Not keen on any of the above resources? You’re in luck. There are always dozens of other IT support software and helpdesk tools clattering for your business. The helpdesk software options below are just a few of your options but a little bit of digging is sure to uncover more. Don’t be afraid to spend time on research and development. You only want to settle for the tool that is absolutely right for you and your team.
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What Do You Think About These Top Help Desk Solutions?
There are plenty of help desk systems to choose from—the real trouble is finding the best one for you. Once you have a list of Must-Haves, you can start narrowing down your choices by comparing it to the selection above.
Is there anything that should be on our list that you think we missed? Do you have personal experience with any of these softwares that you would like to share? Sound off in the comments of this article. We would love to hear from you.