Ir para o conteúdo principal

Best small business help desk software

Learn more about the top help desk software solutions small businesses use to manage and resolve support requests. Try help desk software for free.

The complete buyer’s guide to help desk software for small businesses

Última atualização em January 22, 2024

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) need a direct line of communication with their customers to manage incoming support requests effectively. Due to the nature of SMBs, support teams and business leaders often spend more time nurturing relationships and offering one-on-one support, relying less on self-service and ticket deflection.

To keep a high level of support without overburdening busy agents, use help desk software for small businesses to organize conversations. A help desk solution ensures that your team sees all messages and meets service-level agreement (SLA) expectations regardless of the channel a customer uses.

Learn more about the best help desk software for small businesses and the ins and outs of selecting the right solution. In this article, we will discuss:

What is help desk software for small businesses?

Help desk software for SMBs allow businesses to receive, track, and reply to customer support tickets all on one platform.

The ultimate goal of help desk software is the same for businesses of all sizes—to manage and organize user support requests. The primary differences in SMB customer service software come down to preferences.

  • Price: SMBs typically have more modest budgets, so consider sacrificing non-essential features for the sake of affordability.

  • Resources: Most small businesses have fewer resources than enterprises, meaning looking for help desk solutions that are easy to implement and maintain as you grow can be beneficial.

  • Features: Small businesses may not want advanced features like automations or white-label customization abilities right away, but you should still look for software that offers baseline features to track and resolve tickets. Ideally, your chosen software will also have features that can scale with you as your needs change.

Comparison chart of the top 10 help desk software for small business

Take a look at the top help desk tools for small businesses side-by-side to see which products have the features you need within your budget.

SoftwareStarting priceFree trialFeatures

Zendesk

$19 per agent/month (billed annually)

6 months free for qualifying startups

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Integrations on open and flexible platform

  • Agent workspace

  • AI

  • Messaging

  • Scalability

  • Agility and fast time to value

  • Partnership

Freshdesk

$0 per month (up to 10 agents)

21 days

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Integrations

  • AI

  • Messaging

Salesforce Service Cloud

$25 per user/month (billed annually)

14 days

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Integrations on open and flexible platform

  • Agent workspace

  • AI

  • Messaging

Zoho Desk

$20 per user/month

15 days

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Integrations on open and flexible platform

  • AI

  • Messaging

Front

$19 per seat/month (billed annually)

7 days

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Integrations

  • AI

Hiver

$19 per user/month

7 days

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Integrations

  • AI

  • Messaging

Help Scout

$25 per user/month

15 days

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Integrations

  • AI

  • Messaging

HubSpot Service Hub

$0 per month

14 days

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Integrations on open and flexible platform

  • AI

  • Messaging

HappyFox Help Desk

$39 per agent/month

Not available

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Integrations

  • AI

  • Messaging

Jira Service Desk

$0 per month (up to 3 agents)

7 days

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Integrations on open and flexible platform

  • AI

  • Messaging


The 10 best help desk software for small businesses

Discover the top help desk software for small businesses. We based our roundup on customer reviews, overall features, and how each solution meets typical SMB needs.

Below, we will introduce 10 popular solutions. Feel free to click through the list for more information about a specific solution.

1. Zendesk

Zendesk

If you’re looking for an intuitive, user-friendly help desk solution that works well without going over budget, Zendesk is the best all-around solution. Small business owners love how well Zendesk integrates with their favorite applications and often find additional ways to boost productivity through our extensive marketplace of pre-built applications.

Because of the Zendesk platform’s agility and fast time to value, scalability, and powerhouse partnerships, SMBs know they can rely on our help desk tools to continue providing outstanding customer service as they grow.

Even among businesses that have never used a help desk solution, 90 percent are able to deploy the Zendesk support platform in eight weeks or less (with the help of Zendesk partners), and more than 88,000 SMBs currently utilize our tools.

This is possible because the Zendesk help desk software and task automations are easy to configure, and customers always have access to self-service guides or customer service representatives to streamline implementation and integrations. Some SMBs also use the Zendesk software for internal help desks to provide technical support for employees.

Features:

Pricing:

  • Support Team: $19 per agent/month

  • Support Professional: $49 per agent/month

  • Support Enterprise: $99 per agent/month

    • All plans are billed annually.

Free trial:

14 days standard free trial and 6 months free for qualifying startups

2. Freshdesk

Freshdesk
Image source

Intuitive, contextual support helps agents provide consistent service at scale without delays. Freshdesk’s cloud-based help desk software is a contact center solution and ticketing system for small businesses with built-in telephony that supports voice conversations and omnichannel messaging.

Freshdesk provides customer health analytics and automated workflows to assist with everyday help desk tasks. The platform also works seamlessly with Freshchat, allowing agents and bots to talk to customers across channels like WhatsApp, Facebook, and SMS.

Features:

  • Integrated ticketing

  • Ticket trend report

  • Knowledge base

  • Ticket dispatch

  • Collision detection

  • SLA management

Pricing:

  • Free: $0 per month (up to 10 agents)

  • Growth: $18 per agent/month

  • Pro: $59 per agent/month

  • Enterprise: $95 per agent/month

Free trial:

21 days

3. Salesforce Service Cloud

Salesforce Service Cloud
Image source

Businesses can manage support requests and automate repetitive administrative tasks with Salesforce Service Cloud. With Salesforce, you can deliver personalized customer support and manage incoming tickets from digital channels like social media or live chat.

Salesforce Service Cloud can save small businesses time, money, and resources with a drag-and-drop help center. This tool makes it easy for customers to create knowledge base resources and direct more customers to self-service options, freeing up help desk agent lines for more complex requests.

Features:

  • Case management

  • Knowledge management

  • Computer telephony integration (CTI)

  • Service contract management

Pricing:

  • Starter: $25 per user/month

  • Professional: $75 per user/month

  • Enterprise: $150 per user/month

  • Unlimited: $300 per user/month

    • All plans are billed annually

Free trial:

14 days

Learn more about Salesforce for Zendesk.

4. Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk
Image source

Zoho Desk is easy to use and implement, making it a reasonable choice for small businesses that need a help desk system that integrates with the tools they already use without increasing costs.

Zoho Desk helps users move away from clunky shared inboxes to view all customer conversations in an orderly queue they can filter by deadline, priority, status, or customer business rules. The mobile app also helps with ticket management by making it easy for agents to tag, assign, and escalate tickets from anywhere.

Zoho customers can also utilize Zoho Desk Express to log and triage tickets, assess customer history, automate workflows to eliminate bottlenecks, and monitor customer satisfaction with advanced reporting dashboards.

Features:

  • Help center

  • Feedback widget

  • Telephony

  • Guided conversations

  • Ticket management

  • Time tracking

Pricing:

  • Standard: $20 per user/month

  • Professional: $35 per user/month

  • Enterprise: $50 per user/month

Free trial:

15 days

Learn more about Zoho for Zendesk.

5. Front

Front
Image source

Front allows users to manage all customer communications from email, live chat, and SMS in a collaborative hub. Support team members can use Front to manage high volumes of support requests without sacrificing personalization by accessing information from a single customer view.

Team inboxes allow for cross-functional collaboration, message templates support faster replies and ticket resolutions, and automatic load balancing which all contribute to faster ticket resolutions.

Features:

  • One-click scheduling

  • Omnichannel messaging

  • Collaborative inbox

  • Round-robin ticket assignment

  • Load balancing

  • Response time SLA rules

Pricing:

  • Starter: $19 per seat/month

  • Growth: $59 per seat/month

  • Scale: $99 per seat/month

  • Premier: $229 per seat/month

    • All plans are billed annually

Free trial:

7 days

6. Hiver

Hiver
Image source

Hiver is an intuitive help desk solution, making it easy for businesses to onboard and utilize the software without relying on confusing guides or waiting forever to speak with a customer support representative. And with a customer-first approach, the Hiver system leaves behind outdated ticket numbering systems so agents can humanize conversations.

Since Hiver also works seamlessly with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), agents can use Gmail operators to find past messages and speed up replies. Hiver’s platform also specializes in customer service, IT service management (ITSM), and operations, which makes for a full-service communications experience.

Features:

  • Collision alerts

  • Cross-team collaboration

  • Live chat

  • Knowledge base

  • Priority support

  • SLA reminders

Pricing:

  • Lite: $19 per user/month

  • Pro: $49 per user/month

  • Elite: $69 per user/month

Free trial:

7 days

7. Help Scout

Help Scout
Image source

Help Scout’s impactful help desk solution still uses shared inboxes to encourage cross-team collaboration. With Help Scout, customer conversations filter into a single location where support team members can assign, tag, and organize conversations.

This software is useful for growing teams because it can scale with you and eliminates pesky data silos. It’s also easy to get started since the platform is as easy to use as your regular email inbox.

Features:

  • Email and live chat

  • Custom reports

  • Automated workflows

  • HIPAA compliance

Pricing:

  • Standard: $25 per user/month

  • Plus: $50 per user/month

  • Pro: $65 per user/month (Billed annually)

Free trial:

15 days

8. HubSpot Service Hub

HubSpot Service Hub
Image source

HubSpot’s help desk is a part of HubSport Service Hub and includes features like ticketing, customer feedback, and a knowledge base for customer self-service. Hubspot Service Hub helps users keep tabs on different customer conversations and support requests.

Support teams can use the software to resolve tickets faster with an integrated system, automated ticket routing and triage, SLA management, performance metrics, and more.

SMBs can use this inexpensive software to start a simple, functional help desk.

Features:

  • Shared inbox

  • Messaging integrations

  • Conversational bots

  • Email tracking and notifications

  • Live chat

  • Canned snippets

  • Conversation routing

  • SLAs

  • Knowledge base

Pricing:

  • Free: $0 per month (limited features)

  • Starter: $20 per month (includes 2 users)

  • Starter CRM suite: $50 per month

  • Professional: $500 per month (includes 5 users)

  • Enterprise: Starts at $1,200 per month (includes 10 users, billed annually)

Free trial:

14 days

Learn more about HubSpot for Zendesk.

9. HappyFox Help Desk

HappyFox Help Desk
Image source

HappyFox Help Desk is a well-rounded aid for multichannel support efforts. This tool comes with all of the essentials packaged in a user-friendly interface.

Some key ways help desk agents benefit from this system are through easy-to-read reply threads, centralized customer files and attachments, and private notes that help agents collaborate and pick up the conversation wherever it left off.

Features:

  • Help desk reporting

  • Custom ticket queues

  • Automatic ticket categorization

  • Pinned tickets

  • Omnichannel ticketing

  • Workflow automation

Pricing:

  • Mighty: $39 per agent/month

  • Fantastic: $59 per agent/month

  • Enterprise $79 per agent/month

  • Enterprise Plus: $99 per agent/month

Free trial:

Not available

Learn more about HappyFox Workflows for Zendesk.

10. Jira Service Management

Jira Service Management
Image source

Jira Service Management is a help desk tool with rich ITSM functionality. Jira’s help desk software comes with the necessary features for IT and general support teams to deliver service to customers and employees.

Small businesses can utilize Jira’s knowledge base to rapidly resolve incoming trouble tickets, manage SLAs, track action-oriented requests, and uncover customer satisfaction (CSAT) insights.

Features:

  • Global and multi-project automation

  • Multi-language support

  • SLA management

  • Configurable workflows

  • Self-service portal

  • Email notifications

Pricing:

  • Free: $0 per month (up to 3 agents)

  • Standard: $21 per agent/month

  • Premium: $47 per agent/month

  • Enterprise: Contact sales (billed annually)

Free trial:

7 days

Learn more about Jira for Zendesk.

Help desk ticketing system features for small and midsize businesses

When endeavoring to find a new ticketing system, small businesses should search for one with help desk features that provide immediate support.

Ideally, your chosen help desk solution will also offer features that will continue to benefit your organization as it grows, reducing the need for frequent software swaps.

Here are five small business help desk system features SMBs should be looking for:

  • Robust reporting capabilities

  • Easy integrations with third-party platforms

  • Time-saving agent workspaces

  • Cutting-edge AI chatbots and/or virtual assistants

  • Cross-platform messaging capabilities

Reporting and analytics

Even if your small business isn’t particularly growth-oriented, you still need reports on customer service metrics to keep operational costs low. Oftentimes SMBs don’t need—or want—all the bells and whistles. But the help desk software you choose should monitor baseline data like support volume, time to resolution, and conversation volume by channel metrics.

“Having the data to predict ticket volume and inquiry type was key for having the right people at the right time, especially because our team grew 40 percent after we all started working from home.”

- Jennifer Buchanan, customer service and retention manager at Raddish Kids

As you grow, you may even want to track additional help desk metrics and assess individual agent performance. If this is possible, be sure that the help desk solution you go with can keep up as your needs change.

For example, Zendesk offers a few useful reporting features and benefits that serve small businesses and startups well as they grow:

  • Dashboards: Our pre-built, out-of-the-box dashboard gives small businesses fast and easy access to standard help desk metrics. As your organization grows, you can customize dashboard widgets to display the most relevant customer support information from each channel you utilize.

  • Custom fields: With our easy-to-use custom fields, you can gain extensive data insights without any technical skills. This helps small businesses set benchmarks and monitor the KPIs that impact their organization the most.

  • Unified analytics: Zendesk creates a unified customer analytics experience by making it easy for small businesses to import data from other sources. This helps users see the whole picture and supports educated decision-making.

  • Ongoing support: Our reporting dashboard is easy to configure and use, but if one of our customers needs support, they can contact our help desk for assistance at any time.

Integrations

An open and flexible CRM—sometimes known as an open-source API—allows businesses to customize a platform’s features and functionalities by modifying its existing source code.

For instance, with the Zendesk Marketplace, integrating the apps you already use is a breeze and requires less technical expertise, so small businesses can benefit from unified data and productivity tools without losing time or money.

Visit the Marketplace to access more than 700 pre-built apps and integrations for:

  • Support

  • Live chat

  • Sales

  • Messaging

All are free to install, and you can configure each in just a few clicks.

Agent workspace

A streamlined agent workspace can increase productivity and provide a better experience for employees and customers.

“After their first year with Zendesk, the customer service teams of high-performing SMBs reach 3.3 times as many customers, and they resolve requests 40 percent faster relative to their peers.”

Source: 5 biggest gaps in customer service for small businesses

The contextual Zendesk agent workspace is beneficial for small businesses because it:

  • Saves time by eliminating the need for agents to switch between tabs and systems

  • Boosts efficiency by simplifying daily workflows

  • Lowers costs due to low-complexity interface

  • Supports omnichannel messaging through platforms like live chat and email

  • Allows admins to set up each workspace with ticket rules, macros, and apps to reduce agent workloads and increase efficiency

AI (artificial intelligence)

Give your team a leg up with access to a powerful AI chatbot capable of gathering customer context, surfacing relevant support recommendations, and reading repetitive tasks.

Bots are excellent resources for SMBs because they:

  • Provide 24/7 availability

  • Deflect tickets away from busy agents

  • Direct customers to self-service

  • Make payroll costs count by allowing agents to focus on complex tasks

  • Manage multiple chat sessions simultaneously

Businesses can use Zendesk bots or AI to benefit from these functionalities.

With the OpenAI and Zendesk integration, Zendesk AI can also support SMBs by:

  • Speeding up ticket resolution: With our content summarization feature, agents can get the most important information quickly and decrease ticket resolution times.

  • Automate actions and responses: Our chatbots identify missing and insufficient support articles and can create new ones instantly to ensure users can find the resources they need in your knowledge base.

  • Expanding agent replies: Zendesk bots help agents craft detailed informational replies. All agents need to do is type a few words, and the chatbot will suggest a response.

Messaging

Strike the perfect balance between quality messaging features and affordable pricing. Live chat and chatbots make it possible for help desk agents to serve multiple customers simultaneously, making productivity soar and reducing customer wait times.

According to a TechValidate survey, 84 percent of IT organizations say their CSAT scores have risen since implementing the Zendesk live chat software.

With Zendesk, you get that and more, ensuring that your customers have convenient access to support on:

  • Websites

  • Mobile apps

  • Messaging apps

“Zendesk Chat has reduced our call volume by 40 percent, which is huge for our business. It’s more effective because our agents can have several conversations at the same time.”

Source: Miinto

Help desk software benefits small business owners will love

Enough about features—let’s talk about how a good help desk system can positively impact small businesses and startups. Help desk software can:

  • Increase customer and employee retention by improving service experiences.

  • Lower operational costs by increasing agent productivity.

  • Unify data from different channels and departments in a single tool.

    Offer visibility and insight into how customer experience (CX) and IT teams can drive the most impact.

  • Encourage company growth by helping businesses reach new customers and boost sales.

If you need a more niche platform to help employees with tech problems, learn more about the differences between help desks and service desks.

How to choose the right help desk software for a small business

Small businesses must consider several factors to choose the best help desk solution for their company.

Not only can frequent software updates and upgrades slow down service, but it’s also inconvenient and can get expensive. The total cost of ownership (TCO) will vary by solution, so do your due diligence to uncover hidden expenses and assess the internal resources you already have to handle maintenance.

Follow these five help desk best practices to set your company up for IT support success.

1. Set time to value and ROI expectations

Before you begin your search or schedule any sales meetings with providers, set some expectations for yourself. These should include:

  • Ideal return on investment (ROI)

  • Budget

  • Time to value

It’s important to define what you’re looking for early on to avoid wasting time on solutions that won’t work for you and increase the likelihood that your decision will pay off how you envision it will.

2. Determine ease of use

Since help desks typically handle IT issues and incident management, it’s imperative for your business to avoid lapses in service. That’s why ease of use is an important factor when choosing help desk software.

The solution you choose must be easy to configure and use. It also shouldn’t take long to onboard and train your team.

3. Select a scalable solution

Find a help desk partner that understands your business and can grow alongside you.

While you may be small now, your help desk solution should accommodate growing numbers of support requests in the coming years.

Any good help desk solution is capable of supporting your agents as they adapt to fluctuating ticket volumes or unique customer needs and provide customizable tools.

4. Assess the total cost of ownership (TCO)

TCO is an important factor when considering any business software because it shows the true cost of a tool—how much you’ll spend to implement and utilize it throughout its lifetime at your company.

Ideally, the software you select will have a low TCO, meaning your business will see cost savings on expenses attributed to:

  • Installation

  • Onboarding

  • Subscriptions

  • Maintenance

5. Learn more about the support different vendors provide

As a small business owner, you are probably well aware of how important responsive vendors are to the success of your organization.

Before deciding on the best help desk software for your company, consider how much support the vendor will offer to help you get set up and how accessible they will be to correct any future issues.

Ideally, the vendor will have a number of support options available. Some examples of this are:

  • Video courses or training

  • 24/7 chatbots

  • Live training and configuration support

  • Guides and knowledge base articles

  • Customer service agents across multiple channels that provide real-time customer support

Small business help desk systems FAQs

Learn how your small business can use help desk software to provide better customer service and continue to grow.

Try Zendesk help desk software for free

Get the most out of your help desk solution with Zendesk. Sign up for a free trial to try our industry-leading help desk software. With functionalities made to encourage successful outcomes for small businesses, you owe it to your business to try out this tool.

Related SMB help desk guides

Not sold yet? Let us convince you.