Freshdesk vs Zendesk: An in-depth comparison

by Time Doctor
Freshdesk vs Zendesk

Freshdesk has a user-friendly and intuitive interface, whereas Zendesk is designed to handle complex enterprise requirements. Although these two tools share similarities like omnichannel ticketing, live chat support, and call center functionality, they also have significant differences.

So which customer support software should you opt for?

In this article, we’ll provide a one-on-one comparison of Freshdesk vs Zendesk to help you choose the right tool for your needs.  

This article contains:

(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)

Let’s get started.

What is Freshdesk?


Freshdesk is a cloud-based software solution that can help you automate customer support workflows. This AI helpdesk software uses chatbots to reduce agent response time and handle customer issues efficiently. 

Here are some things you can do with Freshdesk: 

  • Track and manage customer tickets from multiple channels like email, webchat, social media, and cloud-based phone support. 
  • Invite team members to collaborate on customer issues.
  • Auto-assign tickets to the right agent without leaving the desk software. 
  • Provide customers with a comprehensive knowledge base. 
  • Assess agent performance and measure customer experience with advanced analytics. 

What is Zendesk?


Zendesk is a customer service tracking tool that lets agents collect critical customer data from multiple touchpoints like call, chat, website, and phone.

Zendesk can help you:

  • Track, prioritize, and solve issues with an integrated ticketing system
  • Offer personalized customer experiences with cloud-based voice solutions.
  • Integrate with email and marketing software like Mailchimp and HubSpot. 
  • Define SLAs (Service Level Agreements) to help agents reach goals. 
  • Automatically share tickets with other support team members.

Now, let’s take a closer look at how these two tools weigh up against each other. 

Freshdesk vs Zendesk: A detailed comparison

Here’s a more comprehensive look at the Freshdesk vs Zendesk comparison:

Note: All images in the Freshdesk and Zendesk sections in this article are taken from their respective software support pages. 

1. Ticket management

Organizing, managing, and assigning tickets to the right agent is one of the most crucial features of any customer service software. Efficient ticket management can help you streamline business processes and reduce customer wait times.  

Here’s how these customer support software approach ticket management:

A. Freshdesk

One of the best features of Freshdesk’s ticket management system is the Discuss tab. It allows agents to connect over work doubts directly within a support ticket. 

This SaaS application also integrates with the Zoho CRM software so agents can view customer details inside every ticket. Additionally, Freshdesk offers Canned Responses or automated messages crafted for customers based on previous replies to similar customer queries. 

Moreover, you can easily assign agents to particular tickets using this help desk solution.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Log in as an admin.
  • Click on the Admin tab on the left panel and choose Team.
  • Now click on Agents to view a list of all the agents in your Freshdesk account. 
  • Click on New Agent to add an agent to the particular ticket. 
Freshdesk ticket management

B. Zendesk

Zendesk lets you create Macros for Zendesk tickets. It helps agents apply prebuilt responses and actions while creating or updating tickets. 

Some of these actions include updating ticket fields, adding or removing ticket tags, adding and changing assignees, adding attachments to tickets, etc. 

Here’s how you can assign a ticket to any agent:

1. Open any Zendesk ticket.

2. Click on the Assignee field. It will show all the groups listed in alphabetical order.

Zendesk ticket assignment

3. Filter the list for the group and agent names within that group to add them as an assignee. For example, to find an agent named Jennifer, enter a part of that name, and it’ll appear like this:

Zendesk Ticket Assignment

4. Click Submit to update the ticket.

Additionally, Zendesk lets you view, create, and work on support tickets from any Slack channel to boost your teamwork efforts. 

Quick recap

Freshdesk has canned responses, whereas Zendesk lets you create macros. Both these tools’ ticket assignment features help agents expedite ticket resolution processes. 

2. Time tracking

Native time tracking features and integrations can help your support team generate automated timesheets and calculate billable hours for clients.

Let’s take a look at these tool’s time tracking capabilities: 

A. Freshdesk

Freshdesk’s time tracking feature lets you record the time agents spend on different customer issues.   

Here’s how you can track time: 

  • Choose any ticket on Freshdesk.
  • Click More and then select Log time.
Freshdesk Time Tracking
  • To start tracking time, click Start Timer. It’ll keep running as long as you continue working on the ticket.
  • To stop the timer or take a break, click Stop Timer. You can click on Start again to resume the work. 

You can even edit your timesheet manually if required. 

Here’s how to do that:

  • Choose any Freshdesk ticket. 
  • Click More and then select Log time.
  • Enter the amount of time spent on this ticket under HH:MM. For example, if you worked for 3 hours 20 mins, your entry should be 03:20
  • You can add any relevant comments or details about your work under Note.
  • Click Save to record this entry.

To edit any previously logged time entries, click on Edit.

B. Zendesk

Zendesk’s time tracking app helps you identify customer issues that take the longest to resolve. Additionally, you can analyze your agents’ expertise by seeing the time to address and resolve customer tickets. 

Here’s how it looks like:

Zendesk time tracking

Zendesk also allows you to track time manually and automatically. 

And on top of that, you can apply custom fields to tickets to check details like daily working hours, total time spent on one ticket, number of tickets resolved in a given time, and much more. 

Additionally, you can generate timesheets with built-in custom reports through the Insights tab. This feature helps you optimize task efficiency and reduce wasted time. 

zendesk reporting

Quick recap

Both Freshdesk and Zendesk offer manual and automatic time tracking. However, Zendesk lets you access more in-depth custom reports from their dedicated Insights section.

Having said that, a more comprehensive time tracking app like Time Doctor can further enhance your team’s performance. You can also integrate Time Doctor with Zendesk and Freshdesk to easily monitor the time spent on each ticket and improve the enterprise customer experience.  

3. Knowledge base

A knowledge base is a self-service feature that empowers customers to find quick solutions to their doubts and, in turn, reduces your agent’s workload.  

Let’s see how these help desk apps approach knowledge base management: 

A. Freshdesk

Freshdesk has a multilingual knowledge base system that translates articles to the customer’s preferred language. 

Here’s how you can create a new knowledge base article with this help desk software:

  • Once you set up the Knowledge Base, go to the Solutions tab. 
  • Now click on New Article.
Freshdesk Knowledge Base new article
  • After naming the article, you can write and format the content using a rich text editor or HTML editor.
  • In case you want to attach an image or file, click on Attach. You can also drag and drop the file into the same space.
Freshdesk knowledge base create new article
  • Add the keywords under Tags so that the article shows up when a customer searches for that keyword.
  • Choose a folder from the dropdown menu under which you wish to list this article.
  • Customize the meta content to improve your article’s rankings on Google.
  • Click on Save once you’ve added everything. Or click on Publish to post this article right away.

B. Zendesk

Zendesk’s knowledge base system is known as Zendesk Guide. This self service portal includes bot integration, multilingual content support, feedback forums, community posts, and much more. 

Moreover, the Answer Bot in Zendesk suggests relevant articles to customers based on their latest searches. 

You can also organize your content into different knowledge base categories to ensure a smooth viewing experience for customers.

Here’s how you can add a category in this knowledge base software: 

  • Click Add in the top menu bar of your help center or Guide Admin.
  • Now select Category.
Zendesk Article Category
  • Enter a name and optional description for your category.
  • You can either select an alternate template or go for the default category template.
Zendesk Category Template
  • In the sidebar, double-check for the correct source language.
  • Click Add.

And on top of letting you organize your content neatly, Zendesk also gives you a ton of customization options. For example, you can add custom fonts and graphics to your knowledge base articles to reflect your organization’s branding. 

Quick recap

Both Freshdesk and Zendesk offer multilingual support for their knowledge base articles. However, Zendesk Guide is more feature-rich, and the UI is highly customizable. 

4. Live chat

Live chat functionality allows agents to address customer queries promptly, reducing customer wait times. It also helps retain happy customers and improve customer engagement levels. 

Let’s take a look at their live chat systems: 

A. Freshdesk

Freshdesk offers a free, in-built live chat functionality in the form of Freshchat. The tool is used to track customer conversation history, support multiple bot sessions, and reroute chats into tickets and vice-versa. 

It also provides details about customer activity like the recently visited pages, geographic location, and user language. With access to such customer details, agents can create more meaningful conversations and support their customers better. 

B. Zendesk

Although Zendesk has a live chat feature (Zendesk Chat), it comes at an additional $19 for a team. 

If you opt for the Zendesk Chat feature, you can directly route the issue discussed within the chat to an agent. 

You can also integrate AI-powered bots via API for task automation. This way, you can automate tasks like sending template responses to FAQs by customers and mailing work notifications to agents. 

Quick recap

Freshdesk has a built-in live chat feature called Freshchat, while the Zendesk Chat widget comes at an extra cost of $19 or more. 

5. Reporting and analytics

Analytics and reports give support agents real-time insights into their current strategy and customer engagement levels. 

Let’s take a look at how these help desk tools approach reporting and analytics: 

A. Freshdesk

Freshdesk provides inbuilt reports to measure agents’ achievements and customer experience metrics like customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores and churn rates. 

Additionally, the analytics feature lets you customize data points and automatically organizes data for you.

For instance, team leaders can configure the dashboard to display only essential metrics to help teams focus on their goals. The dashboard can also include data about high-priority tickets and the source channel (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) for all tickets. 

This can motivate the support agent to take up work proactively and make it to the top of the leaderboard.  

Freshdesk Reporting and analytics

Here’s how you can create a Team Dashboard in Freshdesk:

  • Login as an admin to your Freshdesk account.
  • Go to the Dashboard tab, click on the hamburger symbol on the top left corner, and click on + New team dashboard.
  • Name your dashboard and make it visible for all the agents you want to include in that team dashboard. 
  • Click Done

Note: You can edit your dashboard by clicking on the edit icon right next to the dashboard’s name.

B. Zendesk

Zendesk’s reporting features can give you insight into customer interactions from every channel like email, chat, phone, and social media. 

Additionally, there’s a Search dashboard tab on the Reporting dashboard where you can see your customer’s search data and analyze their actions following that search. 

Zendesk Reporting and analytics

Here’s how you can access the Search dashboard in Zendesk:

  • Login to your account and go to Zendesk Support
  • Click on the Reporting dashboard.
  • Then you’ll need to click on the Reporting icon () in the sidebar to open the Search dashboard

Moreover, with Zendesk’s collaboration add-on (which comes at an additional cost of approximately $25/agent per month) you can share these analytical reports and insights with your team with ease. 

Quick recap

Freshdesk’s dashboard can give details about incoming tickets and agents’ performance on the leaderboard. Zendesk’s dashboard, on the other hand, provides information about customer search activity and makes it shareable with your team. 

6. Pricing

Now that we know what both help desk software solutions have to offer, let’s compare their pricing plans:

A. Freshdesk

Freshdesk has a free plan with limited functionality, and the paid Freshdesk pricing plans start at $16/agent per month. 

It also offers a 21-day free trial where no credit card details are required. 

B. Zendesk

Zendesk offers paid plans starting at $19/agent, per month and their most popular Suite Professional plan at $99/agent, per month. 

You can also opt for the 30-day free trial period to test this helpdesk software out. 

Quick recap

Freshdesk has a free plan with a few basic features, whereas Zendesk only provides paid plans. 

However, Zendesk offers a longer free trial period than Freshdesk. 

The final verdict

Both Freshdesk and Zendesk are great customer service tools, each suitable for different needs.  

Freshdesk lets you automate routine customer service processes and gain insights into customer experience metrics. On the other hand, Zendesk offers some advanced functionality when it comes to knowledge bases and analytics. 

However, Zendesk is more expensive than Freshdesk. So if you’re a startup or a small business, you might want to go with Freshdesk. 

Use our Freshdesk vs Zendesk guide to choose the best customer support solution for your business needs. 

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